6 Steps to Increasing Your Value by Avoiding this ONE Thing!
By Randy Dyck
If you are a music buff, especially of 80’s music, you will remember the English band Culture Club. The lead singer, Boy George, had an interesting sound. Together with his band, they cranked out many top 40 hits, including the song “Do You Really Want Hurt Me” that went to #1 on the charts.
If you do not remember the song, the chorus lyrics were:
“Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?”
The catchy line in Culture Club’s song rings true when it comes to a poor investment in real estate.
The culture of a region, city, neighborhood, or building can make a great investment or a poor investment.
After 22 years of selling and investing in real estate, I have seen how poor culture greatly affects tenant profile, rents, property values, and investor confidence. An example of this was an 84 unit residential strata titled condo project I sold in 2005.
Approximately 80% of the building was purchased by speculative investors with little or no experience with investment property ownership. When the building was completed, the investment owners were unaware or naive of market rents, profiling tenants, and managing tenants and property.
Also, the Strata Management Adelaide company was not prepared or aware of potential issues with the number of different investment owners who were not sophisticated investors.
Consequently, the building was in chaos and poor culture was rampant; bad tenants, beat up common areas, noise issues, garbage, unhappy owners, no respect of rules, no respect for the property, no respect for the neighbors, and no respect for the owner of the property.
Bad culture reigned, and in the end, the owners were singing Boy George’s song.
It became a no win situation.
Today, the culture is only marginally better in the building. The results of bad culture: below market rents, below market value, and frustrated investment owners leaving with a horrible taste in their mouths and pocketbooks.
Unfortunately, it often ends up being the first and last time these new investors invest in real estate.
Can the culture change?
However, it takes a great deal of effort and leadership leadership with standards, vision, and passion.
Who are the leaders? The front line consists of the employees and elected officials of the region, city, or municipality, and of course, the property owners. But do not kid yourself; it is challenging to swim upstream against bad culture.
Want my advice? Do not be the one that will fix the culture; buy a property with good culture.
When looking for your next investment property whether it is a condo, townhome, single family, duplex, 4-plex, or multi-family unit make sure the culture is good. You can consult with leaders in the industry who know its ins and outs; Michael Teys for example, has plenty of experience dealing with strata titles and multi-unit properties. Leaders and professionals who have been in it for a while can definitely sniff out a good investment from a bad one. Here, I have developed a culture test and I would encourage you to use this before firming up your next property purchase.
- Is there a pride of ownership in the community, owners, or tenants?
- What are the demographics of the area?
- What are the average prices and rents compared to similar properties in other area?
- What have the rents and prices done over the last 1, 3, or 5 years in comparison to other similar properties?
- Interview the strata manager or building manager, or quiz the owners and tenants on the culture of the building. Determining question: If you owned a unit or the entire building, would you keep them on or would want them as your neighbor?
- Spend time observing the neighborhood and property at different times of the day and week, as well as watch the coming and going of people. Are there suspicious characters? After all, it is the people that determine the culture.
There is a value to good and bad culture. Continue to enjoy positive cash flow – make sure you are on the winning side of the investment culture club!
Do any of your investments suffer from poor culture? Share your story below!
Randy Dyck has been a top producing realtor in the Fraser Valley since 1992. He and the Eximus Real Estate Team have sold over 3000 properties in the past twenty years. Randy and the six agents of the Eximus Team serve investors in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Maple Ridge, Langley, and Surrey. Randy personally invests in Multi-family, Commercial, and Development properties. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.