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Who here has a rental property out of town? (Lets say atleast 2+ hours away from where they live?)

This is not something that I'll do in the near future, however just evaluating and entertaining the idea for the moment.

Currently living in the Toronto area, however I've always liked Ottawa and Montreal. Not knowing what the future might bring, I figured it might be a wise decision to get an early foothold in either city.

Just wondering if i was to buy a property and put up for rent in either one of those cities what sort of services are available to help manage them; lets say for inspections, maintenance, rent collection, or even representation in a tribunal setting in the event of a dispute (Like i dont already know what that's like.. lol).

Are there any agencies which offer a comprehensive package of such services, and if so what is a ball park figure of their monthly charges? At the end of the day would it still be profitable to outsource the day to day management of them?

Thanks.
 

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I have a rental property 1.5 hours from where I live, does that count?

John Reed (and a friend of mine who owns a large number of rentals) are convinced that it's possible to manage rentals long distance, without a PM company. If the building is big enough you'll want to hire a superintendent (as an employee - not PM company), but if there's a small number of units (perhaps one), you keep up with maintenance and have long term tenants I think it's very possible to handle it yourself.

Why do you think it's worthwhile to "get an early foothold"? Moving to Ottawa or Montreal isn't as hard as invading Normandy...
 

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I own a rental property 5 hrs drive away, and I manage it myself.

Its located in a popular vacation destination and we have friends there, so we usually travel there 2-3 times a year for 2-4 days.

I always make a point of letting our tenants know in advance when we are coming up, so we can do a quick inspection and also do any minor repairs.

I try to get them to provide an itemized list of anything they need done in advance, so I have the right tools and parts with me. I always plan to spend at least 4 hrs every time at the property to do items on the tenants list and other needed work.

Through trial and error, I have now built up a list of reputable tradespeople I can call if I need urgent work done or if I don't have the skills or time to do the work.

I am lucky to also have good friends close by, who can help out in a pinch.

When looking for a property, we wanted to find something that would be low maintenance and attractive to long term tenants specifically families. We bought a 5bdrm bungalow a block from school, in a popular neighborhood within 5km of downtown with a large fenced in backyard (it even has a basketball court).

We have put a quite a bit of money into the place since we bought it 3 yrs ago - new roof $5k, new double pane windows $8k, new deck $2k. But we have always made a profit or at least broken even each year. I am always willing to make these kind of repairs, as they enhance the longterm value of the house and make it more attractive and easy to rent the place.

We have had one rare occasion where my wife had to take a quick 2 days vacation from her regular day job to hop on a plane and fly up there to deal with tenants that moved out suddenly. She needed to do some quick cleaning and painting, and showing of the house to new prospective tenants.

Aside from that it has been smooth sailing.....touch wood.

We are thinking about buying another investment property in the same location but with a young family its challenging to find more time to handle maintenance work and tenants. If we were to do that, I think we would consider having both properties handled by a property management company or at least have them do some of the work.
 

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Not a good idea, for many of the same reasons discussed in the cottage thread. Have you been reading that thread?

Renting out property is not for everyone and I would caution against this. When you need to move, buy or rent. Otherwise save your money. Don't fall for the rhetoric (usually from RE agents) about tenants paying your mortgage.
 

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We have put a quite a bit of money into the place since we bought it 3 yrs ago - new roof $5k, new double pane windows $8k, new deck $2k. But we have always made a profit or at least broken even each year. I am always willing to make these kind of repairs, as they enhance the longterm value of the house and make it more attractive and easy to rent the place.

We have had one rare occasion where my wife had to take a quick 2 days vacation from her regular day job to hop on a plane and fly up there to deal with tenants that moved out suddenly. She needed to do some quick cleaning and painting, and showing of the house to new prospective tenants.
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Do you have an ROI objective for the property?

Do you deduct the time you spend in maintaining it on your taxes? And the air fare/time of your wife?
 

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I have a rental property about 1.5 to 2 hrs away and manage it myself. It is in a ski resort, so I was able to find a local cleaner and maintenance company. I use the cleaner between every check out/in. I use the maintenance company only for emergencies as and I do most of the maintenance myself when I'm there.
There are coded locks that you can buy that allow you to generate key codes for guests to use that will be specific to the time they are there, so there is no need to meet to hand over keys.
There are lots of property rental websites around that you can use to advertise your property on as well as general ones like CraigsList.
I have had my property for 15 years and with the exception of the very first year when it was managed by a rental manager, it has always paid for itself.
 

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What does that mean? Mortgage interest, ROI, Maintenance?
That means that I have been able to pay for all maintenance, condo fees, mortgage (interest and principle) from rental revenue. I.E. no money for anything out of my own pocket. This year we did an $11,000 reno (paint, carpet, lighting fixtures, lamps, TV, PVR) which was also paid for from money from rentals (and 9 days of my and my wife's time). Given the reno, I think it will be a close call as to whether we break even this year, but so far we're on target.

As for ROI, I have never bothered to calculate it, since we bought the place because we like to ski and as long as it pays for itself, I am fine with that. It's still a lot of work managing bookings, scheduling cleans, maintenance, etc., but other than the maintenance, I can do everything from home.
 

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For the sake of convenience some RE experts recommend to have your investment RE within a 15 min drive of your residence.

Not sayin' its for everyone......just sayin'...
 

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It would be great to have RE investments within 15 minutes of my house, but in Vancouver with today's prices, that is just not realistic. There is pretty much no way you can find a property (even one with 2 suites) that will give you a positive ROI.

It is still possible in some smaller towns with much lower RE prices.
 

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..As for ROI, I have never bothered to calculate it, since we bought the place because we like to ski and as long as it pays for itself, I am fine with that. It's still a lot of work managing bookings, scheduling cleans, maintenance, etc., but other than the maintenance, I can do everything from home.
That's great! It sounds like a lifestyle expense but in your case, the only cost is the extra effort to keep it rented.

How do you account for your time when deducting expenses on your income tax?
 

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Don't mean to hijack the thread but I have also been thinking of doing this. Most of the people that have replied back though seem to have vacation rentals or units that are rented to a higher end crowd which tend to respect stuff more because of deposits, etc. Any of you have places with long term, working or lower-mid class people? If you are 5 hours away, what do you do with a plumbing leak or a pain in the butt tenant that calls you about every little thing?
 
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