We’ve asked a local landlord/property manager to more than a twenty rental homes across Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Woodstock to answer some questions for us today on renting. All of these questions have been sent to us by people like you, so please continue to send us topics you want to hear from experts on and any questions!
Q: I already have a home with a mortgage but I want to get into rental properties. How do I even know if I am eligible to buy a home for renting out?
Speak to a mortgage broker about an equity takeout or new mortgage and to a Realtor regarding a good rental purchase.
Q: What kinds of places should I be looking at as safe for rental investments? Condos? Townhouses? Or single family?
All are good investments at the right price. Remember: the tenant is paying off your investment so more importantly, think about if the home is suitable for tenants and what the ongoing costs to maintain the property may be. A good realtor can help you determine this.
Q: How do I determine what the rental price will be?
Check Kijiji adds for current market rents. If your ad is not drawing prospective renters, the rent is probably too high, simple as that. You may have to adjust your price or be open to negotiation, so think about where you can be flexible.
Q: What exactly am I responsible for? What if the toilet floods or the fridge breaks?
Depending on the way the lease agreement is structured, you may be responsible for it all. That's why it's so important to have a lease clearly defining each part's responsibilities. Your realtor can help you draft a lease, or a lawyer or a local property owners association. Be wary of any online “fits any size” lease.
Q: Is it better to rent a house as furnished or empty?
Are you concerned about wear and tear on the furnishings? Do you mind the extra cost to replace items? or will the rental be more appealing and rent quicker and for more money furnished. You have to decide what type of accommodations you want to supply for what kind of renter. An international student may be interested in a furnished rental unit, but an established family may want to bring in their own furniture.
Q: What are the best neighborhoods to buy rentals?
Buy in neighborhoods that will attract from the largest pool of potential renters and has best future potential for appreciation. So, if the choice is between a 1 bedroom condo in a high-rise with 20 other rental units owned by investors or a 3 bedroom in a family friendly neighborhood, where would you prefer to live yourself (and invest in).
Q: Student rentals – good idea or stay away?
Student rentals are very lucrative but can be hard to finance, can be costly to maintain & service, and have a high turnover. The question may be: How busy of a landlord do you want to be?
Q: What is one piece of advice you’ve learned that you would share with anyone wanting to own a rental property?
Do your checks early at the application stage, and be aware of any red flags. Always follow your intuition. Once a "bad" tenant is in, they can be tough and costly to evict from the unit.