Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What is the Atavist up to?

I haven't been posting much recently. It is not for a lack of wanting to do so. Sometimes 'things' get in the way. Some of these things are good, some are not so good, but all need to be dealt with. They take up time that I might normally reserve to write a few words or to read posts by some of my favourite bloggers. These things will all be resolved soon and then there will be some respite, until of course the inevitable new things arise to complicate my life again.

Actually, one objective of mine in recent years has been to un-complicate my life. My wife and I disposed of all of our residential rental properties over a period of several years. In Ontario, Canada, the deck is stacked against landlords. Tenants have all the rights. Landlords have very little recourse when deadbeats don't pay their rent, or destroy their property. Not all tenants are like this, of course, but the percentage is high enough to be very costly to landlords. Who needs the aggravation? Now, we no longer get phone calls in the middle of the night from tenants complaining of loud parties in the apartment next door, no longer have to deal with bounced rent cheques, no longer have to replace carpets in bedrooms used by tenants as dog toilets. Yes, that actually happened.

I don't miss having to deal with tenants. Neither does my wife, who interacted more than I with tenants and who spent a lot of time in court, trying to get judgments against people who had damaged our property or who owed us months of unpaid rent. The judgments were almost always uncollectible and a waste of time.

I do miss the field of real estate investing, though. I have a good eye for property and tend to see potential where others might not. It enabled us to make some good purchases, spend some money on improvements, and then sell at a profit. That is part of what is taking up some of my time these days -- looking for new real estate opportunities.

One situation I am looking at is in Panama, where I spent some time last November. An engineer friend of mine from Colorado and I are trying to put together a consortium of investors to develop an equestrian community in the mountains of Panama. It is much too early to tell yet if this project will 'fly,' we still need to raise a bit more money. Essentially, the project would consist of twenty or so large lots of four or five acres, large common areas with riding trails, stables for the residents to use for their horses, a club house for parties and meetings, and a guest house for when residents have visitors. The individual lots would have fairly large, 'custom' homes built on them. The elevation in the area is about 2,300 feet, high enough to guarantee cooler weather than at sea level where it gets pretty hot. The views from the property are stunning.

There are other things that are taking up a lot of time right now, but once I get caught up again, hopefully soon, I will write more regularly again. I enjoy writing, and am gratified that people I have never met actually drop in to read my words. I really appreciate that.

So, my friends, I am not goofing off, just very busy. This afternoon, I am actually going to take a few moments to catch up on some blog reading. I miss that too.

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