All posts by karimkanji

Latest INTERESTING Real Estate News!

CIBC recently came out with their version of the Housing Report. They forcast 20 years in the future. To read the report for yourself CLICK HERE.

Hey Realtors, did you know that the next homebuyer is young, single and female? You did! Great! If not, read THIS.

How much do you think this house is worth? $139,000 CDN.

Read the story on The Little House HERE.

Hey MOM! Can I move back in? To find out why I want to read HERE.

Tips for a higher home sale price

(DISCLAIMER: The following was taken from an email I received from MSN Money)

Tips for a higher home sale price

By Gordon Powers
April 11, 2007

With the busy spring housing market now finally upon us, everyone is looking for a way to help entice potential buyers. And they’re willing to spend some money to do it. How much? Well, 54% cent of Canadians think that $2,000 or more is the appropriate amount to spend in preparing a house for sale, while a surprising 25% are willing to pay over $5,000, suggests research by Royal LePage Real Estate Services.
While most observers are expecting the housing sector to slow this year, there are plenty of signs that the boom, now in its eighth year, could hang on for awhile yet. In fact, prices in Canada are still running more than 10% above year-ago levels and existing home sales up more than 6% on the year. It can’t last forever though, so if selling is on your mind this spring, consider the following:

Understand the market

If you really have to sell now, get going. List your house based on what the market dictates today, not the prices that friends and neighbours got last fall. Are home prices in your area trending upwards or downwards? Are certain types of homes selling quickly and others languishing? Is the local job market strong or is everyone around you sweating potential layoffs or factory reductions?

Don’t depend on anecdotal “facts.” Information gathered at open houses can be worth considering, provided it’s backed up with data from other sources. Invite at least three real estate agents to visit your home and give you their opinion of its likely selling price, backed up by a comprehensive analysis that shows the prices of comparable homes that did sell, those that didn’t, and why.

Be realistic from day one. If you set the price too high, nobody is going to come to have a look, even though it may be much nicer than other homes on the street. It’s always tough to match that flurry of initial activity you would have had with a realistic price.

Get some professional help

Due to the popularity of home makeover television programs, buyers are much more familiar with interior design trends than they once were. And their expectations have jumped accordingly. While not everyone can afford Debbie Travis, you’ll probably need some professional help. Enter the fluffers.

House fluffing or staging is the art of decorating a home to sell quickly and for top dollar. Interior arrangers can change the look of a room using only the things you already own – not to be confused with the interior designers and decorators, whose standard services include shopping for new stuff.

According to Royal LePage, the top three interior features when selling a home are freshly painted walls (30%), flooring (29%) and organized storage space (20%). However, when asked how important storage space was to a potential buyer, 86% ranked it as a seven out of 10 or higher, with 43% grading it as the “most important.” Another interesting finding was that while 32% of men ranked storage space as the “most important,” the number jumped to 54% for women.
When quizzed about exterior features, the number one answer was a well-maintained yard (40%). A clutter-free entrance and driveway ranked second (28%), while a newly painted exterior was third (18%).

One of the first things that Debra Gould, owner of Six Elements, a home-staging consultant in Toronto, looks at is lighting. Upgrade light fixtures and use higher-wattage bulbs since brightly lit rooms appear bigger and are more inviting, she advises.

Another effective staging technique is removing, rearranging and resizing furniture, creating space by removing oversized pieces. According to Royal LePage, three quarters of Canadians would remove furniture from their house if they thought it would increase the value of their home. Removing less frequently used items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics makes these areas more inviting as well.

Hold off on the big projects

In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Unless you have a very long-term view, most large scale upgrades don’t offer a big payback. Kitchens and bathrooms are still considered to be the projects with the highest potential to add or maintain value in a home. An upscale siding replacement is also considered a good bet if you don’t live in a brick house.

According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, if you are remodelling your kitchen as a face-lift prior to selling it, it’s recommended that you spend no more than 10-15% of the cost of your house. If you’re going to remain in your house for more than five years, you can spend 25% or more – and in most cases you should be able to recoup the cost of the renovation when you sell.

Try to be calm

Although agents will often talk to prospective purchasers about their new “home”, most will refer to it as a “house” when talking to vendors. Buying real estate is a very emotional decision, but you don’t want that to be true when selling. The goal is to get others to see the house as their potential home, not yours.

Is your fridge covered in photos, magnets, and school notes? Put them, along with sports trophies and collectibles, out of sight. Rent a storage area if you have to, but help foster the illusion about them living in the house themselves… hopefully, in just a few weeks time.

Make Big Money In Real Estate – Gregory Wadel

Real Estate is one of the oldest forms of investing known to man. Real Estate investing is easy and fortunes are made in a simple manner. For example, and investor decides that a desert area will eventually become an industrial development. He purchases a number of acres at a very low price. If his guess turns out to be correct, ten years later he sells the land hundred times more than what he paid for it.This can happen in any part of the country and is not an exceptional case. As the population keeps growing in the U.S., land prices continue to raise and it means that Real Estate will continue to offer one of the best investment opportunities in the country. Compared to most forms of investment, Real Estate offers greater profit potential. Of course, not every piece of land will turn out to be a winner, and despite the great potential rewards in some cases risks are involved, so the necessity of careful study before invest. One of the problem of Real Estate is his lack of liquidity. Liquid assists are those easily converted into cash like stocks or bons. Most Real Estate investments take years before you can make some money, so it is not wise to tie up all your assets in this type of investment. Your financial situation will determine how much you can wisely invest in properties. There is a difference between a land speculator and an investor. A speculator buys land with the intention to make a quick sale and fast profits and will not hold land for a long period of time. An investor, on the other hand, looks for a long time gain, and usually buys only what he can afford to keep for an indefinite period of time. If you are new at this field, it is wise to refrain from any a speculation until you become more informed, and you will have to devote considerable time to study and research. It is wise also to consult specialists before you act. Without realizing it, you already made a very successful investment in Real Estate if you bought your own home. Before you look for areas to invest, consider the condition of your own house. If you have any plan for selling it, good landscaping has been known to considerably increase the value of a home. Large profits can be attained by purchasing run-down homes and restoring them for eventual selling, but some factors have to be considered: * You must know something about architecture and remodeling and get and idea of how much it will cost to get the house back into shape. Consider what you will be able to do yourself and what it will cost you if you have to have it done. * The location of the house is the most important factor to consider. Study the neighborhood, shopping, and transportation facilities. It can also be profitable to lease land for commercial use. Land which borders highway is extremely valuable for purpose such as warehouse, gas station, etc. Land development companies frequently run advertisements offering country retreats. Be wary of these offers as they themselves make a large profit at the time they sell you the land, so it is much more profitable for you to buy your own. When you buy property, buy at a price that involves a minimum financial risk. Invest only a modest amount of your own capital, when you sell, determine if a cash or installment sale is the best, based on your over-all income tax status. Learn by looking back on the mistakes made in the past and by reviewing the opportunities you have missed. Prepare a list of all properties available in your area and think up the best future use of the properties. Learn to purchase land before there is a demand. To buy land well in advance is the only economical way at today’s prices. Then hold the property until you can resale for large profits. Don’t sell all your desirable properties and keep just lemons. If you are willing to leave the cities, you should not have any trouble finding inexpensive land for sale. If you discover a tract of land appealing to you but not listed for sale, contact the Country Register’s Office and he will tell you who is the owner. Get in touch with him and he could be willing to sell. As a rule purchasing tracts of land within thirty miles from a growing city is often a sound investment. Deal only with qualified realtors. Be careful of individuals who offer quick profits. Before taking any action, study what has been written about the subject. Know why you should and should not buy. Stay conventional and don’t buy white elephants. Look for hidden defects and make the property attractive before offering it for resale. Study local conditions and be sure it is practical. Constantly look for bargains and quality properties with exceptional features that will make the sale easier. Follow up on For Sale signs, make inquiries. When discouraging elements occur, minimize your losses by whatever means available. Don’t throw away money on repairs for poorly located property or in an area of surplus rental units. Before you attempt to sell, find out how the prospect can use the property profitably. Ask yourself if you would purchase it if you were in the prospect’s shoes. Ask yourself if the future use will fit any of the many types of specific businesses. Can a hospital, a bank, an apartment complex, condominium or professional building be located on the property. Learn to analyze the pros and cons of a real estate problem. Break it down into its various elements. Know if the answers you come up with are satisfactory and practical. Try different approaches to the problem. You are necessary looking for the “top” or “bottom” of the market, or the current economic situation. You are looking for a variety of properties which have a higher value dependent on the use that can be established for them. There are always opportunities in Real Estate during good times and bad, but it is up to you to pick and choose only those very best deals, especially during times when it appears that Real Estate values and demand have reached their peak or in times when it is practically impossible for most anyone to get bank loans due to the tight money market or impossible interest rates. You can make big money in realestate.

About The Author

Gregory Wadel If You would like to find out More about RealEstate, Please Check Out my Blog at:

The Secret: Is it really a secret?

The Secret. Apparently it’s a runaway literary success. Also comes with a handy dandy dvd and cd as well. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you haven’t. This much I do know – Everyone is looking for success. Success in business, at work, in life, in relationships, athletics and school. Success. It drives everyone everyday.

As I was thinking about The Secret and deliberating if I should read it a real estate agent who happens to be my friend sent me a MSN message asking if I’ve read the book or watched the ‘movie’. I answered “no”. He suggested that I not waste my time. Why? He said that it’s the same thing as Think and Grow Rich, Master Key to Riches, See You At The Top and other Success Themed books. And because I have read these books he said to same my money – I should already know ‘the secret’.

My question to you is – “Do you know the secret?”

In my opinion the secret is self-discipline. Having the discipline to know what I want. the discipline to set up a game plan. And the discipline to get to work and work the plan. An entrepreneur friend of mine who happens to be a trained and certified accountant told me the secret is still work. Plan your work and work your plan he says.

Then why, after so many success books, does another one need to be written and promoted? I think it’s because so many want to succeed but don’t have the discipline to carry the instructions or game plan. Same as weight loss programs. No matter what it’s called if I want to lose weight, I know I need to eat less and exercise more. But we all want the shortcut. We want the secret.

What does this have to do with you and real estate? Well, if you are in the business you want to succeed, right? Then go out and do something!! What’s your goal? What’s your game plan? Work your plan! Everyday. That’s the secret. The question you must answer now is, is this your dream, your raison d’etre? And are you willing to make it happen?

Until next time.

Karim Kanji

A New Beginning…

Hey there everyone!

Today marks a new beginning for our little BLOG in cyberspace. We have changed our name from to This name change better reflects our BLOG’s purpose.

Secondly, I will bring to you more insights and commentary from the world of Real Estate. You will hear from mortgage brokers, Realtors, Builders, lawyers and everyone else associated with our real estate industry.

I will continue to provide you with timely information and news in real estate as usual.

So, that’s all for now. Remember to tell your friends about us and to post your comments here as often as you like.

Well, that’s all for now!

Have a great weekend!

Karim Kanji
Real Estate Information GURU!

Real Estate News – Canadian Version – which mean even the news stradles the fence!

The funny and wonderful thing about the news media is the various spins it places on the same story. For example, many of you know that ‘conservatives’ watch Fox News while ‘liberals’ watch CNN. Both ‘report’ the same ‘news’ yet tell a very different story. War in Iraq. Is it worthwhile or a waste of human and financial resources? Watch different reports to get different answers.

Which brings me to Canadian Real Estate. Is it cooling? Is it ramping up for another banner year? If you hope to find answers…don’t hold your breath because everyone has an opinion and a bias. Here, take a look….

See, I knew it! You’re confused! Don’t worry, at least there’s hope….

Have a great weekend everyone!

KPMG Weekly Newsletter – For the Week Ending April 8, 2007

The following information was obtained from newspaper articles appearing
in the Globe and Mail and the National Post for the week ending
April 8, 2007

Sunrise Senior Living REIT paid $55.3-million for an 80% stake in three retirement homes from U.S.-based Sunrise Senior Living Inc., which will retain the remaining 20% interest. Sunrise Senior Living REIT also reported a loss of $39.3-million in 2006, compared with a loss of $27.6-million in 2005. Revenue rose to $311.4-million from $171.3-million. Net operating income increased to $119.6-million from $65-million. Distributable income per unit was 18 cents in the fourth quarter, compared with 24 cents in the same quarter a year earlier.
Australia’s Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. and Macquarie Bank Ltd. have teamed up to acquire Canada’s Gateway Casinos Income Fund for $800-million. New World Gaming Partners Ltd. will pay $25.26 in cash per unit for Gateway and also buy related private development and operating businesses, with a combined enterprise value of $1.37-billion. The transaction still requires approval from regulators and the holders of two-thirds of its units.
The US$3.37-billion sale of Four Seasons Hotels Inc. was approved by shareholders, after receiving support from 51.85% of minority shareholders and 69% of all shareholders.
Bazis International is undertaking a $500-million, 80-storey project at 1 Bloor St. E in Toronto, which is scheduled for completion in 2011. The plans call for a 120-room hotel, 500 condominiums as well as retail space. Bazis purchased the land from Kolter Property a few months ago and expects to start demolishing the buildings on the half-hectare site by the end of 2007.
Toronto-based ClubLink Corp. has purchased Club de Golf Islesmere in Laval, Quebec, for an undisclosed price.
Halifax-based Homburg Invest Inc.’s $539-million takeover offer was accepted by investors controlling about 70% of Alexis Nihon REIT’s units. Homburg now controls about 87% of Alexis Nihon, including units it already owned.
According to Statistics Canada, the value of building permits fell 22.4% to a seasonally adjusted $4.86-billion in February from January. The value of permits dropped in all provinces except Manitoba. Both residential and non-residential permits were down.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, housing sales dropped 0.9% to 42,997 units in February from the record set in January. On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales fell 2.9% from January. Through the first two months of 2006, sales are up 6.6% from a year ago. The average sale price rose 10.6% in February to $294,880 from a year earlier. In British Columbia, the average sale price was $412,847, up more than $10,000 from January and more than $43,000 from February, 2006. The average price of a home in the Prairies soared 31.1% to $305,450. In Alberta, the average price jumped 34.1% to $343,515.
According to the Royal Bank of Canada, 33% of Canadian homeowners who are planning to buy a home in the next two years are looking for smaller homes, compared with 20% in 2006 and 19% in 2002. Of Canadians planning to buy a house within two years, 58% plan to buy a home in 2007.
The Singapore-based UOL Group Ltd. has acquired Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts from Tokyu Corp. of Japan. The new owners plan to expand in North America and are targeting new properties in Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
Ameristar Casinos Inc. plans to purchase the Resorts East Chicago casino complex from an affiliate of Colony Capital LLC for US$675-million.
Barclays Bank PLC has purchased subprime lender EquiFirst Corp. for US$76-million.
New Century Financial Corp. has filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of U.S. bankruptcy law. New Century will sell its loan servicing business to Carrington Capital Management LLC for US$139-million, subject to bankruptcy-court approval. New Century also lined up US$150-million of financing from CIT Group Inc. and Greenwich Capital Financial Products to continue operating while in bankruptcy, and agreed to sell Greenwich Capital some loans and other assets for US$50-million, subject to bankruptcy-court approval.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the index of pending U.S. home resales increased 0.7% in February to 190.3 following a revised 4.2% drop in January. The index fell 8.5% from February, 2006.
According to Bear Stearns Cos., the value of U.S. subprime loans granted in 2007 is expected to fall 30% from last year’s total of about US$600-billion. According to Inside Mortgage Finance, Alt-A loans packaged into securities for sale to investors totalled about US$366-billion in 2006.
British Land Co. PLC will oversee the £1-billion ($2.27-billion) redevelopment of the 15-acre Euston railway station site in central London after winning a tender to become Network Rail Ltd.’s preferred development partner. British Land’s proposals for the site include building about 2,500 homes, as well as adding 150,000 square feet of office space and 250,000 square feet of retail space.
According to Macau city officials, Macau’s 22 casinos generated 56.2 billion patacas (US$7.2-billion) in total gross gaming revenues in 2006, with revenue of 16.7 billion patacas (US$2.1-billion) in the fourth quarter. By comparison, more than 40 casinos on Las Vegas’s main strip generated US$6.6-billion in revenue last year.
Tameer Holding is building the 107-storey Princess Tower in Dubai. According to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the rental cost of prime office space in Dubai has jumped to more than 400 dirhams (US$109) a square foot, compared with 165 dirhams in May, 2005, due to a lack of office space. According to Colliers International, the annualized cost of new office space over a three-year lease could be 363 dirhams per square foot, compared with 160 dirhams per square foot three years ago.

Will new business models last? – by Stan Albert

Stan Albert: Will new business models last?

Apr 03, 2007

As I See it From My Desk this month has somewhat of a new paradigm.

Last month I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration. The “wet” variety, which, with new and advanced treatment, can be treated with injections of Avastin. Now I can only see out of one eye, as the left eye has no central vision. With the excellent treatment at Sunnybrook Ophthalmology Department, we know that the required procedures will work out.

If I play slow-pitch ball again this summer, and I don’t swing at a bad pitch and my teammates yell, “Good eye Albert,” I sure will appreciate their scrutiny! You have to have a sense of humour, regardless of any affliction, right?

I’m among 600,000 Canadians who are afflicted annually with eye disease. (For more information: The specialist says I will still be able to drive and continue on in my profession for many years to come, and my wife and I are much relieved.

Now I have to concentrate better with one eye on our industry. If you’re so moved, make a donation to the C.N.I.B. – they’ll truly appreciate it.

Some months ago I wrote, “What is your value proposition?” Is it a quality one? Is it one that you can be proud to put your name to?

During the past several years, we have seen some newer brokerages entering the playing field. Some of them are growing at phenomenal rates by offering zero per cent fees/shares in the brokerage, and nominal charges per transaction. They are certainly entitled to offer whatever fee structure they want to. Registrants are apt to opt for lower fees so that, quoting from a recent article in one of the Toronto newspapers, “they can offer a lower commission structure and spend more on promoting themselves.”

One has to wonder if this format is truly sustainable. It may be. But from this viewpoint, we’ve seen new approaches come and go. Some stay around a long time: Century 21, Sutton Group, HomeLife, Coldwell Banker, Royal LePage, Prudential and Re/Max, just to mention a few. Why they have stayed around so long is because they have a solid business plan and systems that most registrants thrive on.

But as a long-time member of this industry, I, like others, marvel at registrants rushing into lower fees for more money, so that they can spend more on advertising and put more in their own pocket.

It does make sense for those who do less than five to 10 deals a year. I believe that the national average last year was about five transactions per agent. And if one checks the stats on that brokerage, one would see what the average registrant earns.

Just a minute.

Isn’t it a fact that the more business you do, the more proficient you get at honing your skills at negotiating and closing? If you do it right, would they be likely to refer others to you? You take pride that you’ve justified your commissions, whatever they were; based on your skills, number of transactions done annually and the ultimate: the numbers of people in your data bank.

If you work for less, the seller will for sure be happy. He’s saved money. Sure, the registrant will get a referral from the seller, who’ll tell his friend that he made more money as a result of lower commissions. The word will spread. Jack Salesperson will do the deal for x per cent!

So, if a registrant does 30 deals, as an example, at lower fees, compared to a registrant who believes that he’s worth every cent he currently charges who’ll do 25 deals, then who’s ahead of the game and works less, and with quality clientele who will refer other clients based on quality, not on price point?

Let me illustrate this with an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Blink.

In Flemington, N.J., there is a Nissan dealership that probably outsells all other Nissan dealerships in that state. One of the reasons is a guy named Bob Golomb. Bob is in his 50s, and is a short guy with thinning hair and glasses. (Almost sounds like a younger brother if I had one!) Since Bob went in business over 10 years ago, he has sold, on average, about 20 cars a month, which is twice what the average salesperson does. In the world of the car business, Bob is the Michael Jordan of the industry. A true virtuoso.

Here’s his secret: He has a careful watchful intelligence and courtly charm. He’s thoughtful and attentive and a wonderful listener.

Here are his three simple rules that guide his every action: Take care of the customer. Take care of the customer. Take care of the customer.

Bob follows up every sale to see how the owner likes the car. He gets repeat business and referral business on an ongoing basis. Is he solely “transaction based”? No, not on your life. He believes in repeat business by treating each customer as a future lead to maintain his business. He’s not in business for the short run.

The Bob Golombs will be around for a long time building their business by not looking at it as a job.

So how does this relate to your value proposition? Is it to do a few deals here and there….pay a few mortgage payments, go on a cruise? Or do you really want to find yourself in a career where you have the comfort of a known brand that the public relies on? Sure you have to pay for that privilege, and if all you yearn for is a cheaper way to make a few more dollars than you would at your previous employment, then go for it by all means.

It always begs the question: can a registrant who is part-time or does little business retain his customers? Can he deliver the service needed in our industry to move us up the ladder of the professions that are most trusted?

History has a way of repeating itself in any industry, in any economy, in any field whatsoever.

New brokerages enter our field constantly, yet few survive because the economy is not always static. Inflation comes and goes and it affects us all.

Brands are self-sustaining because they are constantly striving to provide the services and the synergy for a true professional in this business. And I’m not just talking about franchises.

There are fine independent brokerages across North America that continue to improve the services to their registrants. It cannot be done on a shoe-string budget and not on reduced fee structures for registrants. I just don’t believe it. The service levels would suffer and the profit margins, as low as they are today, would suffer even more.

Brian Buffini’s 100 Days to Greatness amplifies what I’m trying to get across this month. He says this is not a job, this is a business. It is a business where you have an opportunity to establish relationships through lead generation.

Would a registrant who is looking to save money by reducing his fees invest more in his career? Invest more in promoting himself? Invest more in his community? I would love to see that happening. Perhaps down the road I will live long enough to see it happen.

Time will tell which paradigm will succeed on a consistent basis. The public will judge us on that.

And that’s the way I see it from my desk this month.

Quote of the month: “Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being incompetent.” – L. J. Peter, The Peter Principal.

Stan Albert is celebrating his 36th year in active real estate. He serves on the Complaints, Compliance and Discipline Committee at RECO, and on two committees at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at

The preceding article was posted with the expressed permission by Stan Abert.

Aging Baby Bommers and Real Estate in Canada.

Hey Gang!

I came across a very interesting article today from the Toronto Star which is dated March 31, 2007.

I have always maintained that “larger” home prices would drop in the coming years as aging baby boomers leave their massive monster homes for smaller and more convenient bungalows. However, experts are now saying that this perceived trend may not happen. Read this article and post your comments if you see fit.

NOTE: Continue to visit for up to date information and news on the world of Canadian Real Estate.


Karim Kanji