I’ll be straight with you guys: Most real estate books suck. We get a lot of free books here at Y&T from people looking to get at the money in you all’s pockets. It’s not a bad strategy (one we shamelessly used to get plugs for our books), and it’s a nice perk if you’re us, but the vast majority of the books we get are mediocre at best, and glorified sales pitches/infomercials at worst. This goes double for anything in the real estate niche.
Ho Hum, Another Real Estate Book That Wants to Make Me Rich?
The vast majority of real estate books usually centre around either selling you on a specific strategy or process that only the authors have mastered (and that you need to pay thousands of dollars to really put to use yourself) or are merely a big picture discussion about how real estate can be a great asset class. It’s nice to know that some people make money with real estate and that mortgages are a decent way to use leverage most of the time, but it doesn’t really tell me the nuts and bolts of how I’m supposed to do anything like that.
This book is the exception to the prejudices and stereotypes that I had about the niche – and it is written with the Canadian market in mind! Julie Broad is the author, and if you’re not sure about her financial chops you’re free to look her up and see that she has an MBA as well as some pretty good experience within the industry. The interesting thing about how this book got into my hands is that Mrs. Broad didn’t just send me a copy and paste generic email asking for some very juice, she actually took the time to read and comment on a recent article I’d written about investing in building new townhouses to rent in Saskatoon. I’m fairly certain she’s up for answering more questions if you ask her on the comment thread.
So anyway, what makes this book different? Well the first thing you realize is that this woman isn’t just selling you the dream. She is right up front with of the biggest headaches she has encountered in her time dealing with real estate. I’m not talking about having to install a new toilet, I mean stuff like being stolen from by a crooked property manager, ending up in criminal news headlines through no fault of her own, and dealing with insane knife-wielding clients (it was a butter knife – but still!). I think this is commendable and it gives the book a huge degree of credibility in my eyes.… Continue Reading
I tackle today’s topic with a hint of trepidation. After all, I’m basically advocating for people to not obey traffic laws. Before we get into how to most efficiently beat a traffic ticket I should make it clear that if you’re driving drunk, or extremely recklessly (re: 40km over) you deserve some serious punishment and this stuff won’t apply to you anyway. Please don’t think I’m trying to justify extreme behavior that puts lives in harm’s way.
What this article is looking at is how to get out of a minor speeding ticket so that it doesn’t kill your insurance costs going forward. I had some first-hand experience with this type of situation when I was going to university. There is a known speed trap coming off of the main highway leading on to campus where the limit goes from 60 to 30 as you make a left-hand turn. If you got a green while in the flow of traffic and began reducing your speed as you turned into campus you were still guaranteed to be over the technical limit. The cops had a perfect hiding spot just off of the main thoroughfare, and when it was statistics time (I worked four summers in law enforcement, that statistics are a part of the job is a fact, not a debate) you knew you had to really watch yourself.
Related: Don’t Get Car Rental Insurance Next Time you Rent a Car
Unfortunately one Sunday morning I forgot about the trap. It was near the end of the month (surprise surprise) and there was light traffic as I was coming back from the gym. I got a green and began to decelerate down from 60 as I entered campus. Of course I saw the cop a split second before the lights came on and knew I was in trouble. He clocked me at 39. Now, in this instance I truly believe that it is difficult to make the case I was a hazard to anyone else in society. On a moral level I was pretty upset that I didn’t get let off with a warning, and so I looked into fighting the ticket on principle. It didn’t hurt that I was a student with a fair amount of leisure time and that a couple hundred bucks was a lot of money to me at that point. I won the case just by showing up, but I learned some very interesting things in the course of doing some research on the topic.
The True Cost of a Speeding Ticket
From the government’s point of view, there is a science to setting the fee for breaking speeding laws at just the right level. The idea is to get as high as possible without making the penalty so high that people will actually fight it. Fighting a traffic ticket costs the government insane amounts of money when you consider that they have to pay a police officer to appear in court, a judge, and a prosecutor, as well as all of the other assorted court costs.… Continue Reading
If you were following my adventures from earlier in the summer, you know that I was looking at re-upping my mortgage. The choice ultimately boiled down to a Big Six Bank that I have a couple of accounts with versus the Manitoba credit union I’ve banked with in some fashion since I got paid for cutting their lawn when I was 12-years old.
Ultimately the choice became a pretty easy one once negotiations started. I managed to lock in my new term just before the recent rate hikes started coming into play, but even still, I found that the larger bank just couldn’t even come close to the interest rates being offered by my local credit union. This seems very counterintuitive to me since one would think that the Big Six Banks would be able to blow a relatively small competitor out of the water just based on economies of scale alone. When I was doing a bit of research on just why my credit union was able to offer such a low rate relative to the big boys who were raising their mortgage rates across the border Canada-wide, I came across this article over at Canadian Mortgage Trends (my favorite site for mortgage-related info). It has some interesting rationale about why credit unions are flush with cash and how they are able to lend money at such great rates. To me, it also means that the Big Six crew are making some pretty substantial profit margins – which dividend investors like our staff writer Young will tell you – are a good thing!
Service With a Smile
My experience with credit unions has been that they love to promote that they are “service-focused” in a way that only a small credit union can be. Sometimes this reality holds up, while other times the idea of a “small credit union” is a little ridiculous when you look at their assets and retail footprint. In my case, the credit union I bank with is still pretty small and I’ve known the branch manager personally now for years. Consequently, for me, the service advantage wasn’t just a marketing gimmick. The branch manager was able to promptly return my emails within a few hours every time, and I truly felt that during negotiations she was representing my best interests to her boss/manager.… Continue Reading