rules modified

Hard to believe I’m writing a blog post on NYE. This is more pathetic than even I imagined.

In any case, there are some Real Estate 101 rules I wanted to make sure you remember as we start into a new year, living in this mama of a housing gasbag that is clearly on borrowed time. Strikes me it’s never been so important to ensure you’re selling, and buying, in the right ways.

No BRA: It doesn’t matter how seductive the realtor ends up being, do not sign one of those Buyer Representation Agreements when you are shopping for property. The most pervasive argument is that all realtors work for the person paying the commission (which is the seller), so by signing a BRA you ensure the agent helping you buy is on your side. That’s crap, of course. If you sign you’re opening yourself up to potential legal action in the future, since you’re accepting responsibility for possibly paying the dude. So don’t.

No FSBO: It’s the refuge of the cheap and the greedy. For-sale-by-owner listings invariably attract sellers who don’t think professionally marketing their homes is worth paying for, and yet expect to pocket not only a fat price for the real estate, but also all the commission. It’s easy to see why people want to sell this way, but why on earth would you want to buy from from a DIYer? They probably home-school and change their own oil, too. Gross.

Negotiate. Everything. When you decide to list your home and avoid the real estate tsunami aimed at your town, remember that real estate commissions are totally negotiable. If you don’t ask, the listing agent will likely slap on the standard 5% (which ends up being split between agents and brokers on both sides of the deal). But it shouldn’t take much of a conversation to get it reduced to 4% – which is a sizable wad on a $700,000 house (plus HST in many provinces). Also make sure you ask for a marketing plan. And comparables to confirm the pricing. List too high in 2014, and you’ll still be for sale in 2015.

Stage it. Selling houses will get a lot more competitive as listings swell in many markets. Meanwhile most buyers are hormonal and emotional basket cases, ruled by first impressions who often decide to deal based on one 13-minute viewing (as opposed to spending four hours looking for great yoga pants). The best investment you can make is in staging – pimping the place to its maximum potential with lots of eye candy furniture and nice decorator touches giving the impression you’re actually erudite and cultured. If you’re a buyer, imagine the place naked.

Insure it. Most insurance products (and insurance salesguys) are designed to Hoover your money using guilt. It works astonishingly well, especially on new fathers. But while most insurance is questionable, title insurance is now a necessity. Never buy a house without spending a few hundred bucks to get a policy that will protect you against unpaid property taxes, liens or other things your lawyer was too balled or cheap to catch, such as an encroachment or wives of the former owner buried out back. This also makes a survey somewhat redundant, but you should still ask for one prior to closing.

Inspect it. Never close a deal without doing a home inspection. If you’re moronic enough to be in a bidding war, then have the inspection done prior to submitting the offer so the condition can be eliminated. Otherwise, it’s non-negotiable. A good report will give you some peace of mind. A bad report lets you walk away from the deal or go back and demand a lower price. And the inspector is obviously key. Choose very carefully, asking for referrals and credentials. On the day of inspection spend every second with the guy, getting a running commentary on the property as well as the final written report. And take your time. Typically a home inspection clause will give you a number of days during which your due diligence can happen. Go back with your buddy the electrician or your plumber brother, as well as the reno contractor. Make the sellers nervous. It’s fun.

Reconsider it. This is arguably the worst time in years to buy a house, unless you do it a place (like New Brunswick) where houses are priced below their replacement cost, plus the moose are free. In most urban centres sellers are still greedy, refusing to believe prices can ever fall, and the 2013 pop in values has just made them worse. If we’re not at the pinnacle, we’re close. Real estate is basically unaffordable in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, while household debt is ridiculous. Once markets fade, events happen quickly. If you can get by another year or two without your spouse vivisecting you, then wait.

Rent. Without consistent, relentless annual increases in real estate values, there is no financial argument for buying a house. Renting is always cheaper. In fact, landlords today heavily subsidize their tenants, usually without even understanding the folly of their actions. Renters don’t waste their money any more than homeowners piss it away cash on mortgage interest, property tax, insurance, maintenance, snowblowers, land transfer taxes or commissions. Renters can take the difference and invest it. Homeowners are often broke, with scant savings and fat debt. In the absence of inflation or income growth, a real estate buy is 100% emotional. Remember that rich people’s houses are a small percentage of their net worth. That’s not a coincidence.

Well, there are many more rules. Like never hire a lawn Asian. Or, only make an offer on a stat holiday. Or, buy the worst house on the best street. Or, never lowball. Or, replace your mortgage with a revolving LOC. Or, don’t leave the pit bull unattended during showings. Or your mom.

So, fear not. Any blog that stayed home on New Year ’s Eve and wrote about title insurance certainly won’t disappoint you. This is rock bottom.


#1 Derek R on 12.31.13 at 9:40 pm

Rock bottom? Of course not! It’s dedication! So Happy New Year, everyone. But of course, if you follow Garth’s advice a happy 2014 is all but guaranteed!

#2 Cher on 12.31.13 at 9:45 pm

Newby! Happy New Year!

#3 Bizybord on 12.31.13 at 9:46 pm

Thanks Garth for this wonderful blog. And for kick-ass lessons on balance, diversity and liquidity. Happy New Year. Cheers

#4 World according To Garth on 12.31.13 at 9:47 pm

Happy Fukushima everyone here on the wet coast !!

Your $91,000 salaried govt employees at work. Enjoy 2014 as your kids glow green.

#5 Bill on 12.31.13 at 9:50 pm

Have a Happy New Year! I really enjoyed reading your articles this past year. All the best in 2014!

#6 Outer Limits on 12.31.13 at 9:50 pm

Even more pathetic is sitting at home reading it:)

#7 walltiger on 12.31.13 at 9:51 pm

What is a lawn Asian?

Happy New Year to everyone.

#8 JSS on 12.31.13 at 9:52 pm

And heartfelt thank you Garth for your insights this year.
Looking forward to your blogs in 2014

#9 Big Sexy on 12.31.13 at 9:54 pm

Happy New Year’s, Garth!

#10 roberto ford on 12.31.13 at 9:56 pm

happy 2014.
Condos down, detached up… what about townhouses? is it safe to buy a townhouse now in TO or 905?

#11 blase on 12.31.13 at 9:56 pm

You’re awesome Garth. Thanks for this free blog. Happy New Year.

#12 Miguel on 12.31.13 at 9:57 pm

happy to see you posted an entry today, I’m at the in laws and they all think I’m an idiot for renting. The brother in law carries a 450k mortgage with an income of about 70k. THe mother in law loves him for that. I gave up on trying to make them come to their senses.

I’m more pathetic for being FIRST on NYE

Happy new year Garth

#13 Sponge Rob on 12.31.13 at 9:58 pm

Not sure who is more pathetic. You writing on New Years Eve or me reading it. Happy and prosperous new year to Garth and the blog dogs!

#14 TheCatFoodLady on 12.31.13 at 10:02 pm

Going out New Year’s Eve can be highly over rated. Cover charges, head splitting noise, over priced drinkie poos & the frantic fevered frenzy of the young engaging in their mating rituals…

Those points, fleshed out, would make a great half day seminar for house virgins – both newbie buyers & nail biting, first time sellers.

I’ll only comment on staging. Hiring an experienced, OBJECTIVE stager can result in far fewer DOM, more offers & a better selling price. Buying IS emotional. It shouldn’t be but it is. If you’re one of 5-6 almost identical homes in a neighbourhood for sale, the right prep can make the difference.

An experienced stager knows who is looking to buy your type of home in your neighbourhood & how to attract those buyers. They’ll recommend such actions as fresh paint, decluttering, repositioning of existing furniture & will notice little fixes & cleaning that should be done.

It can be a bit demoralizing to have a stager critique YOUR décor but it helps to think of the place as not really your home any longer but an asset to sell for the best price.

It can really make a dufference.

#15 FATHER on 12.31.13 at 10:09 pm

Happy new years and best wishes to you and your loved ones and to all the blog dawgs

#16 Nodebt on 12.31.13 at 10:12 pm

Happy New Years Garth!

#17 Ontario's Left Coast on 12.31.13 at 10:13 pm

Happy New Year, Garth! I’m new to your blog and just want to say thanks very much for your perspective and insights.

#18 espressobob on 12.31.13 at 10:14 pm

Its hard to believe. HNY!

#19 Smoking Man on 12.31.13 at 10:18 pm

I can’t believe I’m here, on NYI

I have problems,mostly family Garth are we ever going to have a beer together, I’m not a phyco altho I have no problem being insane under the fake name,
experimenting with thyems, looking for reaction.

Finding secrets to successfully book writing, a no no is feminized man

Dancing with 7 foot lesbos and 4 black dudes is cool.

Dude, I work in a world where errors for a few minutes cost thousands.

And if I didn’t get to explore and say my shit. I would exloped.

I extend my warmest and sincere good fortune to you, your woman, the Amazon’s, the blog dogs. And every other creature rooming the earth that can fog a beer glass full of JD.

To my 26 fans, if it wasn’t for you, I would get a life.

And herb, let’s French kiss, I’m not guy but, hell man, you got to live a bit.

Happy New year every one

#20 AK on 12.31.13 at 10:19 pm

#156 Ronaldo on 12.31.13 at 10:04 pm
“You obviously know “precious” little about the PM market.”
I know enough to stay away from it, Dude.

#21 Retired Boomer - WI on 12.31.13 at 10:21 pm

New Years Eve. We stopped for an early dinner and a couple of adult beverages and came home before the evening crowd began to gather. Amateur night is not for a couple of Boomer Geezers. We were celebrating my wife’s final day of work. Tomorrow, we wake up retired with less income, but no debt, and time to contemplate the price of depends.
Being together 24/7 might be a challenge, especially with these dam cold, long midwestern-short light days.
First thing on the 2014 agenda is planning that trip south.
Rebalanced the portfolio. Hope my guesses are valid, time will measure it.
Garth, thanks for a humorous, educational, well written blog touching so many facets of our money, and lives.
Best wishes in the Gnu Year!! Same to all who read these posts.

#22 Carpe Diem on 12.31.13 at 10:25 pm


Thanks for the post. Father of three kids under 8 equals keeping to a boring routine. The delight was seeing your post!

Happy NY everyone!


Now I can go to sleep …

#23 Ferrari321 on 12.31.13 at 10:30 pm

Happy NY Garth – no rest for the wicked I see. Keep up the good stuff.

#24 Babblemaster on 12.31.13 at 10:30 pm

“Once markets fade, events happen quickly. If you can get by another year or two without your spouse vivisecting you, then wait.” – Garth


Same advice you’ve given in previous years Garth. And we all know what’s happened to RE prices since. It’s very hard to accurately predict the future.

#25 MF on 12.31.13 at 10:46 pm

Happy new year from montreal Monsieur Turner! All the best! Thanks for the daily lucidity fix.

#26 You know who I am on 12.31.13 at 10:47 pm

Off topic but really weird . Its political so I thought it would give you a laugh . I coined this word this week . It is banned from the cbc comment section . they allow profanity . Shit , ass and much much more . I tweeted it to all the leaders of the four parties sitting in the house . Even Evan Solomon . And guess what . You got …it no answer . To me this is beyond ridiculous . Censored by the cbc . Lol .I tried to post it with no context . Just the one new and obviously dangerous word .
Whiptalkcracy . Is it really that dangerous a word ? Does it not describe what you were booted out for . I thought you would find it baffling if not amusing . Cheers ,thanks a lot . If it does not appear here I guess I should hide some where safe like behind your bunkers . You just can’t make this stuff up .

#27 Freebird on 12.31.13 at 10:47 pm

Heard most of the rules before but the lawn Asian was new…and well, yeah. I’m going to guess that replacing your mortgage with a revolving LOC is along the lines of a Manulife One Mortgage? Not sure. I’m in as well this year. Probably watch the ball drop with one eye open…woohoo

Happy (and prosperous) New Year

#28 Steven on 12.31.13 at 10:53 pm

“Without consistent, relentless annual increases in real estate values, there is no financial argument for buying a house.”

Buying a house is not about a financial argument. It is about having a place to live and should be purchased as cheaply as possible or living properly is not possible. Since the depths of the last great depression people have lost sight of that basic truth as they indulged in a genocidal hyperinflationary orgy of real estate price inflation and wage stagnation. Real estate cultists have sinned against the creator of the universe , against their decendants if any and against their respective races. This criminal insanity must end NOW!

#29 Tripp on 12.31.13 at 10:59 pm

Happy New Year, all the best to erveryone!

#30 dosouth on 12.31.13 at 11:02 pm

Thanks for another year of insight and input….Happy New Year from the Big Apple!! Yep, saved money renting and now we are partying tonight in Times Square tonight……your advice pays!

Cheers to all!

#31 You know who I am on 12.31.13 at 11:03 pm

Okay . Garth I guess I’m safe where I am . Happy new year .

#32 gerbrando on 12.31.13 at 11:05 pm

Thanks, Garth, for the great blogs in 2013. Looking forward to more of the same in 2014.

#33 Smoking Man on 12.31.13 at 11:10 pm

No I’m not going to get any Smoking Man you rock, we love you kind of praise.

I understand peer pressure, the fear of being negatively judged by the collective.

To my cowardly fans, and curiousity seakers, who want to acknowledge my brilliance.

I’m so cool with your silence.

You’re only human.

Not every one was born with a monster set.

I forgive you’re cowardness,expressing your love of art, no matter how much red us in the painting.

I’m f_en happy if I can keep 2 from jumping in front of a train this year, it’s a win.

My parents where never delt this shitty hand by the basteard up above.

Guess he gave it to me for his demented entertainment and enjoyment, when I get up there in the not to distant future.

He’s got some answering to do.

I want the chair.

#34 John in Mtl on 12.31.13 at 11:14 pm

Hello Garth and Fellow bloggers,

I bid you a happy and prosperous 2014.


#35 Scully on 12.31.13 at 11:15 pm

HNY everyone! Spending it reading this blog might be truly pathetic, but it could be worse. I could have taken the advice given by a realtor friend just last week. He told me the only two reliable investments were real estate and gold, both of which are on sale right now so I better hurry or I’ll miss the opportunity and be priced out forever. Thank you for saving not just me, but my family from some serious financial mistakes!

#36 gary/halifax on 12.31.13 at 11:18 pm

Garth, many thanks for the best blog anywhere..
Best wishes for a prosperous new year to you and all the folks here..we’re staying in too..must be getting old!!

#37 Herb on 12.31.13 at 11:29 pm

OK, Garth, you finished with a flourish. Now take the rest of the year off.

#38 jo on 12.31.13 at 11:29 pm

I read the blog everyday, it is my treasure. I think you love all of us as much as we love you. Thanks Garth.
Cheers to everyone

#39 Debtfree on 12.31.13 at 11:31 pm

We all admire your battle against sobriety . This one man war you are waging is an inspiration to all of us that have fallen by the way side . Im sorry . We just had to give up the sex , drugs , rock and roll . She who must be obeyed and the kids just made us stop and get a real job . If it’s any consolation we live vicariously through your writings . You are the marathoner we all would have loved to be but she , the kids and now grand kids preclude all that we could have been . Like Jim said . When the musics over turn out the lights . For all us wounded the lights went out a long ,long time ago . Keep on keepin on SM .

#40 45north on 12.31.13 at 11:35 pm

The World According to Garth: Happy Fukushima everyone here on the wet coast !!

from your link: Turner Radio Network has obtained a report which shows that a plume of radiation from Japan made its way across the Pacific Ocean 6 months sooner than originally forecast, and began hitting southwest Alaska in 2012 and Vancouver Island, BC in June of this year.

I’m very suspicious of your link. Here’s another link that confirms my suspicions:

The punchline is that overall concentrations of radioactive isotopes and therefore radioactivity in the Pacific will increase from Pre-Fukushima levels, but it will be way less than what was seen in coastal Japan and definitely not enough to be harmful elsewhere

#41 Herb on 12.31.13 at 11:38 pm

#19 Smoking Man,

sorry, SM, you’re not my type. Sanity in 2014 anyway!

#42 Keith in Calgary on 12.31.13 at 11:41 pm

So, I am sitting in my neighbourhood pub last night with a bunch of the regulars. and two of them are doing a FSBO hose deal right beside me.

The vendor cashed out at $542K commission free to the buyer………..who knew the guy for years, and his house well (or so it seemed).

I also know the buyer, but not the vendor.

He bought this house without selling the one he currently is living in. He had realtors “appraise” it at $950K this month, so he said he will list it at $850 (cause nothing in our neighbourhood sells for over $900K anymore) and take whatever offer he gets in 30/60 days.

His logic……….grab his equity, cash out, and as he still needs a place to live……with his remaining amortization schedule spread over 15 years, he’s ahead of the game in the new place.

“Fear” is in the market boys and girls…….there were two sellers at the table…..not a buyer, and a seller.

#43 Andrew Woburn on 12.31.13 at 11:43 pm

Given the canine orientation of this blog, I’m assuming a Lawn Asian is some kind of dog. Sort of like an Als Asian.

Best wishes to Garth and the pack of blogdogs and to our Vancouver friends, have a Hammy New Year.

#44 Freedom First on 12.31.13 at 11:43 pm

#33 Smoking Man

Smoking Man, you rock and we love you, and we don’t even have any resentment towards you that we too are losing our sanity as we can now read all your posts understanding every word you write without even noticing you are an imaginary dyslexic alcoholic character. I find I no longer notice spelling errors anymore and I don’t give a $hit what anybody thinks of me. I am much happier:)

Garth. Dawgs. You are all special. May 2014 be all sunshine for you and yours.

#45 Suburb boomer on 12.31.13 at 11:48 pm

Just sold my house and netted $900K. Friends and family think I’m hurting for cash but I’m really cashing out. Plan on renting for a year or 2. Biggest problem I have now is what to do with the cash. Great problem to have.

#46 bb on 12.31.13 at 11:49 pm

this is pathetic, i read your post tonight… I actually forgot about it for a few hours… damn, I momentarily thought about putting in an offer on an MLS listing, I am in trouble, like… married been renting for 2 years and wife is gripping things very tight lately, I am hanging over the balcony of my 12th floor condo rental hanging on to my wife’s hand but I have sweaty palms… help in 2014

#47 TheCatFoodLady on 12.31.13 at 11:50 pm

retiredboomer – may you & your wife find joy in retirement. If you both have hobbies & interests, you won’t drive each other too crazy, too often.

Those of us home tonight are smart. Comfy surroundings, chosen food & drink exactly when we want them, truly chosen company & pastimes.

Pathetic? Nah – just peaceful & satisfying.

#48 NorthOf49 on 01.01.14 at 12:34 am

Whatdya mean, never lowball? I plan to make lowballing one of my New Year’s resolutions. Bound to score a hit in this economy.

Almost always a lowballer ends up paying more, or losing the deal. — Garth

#49 45north on 01.01.14 at 12:44 am

Keith in Calgary: “Fear” is in the market boys and girls…….there were two sellers at the table…..not a buyer, and a seller.

good story Keith, I mean I take it as truth but you tell it well

#50 cmj on 01.01.14 at 12:45 am

Thanks for giving us your perspectives, honesty and humor. This blog is helping many of us to rethink how to diversify our investments. Homes can be an albatros if you can’t sleep at night wondering about making payments or how much equity will be lost in it.

During the past few years you have opened my eyes to ETFs. I’ve also influenced others to create a portfolio with ETFs. It would be shocking for you to actually know how many people have been affected by this blog directly and indirectly. Thank you and HNY!

#51 mrgadget on 01.01.14 at 1:02 am

#52 KG on 01.01.14 at 1:18 am

The base looks like a good boy.

Happy New Year all !

#53 Jimmy on 01.01.14 at 1:25 am

Happy New Year!!

Is a lawn Asian like a porch monkey?

#54 takla on 01.01.14 at 1:26 am

Garth your new yrs resolution should be to start changing your own oil,,,come on now what self reliant bearded biker worth his own salt would pay to have that done??,pull on some dirty old levis and get busy, youll have a whole new appreciation of how the bikes running,and a sense of accomplisnhment knowing your one of the few old school bikers left,springs just around the corner!! ps happy new yr!!

#55 Min in Mission on 01.01.14 at 1:34 am

Home alone, Garth??
Amazons got the evening off??

Hope that everyone has a great New Year.

If it was “rock bottom” for Garth to be writing a post on NYE, then, what about for myself? I’m at home reading it!!!!

#56 Tiger on 01.01.14 at 2:12 am


#57 Tiger on 01.01.14 at 2:17 am

I guess ppl from west coast , don’t even get a delete !
Like I said 6 times, smoking man< is a goof!

#58 RayofLight on 01.01.14 at 2:22 am

Happy New Year from Tucson,AZ Garth.( SnowBird).
Your perspectives have rung true with the sounds of reason, balance and fairness. I use your outlooks as a guidepost .
Thank You

#59 Cici on 01.01.14 at 2:38 am

#7 walltiger,

It must be a reference to Vancouver, where condo (and other home) sellers hire Asians to line up for pre-sales or bidding wars to create a false sense of demand.

#60 Cici on 01.01.14 at 2:40 am

Thanks for your awesome blog Garth…you make finances FUN, even for the non-Geeks among us (I’m more in Nerd territory) ;-)

#61 Spectacle on 01.01.14 at 2:41 am

Thank You again Garth…

Guilty…but I had to read this blog in two sneaky visits tonight! Great family, friends, home cooked dinner,Champaigne sipping, stoking the fireplace all evening, and great music! Wishing everyone the same on here!

In my industry, they say you end up the year in much the same way the next year will play out. Garth, you Rock, tonight’s post rocks, and it all indcates exactly how much 2014 will reward You !

Regards to all, M

Ps: what the [email protected]$ is a Lawn Asian , Garth, anyone? (still laughing myself about that one….)

#62 Tony on 01.01.14 at 2:53 am

Re: #48 NorthOf49 on 01.01.14 at 12:34 am

Congratulations on the “Furst” reply of the New Year.

#63 Westcdn on 01.01.14 at 3:03 am

I just read my last post – note to self, never post again when hung over and in a hurry. Just to clarify things, I am optimistic for the stock market in 2014 and negative on gold or bitcoins. I don’t expect real estate prices to move much. In the matter of government debt defaults, I think it will happen in Europe or Japan first. I think their fiscal policies are wonky and will lead to austerity and higher taxes. Greece looks ready to exit the European Common Market to escape their debt burden (2015?). That may trigger another global debt crisis which I doubt can be solved with money printing.
Anyway, it may or not happen so I have time to make my personal finances more bullet proof. For 2014, I plan to reduce my debts – yes I retired with a mortgage. Currently I have a suicidal mixture of equity investments in my self-directed RSP and it is time to follow Garth’s advice on balancing. I enjoyed the adventure but my age now limits my ability to recover from losses. Regarding my house, there will be no major renovations, granite and pot lights for me. I will leave that for the new owners, besides, I am not out to impress anybody. It will be the lowest priced house on a good street.
Best wishes to all for 2014 – I just had to post something this midnight.

#64 New Years boy on 01.01.14 at 3:12 am

Wow. 1 bedroom condo in Mississauga sells for nearly 100k over purchase price in 2011. I don’t think people are catching on to Garth’s message after all.

#65 Carpicker on 01.01.14 at 3:18 am

Just to say happy New Year to you Garth and blog dogs, whatever your personal agenda is ( if it is one) it does not matter at this point, you are a great person.

#66 Littler six on 01.01.14 at 3:42 am

Sold house this year. Put on market just after labour day. Feel very sorry for the young couple that bought. There was a bidding war and they way overpaid as the other offer came in below list smdh

Now renting. Going from two story house to small one bed meant posting ads for free stuff on Craigslist. Young men rented their own vans AND carried the crap out for me win ein. Not sad some of that old Shiz is gone. Feel lighter. No more shovelling yeah.

But I do have walls of boxes towering all around. Will take me a year to dig myself out, got to pare down even more. Get ready for the Bach next I guess. I really want to go south. I hate the cold.



#67 Happy Renting on 01.01.14 at 3:57 am

Staying in on NYE can be a great time. We save the $ to go out another night and have a much nicer meal/experience for the same dough.

In Toronto, 2013 was a showcase of why renting can be great. Sewage back-up from July flood? Downed trees from Dec ice storm? Landlord’s problem. Need to suddenly move for job? Sixty days + moving van = easy peasy. Don’t shovel snow, mow lawns, or scrape ice off the car, either (high rise with underground parking.) Rent control. Our money went into equities instead, which were very sexy this year.

Only thing is it can be lonely, surrounded by the house-horny. Glad I can come here. Thanks, Garth, and HNY everyone!

#68 live within your means on 01.01.14 at 4:41 am

A very happy & prosperous 2014 to our host, his family & all the BD’s.

All friends & neighbours were staying home this NY’s Eve. I’m alone as hubby is in France taking care of his Dad. His Mom’s next 3 days are critical according to DRs. She’s been in hospital over a mo. now. Depending on outcome, hubby may stay longer. He’s happy to be there to help his Dad, who has terminal cancer, but feels bad for leaving this old broad alone for such a long time. His bro. from Mtl. will arrive in France Jan. 5. Family knows it’s a very short time for both of them & better they both go around the same time. I talk to hubby every 2nd day.

Re DIY’s guys. Hubby is one. He does better work than most contractors – electrical, plumbing, cabinetry, etc. He has electrical approved by a certified electrician.

When we sold our previous townhouse eons ago I was the stagger. Everything was spotless, decluttered, etc. We didn’t have staggers back then. Single, young male who bought it still lives there. He took out a 2nd mtg. arranged by our RE guy who was a loner – not affiliated with a big RE co. And, back then we didn’t have ‘home inspectors’. What we liked about the construction of our house is that we could remove any wall in the house upstairs.

#69 Turtle on 01.01.14 at 5:50 am

Happy New Year, everybody!

Never missed a post in three and a half years, also read most of the comments. Thank you Garth for your work… it changed my life… maybe in a different way (I didn’t sold or bought a house). Your persistence on this blog is what truly inspired me and changed my relationship with money… I’ve been drinking tonight, but this is not a love letter, Garth, trust me… I’ll stay on topic.

Anyways… my wife is on board as well, after two years of mistrust in you, since I started to adopt your approach and vision. Everything is turning around for good. In 2013 year our net worth grew almost as much as we brought home despite emergency travel and medical expenses. And we are looking forward for an even better 2014 year.

The biggest help for me was a “rule 90”. It is a great rule. “Rent vs Own” – is not a problem anymore. Just put your numbers into “rule 90” and you will know what to do.

house = (90 – your age)% of net worth

#70 David McDonald on 01.01.14 at 6:05 am

Special assessments and how to avoid them would be a good blog topic. In our case we were forewarned by the seller and our lawyer and the price was adjusted accordingly. Thank goodness because a $20000 hit right after buying would be a shock. I have heard of several elderly people forced to sell their condo because of special assessments.

Happy New Year Garth

#71 Deb on 01.01.14 at 7:11 am

Thank you, Garth, for all of your posts during the course of the past year. I keep coming back not only because of what you write, but how you write it. Also, I look forward to adding words such as vivisect to my vocabulary, in communications with management, when I return to work on Thursday.

#72 bigrider on 01.01.14 at 9:39 am

Garth on negotiating selling commission easily from 5% to 4%…

Is it equally appropriate to negotiate a buyers agent to reduce his piece of the commission received , if a purchase takes place? i.e the 2 or 2.5% customary commission the buying agent receives, perhaps down to 1.5 by kicking it back into the deal?

#73 SHorty on 01.01.14 at 10:15 am

Curios about “replace mortgage with LOC” comment. Could you please expand in the near future? Thx.

#74 walltiger on 01.01.14 at 10:27 am

#57 CiCi

that make sense, thanks CiCi.

#75 T.O. Bubble Boy on 01.01.14 at 10:38 am

a bit late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For those asking, I believe “Lawn Asian” was a term used to describe the use of fake/planted imposters posing as HAM (“hot asian money”).

This tactic was/is used by realtors in HAM-fueled neighbourhoods to make the illusion of offshore money buying up properties. Think of Cam Good, who used fake HAM imposters on multiple occasions — including the infamous helicopter tours, and the young female condo buyers (who were actually employees):

Do a google search of ‘ “lawn asian” ‘, and you’ll find this term back in 2011:

#76 economictsunami on 01.01.14 at 10:38 am

When it comes down to demographics, it appears as though tiny/ picturesque Cobourg, ON just may be the canary in the coal mine.

Boomers and bust:

Our aging population set to put a heavy toll on our systems, and we’re not ready

Cobourg: Percentage of 55+ years= 41.76%

Total Population: 18,520

55 – 80yrs = 7,735

As G reminds us: 85% of Boomers own homes and 75% (?) of Canadians are w/o a workplace pension; with many expecting to retire with either mortgage or debt in general…

#77 Homeschooling on 01.01.14 at 10:50 am

Your comment on homeschooling disappoints, Garth.

#78 Habbit on 01.01.14 at 10:55 am

Best wishes to Garth and all the dogs in 2014. May you all be healthy.

#79 Smoking Man on 01.01.14 at 11:11 am

Crap, it’s really unfortunate that Face Book don’t have a bearded guy at the other end with a delete button..

Man I’ve done it now..

Anyone know how to delete face book post, info urgently needed.

#80 TurnerNation on 01.01.14 at 11:37 am

The 99% and The 1% differ by only one zero. That’s it.

We spend $30 on a meal out, they spend $300.
You spend $300 on a suit, they spend $3000.
$30,000 on a car, or $300,000.
$300,000 house, or $3,000,000.

-27c windchill forecast in Toronto tonight. #wordclass? Why would anyone spent 800k on a large 905 area tract house to be heated/cooled on this bald hinterland? Everyone wants to live here…I guess.

– 2014 predictions:

– REITS (US and Canada) and metals will do well, lifting TSX index up to 15,000.
– O’Dreary or his funds will go BK.
– Pipelines will go through. To me they are progress, like airports, highways, train tracks.
Will they leak? Sure. Will trains derail? Of course.
If you do not like pipeline you must disconnect the Natural Gas supply connecting your home to fuel. This supply, too, travels over eeevil pipelines. Acceptable risks. Each weekend (especially long ones), 10-20 people will die on Ontario’s highways in crashes. Dozens more maimed. This is an acceptable risk according to the Govt., insurance companies, and especially you: anyone driving on weekends. (Betting they will not be the ones.) Take one.

#81 frank le skank on 01.01.14 at 11:57 am

What’s a lawn Asian?

#82 Steven on 01.01.14 at 12:59 pm

Welcome to the new little ice age everyone.

The following graph will be updated in a day or two.

That is the good news, we are near the end of the interglacial holocene period which means that when the transition come we are looking at a thousand centuries of winter. You will be staying in Canada or you will be living.
The end of the world will be more by ice and snow than by fire and when it is over there will be a new beginning.

#83 Mark on 01.01.14 at 1:09 pm

Ah Garth, you never cease to disappoint. What better way to ring in the new year with a bang than with a mom joke. 2014 shall be a great year.

#84 broadway skytrain on 01.01.14 at 1:16 pm

#62 Tony on 01.01.14 at 2:53 am
Re: #48 NorthOf49 on 01.01.14 at 12:34 am

Congratulations on the “Furst” reply of the New YeaR……

better check again, tony. previous blog entry… was just a fluke though


#159 bdy sktrn on 01.01.14 at 12:05 am
#140 Old Man on 12.31.13 at 7:15 pm
The cute dog looking out the window…..

look closer , the dog is watching the blonde on tv.


re mayne isl- nobody wants to buy a half finished place. it never was worth a mil, so it never really dropped.

bc ferries is the fly in this ointment.

Consider ‘Nem’ a former habitué of KeatsIsland….

my condolences, why would you leave a beautiful wild island less than an hour from downtown?
this year was the best yet – weather,orcas,dolphins and a humpback – you can find me there every wknd in the summer:)
were you at eastbourne?

#85 silentbobz on 01.01.14 at 1:20 pm


I am not sure why you are so dead set against FSBO. Other then, what are the realtors providing? I live in a relatively major centre and have sold 2 homes FSBO for the same price the realtors who camped out at my house said they would sell it for. I negotiated with the buyers in less then 15 minutes at my kitchen table, filled in the same paperwork that you can print online (that anyone with moderate literacy skills should understand), and went to my lawyer which I would have had to do anyways. The whole process took about 3 hours and I saved 25kn each time…how is this not rational if you have the time and live in a place where your buyer will likely be a drive by anyways? Just saying, realtors are probably the most overpaid people in Canada with our high home prices, and are really only interested in closing deals…

#86 not 1st on 01.01.14 at 1:40 pm

Garth, lets start 2014 with some honest truth. Sorry to say but you are deluded to myth of their being these superior advisers (realtors and financial advisers) standing on every street corner. Simple truth, they are not.

Lets start with realtors. More than 50% of them out there have only been in this business for a years and are just hoping to get enough sales before the musical chairs stops. They dont have your interests at heart and will just list it on mls and hope for the best. So now you have to sort through the rest who might give you some extra help staging or marketing which you could probably do yourself.

And the truth about financial advisors is the good ones have managed their own portfolio into millions of dollars and as soon as they do that, they quit managing other peoples funds because its not worth the hassle anymore. The ones that are rich and still stay in to look for clients are likely closer to the Wolf of Wall Street than an honest broker.

Ethical advisors do not manage their own portfolios. They spend all their professional time on those people to whom they have a fiduciary duty. Your generalizations underscore a lack of experience. — Garth

#87 not 1st on 01.01.14 at 1:45 pm

#80 TurnerNation on 01.01.14 at 11:37 am

More like 2 zeros. The 99% make $30,000 and pay tax through the wazoo. The 1% make $300,000 and know how to shelter 90% of that.

And someone near my street built a $4 million house in Regina. I am pretty sure you could own a medivial castle somewhere in Europe for that or a lot of beach front someplace where the weather doesnt beat you every day.

#88 steelman on 01.01.14 at 1:45 pm

silentbobz …. I agree with you!! Did the same thing 3 times. I don’t need a parasite to help me sell my house.

#89 Mixed Bag on 01.01.14 at 1:48 pm

Happy New Year Garth and Blog Dogs! I continue to learn much from you both, and on this day, think it apropos to express my thanks.

Thank you Garth, for your work on the blog and the useful information you provide, for incredible one-liners too numerous to list that really do leave me LOL, and for allowing and moderating this unique comment section. I look forward to your posts every day.

This unparalleled group of commenters, and the enlightening and humourous comments, one won’t find elsewhere. Both the regulars and rare commenters.
Thanks for your comments and links, subjects I wouldn’t have read otherwise and learned about. This site is a conglomerator of information, the only one I hit refresh for to read the new comments.

You’ve got gold here Garth.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2014 bring you health and peace.

#90 not 1st on 01.01.14 at 1:48 pm

#76 economictsunami on 01.01.14 at 10:38 am

Our aging population set to put a heavy toll on our systems, and we’re not ready


Thats why I would never own RRSPs, cause in 20 years when they are ready to come out, it will be boomer tsnaumi time. And they always vote and b*tch the most so the squeaky wheel gets the greese.

#91 Infused with Opiates on 01.01.14 at 1:48 pm

Title insurance is a product that wasnt even offered in BC until the last decade or so. I’ve never had it, and I have never heard of anyone claiming on it.

The four western provinces have torrens land registation systems – government insured title.

If your lender requires you to purchase additional title
insurance, make sure to see what is actually covered .

I am not familiar with the registration systems in Ontario or east of that, but they are at least partially deeds-
based, where title is passed by a series of contracts
forming a long chain which must be researched and
verified each time the property is sold.

#92 Stoopid Idiot on 01.01.14 at 1:56 pm

Steven 157/82 #

Ronaldo the quake that triggered the tsunami that buggered the nuclear reactors was absolutely no accident and was not natural. It was induced through the use of HAARP transmitting a large amount of energy at 2.5 hertz for 3 days from Gakona, Alaska.

OMG — Garth

Steven…. Mom said “stay off my computer”…. Sorry Garth, left only for a few minuets

Retired Boomer – WI

Congratulations on the rest of your life… Only you and the Misses can appreciate the sacrifice made to realize this day. Most the kids I mentor these day only know hand to mouth let alone living not within your means but beneath it, as this is where all savings come from…


Good entry point… is that not buy low, sell High?

Is your Home you RRSP…? Reverse Mortgages will prove to be a sad fact and what does that look like when less and less home owners have equity in their homes?

Happy and Healthy New Year Garth, Best to all the those that come here. It is said that the greatest distance a man can travel is the distance from his ear to his mouth

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And you are the guy
Who’ll decide where you go.”
— Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

#93 RayofLight on 01.01.14 at 1:59 pm

BTW, a 1 bedroom Condo in Tucson,AZ, in a really nice, gated community with a well financed Condo Association ( contingency fund north of$1M) , costs < $100K ! +( $120 /month HOA & $800/year taxes)
But then you have to put up with these crappy blue skys and perpetually boring 70 s F winters.

#94 brainsail on 01.01.14 at 2:09 pm

Normally I do not put much credence to Jim Cramer’s advice. But this time he makes perfect sense.

“Living in his car, Cramer developed investment strategy”

“Save. Whatever you can – whenever you can. But always save.”

“It may sound simple but Cramer thinks too few people really understand the concept.”

“Quite simply, a good investor always saves – period.”

#95 Andrew Woburn on 01.01.14 at 2:11 pm

Are you spending New Year’s day worrying about radioactive sushi? Are you planning to relocate to Bulgaria to escape the coming radiation holocaust in BC? Maybe you are secretly hoping it will bring on affordable bungalows in Burnaby.

Maybe you should read this report in the Guardian, the British newspaper that published the Snowden/NSA leaks. If there is a more environmentalist, anti-corporate major newspaper on the planet, I haven’t found it. If their editors will eat sushi, so will I.

Sorry to unscare you but hang in there, a new doom story is coming. They never stop and they never will.

“Fukushima tuna safe to eat – study”

#96 Shawn From Edmonton on 01.01.14 at 2:34 pm

Can you give us a better reason not to buy from a DIY seller ? We would still need a lawyer to close the deal right and can still hire a home inspector.

Do you have a vested interest in the livelihood of real estate agents ? What do they provide that a home inspector and lawyer cant ?

I wrote a post on the dangers of FSBO. Read it. There are zero advantages and only potential disadvantages for buyers. — Garth

#97 Keith in Calgary on 01.01.14 at 2:36 pm

I’ve got a few minutes to knock of a post before I have to go and board my flight.

One of my office colleagues was complaining about her house during a conversation the other day. She pays $2300 a month mortgage…..$300 utilities…..$200 taxes and has to shovel her own snow and cut the grass…..also works 3 nights a week until 300AM as a waitress at a bar to make ends meet. Boyfriend is in construction and he doesn’t make much either……they didn’t do anything for Christmas, didn’t take holidays this year, and are going nowhere for NYE. Said she wants to sell but when she figured out she’d lose her $25K downpayment she made a year ago to RE commission and discounts she became really pissed and despondent. “I’m screwed” were her final words of realisation.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this person and feel sorry for her for she fell victim to the “first time buyer” lies that the criminal cheats and thieves in the real estate industry spout every day. An entire generation of people are going to be financially battered by the greatest criminal organization this side of the Sicilian mafia……..and we do nothing to efffectively regulate them. At least the mafia had a code of honor they enforced with an iron fist.

#98 bentoverpayingtaxes on 01.01.14 at 2:39 pm

Dude….paying an agent commission is so brain dead…so 2013……I have sold FSBO many times…even to real estate agents……get a grip….make holding on to your money a New Years resolution.

I got to be a millionaire by never letting go of a buck that belonged in my pocket. Spend the money you save on your wife and kids… yourself something nice….spend the winter in Thailand on the commission you didn’t puke up. Being called ‘cheap’ in this regard is a great compliment….it means I’m flying above the crowd of turkeys below.

Have a prosperous new year……. I know I will.

#99 Alwyn on 01.01.14 at 2:59 pm

I gave “The Wolf of Wall Street 9 out of 10 and I think most of you blog dawgs will like it especially if you enjoyed Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street”.

If you like these kinds of movies you might also like “Glengarry Glenross”; and, “Tin Men”.

#100 T.O. Bubble Boy on 01.01.14 at 3:10 pm

TFSA time!

As of today, you get another $5500 in TSFA contribution room.

What are you buying tomorrow?

#101 Debtfree on 01.01.14 at 3:27 pm

@95 AW you can’t eat anything out of the Athabaskan river systems anymore either . All of our rivers and lakes are under attack . Big oil is making them all and our air their toilet . Steve is making anyone that cares enemies of harperland . Be very careful to not commit any sciences or worry about your descendants . They are not part of the plan .

#102 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.01.14 at 3:37 pm

@#82 Steven

Proof that paranoia + access to the internet = delusional ramblings posted for all to see.

Thanks for the gut laugh.

#103 Porsche on 01.01.14 at 3:45 pm

#100 T.O. Bubble Boy
TFSA time!

As of today, you get another $5500 in TSFA contribution room.

What are you buying tomorrow?

Not buying REITS…

Real estate investment trusts, hampered by falling unit prices, have been squeezed out of the commercial property market over the last quarter by private investors, a new report shows.

CBRE Limited, which provided an advance copy of its latest data to the Financial Post, suggests things are not going to get much better for REITs in the coming year either.

That’s a report on the acquisition of commercial property by investors. Zero impact on existing REITs’ management or cash flow. You are wrong again. — Garth

#104 Vangrrl on 01.01.14 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for all your advice, Garth. I’m going into 2014 comfortable with my finances, debt free, and (I feel) on track… This brings great peace of mind knowing that whatever ups and downs occur this year, I have some financial security behind me.
HNY to you Garth, and fellow blog dogs- and pats on the heads to all our wonderful pets- looking forward to this year’s posts and comments!

#105 Mr Reality on 01.01.14 at 3:49 pm

Good tips Garth. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting a second opinion on the inspection!

Mr. R.

#106 Stoopid Idiot on 01.01.14 at 3:51 pm

TFSA time!

As of today, you get another $5500 in TSFA contribution room.

What are you buying tomorrow?


#107 Porsche on 01.01.14 at 4:27 pm

#106 Stoopid Idiot

As of today, you get another $5500 in TSFA contribution room.

What are you buying tomorrow?


Love the chart, solid trend.

#108 KommyKim on 01.01.14 at 4:45 pm

RE: #4 World according To Garth on 12.31.13 at 9:47 pm
Happy Fukushima everyone here on the wet coast !!

Well! Then this fact from Wiki will drive you bananas!
“Since a typical banana contains about half a gram of potassium, it will have an activity of roughly 15 Bq (Becquerel). Although the amount in a single banana is small in environmental and medical terms, the radioactivity from a truckload of bananas is capable of causing a false alarm when passed through a Radiation Portal Monitor used to detect possible smuggling of nuclear material at U.S. ports.”

#109 Victor V on 01.01.14 at 4:52 pm

Number three is a correction in Canada’s housing market. Granted, the latest housing data are actually showing renewed vigour. But the root cause of this persistent buoyancy is not much of a mystery. Canadian borrowing costs have been quite cheap, paired with ready access to credit. On the global stage, only a handful of countries managed to deliver this pairing, and all experienced rousing housing booms.

An initial glance at the housing market reveals surprisingly little to get worked up about: Housing starts are only slightly elevated, housing affordability is normal and household credit growth is sluggish.

A closer examination, however, reveals two important qualifiers, both of which are on the cusp of relevancy. First, housing affordability is only fine because borrowing costs are historically low. As yields rise, this will start to bite. Second, housing starts data conceal the true problem. As anyone who has been to Toronto will tell you, the sky is black with cranes. The backlog of condominiums already under construction is unprecedented. No doubt builders will drag their heels to smooth the absorption of these units into the market, but this will come at the expense of materially fewer future projects.

#110 Ronaldo on 01.01.14 at 5:00 pm

#97 Keith In Calgary – If your friend is paying 2300/mo for a mortgage in Calgary she obviously bought into a house that is way above their means.
I can understand a mortgage like that in Vancouver that first time buyers are paying for 1920s ”tear downs” but Calgary has newer homes priced at half what the Vancouver ‘tear down’ are listed for that would result in half the price they are paying. It would seem that they unnecessarily extended themselves. Possibly victims of “trying to look the part”. One of the reasons that real estate is in trouble in this country.

#111 Tony on 01.01.14 at 5:10 pm

Re: #84 broadway skytrain on 01.01.14 at 1:16 pm

I’m in Ontario Canada and clocks have never changed even since the days of the sundial or before that with the advent of the maya calendar. You must see something no one else sees.

#112 Victor V on 01.01.14 at 5:14 pm


Transferred my $5,500 a few minutes ago. My wife’s TFSA will get maxed next week.

Can’t wait for the limit to be increased to $10,000. I’m not a huge F fan given his past shenanigans with loose credit for home buyers, but this one action to increase TFSA deposits has my full support.

#113 fisheman on 01.01.14 at 5:24 pm

Commercial R/E is hot here in Vantown. 100 ft. in the Armoury district with a pre war tear down went for 5 mil. Didn’t even see any soil testing. By the way, one might want to add enviro OK as your first subject to Garth’s list of musts when buying R/E. You don’t know pain as an owner till you have to ship soil to Alberta to be burned.

Not just mainland Chinese anymore. Persians, Arabs, Russians, even heard rumours of Japanese money coming into town (after a long hiatus). They seem to be drifting away from residential, but love commercial & farmland close to the city. Nice floor for an established REIT. Remember, it’s not white flight: it’s cashin in.

#114 Ralph Cramdown on 01.01.14 at 5:39 pm

#109 Victor V — “The backlog of [Toronto] condominiums already under construction is unprecedented. No doubt builders will drag their heels to smooth the absorption of these units into the market”

I’m not certain on the exact details, but eventually, a developer requested extension of previously agreed occupancy dates triggers the presale buyer’s option to cancel and get his deposit back. Works great for the developer in a rising market, but not if prices have fallen since the sale. Expect creative developers to clame force majeure due to a shortage of trades, and litigation.

#115 TheCatFoodLady on 01.01.14 at 5:47 pm

From the article referenced in # 76… love the term ‘apocalyptic demography’. I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by David Foot in the late 80s in Toronto. That pretty well got me hooked on examining demographic issues as they pertained to… everything. The big factor I missed was that we boomers didn’t increase. Hell, we barely replaced ourselves & our kids remain essentially rug rat free.

Offsetting that – maybe – is the fact that we’re clearly going through a change in work, its nature, how we perform it that rivals the industrial revolution. I’m not even sure what to call it – I’ll leave that to the historians.

Do we, will we; have enough of the younger generations with the proper qualifications to do the work needed in the future? I think so. What looms ominous in my mind is… how do we fund the increasing urgencies we’re facing?

The article focuses on the increased health care system demands of our growing population of elderly – we can only go by trends. It’s clear the elderly need more care as they age but can we truly quantify/qualify what will be needed? What concerns me about it is the fact that gerontology isn’t the most popular of specialities from either medical or nursing points of view. Cases are increasingly complex, demanding & like it or not, you end up losing your patients at some point!

Iterations of home care & support are cheaper than ‘bed blockers’ in acute care hospitals. It’s funding & pay that may prove to be the issues. Pay for various home care workers quite frankly – sucks. Your case load can be huge, you’re always running behind & you’re never properly compensated for expenses.

Dementias just add a whole new layer of craptastic.

If health care wasn’t enough, changing demographics & work are leading to significant changes elsewhere. Anyone look at small towns lately? A great many are dying. Fewer want to continue living in them or move there. It’s not about buying/renting a house, you buy to buy into a lifestyle. It’s not for everybody. For those who feel they must get closer to a larger center, with better facilities including health care, scraping equity out of a home may be damned near impossible. Oh if your family has owned the home a long time you’ll get some but will it be enough to fund the rest of your life?

Infrastructure – a whole lot of that pricey stuff is in dire need of replacement or serious repair. More & more, we have news of collapsing roads, crumbling bridges, etc. And it’s happening everywhere. Might future politicians have to make the sometimes difficult choice to NOT replace roads/bridges that lead to a dying village because the money isn’t there?

Look, I’m not a Dyed in the Wool Doomer – doomgasms give me gas. I like to try & look ahead & see what future problems might be. Through a bit of planning & a great deal of luck, the Main Squeeze & I find ourselves in a rental, in a neighbourhood that works for us & will for a long, long time. We are facing known health issues in the future but in terms of location & resources, are in a pretty good place. We can’t plan for everything though, as much as we try. Life happens.

Positives – if our kids & grandkids get it right, there are tons of opportunities out there. The right skill set & an ability to adapt as well as the attitude to adapt should do them well.

The internet has changed the world & continues to do so, at a breath taking pace. I periodically range beyond this pathetic blog & cute kitten videos to learn things. We all can learn so much & that means less reliance on the biases & possibly mistakes of others. We only have our own to contend with.

Shopping – Canada may be lagging behind other nations when it comes to e-tail but not for long. Increasingly, people use physical stores to examine merchandise, check sizes, colours, quality of manufacture… then go home & order it online. If this trend takes off here – no reason it shouldn’t – there’s some nice money to be made in logistics. Warehousing, delivery… have to wonder how that may affect REITS in the long term? Meh! They’ll change what they own to reflect realities.

It’s fascinating to watch the changes taking place & to watch the very young embrace them with no hesitation. We need to do the same or risk being left too far behind to catch up.

#116 Kevin on 01.01.14 at 6:08 pm

Happy New Year Garth! Thanks for all your entertaining and informative posts this past year. All the best.

#117 We can't even think of a word that rhymes. on 01.01.14 at 6:12 pm

in the US thousands are home schooling because the kids have to have multiple vaccinations to get into schools, which is child abuse.
And they no longer teach cursive in many states, I guess math will be next to get the chop

Just what we need. More diseased kids with great handwriting. — Garth

#118 jan on 01.01.14 at 6:32 pm


#119 not 1st on 01.01.14 at 6:44 pm

I truly feel sorry for Garth today. He is trying to impart some financial common sense on the idiotic public so they dont die broke in an alley somewhere. Its one thing to have a friendly spar with him a bit on economic predictions. Its totally another thing to have crackpots and weirdos fill the blog up with nonsense.

#120 [email protected] on 01.01.14 at 6:59 pm

I tried googling this bit from Garth today “Or, only make an offer on a stat holiday” but I couldn’t find it – what is the benefit to the buyer?

No competition. — Garth

#121 JRH on 01.01.14 at 7:16 pm

Happy New Year Folks! What’s wrong with throwing on the coveralls and changing your own oil ?

#122 45north on 01.01.14 at 7:39 pm

Smoking man: Anyone know how to delete face book post, info urgently needed.

on Facebook put your mouse over your comment. A little pencil should appear. Click on it and you will see a pop-up box “edit or delete”. Choose delete.

#123 Retired Boomer - WI on 01.01.14 at 7:57 pm

#115 TheCatFoodLady

What you say is a cross order concern. Here, we have taken the steps to create a power of attorney for healthcare, along with a prime directive (such as what extent -if any- medical intervention will be allowed). Sort of a pre-emptive “screw you” to the medical community.
Americans must buy their own healthcare, either in the private markets, or at 65 accept the gov’t “medicare” program that pays only about 80% of costs…YOU get the rest. There are medicare insurance supplements you can buy, and most do, their coverage, and costs vary widely.
Long term care (the Alzheimer’s victim, the devastating stroke victim, the geezer who lives past say 90 and can’t take care of himself any longer) needs to provide for their OWN nursing home care…or exhaust nearly all their own resources and go a gov’t funded “medicaid” facility.
(You won’t like those).
Bottom line: Smoke, drink, and plan to skid into the casket with a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other, and say “It was a hell of a ride” before you are forced into a nursing facility. I have YET to meet the old person who was happy to be in one. Most say they’re sorry they lived so long. Maybe that’s just an American opinion, I’ll let you know in good time…

#124 45north on 01.01.14 at 8:16 pm

it’s cold today in Ottawa, it’s going to be colder tomorrow -28°C

pour in a cup of windshield anti-freeze into your green bin

the anti-freeze stays liquid so all the contents slid out

Maybe you should drink a little, too. — Garth

#125 Ret on 01.01.14 at 8:49 pm

CPP/OAS increases

Interesting that the first quarter max. OAS payment increases by only .1% or $.55. CPP rises by .9% for the year.

#126 World According To Garth on 01.01.14 at 8:53 pm

Garth I thought you were a financials expert not a doctor? More diseased kids? In fact more kids are sick from chemical cocktails of vaccinations. But of course you won’t hear that from MSM or Govt. I used to work in healthcare for ten years btw and NO WAY do I poison my kids with pharma poisons. And they are never sick unlike the vaccinated GMO kids we know who are sick with something all the time. Facts Garth facts.

#117 We can’t even think of a word that rhymes. on 01.01.14 at 6:12 pm
in the US thousands are home schooling because the kids have to have multiple vaccinations to get into schools, which is child abuse.
And they no longer teach cursive in many states, I guess math will be next to get the chop

Just what we need. More diseased kids with great handwriting. — Garth

Some days this blog terrifies me. — Garth

#127 Entrepreneur on 01.01.14 at 8:57 pm

2014 and have seen the changes in this world…some good and some bad. When it comes to the wildlife and environment it is sad to see the decline. I think greed from all levels of the officials had a hand in this show. The only hope I can see when the First Nations stand up against this disregard to nature which we are seeing with the pipeline, oil sands, liquid natural gas…replaced with fishing, farming and hunting.

By the way, I like Snowden…maybe he will be president one day…I trust him, but wait, I can’t vote for him I’m not an American. At least he is in the 99% category.

Housing are not selling around here and prices are coming down. House prices could use a crew cut as they are too high for the new buyers, usually young adults. There is an old saying that you will get treated the way you treat someone, something like that. Only anger, frustration, and hatred will come out of low interest/high price homes (house). Maybe our leaders should take a course in psychology, and if they did, take it again but listen this time. I doubt it. (I’m sorry, I got a little angry there.)

I agree with Steven #28/82…”real estate cultists here sinned against the creator of the universe…it must be stopped now”. It will stop only when the earth has turned upside down and inside out or red alert all over.

Thanks Garth for the info and allowing us to speak our minds within reason. Happy New Year to everyone!!!

#128 Canadian Watchdog on 01.01.14 at 9:21 pm

Yatter Matters: Vancouver Detached Home Prices Go Super Nova

Vancouver’s new Detached home average price is $1,276,073. This is the highest price ever recorded for a single family home in this city.

Fast foward five years: REBGV average detached price hits $2.5 million dollars based on a total fifty sales for all of December. Chart

Something is getting very very very out of whack here and I'm starting to suspect it has something to do with banks and insurers offering numerous ways out of delinquent loans and foreclosures. Like this:

How do I defer a mortgage payment?

Payment Vacation: To be eligible, all TD Canada Trust debt, including your mortgage, must be – and continue to be – up to date, with no current delinquencies or arrears. As well, there must be no evidence of previous bankruptcy or written-off debt. The Payment Vacation option will result in interest capitalization. That means the interest will be added back to the principal outstanding on your mortgage.

The "Payment Vacation" feature gives you the flexibility to take up to 4 months off from making your mortgage payments: A payment vacation is permitted once per term for up to four months.

And while banks offer speculators every chance possible to avoid defaulting on their loans, they're moving on to other potential speculators: more specifically, immigrants waiting on CIC's backlog — to offer them credit cards and mortgages before they even step foot in Canada.

Banks get creative in fiercely competitive battle for new Canadians

Canadian banks are developing new tactics to attract business from immigrants, devoting greater effort to locking down newcomers even before they settle in their new country.

Traditionally, financial institutions relied on relatively simple, well-worn strategies to win accounts from immigrants. These include offering free chequing accounts for one year and issuing credit cards to people who have no credit history in Canada.

There are no fundamentals to go by anymore. This market is all being driven by profligate government policies and reckless lenders. If all we have left to spur economic growth is mass immigration and a printing press, then God help Canada.