Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We're heading off a little late for our holiday vacation. We'll be back in January! Have a wonder winter holiday and a great 2010!
Todd and Danielle Millar

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where in Canada should I invest for best R.O.I?

A lot of money is floating around with no where to grow. People are disillusioned by the stock market by paper assets and many conventional ways of investing. Thinking about real estate but not sure what city to invest in or where to get the most bang for your investment buck?

Check out REIN's Top Ten Canadian Towns to invest in. Based on thousands of hours of research learn where, why and when to invest in real estate.

We've used this information for the past 8 years to improve our investing strategies and bring our joint venture investors returns of 100% on their initial investment!

It's worth it! Click here to get your copy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alberta employment will improve.

Since Imperial Oil Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. have given the green light to previously shelved projects employment in Alberta is looking to pick up in 2010. It won't be the crazed hiring when there was a labour shortage but there will be jobs for skilled individuals.

What this means is that more highly skilled workers will be coming to Alberta to get jobs. They will subsequently be looking for a place to rent or live. For landlords that means houses to be rented or houses to be sold.

"What growth might happen in 2010 will be in the second half as a result of a recovery from the recession, whatever that might be," Roger Soucy, president of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Alberta Oilsands News

Battle for the oilsands - "Across Alberta, companies have spent years developing new technologies that promise cheaper, greener production. In the next few months, some will move from the lab to the field in critical tests that could radically reshape the industry.


Hamilton: Alberta has wind at its back - "Alberta could even launch its own feed-in tariff program and unleash the innovation that has been demonstrated in the oil patch, and it could use slightly increased royalties from the patch to fund the program. The Stelmach government keeps talking about jobs and the need to preserve economic growth, but clearly there are just as many – probably a lot more – jobs to be created by fanning the flames of a green-energy movement than in keeping a handful of dirty coal plants open. Alberta ranchers have plenty of livestock manure that can be converted into electricity. The province is graced with ideal geology for geothermal power production, and it already has the expertise required to drill deep wells that can tap heat within the earth. The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association says low-hanging geothermal fruit in Alberta would produce 500 megawatts, but more investigation of the resource would likely reveal that much more is available."

Edmonton recognized in Copenhagen for climate leadership - "The City of Edmonton received an award for climate leadership Wednesday in Copenhagen.The award is in recognition of the city's Carbon Dioxide Reduction Edmonton (CO2RE) program as well as its new renewable energy task force.Edmonton was selected, along with four other Canadian cities, by 10 environmental organizations. The other designated cities are Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Provincial winners are British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario.City officials are honoured by the award, saying they hope it highlights some of the good things going on in Canada, as opposed to all the negative attention the country's lack of climate-change efforts have received so far in Copenhagen."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations, 
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

- Unknown

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This and That

This and That
Alberta Puts Billions Into The Coffers Of Canada's Oilsands Bashers - Follow the money. It's the oldest rule in journalism.It usually explains the virtuous rhetoric that sometimes emanates from the mouths of politicians and lobbyists. You dress up crass self-interest in the garb of some lofty cause, and bingo! You've got a nice shiny message to sell.READ MORE HERE.

It's Simple Economies: Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans - The province spent more than it made. That was the simple message delivered by Alberta Finance and Enterprise Minister Iris Evans during the Wetaskiwin & District Chamber of Commerce's Nov. 30 luncheon. She pointed out that Alberta is not in as bad of shape compared to other provinces.

"They have to borrow money to keep Ontario afloat. One hundred and eighty-four million worth of debt – that is what Ontario has got," said Evans. GRAB THIS ARTICLE.

Canada's Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5 per cent As Economy Gains 79,000 Jobs in November
OTTAWA — Canada's economy swelled by 79,000 jobs last month, much better than many economists had expected, as the number of people with full-time and part-time jobs increased in November while the number of self-employed fell. FOLLOW THIS STORY.

Top 5 Tips To Improve Your Concentration - When TV newscaster Diane Sawyer was asked the secret to her success, she said, "I think the one lesson I've learned is there is no substitute for paying attention. "Are you thinking, "I agree, but HOW do we improve our ability to focus and maintain attention -- no matter what?"

Alberta Oilsands Real Estate - last newsletter of 2009

Dear Friends and Partners,

A few days ago the temperature dropped so low that you could've thrown Kool-Aid out the window and made popsicles before it hit the ground. Edmonton was the coldest place in North America and the second chilliest in the world.

The Edmonton International Airport saw a record low of -46.1 C and -58.4 C with the windchill, outfreezing even the Arctic.

Geez, is this what I'm going back home to? At least it'll be a white Christmas if the Reindeer don't freeze before they make their landing on the 25th.

With Christmas but a few weeks away, this will be our last newsletter for 2009. You'll receive your next issue after the holidays on January 15th, 2010.

Snuggle up with a Warm Wool Blanket these holidays and connect with family and friends. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Holiday Season and the warmth, joy and success of a truly great 2010 ahead.

Thank you for this wonderful year. We appreciate all your calls, emails, thoughts and comments. You are a joy to know and work with.

Our offices will be closed from December 24th to January 5th for holidays. We're looking forward to catching up with you again in the New Year!

Warmest regards,

Todd, Danielle and Ronan.

Get our bi-weekly Alberta Oilsands Real Estate Investor newsletter for tips, facts and properties to help you find your perfect real estate investment. Sign up here

Monday, December 14, 2009

More from Peter Kinch

This is from Peter Kinch's email newsletter.
In case you missed it, the following is a copy of the interview between Peter Kinch and Russell Byth that aired Sunday, December 13 on News 1130
Well, as expected, The Bank of Canada held steady on their rates last week, keeping the historically low Prime rate unchanged at 2.25%. Now given that these are so-called emergency rates, it is just a matter of time before they start to rise. On the line with me is best-selling author and Mortgage Expert, Peter Kinch with Dominion Lending; Pete, what advice do you have for Canadian families faced with the inevitability of higher rates in the future?

Well Russ, everyone should start budgeting for an increase in rates. You know, it's a well documented fact that the Bank of Canada is using these low interest rates to kick-start the economy and their goal is to get inflation back up to 2% but as soon as they feel that they are at or near that level, rates will definitely start to rise. It's not a matter of if, but when.

So if I'm a consumer right now either thinking of buying a house or a home owner possibly looking to renew my mortgage, what should I be considering in the New Year?

Well, the first thing I would do is sit down and draft up a family budget - especially with Christmas coming up and all the expenses that go with it. In your budget, figure out how much you can afford to increase your mortgage payments by. If you accelerate your current mortgage payment, you will accomplish two things:

  1. You will have increased the amount of money that is applied directly to your principal balance, so that when the time does come that your mortgage is up for renewal and the rates are higher, you'll be renewing with a lower principal balance and as such, your payments may not change much.
  2. Increasing your payments today will allow you to adjust your current budget so that you will not experience 'payment shock' a year or two from now when the inevitability of renewing into a higher rate actually happens.

Thanks Pete, some good advice to follow. In the Business Centre, I'm Russell Byth.

T. Harv Eker's blog - must read!

My best friend came to Japan for a week to visit. She found T. Harv Eker's Millionaire Mind book on my shelf and managed to read it TWICE before going back to Canada.

That is how compelling this book is.

Anyway T. Harv Eker has a blog that is a must read. The excerpt below talks about our money programming. I remember as a child always hearing that "money doesn't grow on trees" which is true to a point however it does grow on shrubs though!

The secret is all in perspective.

"Our financial blueprints consist mainly of the “programming” we received in the past, especially as children. We aren’t born knowing anything about money; we were “taught” primarily through our family upbringing, but also through multiple cultural influences. We take this conditioning and run on it for the rest of our lives, even though we may not be aware of it.

This conditioning comes from:
1. What we heard when we were young
2. What we saw
3. What we experienced ourselves

If a phrase like “Rich people can’t be spiritual” is ingrained into you, that subconscious, negative connotation will override actions any day, even if being rich is what you really want. We’re primarily creatures who act on emotion more than we act on reason, even though we’d like to believe the opposite."

Read more click here

Keller Williams positive outlook for 2010

The end of a decade.

Wow! Time has flown this year. Can you believe that it will be 2010 in less than 2 weeks? Do you remember 1999 when the whole world was worried about Y2K? Many people stayed home with gasoline, water and food just in case civilization ended. Now we are looking back and chuckling about that one. I assume we'll be shaking our heads at Global Warming pretty soon too.

What was the most important thing of the last decade for you? Has anything special happened in your life? I’ve spent the whole decade in Japan. I’ve had too much fun to go home! It’s been a great experience that has shaped my life incredibly.

Here is a quick list of some major inventions/advances in 1900-1910 and 2000-2010.

Some Inventions of 1900 – 1910


Teddy bears

Windshield wipers


Vacuum cleaners

Ford Model T automobile




Instant coffee

Some Inventions of 2000 – 2010

Artificial heart and liver

Self –cleaning windows

Hybrid Cars



Ka-on plants that play music

Murata boy – bike-riding robot

Sony’s Sugar Battery

Flying Windmills

Face transplants

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alberta still best place to invest in Canada

In the Olympics of investing Alberta is still the gold medalist. The province got a score of 8.5 out of 10 in The Provincial Investment Climate Index.

This index has seven main components: corporate income tax, fiscal prudence, personal income tax, transportation infrastructure, corporate capital tax, labour market regulation, and burden of regulation.
"Alberta came in first place on most indicators including corporate income taxes, corporate capital taxes, personal income taxes, fiscal prudence, and labour-market regulation. However, Alberta ranked seventh on transportation infrastructure, which assesses highways, urban transit, air, rail, and marine service."

The article states that Alberta is losing ground to other provinces. Saskatchewan comes in at 6.6 and British Columbia at 6. Those two provinces saw a year over year increase of 0.7 and 0.2 certainly they are improving but still no where near Alberta's stellar 8.5 performance.

Read more here

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

At least there is a toilet

See the smallest apartment in New York city. At $150,000 it still costs as much as an ok condo in Edmonton, but apparently micro studios are the way to go now. That says a lot about Manhattans affordability. However, I can definitely see the benefit of owning your home (however humble it may be) outright in 2 years.

If we all went smaller there would certainly be a lot less credit and cash flow problems.
So this couple has made a lifestyle choice that is both beneficial to the wallet and financial future.

This reminds me of the Y.A.W.N.S

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Very Very Funny!

This was forwarded from a REIN member.

This is the Greatest Christmas decoration ever!

Edmonton - closed til February. Three tips to get rented.

You may not know it but Edmonton real estate is just as seasonal as a tropical resort. When dead time comes it comes. Vacancies and unsold properties are put on hold until after January. No one moves when it's -20C.

What if you have vacant properties? Two months vacant is two months too long in my opinion, so how do you get your properties rented?

1. Compelling Advertising- In this tight rental market 3br/2ba isn't going to cut it. Sell the sizzle. Get the tenant to see themselves living in their new home (your property). Describe bright sunny rooms, the convenience new appliances bring and the ease of living close to so many amenities. Adjectives are key here.

2. Get Referrals - You know people right? They probably know some people too. Like the Doublemint gum commercial our circle grows infinitely when you include everyone you know. Talk, talk talk about your listing tell everyone you know. Who knows who has a cousin moving from wherever and is looking for a place to rent.

3. Give rebates, bonuses, discounts - If possible don't lower your rent. Offer money back at the end of the lease, half months rent discount up front or help pay for moving costs. In this economy it can be hard for people to come up with a damage deposit and first months rent, especially with the holidays around the corner. Last resort lower your rent but make sure it's not putting you in a negative cash-flow position. That, my friend, is a false economy.

We all get vacancies so let's help each other out!
Good luck and stay rented!

So Sad - Farewell Jim Rohn

"Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don't go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won't laugh at you." Jim Rohn

If you listen to any type of self-improvement, self-help or success mastery courses you must of heard of Jim Rohn. He was one of the "grandaddies" of them all.

Anyway he passed away this weekend. He was an invaluable teacher.

"Harold Dyke, long time close friend of Jim’s for over 55 years said it best, “As Jim is ending one life he is simultaneously being birthed into a new life. One that he has talked about over the years and anticipated with great joy in his last remaining days.”

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Very important for Canadian Expats!

This video is very important for Canadian expats whose children are born overseas. My son was born in Japan he automatically is granted Canadian citizenship, however if he has a child outside of Canada they will not be granted Canadian citizenship.

It doesn't seem right to limit Canadian expats' children's ability to gain citizenship. I may be mistaken but Canada needs to meet a set amount of immigration every year to keep our economy healthy.

Why should Canadian citizens or their children be denied citizenship?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Wealthy people know where to put their money.

Real estate.

According to a Nu Wire Investor article that's the plan for those with more than $800,000 to invest.

"The prospect of strong returns in bargain real estate is driving interest, especially among the wealthiest, who are predicted to boost allocations in property to 30 percent — with portfolios of over 50 percent property holdings not uncommon. While the majority of investors see the expense of financing as a deterrent, property's perceived potential is edging out stocks and bonds. Among locations, the US residential real estate market is a top pick for investment. See the following article from Property Wire for more on this."

It's not surprising as many are really worried about were to put their money. Especially after have about 10 years of saving disappear over the last few years. One thing about real estate is it's tangible, insured and worst comes to worst you can live in it.

"Investors from Canada and the Gulf region were the most likely to increase their property allocations, with an average increase of 4% being put into real estate."

Magnetic Photography - We all should know this!

If you been on the MLS or looked at any home sales sites you know there are some pretty mediocre, bad and scary photos out there. Photos do sell the home. Most people skip listings without photos and by not posting great ones we could be pushing prospects away.

Carla Johnson is a REIN member and publish author of Magnetic Real Estate Photography

The skills in this book are a must have if you do anything in real estate!

From her site:
  • Discover how to take effective real estate photos.
  • See lots of Do and Don't photos.
  • Learn how to choose the right camera for you.
  • Find out how to compose real estate photos.
  • Attract more viewers to your ads.
  • Learn these techniques and so much more...
Absolutely must know techniques for pros!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cool! Edmonton street view!

Edmonton can now be toured online using Google Street View.

"Edmonton and eight other cities have been added to the list of Canadian cities that were photographed Google's Street View feature."

So you don't even have to leave your house to do a drive by to check out a property. Great for winter Check it out!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

How real estate investing makes money - Case study 1

“Every person who invests in well-selected real estate in a growing section of a prosperous community adopts the surest and safest method of becoming independent, for real estate is the basis of wealth.”

-Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

How can you grow your money in real estate?

Owning a quality property in a stable market with strong economic fundamentals is like having your own perpetual money machine.

Take this property for example:

Case Study 1 - Cumberland Purchased 2005

Attractive home near developing portion of the Anthony Henday ring road. When ring road is finished, accessibility to city center and oil refineries will be greatly increased, furthering profits.

Well situated near schools, city transit and bike paths.

Purchased Price: $160,000 Current Value: $360,000

Total Investment: $65,000* Monthly Cashflow: $350

Partner’s R.O.I is 146% - $100,000 profit to date.

* Inclusive of all costs from purchase to sale

“If you would have invested in Case Study #1 in Edmonton September 1, 2005 by September 1st, 2009 you would have realized a $94,900 CAD profit (before taxes).

That works out to $65.00 CAD per day.”

Of course not all years are like this and that is why we are conservative in our estimates. We know that markets go up and down. We balance our investments to perform well in both up and down cycles allowing us to deliver consistent returns.

Contact us for your Free Canadian Real Investor Report!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Embrace the winter - Edmonton Winter City

Embrace the winter.
I don't know if I can to be honest!

I'm a tried and true winter-phobe. To the point that the crunch of walking on snow gives me the willies; much to my husband's dismay I drag my feet around like a cross-country skier.

So even for me, a staunch Edmonton promoter, it's hard to embrace the winter. Whenever I hear "but it's so cold" I agree silently, however, I know money doesn't care where it's being made.

I read this article and have to agree Edmonton should (insert I) embrace it's long, glorious, fantastic and long long winters.

Last year the tourism board announced a great line-up for the winter:

"Winter Light’s mission includes promotion and collaboration with Edmonton’s existing winter festivals, Deep Freeze; Ice on Whyte and Silver Skate Festival as well as new programming, Winter Light Welcome tents and special events will take place in the context of all three events."

"I think winter has been one of Edmonton’s best kept secrets for too long," says Anthony. "Our goal is to showcase all the wonderful aspects of our winter city – the incredible recreation opportunities, the gorgeous river valley environment, and the culture and heritage of winter peoples."

So instead of grumbling and running to our cars to avoid certain frostbite. Lets look around, smile and say, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"