The Struggle is Real...But Doesnt Have to Be!
The Struggle is real...but doesn't have to be!
Let's be honest. Being in your early 20s in Toronto right now is pretty great. The nightlife is amazing, the brunch spots are on point, and most importantly, our friends and jobs are here.
With that said, Toronto has two big downfalls for people in their 20s-30s: rising house prices and increased rent. This is a very real concern for my friends and me.
When we graduated, my girlfriend, Adriana and I, had the “how are we ever going to be able to afford a house?” chat. We did the math and with our income at that time, it would have taken us 8 years to save enough for a downpayment on a new home. We soon realized this wasn't very realistic with our new careers (I was a new-to-the-field realtor and Adriana was an actress starting out in Toronto). After several more of these conversations we came up with a simple strategy; rent in the city and buy a rental property outside the city.
We came up with this strategy after reading 'The Wealthy Barber' by David Chilton (as you have probably heard of it), a book my mom bought me in an attempt to deter me from buying overpriced sneakers (Eg. Yeezy’s) along with its other financial education pointers. After deciding not to buy those sneakers, I also took a simple concept away with me- “Live not only within your means but below them.” For example, if you make $100,000/ year, live like you make $50,000.
That is exactly what Adriana and I did and still do. We were making a combined income of $50,000 at the time so we lived as though we made $30,000 and created a financial game plan. This involved simple strategies to reduce expenses. For instance, we made lunches at home instead of buying take-out (easier said than done, I know). We avoided unnecessary wants and spent only on needs and saved instead.
We further saved by electing to rent an apartment near the subway line on the outskirts of the downtown core; our place is approximately 20 minutes on the TTC. The key to this strategy is renting an apartment in a building or a house built before 1996 as these buildings are subject to Ontario Rent Control which limits the amount the landlord can raise your rent. This permits us to know our fixed costs for years to come.
This strategy allowed us to save $20,000 as a down payment to purchase our first investment property valued at $100,000 in Listowel, Ontario. We accomplished this by age 22. We rented it out for $760/month, which was enough to cover the mortgage and expenses while providing us with an extra $60 per month. (Not a lot, but a start.)
Two years later, after more hard work and savings, we learned about another investment property in St. Catharines, Ontario. We reviewed the numbers and determined it would fit into our strategy. By using our additional savings, we were able to arrange for a mortgage on the property. The key to this purchase was that the rent covered the mortgage, the loan, and the expenses while providing a monthly surplus of $250.
At age 26, we still rent the same place in Toronto. Our rent is $1500 for a three bedroom, and our two investment properties bring in $2425 in rent per month. Our strategy offsets our rent in Toronto by building equity in our mortgage and provides us with consistent cash flow each month. It is important to remember, though, this increased income does not translate to an increase in spending. Sure, there will be extra events we decide to attend or we may have a “fancy” meal during a night out every month or two, but we keep our day-to-day living the same. The biggest challenges of having the extra income is keeping it as savings rather than splurging on material goods.
Secrets to the plan:
Living within your means (appropriate rent in Toronto).
And, most importantly, seeing beyond the big city.
I am happy to grab a coffee and show you how you could adopt this strategy and make it work for you. I have worked with multiple couples this year who are thrilled that they now own real estate in Southern Ontario. Are you the next millennial to think outside the Toronto core?
Call or text me at 416-312-5043 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.