What to Look for in an Investment Property

Investing in real estate can be a great way to grow your wealth. However, in order to be a successful investor, you will need to identify the right properties to invest in. In particular, you will want to look closely at the following aspects of any house, condominium, or townhome you are considering making an offer on:


One of the most important things to look for in an investment property is a great location. Put simply, you want to purchase real estate located in an area that people want to live in. However, this doesn't mean the home has to be in a gated community with perfectly manicured lawns. Instead, potential buyers and renters will be more interested in properties that are close to good schools, offer easy transportation options, and have plenty of retail and dining establishments nearby.


When searching for your own personal home, you may have been on the lookout for a house with unique character or interesting features. However, finding an investment property is very different. Since you want your new house or condo to appeal to as many buyers or renters as possible, it is best to purchase one that is relatively normal and cookie-cutter. This means saying yes to the three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow and saying no to the stunning Victorian townhome with an outhouse in the back yard.

Workable Financial Numbers

The whole reason you are looking to invest in real estate is to make money. As such, you should only consider deals where the numbers and the financials make sense. Your personal tastes and other external factors simply don't matter. The perfect investment property isn't the one that you and your friends fall in love with - it is the one where you stand to make the most money.

In Closing

Though finding and purchasing an investment property can certainly be quite difficult, it is by no means impossible. By following the advice laid out in this article, you can ensure your foray into the world of real estate investing is as successful as possible.


Can You Afford to Buy a New Home?

If you're throwing your hard-earned money away on rent each month, putting that same amount towards your own home could be an incredible advantage. However, it's also imperative to consider whether you can afford the costs associated with a mortgage, property insurance and potential repairs that might be necessary in the future.

Buying a starter home doesn't have to feel like an overwhelming experience. Here are some things to think about that might help you make a more informed decision.

Evaluating Local Prices

It's not uncommon for home prices to be unusually high in some areas, but to be relatively low within a specific city. It can be tempting to move forward with purchasing a home even in the midst of spiking prices in an effort to ensure that prices won't rise even higher. In some cases, higher market trends might be an indication that a downturn is within the near future. While the general rule of thumb for investing is to 'buy low, sell high,' forecasting the right timing to invest in the real estate market isn't always as straightforward. The most efficient way to evaluate local housing prices is to consult with a local Realtor who has adequate experience. This is an important step that could help to safeguard your financial investment.

Assess Your Personal Goals

How long do you anticipate staying in your home? Do you have plans to relocate within the near future, or are you looking to settle down for a decade or longer? What goals do you have for your new home? If you're planning on raising your family there, you should be relatively protected even during the midst of a fluctuating market. For example, even if interest rates spike a year after you've purchased a new home and it triggers a drop in demand, it most likely won't have an adverse effect on your home's equity if you're planning to stay there indefinitely. On the flip side, if you decide to move a year after you've purchased and interest rates begin to soar, you could take a financial hit.

How Much of a Down Payment Can You Afford?

Normally the minimum down payment will come from your own savings and resources, however you may receive a gift from an immediate relative that can be used as well.  The amount your down payment will affect the price of the home you can purchase, the size of your mortgage and your monthly payment, and as well the amount of insurance you will pay.  Work with a mortgage professional, they have expertise in these areas and can advise you!

The Bottom Line

The number of years that you plan to live in your home will make a significant impact on whether you might benefit more from renting for a while or not. Determining whether it's the right timing to buy might not have as much to do with the economy as it has to do with your personal goals and budget.


Can These Tempting Tips Boost Your Chances of a Sale?

Is your home currently on the market? Are you hoping for a quick sale and want to stack the odds in your favour? One powerful option to consider is to maximize the potential of the open house showings of your home. It is no longer enough to pop a sign on your lawn, leave a plate of cookies on the counter, and hope buyers will fall in love with your home. Today's sellers need to approach a showing like a reconnaissance mission. By analyzing the competition, taking advantage of technology, and understanding buyer patterns, you can significantly increase the potential of open house showings. Will one of the following tips help you sell your home faster?

- Use a mobile app to offer potential buyers extra details. Add the app link to feature sheets and email footers. If you're fortunate enough to have numerous visitors to your open house, you may not be able to attend to them all at once. A mobile app helps visitors discover tempting tidbits until you have a moment to attend to your next set of potential buyers.

- Consider holding your open house later in the afternoon. Instead of competing with other open houses for time slots early in the day, treat guests to viewings just slightly before the dinner hour. Your home's showing can leave a lasting impression and provide an intriguing topic for dinner conversation.

- Don't wait until the day of an open house to start promoting. Start marketing well in advance by updating your email signature, posting previews to your Facebook page, and tweeting out tempting tidbits on Twitter. Make sure lawn signage is in place ahead of time and neighbourhood bulletin boards have a current promotional flyer for your home.

- Consider creating a virtual tour for visitors that might not be able to attend your showing. Thanks to the abundance of helpful photography apps, you can create panoramic shots or videos of each room without having to hire a professional photographer.

- Another option that is growing in popularity is to use a drone to photograph the exterior of a home. Check with local hobby shops to see if they offer drone photography as one of their services. Be sure to check with city officials first to ensure that there are no air space restrictions in your area regarding aerial photography. Use the video to garner attention ahead of time for your open house.

These are just a few options you can consider to boost the potential of your open house. With numerous homes for buyers to consider, making your open house stand out is crucial if you want to increase your chances of a sale. Do you think you will be integrating any of these real estate tips into your next showing?


Why You Need an Emergency Fund - And How to Get One

Building an emergency fund is something most people know they should do but few actually get around to doing. A recent study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans did not have an emergency fund, and more than half would have trouble coming up with $1,000 on short notice. That lack of savings puts them at risk and makes achieving long-term financial goals much more difficult.

Building an emergency fund is a critical first step on the road to financial security. Many people think that they do not make enough money to build an emergency fund, but even low-income workers can set money aside if they take the right steps.

Take Note of Daily Expenses

You may think you have no extra money to build an emergency fund, but those extra dollars could be hiding in plain sight. Take a few minutes to review your normal daily expenses, from that morning cup of coffee and lunch with coworkers to daily parking charges and the take-out pizza you grab on the way home.

Look for ways to economize and swap high costs for lower ones.

Bagging up your leftovers from last night's dinner could save you $10 or more a day -- that's several hundred dollars a month. Making your coffee at home could save you $20 to $50 more, while skipping the take-out once or twice a week could save you $100 or more. If your town offers public transportation, swapping your car for a bus or trolley could slash your parking charges and save you even more.

Start a Piggy Bank

Now that you have identified the leaks in your daily budget, you can use that knowledge to start building an emergency fund. Take that $10 you would have spent on lunch and place it in a special spot in your wallet. When you get home, transfer that cash to your new piggy bank and watch the money accumulate. When your bank is full, you can use the money to start the savings account that will become your emergency fund.

You do not have to confine your savings to folding money. Change works just as well, and it is much easier to accumulate. Every time you get change, keep it in your pocket until you get home, then transfer it to your piggy bank. You may be surprised at how quickly that spare change adds up.


The Benefits of Investing in Income-Producing Properties

Making money in any real estate venture is a difficult task, and many people don't have the skills (or the stomach) for flipping houses. An alternative to this intrinsically risky activity is to purchase a property for the long term and rent it out. These types of income properties are becoming more and more common and the following article will touch on why income properties make so much sense.

Low Interest Rates

Interest rates are currently at historic lows, and the central bank does not appear to be interested in increasing the rate any time soon. These rates allow investors to finance their properties more easily and allow them to offset a great deal of their reduced housing expenses via the income generated by renting the property. It is important to consider other costs associated with the property such as utilities, insurance, maintenance, and property taxes, but by renting out your property you are effectively having someone else pay down your mortgage for you.

Using Equity for Future Redevelopment

Holding an income property as a long-term investment means that over time you will be paying down a significant amount of your mortgage while, potentially, seeing appreciation in your property value. This long-term strategy could leave you in a position for future redevelopment of your property using mostly income (or equity) generated from your property.

Tax Implications

Depending on your local taxing jurisdiction there are likely some tax implications to consider before renting out a property. It's important to understand the details related to property taxes, income taxes, and capital gains taxation. It is also crucial to understand what expense items are income-tax deductible. In many cases you will be able to deduct mortgage interest, utilities, property taxes, property management fees, and many other items. Some areas also permit investors to incorporate, allowing them to be taxed at the corporate tax rate while they pay themselves dividends. Each situation is different but incorporating can result in a corporate income-tax rate significantly lower than a person income-tax rate.

Grants from Municipalities

The need for higher density is a major priority for many local jurisdictions, and grant programs are becoming a popular way for municipalities to encourage investors and homeowners to add suites to their properties. These grants will not typically cover the entire cost of constructing a suite at your property, but some municipalities offer incentives of up to 25% of the construction expense.

Gaining Equity by Adding a Suite

Adding a rental unit, or multiple rental units, will typically add substantial equity to your property. This means that on top of having an investment that is generating income on a monthly basis, you will also have extra equity available if you do decide to sell your property in the short term.

It is important to remember that as a rental investment, your property doesn't need to be renovated to a brand new level. Sweat equity is great, but try to keep costs reasonable, and maintain building quality at a level comparable to the local market, and expect to see some depreciation over the life of your investment.

Long-Term Returns

The biggest benefit of holding a long-term income property is the return you will see over your investment horizon. Your property will produce income regularly, and hopefully appreciate in value, and this could all be happening while you're paying down some form of housing debt. For these reasons, the returns an investor can expect to see from their purchase or development of an income property have the potential to far outperform most other investments of a similar size.

Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.