Saturday, November 24, 2007

Adventures in Real Estate

I came home late from a night of Poker and Alex had the audacity to wake me up at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. this morning. Him and Alexey were going to Hamilton to check out some properties that we were interested in purchasing. Twenty minutes later (yes, twenty minutes to wake up, get my face on and get dressed), Alex was at my door. My dad gave us a long lecture for about an hour about real estate while Alex ate 'breakfast', and then we were off.

It's a good thing Hamilton is far, because I had a good nap on the ride over with my 6 hours or less of sleep from the night before. The thing with Hamilton though, is that I hate that city. The notorious one-way streets and the fact that it is a factory-town, so it's so dowdy. Our real estate finds ranged from good to laughable. We saw some great residential investments at bargain prices (i.e. 'fixer-uppers') and some really awful ones (it's amazing how much shit people can do to a place).

It's a shame none of us thought to bring a camera at first because I wish I could show everyone the properties we saw. We only thought to buy a disposable one two-thirds into our search. I also wish I didn't wear my expensive new Ugg boots because I did not foresee Alexey's erratic driving behaviour on one-way streets and his Saab's useless cupholder. Not once, but twice, he made a crazy turn and my coffee, then my tea, flipped over and got on my boots. UGHHH. It's a good thing the coffee is the same shade as my boots otherwise Alexey would have a Tim Horton's coffee shoved up his colon.

The first property we saw was a quaint little house on a dead-end street near the factories. I want to say it was 'shabby chic' but it was more shabby than chic. In fact, it was nowhere near 'chic'. We put it on the 'maybe' list and moved on.

We even saw a couple commercial properties. The area we were can only be classified as 'ghetto'. Most of the businesses on the street were closed down and the ones that were open looked real desolate. It would not be ideal to run a business here, let alone attempt to try and rent out space to run a business. I was amazed at the condition of most of these places. Most of them were used as storages or abandoned and boarded up. One of them had a not-so-discreet collapsed roof and they had covered the walls with roof shingles (huh?!). Amazing. I think we'll save investing on commercial properties until we become a bit more comfortable with purchasing property. I think there's a lot to learn about commercial properties.

We did learn one important thing in real estate today, though. Did you know the 'North' and 'South' on street signs are important? For example, Wellington Street North is not the same as Wellington Street South. Discovering 124 Wellington Street North was not 124 Wellington Street South was a riot. I laughed my ass off for 3 blocks. Doy.

We saw lots of good potentials. My favourite one was a pretty decent 4-storey(?) house ideal for renting out OR HAVING AMAZING WILD HOUSE PARTIES! We'll see, but it was definitely put on our 'more-than-maybe' list.

We didn't go into any of the properties we saw, so we did lots of trespassing and peering into windows, which was kinda fun. I was amazed to discover people living in places which should not have been deemed liveable. A lot of people were probably wondering why two white guys and an Asian chick were scamping around backyards and taking pictures.

By the end of the day we had seen about 8 properties all over Hamilton and inhaled so much Tim Horton's coffees. I must say, it was quite interesting looking at property. We narrowed down our decisions to a few places. I'm not really sure what we're gonna do yet, but we have about a week to put in our bids. We're still doing our research, trying to learn more about buying real estate and my parents think I need to take my time with this. Thing is, at this point, time is not on our sides, so who knows? We might just take a stab at it with our eyes closed. I mean, I believe we can make a good partnership because we are all willing to be committed to putting our time and labour into doing whatever we need to do to make it work. However, I just wonder how committed we can realistically be. Half of us are in school and my hours at the office prevent me from doing much else but wish I could do this. Plus, there is the distance factor.

On the other hand, this could be an exciting new [ad]venture.

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