Why Are Global Real Estate Investors Flocking To BRIC Countries?

June 27th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Bric Real Estate

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 6,, 2011

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries are the world’s largest emerging economies advancing into the next generation with fast and rapid growth momentum. These countries likely to overtake the US economy and would make up 22 percent of the global economy by 2015. However, the property markets in the BRIC countries are still within reach and expected to flourish in the next 10-15 years. The time may be just right for global real estate investors to make some money investing in these countries.

A recent The Knight Frank Global Cities Survey shows that BRIC cities will rise to the top of the list, pushing top western cities like Washington DC, Geneva, and San Francisco to the bottom. Some present-day world-class cities like Toronto and Vancouver fall out of the list entirely. New York and London remain on the top of the list; however, skyrocketed prices in these western cities will be beyond the reach of most investors.

The biggest winners to lead the upswing in global real estate market would be BRIC cities, especially Shanghai, Moscow, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo. Rapidly developing infrastructure to support industrialization, massive land area, abundant raw materials, and taking futuristic steps in the right direction are some of the reasons that would make accelerated growth possible in BRIC countries.

For example, Brazil is now at investment grade status, so investors will probably not be reluctant to pour money into its property market. China recently approved a property tax to tame its overheated real estate market.  These are some of the elements that show this is the time to realise the future potential of the BRIC real estate market. Global real estate investors are keeping watchful eyes on these BRIC cities, as property prices are still within reach and it makes sense to invest in these cities before prices start to skyrocket.

The share of BRIC countries in global GDP is rapidly rising, and so is its real estate market’s potential. As the entry barriers are easing, global real estate investors are slowly and surely moving into BRIC countries.

Credit Card Travel Emergency Hacks You Were Not Aware Of

June 25th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

How Your Credit Cards Can Help in a Travel Emergency

When you are travelling, if you run into unexpected troubles or in the event of emergency, travel credit cards can help you in foreign lands 24/7 and help is only a phone call away. You can even make free collect calls from foreign countries. Today, I will go over some of these free services that travel credit cards come with that can be lifesavers if you run into troubles.

You Lost Your Luggage – You can go through the traditional system in place and file a complaint that usually ends up with you making endless calls or spending a lot of time talking to the airline counter OR you can just call the concierge service provided by your credit cards and they will take care of the rest. Better yet, you may be eligible to receive coverage for expenses that incur due to lost luggage if your card provides lost luggage insurance.

You Are Stranded at Airport – A call to your concierge can sort things out for you and you may be eligible to receive coverage for costs such as hotel, transportation, food, and others if your card provides Flight Delay insurance.

You Need Medical Help – If you need medical assistance in foreign lands, travel credit cards can offer referrals to doctors, hospitals, consultation, medical transportation to the nearest facility or to your home country, transport your family from home to you, air-transport you from a foreign country to your home country if required, provide payments for all these costs and much more. Just make sure your travel credit cards come with a solid medical travel insurance from a reputable insurance provider.

You Need Legal Assistance – If you run into legal problems in foreign countries such as involved in car accidents, detained by local authorities, and so on, your travel credit cards can arrange to seek help from lawyers, embassies or consulates, assist with bail bond and so on.

You Lost Everything – You lost your passport, travel documents, cash and are stranded in the middle of nowhere? Relax and take a deep breath. Your travel credit cards can arrange and provide emergency cash, card replacement, assist with replacement travel documents, tickets, visa, immigration, customs, and much more.

What I mentioned above and possibly more can be covered by your travel credit cards. The art is to pick the best travel credit cards that meet your needs and make sure the concierge and insurance benefits are provided by reputable providers with adequate coverage. A Dawn Journal has lots of credit card articles that are unbiased and without any affiliations to any credit cards, unlike most other sites (meaning I do not collect any commissions for referring or providing links to credit card companies). And also keep an open for my next book Credit Card Hacks: What Credit Card Companies Don’t Want You to Know.

What Is OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)?

June 22nd, 2016 Posted in Investing|Personal Finance | No Comments »

The Ontario Student Assistance Program







The Ontario Student Assistance Program

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.comwebsite (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This articleoriginally published on the above website on Sep 29, 2011

The Canadian Government does not want any students stop going to college or university because of the lack of financial support. In order to prevent that, the Government provides financial assistance to eligible students in paying for their post-secondary education through various programs and services throughout Canada. OSAP or Ontario Student Assistance Program is the main source of assistance in the province of Ontario. OSAP is a student loan program which is made up of both federal and provincial funding for the eligible post-secondary students living in Ontario.

OSAP Loan Amount

The amount students receive will be based on their financial need. This amount is designed to cover expenses such as tuition, books, living costs, transportation costs, and so on. There are various factors that determine the loan amount such as parent’s income, marital status, student’s own or spouse’s income, course type (full-time, part-time) course length, and so on. There is a financial aid estimator or calculator available to give you an approximate idea of the amount based on your scenarios. To find out more, check Government of Ontario OSAP website.

OSAP Eligibility

There are many criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to be eligible for OSAP. Some of them are:
– You have to be a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or a protected person.
– You have resided in Ontario for the last 12 months
– You academic standing is satisfactory
Visit the OSAP site mentioned above for full eligibility criteria.

How to Apply For OSAP?

There are two ways to apply for OSAP: via paper application and online. Online application is quicker and therefore the preferred way. There is a cost of $10 to apply via paper application.

OSAP Loan Repayment and Interest

Once students graduate, stop attending school, or reach lifetime maximum, repayment of OSAP will start. Loan repayment starts 6 months after the student ends full-time status. The loan is interest-free and interest is paid by the government as long as students remain full-time.

Last Word

OSAP is no different than any other loan and as such, you should treat it with responsibility and care. Not handling the OSAP properly can affect your credit rating. If you have difficulties paying OSAP, don’t wait for the last moment. Contact the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) at 1-888-815-4514 or visit their website at NSLSC.

Global Real Estate Gets $1 Tn Injection

June 19th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »










Global Real Estate Updates

China’s Global Real Estate Hunger Continues – A Chinese site, Tencent Finance, reports that Chinese investors continue to grab global real estate and these are some countries with the highest investments:

South Korea: Only in Seoul real estate purchased is 160,000 square meters and 9.14 million square meters in vacation destination paradise Jeju Island.

Japan: 2 billion last year.

Singapore: At least 10 percent of the properties in recent years.

USA: Top destination for Chinese investors. At least $110 billion in the last five years, excluding purchases made by business entities.

Canadian Office Real Estate Company Is Among The Top Five: Canadian office space company Brookfield and Ivanhoé Cambridge are among the top five office real estate owners in the world. Some of the landmark properties owned by Brookfield are in Toronto, New York City, Los Angles, London, Sydney, Perth, and Berlin.

Global Real Estate Investments Skyrocket: Property consultant CBRE reports that global real estate will receive more than $1 trillion investments in 2016, which is 6 percent higher than last year.

North America is on the top list for global real estate investors at 48 percent, ahead of Western Europe, which receives 26 percent of investments.

U.S. Retailers Are in Deep Push into the Global Retail Real Estate Market: Another report by CBRE points out that U.S. retailers have expanded faster in 2015 than 2014 into the global retail property market. American retailers’ presence is more in the global retail space than Europe and Asia combined. Italy and the UK were at 2nd and 3rd position.

The Tallest Skyscraper In Canada

June 15th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

The Tallest Building In Canada

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 Apr 14, 2011.

Canada is not-known for skyscrapers, even though it has one of the tallest buildings on the planet; The CN Tower. However, if there is going to be a tallest building in Canada, then it should come as no surprise that it is found in Toronto, the commercial and cultural centre of the country.

First Canadian Place is the tallest skyscraper in Canada, sitting in the financial district of Toronto. It is the headquarters of the Bank of Montreal and it stands at 951 feet. It is the 11th tallest building in North America and the 68th tallest in the world. Within Canada, it is the third tallest free-standing structure after the CN Tower and the Inco Superstack in Sudbury, Ontario.

The building was designed by Bregman and Hamann  Architects (Image via Wikipedia) and constructed in 1975, when it was called the First Bank Building. It  sat on the site of the Old Toronto Star Building.
It took many years for the skyscraper to be built, before anything was dug because of bidding wars for the entire block during a revitalization of the area in the 1960s and the 1970s. Eventually however, the building was built and completed. It is identical in appearance to the Aaon Center in Chicago, which itself was built only two years earlier.

When you factor in the spire on the top of the skyscraper, the building is 1,165 feet. It has a total of 72 floors, and four floors that are below the ground. The building is served by 29 elevators and has a total floor area of 2.7 million square feet.

When the building was completed, it was the 8th tallest building to the structural top and the tallest building outside of Chicago and New York. It was also the tallest building in the British Commonwealth, until the Petronas Towers in Malaysia overtook them.

Until 1997, the ‘M’ sign of the Bank of Montreal on the building was the highest sign in the world.

In 2009, the building underwent a complete revitalization. Over 45,000 marble panels were replaced with new glass panels and white ceramic frits, along with bronze tint corners. New landscaping, handrails and water features were added in to change the look of the building even more and make it look more modern among the other buildings in the area. The total cost of the project was $100 million and it was paid by the owners of the building.

Canada may not be known for tall buildings but its three tallest structures just happen to be three of the tallest structures on the planet. That should say something about Canada, even though the world may not know that we have these structures, we find a way to sneak up onto lists and take them over.

While First Canadian Place may be the tallest skyscraper in Toronto, it is overshadowed greatly by the CN Tower. However, if you are in Toronto, make sure you check out this very tall building for yourself.

Only Because Canada Is the Best Country in the World

June 12th, 2016 Posted in Canada|Beyond | No Comments »

Canada - The Best Country on Earth

Canada – The Best Place on Earth

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 June 29, 2011

Is Canada Going To Be A Future Global Business Centre?

I have been contemplating writing about Canada’s being the best country on earth for a while. However, due to the volume of the good things about Canada to mention, I have been putting it off because I would have to write a book if I wanted to cover everything. Finally, instead of writing by myself, I took a short cut and gathered some of the rankings done by well-known and reputable organizations. Here is how it stands:

clip_image001 According to OECD’s Better Life Index, Canada ranks high in all measures of well being and Life in Canada Is Better Than Most Other Industrialized Countries.

clip_image001[1] According to The Economist Intelligent Unit’s Global Liveability Report, 3-4 Canadian cities are always in the top ten and Vancouver is usually always the world’s most liveable city.

clip_image001[2] According to Mercer 2010 Quality of Living Survey, several Canadian cities are always on the top and top five North American cities are Canadian – no cities from the U.S. can be found in the top 25.

clip_image001[3] According to the UN Human Development Index, which measures quality of life in countries around the world, Canada is one of the world’s best places to live and is always in the top ten.

clip_image001[4] According to The Heritage Foundations’ 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, Canada is the 6th freest country in the world.

clip_image001[5] According to the Vision of Humanity’s 2011 Global Peace Index, Canada is the 8th most peaceful country in the world.

clip_image001[6] According to The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, Canada is in the top ten.

clip_image001[7] According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2010, Canada is one of the least corrupt nations on earth.

These are only a few to mention. Any way you look at Canada, using any reports or indexes, it is in the top ten consistently year after year. A point worth mentioning is that you will not find our big brother in the south in the top in most of these rankings. Canada is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-linguistic country. Canada’s diversified backgrounds and cultures make it more unique than any other country on earth. Canada is the first country in the world to declare itself a multicultural country and in 1982 Canada added multiculturalism to its constitution. Canada recognizes, values, and protects its citizens’ diversity and human rights and treats each individual with respect, equality, and dignity. Canada is like nowhere else on earth and this is because Canada is the best country in the world.

Your Debt Won’t Go Away Unless…

June 11th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

First Steps to Get Rid of Debt

Debt is like a never-ending vicious cycle that’s just hard to terminate. Most people who are in debt failed to realize two simple and basic things that make it impossible to get out of debt. Today, I will talk about what you need to realize first, even before applying other debt-relief strategies.

Accept You Have a Debt Problem – This is the number one thing you need to admit or accept: that you have a problem. Most people failed to realize that they had a problem and that led them to not take any actions to work towards eliminating their debt. Think of an alcoholic who does not admit he is an alcoholic and declines to get any help. The same applies with debt. If you don’t admit it, you will never get help or take steps to be debt free.

Stop Borrowing More – This is another big problem that makes it hard to get rid of debt. If you are in debt and paying your balances slowly every month, it should be OK, right? That’s right. However, the problem is when you are paying your balances, but at the same time borrowing more. It’s like you are paying $200 per month towards you loans, but taking out $300 per month. The end result is you are sinking more into debt.

Obviously there are more steps you need to take to get rid of debt. Paying more towards debt, earning more, consolidating debt, and seeking professional help are only a few to mention. All these will happen as long as you go through the first two most important things I mentioned above.

Never Settle for Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards Except for This One Reason

June 8th, 2016 Posted in Credit Cards|Rewards Cards|Debts | No Comments »

Maximize Rewards with Travel Credit Cards

Those who are for cash back credit cards will often tell you that cash back cards are the best rewards credit cards because they are simple to understand and easy to deal with. And you don’t need to spend endless hours mastering hotel points and flight miles. However, what many cash back credit card users don’t realize that even though you don’t want to deal with points and miles, there is no need to shy away from travel rewards credit cards, as they provide the best returns possible among all types of rewards cards.

So how is it possible to enjoy a travel rewards credit card without going into the hassle of miles and points? The answer lies on the types of travel credit cards you are dealing with. Proprietary rewards travel credit cards offer simple rewards points that are proprietary to the credit card company that just work like a cash back credit card. You will receive proprietary points that will offset your travel costs charged by your card. For example, The ScotiaBank Gold American Express travel rewards card provides 4 points per dollar spend on selected categories that translates into 4 percent return. The only difference here from a cash back card is that you have to use these points to offset travel costs, instead of getting cash back.

Cash back credit cards can never beat travel credit cards because of the benefits and rewards travel credit cards can provide. And you can choose a propitiatory travel rewards credit card if you don’t want to go into points and miles. That begs the question: what is the only reason you should not use travel rewards credit cards? The answer is when you do not travel at all and not planning to travel ever.

For most of the population, travel happens often or will happen at one point in our lives. So to get the most out of your credit cards, go with a travel rewards credit card and enjoy the highest return credit cards provide among with other wide array of perks that no other types of cards can provide.

Donald Trump – A True Real Estate Entrepreneur

June 6th, 2016 Posted in Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Donald Trump-A Real Estate Entrepreneur








Donald Trump and Real Estate

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 Mar 1, 2011.

Even in these days of severe recession it is only the likes of Donald Trump who can say, “Well, real estate is always good, as far as I’m concerned.” For him it has always been “It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. It’s artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.”

Being born to Fred Trump, a New York property developer on June 14th, 1946, Donald Trump began his journey in the real estate industry quite early in his life and went on to stamp the Trump brand name on many prestigious properties in New York. Many prime properties including fine hotels, building complexes and casinos in New York City bear Trump’s name.

Since a young age, Donald was strongly influenced by his father’s business sense and he acknowledges the same by stating that his father was his mentor and that he learned tremendous knowledge from him especially in the construction industry. Donald Trump completed his studies at Wharton Business School and subsequently joined the real estate business developed by his father. During the 5 years that he worked in the family business under his father, Donald Trump made numerous profitable deals to an extent where his father even admitted to Donald’s having a Midas touch and said that whatever Donald touched seemed to turn to gold. Donald gained invaluable business skills under his father and then moved on to test the waters of the Manhattan real estate market. He successfully acquired numerous exclusive properties here, including Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Casino, Trump Tower, Trump Marina Hotel, Trump International Hotel, etc. Donald’s portfolio of prestigious properties just seemed to grow exponentially. All the real estate properties that become a part of the Trump Empire proudly carry the Trump name prominently, not only in their titles but also by the symbolic “T” displayed on distinctly visible areas of the building.

The Trump organization has been responsible for recognized developments across the world and also happens to be the only luxury super brand in global real estate. Its leadership in developing real estate, sales and marketing as well as property management is unparalleled. They have been able to maintain a high level of excellence and luxury in all their real estate projects that range from retail and office properties to residential complexes. Trump properties have been sought after for the quality and excellence they stand for. The Trump organization demands superior quality and perfection in minute details no matter what the project is; whether it is a hotel or a residential project, a luxury resort or a golf course, or even if it is a commercial and retail office – they all get the Trump treatment. The lifestyle and experience that Trump offers on owning one of their properties is unparalleled. The standard of perfection is visible in every aspect, from the design-driven facades created with cutting edge technology by renowned architects and the flawless interiors in which no detail is considered trivial. These are specifically designed to consistently maintain the world-class service that Trump is so renowned for.

The Trump organization owns 26 domestic properties in the U.S.A and 6 international properties. One such domestic property is the Trump International Golf Club and residences in Puerto Rico. This property has been developed to combine a beach resort with a world-class golfing facility and lavish residences over one thousand acres on a private peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean. The highlights of the property are pristine beaches and exquisite landscapes with an oceanic view in the front and the lush greenery of El Yunque Rainforest creating an appealing background. The property houses 3- and 4-bedroom residences, two world-class 18-hole golf courses, a 46,000 square-ft. clubhouse with an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a spa and many restaurants.

The Trump organization’s investment in global real estate encompasses Capcana in Dominican Republic, Dubai, Israel, Istanbul in Turkey, Panama City, Seoul in South Korea and Toronto in Canada. The Trump Farallon Estates in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic has been one of the most significant real estate developments in the Caribbean. The white sands, the crystal blue water, the coral reefs, the palm trees, the wildlife sanctuaries that all make up the mesmerizing Caribbean attract investors from across the world to the Trump Farallon Estates. This complex has more than 1000 residential units, a 350-room Club Hotel, an international golf course and 2 condominium residential units.

Future plans of the Trump organization include real estate development through hotels in Scotland’s Aberdeen, New Orleans, LA, Cap Cana in Dominican Republic and in Dubai, UAE. Almost all the hotels developed by Trump have luxurious guestrooms and suites, with most of them providing stunning oceanic views, golf courses and golf villas, private access to beaches, exclusive beach club, boutique shopping and fine dining.

The organization is not limited to only development and sales of properties but also has a division dedicated to providing real estate brokerage services in both commercial and residential sectors. They provide discreet, professional and quality service. Through a simple form on their website, the team of brokers dealing directly with Trump apartment owners or Greenthal managed buildings help provide the best brokerage in any area that one may be looking for. Their other services include portfolio expansion through ground-up development projects, existing property redevelopment, repositioning of properties that are under-performing as well as reflagging of currently operational hotels. The Trump organization has a stake in almost every aspect of real estate property development and with its 35-year history in hotel development and management they have proved themselves to be an unparalleled leader in the industry.

Trump has not only been successful as a real estate developer but in other areas of businesses too. Apart from this, he even bears a celebrity personality with many magazines and gossip columns frequently reporting news about him. He has also been the inspiration for television programs and he even starred in his own 2004 reality program, The Apprentice.

Hiring A Home Inspector

June 3rd, 2016 Posted in Economy|Mortgage 101, Global Real Estate | No Comments »

Hiring A Home Inspector

What To Know When hiring A Home Inspector

When you are buying a home, it is extremely important that you hire a home inspector. A good home inspector will ensure that you are not given any surprises when you move into your new home, and a bad home inspector can cost you thousands in things you never knew you would have to repair or replace in your home.

First things first, the realtor will probably give you a home inspector and you can use them, but do not rely on them. They probably are associated with the realty agency somehow, are being paid through them somehow and are not likely to stop a home sale. Always get a second opinion.

When you are looking at hiring a home inspector, make sure you ask them open-ended questions about their experience and training. You want them to explain their experience, rather than just answering yes or no to your questions. Your inspect needs to have training in construction and maintenance because that will give them a proper background for what you need. An inspector who also knows, or is, a structural engineer is also very important.

When you are interviewing the home inspector, find out what they will inspect and what they will not. If the inspector only looks at the interior of the house, rather than the roof and the outside as well, then you should not hire them.

Most inspectors should be able to provide you with a report template, or a sample report, which you can use to see what they are going to look on, how much detail goes into it and whether or not they will provide a lot of information in the report.

It goes without saying, but you need to get references for your home inspection. A lack of references means you could end up getting a bad home inspector. Once you have the references, call the people on the list and ask them about their experience with the home inspector and how satisfied they were. Talk to individuals who had a home inspection a year or more ago because some problems may not show up right away when a person buys a home. Mold is a good example of this.

Ask the home inspector what the policy is for mistakes or omissions that they make. No home inspector can catch everything, so you want a home inspector who can admit to mistakes and have something in place to remedy any problems that surface down the road. This will protect you in case something is found that the home inspector did not tell you about.

Lastly, find out if the home inspector is a member of any association. When a home inspector is a member of a home inspector’s association, they will be held accountable by the standards of that association. It also gives you an avenue for complaint if something goes wrong with the inspection, or the home inspector.

Home inspections are great, if you get one that is qualified.

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