Barry Klatt

403-271-0600
Barry Klatt
Office:403-271-0600
Fax:403-476-5236

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In a growing trend, on the cusp of RRSP season, yet another poll shows that Canadians, by and large do not feel prepared for retirement.

 
A recent survey from CIBC shows that while Canadians do not feel prepared for retirement, many of them plan to do something about it- starting now. Many identify retirement planning among their top priorities this year.
 

Furthermore, many do recognize the link between retirement success and developing and implementing strategy: “Planning ahead makes a significant difference, according to the poll - among Canadians who say they have a long term investment plan for retirement, 76 per cent say they are financially prepared for retirement, versus just 25 per cent among those who don't have a plan.”
 
“Planning for retirement is something almost every Canadian thinks about at this time of year, and our poll results show that many would like to be further ahead when it comes to their retirement plans," commented Christina Kramer, Executive Vice President, Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy, CIBC. "Our poll results reveal a split in the country when it comes to retirement, with those who are actively planning ahead are about three times more likely to feel prepared for their future retirement than those who have not yet mapped out their retirement strategy."
 

For Baby Boomers who feel panicky, and that time has run out in advance of their retirement, fear not. There is no time like the present, even when it comes to retirement saving and planning.

Furthermore, previous CIBC research shows that 69% of Canadians intend to keep working through retirement age, so for many there is flexibility in terms of saving deadline.
 
There is also benefit, no matter what stage of life you are in, to understanding what you are investing in, and how that fits into your overall planning. The temptation for many is to wait to the last minute of the RRSP deadline, which can sometimes result in rushed decisions.
 
“We're all busy, and some Canadians have fallen into the habit of making their RRSP contribution just before the deadline without taking the time to sit down and understand where they are versus their goals, and what they might need to change to keep making progress," added Ms. Kramer. "We encourage Canadians to make this the year you use the time before the contribution deadline to look at your broader financial picture, particularly given the difference we see it making in the confidence people have in their retirement plans."
 
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With all the Grow Ops being busted these days, I thought I should bring to your attention the ones that were not busted but instead moved.  In this case, how can you tell if a house was a former marijuana grow op if the police did not catch it first?  Here are some signs that you can look for. 
 
IDENTIFYING A FORMER GROW OP
 
Never assume the location is too bizarre or inconvenient to be a grow op. Police
have found grow operations in new housing developments, in large and small
homes, in basements and attics, in high-rise apartments and warehouses, and
in outbuildings. Marijuana grow operations have even been discovered in
vehicles like tractor-trailers, campers, motor homes and railroad cars.
 
In one Montreal raid, a grower used his own basement but tapped the
electricity from the adjacent garage of his neighbor. In another, police
discovered that every second new house on a street in a new subdivision
had been converted into grow ops — six houses in all. Police have noted an
increasing sophistication in illegal operations.
 
Grow ops often require extensive cleanup and repair. It is possible that these
repairs were never made and the real damage is hidden. Noticeable signs that
you may be dealing with a former grow op include:
 
• Mould in corners where the walls and ceilings meet.
• Signs of roof vents.
• Painted concrete floors in the basement, with circular marks of where
pots once were.
• Evidence of tampering with the electric meter (damaged or broken
seals) or the ground around it.
• Unusual or modified wiring on the exterior of the house.
• Brownish stains around the soffit that bleeds down along the siding.
• Concrete masonry patches, or alterations on the inside of the garage.
• Patterns of screw holes on the walls.
• Alteration of fire places.
• Denting on front doors (from police ramming the door).
 

It is our responsibility as both Listing and Buying Agents to do our due dilligence for our Clients to fully disclose any grow op activity in properties.  However, in some cases, we are not aware of this if the house has no record.  It is always BEST and advised that you request a full home inspection by a reputable and certified inspector.  By doing a thorough examination of the vents and electrical, the inspector may be able to spot a former grow op. 

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With the harmonized sales tax (HST) referendum now taking place in British Columbia, it occurred to me that the debate hasn’t really included newer voters, namely those between 18 and 25 who may already be in the work force or in college or university and planning to be in the work force when they graduate.
 
I’d imagine that a fair number of these voters expect to be in business one day soon, either working their way up the corporate ladder for small or medium-sized businesses, or using their entrepreneurial chutzpah to start new businesses themselves.
 
If those already in the work force with grey hair, jobs, pensions and mortgages have more or less made up their mind about the HST in B.C., I’d like to direct my comments today to this future generation of business owners, managers and employees.
 
Why should the HST matter to you and your generation?
 
First, if the HST referendum and the provincial sales tax (PST) is reinstated, the most significant thing your generation will lose is opportunity.
 
Your generation will lose the benefits to the province predicted by the independent HST panel chaired by former Alberta Finance Minister Jim Dinning. It forecasted that at least 24,400 new, better-paying jobs would be created in B.C. as a result of the HST, and that it would lead to a $2.5-billion larger economy and $1.5-billion more exports.
 
TheC.D. Howe Institute released a report on June 29 which was even more optimistic, noting a study by Jack Mintz of the University Of Calgary School Of Policy Studies that predicted more than 113,000 new jobs would be created in B.C. as a result of the HST that otherwise wouldn’t be created under the PST system.
 
So all of you will lose the potential benefits to the economy that two independent organizations have predicted as a result of moving away from the PST to the HST.
 
Second, Alberta, which has no sales tax, and Ontario, with the HST, will attract some of B.C.’s managerial and entrepreneurial talent who may well vote with their feet and leave B.C. because it will be more expensive to do business here than in Ontario or Alberta. Some of the people moving to Calgary or Toronto may be you.
 
It’s great to ski and sail in B.C., but you can’t eat great scenery and recreation. If your employer, or the new business you want to create, gets higher tax credits for its business inputs, only has to file one tax return and not two, and doesn’t have to pay sales tax on top of sales tax on top of sales tax, (which the BC PST requires businesses to do), it makes business sense to move your businesses, employees and future to Ontario, where even the premier admits his province will be the happy beneficiary of the HST failing in B.C.
 

Third, by promising to lower the HST to 11 per cent in 2012 and 10 per cent in 2014, the HST will be two percentage points lower than Ontario’s rate in three years. In fairness to former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm, if there’s anything he accomplished (besides unseating a sitting premier and opposition leader), it’s getting the tax lowered. And it’s not just lowered to 10 per cent on those things that were previously not taxed under the PST; by federal law, it’s lowered to that figure on all goods and services by 2014.

Fourth, you’ll lose in terms of income tax increases or social-service reductions. B.C. received $1.6-billion from the federal government for transition costs. There is no reason why a majority government in Ottawa is going to settle for not being repaid or otherwise settling on being paid something less.

If I were a taxpayer in Ontario or Saskatchewan whose taxes contributed to this payment to B.C., I’d be outraged if Ottawa waived or otherwise settled on this amount. It must be repaid and B.C. taxpayers will have to find the money to repay it if we return to the PST.
 
One of these taxpayers will be you. Another may be the business you want to start.
 
Fifth, you’ll risk losing expensive but important public services that government won’t be able to afford because the tax base will be too small by simply taxing income.
 

It’s a demographic time bomb, and it’s best illustrated by looking at the demographics of health care.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information stated that in 2007, the average annual expenditure on health care per person for people aged one to 64 was $1,996. The average expenditure for those over 65 was $10,318.
 
Add to that the fact that expensive surgical procedures are expected to keep boomers like me alive until well past 80; it’ll be my daughter’s generation that will end up paying far more for my generation’s health care costs than they could ever imagine. God knows what will be left for her and her kids unless new sources of revenue are found.
 
The tax base to pay the enormous health care and related social service costs of older British Columbians is shrinking as the baby boom generation stops working and enters retirement. When the tax base is smaller because there are fewer people payinger rates (with so many people retired and living off pensions or retirement income, which is taxed at lower rates), it will be left to a much smaller pool of younger people to make up the difference in income tax revenue to maintain our social services.
 
So unless income and other taxes are disproportionally higher for this smaller group of younger taxpayers in 20 or 30 years, or a new source of tax revenue is found, there’ll be less money available for the things my daughter’s generation might actually expect from government, such as health care and education for their children. Without a broad-based consumption tax on services, high corporate and income taxes won’t generate enough revenue for government to do the things we expect it to do.
 
It’s all well and good for the anti-HST naysayers with grey hair, pensions, jobs and mortgages to complain oh-so-loudly about the additional tax they’ll now have to pay on restaurant meals, dance lessons and haircuts, but without raising more money from the taxation of services, the income tax burden that your generation will pay 20 or 30 years from now will be absolutely unbearable.
 
Without taxing services, like the HST does, there will be little money left for your generation to fix the roads that need fixing, deal with global warming and remediate the environment, let alone provide your own kids with a good education and adequate health care.
 
I’ve explained to my daughter that she should see a vote for the HST as an “intergenerational insurance policy” that will protect her generation from the enormous financial demands of mine.
 
However, she sees it as “intergenerational middle finger” for those in their twenties not wanting to metaphorically pay buckets of their tax dollars to “change my generation’s diapers in the nursing home” in 30 years time at the expense of their own priorities for government.
 
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In the past several weeks, I've received many questions from people about the new projects that are happening in the Southeast.  So I thought I'd send out a quick FAQ email. 

As you all may be aware, southeast Calgary has had a bad rap, but all that is going to change.  There are many commercial and residential projects in the works to revitalize the mostly undeveloped and underestimated quadrant.  Projects like a new hospital, the extension of the ring road and a new mega mall.  Yes, you've heard about these projects in the news, but do you know how it will affect the areas in and surrounding the developments?   
 

SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS

Located at 196th Avenue and Deerfoot Trail S.E., expected to start offering urgent care and ambulatory clinics in 2012, with other services to follow the year after.

When it is fully operational, the hospital will accommodate over 2,400 staff members.  A large percentage of these staff members will be from out of town and most probably will want to relocate close to their place of occupation.  This will mean that sales of homes around the area will go up, prices will rise due to deman and rentals will increase as well. 

To accomodate the potential new residents, home builders and new commercial developments will be busy building in the area. 
 

SETON URBAN DISTRICT

The Seton Urban District is proposed to be the new "Downtown".  Plans include residential condo and new housing projects, restaurants, trendy retail shops, spas and fitness, schools, and 24/7 night-life, this is to replica Kensington.  Located in between Stoney Trail and Deerfoot Trail, it is the perfect location for visitors coming from the East, West and primarily South.  With the major box store chains located at Deerfoot Meadows to the west, there is talk of more US retailers to be occupying more of this Southeast section to create rows and rows of major shopping centres to line the highway.  Look for stores like Macy's, J Crew, Marshalls, and others...
 

SOUTH EAST STONEY TRAIL

The project consists of the construction and maintenance of 25 kilometres of six-lane roadway, 9 interchanges, 1 road flyover, 2 rail flyovers and 27 bridge structures, as well as 12 kilometres of Deerfoot Trail between Stoney Trail SE (currently Highway 22X) and the Highway 2A junction.  Encompassing the city, the completion of this span of highway will bring more residents and retailers to the outskirts of the city.  The convenience will attract many home owners, renters and developers. 

For more information on each of these projects and more, visit the project's site below.  Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions.  Thank you!
 
Barry
 
 
 
 
SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS
Larger than anything around it, the South Health Campus is becoming a distinctive landmark on the south-eastern horizon of Calgary.
SETON URBAN DISTRICT

New urban centre for S Calgary

Seton is about creating a synergy where people are immersed in a modern environment with an eclectic energy in a 24/7 vibrancy.
SOUTH EAST STONEY TRAIL
SEST is the largest single highway project in Alberta’s history, and its largest P3 road infrastructure project. The roadway’s main line will be completely free-flow and have no traffic lights.

 

View my Full Market Report

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MEDIA RELEASE

Calgary’s own CIR REALTY has just been reported the number one leader in residential home sales in all of Calgary as well as the number one independent brokerage for sales for all of Canada in the new REAL Trends Report released this week.
 
With 4,317 transactions closed in 2010, locally owned and independent CIR REALTY beat out all other city brokerages.
 
Other competing Calgary brokerages that made the list of REAL Trends top 200 that followed close behind include Re/Max Central, Royal LePage Foothills, Re/Max House and Re/Max House Mountainview.
 
Ray Stader, Co-Owner and Manager of IT and Finance at CIR REALTY attribute the brokerage’s commitment to technological innovation, 24 hour REALTOR® support and an unsurpassed professional development program to this accomplishment.
 
"CIR REALTY has positioned itself as a high-tech, high-touch company that prides itself on developing highly educated REALTORS® and giving them the support they need to do their business from wherever it is they are located. Client’s appreciate the efficiency in which our REALTORS® are able to move through the different stages in the estate transaction process, giving them ease of mind and a great experience."
 
Stader was fortunate to attend the REAL Trends Conference in Denver last month and is thrilled that as an industry leader, REAL Trends continues to provide the most trusted and accurate residential brokerage research in the business.
 
"The information that REAL Trends is able to provide regarding the residential real estate industry across North America is crucial to the continual growth and improvement of CIR REALTY and other brokerages," Stader says.
 
CIR REALTY has over 700 REALTORS®, staff and management spread over four Calgary offices and 11 satellite offices outside of the City. The brokerage has been family owned and operated since 1983.
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