Victoria: Where Dreams Come True - 88 Year Autobiography of the Life and Times of Morris Kersey - What It Is Like to Fly With the Concorde, Travel the ... Express, QE2, and South Africa's Blue Train

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9781552128367: Victoria: Where Dreams Come True - 88 Year Autobiography of the Life and Times of Morris Kersey - What It Is Like to Fly With the Concorde, Travel the ... Express, QE2, and South Africa's Blue Train
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The 88-year autobiography of Victoria, British Columbia-born Morris Kersey

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About the Author:

Morris Kersey continues to live in Victoria, almost 90 years after his birth in the city.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

 People often say, "There's no free lunch," or "You can't get something for nothing."

But this item of folk wisdom is not strictly true. I know you can get something for nothing, because I did it. In fact, I made hundreds of thousands of dollars without investing any money of my own.

Not long after I sold the peanut-butter business, a good friend of mine, who was a salesman with Texaco Canada, came to me and said, "You ought to build service stations."

"I operated a service station for a while, but that was years ago," I said. "I hadn't thought of getting back into that business."

"You don't have to operate a service station," he said. "Our company wants to get into the Vancouver Island market, and the company's policy is to rent its service station buildings, not to own them."

"All you do," he said, "is get the site, put up a building and rent it to Texaco. We'll give you a non-cancellable lease for twenty years. It will pay you between four and six per cent on the investment, but you don't have to raise any money of your own."

"We'll get you the mortgage money, and you can go ahead and use the money to buy the site and put up the building. It's no gamble; we'll guarantee the rent."

I talked to my bank manager about the proposal. He didn't like it, and he tried to discourage me from going ahead. The way he assessed the deal was that there had to be something wrong with it. It was too good to be true. Luckily I didn't take his advice. There was nothing wrong. It was just that Texaco didn't want to sink its money into that much real estate. Safeway Stores did the same thing -- advanced the money to people who built store buidings, and then rented them back.

I built seven service stations this way. I never put any money into them; I just took the rent and paid off the mortgage. I sold five service stations a few years after I built them, and realized a tiny profit on the money that Texaco had advanced.

The Provincial Highways Department expropriated one of the service stations at the corner of Burnside Road, to make room for the widening of the Trans-Canada Highway.

In 1988 I sold the last station, located at Sooke and Kelly Roads, in what is now Victoria's Western Communities. Let me give you a few figures. The Sooke Road station cost nineteen thousand dollars for the land and buildings. I got a twenty-one thousand dollar mortgage, so I had a couple of thousand dollars to spare. The twenty-five-year mortgage was paid off with rental income, and in 1988 the property's value was nearly ten times its cost.

I suppose Texaco chose me on my friend's recommendation, because the company saw me as a reliable person, who could be trusted not to get into a mess and mismanage the property. But there wasn't much management involved; the deal ran itself.

Today (in 1988) it is much easier to construct a service sation, as the money is so easy to get, even without security, and even Texaco and other oil companies are anxious to develop new sites. All you have to do is the ground work, and right in our own area there are many sites available that only need a proposal to be presented, and it could be accepted. They make a great pension if you are fortunate enough to live for another twenty-five or thirty years. In the thirty years I had the Sooke and Kelly Roads property, I received net rentals totalling over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and sold the station to Payless for one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. Out of this income and sale, totalling over three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, all I had to pay was the original cost of the land -- nineteen thousand dollars -- plus mortgage and income taxes.

There are many more, easier opportunities today, but being too old or not needing a pension, I look around and wonder why some of our younger people, who could be interested, wouldn't stop long enough from playing around to work on such ideas.

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