Real estate has always been a robust pillar in the investment portfolios of Canadians. I had the pleasure of speaking with Francois Lanthier, one of my esteemed clients, about his expansive journey through the world of real estate, which started in Ontario and took him to regions like Florida, Alberta, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, and Costa Rica.
In our discussion, he shared his trials, triumphs, and invaluable lessons he’s picked up along the way. Dive into these insights and discover how you too can enhance your own real estate investments.
Here’s a closer look at how Canadian real estate investors can extend their portfolios beyond Canada and protect their wealth.
Francois Lanthier’s Real Estate Investment Journey
Initiating his journey in Ontario and then moving to New Brunswick, Francois’s dedication to real estate is genuinely inspirational. But what drove him to explore so extensively?
He took his first steps into the realm of real estate back in 2006 with strategic slow flips in Ontario. By 2014, he was deeply committed, switching to real estate investment as a full-time pursuit, drawn by the allure of superior opportunities and returns.
New Brunswick: Lower Prices & Better Cash Flow
Francois’ quest for better investment opportunities led him to New Brunswick. But what was so special about this place? Simple. Lower property prices and a promising cash flow. However, life’s unpredictabilities kicked in, and a short six-week stay made him realize that New Brunswick wasn’t the haven he had imagined. But did that deter him? Not at all! He went back to Ottawa, but his investment interests still lay in New Brunswick.
Exploring Investment Avenues Outside Ontario
With booming cities like Calgary and Edmonton offering a goldmine of opportunities, Francois couldn’t resist. The higher entry point for duplexes in Alberta did raise some eyebrows, but the potential for significant cash flow silenced the skeptics.
Florida: Short-Term Rentals
Francois discusses how he pivoted their investment strategy to focus on short-term rentals in Florida. Florida offers higher cash flow compared to California and they have purchased vacation homes near Orlando and Davenport to cater to Disney and Universal Studios visitors. He explains that their large, seven-bedroom property brings in approximately $300 per night, resulting in an average monthly rental income of $7,000. Despite the high purchase price of $525,000, his property is cash-flowing around $2,000 per month.
Financing: The Canadian Investor’s Guide in the US
Financing options are available for Canadian investors in the US, mentioning that Canadian banks like TD Bank can provide financing for vacation homes, allowing investors to put 20% down and offering a fixed interest rate for 35 years. Scotiabank offers financing options for pre-construction properties in the Dominican Republic.
Dubai: The City of Real Estate Opportunities
Dubai has attractive tax incentives, such as no capital gains tax and no personal income tax. He mentions the booming real estate market in Dubai, with pre-construction opportunities and the ability to buy and pay after receiving the keys. Francois shares their own experience of buying a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for around $480,000 and expects its value to increase by $200,000 once it’s finished.
Costa Rica: The Next Big Thing
Francois discusses the appeal of Costa Rica, particularly the predictable weather, amazing food, and affordable real estate with low property taxes. He shares that he purchased his first property in Costa Rica for $250,000, a detached townhouse with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. He is able to rent out the property for $200 per night, and on average, he earns around $4,000 to $5,000 per month during high season. Francois also highlights Costa Rica’s favorable tax regime, which allows for earned income outside the country to be tax-free.
Until next time, happy Canadian Real Estate Investing
Cherry Chan, CPA, CA
Your Real Estate Tax Accountant