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Investing in Real Estate for Your Retirement (and Now!)


You've probably heard a lot of opposing information about Investing in Real Estate, which is completely annoying! The straight-forward fact about Real Estate is that it is probably the best and safest investment you'll ever make, especially if you live in it, and that you are far more likely to make money in this market than with any other type of investing. The chances are very slim that you'll wake up one morning and the housing market will have dropped by 40%. Egads! That ain't good!

In general,Real Estate values always go up. There are some Apartments in Calgary (Alberta, Canada) that I wanted my husband to buy (he wouldn't, but that didn't stop me from asking!) about five years ago. Back then, the Apartments were selling for $96,500.00 for a Two Bedroom place, and now that same unit is selling for over $150,000.00. Quite an increase in value, eh? (You're learning how to speak 'Canadian', too!) That's over $50,000.00 in gross profit, for the mathematically challenged (me included!). We sure didn't make that kind of profit in the Stock Market in that span of time.

Now, if that were your Primary Residence (the place you actually live), and you had lived there all that time, you would make that profit tax free. The same profit made on the Stock Market would be subject to regular taxes, which totally sucks, since you were the one to invest in the first place, and you were the one to take the chances, but, them's the laws of the land - what are you gonna do?? That's right, buy Real Estate! Ha,ha!

Buy Apartments or Condos

One of the best bits of financial investment ideas that I ever got was from an old boyfriend of mine, Ben Johnson, the Olympic Runner. (Remember him? Turns out, great guy, bad rap, punished more than any real criminal, very wise business man - funny how the press doesn't focus on that?) Anyway, his idea was to buy 15 apartments and rent them at approximately $1000./month (he lives in Toronto, Canada where the rents are high, if that seems exorbitant to you, or low, if you live in New York, and that seems waaay too cheap! ha,ha!). That would give him a regular 'income' of about $15,000./month, provided that the properties are owned outright. Good idea, eh?

Now, we can't afford that many rental properties, yet, but the idea is a good one. I don't know if he ever actually did that, but he planted a seed in my mind that will allow my husband and I to build a solid foundation for a comfortable retirement.

I happen to be partial to the idea of buying new apartments in a regular Apartment Building as opposed to Town Houses, Duplexes or Single Family Homes, because you don't have to worry about serious repair problems, like a new roof or furnace! Those problems can add up to some serious bills for the Property Owner.

New or well-cared for buildings are unlikely to require repairs within the first five years, and if you purchase in a Condo Development, your renter can pay the Condo Fees, which will cover any major building repairs. You will, of course, be responsible for general up-keep, but even that will be minimal if you have good renters and start with good stuff. If you are reluctant to get into the 'Landlord' game because of the whole 'collecting the rent' thing, you can always hire a Property Management Company. They'll handle everything for you for a relatively small fee.

When you're first looking at Rental Properties, Apartments specifically, try to find one that is relatively inexpensive, and make sure that you are in a financial position to carry all the costs involved if you don't have a renter.

Be careful not to pick up a 'real steal' that needs a huge amount of work - you won't save any money on this one - it could ruin you, financially, too, if there are too many complications in the deal. Again, I prefer new, but an apartment in good repair is fine, too. Only you will know how much you can take on.

Also, check with your Banker or Broker to ensure that you qualify to carry a mortgage on the new property. The Interest Rates are particularly low, right now, so this is a great time to invest in property. The great thing about having rental properties is that not only will you be gaining a perpetual monthly income (the difference between the costs of operation and the rental fee), when you are ready to sell the property, you'll get back all of your initial investment and you'll have the equity spread as well.

If you happen to live in the Property for a couple of years, or so, yourself, then any profit you've made will be tax-free, since it will have been your Primary Residence. Always check with your Accountant to comply with local tax laws. Also, you may be able to hand the property down to your children. Amazingly enough, this is no longer a basic right of a parent in certain countries without some one paying massive amounts of taxes, making it virtually impossible? Man, can't wait to live in the States, again!

Our own plan is to pay off our Mortgage on our Primary Residence, then use the money that we would normally put toward the Mortgage Payment to get a mortgage on a Rental Property - an Apartment.

I like the idea of purchasing a number of apartments on the same floor of an Apartment Building, or at the very least, picking up another apartment in the same building. It seems to me that it would be waaay easier to manage properties if they're close together.

Also, we'd like to have an apartment available for each of our children when they are old enough to move out on their own. They could have the choice of having a room mate, themselves, who would pay them directly for their share of the rent. That way, our children could learn first-hand how to be landlords (Man, I really don't care for that term!) and we wouldn't have to worry about where they're living and whether they have any money for groceries! Scoooore!

The other thing that is key to a comfortable retirement is that the properties you acquire before you retire may be paid off before your actual retirement date, if you have one. If you're living well on your regular income (not including the rental income), then you can put a larger portion of the rental income directly on the Principle of the rental property mortgage. This will give you a higher monthly 'income' later.

(I thought this Ad was really funny!! Of course, It's Great to Be A Landlord, so you can still shoot for that!! ha,ha,ha!)

Ailsa Forshaw is a Writer, Builder, Website Owner & Manager, Teacher, Mother... all in Alberta, Canada. She is Married with Two Lovely Children, and one gorgeous wee dog. Her Website, http://www.buildyourownhouse.ca, is chock full of all sorts of useful & fun information to help anyone become Financially Successful, Slim, Trim, and Happy... what more could you want?? Pop in for a wee visit! http://www.buildyourownhouse.ca http://www.theScottishDiet.com


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