Chellie Mejia, B.Sc.


INVESTMENT BUG: The pros and cons of purchasing an investment property

We’re nearing the end of the second quarter now, and the real estate market is holding steady! And with more and more people looking at ways to invest their money and get the most for their return, I’ve had a few calls from clients considering investing their money in investment properties. I know from personal experience that the return on this type of investment can be great, and is definitely a great way to diversify your investment portfolio with an investment that will likely increase over time and pay for itself in monthly rental income, but I also know firsthand that the process isn’t as glamorous as it may come across on all our favourite real estate reality TV shows.

Firstly, let me make the difference between flipping properties, which has been popularized in the last few years, and owning an investment property. “Flipping” a property refers to the common practice of purchasing a “fixer-upper” property below market value with the intention of fixing it up to raise the value and re-selling in a relatively short period of time for a profit.

Owning an investment property that you plan to hold on to long term can be anything from purchasing a condo, duplex, triplex, building, etc. with the intention of renting out the unit or units on an ongoing basis.

If you’re looking at purchasing an investment property for the first time, it may be worth noting that most lenders won’t approve financing for properties of more than four units. So purchasing a triplex to rent out may be a good start, but maybe save the three-story low rise until you’re a little more experienced. Most lenders will require a minimum of 20% down, and if you’re looking to avoid mortgage insurance premiums, it might be worth it to put down more. Throw in land transfer taxes and closing costs, and you’ll see why it becomes super important to know your numbers and be sure of what your upfront expenses are going to be.

When it comes to tenants, I have one golden rule for all of my clients: you need the RIGHT tenant, not a tenant RIGHT NOW. In Ontario, the laws are usually on the side of the tenant, so do your background and pay the $29.99 for a credit check to cover your bases. If you don’t have a thick skin, develop one, quick! Complaints will come and you’ll need to know your tenants’ rights and your rights as well.

Be prepared for maintenance costs and repairs. Be prepared to put in work. Get yourself an agent who has knowledge of the type of investment property you’re looking to get into and who knows the area enough to work with you through area rental rates and capitalization rates. If you arm yourself with the right team and proper guidance, it could be the best financial decision you ever make.


Follow Chellie on Twitter at @ChellieMejia and Women’s Post at @WomensPost

Eliminating moving woes

I love moving.

I promise I’m not just saying that. Even as a child, graduating and moving to new schools, making new friends, new experiences, new surroundings, it’s always been a thrill to me. To me, there’s nothing like organizing your kitchen just right for the first time, picking just the right shade of blue for the family room, and deciding whether your couch should sit against a wall or float in the centre of the room. These decisions give me life; they are exhilarating. I totally understand that I’m probably alone in my love for the mundane task of moving houses.

As a soon-to-be wife and the mother of a toddler who now insists that he’s a “big boy anda Lion,” I no longer have the luxury of changing my environment on a whim. Luckily, I happen to be in the business of moving, and helping my clients stay on task and get organized is one of my favourite parts of my job. I’ve also learned some tips along the way that have helped to avoid moving day catastrophes.

For one thing, I encourage my clients to get a head start. Pack one box a day in the weeks leading up to the move to help alleviate the stress of one big “moving weekend”. Decide on the logistics of the move ahead of time. Are you using friends are hiring movers? Across how many days do you plan on actually executing the move? Basically, if there’s anything that can be done ahead of time, do it.

Another thing I’ve learned is to keep movers in the loop, particularly if my clients are hiring movers. I cannot tell you how unnecessarily stressful it is to realize that moving the baby grand piano is going to cost an additional $150 that wasn’t accounted for in the original budget and require moving equipment that will now take an extra two hours to go pick up – on the client’s dime.

It is important to keep movers aware of anything outside of ordinary boxes and furniture that they will need to move so that they are not caught off guard and have all the equipment needed.

The great part about moving (at least for me) is that it gives me an opportunity to purge my environment of all of the things that I don’t really need and/or use anymore. Clothing can be donated to local charities and old magazines and papers can be discarded or shredded. I prefer doing this at point A rather than bringing the clutter into point B.

One of the most basic tips I offer to my clients is to label everything. I cannot stress this enough.  You may think you’ll remember that the box with the blue ink stain on the top right corner is the one holding the cutlery, but when you’re all of a sudden in a room surrounded by dozens of identical looking boxes, things can get a little tricky. Plus, it’s always easier to just place labeled boxes in the rooms where they’ll need to be unpacked to prevent having to move boxes after you’ve just moved them.

And of course, tying up loose ends after the move is just as important as the move itself. Calling your service providers to inform them of the change (phone, internet, cable, etc.) can save you from waiting weeks for service appointments when you’re in your new home, and informing the postal service of your address change guarantees you won’t miss important correspondence.

Even with these tips, you might not see moving as a grand old time, but I’m hoping you’ll at least not see it as a stressful ordeal. Organization is key; the rest is just memories waiting to happen. Happy moving.