16 – The Marshall Report – Episode 16 (podcast)

Today is Thursday April 21, this is the 16th episode of the Marshall Report. Welcome to the podcast.

In this episode:

1. Airbnb

2. Waterloo Region Water

3. Innovation Corridor

4. Spur Line Trail

5. Homesharing

6. Running on empty

7. What people want

8. Cutting the cable

9. Big ticket items

10. Control, anticipation and reaction

 

Airbnb and other short-term rental opportunities

Last week on the podcast, I mentioned that we decided to keep our little Uptown bungalow and turn it into a short-term rental. It is a great little place and with it’s location and with the price of local real estate going up at such a rapid pace, it makes sense to keep it.  There are some great sort term rental about. Last week I published a blog post about Airbnb, Broadwalk Homes and Premier Suites here.

 

Why does the water in Kitchener Waterloo taste so bad?

Personally I never noticed that our water tastes bad. I drink it from time to time. It has a lot of minerals in it so I suspect it is actually good for us. But some people don’t like it. They say it tastes salty. When you fill a glass straight out of the tap, it’s a little cloudy and takes a minute for it to become clear. Some people say, drinking our water makes them thirstier. And then there is the one about an Elmira chemical plant spill leeching into our ground water. I doubt that one a lot.

So there are two things you will need when you move to Kitchener Waterloo. 1) a water softener and 2) a r/o system or some other kind of filtering system, like Brita. You need a water softener so your skin does not get all dried out, your appliances and glassware don’t become calcified with limescale, and you’ll be able to get lather in your shampoo.

The reason our water tastes bad is because we have some of the hardest water in Canada. According to Wikipedia ‘Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates.’

Water hardness is measured by the number of grains of calcium carbonate per gallon.

According to the Water Quality Association, anything more than 10.5 grains per gallon is considered to be very hard water. In KW we have 40 grains per gallon.

 

Innovation Corridor

I don’t know if the term ‘Innovation Corridor’ will catch on. It doesn’t really sound as interesting as the Silicone Valley but it was in the news last week as our three local mayors and Toronto’s mayor John Tory, went down to California to invite Canadians living there back to the Great White North. I wrote about it here.

 

Waterloo Spur Line multi-use trail officially opens

The 2.4 kilometre Spur Line Trial connecting Kitchener and Waterloo officially opened last week. It runs from Ahrens Street in Kitchener to Regina Street in UpTown Waterloo. It is a fully paved and wide trail running alongside the lightly used rail track. For safety, there are warning strips at the intersections as well as pedestrian level lighting. It will be one of the few trails that the Region will maintain during the winter.

 

Running on empty

My friend Mike mentioned to me one day that he never lets his car’s gas tank become empty. He says it’s bad for the engine. I don’t think there is any proof of that. It might be good for the engine for all I know.

I always fill up as soon as the light goes on though, but I do that for my own sanity.

Don’t you hate it when you are leaving Mississauga, or you’ve just passed through Milton and the empty light comes on. We’ve all driven that road so many times. We know that there is a highway service station just before Cambridge. Or, you can also get off the highway just before Guelph and get gas there. Or in Milton or on Winston Churchill just before leaving Mississauga. There are lots of places to get gas.

But you just want to get home. “Can I make it home?”, you think, “can I make it the the highway service station outside of Cambridge?”

You probably can. But the stress is going to kill you.

I’ve learned that as soon as the light comes on, I get off the highway at the next stop I know that there is gas. I just can’t take the pressure passing places where I know I can get gas. I find my eyes constantly looking at that little light and at the needle. How low will it go? How far can I go?

No, no, no. It’s not worth it. You have to rationalize. You have to cut your losses. Sure its a drag to get off the highway and fill up. Sure you are going to get home ten or 15 minutes later, but you are not going to run out of gas and, almost as important, you are not going to get all stressed out about something you actually can control.

There was a time, back in the olden days when gas gauges didn’t have little red or yellow lights that came on when you were running low on fuel. I remember those days. You actually had to remember to look at the gauge once in a while.

I think there used to be less stress in the old days. But I also think people ran out of gas more often too.

 

Barn door, subway tiles and other words that lead to quick sales and big profits

It used to be that if a house had three bedrooms, a garage and maybe a fenced yard, it was deemed ‘good enough’. A house was a house, a place to live.

Not any more. Home buyers are much more discerning these days. They shop online, looking at the fabulous photos and reading the detailed descriptions that good realtors write.

As a home seller, you only have one chance to capture the interest of potential buyers. The first showing happens online and you know what they say about first impressions —> You only get one chance to make a first impression.

So pictures are most important.

Then words.

So what are some key words that could help you sell your home faster? According to this story ‘barn door’ is the best key word you can use. Statistics show that it will positively affect your value by more than 13% and lead to a faster sale.

Also on the list: heated floors, subway tiles, shaker cabinets, pendant lights, tankless water heater and exposed brick, to name a few.

Here is a link if you want to see the rest.

 

Cutting the cable

They call it ‘cutting the cord’ which sounds a lot like having a baby. With a baby, the doctor cuts the cord and then the baby is not attached to his mother anymore. With TV, you cut the cord and you are not stuck in your living room, family room or worst of all, basement rec room. You are not attached to rooms in your home anymore. You are free to go outside and do stuff.

Nearly 25% of all Canadian homes no longer have cable TV. We are cancelling our subscriptions at an ever increasing rate. Last year, the pace nearly doubled. At the end of this year, 3.76 million Canadian homes will not have cable TV.

The high cost and poor quality of programming have a lot to do with it.

And of course Netflix and other tv show and movie watching sites have sprung up as a cheap alternative to what Bell and Rogers has to offer.

But what about sports? And what about the local news? Well, Rogers is now finally streaming sports and it shouldn’t be long for one of the outlets to take the lead with news.

 

Big ticket items

This week’s call to action is to look at the big ticket items when looking at a house. What I’m talking about is the roof, the widows and the furnace. Maybe the driveway and maybe the fence and the foundation. You don’t want to buy a house and then have to spend five or six thousand dollars right away for a new roof or furnace, do you.

It is a seller’s market and I’ve seen quite a few houses selling for over asking price, without conditions and with what I consider in a normal market a fatal flaw. Be prudent. Be sensible. Don’t be reckless.

 

Parting thought

I will leave you with this thought. With real estate, you can’t control it. If you are wise and paying attention, you may be able to anticipate it. If you are normal, you are forced to react to it.

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