Rental real estate: Do the math!

Large House with Lawn

One effective way to preserve wealth and travel the world is to invest in rental properties in smaller towns and cities that have stable economies and where a new or older condo can provide a steady stream of revenue. Of course, you don’t actually need to move into the condo to gain money from it, and finding and keeping good, honest renter is a huge key to success. To play the rental game risk-free means balancing the amount of money invested in a condo or fourplex against a stable flow of rental income. This capitalization rate, or “cap rate” can vary widely from one town to the next, indeed from one block to the next as apartment buildings are subject to “gradings” based on their condition and lifespan.

What’s worth recognizing is that many BC cities (Kelowna, Prince George, Victoria) offer large health care, education and government administration jobs that are attractive to young university graduates who might want to rent for a few years before getting promoted elsewhere or moving back to the Lower Mainland. Additionally, many tourist sector jobs can provide seasonal rental income for property owners, though ideally you want to fill up your rental property on a year-round basis.

Pro tip: Don’t bank on making money on short-term rentals such as VRBO and Airbnb, most BC towns have a near-zero vacancy rate and by-laws are being passed to make sure that municipal zoning laws are respected and people aren’t operating unofficial “hotels” in a neighbourhood.