Investors Corner

Valuable Resources For Real Estate Investors Of All Levels

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Capital Gains

Simply put, capital gains occur when a property is sold for more than what it was purchased for.  A property that was purchased for $1M and sold for $1.2M will have $200k capital gains.  Only 50% of the capital gains is subject to tax, meaning only $100k is taxable.  This amount will be added to the owner’s taxable income for that year.  For all intents and purposes, this generally means that almost the entire $100k will be taxed at the marginal tax rate, which we can generally estimate at 50%.

So if you were to sell a property and make $200k in capital gains, you should estimate to set aside $50k (25%) to pay in taxes at the beginning of the following calendar year (e.g. if sold in 2018, 2018 taxes are filed in April 2019, taxes to be paid around April 2019).


Reducing Capital Gains

Going deeper… capital gains are actually calculated using the Disposition Proceeds MINUS Adjusted Cost Base MINUS Outlays & Expenses.

  • Disposition Proceeds are the funds you received for your property from the sale.
  • Adjusted Cost Base would be the purchase price of the property.  Renovations costs can also be included, as well as any expenses to acquire it, such as legal fees, Land Transfer Tax, etc.
  • Outlays and Expenses:  Costs associated with the sale of the property.  Lawyer fees, Realtor fees, etc.

So it’s important to keep good records / bookkeeping because you are actually able to reduce your Capital Gains by deducting the relevant expenses.



Claiming depreciation on the building is a GREAT thing from an operational perspective (i.e. straight line depreciation of 4% of the cost of the building over the course of 25 years… and you/your accountant can designate the building value vs. land value to whatever is appropriate… I recommend making the building value as high as possible).  It effectively brings down your operating income down to zero, in 99% of the cases, meaning that you SHOULD be paying income taxes due to rental income (this is a separate topic altogether).  BUT, upon sale, if you sell the property for MORE than what you paid for it, then the CRA will say “hey, you can’t depreciate it after all, since it went UP in value!”.  This means that you have to pay the tax deduction that you took on the depreciation of the building back to the CRA.  But that’s ok, because you effectively had a tax free loan from the CRA during the entire time.  And it helps with cashflow from an operations perspective.


Principle Residence

Your PR is NOT subject to capital gains.  NOTE: Starting in 2016/2017, the CRA requires that the sale of a principle residence to be reported on your tax return.


% of Use

If you lived in one unit of a multi, an accountant would probably recommend to designate your unit as a % of the entire property as Principle Residence.  For example, 1 unit out of 3 would be 33.3% principle residence, 66.6% rental property.  This is not an exact science… you may be able to argue your principle residence portion as a actual % sqft of the whole, or # of floors… so let’s say that you lived on 2nd and 3rd, then you may be able to say that you are designating 50% as primary residence.  This is going to be up to you and your accountant.


Change of Use

If a property was previously your primary residence, and then you moved out and then turned it into a rental property, then it’s deemed a Change of Use.  It would be capital gains exempt under Principle Residence for the duration that you lived there, and then it would be subject to capital gains for the duration that it is a rental property.

At that point, you are supposed to technically get a appraiser to appraiser its market value at that point in time.  However, this is usually overkill and a waste of money, and a “Letter of Opinion” from a reputable Realtor (i.e. us!) would usually suffice.  We would pull comps and be able to defend the market value.  You would want the market value to be as HIGH as possible, so that more of the capital gains would be Principle Residence exempt.


Dirty Little Secret Rule

Oh, and there’s a very obscure little known rule whereby if you change your Primary Residence into a rental property (“Property #1), and you move somewhere else (“Property #2”)… let’s say that you are RENTING the Property #2 (i.e. you become a tenant)… or if Property #2 is not as valuable of a property with limited upside potential… you can continue to designate Property #1 as your primary residence for up to another 4 years, even though it is actually a rental property.


About Us

The Volition Investment Properties team are experts in Toronto real estate.  We’ve helped investors invest in over $110M+ in real estate, build over $47M+ in wealth, and generate $4.5M+ in cashflow.  We’ve also educated over 650+ investors at our Monthly Real Estate Investment Mastermind meetup (  Contact us today for a free 60 minute complimentary consultation to see how we can help you reach your real estate goals, so that you too can “Live Life By Design, Not By Default”.

Matthew Lee as Guest Speaker on Vine Rant VLOG

Matthew Lee of Volition Investment Properties was featured as the first ever guest speaker on the “Vine Rant”, the Vine Group’s weekly VLOG providing updates on everything and anything real estate.  While Vine Group provides up-to-date perspectives from a financing perspective, Matthew provides expert insights into the Toronto Real Estate Market from a Real Estate Investment Advisor and Investor Realtor perspective. 

Check this and other videos at the Vine Group’s weekly Vine Rant.



April 19, 2018 – Volition Real Estate Investment Mastermind
Reno For Renting, Flipping, And More!! Part 2 Of Our Popular Series!!

Renovating for Renting, Flipping, and more! How to maximize your money and reduce your headaches.  Join us on April 19th, to learn about renovating for your investment property from Alcina Sung, the Head of Volition Design and Construction.

It’s going to be packed full of great information, so if you’re ever planning to do a renovation on any of your properties, this is not one that you will want to miss!


Renovations are a critical element to understand as an investor, especially when looking at properties in Toronto. It is an essential skill to have in order to execute on Buy & Holds (in order to increase rents and increase cashflow and force appreciation), Buy-Reno-Rent-Refi (BRRR), as well as the ubiquitous Fix & Flip.

Part 1 (Nov 2017) of this presentation was very well received. Alcina focussed on the “Design” aspects of a renovation…. how to design your place to look like the pretty pictures you see on HGTV, Home & Garden, and Houzzz… but more importantly, how to do it in a very cost-conscientious way (i.e. with an INVESTOR mindset!).

Part 2 gets into the details of the construction phase. During this session, you’ll earn:

– What makes a great contractor? How to spot a bad contractor?
– What are best practices when working with a contractor?
– What is considered a Cosmetic renovation vs Permitted renovation?
– How much do I need for contingencies (time and money)?
– What are some “hidden cost” and unknowns to look out for?
– What are typical phases of the construction process?
– Roughly how long should renovations take?
– Roughly how much should renovations cost?
– What should a renovation contract look like?
– How should a reno differ if it’s for an investment property?
– Time is money!! So how to decrease downtime as you near the end of the renovation and how to line up subsequent activities (staging, photography, when to begin showings for potential tenants, etc.)?
How much force appreciation lift should I be expecting?

Alcina Sung brings to Rentier Toronto over 13 years of experience in Interior Designer and Construction Project Management. With her partner, Grace Wong, they have a combined 30 years of experience managing millions of dollars in projects. Residential projects they have worked on range from investment properties (flips, multiplexes, and new construction) to 10,000+ square feet luxury custom homes. Their services also include professional home staging for homeowners, real estate agents and builders.

Key commercial projects that they have worked on include: Winner’s Head Office, Heart and Stroke Foundation Head Office, Fossil Canada Head Office, Living Realty Head Office, Living Realty Flagship Yonge and Bloor Office, and various retail (Oakville Eyecare, Glass Monocle Eyecare, LCBO) and restaurants (Sugar Loaf, Cano).

Alcina joined the Volition Properties team in early 2016 and leads the Design and Construction division. Alcina and her husband, Ming Lim, are also active real estate investors with properties in Waterloo and throughout the GTA.

Schedule (New Format):
6:30pm-7:00pm: Arrival, meet and greet, get to know each other (optional).
7:00pm-9:00pm: Presentations begin at 7pm SHARP.
9:00pm-10:00pm: Networking (optional).

Volition Properties

Volition Properties is an award-winning Toronto boutique real estate investment firm that provides advisory and turnkey real estate investment services. Its mandate is to help real estate investors sustainably invest to build wealth in the Toronto real estate market by investing in low-risk, freehold, cash-flowing income properties over longer-term real estate cycles.

[Volition (vō-ˈli-shən): The power to make your own choices or decisions; free will. Living life by design, not by default.]

Investment to tonight’s workshop is $20 at the door.
Save yourself $5 by paying online ($15) when you RSVP.

Toronto skyline

Why Invest In Toronto?

Toronto skyline

Why Invest In Toronto?

We get this question all the time! With prices high and competition fierce, why do investors still pour money in to the Toronto market? It doesn’t take skill to buy a property – if you’ve got the money, you can make a purchase; but what separates your average person from a sophisticated investor is being able to mitigate your investment risks.


What are the major risk factors?

1) Tenant Risk – the risk of having bad tenants
2) Market Risk – the exposure your invest has to market changes
3) Property Risk – the risk of the property itself
4) Investor Risk – the risk stemming from the lack of knowledge of the investor.

How is risk different in Ontario vs. the rest of Canada?

Ontario cities have a different risk profile compared to typical Canadian cities. A typical Canadian city has a balanced risk profile, with each major risk element being equally important. Therefore, your risk mitigation strategies would also be equally weighted. Ontario has laws which are much more favourable to tenants, making tenant risk much higher. If you have bad tenants in Ontario, it can take months and cost thousands before an eviction. This can impact your investments long-term sustainability.

So how does investing in Toronto help mitigate my risks?

Return is a direct function of risk and real estate is no exception. While investing in Toronto might come at a premium, your investments are less prone to the four major risk factors.

Tenant RiskWith tenants as your biggest risk to your investment portfolio, it’s key to invest in areas which attract the best tenants – not just “okay” tenants. Investing in the right areas in Toronto means you attract the best demographic – young, professional Millennials working in the downtown core. They are typically university educated; have stable well-paying jobs in Finance, Insurance, Consulting, Healthcare, and Tech; and earn salaries between $60k–$80k. This demographic is also willing to pay top dollar for great apartments, allowing you as an investor to maximize rent potential. Finally, this demographic is transient, which means they’ll move out after a few years. This is vitally important: due to rent control laws in Ontario, you’re only able to easily increase rent on tenant turnover. In contrast, investing in a small town can mean a more challenging tenant profile which means a larger risk to your investment portfolio. If you invest in the right areas in Toronto, you reduce your tenant risk and as a result, your investment is more easily held for the long term – which is where real wealth is generated.

Market Risk – Population growth drives real estate prices and jobs drive population growth. Toronto is the economic and job creation centre of Canada. Not only is Toronto the headquarters for many businesses, it’s spread across a diverse number of markets; there are no ties to a single industry. Toronto’s population boom is expected to continue given recent legislation. The Canadian government announced that we will be accepting one million immigrants over the next three years and approximately 50% of all new immigrants (roughly 150,000) settle in Toronto. This, in combination with domestic in-migration due to job growth in the professional services sectors, will contribute to continued demand in the Toronto market. Downtown Toronto’s strength in economic diversity and its attraction as a place to live and work was shown through its resilience during the market downturn in 2017. Additionally, Toronto’s strength is reflected in its rental vacancy rate, which at the time of writing, sits at 0.7%.

Property Risk – Problems can and will occur with the actual property itself (e.g. leaky faucets, blown furnaces, old roof, etc.). A cashflow positive property will help build your reserve fund to ensure that you can handle any unexpected expenses and hold for the long term.  Volition will help you identify the right investment property in the right areas of Toronto that will allow you to cashflow positive. The other way to mitigate property risk is by building the right team of professionals. A home inspection will provide you with insights into what you can expect with the major systems of the home in the next 5 years of ownership, which you can then budget for.  Renovations are an effective way to reduce property risk, as a well-renovated updated property has less propensity for things to go wrong. All Volition clients have access to our rolodex of dependable plumbers, electricians, and handymen, which helps make your business run like a well-oiled machine.

Investor Risk – “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” – Warren Buffett. Reduce this Investor Risk by getting educated and networking. Attend one of our Volition monthly seminars – they’re a great place to become educated and develop a strong network of other investors. Ultimately, a sophisticated investor can turn an underperforming property in a  strong performing property, because they know which strategy to employ at any given time. Likewise, a sophisticated investor knows how to deal with any situation that arises, or has the network to lean on in the event that something is beyond their expertise. Treat your investments like a business.


I’m ready! How do I invest in Toronto?

The best way to invest in Toronto is by building a strong team. Volition is an award–winning investment firm and the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) exclusive Investor Realtors in Toronto. We provide four areas of services for our clients:
1) Advisory – Guiding investors through the entire investment process
2) Realty – Finding and purchasing investment properties
3) Renovations – Build and renovate properties to maximize returns
4) Property Management – Help our clients hold for the long term

We help our clients live their life by design, not by default!


Contact us today for a FREE 60 minute consultation! We’ll review your investment goals and develop a plan on how to reach them. Email us at to setup your appointment!



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