Welcome to the Real Estate Investor Guide. Whether you are buying your first home or looking to invest in an income property, it can be a daunting task. Buying a home is usually the biggest investment that most people will make in their lives. Perhaps you already own real estate and you want to add to your portfolio. Maybe you are thinking about selling or refinancing. This site is designed to help you make the process easier, safer, less intimidating, and most importantly, profitable.
I would like to give you the benefit of my 25 + years of experience so that you can avoid some of the mistakes that I made. It is entirely possible that I might even learn something from you! My posts are divided into 4 categories, Buying, Selling, Financing, and Property Management. Your comments, questions, or suggestions are always welcome.
Your first question might be, who am I to advise anyone about real estate investment? I have been in the real estate industry for more than 25 years. It started when I was in college in Toronto, Canada.
After my first year living in dorms, I discovered that housing was not only expensive but difficult to find. I thought, there had to be a better way. With a loan of $5,000 from my parents, I bought a 3 bedroom condo. Two of the bedrooms were rented to other students and the rent was sufficient to cover all of the costs so that I lived there for free.
When I graduated from college, I landed a good-paying job, and I wanted to buy a single-family home. However, the area that I wanted to live in was very expensive, and although I could barely afford it, I did not want to sacrifice my lifestyle in order to be able to afford the mortgage payments.
There had to be a better way.
Again, I thought, there has to be a better way. The research I did resulted in me buying and managing 4 triplexes over a period of 3 years. Managing all those properties and holding down a full-time job proved to be a little much. After a few years, I decided to sell 3 of them (at a considerable profit), consolidated the cash and purchased 2 large apartment buildings, one with 24 units and the other with 14 units. Both those buildings had live-in property managers which freed up a lot of my time.
Time to Sell
About 2 years later, I realized that the market was maxing out and it might be a good time to sell. Everyone thought I was crazy but I decided to sell anyway. All my properties sold in the space of 3 months. I rented a condo until I could determine my next steps. After a few months, I decided to move to Florida where I purchased 2 hotels. Several months after I moved to Florida, the market in Toronto collapsed. Property values crashed 50%.
While I owned and managed the hotels in Florida, the market began to take off. I had done some substantial renovations to the hotels. Once that was completed, I had some extra time so I decided to buy older condos, renovate them, and resell them. From the period of 2001 to 2006, the market was extremely hot, and I even sold contracts on properties that I had not even closed on yet and made a substantial profit. During that period, I obtained my real estate broker’s license, mortgage broker’s license, and even took a course on property appraisal.
From my experience in the Toronto market, I saw the crash coming in 2009, although I thought it would happen sooner. Again, I liquidated all my properties and banked the cash. It took almost 2 years before the market crashed. If I had held on for that period, I could have made a lot more money. The important thing is that I did not lose any money.
Over the 25 + years in the real estate industry as a homeowner, investor, broker, and property manager, and dare I say, “flipper,” I made a number of mistakes, but I survived them and learned a lot from them. I will share some of those stories in future blog posts. It is my hope that you can learn from my experience and avoid those same mistakes. I will also try to give you the tools and resources you need so that your real estate investments can be successful.
I have written a series of articles that I have divided into 4 broad categories of real estate investment; Buying, Selling, Financing, and Property Management. Click on the appropriate sub-menu to explore the topic you are interested in. If you cannot find what you are looking for, send me a message on the contact page and I will try to answer your concerns or refer you to someone who can.
I try to post a new article every week. I focus each article on what I think is important in the real estate market at that particular time.
Be sure to check out the In The News page for up to date information on what is happening in the world of real estate.