Welcome to Somewhere Real

We are committed to bringing affordable, real, investments to the average Canadian investor. We are not currently offering investments to the public, but expect to do so by 2012.

We own and operate 8 properties with 32 doors in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. While we prepare for public investments, our Real Investors will be writing about their experiences with the properties to better prepare you for Real Estate Investing. Our goal is to educate in order to create confidence. We will provide you the tools necessary to properly evaluate any Real Estate Investments.

I urge you to subscribe to our RSS Feed or our email subscription form on the right so that you can keep up with the latest news, and educational material.

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Work Smart – A staged approach to investment property analysis #REIN #Winnipeg

I did this presentation on Monday night, at the Winnipeg REIN meeting.  I’ve included the slides here: Work Smart. In this video I speak about the analytical funnel, the 3 pillars of real estate profit, and how to minimize the amount of time you spend analyzing properties without forfeiting quality.

The video is about 40 mins.

Work Smart from Cian Whalley on Vimeo.

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ReInventing the Wheel

So Rapid Transit in Winnipeg is a hot topic lately. At the moment there’s a debate on about the benefits of Bus Rapid Transit vs. Light Rail Transit. Many people I’ve spoken to think that the plans (if you can call them that) for either side of the debate still fall short of what’s really required. If you look back to some plans that were made by Norman Wilson (the man who designed the Toronto subway) in 1959, and compare them to what we’ve seen from recent administrations, you will get the feeling that there’s something…lacking.

Reading through Wilson’s plans, they are detailed, and all have solid logical reasons behind all the decisions made. Read this excerpt from the beginning:

Thankyou from Winnipeg, REIN Members

You and I just recently met at the REIN Multi-Family Investing Boot-Camp. After seeing the materials, presentations, and most importantly the people that were at this conference, I have to say I’m quite impressed. I’ve been to a number of real estate, investing and stock market seminars and none have quite come close to providing this amount of detailed information.

The reason I’m following up with you is simple – we met, and I’d like to keep the contact fresh. I’m a Winnipeg Investor and am staying very focused on Winnipeg. Most of you that I spoke with seem to have an acute interest in Winnipeg, and I can’t say I blame you. The properties are extremely cheap, which makes breaking into the game that much easier. Even with the rent controls as they are, there are some gems out there where the ratios just work, and really make you give your head a shake.

If you have even a slight interest in investing in Winnipeg, I urge you to stay subscribed to this blog. Over the winter my plans are very simple – optimize and automate my existing properties, and analyze as many new ones as I can find. When April hits, I have made plans to hit the ground running, and will be buying more properties with a vengeance.

What’s the ROI? (Part 2): Principal Reduction

This is part 2 of my short series on “What’s the ROI?”.  The series is written in 4 parts, Analyzing Cashflow, Principal Reduction, Appreciation, and finally the ROI Calculation. If you have not already read part 1, I suggest doing so.

Principal Reduction is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of profit, though arguably it is just as important as cashflow or appreciation.  Principal Reduction comes from the portion of your mortgage payments that is not eaten up by interest.  For the first few years this will only make up a small portion of your payments.  As you pay down the mortgage, the principal of the mortgage shrinks.  What is left is called Equity.  This is something that adds to your overall net worth, and should be used in any calculations of the same (including loan applications and such).

The biggest difference between the equity you gain from Principal Reduction, and Cashflow, is that equity is a lot more difficult to either spend or leverage.  Most usually only benefit from their equity when selling a property, and using it to ‘trade up’.  You’ve probably done this yourself, when you moved into a bigger house.  There are some ways that one can leverage this equity without selling, though we will leave those for another time.

What’s the ROI? (Part 1)

If you’re interested in the Return on Investment on a rental property in Canada, you’re not alone.  Many people are interested in the ‘secret’ to analyzing a proforma, or a properties income statement.  Knowing how to do this effectively will probably be a key factor in your success or failure in the Real Estate market.  In my ‘What’s the ROI’ mini-series I will teach you the basics of making accurate, informed buying decisions.  Decisions that will be easily accepted when the bank does their own analysis on your viability when you apply for a mortgage (be it commercial or residential).  At the core of this analysis are the 3 pillars of income in the Real Estate rental investment market;  The series will be written in 4 parts, Analyzing Cashflow, Principal Reduction, Appreciation, and finally the ROI Calculation.

Analyzing Cashflow

I consider cashflow the most important pillar of income.  Many will argue with me on this point, indicating that most money is made in the Appreciation area.  While this may be true – it’s actually extremely hard for you to control, and predict.  Consider the markets in the US.  For decades people have been investing with the assumption that property values always increase, and never loses value.  Huge amounts of money were being made on this, lots of areas were averaging 10%+ a year. It was insane to expect that to go on forever.  Those who bought at the top, who were left holding the bag, paid the price for all that unfettered growth.

Know your market

A lot of people have asked me the question: “How do I know when I’ve found a good deal?”

Usually they aren’t 100% sure they trust their Real Estate agent, or they aren’t using one.  In either situation, probably the best advice for most people would be to either get an agent, or a new agent.  That’s not who I am talking to today.  Today I’m speaking to the people who are genuinely interested in being more self reliant, and expanding their context.

The first rule: Information is Power.

I don’t think I have to back that up with any empirical evidence, no one will argue that point.  The real question is, what information?  And how do I gather it?  These are the questions that need to be answered.  In order to make good deals happen, you need to be confident in your position.  You need to know, better than your opposition what a particular property is worth to the market, the seller, and even the agents involved.

What information is needed?