Investing Beginner Specifics: Mortgages, Zoning, Lawyers, Accountants

by Clansman
(Oakville, Ontario, Canada)

Hey guys, I'm soon-to-be-new to real estate investing (I have some background knowledge in the area and with other investing and the principles and governing concepts behind it, but have not made an investment as yet).

Right now I'm just reading everything I can get my hands on but I'm really eager to get started and grab my first property, so, understanding the basic concepts behind choosing and making these investments, I'm now looking for some very specific details that I'm going to need if I want to grab a property with a decent assurance of success; namely:

1) Where do I go or who do I talk to in order to find out about the pertinent legislation governing a certain municipality?

For example, in certain towns / cities there may be a limit on the number of rooms you can rent out in a residential property (because the town doesn't want boarding houses) -- where would I find out about that? or what that limit would be?

2) Zoning. Zoning, zoning, zoning. In some areas, I would imagine, buying a residential property and then renting out x number of rooms would be fine under a residential zoning, but then x+1 rooms would now be illegal and would require commercial (or maybe medium or high density residential) zoning?

Where do I find out about these rules? I've heard the term "zoning commission" or "city planning department" bandied about but I'm not sure.. is that where you go? where do you find their contact information? city hall?

3) What about renovations? I hear you sometimes need permits for the reno's / construction? Is that city planning? where do I go for that stuff or information about what you need and don't need permits for? where do I find their contact information??

Now I have a couple extra questions that reading some of the information on your guys' site has popped up for me:

4) How do you talk to these people? When you're looking for people for your "power team" - ugh, hate that term, so corny - but you know what I mean; Mortgage Brokers, Realtors, Tax Accountants, Tax Attorneys, Real Estate Attorneys, Insurance Brokers, Property Managers / Maintenance, Bankers / Loan Officers, (Insurance Brokers?), Contractors, Handy men etc. etc. etc.

Did you just call these people up and say "Hey, so I'm looking to get into real estate investing.. you don't happen to know anything about that do you??" or what? How did you find them???

5) Last question (sorry these are so verbose) -- you mentioned something about additional fees associated with the mortgage broker and the mortgage itself, including but not limited to higher rates etc. when dealing with a commercial loan -- is that true?

who do you talk to in order to find out about that stuff?


what if I bought a residential property (single family home) using a consumer loan? I know I'm allowed to rent it out.. but would the bank or someone else have a problem with not having purchased an investment property using a commercial loan? legal or otherwise??

Thanks very much if you guys can answer these questions for me. I've been looking all over the place and, while I still have a ton of reading to do, admittedly, before I ever start gaining experience, I'd like to grab a property NOW -- and I need this information to do that and I can't find it ANYWHERE -- it's KILLING me :P

Thanks again for your help!!

Comments for Investing Beginner Specifics: Mortgages, Zoning, Lawyers, Accountants

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Apr 08, 2010
RE: Mortgages, Professionals, and Real Estate Investing people!
by: Tom Karadza


I'll try and answer as much as possible!

1. For zoning questions contact the "planning department" of you city. I noticed you live in Oakville so you would just call up Town Hall and ask to speak with the department that handles residential zoning. Most communities have a "see no evil hear no evil" policy when it comes to Student Rentals because they actually need them. If you're going to invest in places like Waterloo that does have zoning just call the city's zoning department. Most universities that have these limits in their communities call them out clearly on the "Off Campus" housing department's website, or call the Off Campus housing office.

2. See #1

3. Call the City or Town and let them know you are doing renovations and ask them to point you to the proper department for permits.

4. You got it. Don't wait for anyone, just call them. Keep calling if you have to. It's easiest when you are actually in the process of owning something b/c you have a real reason to that time meet with two or three of each profession and see who fits you best.

5. 100% true about the fees. You may be able to get great rates though, CMHC has been insuring almost 100% of apartment buildings right now and the rates are super low. You're looking for Commercial Mortgage Brokers. For residential real estate you can use a "residential" mortgage but you should be declaring what your intended use of the property is. Just ask the lender of the loan/mortgage/credit line if you can use the money for what you intend to use it for - they'll clearly tell you.

Hope this helps a tad!!


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