Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Sweet Suite deal - Cornerstones

living room of basement suite

For the past 2 years the City of Edmonton has offered a program to help improve the amount of affordable housing in Edmonton. The Cornerstone Project offers funding, up to 75% of $32,000 to be exact, to bring an existing suite to code or build a new basement or garden suite.

At first the program was a little lame. No funding for rentals houses had to be owner occupied and rent had to be below market average. Recently with a lot of money not going anywhere Edmonton has revised the program. Rentals are ok with market rent to a tenant with less than average income ie student etc.

So with over $6 million looking for suites to renovate we've decided to take the plunge and I'm going to chronicle the process for you here.

I've bought over 50 house but I've never bought a home. Unbelievable right? We bought our first home this month and decided to use the Cornerstone to put a suite in the basement. Even though we'll live here we'll improve the market value and make it a great rental for when we move onto our next place.

Step 1: The Inspection

So our first step was to call Cornerstones and book a inspection. A fire inspector and building inspector came out, went over the whole basement inside and out and made reports on the work that had to be done.


1. Drywall all ceilings and walls even in storage areas and under stairs
2. Ensure windows in bedrooms meet egress requirements. They also must not require special knowledge to open
3. Put hard-wired smoke alarms in suite, common areas and on the main floor
4. There should be a fan in the bathroom and proper venting in kitchen
5. Separate entrance must have easy access
6. Ceilings must be 96 inches minimum

The report also called for inspections of the hot water tank and that the furnace had property venting.

The next step PERMITS.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vancouver Riots and Romance

The riots last week in Vancouver left us all ashamed and angered at the hooligans that turned a sporting event into a national embarrassment.

One light in the darkness (isn't there always one?) is the couple who found a bit of time for romance on the street while cars burned, windows smashed and tear gas zinged around them.
Take a break to look at this truly funny photo gallery dedicated to their unbridled passion.

Click Here - the hot dog one is my favorite.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Raise Your Hand

Alberta Oil Sands Investment Real Estate News®
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June 16th., 2011
Volume 10, Issue 6

Dear Friends and Partners,

I've had a very busy month that took me to Mississauga, NYC, 3 awesome workshops and the Canadian book launch of Change Anything where I met author Joseph Grenny. The travel was fantastic and the folks that I learned with at these events, were amazing. I'd love to share with you the long list of cool experiences that I had including buying a Gretchen Fuss painting in SoHo to hanging out with a pair of very successful IT developers in a Manhattan beer garden.

But, the point that I'd like to mention is that you have to raise your hand. Initially, I didn't raise my hand to go on this Eastern trip as I have many pressing obligations back in Edmonton, but Danielle challenged me enough to look at how I could tweak my schedule to make it happen - and I did. As soon as I 'raised my hand' and committed to going, everything fell into place - well almost everything, as there are always a few hiccups.

One thing I thought about New York was the image of 'making it' there. If you have taught yoga or owned a restaurant in NYC for longer than a year, chances are you look like you've made it. In reality your day may be a struggle and you are fighting to attract customers and keep your head above water, but optically you've made it. Why is that? I think many people aren't willing to raise their hand to challenge and competition, be it NYC or any other place or form. When you 'yes' I'll try, you are already halfway there. It may turn out that you don't like NYC or that you learned a better way to do something or another place or career that you'd rather be living out, but for that moment you have 'done it'. The staying power needed in a big city, top company, specific niche is tremendous. The competition extreme, and if you can stay the course, which is always much longer than a year, you have proven your ability to play the game at a higher level.

Here's to upping the game this month or taking time to savour the view from the place you're at.

West Central Edmonton: Cashflowing Six-Plex In Queen Mary Park

Turbo charge your portfolio. Upgraded 1978 built 6-plex with separate entrance to all units. 4 functionally finished 710 sqft. 1 bedrooms on main, plus 2 upgraded 650 sqft. 1 bedroom suites up. The upper suites have laminate and fresh paint. There is a common laundry room in basement. The lower units have new paint and some fixtures as well. Lower suites walk out to a private grassy, fenced yard. There is a 2 car detached garage bringing in additional revenue. 10 minutes to NAIT, Grant MacEwan and Downtown. Fast access to Yellowhead Highway and on the bus routes. These pictures show the detail and care that went into building this quality home.

Comes complete with great tenants making this a totally turn-key property for you. Convenient Central area with easy access to transit and downtown. Excellent transitional neighborhood with solid value and stable rents. HUGE upside potential due to the great purchase price, strong economic fundamentals and the proximity of this home in relation to Edmonton's developing core.

Produces $676 positive cash flow per month using an investor's mortgage plan - taking advantage of current low rates.

Purchase price: $525K Total Investment: $126K. Your Estimated 5 Year Profit $76K.Your pre-tax Total ROI is 60% or 12% per year + $676 Cash Flow in Your Pocket Every Month
Poised for massive growth. These 6 suites rent for top dollar and have everything arranged, including financing structure and incredible tenants. Your investment includes: renovation costs, financial analysis, professional inspection, insurance, financing set-up, legal fees, basic accounting, reserve fund, CMA, bi-annual statements, strategic market planning to ensure successful entry and exit, plus much more!


Edmonton International Airport Terminal Expansion Under Budget, Ahead of Schedule

Original $1B Budget Reduced By 25% As Recession Reduced Cost Of materials

By Bill Mah, Edmonton Journal. June 8th 2011

EDMONTON - Construction of a massive terminal expansion at the Edmonton International Airport is coming in under budget and faster than expected.
Adding more than 480,000 square feet — roughly the size of eight football fields — to the existing terminal building was originally budgeted at about $1 billion.


TEDx A Showcase of Edmonton Innovators

By Codi Wilson, Postmedia News June 11th 2011

EDMONTON -- Of all the video games former programmer Aaryn Flynn enjoys playing, Scrabble on his iPad is a favourite.

“It’s fun to play with your friends,” Flynn said. “It’s good for travelling too.”

Flynn, the studio general manager at BioWare, an Edmonton-based video game developer, spoke at the TEDx event Saturday inside the Citadel Theatre to a crowd of approximately 200. TEDx is a conference of ideas lead by technology and design industry leaders around the world.


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

Your success continues EVERYDAY, let me help you build for tomorrow.

"Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything." -Vince Lombardi

Warm Regards,

Todd and Danielle Millar


P.S. Stay ahead by checking out Danielle's daily blog at Edmonton Real Estate Investor for all your cutting edge market news and information.

P.P.S. Don’t forget to visit our website and take advantage of the Resource Tools and product section including REIN's #1 real estate books and Quick Start homestudy sets at a discount. Get your copy of the Canadian Success Stories book and the 2011 Top Ten Investment Towns of Alberta and Ontario.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Labour Shortage Looming?

"Now, the Alberta government forecasts a shortage of at least 77,000 workers within the next decade.

“We’re walking into a perfect storm,” Alberta Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk says."

Is this the beginning of another labour shortage? Possibly – there are definitely more ‘Help Wanted’ signs appearing and contractors are busier.

We’ve noticed an increase in tenants looking for rentals as well. Some of this demand is seasonal with a rush to get outdoor jobs (construction) done before winter. We’re busier here in Alberta and starting on the upswing, but we still have a few valleys to cross before we get moving full swing. Next year we should really see the demand. Click Here to read more

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mortgage Rates and You

May 31, 2011 was the day anyone holding a variable rate mortgage was waiting for with bated breath. Mortgage rates looked like they were going up but now it looks like we may have a reprieve from rate increase for the short term due to global unrest.

“The Fed is not even dreaming of raising rates in the next 12 months,” Benjamin Tal

We've got a rate lock on a mortgage for September 2011, the big dilema, wheter to go variable at great cashflow and higher stress or lock in at a great steady rate for 3 years. We've chosen to lock in on this property. There were many factors but sometimes you get sick of the ups and downs of variable rates even though they do better in the long run. In the end it's all up to you.

VIDEO : Peter Kinch on the Bank of Canada's decision to not increase mortgage rates on May 31, 2011.

Calgary Edmonton Recovery Cycle

"An improving Alberta economy will lead to employment growth and an increase in the number of people moving to Calgary, which will be good news for the region's housing market in the next two years.

A report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. forecasts MLS sales in the Calgary region to increase by nearly five per cent this year compared with a year ago, while the average sale price will rise by just over one per cent."

We’ll still see ups and downs for a while longer while we head into improved upward momentum. The next 18 to 24 months will be steady for Calgary and Edmonton, and then we should move into full recovery cycle (meaning 2 years into a 5-7 year cycle). Calgary generally dictates the direction of Edmonton, so we watch and welcome their increase in home prices. If you factor in 3% appreciation per year over the next 5 years you should be on track.

Read More Here