Can You Make Money Buying a Townhouse Condo in London Ontario?

Over the last 6 months I have worked with 7 Millennials  who wisely bought either a condo apartment or a townhouse in London Ontario and had help in reducing their living expenses and for two of them, earning about $200 month over their mortgage, taxes, utilities and condo fees!

Millennials but Townhouse Condos London Ontario

How did they do it?

Not to make this a 30 minute dissertation on buying a condo in London Ontario and for brevity sakes, here is how one did it.

He works for a gaming company here in London and by his words, a ‘nerd’. He had been following my blogs and website for 8 months and finally emailed me that he was thinking about buying a house or a condo in London.

We met in my office and went over his perceived criteria, his fears , financing and his ideal property for resale because he felt headhunters would be coming after him in a year or two and wanted to ensure that if he sold his property, he would not get fleeced too much.

nerd buying a condo in London Ontario

After doing what I call ‘Market Education’ (we looked at 3 houses in various parts of London & 4 condos, 2 apartments and 2 townhouses) we then sat down again and he was much more informed what he could afford and the style he preferred. He chose a townhouse because of the long and weird hours he was working and thought a hammer was a female hamster! (I s**t you not!)

At his work, his company is growing rapidly, people coming and going and we discussed about how he could maybe rent out a room and still have privacy, yet help in paying down his mortgage.

Well, that was a no-brainer! He had 5 co-workers who jumped at the idea. I helped him buy a 3 bedroom townhouse for a good price that offered some  individual privacy and a place that was move in ready.

His mortgage payments, condo fees and taxes came to $912 per month ( he was paying $850 a month for a dinky apartment) and got a co-worker to rent a room for $500 per month and share the utilities! Also, I suggested he meet with one of the lenders I use, ( he said he was pre-approved by a mortgage broker , I said he should get another opinion), which he did, and he saved .7% in interest fees, less hassles and did not have to spend 13 hours filling out forms, documents and what colour socks he wore!

Who’s the nerd now?

 He was so pleased in how the whole process worked, he referred me to some of his co-workers, even one of the co-founders of the company. They are happy and I am happy!

happy nerd buying real estate London Ontario

  You can be too!

 Note: He just got a 2016 year end bonus and has used it as a down payment on another town house!

London Ontario Income Properties Good Landlord Habits

When owning London Ontario income properties, good landlord habits will make a huge difference in your bottom line.

Become a wise investor in London Ontario income properties by adopting these points in your long range plans, these ideas have been used for years by some of the the most profitable landlords ever! They are real simple and yet, choose not to follow them at your own peril!

London Ontario Income Properties

  1. Before you make an investment in a duplex, tri-plex or single family home, evaluate your financial situation.  Ask yourself if the timing is right.  Don’t just go with your gut or the latest TV commercial or ad, get rich with no money down razzle dazzle mumbo jumbo!.  Learn the basics about cash flow,  loan amortization (extremely important).  Meet with a knowledgeable Realtor who is familiar with the market and can help you make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.
  1. Do a thorough search to find what you think the right investment property for you might be. An experienced Realtor can then explain the pros and cons and then help you identify and buy the property, work with you on all documentation including rental and lease applications, purchase contracts, city permits etc.
  1. Have a professional inspection as a clause before your offer is firm.  Make sure there aren’t any major problems and if there have been problems, make sure they’ve been properly addressed.  You’re investing your hard-earned money, be cautious.
  1. Visit your property at least twice a year.  Talk to your tenants to get feedback on things that need repairs etc. It’s less costly to take care of little problems before they become big problems.
  1. Have adequate insurance.  When you own property, you have potential for liability.  Work with an insurance professional who will see that you are well covered.
  1. Positive cash flow.  A skilled Realtor can help you determine the amount of rent that is reasonable for the condition of the property, its amenities and location however, you do not want any long term vacancies. The best time to make these decisions is BEFORE you make an offer!
  1. Be very selective about your tenants from the start.  Check all references, including previous landlords, payment history, employers, and credit history.  Good renters will help you generate positive cash flow that you can use to reinvest back in the property payment and speed up the amortization schedule.

Not having the right person to help is a common prognosticator of faulty investing. When investing in real estate, you  require more than just the average Realtor to find and close on the best properties. Just as there are physicians who have a general practice in medicine  you also have specialists.

“It ain’t what what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Mark Twain

Consequences of Over Paying For a London Ontario Home

Overpaying for a London Ontario home such as paying over the listing price, or paying near the asking price of an over priced home or no conditions can come back to haunt those who do.

I get it that there is a shortage of houses & condos in London Ontario for sale. When prices rise because of shortages (fear of loss) we humans seem to throw common sense out the window!

Overpaying for a London Ontario Home

We have seen it with oil, vacation ‘deals’, the stock market, kids toys or the latest concert performance.

Mark Twain wrote that humans have a lot of common sense, which is why they don’t use it! I was looking at the year to date real estate sales in London Ontario  and saw some homes in London sold at 110% – 125% over the asking price!

It seems to me that home buyers are acting on impulse and  impulsive action is based on emotion (keeping up with the Jones’s or fear of loss) rather than common sense.

Acting impulsively has consequences and for a buyer of real estate, that could mean, when it comes time to sell, the market either has decreased or not kept up with inflation, being house poor and in turn, having to become more frugal in the other areas of their life.

In the heat of negotiating, counter offers and multiple offers, most buyers act impulsively, even their sales representative.

 How I think a real estate buyer should act.

Be prepared! First, know the facts, neighbourhood prices, your financial limitations and lifestyle and secondly, psychological preparation.

Facts are the easy part and make sure they are facts and not opinions & poor perceptions. Mentally being prepared to walk away takes courage and good old common sense.

Price is what you pay, value is what you receive!

Listing a London Ontario Home , What to do First?

The most important time when listing a London Ontario home is when it first goes up for sale on MLS.  Home buyers and their Realtor  are searching daily for certain neighbourhoods in London  for something new, when excitement is usually the highest!

If there are errors in the listing, poor pictures or a inadequate description of your home, it can hurt you.

Selling a London Ontario Home

In most cases, home sellers do not have any idea that this is occurring. They may not know that potential buyers and their Realtor have by passed the listing, disregarded it all together or  frustrated when they get to view your home, or, pleasantly surprised!

Below are some of the reasons your home may not be getting the exposure and action that you have anticipated.

  • The sign goes up, but the Listing Realtor has not turned the listing in to the office yet, so the office not only has no record of the listing, it does not know who the listing Realtor is. Buyers drive by, they call the office and get nowhere.
  • The Realtor has not loaded the listing to the Multiple Listing Service, (MLS) quickly. Again, the buyer does not see it for a day or two and their Realtor will not see it on their frequent search for new listings.
  • The listing appears on MLS, but when the buyer and Realtor get there, the lock box isn’t on yet, there are no keys cut etc. If you are not home, the buyers may reschedule to come out the second time if they have not bought any thing in the mean time.
  • Your house listing is not up yet on any other websites,  blogs or on any social media sites.  (Not important?) The latest data shows that buyers preview homes on the web 94% of the time BEFORE they actually go and look in person!
  • The MLS listing has mistakes. Room sizes are wrong. Poor pictures or not enough pictures. (Last week I showed good clients of mine a $639,000 house & they at first declined to see the  property because of the poor or inadequate pictures. Their interest did pique up after seeing the house but because of their first impressions, did not make an offer! They bought another home the next day, 3 hours after it was listed!)
  • Showing instructions indicate to “call agent for appointment” to arrange showings, but the Realtor does not return the call or if so, the next day. The buyer’s Realtor again calls to set up a time, leaves a message or a page, the window for showing comes and goes and the buyer cancels appointment to see the property. Believe it or not this can happen two or three tries before they can finally get in.
  • The buyer and their Realtor show up at your door and you did not know they were coming. Or, they show up at your door when you explicitly told the listing Realtor you did not want any showings. The buyer and Realtor leave or are uncomfortable if they do go through your house. All because some one did not notify you.
  • You do not get any feedback about the showings that have taken place. You do not know why you have not received an offer yet, or, is there any thing you can do or change to help sell your home? . The listing Realtor does not know either, because, they did not ask the showing Realtor for any feedback, and or, have not kept a record of who looked at your house.

Frustrated Home buyers

You may think that the above is rare, but, It is not ! Frustration mounts for buyers and their realtor thinks:

 “Am I going to get in”? “Is the home seller really serious about selling?”

If you were buying a car and the sales person said he/she was going to get the keys so you could take a test drive, but never came back with those keys, you would finally move on to another dealership, wouldn’t you?

Your listing Realtor’s credibility transfers to you and your property. If the lack of credibility starts with showing the property, the buyer and their Realtor wonder what else is wrong or what other problems are they going to encounter.

Again,did you know that 94% of homes sold have been previewed on the Internet?

Listing with an Realtor who has a reputation for being thorough will never do you any harm. Who uses the web properly, has a follow up system and the finances to see your property through to the final stages.

Ensure that before the sign goes up and the listing gets to the MLS, everything from the lock box, listing brochures and presentations are in place and ready to go. Ensure your Realtor has a system to let you view the comments and feedback about your house on a special listing website . Do they have a check list (I have 133 items on mine) that they share with you before it even gets on MLS?

Check list when selling a London Ontario Home

 

Do not let others get in the way of selling your home. Why not make it easy and comfortable for buyers and their Realtor to see your home,  make an offer and you are always in the loop, being informed and willing and able to sell your home.

In summary, the most important time for a new listing is BEFORE it goes on MLS.

London Ontario Landlord License, Who Needs One?

Over the past few months I have spoken to many landlords who wish to sell their London Ontario income properties and of course, many buyers as well.

When the topic of a landlord’s license comes up, it is like a deer staring in the headlights! Some say they were not aware of one, or those who were aware, were quite wrong in their presumptions and interpretation of the by-law.

Landlord License London Ontario

To ease the confusion, here is who does not require a license:

This By-law shall not apply to:
(a) a Rental Unit in an Apartment Building, a Stacked Townhouse or a Townhouse;
(b) a Rental Unit that meets all of the following conditions:
(i) the Rental Unit constitutes the principle residence of the registered owner;
(ii) the Rental Unit is temporarily rented by the registered owner for a period of time no greater than 12 consecutive months in any 24 month period;
(iii) the Rental Unit was occupied by the registered owner immediately prior to its rental;
(iv) the registered owner of the Rental Unit is temporarily living outside of the Municipality; and,
(v) the registered owner intends to reoccupy the Rental Unit upon termination of the temporary rental.

So there you go, sleep better or are you more confused?  Read the full by-law. 

Note: If you are selling an income property in London without a  landlord license, you could end up  jeopardizing the sale or prolonging the closing and in most cases, a good Realtor will insist a clause be in the offer that you, the Seller, will provide a valid license on or before closing  to the Buyer

Properties Near University of Western Ontario

 My Top 5 Properties Near University of Western Ontario 

Top 5 income properties University Western Ontario

As of Decembr 7, 2016 there are 26 income properties for sale near the University of Western Ontario. Not all of these are on MLS, I have clients who are in the process of cleaning up their  properties or in the thinking process of selling soon!

Because of the volume of business I do, I get to see quite a few properties and know what a good income property is. It must have positive cash flow, a history of low or no vacancies, in reasonable shape & be free of any major defects or 1-7 year major upgrades necessary.

 

   Size   Asking Price Reported Monthly

Income

                Description
6 bedrooms $329,000 $2785 Fully licensed walking distance to UWO,  3 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, new windows(2009), furnace (2008), roof (2015), A/C (2015) Leased April 2017
5 bedrooms $397,000 $2625 Licensed, short walk to Western, solid brick, recent upgrades, leased May 2017
4 bedrooms $409,000 Owner Occupied 3 + 1 bedrooms, electrical, furnace, air, roof all within 3 years, on bus route, 5 minutes to Western
3 + 2 bedrooms $400,000 $2500  Licensed, newer high efficiency furnace and a/c, updated electrical, Kitchen upgraded, Hardwood flooring throughout main floor, Lower level completely renovated throughout. Leased until April 30th 2018, $2,500 monthly income plus utilities
4-2 bedrooms $499,000 $3200 Licensed, kitchen, windows, furnace & air, bathrooms all upgraded last 3 years, 5 minute walk Western, leased April 2017 and 5 of the tenants want to stay another 2 years

Note: Due diligence is a must here concerning income, expenses, licenses, inspection reports, zoning and risk!

        MyTop 10 Condos Near University of Western Ontario 

Top 10 condos near UWO

Style  Asking Price Bedrooms  Description
Apartment Highrise $335,000  2 Hardwood through out, 5 appliances, balcony, 7 minutes away, underground parking
Townhouse 279,900 3+2 Finished basement, garage, 10 minutes away
Townhouse $275,000 3 Double garage, master ensuite, finished basement, 5 minutes away
Townhouse $310,000 4 garage, 2 + 1 bathrooms,
Apartment Highrise $255,000 2 3 year old building, underground parking, 10 minutes away
Apartment Highrise $210,000 2 5 appliances, decent view, 6 minutes away
Townhouse $386,000 3 +1 Double garage, finished basement, Masonville Mall area
Townhouse $330,000 3+2 Double garage, finished basement, Masonville Mall area
Townhouse $298,000 3 + 1 Very clean, single garage, finished basement
Townhouse $359,000  3 + 1 Master ensuite, finished basement
Apartment Highrise $299,000 2 + den Immaculate

Note: I have not included any of the condos in Downtown London, or high end townhouses , detached one floor condo townhomes, or free hold condos across the city.

You can see any condo, house or income property that is listed on MLS  by going here.

What is The London Ontario Condo Market Doing?

Every day I get asked these 4 questions about the London Ontario condo market.

  1. “What is the London Ontario condo market doing?”
  2. “When is the best time to buy or sell a condo?”
  3. “How much should I offer?”
  4. “What should I list it for?”

London Ontario Condo Market

The first step in answering any of the above 4 questions is knowing how the London condo market performed and the chart below for the period January 1, 2016 to December 7, 2016  does.

Quantity Style Average Selling Price % of Selling Price to Asking Days on the

Market

421 Apartment High Rise $175,051 98% 56 days to sell
109 Apartment Low Rise $114,643 96% 58 days to sell
815 Townhouses $173,968 98% 36 days to sell
227 One Floor Attached $285,069 99% 42 days to sell
46 One Floor  Detached $387,881 98% 50 days to sell

From my experience in helping educate Londoners about condos in London, these averages may not hold true for your building or complex.

Why?

My last 4 condos I sold sold for full price and were on the market less than 5 days!

Before buying a condo in London or selling a condo in London, you may want to get what I call “brutal truth factual numbers” about what prices are today and not an opinion where prices are heading or what someone received for their unit 6 months ago.

Price, condition, style and location dictates what a condo sells for and how long it will take to sell. For buyers, you will be assured of not over paying and for condo sellers, you will not leave money on the table or over price your condo because of blind optimism or false perceptions!

I’m a numbers person first, then a guidance councillor about quality, style and location and then lastly a Realtor who can negotiate from strength!

Works every time!

Student Properties Near University of West Ontario Mistakes

 I was discussing with a good client of mine about student properties near  University of Western Ontario & the common mistakes or errors  that some owners may not be aware of ;or; if so, sticking their heads in the sand and pleading ” there’s nothing I can do”!

head in the sand

Over the past 2 weeks I have been fortunate to have helped 5 buyers who wanted to either buy a 4-6 bedroom house near Western for an investment or to have their son or daughter move in and have their friends move in as well and build some equity or cover some of the expenses of getting an education.

Two wanted a medium to high end  condo near Western for one of their children and if they wanted a friend to move in, they could.

I have seen these mistakes before but these buyers had not and the most common comment I heard was :

“Do they really want to sell this building (condo)?”

 mistakes selling student housing

Other than price and condition of the properties I showed, here were the biggest drawbacks as to why we did not put in any offers or even consider putting in an offer.

  • The listing Realtor never called us back! Wow, you as an owner and your Realtor has a $477,000 property and they don’t call you back? After 3 attempts? (By the way, that building is still listed for sale!)
  • My clients and I arrive but can’t get in to see the rooms. The tenants say they were not notified or given enough notice.  Whether the tenant is right or not, it would behoove me as a landlord or the Realtor to ensure that ALL tenants are notified and reminded before a showing, either by email, text, in person, smoke signals, notice on the door, telegram, fax, morse code or even pokemon !
  • In some of the 4-6 bedroom houses,  we can only see one or two bedrooms because the keys we have  don’t work!
  • The stated rental income is unrealistic or the comment “If fully rented, the potential rent is”. In my experience, tell it like it is, someone willing to buy your property is not dumb or lazy, and they want real numbers, not B.S.
  • Will not cooperate with a Fire Marshall’s report or ESA Certificate, or, is not a legal duplex or triplex and then their Realtor or owner  try to tell me, “Don’t worry, it’s been like that for years, nobody will ever find out”. Yeah, right!paperwork income properties
  • In one condo we saw, the condo fees were out $113.00, there was only one parking spot instead of two!
  • Listing with a Realtor who did not have a lot of experience with investment properties. Residential listing and investment listings, even condo listings  are quite different, they can be more complex and it takes a different skill set to handle.

The above are just a few challenges while seeing properties, I haven’t even got to the offer stage yet!

As well, there was  incorrect information as to property size, room sizes, taxes, etc. Or, outstanding work orders from the city, or city violations to building code, or that there are 3 mortgages and liens on the building!

I take the attitude that I and my clients cannot change the condition or the situation we are dealing with so it is unlikely any emotion will be helpful. I can’t change the obstacles, that part of the equation has already been set, however, how I approach them to find a solution is something that my clients and I can control!

So at the end of the day , my clients were successful in finding what they were looking for and the price point they were happy with.

If it sounds like I am ranting against the disorganized, the lazy, the unwashed people who represent property sellers, I am. I also praise and thank the professional who is organized, cares, is diligent, knows the facts and is willing to make the effort to ensure a transaction gets done. 

Raised Ranch For Sale in Westmount London Ontario

478 Eaton Park Drive
Just Listed in Westmount, a desireable neighbourhood in London Ontario, with 4 bedrooms, large fenced back yard and only $310,000, MLS# 594098

Raised ranch in desirable Westmount area OF London Ontario

Solid brick, magnificent landscaped fenced back yard with wooden deck and a concrete patio. Very bright, modern open concept with hardwood and ceramic throughout the main floor.

A very large bright kitchen with a breakfast bar and dining area. Main floor family room and large living room with a gas fireplace that heats the house during winter.

The 2nd level has 4 good size bedrooms, another gas fireplace and a great play area . Crown molding and high baseboards through out .

New steel roof (2016) with a 50 year warranty, new windows throughout and well maintained.

Lots of storage, walking distance to schools.

Property information

London Ontario Real Estate Investment Properties

Can You Eliminate Risk in London Ontario Real Estate Investment Properties?

                  GET A HEAD START ON London Ontario Investment Properties

 Novice & even experienced real estate investors seem to make the same errors in judgement because of false perceptions or the wrong assumptions! I see this weekly, why?

Real estate investing  has provided many investors in London Ontario with positive cash flow, tax benefits and the satisfaction of making an impact in their lives.   However like any investment, real estate has intricate nuances and market trends that when ignored can cause an investor tremendous heartache.

Unbelievably, many investors are willing to part with their hard-earned cash without taking the time to study their investment.  They rely on traditional trends or gut feelings, or worse, bad advice or emotional bravado!

Income properties now for sale in London Ontario

Before you risk your real estate investment, take the time to learn all you can about the market, that is, get the facts, not opinions, run your own brutal truth numbers, not some pie in the sky numbers that some book authors or academics suggest you use, think long term not next year, do not rely on potential, grocery stores don’t take potential as payment when buying food for your family!

Align yourself with the right professional Realtor, accountant & real estate lawyer and you can avoid  12 common errors that I see weekly  and you can ensure a positive return on your investment, month in, month out, year in, year out.

There will still be risks involved but you can minimize them if you take your time!

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