Monday, May 31, 2010

Edmonton, Alberta: How Do You Heat Your Igloo?

Brian was one of my first international partners. He'd been based in Japan for four years working for a large software company from the U.S. We met on the 42nd floor of the Tokyo Park Hyatt , where the view was so stunning you'd think the city never ended, during a small international investment seminar where I was one of the guest speakers. The event was real estate specific and the primary content was targeted at international property purchases. I hadn't yet presented and was taking in the other speakers, many of whom were selling sunsets, seascapes and glitzy downtown London high rises.

Between delicate bites of bluefin tuna—which arrived fresh from Tsukiji market that morning—and sips of Shizuoka iced matcha, Brian asked me what I thought about the event. He commented that the Thailand land offer looked good and asked me my opinion on whether it was a "good deal" or not. I wasn't surprised by Brian's direct question. But what does shock me is how arbitrarily some folks can make their investment decisions.

I replied in a lighthearted way that spending my money on sunsets and sandy beaches is what I do when I'm on holiday, not when I plan and weigh out an investment option. Sunsets sizzle, and when we imagine the lifestyle associated with them, emotion takes hold and reason leaves the room.

Now, that's not to say there aren't great places to invest that are also visually appealing paradises; there are. However, they require the same kind of homework that I do on my property investments, target towns and provinces.

Read more - why sunsets don't equal big cheques

City Makeovers and The Future of Edmonton

We went to the Stanley L. Milner Library the other day filled with slight trepidation as a couple young girls had been attacked there less than a month before. We both commented on how beautiful and citizen friendly the downtown area would be if it could be "taken back".

It looks like the City of Edmonton and ProCura Real Estate is ready to do just that with plans to build a 708 unit Mayfair village in the downtown area.

"A lot of the things we're doing here can be done elsewhere. The game changer for Edmonton is about downtown, and Mayfair Village is a component of that. If we can change downtown, we can change Edmonton forever, and for the better." Randy Ferguson, ProCura's Edmonton-based COO Read More

Programs like REACH will also work to taking downtown and giving it back to law abiding citizens.

Slowly and surely the change to downtown Edmonton is coming. Soon Edmonton will have a downtown worthy of it's economic prowess, growing wealth and innovative future.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rich Dad Seminar in Edmonton

Todd went to the Free Rich Dad "How to Get Rich in Alberta" Event. The event which has suffered bad reviews, investigations and unfortunate sales tactics seemed like a good place to network.

Overall his impression was that the event skims over a lot of ways to get wealthy but doesn't support with any real meat. It's all sizzle. Which is good if you want to keep people coming back for more but doesn't work for those who are looking for real information. The host, Darren Weeks, an Edmonton multi-millionaire, was partially aggressive and a little condescending - but that's what wealthy are like right? At least it's the way we expect them to be.

We got a follow up direct marketing letter with some tips like; build your elevator speech, find a mentor and get a business card. Three excellent pieces of advice if you have a clear goal in mind to apply them too.

So the final rating? These seminars are not as evil as many would have you think, at least this one wasn't, however this event alone will in no way get you rich in Alberta or anywhere else.

Oh and networking time ZERO they were herded around and only got a three minute break - come to think of it the perfect amount of time to use your elevator speech....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Size is everything- mountains and property management

We spent the long weekend in Canmore, AB. It's a beautiful city with a 360 degree view of mountains. I'm sure I've been there before but it's a huge change after 10 years of Nikko, Japan. The MAGNITUDE is incredible. Canada is huge, the Rockie Mountains magnificent.

So size does matter. Whether it's mountains to foothills or a huge portfolio to a few rentals. Certainly my style of management would change if I had less properties to take care of. Now my only hope is blocking parts of the city i.e I only visit NW properties today. This is a huge gas and time saver. Only an emergency would drag me anywhere else.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Very cool oilsands interactive map

One thing about Albertans is don't mess around with their oilsands. I listen to CBC a lot and it seems like a week doesn't go by without some call in debate about the oilsands. Whether the topic is their impact environmentally, economically or aesthetically there are bound to be some pretty heated exchanges. Makes for good radio!

I found this on the web. You can see the oilsands deposits, find environmental stations like this or like at development, historical sites and much more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oilsands Outlook

Two publication's outlooks on the future of the oilsands:

Forum showcases benefits of Alberta Oilsands - "Alberta’s oil sands represent not only a major North American source of energy and economic growth, but also an important laboratory for environmental management technologies, participants at a Washington forum agreed.

“They are a source of strategic value. Even with today’s economic conditions, oil sands projects are proceeding,” observed Alberta Premier Edward M. Stelmach in remarks opening the North American Energy Summit at the Canadian embassy on May 6. “They also create US jobs.”

The province was the first North American government to set a price ($15/ton) on carbon emissions from large manufacturers, and it is using the revenue to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy research, he continued. “We have real world experience,” Stelmach said. “We’ve done a lot of good work in Alberta, and we want the world to know it.”

Gulf's pain oilsands gain -
"Should political pressure and public anger translate into extensive offshore drilling rules, the landlocked oil sands could become financially favourable, said Brad MacKay, a professor in the University of Edinburgh Business School's MBA program."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mining Show Highlights

 I attended the CIM (Canadian Institute of mining, metallurgy and petroleum) 2010 event in Vancouver last week. The 3 days were packed with various workshops, hands on exhibits and plenty of industry related booths. There were many students from SFU as well as other schools across Canada looking to meet with job recruiters. 

Many businesses working in the energy field had a tough 2008/2009 but were gearing up for 2010 onward. I saw a presentation from De Beers. They opened their first diamond mine outside of Africa in the NWT, 2008. They also operate the Victor mine (diamonds) in Ontario. There are plans for another Western project in the works too. 

The size and scale of the mining industry in Northern BC and, to a lesser degree, Alberta is staggering. I was impressed with sub industries involved in supporting these and other large scale operations; roads/infrastructure, electrical, pneumatic machinery, piping, health services, administration, transport, relocation, entertainment and the list goes on. 

Another interesting workshop was one made by mining families and the (positive) impact that mines have within the Northern communities. It is interesting stuff and having attended the show I have a better understanding of how much long-term impact and growth the multi-million dollar projects (and billion dollar ones) spin off into our economy.

I appreciate all your calls and emails. I'm looking forward to helping you with your next step towards building real wealth. 

The time IS now...

"Thinking easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Kind Regards,

Todd and Danielle Millar

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thailand's Tragedy

I haven't posted for a while my goal this year of a post a day will probably end with 5 a day to catch up in November and December. I do have to cut myself some slack because I've been busy with other things like this,looking after this and managing these.

One of the saddest things for me is the trouble in Thailand. If you've ever spent any time there you will know that they are the most peaceful, friendly and lovely people. I've been to Thailand many times and absolutely love it there. Knowing how the economy depends on tourism I can only imagine how tough life has become for Thais.

So as far as conflict resolution goes I've been taking a fantastic course at the LTAB. The best defense against conflict in property management is knowing the rules inside and out. Our great teacher Michelle and a lot of excellent information have put some powerful tools in my PM belt.

Find out more about these must have courses by calling here

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Don't Miss Out On Tax Breaks!

Uncertainty about taxes isn't new to anyone. What if you're missing out on a lot of tax breaks just because you don't know about them?

"Meanwhile, a separate survey of taxpayers highlighted that many Canadians don’t fully understand their personal tax situation.

About nine in 10 don’t understand how recent changes to the federal budget impact their personal tax situation, according to the survey carried out for BMO Nesbitt Burns.

Almost 40% aren’t confident they are taking advantage of all of the tax incentives available to them, while three-quarters fail to take tax into account every time they make an investment, it said.

"The results clearly indicate that many Canadians do not fully understand their personal tax situation," said John Waters, manager of tax planning at BMO Nesbitt Burns. "People have the opportunity to pay less tax if they take the time to understand the basics and seek advice when needed.” Edmonton Sun has a great resource section where you can find a lot of information on Canadian taxes.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Canadian Real Estate Action Plan - get it!

Are you thinking of investing in your future? If you plan to use real estate as the vehicle to get to a place called "financial freedom" then you need Peter Kinch's 5 Year Action Plan.

With the changing mortgage landscape, now more than ever, this plan will get you the information and clarity you need to succeed.

What you get:
• Learn to Invest on Purpose
• Clarify Your Goals
• Identify your Obstacles
• Learn the Rules of Engagement
• Build a Three-Phase Action Plan to Overcome Your Obstacles
• Learn How to Attract JV Capital
• Learn Why What You Become in the Process is More Important than What you Make
• PK Approved Brokers on site to help you with your personal situation

Live in Calgary! Click here to get more information

Monday, May 03, 2010

Cyber Glitches and Muddy Boots

My apologies if you experienced any delay in receiving the last newsletter. Our server was experience some kind of midlife cyber crisis and was acting a little tetchy. In fact, it has now reverted to our old back up site which doesn't have the new, fresh, updated 2009/10 files on it. Oh well. Even servers want to relive their youth.

I've been busy these last few weeks compiling data about Oil Sands and infrastructure projects for the Northern quadrant of Alberta. As a matter of fact, I took a trip to a small town on the Alberta side of the Saskatchewan border.

These sleepy little towns have a strong pulse as suppliers/distributors to the Oil Sands work stations. What I discovered was that business is up, way up. The Northern heart is pumping.

Last year was one of the roughest, but not without strides being made in the spirit of refocus. I'll be in Vancouver the week after next attending the Canadian mining show. If you want to study the economy, learn about the people, the economic drivers and the real direction of it - get out there and experience it.

Stay tuned for some real, on the ground, muddy boot research from someone who is out in the field and can tell you exactly why (or why not) that little rental house is worth buying. All of my recent and ongoing study shows that the acres of diamonds are still right here in your Edmonton backyard.

Grab your shovel! or Grab this bi-monthly newsletter for great tips on Alberta Real Estate Investments.

Location Location Location

Location, Location, Location! It is important, and our move back to Canada attests that simple fact. Even when your team is firing on all cylinders nothing beats the opportunity of speaking with a neighbor on the corner or meeting someone new in the park. Not only do you expand your network and make new friends, you're in a powerful position to be a problem solver and pick up some new properties.

In the last week I've viewed 6 properties and have made offers on 2. Yesterday I found a 1950's bungalow listed FSBO a few blocks from my house. This seller's listing was a simple sign stuck in the front lawn - nothing online or in the paper. This property has potential for a suite downstairs and is in an easily rentable location.

My team is trained to source out these kinds of deals as well, but everyone has their own niche, area and target. With eyes open and ears tuned in, we're able to attract that extra little bit of sweet deals. You're involved in that too. You're either benefiting as a partner and sharing in the profits or perhaps you have a friend of a friend that needs to sell in Edmonton. Give us a call. We can offer them and you the help needed. 

Edmonton's economy is stamping its big boots forward. Even though we're still in the 'W' for the next while, there is a definite, positive turn forward. Edmonton and Calgary will show the highest growth in Canada for the 2011-2014 period. Calgary at 4.4% and Edmonton at 4.3% which are very healthy numbers. Another great thing about living back in Edmonton is the 8:45PM sunsets! Great way to maximize your day.