Thursday, April 22, 2010

SoHo Lisgar - the opening

Last night, SoHo Lisgar opened to a resounding success!  As you can see from the photo, the line up was all the way down to Bank Street.

The building sold almost all it's suites last night.  There were likely over 500 people that took in the event.  It was nicely catered and had a great atmosphere of an upscale cocktail party. 

This building will feature the SoHo brand an exclusive, hotel inspired look and feel.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ottawa Land Based Investment Opportunity

You asked for it, we went and got it!

My team, the Bennett Real Estate Professionals, have secured an exclusive land based investment here in Ottawa.  This is a cash or RRSP eligible project here in Ontario with a component in Kanata.  This is a 4 to 6 year buy and hold strategy of buying land and holding it through the entitlement process. 

There is a limited amount of space in this offering. 

Contact us today to get more information - 613 233 8606 or email
Please keep me posted for future events, opportunities. I enjoy receiving your e-mails.

I want to congratulate you for your achievements and for owning so much real estate properties. You are a true role model. Future investors can proudly look up to you.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bennett Pros in person

Join us-Marnie Bennett and Kristi Blok this weekend for a special presentation at Lansdowne Park for the 24th Originals Signature Spring Craft Sale.

Staging Your Home.

Presented by the Bennett Real Estate Professionals and KIKI Interiors. Marnie Bennett and Kristi Blok will be on stage to show you how you can increase your home’s value through the latest staging techniques.

Saturday, April 17th at 3pm & Sunday, April 18th at 1pm


For more information on Staging and other topics related to real estate visit our website at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brockville Condos ... Under $70k ...

Got some product in Brockville, Ontario.  Good returns on small condos.  Prices are $65,000 to $69,000 with returns from 22 to 27% annually.   Fully tenanted.  Easy to rent. 

To see the building click here.
Click on the image below in to increase numbers in size. 

Check out the comparables - click here.

Appraisals on these properties came in over $70k. 

If you are interested contact me today - GREG BLOK

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Using an agent ...


I’ve now been involved in 8 real estate transactions – but to be honest, this is the first time I use an agent.

It works well...

Thanks again,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

HST and the economy

I wonder the effect of the HST on rates. The two largest population provinces in Canada are instituting 8% tax hikes this year and that will have an effect on their provincial economies. When the GST was implemented, it led to a period of recession in the Canadian economy as many Canadians stopped spending their money (and saved more).

The HST is just for two provinces, so I think the effects of it will be erased by Christmas.  I do not foresee a long term recession developing from this.  I think it will stall some recovery in at risk sectors of the province and it seems to me to be an ill advised time to be levying taxes. 
I do think retailors will experience a huge Christmas season this year, as a function of pent up spending demands.  People will grow weary of hibernation and start spending for the holiday season.
For real estate, the HST only applies to new homes, not resale.  It will apply to the fees in resale - Realtor fees, Lawyer's fees, etc.  The big effect in HST will be on new homes.  It is important to work with a knowledgeable guide when buying a new home, as there is a formula for calculating HST in your new home purchase. 
An interesting thought, with a huge percentage of the Canadian population living within driving distance of the US border, are you going to see a huge increase in cross border shopping?  Canadian dollar on par and possibly moving into a position of superiority, lower cost of consumer goods in the US and a new 8% tax on food could lead to a mass cross border shopping movement. 
That exodus of dollars from our local companies into a foreign country could prove very costly for our local economies and potentially profitable for our Southern neighbours.  Interestingly enough, travel from Europe to the US is up significantly, which means lots of foreign money being spent in the US.  Potentially, this "foreign investment" could help fuel the US economic engine back to it's previous highs faster than anticipated.

I think like all tax hikes, there will be a period of grumbling, then acceptance and hopefully, very shortly after that a period of lowering the tax.  I think 13 % is a bit heavy, rumours have a reduction of the provincial portion by 2%.  This can be accomplished as many things that were previously not taxed (ie food and labour) are now eligible for the additional 8%.  Let's hope we see this reduction starting in a budget in the coming couple years, but with our record level debt, it is unlikely to happen for another 3 to 4 years. 

the big RATE question

To be honest, it has been a while since I contemplated rates.  I can admit, I am not really watching rates.  Eventually, sometime, rates will go up.  After that, sometime again in the future, rates will come down. 

I know that sounds deep and profound but the great thing about rates is that they fluctuate.  In that lies opportunities.  Check out this graph - CLICK HERE

Over the past ten years the variable rate has averaged 4.84%, whereas the 3 year fixed averaged 6.24% and the 5 year fixed averaged 6.71% - right now at TD Canada Trust, you can get 4.49% ten year mortgages. 

Historically, variable rate mortgages have always been Prime minus.  In Summer 2008, banks changed their policies to reflect Prime plus.  One of the bankers I speak with often is shocked by this turn about.  He told me in 24 years at the bank, he has never seen Prime plus. 

My thought are there is a 2 percent buffer in the rates right now.  Eventually, as rates increase, banks are going to change the lending practice from Prime plus to Prime minus again.  Over this time, as rates climb, (slowly in my mind), the variable rate will begin it's fluctuation. 

I am not considering locking in right now.  I think if you are weary and have a huge adversion to risk, locking in by end of June is a good idea, but I think in the longer term, variable will still be the right mortgage solution.  The prime lending rate would have to reach over 5% before fixed will out perform variable, a growth of 4%.

Between now and then, think of the cash flow and potential mortgage reduction you would not be cashing in on.

Great article on Variable rate mortgages winning, almost all the time - click here

What to consider when hiring a PROPERTY MANAGER

If a property owner has a growing number of properties, it’s inevitable that a day will come when they ask, “Should I outsource the day-to-day operations of my business to a property management company?”

Deciding when to outsource and which company to hire is one of the most important business decisions a property owner can make. Choose wisely, and an owner will be rewarded with the peace of mind that comes with responsible property management. Choose incorrectly, and an owner will be working harder after hiring a property management company.

Whether an owner has one or one hundred properties, it’s important to consider whether or not they’re prepared to hire a property management company. Handing over the management of property is a major decision. Before making that choice, owners will want to make sure they understand the following:

•The implications of self-owned management;

•The pros of outsourcing management to a third party;

•The corresponding cons; and,

•The alternatives to outsourcing.

Let’s take a look at each consideration in detail.


"Average Home" in Vancouver over $1 million dollars ...

April 6, 2010 – The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that the average unadjusted selling price of a detached house broke through the $1 million mark for the first time ever in March.

The adjusted “benchmark” price was “only” $800,000. The average for all sales in March was $584,000 up 20 percent from one year earlier.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's coming ... SoHo Lisgar - April 21

Details are starting to come out on the new condo release for SoHo Lisgar.

What is different at SoHo?  Remember the three items you should be shopping for ...
1 - Location
2 - Quality of suites
3 - Lifestyle

It is in the vibrant business district and mere blocks from the parliamentary precinct.  For entertainment, there are countless shops, boutiques and restaurants to be discovered and enjoyed surrounding this unique site.  A short stroll away is the Byward Market and the lively night life of Elgin Street.

Quality of Suites
Based upon the history of the previous SoHo, the first item you notice is the 20 foot wide windows in living rooms and dining rooms, compared to the approximately 8 feet most builders offer.  As well, each floor plan has been designed by multiple award winning interior designer Brian Gluckstein.  Most buildings have their interiors designed by an architect, with a greater emphasis on construction ease, than functionality.  SoHo Lisgar will feature nine-foot ceilings, marble bathrooms, large showers and rainshower head, stylish European appliances and quartz countertops. Kitchens likely feature islands, and appliances with lacquered finishes.

The Lifestyle
SoHo Lisgar presents residents with over 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities, for just over 100 suites.  This compares to another recent Centertown condo launch, featuring over 300 suites and a 11000 sqft amenity space.  At the SoHo Lisgar, residents will enjoy the significantly less crowded common elements.

As you enter the building, you will enter a marble and metal specially designed Brian Gluckstein lobby.  There will be an ultra-impressive SoHo Prime Minister’s Club featuring executive boardroom, private dining room, lounge and bar.  Your party can spill out to the SoHo Watergardens with living wall, outdoor lap pool, whirlpool, linear fireplace and outdoor kitchen with barbecue.  Just imagine, lounging poolside, work out in the Dalton Brown Gym, or unwind in the sauna and hot tub.   Residents will also have access to the private theatre with seating for 24.

This will be a defining building in the city of Ottawa.  The SoHo Lisgar will be launching - pre-general public on April 21. This is an invite only event. Let me know if you are interested, so I can help you secure a suite at this super desirable condominium. There are over 900 people on the guest list already!