5 Minutes with... Brandon Sage

By Mark David

Brandon Sage
is the New Business Development Manager with LandLord Property Management Inc., a Toronto-based property and rental management firm.

How did you personally get involved in property management?
I worked as a residential rental agent after university in 2006 to save up money for law school. I found myself taking an interest in an industry that appeared to me to have potential for growth and could benefit from emerging technologies.  
What are the benefits of having a property manager?
It comes down to having someone working on your behalf who has seen it all before frees your time to do more important things.
Why is it better to have a property manager instead of self-managing?
Separation of the parties. This allows cooler heads to prevail, processes to be better followed, communications to be massaged, and compromises to be brokered.
What makes a good property manager?
Unquestionably, it is accessibility. The perception of an owner that their manager is easily reached by phone or email by both them and their tenant goes a long way to allowing an owner to develop the trust that allows them to truly let go.
Where do some property managers get it wrong?
Pushing the envelope on rental rates not realizing what results typically are renters who did not do their homework and become demanding when they smarten-up, renters who never intended to pay, or renters who are simply irresponsible with their money, and thus often late with the rent.
What is the key to developing a strong relationship with a property manager?
Don’t sweat over the small things. Just because a minor item was overlooked, it does not mean a greater calamity is in the works at the property, so it is not worth souring a relationship of a late-paid bill, for example.
What was one of your most interesting experiences as a property manager?
Managing my property directly across from a shelter with over 600 homeless men. It has been an extreme exercise in honesty with my tenants, as there was no misleading them about the area – and everyone I’ve rented to has been good.
What tips would you give to first-time investors?
Buy where people will want to be in the future which is often shown by where transit will be developed. For example, properties along the path of the Eglinton Crosstown or other LRT lines in the works.
If $1 million were to magically appear for your investment purposes, where would you put it?
A house converted to have multiple self-contained units. I love these properties and what they do for investors. You get security of rent by having multiple tenants, benefit from changing demographics that will make it easier to attract tenants, and own a property that can be converted back to a single-family home if the market warrants.
Cash flow or capital growth?
It all depends on one’s investment strategy, but personally I aim for a balance with a tilt toward capital growth as that ensures there is cash flow to cover all expenses with a respectable monthly profit that can be set aside to be spent on improvements.

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