Technology and the Real Estate Industry

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Feb 16

Bruce M Firestone, PhD, Interview with Sylvain


In this Feb 14th 2017 interview, Mr Rochon asks Prof Bruce nine wide-ranging questions about technology and the real estate industry; here are the questions:

1.       What kind of technologies are changing the real estate business these days?

2.       What techs coming up can really disrupt how real estate as a business operates as well as how people buy and sell?

3.       What are the trends in the industry for the next few years up to perhaps 10 years from now in residential, commercial and industrial?

4.       What role does automation and artificial intelligence play in your industry?  How do you see these technologies assisting individuals in ensuring they get the spaces they want or need for themselves and their business?

5.       What does the home of the future look like?  

6.       Are builders adapting to what new techs have to offer to make lives better, more sustainable?

7.       Can you talk a little about new construction materials that look like they can really change things for the better?

8.       What about at-home energy generation? 3D printing?  Drone delivery services?

9.       If you had a message to give to young professionals and entrepreneurs about what opportunities they should look for that would become big in the next few years, what would you tell them?

Watch the video to learn Bruce M Firestone’s answers.

Here is a transcript:

Bruce: Give me a copy of recording and you’ll also send me the transcript.

Sullivan: Get you all the resources so that you can do whatever you want with it.

Bruce: Thank you so much. Alright, let’s start now Sullivan okay.

Sullivan: We’re good to go.


Bruce: Alright, record.

Sullivan: Yes, I am recording.


Bruce: Alright, so ask your the first question and I’ll do my best.

Sullivan. First is about the Real Estate business itself, what kind of technologies are changing how Real Estate business actually works or operates these days?

Bruce: Yeah, I think I should say at the odds that – Sullivan that the Real Estate business is a very conservative business. It’s a business that is reluctant to change, and if a Tech business was like  the Real Estate business what you would see is every time you went out, you left your home office and you got in your car, and you had your cell phone, you know your iPhone or your Samsung phone or whatever kind of phone you’re using, your Android phone, every time you got in your car, there would be free semi-trailers full of knobs and tubes and vacuum tubes behind you, following  you wherever you go to make this thing work. That’s what the Tech business would look like today if it was like the Real Estate business. I just want to make sure everybody is understanding us. So what is the biggest change that’s going on right now in the business? You might be surprised by what it actually is – I think what we’re seeing is we’re seeing people coming forward now with ideas,“What is the smart building and what is a smart building that makes economic sense?”, because I’ve said it before, Sullivan, you’ve heard me say it, that nothing is sustainable unless it’s also Economically sustainable. What’s happening now was smart buildings is that you’re doing some things in your buildings that are really simple and cost effective. For example, an all off switch, it can’t be any simpler than that but every time you leave your building- I have five kids and there’s always lots and lots of stuff that’s left on so every time you leave your building, if there’s one button you could push that turns everything off, obviously not your furnace and not your air-conditioner, or not your sense of service, not your refrigerator but everything else that’s so very smart and sensible thing to do. Some other things that people are doing, and you know this as well as I do, they’re starting to do things like put in LED lights.

In this office that you could see behind me here, I’ve got 90 watts of light from LED pot lights that consumes seven watts of power. We’re talking about ulterior rate right now has a power rate of about 24 ½ cents of KWH and so, if you could go from one technology which is incandescent bulbs or Halogen bulbs to LED bulbs, and you can consume about  one twelfth the amount of electricity, that’s a big difference.There’s some very simple things that people are doing now with smart buildings, the All off switch, the automatic door locks, the LED lighting, the smart temperature tea set that you could control from your smartphone, and just making the building smarter for example, there are lot’s and lots of commercial buildings now, Sullivan, that will take heat from places that are too hot and move that air to places where you need it and warm places that were too cold vice versa. There’s lots of things that are happening in the technology sector that are affecting the real estate industry and these are good things. Now from my point of view as a realtor, you know, part of what I do is, I do some real estate investment coaching and I do this business coaching  but I’m mostly just a real estate broker, and a Real Estate broker one of the most important things, it’s not complicated, it’s an electronic signing of document- very important. You can get documents signed now, there’s real estate industry becoming national and international. You have investors from Hong Kong, you have investors from United States, from Germany and if you can do  electronic singing of that – so there are things that are happening in the industry that are helping to make it a more efficient industry.

Sullivan: That was really cool. I’m going to throw a little curve ball which is going to happen here and there, I’ve been talking to some people recently about Artificial Intelligence, I choose smart building, smart houses, smart things, it falls into these kinds of  mechanisms about being efficient essentially for energy, for example, have you seen anything kind of coming out? Like, is there a trend to actually applying these, since you mentioned that is very contributor, maybe the industry is a bit scared about?

Bruce: I don’t think so, are you thinking that AI will replace realtors, for example, is that what you’re sort of getting at?

Sullivan: No, I’m talking about the operation. For example, the AI could know that normally when a person leaves the house, wipes all the lights are off, the off switch it does that on its own.

Bruce: Absolutely. I think You’re going to see AI will come into this business but it’s the tech guys who are coming into the Real Estate business and not the real estate guys are going to bring the tech guys in.

Sullivan: Yes, that makes sense. How about maybe disruptive technology that you see in the Real Estate that – how can change how they operate as well as how people buy and sell, the actual process of buying and selling are you seeing some trends there?

Bruce: Yeah, for sure. What I said a couple of minutes ago, Sullivan, was electronic signing of documents was a huge – it’s having a big impact. You’re able to now semi-automate and some point pretty close to fully automate this whole process, buying and selling, viewing. showing, legal closings,  financings. It’s all going to become an Electronic and some point as seamless as network and channel that will make these transactions much more efficient. There’s something else I wanted to add and I’ve had this debate quite often with people in my own industry where the realtors where Lawyers for that matter are deal makers or they simply post office boxes.


Bruce: There’s some lawyers who would say to you, “Sullivan, I’m going to help you with your completion, whether you’re buying a house or selling a house or you’re buying an office building or shopping plaza or you’re renting it” a lot of Lawyers- some anyway will say to you,“Sullivan, get me your instructions”, and some realtors will say,“Sullivan, what are your instructions?”. I think that for lawyers and realtors and many other service professionals to become valuable and more valuable to their clients and in fact to go one step further and that is not to be disintermediated by A, by Artificially Intelligent agents, they have to be more than just post office boxes and,“Get me your instructions”, they have to become your lifetime advisers. They have to become your lifetime legal adviser, your lifetime real estate adviser as supposed to somebody who just like I said, asks for instructions. Now, in terms of simple ROI’s, simple return on investments, there’s one thing that is new in the industry,I wish, I think you would join and I rolled it out before the start of this interview specifically to tell you Sullivan, and that is that the single most profitable  thing that we’ve introduced with the real estate industry probably in 25 years are what I call tech packages. What is a tech package? It means every single tenant, whether it’s a commercial tenant, commercial office tenant or commercial retail tenant or residential tenancy, every single one of them, the moment they move into the physical office space or the shop or the apartment or the condominium, they have a basic tech package which is obviously internet, WiFi, large screen TV’s, magic jack phones, Netflix, Spotify, all of these things have to be available to tenants the day that they move in because today it can take anywhere from a week to a month to get all these things working in your new house or new apartment or your new shop and that’s too long. Landlords are providing these services, they’re charging for these services and it is the single most profitable part or new part of this business. I’ve seen that everywhere.

Sullivan: I get into that because like I said interruption in any of those services is a pain.

Bruce: Exactly. Alright, keep going.

Sullivan: If we’re looking to the future like we [inaudible],  5 or 10 years from now, and knowing how the trends that we have currently like for example  online shopping, again more and more prevalent. AI even you assisting in delivery now

Bruce: Just ask the question I got the answer–


Sullivan: All these stuff kinda going on that you know what are we looking at as far as buying and selling in residential and commercial industry for real estate, where we heading there?

Bruce: You ask me this question number 3 was what are the trends, right?

Sullivan: Yeah.

Bruce: You got the question in front of me right?

Sullivan: Yes.

Bruce: You ask me what are the trends? This might surprise you. I think what you’re going to see in the next 5 to 10 years the biggest trend in real estate will be civil disobedience.

Sullivan: Okay, you have to elaborate.


Bruce: I thought I stumped you on that one brother.  


Sullivan: Civil disobedience?

Bruce: Civil disobedience. I think I’m seeing on a wide scale basis and I know it’s kind of surprising but I’ll just ask you simple question. Did you know that most mortgages do not allow you to have a roommate that if you rent a room in your house that you own, your principal residence that you are in breach of your mortgage agreement?

Sullivan: If your rent like a house inside.

Bruce: If you rent a room.

Sullivan: If you rent a room, no I didn’t know that.

Bruce: Okay, I had a young fellow – you know  I do a lot of Real Estate coaching and I had a young fellow buying his first home, first ever home and he was super excited and 3 days before completion Sullivan,  I got a call from the Underwriter. The Underwriter said, “Mr. Firestone your client is not buying this as a principal residence, your client is buying this as a rental and he is in breach of his mortgage agreement. I said,” No he’s not, he’s a young guy, it’s his first home, he’s got a great credit rating, sleek and square", if you know what that is “He’s credit is for over 800 so it’s terrific, he’s an Engineer, he works for the Government of Canada so he’s got a good income”. I said,“No, he’s buying this 5 bedroom home as Principal residence, I don’t know what you’re talking about”. She said,“ Well I Googled it”. “You Google it, and so?”,“ He’s renting the room”, and I said said,“ Yes going to have one or two he’s a single guy he’s 25 or 26 and he’s going to have a couple of roommates, it’s a five bedroom house, it’s not like he will live there alone”.  She said,“Well that’s still breach of his mortgage agreement”,  I said,“ You’re kidding”. She actually withdrew the mortgage and he was late closee. So he had to replace it with another lender. I ask my Lawyer,  young Lawyer I use, his last name is Shepherd in Iowa, and he said,“No a lot of these mortgages you are not allowed to rent any – not a single square foot of your Principal residence can be rented”. I said,“ How many Canadians”, and for that matter,“ Americans, might have a roommate?” Sullivan if you are an old guy and living by yourself in big house you might be a little lonely you might have roommates, some of my friends were in that circumstance. This is what I’m getting at the fastest growing impoverished demographic in Canada and United States are elderly people. I could tell you that – because I’m 65 now so I have a lot of people that I worked with who are they’re going to rent rooms in breach of their mortgage covenants, they’re going to have a workshop if they need to, they’re going to have an office in their garage, their going to have a parking in their front yard, they’re going to have a coach house in their backyard, they’re going to have a basement suite. People are just going to stop paying any attention to zoning and ordinances and bylaws, this got to stop and they’re going to say: “Look, if I don’t – do you know what the average cut into pension plan payout was last year, Sullivan?

Sullivan: I don’t know. I know it’s not much.

Bruce: It’s not much it’s $550 a month. If you can live on $550, you can ignore everything I’m saying.


Bruce: If you will go  $550 you can hung up now, okay?


Sullivan: That’s too cheap.


Bruce: You haven’t hung up so I assumed that’s a yes. What I’m saying to you is I’m seeing it all over. You’re not supposed to have repaired your friends car in your garage because that’s a breach of the zoning, but if you are hired up for cash and especially if you are and elderly person and you need a roommate to make just to have enough money to go to the dentist because you got a toothache, you’re going to do whatever you have to do. So civil disobedience is a huge trend and it’s going to increase because we have zoning bylaws and zoning ordinances in Canada and United States that are so overdone, that is impossible. Everybody is in breach of their zoning ordinances.

Sullivan: Why would it become more of a  problem later is it because more people are impoverished?

Bruce: Correct. So let’s say again you’re an old dude and your living in your own home and you’re living on those $550 a month and you have a toothache and you’re going to have to drink a bottle of rye and get a friend with a pair of pliers because you don’t have a money going dentist, right? Alternatively you have 4 extra bedrooms. You have a garage office and you said,” Geez, I’m going to rent  my garage office up for 800 bucks a month, and I’m going to rent each of my rooms up for $550 a month so I’m going to go from a Canada pension plan of income of $550 a month to an income to a real estate in my own darn house of maybe 2 or $3000 a month". Now that’s not a lot of money but that’s a heck of lot more money than $550.

Sullivan: Yeah, and since in your mind you own the house, not the bank and you feel you entitled to do that, to do exactly that.  

Bruce: But the zoning bylaws, the Mortgage lending rules and all kinds of other rules may prevent you so- it’s called civil disobedience. You don’t want to end up in a fight with the police. that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about things that do not in any way impact anybody else. It’s only your situation that is involved in, you’re going to put up with having 2 or 3 roommates and having somebody use your garage office to make wine or whatever they do.

Sullivan: Cool, well that’s interesting.


Bruce: What’s question number 4?

Sullivan: What role does automation and Artificial intelligence play in your industry, if at all?

Bruce: It is a big deal. I think no one really knows – I think Steve Jobs before he passed away, Sullivan, had a Eureka moment if you know what I’m talking about. Eureka moment. Because Steve loves simplicity, I have one of his iPhones here, this is I think an iPhone 6 and Steve would look at somebody watching TV and they would have like – you’ve seen it. You go to somebody’s house and they got,“Wait there’s more, okay”, and you go and they have like 17 controls. I’m exaggerating but they have 3 or 4- 5 and it’s just a mess, it’s a spaghetti mess. I think what Steve wanted to do was he wanted to create, I’m assuming it was a little bit of that but it didn’t seem to really take but, he wanted to create an interface between  you, a person an individual and your home or your office or your shop that was quite different, alright? I would be able to come home and say to my house, talk to my house and say,“Look, what’s on TV tonight?” or,“What’s on Netflix tonight?"Oh look there’s a new show”, I watch with my daughter’s. I watch a show called The 100 on Netflix, so my AI when I come home will say,“Hey Bruce there’s a new episode of The 100 streaming on Netflix are you interested?”, or they would say,“Hey listen, there’s a new album that’s just released in Spotify from your favorite artist”, I don’t know Adele or something,“Would you like to listen to it?” I think Steve had in mind a box that would sort of automate a lot of the functions that we were talking about earlier like,“Oh shoot I forgot to turn off all the unnecessary equipment in my house or in my house or in my office”. I think that AI is definitely important because we found – you’re much more a tech guy than I am but we found that tech doesn’t really work unless it’s easy to use.

Sullivan: Absolutely. Especially if you can – your speech recognition and you can just talk to it, right? Easy to use.


Sullivan: Exactly. What does the home of the future look like? We already talked about some aspects but is there anything else?

Bruce: I think there is, I think that the home of the future is going to be much much smaller. My wife has been saying this to me for a long time, she said,“Smaller-better, not bigger-worse”. I think certainly the Millenials, I teach a lot of Millenials, I love that Millenial generation I think they’re great generation. They are not willing to put up with a lot of stuff that frankly your generation and my generation put up with. If they call for a taxi and they got somebody who doesn’t really understand what they are saying and they said,“I need a taxi tomorrow to take me to the airport”, they have to be at 7:00 AM, and if you are standing out at the curve at 7:30 you’re going to miss you plane. They wanted something better not better I guess was over. Going back to what we are talking about earlier, people wanted to use their home to boost their incomes if they’re impoverished or about to be impoverished because they lost their job or they had ill health and the Airbnb come along. This young generation, this Millenial generation are not willing to put up with crappy services and bad branding. They want good quality brands. That applies to the home as well. So they will be much  more interested in a home that is small and has a more technology and has more capabilities than a home that’s just like in my generation when I was in my 20’s and 30’s all of my guy friends wanted this huge monster home, and I can tell you that young people, at least the ones that I deal with on a day to day basis, don’t want that.

Sullivan: Absolutely. About the builders, are they adapting new technologies that offer these better homes and even also talking about sustainability right? That’s also an aspect of quality nowadays.

Bruce: I think the answer to that is, unfortunately, no.

Sullivan: That’s unfortunate.

Bruce: Remember when we started, Sullivan, I told you that the tech industry was like the Real Estate industry we would go back to having a- I don’t know if you remember the days when the cellphones are like this size?

Sullivan: Oh, yes.

Bruce: “Hi Sullivan, can you hear me now?” What I’m saying is that` the cell phones and the mobile phones will be this size and you have semi trailers. In the case of the home builders, not just the home builders but the commercial builders as well and developers they’re extremely, extremely conservative. They all tell you,“ Sullivan, we do things the way we do because that’s the way we’ve  always done it. We’ll always going to do it this way because that’s the way it’s done.” It’s a circle and you meant and I say,“ We’re good”, and so the young people who were not prepared to put up with poor taxi service and wanted Uber, and young people were not prepared to put with previous services and they want Airbnb, these young people want better products from the industry. Will the industry produce it? No, I found the answer is not, just to give a very simple example, a lot of the people young people that I coach and not just people on their 20’s even in their 30’s and 40’s, 50’s will want to buy a townhouse, you know, those 2 storey or 3 storey townhouse in Toronto or in Austin Texas or San Francisco or Vancouver or Ottawa, they want a townhouse and they would like to have a basement apartment, you can start to see what my hands are doing here, what a basement apartment with its own entrance where they can have their mother-in-law, their grandmother, a tenant who’s paying a bit of rent live with them. They have their own independent access and it helps to pay their mortgage and when they get old one day even young people will get old


Bruce: they will all have a little bit of financial support or income coming from that. So I went around and I talk to other – I know a lot of builders, I don’t know maybe  I talk 20 of them or 25 of them but I talk to a lot of them and say ,“Hey guys, wouldn’t this be cool if you could build brand new townhouse with basement apartment kind of what you would see in Brownstone, in New York or Toronto or San Francisco?, and those days, in the Brownstone days you’re gardener would live there or your Nanny would live there or your maids would live there whatever. Today it could be an extended member of the family a number of extended family or it could be just a couple of kids going to University to College near you and it provides an ability to pay your mortgage and later on give you some independent incomes.” Every single one of the builders,“Oh, no, no. We’ve never do that”, I would say,“Why?”, and they would say,“Well, we have to redesign what we do”.


Bruce: “How would be put in a second entrance?” Well they’d been doing that in places like New York for about a 150 years and Toronto for probably 150 years. “We should be able to figure it out, we just have to go to Toronto in New York and that’s not far away”.“ Oh no, but even if we could figure it out how to design it, maybe the City of Ottawa would want 2 development charges” I don’t know if you know the industry but every time you build something you have to pay a development charge and maybe if you have 2 units you have 2 development charges and I mean it cost money and we don’t’ want to do that. So rather than think about what the customer wants, what the client wants, what the Millenial wants and for that matter what an older person wants they think really they internalized our processes, or designs will not change you.

Sullivan: That’s unfortunate I guess. What about you Bruce like if you were a builder – I know your not what kind of materials would you – are you excited about that would actually be useful for sustainability, for kind of essentials to provide to the client what they want?

Bruce: That’s a great question Sullivan, I was a builder and developer in my earlier life but at 65, that’s a younger person’s business trust me. They were probably 25 trades maybe even 27 or 28 trades you need to engage to build a house. That’s a lot of fussing around and Industrial buildings and office buildings and shopping plaza are little simpler. There’s probably maybe 15 trades. And still to me anyways the younger person’s business to do that but there’s no question, there’s been progress in the material side of things. I give you an example, a very simple example, maybe I could I don’t know if I could term this, if you could sort of see this, I think you could see this, can you see that?

Sullivan: I could see the door.

Bruce: Yeah, what is that, that you are seeing there?

Sullivan: It is your garage door.

Bruce: It is a garage door. Can you see that there’s a man door as well or –

Sullivan: Yes. Yes and I remember entering that.

Bruce: Alright there you go, here’s me again. I think is the door’s better looking.


Bruce: That is a special ordered door, Sullivan, from Quebec, I think from Lachine Quebec or Laval Quebec, I can’t remember but anyway from Quebec. It’s about a $3500 garage door and it’s pretty cool outside I don’t know what the temperature is but -6 or -9 something like that and here I am sitting in my garage office literally a garage office, nice and toasty. And you could see there’s a fireplace, a gas fireplace behind me that produces 14000 BTU’s and it’s not even on. That insulated garage door still works as a garage door in the summer I can pretend I am in Hawaii and open it up and have an indoor outdoor office but, the thing is that an insulated garage door like that with a man door in it and lights – window makes that garage space very usable, highly effective space and what it does is it reduces the amount of heat that is required and cooling, it require in a building light – excuse me

Sullivan: Okay.

Bruce:  in a building like this. So, it’s a $3500 investment which is not a small investment because you could buy a garage door that’s uninsulated with no man door in it probably for $800 right?

Sullivan: Yeah.

Bruce: But the extra $2000 you are spending are a little bit more than that you’re spending, you can say in some of the buildings that we – you can say $300 a month of heating and cooling cost. Think about that because that is a huge, huge factor for just cold air coming into your building and warm  air leaving and whatever. It makes more of your space usable, it changes the economics of your building in this case your home or your residence. There’s all kinds of stuff like this that you could find out there if you’re really on top of things. Another thing that we have found is for example, we’re doing basements now with Epoxy resin floors I don’t know if you know what an Epoxy Resin floors are but they can be a very beautiful surface, it’s like a poor man’s terrazzo tile, remember the terrazzo from your days?

Sullivan: Yeah

Bruce: You can do your basement floors that will last 20 plus years that are almost invulnerable to the- can have a flood, you can break things on but you can make all kinds of investment in new materials that will really help you make your building a much more maintenance free building and also lower your monthly cost.

Sullivan: Yeah cool. This is a bit of free question here just to kind of about your thoughts, what do you think about at home energy generation technologies, at home 3D printing, in the future you can draw this – all these other new technologies we do, we see what do you think about all these stuff coming into our homes here?

Bruce: Absolutely. I have this theory that at some point probably in your lifetime Sullivan, surely the lifetime of your children somebody’s going to come up with big truck and they  got to drive all the way to your office building or shopping plaza or your house and your school, they’re just going to use like a big fire hose “Shhhh” and just spray stuff in your building and your walls, in your roof etc., there’s going to be lots and lots of little nano lights or something like that. They will form like a power generation network.The days are paying some huge Nuclear power plants or Coal fire Plants or even Gas fire Plant, unreasonable amounts of money for your part that’s going to end. The Millenial generation, they’re going to put up with that either. At some point, ever wall, every surface, everything will produce I think solar power and  I’m looking forward to the day. Did you know that it’s actually illegal in most Jurisdictions to unhook from the power grid?

Sullivan: Yes, I didn’t know that.

Bruce: I have any number of young people who come to me,“We’re building a house and we’re going to get some storage capacity and we’re going to do the solar thing, we’re done with Ontario Power Generator, do you know that Hydro Quebec can produce power, Sullivan, and Quebec for  between 5 ½ and 6 ½ cents per KWH. New York state is around 14 cents per KWH, Michigan’s around 10 or 12 cents, Ontario’s 24 ½ cents. Ontario used to have one of the best power generating systems in the world, very cost effective and today it’s just completely out of control. We’re not as bad as the Australians are. The Australians are 32 or 33 or 34 cents per KWH, Ontario’s certainly heading in that direction. Lots and lots of people in this Province want to unplug, it’s illegal to do that so that is a problem. The other thing that I think is going to be a big factor or could be anyway is solar hot water. You might say,"Oh my gosh, you can’t do solar without water in the cold Northern Province like Ontario”, but you can. It’s one of the things that has a big time ROI and it’s very simple. You have a bunch of tubes with water and it is painted black inside, a gloss surface and even on the coldest days you probably going to get satisfactory of hot water from it, very inexpensive to do. Do you know something else? That’s illegal too.

Sullivan: What? How is that even Illegal?

Bruce: It is.


Bruce: Remember when we talk about Civil disobedience? I explain this for a couple of years now people do,“What are you talking about prospers” Well actually, I see it all the time. Two reasons one, the city of Ottawa has a bylaw against it and two, you’re insurance company won’t insure. They’re worried that if you put a solar hot water collector on your roof and somehow it freezes or it frigs you get water in your building and it will damage your building, but that is absolutely nonsense, Sullivan. We can certainly run pipes safely if they know how to do that but it’s on the roof around your walls. Solar hot water makes a whole lot of economic sense, a whole lot of environmental sense but there are all kinds of reasons why you can’t do it. One, it’s against the bylaws and two, your insurance company, if they found out you’re doing it, will yank your insurance. So, again it’s got to be people would just simply disobey the law. The other thing that I’m expecting is at some point every house will have a cat door. It won’t be your cat or your dog going in and out of that door, it would be a drone.


Sullivan: Absolutely cool. Thanks. So last question is, general question again what message do you want to give to young professional and entrepreneurs about the opportunities they should be looking for in the next few years, where should they dig their fingers into?

Bruce: Well, I can’t remember which actor it was who said,“You shouldn’t wait to buy real Estate, you should buy real Estate and wait”. That’s a well-known quote. I can’t remember who said it right now but, Sullivan, I’ve tried other things. I’ve been a hockey guy. I was involved with the Ottawa Senators back in the day. I have a pension plan that doesn’t perform very well. I’ve tried Mutual Funds and Tax Resavings accounts. People talk about investing in Gold and Gold hasn’t done much in the last decade or so. For a guy like me and this is a bit self serving because  I’m a Real Estate broker and I’m a Real Estate investment coach so again it can be a little bit self-serving but I haven’t found anything that compares to Real Estate. I did a little bit of research, I guess probably 3 years ago now and I look at the richest- hundred richest families in Canada and 61 out of a 100 richest families in Canada had all or substantially all of their wealth invested in Real Estate. If it’s good enough for 61 out of a hundred richest families in Canada, it’s probably were good enough for you and me.

Sullivan: I have a one comment on that and, again, I don’t know the Real Estate business, if I want to learn about it, I’m going to contact you.

Bruce: I’m touched with that.

Sullivan: Definitely. I will actually.

Bruce: Very Good Sullivan, I’m a real estate coach and I’m not expensive.

Sullivan: Yeah but I would – the one reason for it is in the constant change that we’re going to be seeing in the next few years especially because of technology, AI, all this stuff one thing will remain, you still need to live somewhere.

Bruce: There you go.

Sullivan: Talk about value.

Bruce: If you look at the  Duke Winchester, I think were on the 7th Winchester, the 6th Duke died last year August of 2016. He had a personal income for Real Estate of a $128 million US dollars a year. He must be doing a little bit better than the average pension guy. He’s making 550 bucks and he had 128 million dollars year, it was $14400 US dollars hour- so that was his income through Real Estate. His family has been building that portfolio since 1740 and he’s been passing it on successfully and carefully in generation to generation. I’m not saying that there aren’t other investments that people can make I understand it. Just at least in my case, I haven’t found anything that outperforms Real Estate and Real Estate is kind of a business model for dummies, right? If you are running Facebook, that’s a pretty friggin’ complicated business to run. And if you’re running the Disney company that’s again there’s a lot of facets to run Disney, that’s not easy to do. But if you were at 5 or 6 residential rentals, a couple of homes that were renting to nice folks and we had to collect the rent once a month and we had to fix toilet once in a while, it’s not that complicated and most of us can probably figure that out.

Sullivan: Absolutely. Well thanks a lot Bruce, actually one little detail before we end. I’d like to know how do you want me identify you and your quotes like is there specifically do you know?

Bruce: Sure. Sure. My nickname is Prof Bruce, and my full name is Bruce M. Firestone, M as in Murray. Bruce M. Firestone, PhD. You know what PhD stands for?

Sullivan: I don’t know.

Bruce: Proud higher and deeper


Sullivan: You’re funny.

Bruce: PhD- Doctor of Philosophy. Bruce M. Firestone…

Sullivan: Okay that makes sense. I’m like: “What the”

Bruce: It was a joke.


Sullivan: I thought it was funny:

Bruce: Wait a second I do have another joke.  How does a snow girl break up with his snowman boyfriend?

Sullivan: Give him the cold shoulder?

Bruce: Touch down for Sullivan. Gives him that cold shoulder. Okay, so,  Bruce M. Firestone PhD, Ottawa Senators founder, Century 21 Explorer Realty Broker.

Sullivan: Wait, what?

Bruce: Century 21, Explorer Realty Broker.

Sullivan: I’m putting commas in between the –

Bruce: Yes you should.


Bruce: I assume you would know what a comma is.

Sullivan: Yeah.

Bruce: And the last one is Real Estate Investment and Business Coach. That’s enough. And you can find me on Twitter @ProfBruce and you could always email me anytime at

Sullivan: [laughs] That’ll be fine.

Bruce: Sullivan, I really enjoyed doing this, I hope it’s helpful.

Sullivan: It has been helpful. I’m touching all sorts of bases when it comes to homes and real estates I though no one better.

Bruce: I really appreciate you including me. I have a tremendous respect for you.I’m fond of you. If I could help in any way in the future, you let me know and I do want a video of this if you can and a transcript and I’ll certainly promote this which we done together and your book when it comes out.

Sullivan: I’ll provide you all the information about in 48 hours when the transcript comes in, I’ll send you all at the same time.

Bruce: Perfect.

Sullivan: That’ll be good.

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.