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How To Get Someone Else To Pay Down Your 

Imagine being able to own a home and have someone else pay your mortgage. Sound too good to be true?  It's not. Thousands of people are doing it right now.  This article explains how and gives all the information you need to live mortgage-free.



Real estate investing can be absolutely beautiful! One of the easiest ways to buy a house and get someone else to make your mortgage payments is by investing in a house with a rentable basement suite. You can ask a realtor to search the market for you. Be prepared, some basement units are total dives. Some could be beautiful with a change of paint and flooring, and some are already very renter-friendly. If you are a handyman/woman, it can be very satisfying to take an unusable or ugly space and transform it into something that tenants would be pleased to call home. 

There are some things to take into consideration when buying a house with a suite. Usually these suites are classified as ďin-law suitesĒ or ďsummer kitchensĒ. Quite often that means that they are not zoned for two families, and you will have to decide if you want to continue in your purchase. 


Not all houses with suites are suitable for renting out. Naturally your tenants will need a kitchen and a bathroom with a tub or shower. You will need to have a separate entrance for your tenants, and there will have to be adequate parking space. It is easier to rent out a suite that has lots of windows and natural light. Often laundry rooms are in the basement, and so unless youíd like to put in a separate laundry, you will have to have access for both of you without encroaching in each otherís space. Sometimes itís quite simple to reconfigure the space so that it addresses some of these issues, by moving or adding doorways. If you donít have the knowledge to decide if these types of renovations are possible, bring someone with you that can advise you. Here are some things that tenants look for when choosing a rental unit: 

  • Safe, secure, separate entryway with plenty of lighting

  • Adequate parking nearby 

  • Clean, bright living spaces 

  • No musty odors 

  • No mold or mildew 

  • Quiet upstairs neighbors and adequate sound barriers 

  • Easy access to downstairs 

  • Affordable 

  • Outdoor space

It is very important that you familiarize yourself with the Landlord Tenants Act in your province. Regulations differ greatly from one to the other, and some provinces act very much in favour of the tenants, so if things donít work out, you might regret not having screened your tenant properly. Here are links to the websites for the provinces and territories:

How much can I charge?
The best way to find out what suites are renting for is to pretend you are looking for a place for yourself. Look online and in the newspapers. If you want to check out to see how other places compare to yours, go ahead and make an appointment to view some of the competition. You donít need to tell them why youíre there. You should be able to get a pretty good idea of how much suites are being rented for.


Advertising your suite
Many people advertise on free websites like Kijiji, Craigslist or more local sites. Take some photos of the best features of your suite, make sure they look light and bright, and you should get some interested prospective tenants. Newspaper ads can be costly, but people still read the want ads when they are looking for something particular.

Screening tenants
Many landlords will ask prospective tenants to fill out an application form. Itís very important to check the references provided. Make sure that you call the employer to verify that this tenant is employed, and for how long. Call the previous landlord. Thatís a very good way to find out if the tenant always paid their rent on time, if they left the previous suite in good condition, and if their behaviors and habits were legal and unobtrusive.

If you wish, you can also do a credit check on your applicant. Hereís a link: www.tenantverification.com. There is a fee for this service.

No one wants to get stuck with the tenant from hell. It is important that you know your rights as a landlord and understand the eviction process; however, it is wisest to select the right tenant from the start.

Signing the lease agreement. 
Standard lease agreements are available for free from your Landlord Tenant Office, and available on line. Follow the links above to your provinces website. Make sure that you make two copies, one for the tenant and one for yourself. Once your tenant is ready to move in, you can use the website to find a Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Report. Itís very important to go through the rental suite with the tenant to document the condition before they move in so that if there are damages that occur during the occupancy you will have a record of the previous condition. You can also take dated photos to document the condition of your suite.

How much is the damage deposit? 
Generally, you may only charge one half of one monthís rent, but some provinces such as Ontario, have different regulations. Often you can charge an additional deposit if you will be allowing pets.

Who pays the utilities?
There are several ways that landlords handle this. Some landlords share the cost of the utilities 50/50. Other landlords calculate the percentage by the number of people in each part of the house. Some landlords include the cost of the utilities in the rent. (Be aware that tenants may take advantage of this situation. They may turn up the heat and open the windows in the winter to get some fresh air, for example, or take showers that last an eternity.)  Make sure that you have an agreement in writing.

Other things to consider
If you are the type of person that must have absolute peace and quiet, want to be left alone, and consider your home a refuge from the crazy world out there, then probably renting out a basement suite isnít for you. Many people will find that having tenants a little disruptive. You might be the kind of person to have little patience if you find that having tenants disturbs your daily life. But for lots of other people it is well worth the hassle.  You should decide before you spend any money on renovations whether or not you are willing to put up with the occasional added stress or annoyance. Choosing the right tenant is key to making this situation a positive experience.

If you enjoy the feeling of financial freedom by letting someone else pay for your home, becoming a landlord is relatively easy and can be very enjoyable. Do some research, possibly make a few changes in your home, and spend a little time finding the right tenant, and you will be very pleased with the result.


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