The Ugly Duckling — Transforming an Unattractive Investment Property into a Beautiful Swan
If you’ve been itching to purchase an investment property in Toronto, then you probably know that pickings have been pretty slim lately. Move-in ready houses with curb appeal are often the subject of bidding wars and come with a hefty price tag. The thought of owning a property that will generate immediate rental income is ideal, however, after weighing the pros and cons, and taking price into consideration is it really worth it?
Enter the ugly duckling: The legal triplex that is in need of some TLC. It’s in a fantastic neighbourhood, however, it contains a unit that smells like several unappetizing meals were cooked in it and has carpet that dates back to the early eighties. Overall, it’s not a pretty sight, and you’re uninterested. These are signs of poor property management. Before you move on to the next house, consider this: The property wasn’t built with a smell reminiscent of burnt dinners past, and at one point, that carpet was new. The point is, if you ask anyone involved in property management, we can tell you about some of the most luxurious spaces that have been destroyed in a matter of months due to one bad tenant — we can also tell you have quickly we’ve cleaned them up and made them move-in ready by the next month.
If you’re willing to look past the cosmetic issues and focus on numbers, taking on a property that was poorly managed isn’t such a bad idea. This can often save you money on the initial investment, and after hiring a reputable property management to turn it around, you will then be able to increase the rent and earn a profit.
Signs Poor Property Management
1. Units Not Prepared For Renting – If the state of a unit makes you ask yourself “Who would want to live here?” after viewing it, then you know it’s been poorly managed.
2. Not taking accountability – If the previous managers blame the condition of the property on a bad area or bad tenants, they’re trying to draw your attention away from the real problem – bad management.
3. Vacancy – if there are six units, and two of them have been vacant for months, that’s never a good sign.
4. High Turnover – If the previous landlord couldn’t keep tenants because a) they were unhappy with the living conditions or b) they weren’t paying their rent, then those are both signs of bad property management.
As an investor, signs of bad management can mean dollar signs in the future. Unfortunately, you can’t change the location of a building or a property’s layout without major renovation. You can, however, change your property management company. It should be common sense to anyone that apartments should be clean, painted and livable by decent people’s standards if you want to rent them to decent people.
Returns on property investments shouldn’t require rocket science. Simplified, well-maintained properties yield great results. This includes responsible tenants who are properly screened, which results in higher rents, no vacancies and low-turnover. By hiring a reputable Toronto property management company, you can turn an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, and attract the type of tenants you want to rent to. Toronto is a huge metropolitan city, and although there may not be thousands of investment properties to choose from, there are thousands of responsible, income-generating tenants to choose from. Sometimes the best returns are the ones that come from the most unexpected sources.