Depending on your investment profile, one way to evaluate a strong investment is to see if it's cashflow positive. In it's simplest form, after all your expenses associated with the property, does the rent leave you with any money left over?
In today's market, my opinion is that to achieve a position of cashflow positive, you either have to look at multi-family residential properties, or have a very large downpayment. Something like 30 or 40 percent. For most people this is not possible, and for investors, this is not desirable. Most investors don't want to tie up a large sum in an investment, they want to buy it with as little money as possible, with other peoples money, ideally.
Single family residences, be it apartment style condos, or a townhome, or a detached, are simply selling for way too much money these days, certainly more than any reasonable amount of rent could cover, especially when you factor in property taxes, insurance, condo fees and potentially a LOC interest only payment.
Multi family residences, triplex, fourplex I think could certainly achieve a cashflow positive position with only 20% down, and would advise investors to consider these as a way to minimize your risks. Though I know some first time investors have concerns with the repairs and management associated with these.
Are you ready2move?
Most mortgages have a fee to exit the contract, but calculating it can be confusing and expensive. You have to pay the greater of 3 months interest or the IRD, Interest Rate Differential. The reason for the penalty is to compensate the lender for the loss of expected profit. If a borrower promises to borrow money for five years, the bank counts on five years of interest payments. Reneg on that deal, and the lender needs to recoup some of that loss revenue. The issue is how this penalty is calculated and, for the most part, each lender has a slightly different variation. This is one of the top 3 complaints to the banking Ombudsman. In fact in 2011 there was a class action suit against CIBC in B.C. and Ontario.
If you are in a variable rate mortgage, the penalty is most often 3 months worth of interest, but the IRD is more difficult to calculate. In it's most simplistic form, this is how it looks:
(posted rate at original mortgage date - posted rate for remaining term) / 12 = IRD Factor * outstanding mortgage balance * number of months remaining in term + lender discharge and mickey mouse fees.
Most big bank websites offer their own online calculator, but for the most accurate answer, consider calling your mortgage adviser and ask for the exact amount as if you were to break your mortgage today.
Buying and Selling Residential, Condominium and Investment real estate in the Waterloo Region since 2008. Oh, and also Ottawa! :-D