Buying Property In A Foreign Country

February 25th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Home in the Country - But Which Country

Home in the Country – But Which Country?

There is a lot of importance placed on where a person lives. Where we live is something that identifies us as much as anything else – as much as our job, as much as our outward appearance and as much as our name. Our primary home address is asked for by any organization with which we seek to join up. However, a second home is something different. While our primary home may be something that plays a huge part in our everyday life, our secondary home is something that matters for an entirely different reason. The primary home is for function and for family. The second home, more than anything, is for fun. We can look to buy a second home elsewhere in the world, because a house in another country allows us to have somewhere to stay when we go on holiday, among other things.

The “other things” include somewhere to live during our retirement. Having worked all our lives for a chance to relax and let ourselves get a bit of time to  ourselves, we can put money into buying a house somewhere nice and warm – additionally, having spent time somewhere on holiday allows us to scope out a place for the future. If you have been somewhere before and know that you like it, then you have the awareness that the place will be to your taste. How many times have you been on holiday somewhere and thought “this is such a great spot, I wish I didn’t have to go home – I wish I could live here for the rest of my life!”. Although the rest of your life may be stretching it somewhat, getting a retirement property nailed down somewhere else is never a bad idea.

There are many countries where buying a property has become something that you can only do with a lot of money behind you. Banks and lending corporations are reluctant to give mortgages with the housing market still in an uncertain shape. There are more than a few nations where property is still a very manageable investment, and taking advantage of this is something that shouldn’t be beyond a wise investor. It is important to sit and think of where you want to go, and what your reasons are – a family link? A good business opportunity? A country that is special to you, for any other reason. it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get a plan into action.

Countries in North Africa have become highly popular with property investors in the last six months, with the region’s proximity to the Southern tip of Western Europe a big pull. But it isn’t just about being near to Spain, France and Portugal – there is a growing holiday industry in what is a beautiful part of the world. Then there is South America – although some of the continent has been either colonized by tourists or beset by the same economic problems as the rest of the world, there are great properties available at wonderful prices in Brazil, a country which is moving up in terms of business and has always been keenly thought of by tourists.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 27, 2009.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

Do We Reap What We Sow
How to Fix Credit Score
Financial Crisis and Housing Market

Canadian Real Estate

February 23rd, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Current Financial Crisis and Housing Market

Current Financial Crisis and Housing Market

When the current financial crisis hit, the first industry shaken was the housing market. After all, one of the catalysts for the so-named “credit crunch” was the vexation in the United States’ “sub-prime” mortgage market, where irresponsible lending at unsustainable levels caused banks to lose solvency with terrifying rapidity.

As a result, the real estate market in the US and beyond fell victim to a major crisis of confidence, and the knock-on effects of this continue to shake the world’s economy. Injections of capital by some governments, and lock, stock and barrel takeovers of banks by others have introduced some measure of stability, but even now that stability is under almost permanent threat.

The consequence of this uncertainty has been a fall in house prices, as home owners have defaulted on mortgages and had to sell up and the market, for so long a seller’s domain, has turned to favour the buyer. Getting a mortgage to buy for the first time may have become a little more difficult, but for those of us lucky enough to have amassed some disposable income the market suddenly looks altogether more favourable.

Although house prices have fallen in Canada – just as has happened everywhere – the fall has been markedly less steep than elsewhere, particularly just south of the border in the US. In the past year, the Canadian real estate market has seen a drop in prices to the tune of 8.9%, and sales themselves have fallen month-on-month. But despite the more troubled market, Canadian banks continue, thanks to judicious management, to make mortgages available to those looking to buy a house. Set against the open panic in the States, where once it was too easy to get a mortgage and now has become a quest on a par with the search for the Holy Grail, this is resulting in a far more serene market in Canada.

Indeed, in some cities it is believed that the market is bottoming out in Ca nada, and ready to at least stabilize if not yet commence an upward climb. While prices have fallen, senior analysts are making the point that even if they continue to fall, the rate at which they are falling has slowed, and anyone waiting for the housing market to hit rock bottom so that they can jump on board will have a long and forlorn wait. As more potential buyers realize this, it is likely that we will see the numbers of sales starting to rise again. If, however, the strong employment numbers nationally take a hit, then the market could yet have austere days ahead of it.

The moral here certainly seems to be that sensible and realistic management of the banking and lending system is equipping Canada to see out the current global crisis in much finer fettle than many of its more storied counterparts. It could just be the case that Canada becomes a model for the other nations to follow.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Feb 15, 2009.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

World’s Tallest Condo
Do We Reap What We Sow
How to Fix Credit Score

How to Fix Credit Score

February 18th, 2015 Posted in Credit Cards|Debts | No Comments »

Tips to Fix Credit Score

Tips to Fix Credit Score

A bad credit score can make it difficult to get a loan or mortgage and also force you to pay more interest than you would normally pay with a better score. Today, I will talk about some simple things you can do to improve your credit rating.

Check Credit Report - Contact credit bureaus like Equifax or TransUnion to obtain a free copy of your credit report every year. This can be done online as well. If you find any errors, have those corrected by filling out a form or you can contact your financial institution if they caused the error.

Have A Mixture of Credits – Having different types of credits such as credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages help improve your credit score.

Don’t Be Rough on Your Bank Account – Stretching your bank accounts beyond their limits such as writing NSF cheques, drawing overdrafts, etc. will hurt your score.

Pay Off Credit Cards – Paying off your credits positively affect your credit score more than paying off other instalment loans such as mortgages, personal loans, etc. Try not to exceed 30 personal balances on each card in which you carry a balance.

Use Old Cards Sometimes – Don’t keep too many credit cards, but don’t close your oldest credit cards either. Charge a few dollars on those oldest cards occasionally and pay them off right away. Keeping these cards active will have greater weight on your credit score.

Don’t Believe – Don’t believe ads that promise to fix your credit score faster by paying them fees. The facts that affect your credit score cannot be erased or fixed by someone and will follow their course to stay on your report until they complete their timeline. Only you can improve your credit score by acting responsibly and taking proper steps in the right direction.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

Highest Tax Canada
World’s Tallest Condo
Do We Reap What We Sow

The Tallest Residential Building in the World

February 15th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Q1 - World's Tallest Condo

Q1 – World’s Tallest Condo

When it comes to building a tower that will stick in the minds of the people of the world, there is nothing like height for making your point. Certainly there are world famous towers that do not rely on height to take their place among the elite, and no-one would seek to deny that – the Eiffel Tower is one such building – but when it comes to new builds, if you want to truly impress a watching world there is nothing like a skyscraper to get heads nodding and tongues wagging. For this reason, the tallest buildings in the world will always be the subject of much discussion, and this makes the title of “tallest residential building in the world” one that is keenly fought for.

The current holder of this title is Q1 (short for Queensland One) located in Surfers Paradise on Australia’s Gold Coast. Standing at an amazing 1,058 feet tall and 78 storeys high, Q1 is truly remarkable. It is one of those buildings that throws up fascinating facts whenever it is brought up in conversation, simply because it is hard to convey how remarkable something is through raw data alone. Among other  things, the building is capable of withstanding the force from ten jumbo jets pushing against it – in the highly unlikely circumstance of that happening – because it has a reinforced “honeycomb” core. The elevator in the Q1 can go from the bottom to the top floor – 77 floors up – in 49 seconds.

Facts like these are what it takes to convey just how impressive the Q1 tower is. It is perhaps no surprise that it cost approximately AUS$400million (US$307million) to build. If you want to live there, however, you will need to take on a substantial cut of that cost. Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe reportedly bought the Penthouse apartment for a sum of money believed to be in the range of $12million, immediately making it the most expensive apartment in Queensland. To stay in the building for a night will cost you less than that – in the region of AUS$319 (US$245).

Often when a building of similar size is built, there is a concern about its height making it structurally unsound, and at its highest point a risk of vulnerability in high winds. For the Q1 this is not a problem – the furthest it will move even in a cyclone is  600 millimetres.

Of course, all of this says very little about the building itself as a residential property. On that front, it is one of the most desirable places in Australia and beyond with world class dining and recreational facilities as well as retail outlets and a very strong aesthetic. There is tropical landscaped garden along with lagoon pools, and for those people who need to relax after a long day there is also a day spa. Top class conference facilities make it an ideal place for a business investment, too.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 25, 2009.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

Highest Tax Canada
The World’s Longest Beach
How to Rent in Thailand
Cheap VOIP

3 VOIP Communication Apps That Save You Money

February 11th, 2015 Posted in Internet |Technology | No Comments »

Cheap International Calls from Smart Phone Apps
Photo Courtesy: Ringo.com

Cheap International Calls from Smart Phone Apps

A VOIP App like Skype will give you very good voice quality, there is no doubt about it. However, whenever it comes to balance, getting good voice quality, and lower rates, Skype fails to make the list, as its rates are very high and unrealistic. Today, I will talk about 3 telecommunication apps you can use to make international calls on your tablet or smart phone at reasonable rates without compromising voice quality.

Ringo: Ringo is distinctive in that rather than using Wi-Fi it uses your local cell network on your phone to make international calls at incredibly low rates. I have not seen any other apps that beat Ringo’s low rates and still retain excellent voice quality. The only drawback of Ringo is that you wont be able to use it on your tablet, as it requires a cell network to make calls. However, as phones are getting bigger like tablets, most people will abandon their tablet at some point in the future, making Ringo a must-have app on your smart phone. Minimum load is $5.

OTO: OTO uses Wi-Fi to make calls and call quality is good enough to keep it as your Wi-Fi VOIP app. Rates are comparable with other VOIP apps and sound quality can beat most other Wi-Fi VOIP apps available. OTO also offers free international calling only from Korea. Minimum load is $10.

Google Hangouts: In the past, Hangouts voice quality was not that good. I noticed that it has improved a lot since then. The main advantage is if you are using Android phone, Hangouts is already on your phone. International rates are low and you can call anyone in Canada and USA for free.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

Highest Tax Canada
The World’s Longest Beach
How to Rent in Thailand
Fez: Soul of Morocco

Canadians are among the most heavily taxed in the industrialized world

February 8th, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

Canadian Tax Issues

Canadian Tax Issues

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes. It is a legal requirement that we must pay tax on earnings and purchases in addition to other more specific levies that pay for our public services. This is a necessity, but that does not make it any less galling when the time comes to give up a portion of the money we have earned. Taxes are indeed such a vexed issue that those of us who can afford to often employ a financial advisor or accountant whose knowledge of the system can spare us at least some of the unnecessary tax expenses that often go unnoticed due to the less than total comprehensibility of the system.

One way to defray at least some of your tax burden is to invest some of your money in bonds. When a bond matures it is seen as a capital gain, and only half of the proceeds of capital gains are taxable under Canadian law. There are jobs that pay a portion of their salary as bonds for this very reason, although this is obviously unpractical for those whose income falls below a certain threshold. However, as Canada’s taxation system is progressive, with a higher rate paid by those on larger incomes, some people argue that this legal tax avoidance measure is simply a way of redressing an unfair balance.

Sales taxes also account for a portion of each Canadian citizen’s tax burden. Depending on which province the sale takes place, the tax on a sale can rise as high as 13%. Certainly all provinces other than Alberta have a Sales Tax level of 10% or more, with Alberta clocking in at a comparatively tiny 5%. Therefore, if it is practical for you to do a large amount of your purchasing in Alberta, this is one way in which you can avoid being stung for more cash. Prince Edward Island is comparatively a high sales tax area, with a  taxation level of 15.5% of the cost of the sale. Thus, an individual who pays most of their Sales Tax within Prince Edward Island can, at least in theory, unburden themselves of more than two-thirds of their tax loss by doing their shopping in Alberta.

Unlike most of the Western world, the Canadian government does not impose Inheritance Tax on its subjects. Inheritance is seen as another form of capital gain and therefore subject simply to Capital Gains tax just like bonds or stocks. Though to benefit from this absence of Inheritance tax, someone needs to die – which takes us neatly back to the words of Benjamin Franklin all those years ago. One other thing – if you like a cigarette and a beer, and drive an air-conditioned vehicle, then you are paying four different kinds of Excise tax. It might be time to look at whether you can walk to the liquor store.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Jan 31, 2009.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

ETFs Skyrocket
The World’s Longest Beach
How to Rent in Thailand
Fez: Soul of Morocco

How To Rent In Thailand

February 4th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Renting in Thailand

Renting in Thailand

Living abroad is something that most people want to do for at least some portion of their life, and which more and more people are deciding to do. As the Internet among many other things has seen the world become a lot closer, we all have a much better insight on other countries, their customs and the options they offer for someone looking to move there. Depending on the move you make, the “intricacies” of the whole process may not even need to be all that intricate. It is imperative, though, that you inform yourself of exactly what will be expected of you before you begin to put your plans into action. For example, while it may be relatively easy for a Canadian citizen to move to the US, or vice versa, moving between continents is not as straightforward.

The vagaries of property law often see a particularly large amount of tax levied on anyone looking to buy a house in a country where they have not lived before. This is one of the first things you should check before moving, as it can add another 50% to the cost of the house. Among the nations which place severe restrictions on non-nationals owning property is Thailand. To buy a property anywhere in Thailand, a non-Thai national will need to jump through a certain amount of hoops, and will invariably end up paying more than a Thai national. In order to avoid doing this, it makes a lot of sense to rent initially if you are planning only to spend a few years or less in the country. In becoming better acquainted with the country, it is also possible to learn a way to buy a property hassle-free, or monitor any changes in law.

Renting a property in Thailand, for Thai or non-Thai, is a lot more convenient and straightforward than purchasing. In fact, it is so straightforward that negotiation is very firmly discouraged. If you see a place advertised as being available at a certain price, you should not even consider trying to work the landlord down – most landlords will prefer to leave the property empty than rent it for less than the going rate. Why you would negotiate anyway is a matter for yourself – many rents for studio apartments in Phuket and Bangkok are in the region of $150, some even less.

If renting in Thailand it is worth being aware that all rental contracts are exclusive of things such as electricity, water and telephone bills, which are instead considered surcharges. However, considering the affordability of renting a property in urban or rural Bangkok it is hardly too much of a headache for someone with savings and a decent regular income to pay rent and bills and still have enough left over to live on without discomfort. Three bedroom houses in the more rural areas are available for little over $300 a month. At the other end of the market it is more than possible to spend four figures renting a condominium, but for that price quality is guaranteed.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 21, 2009.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

ETFs Skyrocket
The World’s Longest Beach
Canadian Student Loan
Should You Share Problems

EFTs Skyrocket, IMP Lowers Global Economy, and Canada Lowers Interest

February 2nd, 2015 Posted in Canada|Global Economy | No Comments »

BlackRock ETF Investments Skyrocket

BlackRock ETF Investments Skyrocket

The world’s biggest money manager, BlackRock, attracted $102.8 billion in new money into its ETF business in 2014, setting a global record for ETF business. As investors flocked to ETFs, BlackRock’s ETF assets totals to more than 2.7 trillion.

The majority of BlackRock’s new money came from its iShares funds listed in the US. However, the second and third largest ETF providers State Street Corp. and Vanguard had $37.2 billion and 82.8 billion in new money.

BlackRock’s previous new money record was in 2008 when it attracted $88.6 billion.

IMF Lowers Global Forecast

The International Monetary Fund lowers global forecast for 2015 and economic growth at 3.5 and 3.7 percent. Although global economy is benefiting from lower oil prices, gains are diminishing by negative factors such as slower growth in major economies like China, Russia, Japan, and Europe.

Canada’s economic outlook was reduced to 2.3 percent from 2.4 percent for 2015. However, IMF raised projected growth for the United States from 3.1 percent to 3.6 percent.

Canada Cuts Interest Rate

The Bank of Canada cuts overnight lending rate by a 0.25 percentage point in a surprise move. This is the first cut since September 2010. The Bank of Canada interest rate stays now at 0.75 percent.

The magnitude of lower oil prices pose various economic risks and this rate decrease is to provide protection against those risks.

Although the rate cute is suppose to result in lower interest rates that banks charge to its clients for various loans, a major bank like TD already declared that they would pass the lower rate on to its clients.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

The World’s Longest Beach
Canadian Student Loan
Should You Share Problems

Canadian Student Loans

January 29th, 2015 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

Personal Finance For Students

Personal Finance For Students

Third-level education is becoming more and more important in terms of getting a job in many sections of the economy. Some employers are unwilling to consider applications from candidates without a college diploma, and some of those employers will only to consider applicants with diplomas from certain schools. The problem for the prospective scholar is that college education doesn’t come cheap, with tuition, course materials, travel and accommodation costs often being prohibitive for the many students who cannot attend a college close to home.

Fortunately, for the needy prospective student, the Canadian government does have a program where they fund Student Loans for eligible scholars. Eligibility is decided on a number of factors including location (both of the pupil and the learning institution), current living costs, savings and parental income. For students who fall into the bracket of eligibility, a government-backed student loan is a godsend, allowing them to concentrate on their studies free of at least part of the worry of funding their education.

A student loan, as the name suggests, does have to be paid back when the student has graduated and is earning a salary, so it’s not free money and its use has to be priority-based. These priorities are in part, much the same as those that require the attention of a home owner – keeping a roof over one’s head, putting food on the table and paying bills. Even in subsidised student accommodation, these priorities are non-negotiable and in large this helps a student prepare for life after college.

Being responsible for your own budget teaches you to look after the pennies, which becomes all the more important when there is a mortgage to keep on top of and failure to pay that may result in your home being repossessed. Having to set aside cash for tuition fees keeps the importance of your studies at the forefront of your mind, reminding you why you’ve taken this step. When there are parties to attend most nights and a level of freedom beyond what you’ve known in the parental nest, it’s easy to feel that student life is all about the social side of things. But without responsible financial behaviour you could end up having to drop out and, without doubt, the restrictions of living back at home are felt all the more when you’ve lived without your parents for a spell.

If you don’t qualify for a government-backed student loan, there are still options available. Private student loans are one such option. Although they are not quite as secure an option as a government loan – being based on credit and therefore often necessitating that a parent acts as a co-signee- they are given by lenders at a low rate of interest and tend to be generous enough to cover the important costs of student life. Then, depending on the intensity of your course, it is possible to take on a part time job – which will often provide adequate money for as many toga parties as you want to attend.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Jan 25, 2009.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

Canadian Real Estate in 2015
Global Economy
The World’s Longest Beach
City with The Most Skyscrapers

Canada’s Real Estate in 2015

January 26th, 2015 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Slowed Real Estate Growth May Not Last Long

Slowed Real Estate Growth May Not Last Long

The oil price drop hurt Canadian real estate sales, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported on Thursday. Calgary and Edmonton led the decline, as these regions are most affected by oil price drop.

Although sales were down 5.8 percent in December from November, the CREA home price rose 3.8 percent from December 2013 and yearly sales rose 7.9 percent across the country.

On a separate note, Royal LePage mentions that home prices are expected to rise 2.9 percent in 2015. Toronto will lead the increase by 4.5 percent. However, this increase is still lower than last year.

Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Halifax will follow the lead after Toronto with an increase of 2.8, 2.4, 0.6, and 0.5 percent respectively.

Toronto’s real estate market will see accelerated growth due to increased economic outputs in Ontario caused mainly by lower loonie and higher economic activities in the USA. However, oil price decline will cause lower real estate growth in Western Canada. Also, interest rates hike and mortgage rules change possibilities pose further risks to Canada’s real estate sector.

Although slowed home price growth poses a threat to the Canadian housing market, it will be welcomed by many first-time buyers, especially in the west. However, this trend is not expected to last long and price appreciation will return and exceed the historical average. The appreciation might even accelerate further when energy markets recover in the future.

More Ahmed Dawn Articles

How Credit Cards Work
Global Economy
The World’s Longest Beach
City with The Most Skyscrapers

Copyright © 2011 [A Dawn Dot Net Corp.] All rights reserved   |   Privacy & Cookies