Targeted investing


Never buy a bad house on a good block. It's a common refrain long heard by first-time home buyers all across Canada. Most people listen. But still others, like Rashad Aumeerally, actually become savvy investors by building their real.

Never buy a bad house on a good block. It's a common refrain long heard by first-time home buyers all across Canada. Most people listen. But still others, like Rashad Aumeerally, actually become savvy investors by building their real estate portfolios on that very strategy: upgrading somewhat marginal properties in relatively more upscale neighbourhoods.

Starting out

Just south of Ottawa's downtown core is one of its oldest and most esteemed residential neighbourhoods, the Glebe. It's a tree-lined grid of streets dotted with mansions, international embassies and some of the oldest money in the Nation's Capital. It's also where, five years ago, Rashad Aumeerally, then in his late 20s, actually managed to embark on a lucrative property investment career.

A graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Aumeerally had arrived in Ottawa in 2001 from Campbellton, N.B., where his parents still reside, to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Like many neophyte investors, he was renter with little inclination toward property investment when the real estate bug bit.

"I was renting at the time and looking around for another place to rent. I had a great two-bedroom apartment on Park Ave. near the prestigious Elgin Street corridor (known as the Golden Triangle) with heated underground parking and a great balcony. But in the end I was only making my landlord wealthy and had nothing to show for it."

Aumeerally may have had no prior knowledge of real estate but says he always knew he wanted to own real estate. A lot of it.

He certainly comes by his investment appetite naturally. His late grandfather, who hailed from Mauritius, set the family course when he first came to Canada back in the 1950s. He began by purchasing large parcels of land and then subdividing it into smaller pieces and selling it for a significant profit.

The next generation was no less industrious. Aumeerally's uncle's investment and development company, the aptly named Mentor Properties, launched in 1985 with the purpose of helping people achieve their financial goals through real estate.

It has now grown exponentially, having bought and sold hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of real estate across Canada and the U.S.

Aumerrally's own modest start was nearly inadvertent: his first property target was actually only for rent when he first encountered it.

"I saw the ad, called the number and they said it was $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment," he recalls of the semi-detached triplex in the Glebe. He initially passed on the unit, and a year went by before he found it up for sale.

It was then that he saw the property in a whole new light. He saw its potential. "I figured if I could get the down payment, I could rent out the top floor and the basement apartments. And that could be my real start in real estate investment."

For the rest of Rashad's compelling story, pick up a copy of our November issue, on newsstands until Nov. 7.

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