Man, I toured all of Florida looking for investment property since selling my place in Deer Creek Country Club.
I don’t play golf but I like driving through all those well manicured fare ways and greens every time I come and went from our stunning 2,200 square foot townhouse (that cost $200,000 when one I own in Toronto that is the same size and basic configuration would run you a million and a half).
But keeping a winter home in an urban setting (I’m not into hiding from old man winter to hibernate in nowhere land) is expensive and stressful as you are not there for six months of the year.
And don’t even get me started on the people!
Americans may look like us, but let me assure you, they are nothing like Canadians.
I’m not a big fan of socializing with anyone really, but Americans are way down my list.
I found that most of the “whaky” or “extreme” consistently to be Republicans.
I didn’t see Democrats react in anywhere close to the disturbingly radical ways Republicans consistently do.
For example, just drop the name “Barak Obama” in a house full of Republicans and disturbingly consistently you hear gun violence talk.
And Florida is a “stand your ground” State, which means those with guns can legally use them if they can convince others that “they were afraid for their life“.
And republicans love their guns!
To me, this is a radical mine field!
So I thought that I would look elsewhere a couple years ago.
I liked Mexcio’s “Riviera Maya” (Mayan Riviera), especially around Tulum for longer term real estate investing.
Chrystal white beaches and small fishing villages still dominate this area.
If you are considering Mexico, let me know and I’ll plug you into quality Realtors.
I wouldn’t be interested in investing anywhere else in Mexico though.
I have trouble with the road blocks and military presence, even in Cancun (I got pulled over in my rent a car just because I was there).
Security of investment, to me is significant and risk always plays a huge factor.
I looked into Panama, Costa Rica, and just couldn’t find anything with the right balance of upside to risk.
So I came back to Ontario and decided to invest in small town commercial buildings, preferably with residence upstairs (dual income stream), but as the residential real estate market has exploded (beyond logic in my professional and personal opinion) it has carried with it all aspects of real estate.
I don’t believe in “negative cash flow investing“.
That’s a term I coined as the market in Toronto’s Condoland crashed around me in 1989. It’s funny how when you represent a seller you can justify the craziest things, like “losing money every month on a condo unit that you’ll make it back on as the equity value rises“.
When my job was “to sell for the developer” I called it “negative cash flow investing” (salesmen!) and when I introduced “Buyer Agency” I just called it “losing money up-front“!
Today, as an investor I just call it “uninformed high-risk investing“.
In my opinion, nothing can go up for ever, especially while delivering an “over-abundance” of product (residential condo units).
I used to buy a condo unit in Toronto at around $325 per square foot (a little over a decade ago).
Today, that same “entry level condo unit” is running at over $800 per square foot, with rental income potential that has not grown at the same rate.
As more and more product hits the resale market many speculators are holding to rent out which then over-saturates the rental market driving prices down.
With monthly maintenance fees on average doubling in the first three years, two (2) Land Transfer Taxes, built in HST, unless your are an “all cash buyer” simply parking your cash to compete with bank interest income, you will be into your own cash monthly just to break even.
So, after seating for years now, I have decided that I should just invest locally.
With condos in a “high risk” area these days and delivering such a disappointing physical product, I discovered an upcoming “niche” investment market in a small “village” called Bronte Village, right on the Lake.
I’ve never owned or lived in anything but a condo, having entered the condo business in 1980.
I discovered (on the Internet) what I felt to be an irresistible “location” (the three most important things in real estate investing are location, location, location“).
I’ve always pursued an investment strategy of investing in our own home and paying it off.
In 2000, as the Condoland was getting back onto its feet after the crash of 1989, my strategy was to introduce a new concept that I had come across in Florida called “Buyer Agency” so I got a real estate license and launched simplycondos.com, the first of its kind condo speciality channel for people wanting to buy/invest in Toronto.
That first of its kind web site exploded to over 40,000 “Hits Per Day” and brought me buyers/investors from all over the globe.
I later discovered that there really is very little even I could fight for to bring some kind of ethical satisfaction to the poor little person plunking down their hard earned money.
Condoland is a disappointedly obvious example of a “Three Card Monty” Game.
You are shown everything that you are supposed to be getting all set out in professionally written (but meaningless) lyrics that can include baseless lies, be told that there is consumer protection under the Condo Act (which there is not), that you have a consumer Warranty (it protects the developers and builders not consumers), and then be give a materially deficient unit in a seriously flawed building, (if you own a condo in Toronto that was built since 2000 you want to search “Window Wall” on simplycharles.com immediately!) and be left holding the bag!
So, where am I investing?
Just a half hour or so drive to the intimate village of Bronte a residential community of Oakville on the shores of Lake Ontario.
In my professional opinion, the best investment today is in “detached houses in high demand areas that offer walking access to restaurants, shops, etc.“.
When I learned that a big percentage of Toronto’s wealthy were moving out to Oakville, I told myself that Oakville is where I want to retire, so here I am.
I am weeks off of having my brand new house completed, on a brand new street (no knock downers and ongoing construction) right at the lake.
Bronte really offers it all!
Lifestyle I’m referring to.
Numerous small restaurants, shops, services with a definite upscale clientele.
We didn’t want to be in “nowhere land” yet I have had it with downtown Toronto living.
I find the City of Toronto locked into some kind of time warp that frustrates me.
Canada’s major city and not even “advanced and/or extended lights” at intersections (some but limited use to times of the day, as if there isn’t traffic on non-peak hours!).
It is obvious that City officials have embarked on a strategy of “frustrating car drivers to the point that they give up and take public transit“!
They’ve removed lanes of traffic and not built a new road in the 40+ years that I’ve been here, despite doubling the core area population!
It’s as though City Planners have never gotten out of here and seen how other high population cities maintain a sane balance of development and growth with effective traffic flow controls.
In Hong Kong (the Chinese just built a bridge from Macau to Hong Kong!!!!) taxi cabs can’t just pull over wherever they may be at the time when someone puts up their hand!
Those hailing cabs are required to go to designated areas (painted blue curbs) and form a “Q” (line up) and catch their cab.
Not in Toronto!
So I went looking for a new place to live and invest in, and I’ve found it.
My “QOL” (Quality of Life) factor just blew right off the scale!
I’ve found such a unique community with so much to offer, that I’ve pretty much decided to go back to work as a Buyer’s Agent!
Not because I need to work. It’s just that I find the area so attractive that I’m going to want to know it in depth and when I’ve done that, who best to represent buyers?
There are three similar houses to mine that are yet to be sold by a “good” builder.
If you have been contemplating investing in or moving to Oakville (or know someone who is), drop me a line and I’ll send you the full details on these homes.
There are three builders on the street but two of them, I would not recommend.
Fortunately the three homes that remain are with a top tier builder that takes pride in what they are building.
They want to finish these 4 bedroom, 3000 square feet homes before selling them.
We are looking at a $1.4 Million price range which is the lower end of this market.
Excellent “Location”, Quality “Builder”, Superb Homes!