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Chartered accountant loads up on Canadian investment properties

Justin Chung, 36

Occupation

Chartered accountant

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The portfolio

Investment properties

The investor

Justin Chung owns a dozen income properties outright, and several more as joint owner. He is not bothered by gloomy headlines on the Canadian real estate market. While Toronto and other cities may be getting frothy, places elsewhere in Canada are still affordable.

How he invests

"I purchase positive cash-flow properties in desirable neighbourhoods," says Mr. Chung. "They also need to be in cities that have a strong opportunity for appreciation due to favourable economic fundamentals, such as growth in the local economy, jobs and population."

His most recent purchase, in the fall of 2013, was a semi-detached home in Edmonton. It's located in a "family-friendly neighbourhood" close to schools and transportation arteries. Built within the last eight years, the dwelling was "in rent-ready condition with no repairs required."

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Another purchase was a duplex in Hamilton, during the summer of 2012. It was "in a great location and had some upscale touches, like exposed brick walls, high ceilings and hardwood floors." After some renovations, "the two units rented out very quickly for above-market rents."

Best move

About seven years ago, Mr. Chung bought his first income property, a student rental within walking distance of the University of Waterloo. The cash flow has been good, and so have the "solid equity gains." He has borrowed against the equity to make down payments on subsequent acquisitions.

Worst move

"When I bought that first student rental property in Waterloo, I thought I could do everything [including the repairs] … but it cost me in terms of time. I quickly realized that it is better to get the right professionals who know what they are doing and instead focus on the areas that I am stronger at."

Advice

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"Build your team – this includes your realtor, mortgage broker, lawyer, property manager and insurer. Invest time in establishing long-term relationships."

Network with like-minded investors, Mr. Chung adds. One way he did this was by joining the Real Estate Investment Network.

Want to share your strategies? E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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