Spot The Speculator #96 – “In 2008, when I was 28 years old, I had saved $70,000, enough for a 20% down payment on a triplex in Toronto. I moved into one unit and the rent from the other two units paid for the mortgage and utilities.”

“I’ve always been very focused in my life. I was born a triplet and knew from an early age my parents wouldn’t be able to pay for many extras, or for postsecondary education for all of us. But I was determined to go to university and to buy a home of my own. So in high school I started working as a waitress for 20 hours a week. During the summers I took as many shifts as possible, often working seven days straight. I was a workaholic and should have cut back because my grades were suffering, but I persevered.”

“I earned enough to pay for tuition by living at home with my parents and commuting to York University. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t have a car so I used buses to make the two-hour journey to York and back each day. At one point I considered buying a car but was shocked when my dad showed me how expensive it was. I kept commuting every day for four years. Believe me, it was really depressing. I would get home every night and it was cold and dark, and I was tired. But I knew I was saving for my big goal of owning an investment property, which kept me going.”

“After graduating with an English degree in 2006, I had no student debt and $20,000 in savings from my waitressing job. Then I got a lucky break-I landed a job as an administrative assistant, paying $32,000 a year in downtown Toronto. In 2008, when I was 28 years old, I had saved $70,000, enough for a 20% down payment on a triplex in Little Italy. I moved into one unit and the rent from the other two units paid for the mortgage and utilities. Last year, I got married and my husband moved into the apartment with me. I’ve never doubted the triplex was one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made.”

“The key for me was tracking my spending in a journal to see exactly where every penny was going so I knew where I could cut back and add to my savings. Most years I saved 70% of my earned income, which I used to pay for university and for the down payment on the triplex. By living at home a little longer than most people I was able to really beef up my down payment. That’s made me truly independent a lot more quickly than many of my friends who are still mired in debt.”

“Now my goal is to pay off the mortgage on the property as quickly as possible. I’ve done some renos over the years and I’m putting $500 a month extra on my mortgage to pay it off faster. The triplex’s value has also gone up. I bought it for $350,000 and it’s worth $450,000 today.”

– Angie Oliveira, 32, Toronto, as featured in ‘How to become a landlord’, Julie Cazzin, MoneySense 16 Jan 2013 [hat-tip proteus, who sent this link by e-mail and added “Saving 20k waitressing is a heroic accomplishment.”]

Angie has an admirably proactive savings habit. Because of this ability, she will quite likely do fine in the long run, but we suspect this will end up occurring despite her RE investment, not because of it.
Yes, she is describing a ‘cash-flow positive’ property (something unavailable in our city in 2008), but we’d like to see more of the math before being sure about that. Also, there is downside risk of increased mortgage rates, downward pressure on rents (TO condo glut), and unexpected expenses.
She bought a few years prior to the peak of a multigenerational bubble in real estate. If property prices drop 33% from the peak, she’ll likely still be able to maintain her ownership, but she will, on paper, have lost her profits and her downpayment. This is something we’d imagine would be particularly painful for her, given the hard work it has taken for her to accumulate her savings gains.
In that regard, it is interesting to note that it took her many years of extreme saving to accumulate $70K, but her RE purchase then rose in value by $100K from 2008 to 2012. In fact, she ‘made’ more on paper in RE than she did in entire income those 4 years, when taxation is taken into account. This is a good example of how RE price rises through the speculative mania have perverted the way in which people consider the relative value of real estate, money, work and saving; and how homes have become financial instruments as much as places of shelter.
– vreaa

122 responses to “Spot The Speculator #96 – “In 2008, when I was 28 years old, I had saved $70,000, enough for a 20% down payment on a triplex in Toronto. I moved into one unit and the rent from the other two units paid for the mortgage and utilities.”

  1. Simply genius all round. Though I’m quite impressed by your savings – my god I hope I’ll be somewhere around 70K range.

    Great post!

    Reblogged this on Jesse Fogarty`s Blog and commented:
    Man, do I ever wish in 9 years I’ll have 70 thousand in savings. If I some how do – I’ll certainly consider investing in properties 🙂

    Worth a read for those into mortgage investing.

  2. Really? This is an example you trot out? This isn’t a speculator… this is a savvy and conservative young woman who worked hard, forwent luxury, and has built herself a better life for it. Saving up $70k while living at home and working 7 days a week to buy a triplex in the highly desirable Little Italy for only $350k? Got her university degree. Has the other two units paying her shelter costs and paying off her mortgage. Has two incomes coming in now that are all shelter-cost free.

    Her triplex cost $350k. She put down about $70k, It;s now 5 years later and her mortgage remaining is probably around $250k for a monthly expense of about $1000. She rents out two units so all her costs are taken care of and the property is worth $450k (she thinks… I’d wager it’s more… just look on the MLS and find me a triplex in Toronto or a desirable area of Toronto for under $500k!)

    This woman, however, was not a speculator. She worked the system to buy a home that had renters pay her housing costs in a stable and desirable market. Prices would have to plummet 50% for her to lose paper gains and the rental income would still take care of her housing costs!

    I say Well Done!

    • rob -> We respect the position you voice, and fully expected some readers to believe as you do. We realize that calling this hardworking, prudent and frugal woman a ‘speculator’ is provocative. But we stand by this estimation.
      We would still argue that her investment was largely made on the basis of assumed future gains in prices; that her “big goal of owning an investment property” was almost definitely based on watching years of atypical RE price increases.
      Would she have bought this triplex if she had know that, ten years later, it would have increased in value by no more than the rate of wage inflation?
      We think not.
      It will be interesting to re-examine her situation in 5 years time.

      • I think her purchase was a result of narrow focus, rather than simply going with the bubble flow. She started saving way before the bubble took off and it looks like her timing is a bit of a coincidence, perhaps reinforced by the crowds.
        Kudos for perseverance and ability to reach a big goal. 95+% of people would not be able to do this.
        She will suffer once prices return to normal, though…

      • “Would she have bought this triplex if she had know that, ten years later, it would have increased in value by no more than the rate of wage inflation?”

        If the story is to be believed then I think she’d be very happy with that outcome. Remember that she has two tennants paying her housing costs which, with regards to Toronto rents, equates to about $1400+/month in value. Over 10 years that is a savings of $168,000 rent costs and she’ll have a triplex half paid off.

        You can currently get a duplex “as is where is” outside Little Italy for a bit more than she paid… perhaps that is where she bought?

    • She appears to be rather undiversified. That she mentions the current market value as having gone up is a “tell”.

      • She should sit down with a spreadsheet and figure out whether that extra $500 should be going into a different sector. Rate increases are pretty much the only risk she’s mitigating and that’s an easy scenario to model.

    • A triplex in Little Italy is worth upwards of 750k. You can’t find anything lower than this for a triplex in this neighbourhood. I know this area like i know the back of my hand. Congrats to this smart young lady.

  3. English degree and now a full time landlord, what a misallocation of resources.

    On another somewhat related note, isn’t odd how people don’t save up for needs/wants nowadays ? Ever heard o someone saving for 3 years to reno the kitchen? No, its all instant gratification …and debt.

  4. My cousins are like her. One still lives at home and recently bought a condo at the king Edward and kingsway development, but at the peak. Trying to rent it out for 1100 a month but condo fees are already 300 bucks. Add in all the other expenses and she’s not making much.

  5. …”rent from the other two units paid for the mortgage and utilities.”…

    Well done, Angie!… but of course, Angie’s experience of property management represents an optimal outcome…

    As for the ‘SubOptimalScenarios’… Here’s your MondayMorningZen & TenantFromHell Quote ‘O TheDay, Dear Readers:

    “The bailiff knew him by name, because he had moved him out a couple of times previously. The system is obviously flawed.” – Dwayne Robertson, Victoria LandLord

    [CBC] – Landlords ‘powerless’ as tenants get free ride: Fraudsters use appeal system to delay evictions

    …”Loyola said she is out $20,000 in lost rent, legal fees and clean-up costs after renting to a tenant who has moved from home to home in Victoria without paying, for months on end. “They left so much garbage and junk. It cost me $1,200 and two full dump trucks just to get rid of what they left behind,” Loyola said. Orion Alexander Holtby and his family have been evicted by six landlords in Victoria since 2010 for failing to pay rent. He also has a criminal record for fraud and has been sued and ordered to pay for bad business deals.”….

    • Wow. Gruesome.
      Compulsory read for all wannabe landlords.

      • I think I had that tenant once. They wrecked my place on the Island for no good reason at all. In the end I had to blame myself. I didn’t do any checks before I handed the keys over and let them move in. Just one phonecall would have been enough. Live and learn.

    • Naturally, not all prospective tenants are candidates for the DeadBeat Hall ‘O Fame… albeit, Angie’sTriplex isn’t ‘exactly’ the sort of DezRez they’re likely to consider…

      “A lot of the private-equity guys we see who used to buy are choosing to rent places for $10,000 or $15,000 a month now because they would rather play the market than buy a house” – Mauricio Umansky, CoFounder “TheAgency”

      [WSJ] – A New Lease on Luxury: They’ve got the money to buy trophy homes—but for now, they’d rather rent. Hoping to keep cash liquid while watching the direction of the market, more people are paying big sums for temporary digs

      “Our primary residence doesn’t need to be an investment” – Don Peebles, Real Estate Developer

      …”A growing number of people who can afford to buy trophy homes are instead opting for a more temporary solution: the trophy rental. Some renters say they want to avoid tying up their money in steep down payments and instead are investing their money in the financial markets or their own businesses. Still, they’re willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on a rental to get the lifestyle they want.

      As a result, the highest end of the rental market has seen significant growth. In New York, apartments and townhouses priced at $15,000 per month and up represented 1.3% of the market in December, up from 0.5% a year prior, according to Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal company Miller Samuel. Prices are rising quickly as well: the median price for the $15,000-and-up sector is up 23.1% from a year ago. The uptick in rentals mirrors an overall trend nationwide in which the rental vacancy rate fell to 4.5% in fourth quarter of 2012, down from 5.2% a year earlier, according to real-estate research firm Reis Inc. REIS +0.30%—and the lowest since 2001’s third quarter.”…

      • Of course the American experience is different than the Canadian one. You don’t seem any people offering 10k plus to rent in this city, mostly because very few can afford it. But as someone who has lived in America with an American wife, smart wealthy folks who made their money the old fashioned way understand money.

    • Landlords in Canada don’t run background checks on prospective tenants?

  6. For some reason I find it hard to believe she bought a triplex for $350k.

  7. “I earned enough to pay for tuition by living at home with my parents and commuting to York University.”

    This implies that Angie did not have to pay for rent and utilities and possibly even groceries for at least four years of her adult life while she went to university.

    Angie did not “EARN” her way to where she is now. She sponged off her parents for several years. If you are not paying rent and utilities and living off the largesse of baby boomer parents as an adult, then as far as I am concerned, you are not a grown up who is living in the real world. Grown up in the real world pay rent (or mortgage) and utilities.

    I’m about the same age and education level as Angie. I worked a part time job when I was in high school too. I’ve never owned a car either. I’m still an impoverished renter. Why? Because I’ve been living on my own-supporting myself entirely on my own and paying my own rent and utility bills since I was 19. That is real life experience and money experience that most young people who live with parents these days just don’t get.

    Angie gets to be a landlord without ever having the experience of being a tenant herself. It just makes me sick

    Fabulous article in Maclean’s right now about young people who are more educated than ever and who can’t get jobs:

    “The result is a growing pool of well-educated twentysomethings scrapping it out for a limited number of prized positions—a cohort one might describe as history’s most cultivated underclass. Yesterday’s stereotypical B.A. bussing tables now has a law degree. Or a B.Comm. in finance.”

    “History’s most cultivated underclass”–I just love that phrase. Impoverished, unemployed twenty something’s with multiple university degrees at least have the intellectual capacity and command of language to understand and analyze their plight. These are the most highly educated paupers the world has ever known.

    • I think you’re being a bit over the top with criticism. The “standard” arrangement I’ve seen is that, so long as they are attending university, no room/board/etc need be paid. She still paid for tuition, which itself is no small task.

      I left my province for university and paid for almost everything – so I hear where you’re coming from. BUT living at home for free while attending university is a very, very common arrangement between parent and child in Canada.

      • I’d also point out that the nominal cost of shelter, when being provided in an existing dwelling that the parents would have bought when they were legally required to support the minor, is fairly minimal. You’re really looking at [incremental cost of utilities] plus [incremental cost of groceries – which will be less than if she were buying for meals for one].

      • “The “standard” arrangement I’ve seen is that, so long as they are attending university, no room/board/etc need be paid.”

        That standard arrangement you are referring to amounts to a huge subsidy and a huge unfair competitive advantage as compared to young adults who do have to pay for rent, utilities, and food. Adults who live rent free with parents have a huge advantage over other adults who have to pay rent. Many adults who pay rent still manage to pay tuition and go to university–I did. But I end up with student loans at the end. The girl who lives with parents ends up with no student loans and a small real estate empire.

        People love to talk about how they **earned** success, but they rarely acknowledge all the advantages they enjoyed that gave them a leg up over others.

        I can tell you as someone with lots of university education, that some of the best education you will ever get does not happen in the class room. You learn as you go through life. I’ve learned a lot just from being a renter and from working a never ending series of dead end minimum wage jobs. I know how to survive. I know how to hustle. I know when I am being conned. I know who to see through the bull shit. I feel that adults who live off of parents and never pay rent and just work in order to earn money for tuition are never going to learn the survival skills I have. I just laugh at people with master’s degrees who’ve never lived away from their parents. I would hire a high school drop out who knows how to survive in the real world and pay rent over someone who is coddled and sheltered and who never had to experience what it is like to just be a grown up and get a job and pay rent.

      • Andrew said: “nominal cost of shelter, when being provided in an existing dwelling that the parents would have bought when they were legally required to support the minor, is fairly minimal. You’re really looking at [incremental cost of utilities] plus [incremental cost of groceries – which will be less than if she were buying for meals for one].”

        You sound like you’ve never had to support yourself. Let’s just say this girl did not have the option of living at home with parents because her parents were crackheads who died of drug overdoses 10 years ago. Let’s just say this girl has to make it in the real world on her own. If she is lucky enough to get a minimum wage job with full time hours when she is 19, I can guarantee you that the money she makes will all go to rent, utilities, food, and bus fare. She wouldn’t have any money left over for tuition. The only way she paid for tuition out of her minimum wage job was because she did not have to pay for rent, utilities, and groceries. If she did not have parents providing her with free shelter, free electricity, free heat and hot water, free high speed internet connection (essential for any university student these days), and free groceries, then she never would have been able to afford her tuition. The necessities of life–food and shelter–were provided to her free of charge. That meant she could devote her income to tuition, savings, and real estate accumulation. The adult with dead crack head parents who has to get a job just to pay for rent and food cannot compete with this girl.

        By the way, my parents are not dead crack heads. I’m just giving you a simplified example. The point is not everyone can pay for university by living off of parents.

      • Bitter: I’ve always said to my husband, who’s heavy into the importance hard skills (shapes, colours, numbers, colouring inside the lines), that as long as my girls know how to “hustle” I’ll be happy, even if they never go to university or college.

        Is the dream changing, are we still hoping our children will own homes, willing to support them into adulthood to fulfill our dream for them? That’s about the last thing on my mind. I’m just praying they don’t blow my hard earned money on an English degree and end up working as an admin assistant. $25,000 a year, maybe $35,000 in Toronto. You’re better off waiting tables.

    • Maybe they will organize and take over the taxi business. It hardly seems right that we should give all those great night time jobs to medical PHD’s from India. Sheesh….there are tips involved.

    • UBCghettodweller

      I used to work with a grad student who lived at home throughout undergrad and graduate school. She never paid rent or helped out with bills, never had to do chores or other housework- and bragged about it-, her parents bought the food and let her use their car. So really, about a decade of free-ride outside of undergrad. Out of anyone in the lab, she was the most vocal about being poor and the stipend sucking. The ironic thing is that she was the only student to have never procured external funding from NSERC or CIHR so the lab paid the entirety of her stipend while the other students were “free” labour. Further, she was the most vocal about how other students were lazy because they would leave at 5 pm some days so that they could do grocery shopping and cook a few days worth of meals before returning to the lab later that evening. I guess she wouldn’t know anything about being a “real” adult, even if it’s in the context of Ivory Tower existence.

    • It’s dog eat dog the world over. However Angie achieves her goals fairly, good on her. She was probably a gem living at her parent’s house. Been on my own since eighteen and running my own business. I also went to college and shared resources with others. Life is good and challenging. You said, “a huge unfair competitive advantage as compared to young adults who do have to pay for rent,” There’s nothing unfair about it. Some people are just brighter, or thriftier, or luckier. Work smart and work for yourself and take any advantages that come your way.
      As far as the anecdote, she might be lucky to break even after all the costs, but it’s what she wanted and that’s worth more than money.

    • You’re making a lot of assumptions about me – so thanks for that, ass. I moved out at 18 to another province and paid for all living costs by myself, and ended up with $32,000 in loans (after working each summer) that I paid off within 24 months afterward. But yeah you’re totally right, I’ve never had to support myself.

      So no, her parents weren’t crackheads and they were able to help support her. That doesn’t make her a bad person or somehow less responsible. It sounds like you aren’t very happy with your life so far but stop projecting onto others. Life isn’t fair. Not everyone has the same support and/or opportunities – but remember, it’s not her FAULT that her parents were able to help somewhat. You’re a nutcase.

      • “It sounds like you aren’t very happy with your life”

        That’s true. I wasn’t especially trying to hide that given that I am posting under the name “Bitter”.

        “That doesn’t make her a bad person or somehow less responsible.”

        I didn’t say she was a bad person or less responsible. I said she did not truly earn her position because her living costs were subsidized/paid for outright by her parents giving her an unfair competitive advantage relative to other market participants.

        “You’re a nutcase.”

        Ironically, I think someone would have to be insane to not go a bit nutty if they went through what I’ve been through in life. I think the whole world is insane and I think the Vancouver real estate bubble is just one example of it. I may have faults, but at least I can make my point without resorting to name-calling.

      • Robert Dudek

        Nobody earns their way by themselves 100%.

      • Thumbs up for that comment, Robert. Most of us had a break (if we had parents) and are grateful for it. Those advantages are what help us get a leg up in life if we take advantage of what is being offered. There is nothing pleasant about being poor that is for sure so I don’t understand the resentment against the gal who bought the Triplex.

        Actually what interests me is why so many young people are pursuing higher education when there is clearly a surplus in that area. Wages of professionals are being driven down by all the competition and it hardly seems to pay anymore.

        More them should try farming.

  8. “If property prices drop 33% from the peak, she’ll likely still be able to maintain her ownership, but she will, on paper, have lost her profits and her downpayment.”

    If she drinks milk every, she’ll likely to have cancer as well. Or If she lives 33 years more, she’ll likely die of old age.

  9. If she drinks milk every, she’ll likely to have cancer as well. Or If she lives 33 years more, she’ll likely die of old age.

  10. Yes, milk does that, same as buying a house makes you an evil speculator, who is condemned to a 33% drop in home value and to lose all your paper profit.

    RET: It’s an echo here anyway without my mistake.

    • You’re the first to call this lady ‘evil’.
      A 33% drop isn’t what anybody is wishing on her, it’s a very real risk given the very overextended TO market.

      • ” This is something we’d imagine would be particularly painful for her, given the hard work it has taken for her to accumulate her savings gains.”

        Would you go to a baby shower telling the parents their baby is going to dead one way or the other? and the death would be particularly painful, and the parents would probably die soon if not earlier. These are real risk given the very overextended TO market.

      • So far Cris has equated a -33% drop in Real Estate prices “as likely as”:
        1. Getting cancer from milk
        2. Dying by age 61 (28 + 33)
        3. Random babies dying a painful death
        4. Parents dying soon

        So basically, our housing market is fine going forward. Noted.

      • Ray -> Good points.

        Cris -> No, we wouldn’t dream of saying such a thing at a baby shower, largely because the baby will, on average, live to 82 years of age [140th edition of the report by the Vital Statistics Agency, quoted in G&M, 30 Dec 2012]. (If the baby is really lucky, they’ll live to see a sane RE market in BC before they attain adulthood.)
        So, the risk of a baby dying soon, in BC, is, mercifully, negligible.
        The risk of housing prices that have run up 100% in 10 years, such that prices outstrip incomes and rents by very wide margins, correcting by 33%, is far, far greater. We’d weight the probability as over 50% (significantly higher in Vancouver, where run-ups have been higher).

        So, nice try at bringing all sorts of irrelevant rhetoric, but let’s stick to the subject at hand, and, if we use metaphor, use metaphors that are at least vaguely applicable.

      • Vreaa, Then would you say something to the effect as: your baby wouldn’t die for the next 82 years.”

        All I am trying to say: try to celebrate other’s hard work and determination one a while.

      • Cris: you need help.

      • Cris -> Did you miss the beginning of the discussion, where I said: “Angie has an admirably proactive savings habit. Because of this ability, she will quite likely do fine in the long run, but we suspect this will end up occurring despite her RE investment, not because of it.” ?

        Also, take a look at this post:
        Bears Care Too
        VREAA 25 Dec 2012

      • Naked Official #9000

        Loyal cadre, Cris!

        Wu mao has been depositors in your weibo account!

        For the motherland!

  11. It also sounds like life sucked for this woman for many years to get here. 2 hours on the TTC every day for four years? Spending your teenage summers waiting tables 7 days a week? And the payoff is a $250k mortgage to live in a third of a house with 2 other strangers whose crap you are responsible for? The cons of this arrangement could fill a book, the pro is “homeowner”. How grossly overvalued does that term need to be for this to be held up as a good deal? And she is most certainly speculating that the future value of this home will be worth not just the cash value she put into it, but the years of hard work she endured to get it. I don’t think an inflation adjusted break even in 10 years would be considered a “win” given what she has already sacrificed.

    • Good point…she should have gone into farming. More elbowroom….fewer tenants…..and all those cows (the milk kind that Cris says cause cancer!). Just be sure to mix your pesticides according to the instructions. The neighbor who was too busy to find a stick to stir the broth used his arm instead. Quick and easy. Lickity split….he was dead 4 hours later.

      Maybe that higher education does pay off after all……

  12. ROI Canadian Mortgage Income Fund RIL.UN
    big volume leader today.

  13. Ray: Here are the odds:
    1: Some people believe it and some don’t
    2: People has been wishing it will happen since 2008
    3: The risk is likely because the rent-to-income ratio says so.
    4: The market will drop at least 33% because the boomer parents need to kick to can soon and have to sell.

  14. This person should have focussed more of her efforts in school and profession. Getting into the right career could easily give her a permanent income boost (ie going from a waitress salary up to $50K, $70K and up).

    • Wow, I thought I was bad. Now we’ve just extended the battle zone front line to those with English Major and waitpersons. And whether getting a English degree is an indicative of not trying hard enough in life.

      • If you read the original story, it says “grades suffered” because of her working like a mule. I never once said she did not try hard enough in life. She gets an English degree and lands a job as an admin assistant. Do you really think it’s worth it to do a university degree and end up with an admin assistant job?

      • And the salary is just crap. Who would do a four year degree for 25,000 dollars? They were handing out money like that back in the Eighties for Gods sake. Obviously 25 years and a shift in perceptions about the value of education has done nothing but damage the potential for a reasonable income stream. No wonder people there is so much speculation in housing if neither work nor an education has any decent payoff anymore.

  15. Just to add, it’s commendable how hard working she is. But in this case, I feel it’s a situation of work harder rather than work smarter.

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Overextended speculator trying to collect insurance?

      • In this case, more likely a non-backwoods-savvy skier who foolishly disposed of fireplace ash via a plastic bucket on a verandah. There is a risk in mistaking good ole human incompetence for conspiracy; the former is way more common.

  16. Real Estate Tsunami

    Strange story.
    She was born a triplet. Buys a triplex….

  17. I usually do not comment here as I’m a renter and watch the RE market mania just out of intellectual interest. But this particular story is so sad, that I can’t help adding my three pennies. What a sad and pointless existence this young lady has! Pinching pennies and wasting her best time in life for hoarding and building her pathetic ‘security’. I really pity her obsession. Time flies by and in no time she will be old, ill, penny pinching hag and then she will die with a gut wrenching feeling that she squandered her life on bullshit, while all the world have been given to her like a rich party table – take whatever you want and enjoy!

    • Real Estate Tsunami

      Like the “Three Penny Opera” by Berthold Brecht!

    • Yeah!

      She’ll be an unemployed, over-educated, crazy cat lady who never got married or owned her own place! Oh, wait …

      The chick is living life well. There is nothing wrong with keeping track of your expenses in a journal, and not buying the daily coffee at Timmies. Penny pinching does not mean one huddles at home in the cold darkness, never going out to have any fun. She’d hardly have met her husband if she never went out and had a good time.

    • Well, indeed, what right to we have to judge other people! I guess we have enough negativity in the comments without my unwise share. I feel kind of stupid for hitting ‘post’ button without giving myself time to cool off.
      To vrea: pls remove my comment if you happen to come by this thread, we need more merit and less emotions both here and in real life….

  18. She paid for University without debt, but also has a degree that she doesnt use?
    She graduates with no debt but takes a Admin Assistant job ( i dont see a lot of job growth in the future there) and its not related to her degree?

    She should have spent more time thinkg about the type of degree she got and getting a job with potential.

  19. Vancouver Renter

    Here’s what can happen when you try to be an amateur landlord to pay the off the mortgage…

  20. lol! our society is so f#%@’d … $70k 3 ways … … (ps. alt_nem … … pffft!

    • Pfffft!

      [NoteToJonnson’sRod: Diavels were literally designed to attract/afford Italian cachet to riders who would normatively opt for a V-Rod… HyperSportPurists on an unlimited budget prefer the Panagale or Desmosidici.]

  21. I’m a bear but even I can see that this woman’s hard work, coupled with lucky timing, will almost certainly pay off.

    Sounds like she bough during the financial crisis and the place has gone way up. From what I understand, she’ll never have problems finding tenants in that neighbourhood and they are likely covering her mortgage, so a correction won’t make any difference to her and in the meantime she’s living rent-free.

    And as another person with an English degree, I’d say she’s getting as much use out of it as is possible in today’s job market.

  22. I honestly don’t know why people are beating up on this lady so much, everything from being a spoiled brat who leeches of her parents, to being a speculator buying that a triplex that will ruin her financially. There just seem to be so much hate on for people who public reveal that they bought a house, not just for living but also investment purpose, and wishing they suffer financial ruin. Sure you might not say it VREAA but the feeling I get from the comments sure feel that ways.

    Here is why I think this lady deserves some praise. She worked hard to get where she is. She is one of a triplets and she stated that her parents have limited means to provide her with a lot of things other might take for granted like free tuitions. She worked hard since her teens and saved a lot of money. That’s more than can be said for 80% of the young under-25 people out there. She bused every day to/from univ with a 2 hr commute each way just to save living expenses. That’s very commandable and people here are jumping on her because her parents decides to help her out with free living arrangement at home??! Yeah life is unfair and she had it easier than someone who went to univ and had crackhead parents. But it’s her fault that she has parents who want to help her the best they can and give her a leg up on live?? WTF??

    With regard to the house purchase. Sure it’s not necessarily the best choice given the current market conditions but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily a bad financial choice. Let’s look at some facts based on what little we know. She bought a triplex which it is likely a purpose build housing unit with 3 separate suite. This is much better than a house converted/build with say 2 basement suites or basement + laneway house. She bought the triplex for $350K which seems a bit low based on some comments so maybe the total cost is higher. However, she did say that the rent from the 2 units pays for the mortgage and utilities, so all she has to pay for are property taxes, insurances, and maintenance. Given that she’s not charging herself rent, this seems very reasonable. If the triplex are fully rented out, it is likely a cash flow positive investment. Yes the yield might not be good and on a risk-adjusted basis the return might be too low. However unless the triplex has major repairs/defects or some other major issues, this doesn’t seem as bad as people here make it out to be. I don’t know if she purchased for speculative purposes, or she did it because well, it’s the prudent thing to do, but in my view, it’s more likely she did from a combination of lack of experience and comfort with other forms of investments and a way to reduce housing cost. Based on limited fact, one can argue whether she made a right decision or not. However my view currently is that it might not be the best investment decision, but it is far from the worst, certainly different from condo flip, or reno-flip, etc speculative plays. I would say this one falls in an acceptable investment/lifecycle decision area and even if housing price were to fall 33%, she’s likely to do alright as she seem to have a good buffer.

    • space889: I agree it may seem harsh but reality is reality, While she did work hard, all her sacrifise will be lost in the downturn, while she may not “lose” the house, losing all her downpayment and mortgages payments is still a real and will affect her.

    • The VREAA has never been accused of being a soft place for RE owners to land, rather a watering hole for (supposedly) paper-wealthy renters to bitch and moan how they can’t afford a house (suck) while they criticize others for buying property (blow) . And don’t forget the gleeful reveling in others misfortunes, comments about setting up lawnchairs to watch the neighbours foreclosed on and penniless (or is that on GF they set up chairs, I forget). Lots and lots of reveling.

      • Real Estate Tsunami

        Angela agreed,
        Readers who want it soft and fuzzy can always check out Garth Turner’s blog.

    • I’m with you on most of that, Space889 (and Rob, as well)… Angie’s perserverance, stamina, discipline and – most of all – her humility are admirable… (let’s face it, slinging hash is a notoriously low ‘status’ and frequently thankless endeavour – especially so when your venue doesn’t boast a Michelin* or two and/or your décolletage/costume is insufficiently inspiring to yield enhanced gratuities)…

      As for criticisms appertaining to EnglishDegrees and working as an administrative assistant… A relevant parable does spring to mind…

  23. In Vancouver we have a special name for triplexes: single family homes.

    Here’s something we haven’t seen much of: New purpose-renovated for-profit rentals in North Vancouver. They’re trying for $2/sqft/month ($2650 for a 3-room) which is expensive by rental standards, but they are newer and not going to be flipped. I think that is worth something.

    Also on CL are houses for about $1.40/sqft/month. Similar price point, but bigger. These would have similar useful space, with better storage.

  24. Real Estate Tsunami

    Folks remember, VREAA stands for Vancouver Real Estate ANECDOTE archive.

  25. If this is her, she's an RE pumper.  [links to specific individual’s site, and references to appearance, redacted because, in past, this has led to distraction. Apologies, Watchdog -ed.]

    • OK…now I am really curious.

      • hahaha
        Nothing to see here; seriously.
        Watchdog linked to an individual on the TO RE scene, and made reference to appearance. All pretty benign, when taken a certain way, but this is the internet, and, not sure if you followed the issue on an old thread, but this is usually a recipe for disaster… thus redacted.

      • Probably for the best. I do recall a posting that got out of hand where a gal was pretty much torn up in a written barrage of negative comments. Seen too many on other sites as well where a photo of the subject brings out the worst comments imaginable. All under the guise of anonymity. It can sure bring down the quality of a good site fast (and you never know what kind of negative repercussions might evolve…we are becoming so Americanized up here with everyone getting so litigation happy). There is no point risking a backfire where perfect strangers get slagged and slandered for no good reason whatsoever. It is no holds barred on generic Realtors as far as I am concerned though. They are all rats.

  26. Unbelievable comments from the TV babe generation. She’s living for free for Pete’s sake. And all this from people willing to spend $24000+ per year on rent, after tax! And believe me, you learn a hell of a lot more about the world being a landlord than a tenant. Face it, Angie’s got her shit together and if this is an example of speculation then every investment in yourself or your family is also just idle speculation.

    • Not free, Airedales. Look up the concept of opportunity cost. The capital she has tied up in her overvalued triplex could be earning her a more productive return elsewhere.

      • Opportunity cost? So you’re indicating that it’s better to pay half of your taxable income on rent in order to get an annual return on $70K instead of buying a property that lets you live cost free? That’s a pretty silly opportunity. I wonder who will build more equity over 20 years?

        Or are you suggesting that she should sell “the over-valued triplex” and invest the $400K proceeds in order to pay rent to someone else? The return on 400K will not come close to covering rent payments so if she wanted to have the same annual income, then she would have to slowly draw from her savings. I don’t see much opportunity over the long run in this either.

  27. Am starting to sense some serious resentment among the bulls who comment here — as sure a sign as any that the market has turned. It’s starting to hurt and they’re looking for someone to blame. Anyone but themselves.

  28. This woman has done well for her level and exposure. Its just a pity that this woman prefers to work hard and smart. If she had spent more time working on her grades she might have been able to land new grad gig with a TSX300 company. This would lead to a career that would allow her to purchase a home she does not need to share with a bunch of strangers. Maybe if she had gotten straight A’s she would have gone to law school and with straight A’s at lawschool she would have bagged a well paying corporate law gig with a top tier Bay Street law firm.

    With that tenacity and work ethic she would have been better off channeling that energy towards a career.

  29. theboywhocriedbubble

    “Folks remember, VREAA stands for Vancouver Real Estate ANECDOTE archive.”

    The best point in the whole thread. Speculating about a suspected speculator. I see the relevance in including this anecdote but its just like all the other stories with no source quoted or fitted with hard data from reliable quote worthy institutions.This kind of piece is strictly for entertainment and this one has been mildly entertaining at best.( Loyal cadre comments not included ! ) We cannot confirm that this person really exists or if the story is partially or completely fabricated , it could be a Red Herring piece for all we know planted by the Cadres.

  30. Chad in Burnaby

    WTF…where did all these pumpers come from all of a sudden? Was it the 300+ listings today that freaked them all out?

  31. There exists another category of real estate speculator that the bears (including myself) seem frequently not to consider. I am surrounded by these people and have spent years gently interrogating them to understand their mindset.

    Although I call them speculators (because they are!) these individuals refuse to consider the theoretical resale price / “paper value” of their properties at any given time.

    Be it current value or possible future value, they will generally not be swayed by talk of positive or negative change in theoretical resale price. They simply say “I’m in it for the long run”, and this phrase helps them to convince themselves that they are not speculators or flippers.

    The truth is that they are just speculating on something other than resale price. The margin between carrying costs and rent taken in is the one that I hear most often.

    The way that these people avoid the dreaded “flipper” moniker is with some version of the phrase “As long as I can make the payments, I don’t care what the value is. 25 years from now it will be worth more than it is now.”

    Their usual “business plan” is to buy the property that they want for whatever it costs at the time, then let a tenant cover the mortgage. In the case of their principle residence, they cover it themselves with salary and possibly a basement suite.

    In the case of other addresses, they rent them out for 80-120% of the mortgage payment with the rationale that they are going ultra-long and don’t care about current price fluctuations so long as the mortgage is paid.

    This is of course a dangerous oversimplification that does not consider about fifty dynamics. Chief among them:

    -inability to refinance due to declining value

    -inability to refinance due to rising interest rates

    -inability to cover the mortgage with rent in the future due to the dilution of the rental market

    -your lender converting the HELOC and/or mortgage into demand loans due to declining property value

    -non-mortgage carrying costs such as repair, maintenance, strata fees, special assessments

    -opportunity cost

    In summary, you can do quite well as an “I don’t care about paper value speculator” (IDCATPVS) as long as you do not adjust for a) all of your costs, or b) all of your risks.

    This lady has done that, which is where a lot of the concern-voiced-as-frustration on the bear side is coming from.

    I also think that a lot of the self-righteous and resentful bulls who have started trolling here have the business plan described above. It has worked out splendidly for them so far because rates have stayed science-fiction low and assessments have stayed science-fiction high so far. The only certainty now is that neither rates nor assessments can stay where they are much longer, and I would advise all the IDCAPVSes out there to run some hypotheticals.

    The lady in the article is probably in the 99th percentile of Canadians with respect to work ethic and fiscal conservatism, and yet thanks to the myth of home ownership as the most conservative possible investment she is tragically about to get hit by a financial freight train and find herself a pauper or close to it.

    Nobody wants to see that.

    • Good points, thanks.

      Anybody who is buying or holding on the premise that prices will continue to rise at annual rates well above wage inflation is a speculator.
      Most doing this would be offended to be described as such, but speculating on atypical price growth is precisely what they are doing.

    • I wonder, did these same people go ultra-long stocks 1999?

    • UBCghettodweller

      Well written and good points all around. Maybe I’m not familiar with all the different parts of this blog, but is there an “insightful and/or informative” comments category.

      I swear some of the stuff written here is better than a good chunk of what I see in conventional or even specialist media.

  32. Good points, Burbonian

    • Rachelle -> Thanks for the links.
      I don’t think that ‘Angie’ and ‘Angela’ are the exact same Oliveiras, are they? Relatives perhaps?


      So our hard-working downtrodden idealistic little Frank Grimes bus rider isn’t what she claims at all. She’s a goddam RE inustry shill.

      I retract my comments. Fuck the whole fucking industry. She has RE-induced financial hardship in her future and my sympathy is equal in magnitude to her full disclosure.

      Of all media sins, leading unsophisticated and ususpecting Canadian families up the garden path by leveraging the social myths that they were fed as children (“RE is always a safe storehouse of wealth and every bus boy and shopgirl should buy RE as a path to financial freedom”) is among the more egregious.

      The unsuspecting people who get “current” market news from a paper newspaper are as ripe for scamming as old people are with home repairs.

      This lady’s “I’m just a waitress but Real Estate gave me financial freedom” BS story and fudged numbers should come on this blog and fucking explain herself.

      • Neither the photos nor the dates match.
        Relatives, perhaps?

      • Faith in humanity re-elevated to…1%.

        Please excuse the early morning expletives.

      • Chill, BurnaBonian… She “is not the one you are looking for”…

        I devoted a PetaFlop or two of my morning block on Titan to a biometric comparison and I can confirm that there is NO match between your appraiser and the subject of this post…

        I might further add that [after deploying one or two somewhat more prosaic investigative tools] that this subject’s BonaFides are intact [she manages a HogTown Architectural practice’s office].

  33. I Googled her name and checked out the first Linked In. While I was on that page I saw another link to the profile I linked. Also on Google images the pictures of her face look similar to me except one pic is like ingenue and the other is I’m getting business photos taken so I got to look sophisticated. It just seems so coincidental. It could be a relative too.

    In any case the price of the house seems very low. Of course nothing is impossible and the house may have been very damaged. Family may have kicked in additional help to fix it up. Italians helped build this city and it’s very intrinsic to their culture to have a house. From the grapevines in the back yard and fresh tomatoes a house is more than an investment to them. Return is irrelevant compared to the satisfaction of having the greenest lawn in the neighborhood.

    I say it’s a fabrication or close to it. If she did it though I say good for her. She’s living rent free or close to it. Landlording is actual work so she’s exchanging her time for money but still… I did something very similar and now I sit in my paid off house.

    For those of you who rail about opportunity cost…how much would an inflation adjusted annuity that generates $1400 per month cost? I know another young guy who just bought a house and lives in one room and rents out 3 others and lives for free. That’s hardcore. To me this kind of strategy is not so much speculation as making life choices (that other people choose not to make) to get ahead regardless of market conditions.

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