Owning an income property is still widely viewed as a stable and excellent investment in Canada. For many people in Toronto, it is a great way to build wealth and gain passive income through real estate. There are many different types of residential and commercial properties that you can invest in, each with its own benefits and disadvantages. Multiplexes are an iconic Toronto property that is some ways an underrated gem for investors. Single-family homes have been soaring in popularity while many multi-family homes are passed over due to perceived differences.
Multiplexes are an incredible investment. There are so many benefits to a multi-family home over a single-family home. You can diversify your portfolio and have a potentially higher income with a relatively incremental increase in costs. If one unit is empty, you have the possibility that others are filled and able to continue funnelling income to you while you are in the process of acquiring new tenants. In many instances, multiplexes can be cheaper and less competitive than single-family homes, particularly at the moment. And you can even live in one of the units and rent the others out which subsidizes your mortgage and puts you closer on the road to financial freedom.
While there are many benefits and advantages to owning a multiplex as an income property, investors need to be aware of the maintenance costs associated with these types of properties. As with any property, maintenance is required both as routine work and emergency expenses and issues. How much maintenance is required for your income property depends on a number of factors including what kind of landlord and owner you want to be. Maintenance is incredibly important and needs to be done as soon as possible. For emergency issues, never delay in addressing them. Things only get worse the longer you leave them and the last thing you want is your tenants getting upset.
You need to first consider how hands-on you want to be with your property. If you are not in close proximity to the property such as living out of town, then perhaps you will benefit from having a property manager on-site or nearby to assist in everyday maintenance and tenant concerns. Additionally, if you own a multiplex with a high amount of units like a 10-plex, you may prefer to have a property manager. Keep in mind that this will be an extra expense for you but the benefits are likely to outweigh the costs.
If you aren’t handy or unable to respond immediately, you should have a list of contacts and people who are able to deal with any and all situations: plumbers, carpenters, builders, electricians etc. It’s better to be prepared and have that reliable list than wait for a disaster to occur and scramble trying to find someone to fix an issue.
Preventative maintenance is the key to minimizing issues. Spring and fall will require the most attention and work from you. Fall requires you to prepare the property for the winter. In Toronto, there are municipal minimum temperatures that dwellings need to abide by and you should be aware of this. In the spring, you will need to also prepare the property for the warmer months, particularly if you have A/C units.
You should always check for raccoons and other burrowing critters as these are notoriously difficult to remove and Toronto raccoons are very clever and sneaky. Gutters and rooves should be inspected regularly to make sure they are in a good state and there are no blockages. Make sure you replace all of the filters and check the window and door tracks. Always, always, always make sure the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operational.
You should always be aware of your obligations as a landlord. It may seem like a lot of work because, well, it is but it is worth it. You can always work with your tenants to see if they are willing to take on some of the maintenance duties such as cleaning the A/C and replacing the filters. If it all sounds like too much for you, consider a property manager.
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