Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canada's Housing Market Both Vigorous And Stable

"Country's market poised to show growth throughout 2006"

Royal LePage

Edmonton's booming local economy continued to thrive in the third quarter
as activity in the oil sands north of the city continued to flourish. Edmonton
remained the hub of activity for those coming to work in the oil industry,
maintaining tight inventory levels across the city, resulting in prices
increasing at record levels. However, as inventory levels continued to improve
in the third quarter the rate of price appreciation should moderate slightly
towards the end of 2006.

The Globe and Mail Online

In Alberta we’ve had a tremendous year of appreciation and I’m hoping for a little market fear, just enough to create a wave of sales or a slight dip in prices. Why would I want that? Well, to buy more property of course. A slight cooling off of the market will give us the chance for another round of purchases. There’s no need to worry about the economy. Oil prices weakening (they can drop to $20 p/b and Alberta is still profitable), a glut of supply a new source- whatever it may be- bring it on. Alberta is sitting in a long-term stable situation that is only getting better, thus increasing house prices due to the insatiable demand for housing.

If you’re panicking now and you own property in Edmonton, give me a call and I’ll buy your house before the crash ;)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What Do Dinosaur Bones, $70.00 Barrel Oil and Owning a Home in Canada Have in Common?

“They all contribute to a money making opportunity,” says Todd Millar,
President of Glenn Simon Inc, a Canadian company based in Japan that provides a very unique twist on investing and profit sharing for its ex-patriot and Japanese clients.

Millar explains that the province of Alberta, Canada is home to the world’s second
largest proven source of oil. Alberta is currently producing more than 1.1 Million
barrels per day and is expected to triple to over 3 million barrels per day by
2015. This increase will push Canada ahead of Saudi Arabia, currently the world’s
number one supplier.

But, it isn’t oil or even oil stocks that his company invests in. It’s real estate.
Glenn Simon Inc provides completely hands free investments that give ex-pats and
Japanese the ability to purchase revenue real estate in this oil rich region.

Husband and wife founders, Todd and Danielle Millar have been living in and investing from Japan since early 2000. Their company’s strategy is straightforward- targeting revenue producing residential and commercial properties in the economic powerhouse regions of Alberta.

Glenn Simon Inc. was created out of the Millar’s own desire to invest in real estate. “Once we built a solid team and got our proven system working our results were incredible. When our friends started seeing our returns compared to their returns in more conventional investments, we had a great response. Our next thought was ‘Imagine if we could bring this opportunity to all the other dissatisfied investors’”
Says Danielle Millar.

By teaming with the Millar’s company, investors are provided with detailed analysis;
property inspection, insurance, impeccable property management, financing and the
market timing necessary to successfully sell, maximizing profits.

“We wanted to offer something more than just property. Anyone can buy real estate
and lose money. The skill needed to be successful in real estate investing requires the foresight to see the investment through to the end. We found that by forming a
partnership directly with our clients, we could offer a totally unbiased, win-win
scenario. Like our mission statement says ‘Making Investors Successful One Property
At A Time’. We succeed by making our partners succeed.”

Already going at full tilt, Edmonton and other Albertan cities need more workers,
who in turn need more housing. With more businesses both national and international
setting up shop long term, high salaries and a high standard of living create an overall long term demand for housing. Engineers from Germany and England, in-migration from Eastern provinces, Chinese oil company executives and others are all making Alberta their home. With the lowest taxes in Canada, highest incomes and best healthcare system it is an easy choice.

It’s not just oil either. The IT sector is booming. Dell computers has just opened up a call center; nanotechnology, agriculture, lumber and manufacturing all enjoy
consistent, healthy economic growth as well.

“A lot of people will tell you that Real Estate investing is speculative. And for them it is. What we do differently is we invest and manage in economically strong and
fundamentally sound areas of Alberta. We also put each property through a set of
systems to make certain that the property can carry itself as well as make a decent return in an up or down market. "There is nothing speculative about our approach”
Says Millar.

Glenn Simon Inc’s website is full of economic facts and links detailing Alberta’s
unique and diverse economy. For more information or to subscribe to the free
monthly newsletter visit http://www.glennsimoninc.

About Glenn Simon Inc: GSI has been specializing in Canadian residential real estate
for more than 5 years while residing in Japan. GSI and its associates have over 50
years of combined legal, real estate and accounting experience, making them experts
in the field of investment real estate. GSI was formed out of the desire to bring,
decent, honest and profitable returns to ex-patriot and Japanese clients who are
seeking something more.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home Sweet Fortune

“In the last 12 months Edmonton real estate has appreciated over 52%”
-Royal LePage, Canada.

And with over $100 Billion dollars invested into Alberta and the strong demand for jobs and housing, you will continue to see real estate prices increasing, well into the future due to this sustainable, fundamentally sound economy.

Example: 12 months ago an average Edmonton condo sold for $132,000, now the same condo sells for $200,640.00, an increase of 52%. If you had purchased that condo with a 25% down payment of $33,000, factored in closing costs and additional expenses at say $7,000, your profit (excluding taxes and realtor fees to sell) would be about $61,640.00 or $169.00 per day. An ROI of 187%.

Now, imagine if you had a tenant paying down your mortgage for you.....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pinch Me! I Just Got A Free House.

This Post is taken from More Good News October 2006 Glenn Simon Inc's Free Monthly Newsletter

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The bad news is the house you wanted has just been sold, and it sold for $45K above what you wanted to pay. The good news is that you can expect the next piece of property you buy in Alberta to substantially increase in value too.

Let me tell you a little secret…. Come closer, it’s a good one. I just gave my friends a house today. Well, not exactly ‘gave’ it to them, just sort of created it. Have you read those real estate books that tell you can buy a million houses with zero cash down and make a fortune? Of course you have. We all have. You turn the pages, tongue in cheek waiting for the catch or waiting to say ‘Yeah…but, you can’t do that here.’

And sometimes that may be true. But, back to the secret…

My friends (partners as it were) invested (I’m loathe to tell you how little), $32K with us wayyyy back in ’04 to buy a duplex in the North East of Edmonton. After spending $5K for reno costs out of the initial investment, we had a nice, simple, $157K property. Adding fresh tenants, both up and down, we pulled a modest $1100 per month in rent. Our property is carrying itself and just breaking even after all expenses.

Now the fun part…

September, ’06, we asked the bank for an equity take out in the form of a line of credit. The first thing the bank did, was ask the City to assess our property. City assessments are always low. Bank Appraisers tend to be better, but they still appraise buildings at about 20% less of actual value (hey, bankers like to be safe!).

So, what are we worth? $237,000.00 at the City Assessed price. Now, the appreciation alone is $80K.That makes an ROI of 250% If you don’t know real estate, you can stop you rolling your eyes in disbelief now, because this does happen and I haven’t even got to the best part yet…

So, we have a self-sufficient rental duplex worth $237K. Our friendly banker, who is just such a peach, will happily lend us the $65K needed to buy another property.

Are you going to ask me what I bought? Well, I put that $65K into a great, town house that is worth about $235K (and there is even $25K of equity in this property from the long close). Does the whole deal balance? No, it doesn’t. (Ah Ha! You got me!) In fact, it negatively cash flows about $150 per month, until we increase the rent to market value next year. What about the line of credit you ask? Well, we have to pay that too (interest only payments), but we factored in a little extra cash from the original property as rents have increased, to ease the equity loan repayments. What did it cost them to get this new property? Zero. That’s right. Zero down and small payments every month. That looks like $32K bought $472K of quality real estate or gave them a ‘free’ house. Not to mention the $25K instant profit.

Can we do it all the time? No, way! But when we can, we will and that rocks!

5 Tips Learning A Language vs. Purchasing Investment Real Estate

Living in a country where English is not the first language enforces a learning curve that you don`t get when you can communicate in your native tongue. When I came to Japan 6 years ago my Japanese extended to Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto courtesy of Devo`s hit in the 80`s. I had to assimilate to live. Now that I can speak Japanese I look back on those days cringing at what passed for "speaking Japanese".

The same holds true for investing in Real Estate. I started investing 5 years ago, I read all the books, joined Cashflow circles and ventured boldly ready to make "deals". With all the information and opportunity available on the web it seemed mere months until I held my dream portfolio.

Boiling down my experiences to the purest essence. I have come up with 5 tips for Learning Another Language and corresponding tips for Purchasing Investment Real Estate. They surprisingly overlap!

5 Tips For Learning Another Language vs. 5 Tips for Purchasing Investment Real Estate

1. Never ever repeat words until you know the meaning - I once had a catchy tune that a few little boys were singing stuck in my head. They roared with joy when I repeated the song and sang along with them for the remainder of our time together. For the next few days I would alternately hum and sing the easily pronounced words feeling quite pleased that I had picked up the language. It wasn't until days later a concerned co-worker actually explained the meaning of the dirty ditty did I learn this valuable lesson.


1. Do your own homework - It doesn't matter if the property you are looking at is in a great area and really cheap. You are responsible for your financial future. You must never take anything at face value. My mentor Don Campbell always says "What's behind the Curtain?" Research your property, the area where you are, go there at different times of the day. Research other houses on the block or in the area, How much did they sell for? Ask impartial realtors, lawyers and people in the know for their input then sift the results. In the end only you will be paying for your real estate negligence or reap the benefits of your diligence.

2. Mimic the language of people around you- A direct contradiction to my first tip! However you can be sure that if I had emulated my successful 60 year old business lady friend I would have been singing a different tune. In Japan especially, age and sex are very important in determining the type of speech you use. If you hang around 50 year old business men your Japanese will reflect that. So choose with care whose speech you emulate.


2. Mimic successful people around you - Research the people in your area who are doing what you want to do. Find the multi-plex buyer and take him to lunch that meal could make you a millionaire or at least help you on your next deal. The best way to succeed at anything is to copy the people who are already successful at it. Most people who are successful want to give back and help people who are starting out.

3. Supplement a formal education- You CAN learn new languages by yourself. In fact I spent my first two years in Japan watching Japanese T.V. with a dictionary and notebook so that I could learn the colloquial Japanese. Speak what the real people speak. It paid off I have excellent listening comprehension and can converse readily on many t.v. celebrities and programs- a useful ice breaker. However, my spoken Japanese didn't really take off until I attended a formal language school. The teachers guided me around pitfalls and I could practice with people that spoke that language rather than talking to my T.V.


3. Join an investment group and take seminars - Sure it costs money, sure there are scams out there. Some gurus only hold seminars to sell their products or courses. That is a chance you have to take but when you find the right group you will be connected to a wealth of experience, information and like minded people. I am a member of REIN- Real Estate Investing Network in Alberta. That allegiance has propelled my business like nitro in those cars in the Triple X movie series. My sphere of influence now includes best selling authors, people who hold millions of dollars in real estate and some of the best tax specialists, lawyers and realtors in Canadian Real Estate. I have avoided some mistakes because someone in my group already made them and that resource was readily available to me.

4. Making mistakes makes you a better speaker - This only works if someone corrects you! If you don' t say anything then your speaking ability won't improve at all. In my first baby steps in learning the language I know I said some pretty far out things. Times when I wanted to say "This meal is delicious!" I came out with " I am delicious" or my favorite pointing to a little girl and saying "scary" when I meant to say "cute" actually it could have gone either way with that one. It happens but luckily I had friends who took me aside and pointed out the grammatical, pronunciation or syntax errors of my ways. Now I only say "I am delicious" when I want to.


4. Making mistakes makes you a better investor - You cannot learn until you make a mistake. Granted you can have a mentor who helps you and guides you around the mines of investing. What you are getting there is the benefit of him or her making mistakes in the past. Babies don't walk without falling, bicycles aren't mastered without scraped knees and investors aren't made without those "Holy #&("! " deals. Be thankful for them. They are what separate the Trumps from the chumps.

5. Speak Speak Speak- Just do it. Talk to the grocer, the mailman, the neighbour and anyone who will humour you. It is learning by action. Immerse yourself in your new language. I listen to the NHK National Japanese Radio whenever my ipod's batteries die while I am driving. I watch Japanese T.V. and study in my free moments. And you know what? Sometimes I can speak Japanese pretty darn well.


5. Just do it- Don't be a perpetual student. Go out there and invest. If you don't have the finances just look at properties on the MLS. It is free and you can quickly get a feel of the market and what is availabe. Using a city map you can compare market values for properties in the same neighbourhood, street or complex. If funds are low then partner with friends or other people who want to invest in the same area. You can always Joint Venture with a professional so that your first deal isn't so daunting.

With time you will be surprised at how far you have progressed in becoming a polyglot or an investor.