Thursday, March 29, 2007

Business Ethics Pledge

Have you heard of the Business Ethics Pledge? I took it last year. Shel Horowitz, " a self employed guy working from a farmhouse"(his words not mine), is trying to make a difference. He has started the Business Ethics Pledge in hopes of getting 25,000 business leaders and influencers to take the pledge and create a business world where an "Enron" could never happen.

I heard him on a marketing tape and researched his site Business Ethics Pledge . We know we have ethics, integrity and we try never to work in the gray area but maybe we assume our clients know that, but maybe they don`t. Perhaps if we clearly state "Look this is where I am and what I believe", then perhaps from the beginning our clients will have that much more faith in us. Naive? I don`t know. It`s worth a shot.

The other reason I really like it is because what we pledge to do is clearly laid out. My ethics could be based on something completely different from another guys. The pledge just lets everyone - clients, coworkers and competitiors know what page we are on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Canada As Cosmopolitan As London, Paris And New York

CENTURY 21 Canada: International Executive House Price Survey

"Canada's hot real estate markets, such as Vancouver and Calgary, experience house prices and daily commute times that are on par with those in the world's major financial centres of London, England, New York, Paris, and Seoul" says survey of typical house prices conducted by CENTURY 21 Canada in 15 cities in Canada and by CENTURY 21 brokers in 16 cities around the world.

Don Lawby, President of CENTURY 21 Canada, says, "Our survey shows that executives in Canadian cities and in the world's major business centres are rewarded for their education, years of hard work and business successes with beautiful homes and reasonable commute times."

"Whether executive house prices are at the high or low end of the range, in Canada or elsewhere in the world, depends on the current state of the local economies - and our survey reflects that Vancouver and Calgary are booming whether you compare them to cities in the rest of Canada or to cities around the world," Lawby says.

Lawby says Canadian cities at every price level have benefits that can't be measured in dollars and commuting time.

"All things considered, Canadian cities offer among the best living and working conditions in the world. We have low levels of population congestion, we breathe fresh air, nature is at our doorstep, and we have few security problems. You can't say these things of many other major cities in the world, which might have stifling heat or humidity, crushing congestion, or choking pollution."

"Our three largest cities - Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver - are as cosmopolitan as any cities in the world. We can sample and enjoy nearly all the major cultures of the world right here," says Lawby.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Up "Stage" Your Profits

What reminds you of home? Is it the smell of chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven? A well kept garden? Well these factors help you make a buying or rental decision when you view homes. How your property looks (decor, clutter, cleanliness) makes tens of thousands of dollars of difference to your final sale price. That directly affects your profit.

"What people have to realize is that 78 per cent of the factors of buying a house are decided before somebody even comes to your home ... Once they've decided your house meets their criteria (in terms of size, neighbourhood and price), once they come in the door, it's up to you to present your house to make them fall in love with it."
Calgary-based professional stager Kathy Tough

Clean up your clutter and make sure your house will appeal to a broad range of people. That means neutral tone carpet, clean windows and walls and a homey smell.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

From "Scrap and Build" to "Revitalize and Renovate"

When I talk to our Japanese associates, they are always interested to learn that in North America buildings actually increase in value with age. In Japan the "scrap and build" mentality has ruled the real estate industry for years. A house`s life span is a max of 20 to 30 years,so when they speak of property they actually mean the land.

Recently with the stagnate economy many young people can`t afford to build their own home. Outside of major city areas housing prices can start at $500,000 to buy land and build a house,the land price being the larger portion of that figure. More and more young families are starting to buy resale homes. Instead of facing 35 year mortgages for a house that may not outlast the mortgage they buy properties renovated to modern standards.

The only problem for this resale market to take off is the high taxes investors face if they buy and sell investment properties - up to 50% of the profits.

It is interesting to watch the changing market as it shifts to accomodate the next generation.

Avison Young Real Estate Forecast 2007

Here is the Avison Young 2007 forecast for major cities across Canada.

"Edmonton is a city servicing the second largest and most stable source of oil in the world. As global markets become hungrier for this energy source, the long term prospect for growth in Edmonton could not be stronger. New construction in all real estate sectors is a direct reflection of the confidence investors have in this vibrant market." Dean Wulf

Read More....Download

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

There Are Many Ways To Invest

Rising prices in Alberta are fantastic, if you are already in the market. If you haven't invested yet you may find that it is getting harder and harder to get into an investment. Now starting investments are in the $75,000 CDN range.

For cash investors that will give a solid investment in a growing area and cover all investment costs ie, downpayment, insurance, inspection, appraisals, staying power fund, and all fees. To read more...

RRSP second mortgages are also a good way to get fixed returns on an investment held against the property. In effect you become a lender like the bank. To read more...

You can always pair up with like minded friends and family to get in to the market. It is better to buy early and wait than wait and be too late!

Secrets To Real Estate Investing

"Location, Location, Location." How about "Cash Is King"? Or perhaps you have heard "Make Your Money When You Buy". They are all important no one thing is more important in investing, you need strong relationships, do your research, buy in growth areas, do your own due diligence are the basics of real estate investing.

"Experts say the secret to successful real estate investing is research, research, research. Review your moves, get good advice and look for clues in sources such as the new Canadian census data. The pay-off is two-fold: ongoing cash flow and capital appreciation."10 tips to Real Estate Investing

Real estate success is not something that happens overnight it is a long process that requires constant growth and learning.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

River Valley Alliance Has Big Plans

Every day Edmonton is becoming a more beautiful place to live. The River Valley Alliance, consisting of councillors from seven municipalities, wants to create the Capital Region River Valley Park, which would span the North Fort Saskatchewan River for 88 km from Devon, through Edmonton, and all the way to Fort Saskatchewan.

"I think it's going to be around for generations to come," said Jo Szady, a councillor with Parkland County on Thursday. "The biggest, and best, park I think North America has ever seen."

The park will be one more reason that people from around the world decide to make Edmonton their home.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Don Campbell Predicted This One

The old-style main street and picturesque river winding through town is part of the charm that is attracting people to Okotoks. Okotoks is the fastest growing city in Alberta.

"Property values, which used to be a bargain compared to the sprawling suburbs of Calgary some 18 kilometres north, have doubled in the last four years." London Free Press

The Okotoks story is similar to many other Alberta communities. The province had nearly 49,000 housing starts last year. Alberta's overall population has increased 10.6 per cent since the 2001 census and will continue to grow with the Oil sands incredible workforce needs. In fact we have only just begun to see the migration that will occur in Alberta and that certainly means a rise in house prices.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Edmonton Showed The Best Returns

In Business Edge News Magazine Online

"Canadian real estate provided a total return of 18.6 per cent in 2006, close to the record 18.7 per cent set in 2005, according to the Canadian Property Index.

The index is published annually by U.K.-based Investment Property Databank and the Institute of Canadian Real Estate Investment Managers.

Of the six major markets monitored for the index, Edmonton recorded the highest property return at 35.2 per cent. The others were: Calgary (30.4 per cent), Vancouver (22.8 per cent), Montreal (18.3 per cent), Toronto (13.1 per cent) and Ottawa (12.6 per cent).

The index is based on data from pension funds, life insurance companies and real estate managers on more than 2,000 properties."

As they say "Don`t wait to buy real estate buy real estate and wait!"

Friday, March 09, 2007

Cherry Blossom Festival

The coming of spring is always apparent in Japan. The cherry trees, Sakura, start blooming all around the city and country. Trees that were indistinct through the winter blossom over night and the foresight and eye for beauty of the city planners is instantly apparent.

Hanami (literally flower viewing) is my favorite time of year. Not only does it mark the anniversary of my expatriation to asia but it really reminds me that, Hey, I live in another country! Believe it or not it is easy to forget.

Everyone goes to the park or mountains and sets up a picnic area with friends, family and co-workers. Much wining and wassailing follow until by the end of the day blankets have joined into one giant picnic blanket that cover the park. While petals float gently to the ground like snow. Then to top it all off we stumble en masse to the nearest karaoke bar to sing 80`s greatest hits.

Working To Save The Environment

"Ottawa will spend $155.9 million to make Alberta's oil and energy industry more environmentally friendly, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday."

Canada is a large and beautiful country world reknowned for its scenery and dynamic natural vistas. Most Canadians are nature enthusiasts who and all are proud of their country. Canada`s economy especially Alberta is going on all cylinders at the moment, everyone wants to do better economically but not at the expense of the environment.

Recent news of the oil industry is worrying but we are proactive and the government is putting aside $155.9 million to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
These funds will be spent studying ways to capture C02 emitted from the oilsands and store it underground instead of releasing the gas into the atmosphere.

"Most exciting of all, if we can perfect this technology, we can use it not only to curb Canada's contribution to greenhouse gas production but we could also export it around the world," Harper said"

The money will also fund a project in Edmonton designed to convert municipal waste into electricity. Also efforts to design a coal-fired electricity plant which releases almost no emissions will also be funded.

"All Canadians are looking for a balance between economic growth and environmental protection," Harper said. "Finding that balance is the fundamental challenge of our time."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Canadian Real Estate Gives Good Value

Who doesn`t know this? Alberta is in articles all around the world. I`ve seen articles on Alberta and Canada in Japanese newspapers only recognizable as such by the illustrated outline of Alberta and the oil sands.

"The Canadian real estate market continued to give investors good value for their money in 2006, with the total return of 18.6 per cent nearly double the 20-year-average of 9.1 per cent, according to the Canadian Property Index.

Edmonton saw the highest property returns of the six major markets at 35.2 per cent, followed closely by Calgary which had 30.4-per-cent returns. Ottawa's returns in 2006 were lower at 12.6 per cent."

Ottawa Business Journal

It is all about Alberta!

In Alberta the price of a single-family dwelling rose an amazing 5.1% and condo prices rose 6% in FEBRUARY. We estimate a conservative 7% appreciation a YEAR for our Joint Venture partners. Alberta`s economy is really delivering. All indicators point to another stellar year like 2006. In my opinion a slight cool in housing prices wouldn`t hurt, just enough time to get ourselves adjusted and ready to take action for the next big price increase. Houses in Alberta are still reasonable so the market has a lot of room to rise.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Alberta`s Record Breaking Budget

Once again Alberta has reached a superlative status in Canada. The oil rich fundamentally balanced economy reached a budget record in the third quarter.

"Alberta will reap its second highest ever surplus this year - a $7-billion gusher driven by a continuing natural resource boom."
href="">Financial Post

The excess won`t be used to reduce taxes but kept as an emergency fund.

Do you know THE SECRET????

Rhonda Byrne`s The Secret is a self help phenomenom.....

"The Secret" now has 3.75 million copies in print and for days has displaced the final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," from the top of, where "The Secret" is currently out of stock."
AP Wire

I personally love "The Secret" and watch 15 mins of it every day. I don`t have time to watch a whole movie in one shot. I think the important thing to remember is positive visualization PLUS action is the key to success. You can`t have one without the other.

This book is excellent and of course the best way to get wealthy yourself is to help as many people as possible get weatlhy with you.