Category Archives: investing

Still thinking of home ownership as an investment? Here’s proof you’re wrong

 

Source: The Globe and Mail

Take some advice from rookie home owner Desirae Odjick about houses as an investment.

As a personal finance blogger, she ran the numbers on the cost of owning a home and concluded that breaking even would be a good outcome when it comes time, many years down the road, to sell. “A house is not a long-term investment,” she said in an interview. “It’s not a miracle financial product. It’s where you live.”

The idea that owning a house is an investment is so ingrained that a recent survey found one-third of homeowners expect rising prices to provide for them in retirement. But rising prices do not necessarily mean houses are a great investment.

Ms. Odjick lives in a suburb of Ottawa, where the real estate market’s recent strength still leaves it way behind price gains seen in the Toronto and Vancouver areas. But her point is relevant to all markets where prices aren’t soaring, and probably to hot markets as well if you’re just now buying a first home and understand that continuous massive price gains are unlikely.

In terms of home upkeep costs, Ms. Odjick and her partner have had an easy time of it since they bought in the spring. But they’ve still had expenses that surprised them. “You can use all the calculators you want and you can plan as much as you want, but until you’re in it you really don’t know what the costs are going to be.”

One example is the $3,000 spent at IKEA to equip the house with furnishings as mundane as bathmats. Another was the cost of term life insurance, which, incidentally, is a smart purchase. Term life answers the question of how the mortgage gets paid if one partner in a home-owning couple dies.

Estimates of the cost of upkeep and maintenance on a home range between 1 and 3 per cent of the market value. Her house cost $425,000, which means that upkeep costs conservatively estimated at 1 per cent would come out to an average of $4,250 per year and a total $106,250 over 25 years. Ms. Odjick is too recent an owner to have much sense of these costs, but the housing inspector she used before buying warned her to expect to need a new roof in two or three years.

She and her partner don’t have grandiose plans to fix their place up right now, but she did mention that they are looking at having children. There will almost certainly be expenses associated with getting the baby’s room ready.

In her own analysis of housing costs, Ms. Odjick estimated the cost of property taxes at 1 per cent of a home’s value. That’s another $4,250 per year. This cost would add up to $106,250 over 25 years, and that’s without annual increases factored in.

The biggest cost homeowners face is mortgage payments. Ms. Odjick and her partner made a down payment of 10 per cent on their home and chose a two-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.71 per cent. Assuming rates stay level and no prepayments are made, this would theoretically work out to a total of $542,122 in principal and interest over the 25-year amortization period.

But rates have crept higher since mid-summer and could increase further in the months ahead. In a post on home ownership on her Half Banked blog, Ms. Odjick said the idea of rates staying level “is bananas and will not happen.”

Let’s add up the costs of home ownership as likely to be experienced by Ms. Odjick over 25 years. There’s the $42,500 she and her partner put down to buy the house, the $106,250 cost for each of property taxes and upkeep/maintenance and $542,122 in mortgage principal and interest. Total: $797,122.

Now, let’s imagine the $425,000 house appreciates at 2.5 per cent annually for 25 years. That’s in line with reasonable expectations for inflation. The future price in this case would be $787,926, which means Ms. Odjick and her partner would have paid a bit more in costs than they get for selling their house in the end.

Houses can be sold tax-free if they’re a principal residence, so there is something to the house-as-an-investment argument. But the numbers comparing what you put in and what you take out over the long term don’t exactly scream “financial home run.”

Ms. Odjick’s fine with that, because buying her home was a lifestyle decision. “If we’ve lived here for 25 years, even if it does end up costing money, then it will have been a great place to live.”

Are you a Canadian family that has made a financial decision to remain lifelong renters? If you would like to share your story, please send us an email

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Real Estate Investing, It Isn’t Just for the Boys Anymore

When 51 year old stay-at-home mom and part time piano teacher Gena H. from Washington State woke her husband up at 1:15 AM and said “I want to be a real estate investor,” he patted her on the shoulder and said, “that’s nice dear.” In the morning he shared all the reasons he believed it could not work for her. Fast-forward a few years and Gena, who obviously didn’t listen to the husband she adores, is a successful and very profitable investor. She has in her words “dramatically changed the financial course for me and my entire family.”

Stories like these are coming to my attention at a rate like I’ve never seen in my well over 20 years of investing. I’ve been fortunate to watch countless people go from real estate observer to successful real estate investor. But never before has there been such a massive wave of women taking ownership of the household finances using real estate.

In watching this transition, I believe it’s due to a couple of primary factors. First, we all know that the real estate market peaked like never before around 2006, and then the bubble burst and the market crashed. It reminded me of flying down Space Mountain in Disneyland. However, after the bottom comes the inevitable shift in the market, when it begins trending back up as we are seeing now. This is truly a magical time for investors.

Second, I think we are heading into the years of more empowerment of women. I could be criticized for saying this, but I think it’s less about women’s liberation, as that was yesterday’s news. I see it as more that women are just losing any hesitation at all to do anything they want. I think it’s a very positive trend for our country. I watched my single Mom struggle to support my sister and me growing up, so I’m always cheering for the ladies. I think we are entering a whole new era of advancing equality. But that’s for another story.

Jen G., a single Mom, was working in an accounting office with no windows and too little pay each month to support her and her son. Frustrated, stressed and wanting a new path in life, she decided to reinvent herself through real estate investing. Friends and family told her real estate investing was for people with money and experience. Some even expressed resentment and actively discouraged her. Recently, Jen called to tell me: “Just six months after starting, I got to walk into my office and tell my boss I no longer needed her services!” Jen quit her job and has done more than 185 real estate transactions so far and feels she is being the Mom she always wanted to be.

Tammy R. lives in a crazy fast moving market in CA. This is a market where even seasoned investors are afraid to take the plunge. However, this determined Mom of four, who was homeschooling her children when she started investing, refused to yield to her fears. She didn’t listen to her husband who said “it won’t work for you.” Like Jen, she didn’t have a ton of money to start, but researched a method called “wholesaling.” Wholesaling is matching up monied investors with good deals, and making money in the middle. On one transaction alone she made more then she did the prior two years, and she is currently working on her 23rd deal. “You just can’t let the naysayers spoil your dreams” she said when asked about the secret of her success.

Whether you’re in a strongly rebounding large urban market like Tammy, a more rural and smaller city in Alabama that’s coming back at a slower pace like Jen, or somewhere in the middle like Gena in Washington State, it doesn’t matter. The current state of all of these markets is opening up endless opportunities for investors to gain the knowledge to profit and who aren’t afraid to go for it.

Real estate is my life, and with over 20 years of non-stop investing I’ve personally experienced that there is always a profitable strategy that fits the current market cycle. However, the massive spike in real estate, followed by the inevitable and dramatic crash, is setting up a solid rebound. I truly believe this is the greatest time for everyone who would like to secure a better future to get educated, learn from those who are doing it, and jump into real estate investing.

I’m currently doing 30 to 50 deals every month all around the country, in 9 states actually. I’m working with women like Gena, Jen and Tammy, as well as a slew of others who are crushing todays shifting real estate market rather then complaining about it.

Maybe real estate investing is cooler and more possible then you think. All I can say is that the boys better step up.

Source: The Huffington Post 07/12/2013 –   Dean Graziosi

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Syndicated mortgage a high-risk investment bet – analyst

Syndicated mortgage a high-risk investment bet – analyst

The emerging trend of syndicated mortgages for Canadian condominium units might appear to be convenient for would-be investors, but Maclean’s senior business and finance writer Chris Sorensen argued that the arrangement is a high-risk choice that might even upend the market in the long run.

A syndicated mortgage involves hundreds of individuals lending money—in some cases even as little as $25,000—to a developer “in exchange for a fixed annual interest rate of between eight and 12 per cent over a term of two to five years.”

The popularity of the set-up is such that in Ontario, it has garnered nearly $4 billion in sales in 2014 alone, the latest year with available numbers.

However, Sorensen noted that much of the money in a syndicated mortgage goes to expenses for the development and pre-sale of enough units to convince banks to provide financing. The analyst said that this presents the risk of buyers not getting their funds back should the deal go south.

“Even in a hot market like Canada’s, there are no guarantees a given condo project will get off the ground, regardless of how quickly buyers snap up the units,” Sorensen wrote in an April 4 piece published on the Maclean’s website.

“If something goes wrong with a project, syndicated mortgage investors are subordinate to banks and other primary lenders, meaning they’re further back in line for repayment—assuming there’s enough money left over after other lenders have received their share,” he added.

The analyst cited the observations of Toronto-based mortgage broker John Bargis in proving why the present wave of syndicated mortgages isn’t sustainable in the long run.

“I’ve been exposed to multi-million-dollar projects where things have gone bad really fast. It’s not because it’s not a viable project, but there’s just so many moving parts. You’ve got construction managers, contractors, builders—so many things that can go wrong from an investment perspective or a sales perspective,” Sorensen quoted Bargis as saying.

Despite the dour prospects, Sorensen acknowledged that syndicated mortgages would remain popular among enterprising individuals for the foreseeable future.

“The myriad risks explain why syndicated mortgages pay interest rates approaching double digits at a time when a five-year Guaranteed Investment Certificate, or GIC—a truly ‘safe’ investment—offers only 1.5 per cent annually for a five-year term,” he said.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca by Ephraim Vecina | 13 Apr 2016
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Are syndicated mortgages sufficiently regulated?

With syndicated mortgages back in the news, one veteran suggests further regulatory restrictions on these investments may be needed.

“Here is simple proposal for FSCO: put a moratorium on all syndications over $2 Million,” Ron Butler, a broker with Butler Mortgage, wrote in the comments section of MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Just freeze this multi-million dollar sales activity today and wait until further study is finished and a total redesign of the rules around large syndication are completed.

“I think it is important for the public good and it will also protect our whole industry.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) revealed sales of syndicated mortgages for condo units in the province reached nearly $4 billion in 2014, the latest year with available numbers.

Their growing popularity has one analyst questioning the safety of these investments.

“If something goes wrong with a project, syndicated mortgage investors are subordinate to banks and other primary lenders, meaning they’re further back in line for repayment—assuming there’s enough money left over after other lenders have received their share,” senior business and finance writer Chris Sorensen wrote in MacLeans earlier this week.

And while some question whether or not syndicated mortgages are sufficiently regulated, one industry veteran who specializes in them argues they are.

“Private mortgages, syndicated or not, and rules governing disclosure, suitability, etc. are, in my opinion, all adequately addressed in Ontario via the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders, and Administrators Act and subsequent Regulations. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) ensures brokerages follow these rules,” Glen May-Anderson, president of FDS Broker Services, wrote in an email to MortgageBrokerNews.ca earlier this year.

May-Anderson also pointed to the fact that FSCO has recently addressed the regulation of syndicated investments.

“Improvements to the governance of traditional private mortgages and syndicates for development and construction mortgages were implemented by FSCO last year, with the introduction of the revised Investor/Lender Disclosure Statement for Brokered Transactions (Form 1) and the new Addendum for Construction and Development Loans (Form 1.1),” May-Anderson wrote.

Source: MortgageBroker.ca Justin da Rosa | 07 Apr 2016

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The one market to target in Toronto?

It may be the one market many investors are now overlooking, but one industry veteran argues Toronto is still a great buy for potential landlords.

“Everyone is concerned about all the condos being built in Toronto but every year there are 81,000 new permanent residents coming to the city,” Andrew Adams, vice president of finance and investments for Capital Developments, told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “Compare that to the 95,000 total new residents in Toronto; prices and rents are growing.”

Prices in Toronto jumped 14.9% year-over-year in February to $685,728. Condos, however, remain a more affordable option at an average of $403,392.

One neighbourhood Adams is bullish on is the Yonge and Eglinton area in mid-town Toronto.
“The Yonge and Eglinton area is one of the strongest markets for investors in Toronto,” Andrew Adams, vice president of finance and investments for Capital Developments, told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “It’s got the Yonge line and the Eglinton LRT and it’s one of the strongest rental markets in the city.”

According to Adams, there are two types of condo buildings available in the neighbourhood; older, circa 1970 apartment-style condos and new-build condos that boast modern amenities and finishes.
The older condos often yield rents in the $2.60-$3.00 per square-foot range, while the newer units earn investors, on average $3.00-$3.50 per square-foot, Adams says.

“The Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood has everything you need; the RioCan Centre has recently been updated, it has great access to public transit, and its surrounded by great amenities,” he said.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth by Justin da Rosa 23 Mar 2016

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The red-hot market that has a property type for every investor

Forget the GTA: This one booming market could be the next big thing, according to one veteran.

It’s being billed as Silicon Valley of the North and for good reason.  Due to many factors, including an influx of technology companies, Waterloo is one housing market that is ripe for the investor picking, according to Karl Innanen, managing director at Colliers International.

“Waterloo has become recognized as a diverse market – it has universities, it’s home to some of the largest insurance companies, its known for its technology and manufacturing sectors,” Innanen told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “It’s not a one-horse town so it allows for great diversity in terms of investment options.”

It’s become a hot and, indeed, safe market for investors because of the large transactions and liquidity that has poured in over the past few years, according to Innanen.

The Waterloo Region is also unique in that it comprises three different cities that each offer their own investment options.

Waterloo offers opportunities for office investment; Cambridge is known for its industrial offersings; and Kitchener is home to many urban office opportunities.

And there are plenty of residential opportunities throughout the region for investors as well.

“Residential is front-and-centre in the Waterloo Region; there are 3,200 new homes built every year … and the demand is there (for rentals),” Innanen said. “There are a lot of condos being built; 2011 was the first time there were more apartments built than there were single-family homes.”

Innanen argues the Waterloo region is a better option for investors than the GTA.

“A lot of people are pushed out of the GTA because of product availability; Waterloo also offers higher returns (than the GTA),” he said. “You will get a 1% higher cap rate in the Waterloo region than the GTA for apartments. And apartments offer the lowest cap rates in the region.”

Source; Canadian Real Estate Wealth – by Justin da Rosa 26 Feb 2016

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Why Real Estate Is One of the Best Ways to Make Money

Why real estate is one of the best ways to make money

After a decade of saving and investing, I think real estate is one of the best ways to make money and build wealth.  Here is why.

There are many ways to turn a profit with real estate.

When you buy a stock, the only way you can make money is if the stock appreciates in value, and you sell it at the good time. With real estate you can make money in many ways, I can name those 12 off the top of my head, and there are many more.

  • Rental income. That one is the main source of profit investors are going for when buying a rental, and doesn’t need an explanation.
  • Buying low. You turn an instant profit if you manage to buy a property for under market value. Think foreclosures, quick sales, and awesome negotiation skills.
  • Selling high. You can make extra money if you stage the property to attract buyers over market value. With stocks, you always buy and sell at market value. With real estate, you can try to beat the market.
  • Increasing equity. If you take a mortgage to finance a rental, you are increasing your equity with every mortgage payment. I put down 25% on my last rental and with mortgage repayments am around 33% equity at the moment, those 8% of the property value were paid by rents and are increasing my net worth every month.
  • Leverage increases returns. If you put 20% down on a property, you will still receive rental income based on 100% of the property value, making it a great return for your 20%. Say your property is worth $100,000 and you charge $750 in rent with $500 in mortgage, taxes and fees. You have a $250 profit on $20,000 down. That is $3,000 a year, or a cool 15% return on your deposit. Good luck trying to get an almost guaranteed 15% on stocks.
  • Leverage makes you profit on the full selling price. If that same $100,000 property you bought with $20,000 down sells for $120,000 a few years later, you get your $20,000 plus principal payments back, and a $20,000 profit. It is only a 20% profit over the full value of the property, but thanks to your leverage, you are making a profit of 100%, minus principal payments to the $80,000 mortgage. The bigger the leverage, the greater the return.
  • Renting smaller units. I rent three rooms by the room, to three tenants. I can charge more than if one family was renting the whole place. You can divide your family house into a duplex or a triplex and increase the rent.
  • Renting to businesses. Businesses are a different type of tenure and rents are generally higher. They are also safer if you choose a well known business to rent to.
  • Tax benefits on interest. Depending on your country of residence, you can often deduce the mortgage interest from the rental income, and create a tax free profit.
  • Tax benefits on improvements. You can also deduce the cost of the improvements from the rental income, while the added value to the property is yours to keep.
  • Profit from a lump sum on a refinance. So you bought your $100,000 place, and put $10,000 worth of improvements, that the tenants paid back with rents. The property is now worth $125,000 because your contractor did a great job, you can refinance to get the $25,000 cash and put 25% down on your next $100,000 rental!
  • Profit from extra cash flow on a refinance. If you are able to refinance the property to lower your mortgage bill payments while the rent stays the same, you are generating more cash flow every month. You can build a cushion for maintenance, save up for a deposit on a new rental, or have more passive income to live off.

 

Why real estate is one of the best ways to make money

There is less risk in real estate leverage than in stock leverage

Stocks are volatile. Penny stocks and currencies even more so. Some trading companies will allow you to trade on leverage. That means if you buy 1,000,000 shares of a penny stock valued at $0.05, the trading company will not require that you fund your account with the full $50,000, it will let you buy the shares with only $5,000, BUT if the share goes down to $0.045, which it almost certainly will, you will get a margin call and your whole account balance will be wiped out.

With real estate, you can put the same $5,000 as a deposit on a $50,000 or even a $100,000 house, and rent it. If you have a renter, you don’t really care about the ups and downs of the market, as you are able to meet your monthly repayments. If the property sits empty for a while, all you have to do to keep it is pay the mortgage yourself. It isn’t fun, but it is much better than seeing your whole trading account annihilated by a margin call.

Real estate is what you do with it

I bought my first rental cash when I was 22, let the property rot and did not invest a dime in repairs in 10 years. The result? A low rent and quite a bad tenant. He was there before I bought the place and I wanted to have him out before renovating, but he beat me to the game, stayed for 10 years, died, I had to evict his widow, and managed to sell the place a few months later for double the money.

My last rental is a different story. I bought a brand new property, furnished it nicely, set up rental prices that are not outrageous but will drive away the worst tenants, and positions the place as an upscale flatshare for young professionals, instead of a bottom range share for first year students.

What you plan on doing with the property should determine the area you buy in, the type of unit you buy, the state of the property, and all details about said property. If you are not handy and hate to renovate, buy a new place or somewhere you can afford to hire out the renovation without tanking your operation. If you want to rent to families only, buy a nice family home in a good school district. For young professionals, find an affordable studio or 1 bed that is an easy commute from a dynamic zone of employment.

The same thing applies to managing the place yourself or not. Property managers will happily do the job for a fee, and if you are busy, that fee will be worth your time and then some. It will however decrease your profit. Choose to do it yourself, and you will have all sorts of headaches, and a source of income you can no longer call passive.

How you profit from real estate depends on YOU. When you buy a stock, you never know, for as much as you study the company, if its CEO isn’t about to leave and the next one will run the company to the ground, if there is a merger with a less profitable company in the pipeline, or if an earthquake will destroy the production plant in China. Your real estate investment will be a result of your own efforts to renovate a place, promote it, screen a proper tenant, and keep it up over the years. And real estate is tangible. When all the markets tank, you are trying to hold to your losing positions in hopes they will go up in a few months, or hurrying to sell at a loss before it gets worse. Real estate will bring you a monthly rent to cover the mortgage, even if you have negative equity. And in periods of economic turmoil, when people lose their houses to foreclosure or first time buyers are denied mortgages by the banks, you will have more potential renters than ever. When things go back to normal, home prices will increase and you can make a nice exit, sit it out until the next crisis, and go back in the game to buy low. Don’t want to time the market? Just buy. Now is as good a time as any, for all the reasons mentioned above.

Source: Huffington Post – Pauline Paquin; 02/16/2016 04:42 pm

 

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