26 – The Marshall Report – Episode 26

Today is Thursday July 14th, 2016 and this is the 26th edition of the Marshall Report. Welcome to the podcast.

In this week’s podcast:
1. The islands
2. Adding value and fooling buyers
3. Blues and Jazz
4. The summer market
5. Disconnected from life on the internet
6. Bingo balls
7. Moving to Canada
8. Donald Trump is unCanadian
9. To do is to be
10. Museums

The Islands
When I was in St Johns two weeks ago, we visited the French Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon. It was a three and a half hour drive out of St John’s and down the Burin Peninsula, followed by a 55 minute ferry ride from Fortune Bay. And then, just like that we are in a foreign country, spending Euros, drinking french wine and eating in fancy french seafood restaurants.
It is kind of a parallel universe, and a culture shock and although my French is sorely lacking, we found a hotel and got around just fine. I was only a little worried. Travelling is easy.
While I was away, I came to appreciate the fast internet service that I am used to in Waterloo. I suppose that is the only thing I really missed.
I didn’t miss Ontario’s bad traffic. In Newfoundland, we never once got stuck in traffic.
I loved the music. Newfoundland is a busker’s paradise.
I liked the beer a lot. If you’ve been drinking real beer from brew pubs and then have a Budweiser or a Canadian, it’s just like bubbly soda pop.
The cod. If you like seafood, Newfoundland and St Pierre should certainly be your next travel destination.

What really matters when looking at houses and what doesn’t?
I was recently interviewed for Wealth Simple magazine. The interviewer asked a lot of questions about adding value to a home. What he was really looking for was what home sellers do to trick home buyers into thinking a home is worth more than it actually is. I don’t think I gave him the silver bullet answer he was looking for but I’m sure at least I hope I was insightful.
Here is the first question and answer:
How can I add value to my home once I own it?
Everybody wants to build but no one wants to do maintenance.
Keep you home well maintained inside and out. That means doing the non-sexy stuff like changing the furnace filters, sealing the driveway, keeping the windows clean and the landscaping in order. Homebuyers are very discerning. Sure they want granite countertops and hardwood floors, but they will not be fooled by style over substance anymore.
You can read the rest of the interview here.

Blues and Jazz
Two of my favourite music festivals are coming up in the next few weeks.
The Kitchener Blues festival will be held August 4th through the 7th in downtown Kitchener. Time to get out and bend that blues string.
The UpTown Waterloo Jazz festival starts tomorrow. This year we have trios and brass bands, singers and ensembles, orchestras and quartets.
See you there.

The summer market
Have you ever noticed that as soon as school lets out for summer, the volume of automobile traffic seems to drop by about 30%? The same can be said for home sales and I suppose a lot of other things.
Anyone who is watching real estate listings coming out, or the number of open houses or sales or whatever will clearly see the level of activity fell at the end of June, continued to drop until now and will fall further into the heart of summer, the end of July and the beginning of August. People go away, putting their home search on hold. Some sellers wait until September, the unofficial beginning of the new year to list.
It doesn’t mean you should stop too. There may be opportunity here. It is just he way it is.

I’m a recovering internet junkie. It is one of my last remaining vices. I am connected as likely are you every waking minute of my day. When I get up, I check my email and think about my day ahead. Then I read the news and check my blog statistics. I answer any questions that have come in and now I check the forum for questions too.
During the day I always have my phone with me and like most people, when I get a text or a phone call or an email, I feel like I have to respond right away.
A couple of weeks ago when I was away in Newfoundland and especially on St Pierre, I was disconnected from the internet for long swatches of time. You know what. The world did not end. My family did not forget me and my clients did not abandon me. The news did not end. There is always more news and you can never miss the really important stuff; someone will tell you about it. Some things slowed down, but most things do in the summertime.
It is good to take a break. Schools have summer vacations. Factories have summer shutdowns. Sports teams have off-season.
And it is good to take a break from the internet. It is good to read a trashy novel and not care what’s going on anywhere else. I also stopped producing, broadcasting. I thought about taking my mic and doing my podcast from wherever I was. But I didn’t. I didn’t write in my blog either. I finished and then had the forgotten pleasure of looking for a good book in a downtown St. Johns bookstore.
And then, when I came back, I felt so refreshed and ready to go again.

Here is a captured thought
When you are a new Realtor, most of the bingo balls are still bouncing around in the cage.

Moving to Canada
As you may know, I lived abroad for more than a decade before returning to Canada and settling in Waterloo Region 16 years ago. For me, after visiting and living in about 50 different countries, moving back to Canada was a no-brainer. I’m Canadian. I appreciate it here.
And it seems that I am not alone.
According to Google Trends, searches related to ‘moving to Canada’ have hit all-time highs in recent months thanks first to Donald Trump and now the Brexit vote. We haven’t seen spikes like these since George Bush was nominated. For the record, the Donal Trump spike is twice as big.
Immigration Canada data shows that about 9000 Americans move to Canada in a given year and about 6500 from the UK.
Of course, lots of Canadians move to the USA.
Also for the record, immigration statistics also show some 33,000 immigrants from China, 30,000 from India and 29,000 from the Philippines. That one surprises me.

Donald Trump is very unCanadian
I haven’t talked about Donald Trump for a while and I think it is safe to say that most Canadians would find him hard to vote for. Sure, we had Stephen Harper and he arguably was good for Canada. I didn’t like him but I don’t know why he was so unpopular at the end. He was pretty far right and not very personable. But Trump. Never. Not here. He is popular as a vote against the system. Hillary Clinton is the system, the political elite.
Trump is not that. He is an outsider businessman.
The closest thing we saw to Trump in this country was Mulroney. He was the guy who cozied up to Ronald Regan and brought us Free Trade. He was a businessman turned politician too. That never seems to work out very well for very long.
Donald Trump wants to build walls and keep out Mexicans, muslims and Canadians. Not only is that unCanadian, it’s unAmerian.
But what about his economic policies? He claims to be a big time businessman with the art of the deal, but he appears to me to be a bully and I know from daily experience that deals are not made because of bullying, sometimes in spite of bullying but never because of it.
And tinkering with a national economy is nothing like running a corporation and truth be told, The Donald inherited most of his money anyway. He is the classic example of someone who was born on third base and thinks he hit a home run.
I only mention the Donald in this podcast because the Canadian economy is so closely tied to the american one and of course because Donald Trump is a dangerous nut.

Resilience and action taken
When you are young, you are much more resilient than you think. It is ok to take a chance, to make mistakes. It is ok to be wrong. This weeks call to action is permission to follow your intuition. It is probably correct. Given the choice between doing something and not doing something, memories are made when you take action. Life happens when you do, not when you don’t. When you are old like me, you will come to realize that.

Parting thought
There is a big difference between a war museum and a wax museum, but both might be required viewing when away on holiday.


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