Thursday, August 4, 2011

Smacked upside the head by my intuition

A few months ago, I found what I thought was an excellent investment opportunity in Alberta. A company had secured a chunk of land in the Acheson area between Parkland and Edmonton, and by all accounts it was very promising. The mayor of Parkland not only confirmed that development of the area was high-priority to position it for "Port Alberta", but that the development company identified was "one of the best, if not the best" of the companies working on the area.
I also spoke with a hotel chain that had been courted for the hotel to be built, and they were positive about locating there, so it seemed like the development already had a solid buyer even before construction began.

But there were delays at my end. At first, these seemed like ironic annoyances. There was a mail strike which delayed funds from a mutual fund cash-out. After the mail strike, the funds still hadn't arrived after a week, so we cancelled the cheque, in case they got lot. Not three days later, the original (now cancelled) cheques showed up, and it was another two weeks before the new cheques finally arrived.

Then, after I put the money in the bank and asked for a bank draft, I was told there was a 6-business-day hold on the funds. That would normally be 8 days, but there was the long weekend, so it turned out to be 9.

So far, I was more amused than annoyed, but in the back of my mind, something was nudging me. I got the idea that maybe the universe was trying to keep me out of this investment for reasons I can't find out about yet.
All the research I'd done seemed so positive, so I tried to brush it aside.

Then, just yesterday (Wednesday), I finally got the bank draft, and went over to the office to sign the documents. The regular salesperson wasn't there, so he passed it on to someone who hadn't done the documents before. It was 60 pages. Lots to read, and several pages that needed a notary to witness signatures.

There was (what I thought was) a funny clause that said if they couldn't provide me with a Certificate of Title for the land parcel I'd be buying, I would get my money back, BUT less 6% sales commission.
I thought that was unfair since they were basically saying that even if I get no product, I would still be paying commission. As I was writing a $23,000 cheque, this was a big deal to me.
But they wouldn't budge on it, saying no one else had asked about it before, that it was standard, and that it was really a "worst case scenario".

Anyway, I was prepared to let it go, but when I took the documents to the notary, he was extremely unimpressed by how badly it'd been filled out. The sales agent had put down "New West" as short for "New Westminster", which was a no-no. Also, my name had been filled out as "last name, first name", which just isn't done. He advised me to bring it back, because it would otherwise be just chock full of errors to be initialized.

I deferred the whole thing for next time, saying I'd take the existing documents home to read. But ever since the notary, my intuition was screaming at me. Surely, the universe was pulling out all the stops to prevent me from getting into this investment.

I ended up going back to the bank to sheepishly put the money back. Hmm...

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