34 – The Marshall Report – Episode 34

Today is Thursday September 8th and this is the 34th episode of the Marshall Report.

Welcome to the podcast.

In this week’s episode:

1. Stamps and other small adjustments

2. Buying a condo without condition.

3. Twice as much Go

4. Rental licensing bylaw change

5. Reaching out and grabbing the low hanging fruit in a game changing knowledge transfer

6. The elasticity of geography

7. A tale of two cities

8. When in doubt, present your case.

9. Do what you want not what you should

10. Going against the majority

Let’s get on with the show.


Faster than a bungalow

I bought a stamp this morning. I haven’t bought stamps for a long long time. I thought they were 58 cents or something like that. You can imagine my surprise when the clerk asked for a dollar twenty.

“No, just one”, I said.

“ Yes, that will be $1.20. They went up.”

The price of stamps is going up faster than the price of real estate. That’s fast.

We don’t really realize it because we are living through it, but somethings go up and some things go down. Some things that have gone up: the price of homes, university text books and tuition, oranges, ground beef.

Some things that have gone down: clothing, air travel, bananas, coffee. Have you noticed that I mention bananas a lot in my podcast?


Question of the week: Can I make an unconditional offer on a condo?

Most homes are selling over asking price without conditions, but does that mean you have to forego looking at the status certificate when you buy a condo? I wrote about that here.


Twice as much Go

Go Transit released its new schedule for fall and although service has doubled between Kitchener and Toronto, we still don’t have two way all day service.

In the morning trains will leave Kitchener at 5:24, 6:04, 6:47 and 7:10 arriving at Union Station in Toronto at 7:27, 7:55, 8:50 and 9:13. The return trips will leave Union in the late afternoon and evening at 4:50, 5:20, 5:50 and 6:50 arriving in Kitchener at 6:45, 7:27, 7:57 and 8:57.

Travelling into the heart of darkness makes for a long day. But I drive it sometimes and it is just as long in a car. What is sorely laking is go service for those who want to come to Kitchener in the morning and return to Toronto in the evening.


Rental Housing 

Waterloo’s rental housing bylaw has been modified again, this time again after a complaint to the privacy commissioner about collecting tenants personal information.

The controversial bylaw that went into effect in 2012 originally required that landlord supply the names and contact information for all tenants living in a licensed dwelling. The collection of such information according to the municipal enforcement director was to enable enforcement officers to contact tenants when an urgent situation or concern arose regarding either the maintenance of the property or behavioural issues around the property.

Last year there was a complaint stating that this requirement was a violation of privacy and could be discriminatory in nature.

The city then said that they would only collect the names but not the contact information. Why do they need the names? Who knows.

Finally, last week the city changed the bylaw and destroyed the private information collected.

Now that the kids are back to school, regular people are back to work. We have about 100 days of real work ahead of us (I’m counting weekends) until the Christmas holidays are here and we forget about it all again for two or three weeks.



I recently stumbled upon a webpage called 25 business buzzwords that irritate you colleagues. Here are some of the ones that have increased in use the most over the past 30 years:

Bring to the table

Deep dive

Game changing

Knowledge transfer

Low-hanging fruit (my personal most disliked)

Reach out

Take to the next level

Take offline


For the record, ‘unpack’ has increased in use by over 70,000% in the past 30 years.


The elasticity of geography

This is a captured thought.

Last week one day I drove to Buffalo to have lunch and do a little shopping. It took two hours and five minutes to reach Walden Galleria.

The next day I visited my brokerage office on Church Street in downtown Toronto. It took two hours and five minutes.

That is just not right.


A tale of two cities — Vancouver and Toronto

It seems you can’t mention one without mentioning the other. Toronto’s up, Vancouver down. I wrote about that here.


Presenting your case

My broker friend said that he always presents. He said that it is always worthwhile. Given the chance, an agent should always present, he said.

I disagreed. I argued that if there are nine other offers and you know yours is not going to win, why bother? Turns out he was right. I wrote about that here.


Call to action

Do what you want.

Many of us go through life doing what we are suppose to do or expected to do instead of what we want to do. We suppress our own desires and dreams to take on our so-called social obligations. I don’t think we should do what we are suppose to do. Rather we should do what we want to do unless there is any compelling reason not to do so.


I will leave you with this parting thought

Sometimes we find that one of our deeply rooted beliefs is wrong. For example maybe buying a home isn’t such a good investment for you or perhaps your university education does not guarantee you a great career. With this new knowledge, some people decide that society is wrong about everything. Buying a home is yesterday’s dream, a university education is a waste of time, a real job is a life of servitude, marriage is a huge scam, the stock market is rigged, voting is pointless and everyone but you is wrong about everything.

I think it is good to question beliefs. I think it is good to be cautious and sceptical. But it is not good to always take the opposite side of what most people think. That is just as thoughtless as always siding with the  majority. If you always take the side opposite the majority, you’ll be wrong more than you’ll be right.

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