What is Rent-to-Own?

Podcast Episode 80:
Rent-to-Own.”

Rent-to-Own (abbreviated as RTO and often interchangeably called a Lease-Option) is a two-part strategy. You start with a lease (the ‘Rent’ part) and add an option to purchase (the ‘Own’ part). In a Rent-to-Own scenario, the renter is, for some reason, unable to finance at the moment. Examples of financing problems are: bad credit, not enough down payment, self-employed, new job, or new immigrant. Yet, all these tenants want to make the transition toward home ownership immediately, usually for personal or emotional reasons.

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How to be a Legal Landlord

landlord tenant law

Podcast Episode 72:
The Basics—The Legal Side of Landlording.”

In my 40-plus years of experience as a lawyer, I have observed many common situations that real estate investors have the same questions about. My answer is: it’s all about The Basics. One of those questions is how to be a landlord. As an attorney, I suggest that one of the most important parts of being a landlord is carefully following the legal rules for renting properties. In order to do this, you need to know the law in your area. Luckily, governments usually have all kinds of resources to help people who aren’t lawyers to learn the rules. You also need to have a system in place that makes sure you can consistently do things by the book. In this Tale from the Trenches, we have a property manager who unlawfully evicted a tenant, and a landlord who paid the price.

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Worst Case Condo Investment

Podcast Episode 68:
Disaster at Penhorwood: Update.”

In a previous Tale, we reviewed the calamitous and stomach turning events at the Penhorwood Condominium complex in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Our review looked at events occurring in 2011, but in 2014 things really came to a head. I thought this was serious enough to reprint some our previous Tale, and then follow-up with a discussion of how the circumstances evolved. Read on and be very aware that some condominiums have ultra-serious issues.

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Rent-to-Own aka Lease-Options

Podcast Episode 67:
“Coaching Successful Lease-Options.”

When a qualified tenant wants to be a homeowner, but can’t get a mortgage, investors can offer him or her a lease-option. This creative investment strategy is also known as rent-to-own. The trick is doing enough diligence on the tenant to make sure that they will be able to qualify for a mortgage at some point in the (relatively) near future. It also helps to get insurance in case something goes wrong. The tenant pays a non-refundable sum of money for their lease-option, and the whole deal can provide an excellent return-on-investment (ROI) for real estate investors.

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Buying Long-distance Property

Podcast Episode 59:
Travel and Tenants.”

Managing properties when they are far from where someone lives can be tricky. Use this fact to help you find motivated sellers. Beware that pre-possession inspections require custom clauses and you can’t just kick existing tenants out if they are a problem. When finding replacement tenants, know the difference between rent deposits and security deposits.

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Multifamily Location Is Key

Podcast Episode 58:
You Are Buying the Neighbourhood.”

When buying a property, you are buying the neighbourhood and neighbourhoods are not homogenous. Do some diligence around schools opening or closing, new public transit soon or in the works, and rezoning. Check parking lots and dumpsters where you intend to buy; these will give you an informal tenant profile. Any environmental considerations?

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Rent-to-Own Fiasco

mortgage fraud

Podcast Episode 45:
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.

A new real estate investor managed to avoid a rookie mistake. He was about to enter into a rent-to-own agreement with someone, but the paperwork was so vague as to be useless. Luckily he brought it to me, and I told him to run!

Download the audio file HERE and the text/handout HERE.
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Illegal Suites

illegal suites

Podcast Episode 44:
Illegal Suites Are Everywhere.

People often add onto or subdivide their properties, which can make diligence tricky for investors. Did the seller have a permit for a secondary suite? If so, did they actually build what they were supposed to? You need to figure these things out before purchasing or else you might not be able to use that extra suite.

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How to Deal with a Deceased Tenant (Follow-up)

Podcast Episode 43:
There’s A Dead Guy In My Suite! (Follow-up)”

This Tale follows up on the previous one about what you can do when a tenant passes away. Our example shows the steps taken by a landlord to deal with next of kin, and what happened when the family didn’t end up taking responsibility for the tenant’s estate.

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