According to The Canadian Real Estate Organization, the cost of purchasing a home has increased by 31.6 percent in one year.1 This, coupled with a relatively consistent drop in mortgage rates since 1981, could leave investors wondering whether real estate is a good investment.2
Of course, this decision will depend on your personal financial goals. But to help, we’ve compiled a list of advantages and disadvantages of real estate investing. This list should not be used in place of advice from a financial advisor and should only be used to provide clarification.
Types of Real Estate Investing
Several options exist to leverage real estate, offering different opportunities to investors. Below we’re focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of two common options:
- Buy To Rent: You purchase a property with the intent of renting to tenants. This can be the entire property or a portion of your property.
- Buy To Flip: This is a property purchased with the intent of improving it to be sold later at a higher price.
The Advantages of Real Estate Investing
Many individuals make money off of real estate by either improving the home and selling it or by renting the home to tenants. The latter option provides investors with a steady stream of passive income. Often this income is intended to cover the costs of owning the property, while also providing a small increase in income.
Though it does come with additional risks, real estate has the potential to be relatively stable compared to other investments. This is because rental properties can provide a consistent amount of income, where other investments fluctuate.
Real estate may provide several tax advantages to owners, including:3
- Mortgage interest may be deducted from taxes.
- Property depreciation can defer income taxes.
- The cost of maintaining the property can be used as a tax write-off.
Ease of Access
The process of purchasing a property is relatively familiar to many investors, especially if they already own a home. For this reason, real estate investment can be particularly attractive as long as one can afford the property and find tenants.
Disadvantages of Real Estate Investing
Real estate is by no means a low-cost investment. The average cost of a home in March 2021 was $716,828.1 Naturally, this average will fluctuate between provinces, with the highest in British Columbia at $945,936.1 This price alone gives real estate a high bar for entry. One must be able to afford both the purchase price and upkeep of a property to utilize it as an investment.
The location of your property can influence its value. Often this is thought of as job opportunities, crime rates and schools. But this also includes local governments. For example, Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan was designed to make it easier for individuals to purchase a home, and in turn, affected the cost, and therefore value, of local property.3 Be sure to research the location of your potential real estate investment before putting any money down.
Owning a property and becoming a landlord is no simple task. One is legally obligated to follow several responsibilities, with many taking extra time out of your day. Some responsibilities of a landlord include:4
- Collecting rent and returning the rental deposit after tenants leave.
- Providing rental receipts and a copy of the lease.
- Maintaining the property and ensuring that it complies with health and safety guidelines.
- Maintaining common areas, like driveways and yards.
This is not an exhaustive list of responsibilities, but it shows some of the things that can take extra time and effort to manage compared to other investments. As an alternative, property owners can hire a company to manage many of these responsibilities. However, this can also increase the cost of owning the property.
Difficult To Pivot
Unlike other investments, it’s difficult to sell a property. And if it’s difficult to find tenants, or the market takes a turn for the worse, your investment could turn into a liability.
Even with rising prices in property, real estate may be an attractive investment option for certain individuals. But, like any other investment, real estate comes with risks. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages can help. Be sure to discuss your investment goals with a financial advisor before making a final decision on whether or not to utilize real estate as an investment strategy.
Please consult financial, legal, or tax professionals for information specific to your situation. The information and material presented are general, may have changed since the published date shown, and should not be considered financial advice. LetsPlan.ca is published in Canada exclusively for residents of Canadian jurisdictions where our products and services may be legally offered. The services offered within this site are available exclusively through our Canadian advisors. While we often provide original content, Twenty Over Ten initially provided the subject matter for this post. It has since been edited, reviewed and approved by our Privacy and Compliance Officer. Advisors may only conduct business with residents of the province(s) in which they are licensed and registered.