Friday, March 30, 2007

The Big Real Estate Companies Say That Real Estate Is Still Booming All Across Canada

The big real estate companies say that real estate in still booming all across Canada. This is good news. People still believe in our hot economy, and what is a better way to spend your money than on a home. This article from City News shows current stats from all across Canada. Check your market and see waht is happening.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

So You Think You Want To Be A Real Estate Mogul?

So you think you want to be a real estate mogul? Well to start with you need a plan, and some good advice. I can offer neither, but the following article would be a good start. The more your read the more you know.

Here's how to spot bargain in the rough

Discovering seller's problem and then finding a solution are keys to success
Jeanette Fisher Special to The Star

What is a ``distressed'' property? What is ``bargain'' real estate?

A distressed property is one with a distressed seller. Job loss or transfer, divorce, death, pending foreclosure, and lack of money cause sellers to sell fast for less.

Discovering the seller's problem and finding a solution is the key to buying a bargain property.

A distressed property may also be a ``doghouse,'' a dump, or a fixer. Owners of "doghouses" are not always distressed sellers.

Here are 18 easy steps to buy a bargain house:

1. Get good advice from successful investors. Ask friends and real estate agents for referrals to investors.

2. Create your personal investment journal.

3. Define investment goals: Do you want to buy a home to live in, to fix and sell, or to hold for your future?

4. Get credit reports and scores. Create a file for each credit reporting agency. Take care of any credit issues.

5. Read real estate investing books and articles. Attend workshops and seminars. Also avoid out-of-date infomercials on TV.

6. Get good advice from lenders. Choose a lender with great service, good closing record, and fair costs. Arrange financing.

7. Define your target locations: Is your desired property near home or job, vacation or second home?

8. Learn your target market. Study real estate newspaper sections. Pick up homes for sale flyers. Watch sales and note prices, amenities, and conditions.

9. Interview real estate agents and learn from them. Do not sign any agreements with agents limiting your search for bargain property. (These contracts make you pay the agent a commission even if you purchase by owner.)

10. Use agents who know local market customs and guarantee to make many offers for you.

11. Find a good escrow officer for buying "for sale by owners."

12. Study home remodelling, design magazines and books. Learn the costs of materials, supplies, and trades. Visit home improvement warehouses. Note costs of building materials.

13. Be ready to know a bargain property when you see it.

14. Make many offers. Bid on houses being repossessed.

15. Buy only bargain property. Get great terms or concessions from seller.

16. Plan house transformation during escrow. This speeds your work time – saving you money in holding expenses.

17. Monitor real estate escrow closing. Do not jeopardize your financing by charging up credit cards or making unnecessary purchases.

18. Celebrate buying your "doghouse" with an open house.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Federal Government Plans To Sell Billions Of Dollars Of Real Estate

This article from the Globe and Mail shows how bright the government can be when it comes to investing. The federal government plans to sell billions of dollars of real estate, then lease it back from the people who bought it. Nice wealth strategy. Wait, no, that is dumb. Ottawa's real estate targets exceed market appraisals. Confidential figures show nine buildings expected to fetch millions more.

Article by DANIEL LEBLANC of the Globe and Mail

OTTAWA -- The Harper government is hoping to sell nine buildings for hundreds of millions of dollars more than recent market appraisals as part of its controversial plan to lease back the office space for 25 years, confidential figures show.

The Globe and Mail has obtained a breakdown of the $1.4-billion price tag for the nine buildings across the country, with one of them valued at $120-million more than its recent market appraisal.

While the government is praising the potential cash haul, the opposition parties argue that Ottawa will, in fact, be borrowing money from the eventual buyers and leaving taxpayers to pay back the loans through quarter-century leases.

"It may look good on the books in the short term that there is a big sale price. The question is whether this is in the long-term interest of Canadians, because we're going to be on the hook for these lease arrangements," New Democratic Party MP Peggy Nash said.

"Would any of us sell our house and lease it back for 25 years?" she asked.

Public Works Minister Michael Fortier has refused to release a recent report from federal advisers at the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank of Canada who recently appraised the nine buildings for his department.

"There is information in there that could affect the offers made by third parties," Mr. Fortier said in an interview.

However, The Globe has obtained the figures independently, in addition to information on recent market appraisals for the buildings. According to the BMO and RBC advisers, the government can get:

$265-million for the 16-storey Canada Place in Edmonton, even though the building received a market appraisal of $145-million last year; $250-million for the Harry Hays building in Calgary, which is worth $87-million according to a time-adjusted appraisal; $200-million for the Skyline Complex of seven buildings in Ottawa, which Ottawa bought for $91-million in 2003; $180-million for the Joseph Shepard building on Yonge Street in Toronto, which had a $78-million market appraisal in 2002; $140-million for the Thomas D'Arcy McGee building on Sparks Street in Ottawa, which was bought from RBC for $66-million in 2001; $105-million for the Howard Green building in Vancouver, which cost $58-million in 2002; $100-million for the historic Sinclair Centre in Vancouver, which was appraised at $40-million in 1999 but needs at least $10-million in repairs; $85-million for a building on René-Lévesque boulevard in Montreal that was given a market value of $39-million in 2002; $40-million for a building in Westmount, Que., that used to house the RCMP.

While the buildings have undergone renovations and real estate markets are hot in Canada's major cities, experts say their value is boosted by the government's promise to lease them back for 25 years.

"A typical analysis is done on a 10-year payback period. If they're talking about a 25-year rate, that adds a lot of return and removes a lot of the risk," said a commercial real estate broker in Edmonton.

An academic expert said the value of the buildings is related directly to the amount of rent the government is willing to pay to the buyers. In that context, a guaranteed 25-year lease would boost any market appraisal.

"This is as good as buying a [Canadian government] bond," said James McKellar, a professor of real property at York University.

In their recent report, the BMO and RBC advisers urged the government to pursue longer leases for the buildings. They are now scouring the globe for the best offers among major investors.

The government is refusing to specify the terms of the contracts with the bankers, but a Public Works spokesman said they will earn a commission if sales occur. Sources indicated that such a large assignment could bring fees of between $1-million and $5-million.

There is opposition to the plan inside the government, but Mr. Fortier said Ottawa needs to find about $4-billion to renovate its real estate portfolio.

Mr. Fortier said any sale of one or more of the nine buildings will have to obtain cabinet approval and be vetted by an independent third party.

He insisted the government will sell the buildings only if the price is right.

"If we don't have a good deal, we won't do it, that's for sure," he said.

Mr. Fortier stated that he doesn't know the value of the eventual sale.

"Some people have speculated on the value of the nine buildings, but it depends on how many buyers are interested," he said.

On the block Ottawa says that nine buildings are on the market in a bid to raise funds to refurbish the rest of its real estate portfolio. The sale is being handled by Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada, which have produced a confidential report on the value of the assets. Here is a fact sheet on the buildings.
Estimated value: $105-million
Market assessment:
Bought for $58-million (2002)
Rentable area: 19,000 square metres
Quality: Class A
Comment: One of Ottawa's greenest
buildings, it houses Environment Canada
Estimated value: $100-million
Market assessment: $40-million (1999)
Rentable area: 23,000 square metres
Quality: Class B
Comment: Classified as a historic building,
needs $10-million in renovations
Estimated value: $250-million
Market assessment:
$87-million (time-adjusted assessment)
Rentable area: 45,000 square metres
Quality: Class B
Comment: Good condition,
but requires significant midlife renovations
Estimated value: $265-million
Market assessment:
$145-million (2006)
Rentable area: 78,000 square metres
Quality: Class A
Comment: Good condition
and requires only normal maintenance
Estimated value: $180-million
Market assessment: $78-million (2002)
Rentable area: 52,000 square metres
Quality: Class B
Comment: Built in 1977 and said
to be in fair to good condition
Estimated value: $140-million
Market assessment:
Bought for $66-million (2001)
Rentable area: 38,000 square metres
Quality: Class A
Comment: Bought from Royal Bank
and said to be well maintained
Estimated value: $200-million
Market assessment:
Bought for $91-million (2003)
Rentable area: 68,000 square metres
Quality: Class A
Comment: Bought from Nortel in 2003,
has since undergone renovations
Estimated value: $85-million
Market assessment: $39-million (2002)
Rentable area: 31,000 square metres
Quality: Class B
Comment: Good condition, has new roof
and has undergone floor rearrangements
Westmount, Que.
Estimated value: $40-million
Market assessment: N/A
Rentable area: 18,000 square metres
Quality: Class C
Comment: Former RCMP building
has a darkroom, holding cells and a gym

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Real Estate Fraud Is Real

This article from CNNMatthews shows how real estate fraud has become an important issue to think about when selling or buying real estate.

Some Calgary homeowners will find "Stolen/Not for Sale" signs in their front lawns later this week as part of a Fraud Awareness Month event being staged to warn homeowners that the coming busy real estate season can be a breeding ground for real estate scams, often averaging as much as $300,000 per case.

The event will take place on Thursday in the neighbourhood of Parkhill/Stanley Park involving Consumers Council of Canada, leading title insurer First Canadian Title, and real estate fraud victim Susan Lawrence. Lawrence's home was "stolen" in the Toronto area in early 2006 after she put a For Sale sign on her front lawn and identity thieves took out a fraudulent mortgage on her home for almost $300,000.

The group will be conducting similar events in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Toronto over the next few days to call on homeowners to be more vigilant in the fight against real estate fraud, particularly around the busy real estate season. The events are also extending a challenge to business, law enforcement and consumer groups to join together in the fight against fraud.

Original Article

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Bank Of Canada Has Decided Not To Change Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada has decided not to change interest rates. The Canadian government says the country is on the right track and can expect growth over the year.

As was widely expected, the Bank of Canada left its key interest rate at 4.25 per cent on Tuesday, saying the economy is behaving much as it predicted in its last monetary policy outlook in January and there's no need to tinker.

"The Canadian and global economies are evolving broadly in line with the bank's expectations," it said in its announcement.

Inflation is running just about on target, unemployment is flirting with 30-year-lows and economic growth picked up in December after two slow months.

CP via

The latest Canadian real estate market to heat up is Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Real Estate has gone through the roof in the early months of 2007.

Over 60 million dollars in residential real estate sold in February....up 82 percent from the same time last year.

Friday, March 02, 2007

In A Hot Real Estate Market People Will Buy Anything

In a hot real estate market people will buy anything. This article is a little dated but it shows that insanity of people who have an urge to buy in a hot real estate market. This article is from, originally in the New York Times, and shows how people in the US where snapping up property in the recently hot, and now slumping, real estate market to the south.

Paul Nelson had never seen Paraiso del Mar, a resort and golf community in La Paz, Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula, before he signed a contract to buy a $200,000 beachfront condominium there. And he didn't even consider flying down to check it out before putting down a deposit."I thought in the very worst case, at $200,000, I'm not going to get hurt that bad," said Nelson, 58, a semiretired songwriter from Nashville. "I don't lose any sleep."Nelson is one of a growing number of people who are bidding on investment properties and second homes before seeing what they are buying. Though the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and the National Association of Realtors have no data on purchases made sight unseen, officials at both groups say they are hearing more anecdotal reports of these sales than ever.

"Nine years ago you would never have heard of this," said Jim Nabors, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. "We have no empirical data, but you go to a conference and you hear people talking about this more and more. I'd say the numbers have probably increased dramatically."Of course, with more information available on the Web, "sight unseen is kind of a misnomer," said Gary Garland, owner of Crested Butte Real Estate in Colorado. "It's not like we're sending buyers Polaroids like we used to.""Virtual tours" of vacation properties displayed over the Internet help people like Nelson, who also bought an $800,000 investment home sight unseen in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a few years ago, size up their purchases. Buyers can be in for surprises when they finally see their properties. Ellen Ashley, 55, a real estate agent from Portola Valley, Calif., signed a contract on a $650,000, 2,500-square-foot home on Vashon Island, near Seattle, that looked great on the Internet. Only when she visited it for the inspection did she find out about the noise from a nearby road. She was able to get out of the purchase.

Check out some hot properties in Ontario with Snap Up Real Estate.