I Bought a Victorian Rental Property – Marianne Vander Dussen

I Bought a Victorian Rental Property

When you know, you know. Sometimes there's just this inescapable feeling of this is The One. This is meant to be.

I'm not talking about romance, of course. I'm talking about a house. 

Victorian Rental House

Over the past two years, I have been very aggressive about snapping up rental properties in North Bay. It started with a student rental in the late spring of 2019, and has since gone on to include a triplex (January 2020), a fourplex (May 2020), and now, this historical gem that I can't wait to get my hands on (closing June 2021). It is a legal triplex, but there is a twist to this that I'll reveal in the months to come.  

Back in October 2020, I wrote into my goal-setting book that one of my great hopes was to begin acquiring beautiful historic houses, and to restore them to their full glory. This is not the path of a traditional real estate investor. For many landlords, real estate is a means to an end. It's a vehicle to make money, the end. For me, real estate is so much more than that.

I love houses because of the feeling I get when I encounter good design. It's intangible but palpable. I also love working on houses because of how it makes me feel. Painting doors, mowing lawns, purchasing appliances, etc., is exhausting work. But it's satisfying work. I feel great afterwards. Like my husband observed, after watching me come home covered in debris but grinning from ear to ear, "all you need to be happy is some hard labour." 

Enter the Victorian. This property was overlooked by other investors because she won't give immediate cashflow. The units are painfully underperforming, and it will take some turnover to correct. But - oh my goodness - the potential she has is astronomical. Based on my current projections, she could turn out to be one of my highest performers in my portfolio.

One of the key selling features for me is a detached two car garage and ample parking, right in the heart of downtown North Bay. This could be leased out to current tenants or to anyone looking for storage for snowmobiles, boats, etc. 

The other major selling features are the units themselves. They are quirky, because they've been upgraded over the years in a somewhat hodgepodge manner. I've noticed landlords in general tend to upgrade with whatever is on sale, so flooring often varies from room to room in rental properties, creating a patchwork quilt effect. However, the floorplans here are amazing, the main floor has 9-10 foot ceilings, and there's millwork and architectural detailings throughout all the units that make my heart flutter. We're talking clawfoot cast iron tubs here, my friends. I can't post photos on my blog because the units are still tenanted, but oh my my my they are pretty

For now, the plan is to keep this building as a longterm rental property. Down the road, I may consider other possibilities. However, because I know there are plenty of other avid Victorian lovers whose hearts skip a beat when they hear the word "historical restoration," I'll be sharing the entire process of unit flipping on my YouTube channel. You can subscribe by visiting this link

So welcome to my portfolio, Modern Victorian! I can't wait for you to start oozing your charm. 

If you're interested in my goal-setting practice, and are intrigued by its efficacy, you should definitely keep an eye out for my upcoming podcast, The Creative Narrative. I'm going to start recording this week. Eee! 


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