• What could this property rent for?
• What are the average rents in this neighbourhood?
• What are the vacancy rates in this area for this type of property?
• How have rents been trending in the area over the last one to three years?
• What kind of tenant will this property attract?
• Are renters attracted to the neighbourhood?
• Is the property saleable, since one day you will likely want to sell it?
• What is the recent price appreciation for similar properties in the area? Go back as far as ten years.
• Are there any new housing development, big employers or big box retail stores coming to area.
• Is there a new tax assessment for the area, which could increase property taxes?
Here’s a short anecdote. At one brand-new townhouse complex in Kitchener, I called the listing realtor to ask a few questions: how much would the town home rents for? What was the vacancy rate in the area? Did she know of any new employers coming into the area or of any other developments that would make the area better to live or invest in? She could not provide the answers as she did not work with investors or people looking to buy properties to rent out. My client did not need to worry as I know the area very well and was able to provide this info to him. Why share this? To make sure you choose an agent that knows the area very well, which will enable you to make a sound investment decision.
They should know what’s happening in the area over, say, the next five years. For example, are there are any new construction, economic or development projects planned or underway, such as upgrades to major highways or new transportation infrastructure? They should understand the type of tenant the area attracts and have suggestions to improve potential properties to make them more desirable than other rental properties you’re competing with. And they should offer ideas for your exit strategy — presumably resale in due course.