“One Percent” Realtors, Ready to be a Landlord?


Dear David,
How is a “one percent” Realtor different from other agents? – JUST WONDERING

DEAR WONDERING: Read the fine print. Discount brokerages have been around for as
long as I can remember. Lately, some have been marketing their services as very similar to those of traditional brokerages. This comparison is like a discount motel going head-to-head with the Ritz. The customer will get a bed either way, though their expectations may need to be adjusted.

For some people, price may be more important than results. The discount route might appeal to these customers, though “missing the forest for the trees” is an expression that comes to mind. It’s not uncommon for agents in this business to work part-time. Imagine a minor league ball player, versus a major-leaguer. Both know the game, but one of them likely performs better in many ways. Compensation is usually based on performance and results (which makes me wish I was a pro ball player).

Before signing an agreement, I’d recommend that homeowners do a little investigating. Do “conditions apply”? Also, when the service is “practically free”, how much can the agent afford to invest in the sale of your home?

Selling your home is a one-time occurrence with no do-overs. Afterwards, it’s too late to wonder if you picked the right option. Results tend to speak for themselves and the majority of homes are sold with traditional brokerages. We’re all familiar with the notion that you get what you pay for. Different business models suit different people and you’ll want to choose the one that makes you comfortable.

Dear David,
I’m thinking of buying a townhouse as an investment. What is it like to be a
landlord? – READY TO INVEST

DEAR READY: I would encourage you to read the Residential Tenancies Act to ensure this step is the right one for you.

There are two types of landlords, active and nonactive. You’ll need to decide which one of them you want to be. If you don’t wish to be in the trenches, I would budget to have a professional management company cover the day-to-day operations of your investment. This is a deductible expense, and few people want to deal with a call late Sunday night informing them that the toilet is overflowing or the downstairs tenant is yelling at their spouse.

Becoming a landlord is right for a lot of people (and it might be for you), but it’s not for
everybody. If you decide to go ahead, you’ll need to accept that there will likely be some challenges along the way. After all, if it was super easy, everyone would do it!