2017 In Review

Hello real estate investors!!
Welcome to another episode of the truth about real estate investing show.
Happy New Years to you all! We have many terrific guests lined up for 2018, so make sure to subscribe so you can learn their lessons to ensure you achieve your new years resolutions, as I’m sure they include increased financial security and freedom!!
In case anyone is interested, the Real Estate Investment Network is hosting it’s annual weekend workshop, the Authentic Canadian Real Estate Systems (or ACRE for short), on March 2nd – 4th near Toronto Pearson Airport at the Pearson Convention Centre. For my friends and listeners to the show, REIN has provided me a discount code. It saves you $300 per guest. If you’ve been to previous events you know the the full retail price is $687, which has never gone up to my recollection. I’m a REIN member so my admission is included in my monthly fee… but anyways, the full retail price is a fantastic deal already and my discount code of ERWINSGUEST will save you $300. Link: http://info.reincanada.com/toronto-acre-2018

If you want the full ACRE experience, I recommend you plan to attend the informal evening festivities to network with the other attendees.  To me, it’s a great time to reconnect with my out of town real estate friends who don’t make it to all the events but they make the time for ACRE because it’s such a great event.

On to my 2017 Year in Review!


The Real Estate Market:
From January to May, the market rocketed up. It was nearly impossible to purchase a property in Hamilton, as it was a regular occurrence to compete with double digit offers on the same property. Supply was limited and demand was through the roof from Toronto folks and locals. St. Catharines grew in popularity for us as investors. Competition was still fierce, but nothing like Hamilton, and we were renting at rates close to Hamilton’s. KWC was crazy hot as well, and continues to be a hot market as multiple offers there are still a regular occurrence. After May, and after the Foreign buyer tax becoming effective, the market slowed considerably for Hamilton and St. Catharines, exactly what us investors wanted, though we noted less interest from investors in Summer and Fall. Oddly enough, that is when I purchased two properties, in the summer and fall, both as discounts from the Spring market. Right now the market feels more balance, but prices remain up around 7-8% in our target markets compared to this time last year.


The Rental Market:
As a real estate investor we have two real estate markets to monitor. Real estate prices, as that determines the value of our portfolio and acquisition costs. Then there is the rental market, and 2017 was very good to investors. From January to May, our investors were obtaining the highest rents we’ve ever seen in the markets we operate: mainly Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Hamilton, Brantford, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara Region. In the Spring we were consistently seeing rents of $1,650 plus utilities for renovated three bedroom apartments and $1,300+ for basement two-bedroom apartments. Keep in mind about five-six years ago, we rented entire three bedroom houses for $1,300+.  The summer saw reduced demand, as kijiji ad views and showings were way down, and returned to a moderate level in the Fall.  Myself, I like to review my rental ads and prices every two weeks. If I need to make an adjustment, I will. Most often to price, or tweaking of the headline or ad copy. For the property we purchased in the summer, I needed to reduce the rent 3-4 times by $25-50 increments until we found a great tenant. For the property we closed on December 1st, knowing we were approaching the holidays and winter, the slowest market, I was ultra aggressive by advertising our rent $50 below market value. Evaluating a $50/month discount vs. being vacant for three months, an opportunity cost of $4,800, I chose the $50 discount and we rented to a tenant who attended the first showing.


On the business side, we’ve grown considerably, helping investors transact on over 100 properties in 2017.  We’ve undergone many changes, moving away from the “Mr. Hamilton” brand to the “Halton Real Estate Investment Group”, as we expanded our geographic coverage of top towns for investment in pursuit of cash flow. Our team has grown considerably as well in order to support the number of clients we support. Apparently good news travels fast, and when you do a great job helping to coach clients to financial success, they compliment you with referrals of friends and family for which we are forever grateful.  Erika Spencer joined our team in late 2016 and has been a force to reckon with. Even with the birth of baby Owen in October, she was back to work in November.  Koukun Unosawa, Han Wang, and  Tammy Ditomaso all joined us in 2017 and Paisley Mackenzie is coming on board in early 2018, all as Junior Coaches.  To ensure our newest team members received the same training I had given, James Maggs was promoted to Vice President of Coaching Services, with all of our coaches reporting directly to him.


On the Personal side of 2017, improving my health and energy levels took main stage. After years of pushing myself mentally and physically, I was burnt out. My body was giving up yet I continued to get by on excessive caffeine and sheer will power. I took a couple tests while seeing a new doctor, Dr Callum Cowan, a high performance health specialist who works with pro athletes like NHL’ers, UFC fighters, and high level executives, to repair the damage I’ve inflicted on myself to get to where I am today. I did a very restrictive cleanse in February and March, avoiding my food sensitivities and took care of a parasitic bacteria I picked up somewhere. I also started going to bed earlier. As you parents and entrepreneurs know, we can only control what we can control and I’ve found my mood and energy level is better with more sleep. My kids and family, my clients, and my business all deserve the best me, so I started tracking my sleep with my wearable technology, called a Whoop, and an app to ensure my peak performance. With all these changes, the quality of my work has improved as my mind is rested and more clear. I’m able to train more often, which I love, without having to take as many afternoon naps. The best part is I’m less cranky with my wife and kids so everyone wins with more sleep.

Dr. Cowan with UFC Champion Max “Blessed” Holloway

Dr Cowan is one of our guest speakers for the January Halton REI Group meeting on January 13th. His talk is titled “Feel Better, Function Better, Become a Phenom” and if you’ve seen him present before, don’t worry, the doctor has promised updates as the science of health is ever evolving!!
We will also be hosting a guest panel of investors on the subject of raising successful kids featuring Carol Dias, Margaret Plut, Rob Watson, Charles Wah and Mary Clements.  All are successful in their careers and as investors, and they are happy to share the lessons so we can all achieve one of our ultimate goals, parents to successful children.
To Listen:
Google Play: http://goo.gl/CAM5Mn

Till next time, Just do it, I believe in you.
Hamilton, St. Catharines, Toronto Real Estate, Land Development Investor
This podcast is brought to you by the Halton Real Estate Investors Group. The goal of the Halton REI is to entice would-be real estate entrepreneurs to get off the couch, make things happen, and replicate the success of our multi-millionaire clients such as podcast guests Charles Wah, Andy Tran, Evelyn, Kaush, Cherry Chan, Michal Wywrot and Tim Collins.  Our track record of coaching highly successful investors is extensive and we share our secrets, tips and tricks at Halton REI meetings.  So if you are interested in travelling the path of least resistance to real estate wealth without ever swinging a hammer, than this is the place for you. Go to HaltonREI.ca/signup to register and do so quickly to avoid disappointment as we have waitlisted folks many times and seats are limited. One of the secrets of success is to surround oneself with successful people and in my ten+ years of attending workshops and networking events, this is one of the best places to be and I hope to see you soon.

Questions for Don Campbell and The RE Market in 2018?

Hello Real Estate Investors!!!
We are baaaccckkk!!! From a quick week in the Western Caribbean (I always spell it wrong: Carribean…) on mega cruise ship Oasis of the Seas!!! This time we cruised with the kids, my mom and our friend, Maria.  I don’t get to see my mom as much as we’d like, as she lives on the other side of the planet in Hong Kong, but we will start making this a tradition of bringing mom with us on a vacation with the kids around the holidays.  For all of us investors it’s been a great year, so why not have some fun with our returns since life is short and all about experiences. My mom had never been on a cruise either, so it was a fun gift to her.  Next year, the goal is a Disney Cruise!!!
Though this trip was challenging, because Cherry and both kids were sick during the trip, we return with great memories.  On the last day of the cruise, after breakfast on our way back to our room to grab our luggage to disembark, we explained to my son we were going home and everyone on the packed elevator heard him whine, “I don’t want to go.”  Mission accomplished, the kids had a great time! We took a bajillion pictures to capture the memories. My mom and kids are looking forward to the next vacation. Cherry and I on the other hand could use a vacation from the vacation!
No podcast this week, but I did interview my favourite Financial Advisor, Kathleen Van Den Berg. She is far from your typical Certified Financial Planner who is commissioned to sell you mutual funds.  Instead she takes a more holistic look at your goals and portfolios and, if you can believe it, recommends investing in real estate!! Plus more great financial advice to build and protect your financial wealth.  The audio needs some work hence the delay… only the best for our listeners!!
We do have some great guests coming up, including a young lady who executed 16 joint venture deals in 2017!! She will share her successes and failures so you may learn what to do and what not to do.

Questions for Don Campbell and The RE Market in 2018?

We also have best selling author and Senior Economic Analyst of the Real Estate Investment Network coming up. If you have questions please send them in! Our discussion will be focusing on investing for 2018 and his advice for investors to play both offence and defense with your real estate.

In other news, check out these articles on Hamilton. The first article I find hilarious. Having worked for years in downtown Toronto, with many friends and family who live in downtown condos, and as a parent of young kids, to always be planning around their temperament and schedules, I really relate to it. E.g. if we eat out at a restaurant, we are there at 5-5:30pm to ensure we are the first table served for expedient service and allowing time for the pre-going to bed process. Lineups and wait times are the enemy!!! All you parents know what I’m talking about!
The New Hamiltontonians, article here: https://torontolife.com/real-estate/the-new-hamiltonians/

Quoting and summarizing the article:
The author of the article describes his experience and decision making process of growing up, working, starting a family in Toronto and the pragmatic decision to move to Hamilton. The story gives insight into why die hard Torontonians are becoming the new Hamiltonians.

“Once I had a kid, the minor inconveniences of downtown life became meltdown-triggering minefields. The simple act of going to a neighbourhood restaurant for lunch required a logistical calculus evaluating wait times, stroller storage space, high-chair availability and my toddler’s ticking-time-bomb temperament. The ­family-friendly attractions Toronto has to offer—the AGO’s Sunday kids program, the dinosaurs at the ROM, the CN Tower, the High Park cherry blossoms—came to represent lineups and headaches. And that’s to say nothing of the city’s programs, which were harder to access than Tragically Hip seats on Ticketmaster last summer.”
~ I laughed out loud at this one!!

“The average price of a home in the city of Hamilton is $541,720—a bargain compared to Toronto, where the average is nearing the million-dollar mark…. In the first quarter of 2017, 23 per cent of people who bought homes in the Hamilton area were from the GTA.”

“Hamilton is just getting started. These days, the city’s top employers aren’t the steel mills, but McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences Corp., the umbrella organization for the hospital network. The Hamilton area is expected to generate 2,600 new jobs in 2017 and 4,000 more next year, mostly in the tech, health and education sectors. As the economy has grown, so has the city’s infrastructure. A second GO station opened in 2015. “

“we were able to sell our [Toronto] place for $845,000—which, after clearing up debts, left us with enough for a 20 per cent down payment and a monthly mortgage equivalent to the $1,400 share we were paying in Toronto.”
~ same payments and 4x the square footage in one of Hamilton’s nicest neighbourhoods.

Here is a more recent article: Hamilton doesn’t need real estate bargain-hunting Torontonians, link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/hamilton-doesnt-need-real-estate-bargain-hunting-torontonians/article37361569/
This article is from the view of a long-time Hamiltonian on how the influx of Torontonians is affecting the lifestyles of Hamiltonians and the roots of Hamilton’s NIMBY’ism (not in my backyard), a consequence of Hamilton being such an attractive place to both live and invest.

Till next time, Just do it, I believe in you.
Hamilton, St. Catharines, Toronto Real Estate, Land Development Investor