I just recently read an article by Mark Weisleder a lawyer who writes a real estate column in the Toronto Star,as well teaching realtors in OREA courses. These are some tips for first time real estate investors and they apply both to residential, multi-family and commercial properties.I will add some of my thoughts.
1) Visit your banker or mortgage broker to determine how much money you can afford to borrow for your investment. Our Century 21 United office in Peterborough has a Centum Mortgage office and our Broker Mike Jones may be of great assistance.
2) Look for properties that generate a possitive cash flow. The rent should be enough to cover your expenses including the mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities ( if the landlord is paying ) and a cushion for unforseen expenses that may and usually do show up.It is becoming very hard to find suitable properties in the GTA but there are still opportunities out here in Central Ontario.
3) Look for an experienced real estate sales person who has sold these properties ( different types ) and who may also be a landlord.
4) Make sure that on any offer to have a condition for the inspection of the property by a professional home or building inspector. They can point out deficencies that may be present and give you a timetable for the repairs to be made and possibly advise on trades people who can perform the repairs professionally.
5) Keep proper financial records for each property. Make sure on smaller investments to have banking record that are applicable to the property and not part of your personal account. On larger investments you may want to incorporate a seperate company for each property.
6) Hire an experienced property manager to assist in finding suitable tenants, collecting rents and doing or co-ordinating maintenance or small repairs. This is especially important if you are an out of the area owner and are not available 24/7.
7) Make your investment with the intentions of a long term ownership. Collect the rents and pay off the mortgage over many years and if you do sell at a later date at a profit that profit can be treated as a Capital gain.Thus one half of the Capital Gain is tax free. You may also be in a situation to offer a vendor take back mortgage which may help with the resale.
8) Do not be afraid to walk away from a deal if it does not work for you and your circumstances.
We have many investmentment properties in Central Ontario that may work for you. Please contact me at no obligation to see the possibilities.