In today’s blog post, I decided to address one of the most frequently asked questions that my husband and I get from our readers each and every single week – they want to know how we created our income working from home.
Many of our readers are parents, just like us.
They are parents who are looking to create another income working from home especially now with the pandemic. Subsequently they have many questions about how we built our information business and how we’ve been able to sustain and thrive over the better part of 15+ years with both of us working full-time from home.
To get a little background on us, as “parent-preneurs” with 2 beautiful boys our entrepreneurial journey started over 15 years ago when we were still in University.
The internet had just emerged a few years before and with that an entirely “new” way of creating income.
Connecting with the world on a global scale was a new concept.
Having access to audiences that businesses would never have had access to a short few years before has enabled people to make a full-time income selling products online.
As luck would have it, we connected with some very savvy mentors and business owners who took us under their wing and taught us about online marketing.
Yes, we jumped head on into marketing our own information products around concepts that we knew well and developed expertise in (online lead generation and marketing tactics) but we also, very early one, were very influenced by these mentors on the concept of “Multiple Streams of Income.”
Multiple Streams of Income
The main premise of multiple streams of income is that you don’t solely rely on one type of income. In fact, it’s preferable that these other multiple streams of income be residual or passive in nature.
Personally, this idea really appealed to us. The idea of diversifying our income into different business ventures made sense in case another area of business became slow or dried up. As entrepreneurs, having interests in various businesses would help us to grow quickly.
That said, real estate was a natural segway; my father-in-law was a commercial real estate agent, and his wife a realtor. My husband and I always loved real estate and looking at homes and because of it we bought our first home together when we were 21.
We then started thinking more and more about real estate as an investment business. We then decided it was a good and sound strategy, and made the move into buying properties, holding them, or flipping them to make a quick profit.
So today, as part of this multiple income series where I break down our multiple streams of income, I wanted to briefly talk about our rental properties, and this area of our investment portfolio.
We have been buying rental properties since we were 22 years old, when we bought our first rental house.
It was a house that we eventually renovated into 2 units, one with a 2 bedroom upper floor and a 2 bedroom basement unit and shared laundry.
It was a great investment because the house was being sold by a motivated seller and they were willing to let us come in and purchase the house at a discount.
The house itself had not been renovated in a while and it needed some major upgrades in electrical and plumbing but it was in a great neighbourhood and had all the makings of a great house to buy and hold.
We ended up keeping that house for over a decade. We sold it in a sellers market in Toronto that saw the house appreciate substantially in value.
A year after buying our first house, we bought another, and then another and another…
Most of the houses we rented, with the exception of a couple of properties that we bought for very low, and sold quickly at a profit.
Of course, we always did our due diligence. We had several people we would turn to for advice, we used real estate professionals to help us navigate our deals and we used various tools to determine the numbers and mortgage eligibility (tools like mortgage calculators) along with other information we referred to help understand what we could afford, and amortization tables to determine if the deals we were looking at were indeed smart moves to make.
That said, we have had a very positive experience diversifying into investment properties. Below are my personal, top 5 reasons we continue to invest in property.
Top 5 Reasons to Rent Houses as Part of Your Investment Portfolio
The reasons rental properties appealed to us were as follows:
1. We liked the idea of someone paying our mortgage – essentially paying for an asset that we invested very little in. We liked the idea of controlling an asset for very little down and it made sense for us as part of our wealth building strategy.
Yes, there will be maintenance along with unforeseeable repairs and expenses, but if you do the proper research on the properties, refrain from making emotional buying decisions but rather make disciplined decision looking at whether the numbers work (again using the calculators and various tools), at the end of the day investing in right properties made financial sense.
In addition to the rent your tenants pay, you expect their rent to pay off the interest payable on your loans. Positive cashflow is something that all real estate investors strive for and when your profits are greater than the interest you owe, you are winning. Oftentimes, your profits will exceed other types of investments.
2. Diversification – Investing in different markets is smart. We like the idea of investing in the stock market, and other less traditional assets like Bitcoin, and even peer-to-peer loans.
3. Real estate investing is a great investment even in the pandemic. According to Canadian Real Estate Investing Magazine, more and more people are looking to move to Canada and real estate investing is still one of the safest and risk free investments people can make.
In fact, the market in Canada is so hot that properties are seeing appreciation on a month-to-month basis. I recently spoke to a realtor friend of mine that mentioned that lakefront vacation homes (which we own) are now selling in as little as 3-18 days, often with multiple offers. This, of course, is great for someone who has invested in property and is now looking to pull out their profits.
On the flip side, even as the pandemic is still ongoing, with interest rates extremely low, people are buying up single family homes as an investment.
For those of you who are looking to enter into the world of real estate investing or to add to your portfolio, if you are in a position to buy more property, it would be an excellent time to start looking. This article in MoneySense explains why, even in Covid, this may be the right time to invest in real estate. You may find something to add to your portfolio suitable to your needs.
4. Investing in Short-Term Rentals
Two of our rental properties are short term rentals. We have been using companies like AirBnb.com and Booking.com to act as the broker, and we offer short term vacation rentals to people looking for a cottage on the lake or on the ocean.
Especially now with Covid, since people are not going far to vacation, our rental properties have been doing very well with locals looking for a nice getaway; people are staying for weekends, long weekends and week or more long stays in the summer.
Other times that the properties are not in use, we can use it personally for ourselves. Owning these investment properties have provided our family not only an additional income, but a place to relax and unwind, which has become more important now since there is little traveling happening due to travel restrictions.
At the end of the year, the income we made from these vacation rentals is more than we owe in mortgage, taxes, maintenance and repairs for the year. These 2 vacation rental properties have been an excellent investment for us.
5. Tax Benefits
Lastly, income-property can be a great tax-benefit. As the owner, you are allowed to claim deductions, sometimes on purchases you would have to make anyhow.
Be sure to keep receipts from your trips (to and from your rental) or stores anytime purchases are being made for your rentals. Many of these expenses can be claimed and even these small expenses can be added up and deducted from your income.
Quick note: Tax laws vary, so be sure to know what you can and cannot claim – real estate deductions can be quite substantial. Here is a link to a list of tax deductions you can claim for your Canadian real estate business. As good practice, consult your accountant for information specific to you and your rental investment situation.
All of the houses we bought as investments have been a learning experience.
Hopefully this article gives you some ideas on how you can start seeing real estate as not just a place to live, but an intriguing investment.
Of course, that’s not to say being a DIY landlord is perfectly effortless but we believe that it is worth the work, which is why it is part of “how” we create income.
The potential to retire on rental income is very real. For us, part of the retirement strategy using real estate is this: Own a property (or several) for a couple of decades, create a high net worth, use the cash flow to supplement a retirement fund, pay off mortgages using rental income, and sell for a cash intake when you want to.