41 – the Marshall Report – Episode 41

Today is Thursday October 27 2016 and this is the 41 episode of the Marshall Report. Welcome to the podcast.

In this week’s podcast:

1. Podcasting from Guangzhou

2. Buying a downtown condo

3. Food delay

4. Supply, demand, homes and money

5. Millennial, there I said it

6. Being Bill Murray

7. Stress test cheat sheet

8. Iceland

9. Working the facts

10. A 20-year look back

Let’s get on with the show.


Podcasting from Guangzhou

I went down to Second Look Books, my favourite used bookstore in downtown Kitchener and bought a couple of books for the trip. That’s right, More backpacking. More Asia. More reading.

Then I went to Chapters and bought a Chinese-English, English-Chinese dictionary. It’s here on my desk. I flip through it looking at the characters and the words.

I’m ready to go. I’m going to hang around Hong Kong and southern China for a while, see if I can get myself really lost. I don’t know if I should take my microphone or not. I’m not leaving till January. I have to think about it.


Question of the week: Buying a downtown condo for investment

I received the following question on the chat widget:

Is it worth purchasing a Kaufman loft condo in kitchener? I am looking at one of the units in 410 King Street West, Kitchener.  This unit has a leased parking and owned locker.  I don’t understand why the parking is leased but not owned like locker.  Currently, the condo fee is around $370 and the listing price is $229,900.  Also this builder used Kitec plumbing products and there is a class action lawsuit against the corporation.  The unit is on the 4th floor.  I read some of the tenant reviews and indicated that area is noisy. Is it easy to rent out? I want to buy it for investment purpose.  I would like to hear your opinions.  Many thanks! Sandy

Gee. There is a lot in there.

I sometimes wonder what people are hoping to hear back from me when I receive messages like this. Do they want me to quell their fears and say ‘yes it is a good investment’ or what’s more likely, do they want me to say ‘don’t walk away from this deal, run’.

I don’t know.

So I will say this. I am very bullish on this neighbourhood. King and Victoria is ground zero. Google, the intermodal transportation hub, the Tannery… my favourite grocery store – the Central Fresh Mart, restaurants, coffee shops and a bright future.

Sandy has many reasons not to buy into this building so maybe she or he could consider Victoria Commons, City Centre, One or 100 Victoria.


Food and transportation 

Most residents of downtown Kitchener say the same thing. They need a grocery store. The good news is that they are getting one, just not yet. The new J&P (great name) opening has been delayed as renovations are taking longer than anticipated.

Renovations and construction delays. That’s what we are about. I’m optimistic as a general rule but now I’m starting to think that this is the new normal. Maybe construction delays are the price we have to pay for being a thriving mini-metropolis.


Supply, demand, money and houses

Lost out on another offer last week. This time it was a freehold townhouse that my clients competed with five other home buyers for. My clients went in 8% over the asking price and that was 8% over the price of a unit that sold about six weeks ago four doors down – same house, essentially. I wrote about what the market might do here.



Millennial, there I said it

Here is a word that I don’t think I have every used on my blog – Millennial. It is used to describe those people who came of age around the year 2000 and onward. Born from 1980 to about 2000, Millennials, like most groupings before them are our way of broadly describing the personality traits of an entire generation.

When I read real estate news, it says, “millennial are going to do this. Millennial are interested in that. They are moving to the suburbs. They are moving to the cities…”

There are just too many exceptions to the general beliefs for this news to be useful.

Generalities are almost never a good thing. Personally I was never sure if I was a babyboomer or generation Xer. I identified with both, and neither.

But now I think the internet has really fractured generational thinking. If you are 16 or 60 you can like the same show on Netflix. You can backpack around Vietnam, start a blog or a podcast, ride a longboard, become an driver for Uber or an Air Bnb host. You can get a job or become an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter how old you are. We, someday soon will cease to be a generational society and become an diversional one.

Maybe we already have.


Being Bill Murray

I like Bill Murray.

I like working.

I said to a client the other day that the realtors I know that I think are great realtors live and breath real estate. They like it. And there is a lot to like. It is not really a job but a lifestyle.

I’ve often said about working as a realtor is that it forces you to become who you really are.

I was kind of wondering about Bill Murray. On the internet, and in other places he keeps popping up. He has an easy charm about him. He is a rule breaker. According to modern folklore, he lost out on taking a  few great film roles because no-one could find him. He doesn’t have a manager and he doesn’t answer his phone.

So he’s a bit of an outsider and an oddball.

He goes his own way. He is relaxed, loved, approachable.

The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything, the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself.

That’s a Bill Murray quote.

I try to be alert and available. I try to be available for life to happen to me.

That’s another.

Bill Murray seems to be spontaneous. He pretends not to care.

He seems to do whatever he wants, but in a gentle and irrelevant way. I can identify with this. We should all aspire to this.


Stress test cheat sheet. How much can you afford?

There has been a lot of talk recently that mortgage rates will begin to increase over the next 15 months. They might, we have the systems in place now to deal with that. But they might not. It may all just be talk.

If you think about the new rules and stress test put into place a couple of weeks ago, we may in a few years be thankful that the government is slowly letting the air out of the bubble. Either way, if you are only putting down 5%, your purchasing power essentially has been cut by about 40%. So if your annual income is $100,000 with 5% down you can still afford to buy the average single detached house in Kitchener Waterloo.

There is a link to the new mortgage stress test cheat sheet at the top.



Travelling is one of my five things. I love to get away, get out of character, break the routines and hang around on the fringes of another culture. For me, a great vacation is to go to one place and do one thing a day. That’s it. One destination, one experience.

I’m soon on my way to Hong Kong where my wife and I have found a few great airbnbs – home base. From there we will essentially discover Hong Kong, one day at a time.

I’ve never been to Iceland but I know people who have and they say it is awesome. I was reading an article that pointed out that the number of tourists visiting Iceland outnumbers its population. That is a pretty cool statistic. But Iceland is on the map. It is suddenly a tourist destination. Here’s why:

1) The tourist board got seized the spotlight, harnessed social media with a big campaign

2) There was a volcanic explosion that put Iceland into the news again in 2010 after being in the news for almost going bankrupt in 2008

3) With the turmoil in Europe, it is seen as a safe destination.

4) Flights suddenly became a lot cheaper.

5) It is very picturesque

6) And it is not very far but it is a different world.


Working the facts

Making a new decision based on new information is not the same as changing your mind. I was reading a Jack Reacher story last night and there was a line I liked. He said, ‘a plan rarely survives its first contact with the enemy’. 

Well put.

However, we often stubbornly hang onto ideas, plans, ways of doing things when we shouldn’t. Maybe it is sunk costs. Maybe we don’t want to admit we were wrong. We are programmed to succeed so failing is hard. But failing is actually a vital part of ultimate success.

This week’s call to action is, if you are doing something that isn’t working, maybe it is time to try a fresh approach. Use that information about what hasn’t worked to find what might.


And I will leave you with this parting thought.

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by those that you did.

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