Monday, May 30, 2011

Impressive team of contacts

We first met with Greg two weeks ago and were very impressed with his knowledge and the information he passed on to us regarding investment properties. Working with Greg and his team of contacts we were able to quickly set up the financing and now have an accepted offer for our first rental property. Greg is very responsive to all our requests and has made the entire process smooth and enjoyable. We highly recommend Greg Blok if you are considering investing in real estate.

Thanks Greg!
John and Christine

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tracing title in the USA

Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:

You have to love this lawyer........

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.  (Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows: (Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus 's expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana . God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Magnum - bought $90,501 sold $134,000

- (after taxes, expenses and all fees)

Sonoqui - bought $86,500 sold $125,000

- (after taxes, expenses and all fees)

194th - bought $256,000 sold $315,000

- (after taxes, expenses and all fees)

Prompt response, great knowledge

I've got nothing but good things to say about you and your organization! I certainly appreciate all the effort spent, time sacrificed, and organization required in order to complete this transaction. The professionalism and quality of the service was excellent; particularly the prompt responses to messages and e-mails. The knowledge that you and your organization possess, has greatly assisted me in pursuing my first investment property. I truly believe that I made the right decision with your guidance assistance!

Thanks again,

165th - bought $103,500 sold $145,000

- (after taxes, expenses and all fees)

Great property with high ratios

It is my pleasure to provide this reference.
Greg was the reason we were able to find this great property where the price to rent ratio will leave us in a positive cash flow situation. The rent received will be more than the monthly mortgage cost, condo fees, property taxes and condo insurance combined. We never felt pressured by Greg in any way, and when he presented this opportunity we simply had to invest. We plan on dealing with Greg on our next investment property within the next 12 to 18 months.
Thanks again, yet I am sure I will be adding more once we get the lease signed.
Daniel and Cindy.

Palm Valley - bought $97,730 sold $135,000

- (after taxes, expenses and all fees)

Being on and creating results!

In the real estate business one has to be always ON. Greg is just that and more. Responsive, knowledgeable and Integrity are just some of the words that describe our experience using Greg. In the end, it is results that matter and Greg and the whole Bennett Real Estate Professionals team delivers that and with style.


Indianola - bought $80,000 sold $125,000

- (after taxes, expenses and all fees)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Helping a "newbie"

I am a newbie at Real Estate Investing. Greg was there every step of the way during my journey into this unfamiliar field to give me the support and the advice that I need. His vast knowledge of the Real Estate business is a great asset that I rely on for every one of my investments.


Early June pre-construction condo launch

There is a launch coming in early June for Ottawa's newest high rise condo located in the uber-trendy Little Italy neighbourhood.

- 2 towers (16 levels and 20 levels) will sit on a 2 story podium which will contain the town houses, 3 spaces of commercial and approx. 20,000 sq. ft. of amenities (infiniti hot tubs, pools, gym, 30+ person private theatre, board rooms, lounges, etc...)

- design by one of the top 20 interior designers in the WORLD
- hotel-trained conceirge and staff will be available to help cater to the residents life style (maid service, dry cleaning, etc...)

- suites will start at $260,000.

To get on the exclusive VIP invitation list, please email me at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5 star service delivered

My wife and I met Greg at one of the free seminars offered by his team last year. It has been a pleasure working with Greg and we really appreciate his wealth of knowledge, wise advice and patience. We can always count on Greg to reply to any and all questions quickly and with the utmost professionalism. We have enjoyed working with Greg and his contacts so much that we have already purchased 4 properties with Greg and are looking forward to following his lead in investing in Phoenix. We really like his no pressure, laid back yet always professional approach. When Greg promises 5 star service, you can really count on it.

Thanks again
Tom and Kim

Great site for rental comparisons

Check out this new site that John recommended to gauge rents in a particular neighbourhood - click here

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Repeat business from confidence gained by expertise

We first met back in the fall of 2008 and you provided me with an enormous amount of information on how to get into real estate investing. Your level of expertise made it very easy to make the leap of faith and get into the rental market. As a result I have since purchased 4 doors and am currently involved in my first flip in Arizona. Working with you is always a pleasure and look forward to working with you in the future.

Does a hot tub increase my value?

Hey Greg,

What's your view on the resale value of a hot tub on a private rooftop patio?

We've been contemplating adding one to our private rooftop at our property but wanted to know if they are looked upon like swimming pools where some people may want them but on average, it's not good for re-sale. I thought rooftop and hot tub would make a nice pair but who knows... Not so interested in making money on it but at least getting our money back would be good.


Hi Keith,

Great question!  In my opinion this is not like a pool at all, as this is a unique and individual amenity.  This will totally appeal to the downsizer crowd and would be great fun.  This feature will help the place sell faster and will at the very worst recoup the cost put into buying and installing the product.  I think this is a great idea and exactly the type of amenity that the large condo buildings are installing for their buyers.


Globe and Mail Q&A

The superb accountant I have been using in the USA to help my investors navigate the complex tax laws is featured in the Globe and Mail.  He is doing a Q&A on USA investment purchasing.

Check it out here

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gaining focus towards an informed decision

When I made my decision to pursue my goal of acquiring investment real estate, I decided to contact Greg. I had done research on my own and was impressed with the way Greg and the entire Bennett team approached the process. Following my initial meeting with Greg, I was able to focus my priorities much better. He had answered all my questions, provided suggestions, given me options and ensured I could make a clear, informed decision. His knowledge and practical application to my specific circumstances helped me immensely. It gave me the confidence to move ahead with my first purchase.

I look forward to continuing to work with Greg in order to purchase additional properties, building my investment portfolio. I would strongly recommend Greg to anyone who is looking for a true real estate professional who will work in your best interests.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Smoke Detector Addedum to Lease

If you are a landlord and lease properties, please ensure you make the following addendum to your lease mandatory!  I met with the fire department yesterday to discuss fire retrofit 9.5 and 9.8 and they suggested the following be added to your leases:

Smoke Detector Addendum
All of the smoke detectors installed at __________________________________ apartment _________________ are operable at the time of move-in and are located for your safety in the following locations:
  1. __________________________________________________________________
  2. __________________________________________________________________
  3. __________________________________________________________________
  4. __________________________________________________________________
  5. __________________________________________________________________
You as the tenant agree that these smoke detectors are operable. In order to keep them operational, from time to time you must maintain these smoke detectors by replacing the batteries on an as needed basis, unless they are wired into the electrical circuitry. All fresh batteries are your responsibility. Each unit should be tested on a monthly basis. If you have any questions or problems with any smoke detector after you have checked the battery, it is your responsibility to promptly notify the landlord or property manager to assure the early detection of fire or smoke offered by these devices. Your cooperation is essential.
I, the resident, agree to the above as stated.

Landlord or Property Manager:

Monday, May 9, 2011

USA investment experience ...

Greg, just thought I’d send you a quick update on my Phoenix investment experience...

Property #3 is about to sell and am purchasing a 4th sometime this week.

Working with your contacts in Phoenix has been great. They know the Arizona Real Estate market and the support staff and referrals are well knowledged , making sure the transition from property purchase to sale is successful. They are very professional, keeping me well informed and my discussion with the accounant has provided me with a number of options for US property purchases.

Greg, your Canadian referrals have also been a pleasure to work with as they know the ropes and ensure that all the investment steps are completed in a timely manner.

Thanks again for your support, Regards Ken….

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Knowledge from thorough research

"We met with Greg Blok to discuss the purchase of an investment property. Greg discussed a number of options and the pros and cons of each at length. We were taken by the fact that his knowledge of the investment market comes from his own thorough research. We never felt pressured to purchase or to follow any particular direction. Greg is professional and follows up quickly on any questions we have, and as a result, we will shortly be looking into purchsing our second investment property with Greg as our advisor."


Friday, May 6, 2011

Who buys homes?

When buying a home, it is important to have a brewing exit strategy.  The best way to design an exit strategy is to know how is your potential buyer in the future.  According to a 2010 report by the U.S. National Association of Realtors:

- 58 percent of all home-buyers are married couples
- 20 percent are single women
- 12 percent are single men
- 8 percent are unmarried couples
- 1 percent falls into the "other" category.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring cleaning time

Everyone spends this time of year focusing on spring cleaning. Bang out the carpets, launder the drapes and scrub the baseboards, but how many people actually take the time to spring clean their personal finances? It is tedious and often un-enjoyable to dump out the files (or shoe box of receipts) and review your financial situations. Just think of the excitement you will feel when you are done and you have an extra couple hundred bucks in your pocket each month!

Step one - Review your spending on extras
How many gym memberships or magazine subscriptions do you have? How many automatic debits are there on your credit card of only a few bucks each month, that added up can be somewhat significant? Late at night, you sign up for some e-mailing list that sends you hot stock tips and you forget you have that “service” and they charge a small fee like $9.99 per month, so you don’t really see it, but remember that is $120 per year. I have seen where someone is paying for a magazine that they do not even receive, it is sent to an address they previously occupied and they forgot to cancel the magazine.

The other fees that kill you are banking fees. Start walking the extra block to your own banks machine. You are charged anywhere from $2 to $10 for each transaction that you make at an ATM that is not from your bank. Plus, you get some more exercise, two bonuses in one tip!

Step two – Your service providers
Are you getting the best possible deal from your Internet/telephone/pay-per-view providers? Are you part of their bundling package? Have they offered you the free WIFI calling features? If not, make them improve it. How? Threaten to take your business elsewhere, companies spend way more money trying to get new customers than keeping the older ones, remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Step three – check your credit
You should annually review your credit score and look at your credit report. Strange things can happen here. I know someone who paid off their credit card, only to find out 3 years later, from a collection agent, that they were default a few hundred dollars. Why? They paid off the balance, not the accured interest. So that extra interest sat, earning more and more interest. This also put a huge black mark on their credit for any further purchases.

If you are in debt, STOP DIGGING! The next step is to make a plan to pay off your debts. Take the payment, divide into the amount owing and pay off the highest ration first. Read David Bach’s books, and learn to DOLP your debt.

Step four – Learn the difference between good and bad debt
Yes, your parents were wrong, not all debt is bad! Some debt is good debt. Good debt is debt that is tax deductible. Learn what the difference is between tax deductible and non-tax deductible debts. Student loans are a great example. Often your bank person will offer you a consolidation loan for your Ontario or Canada Student loans. Do not do it! You will convert tax deductible debt into non-tax deductible debt. Instead, call the loan provider and ask them to amortize the debt over the maximum time period and keep that tax deduction rolling in. Focus instead on those credit cards, consumer cards and car loans.

Step five – make things automatic
Make your bill payments automatic. Have them auto-debit out of your bank account. That way you ensure your bills are always paid on time. Consistent late payment of bills is debilitating to your credit.

As well, it makes it easier to budget. I personally pick one day a month that is bill day. I have asked all my payees to take out their auto debits on this one day (better to choose mid-month). That way, I know exactly how much money I need on that day and can budget accordingly. I found it very difficult to budget when I had a few hundred dollars disappearing everyday. By making a change, and making it automatic, nothing slips through the cracks.

Step six – invest in real estate
By investing in real estate, you will create tax deductions. For people who are not self employed, the best way to create excess money is to invest in real estate and let the tax deductions from real estate lower the amount of income taxes you pay annually. This is a huge advantage for non-self employed people, as your write offs can include interest charges, travel expenses, maintenance, repairs, lawyers fees, property management fees, real estate fees, CCA, etc

Recent poll - best government for investors

The recent poll on suggests that 78% of respondants think a Conservative government is best for investors going forward. 

Need information on Ottawa Condos?

Check out this new site for information on the Ottawa Condo Market - Click here

Searching for the right home decor?

"I would like to thank you for your advice on painting, new flooring etc...That helped me make this beautiful property look its best. The photos and the description were great! And, I am sure the staging helped move this listing extra quick and with a better than expected return! This was my first investment experience and I am so glad to have worked with professionals such as you. I look forward to working with you again on my next sale." – Jean

Hiring a professional prior to renovations can take your project to the next level, check out the great new web site for Kiki Interiors - click here