Finding Motivated Sellers in Canada

8 Replies

Hey Guys! I've been bingeing the BP podcast and and dozens of real estate books over the past year or so, so I think I'm ready to with two feet. Only problem is, a lot of this stuff doesn't seem to work in Canada? Or am I wrong? Anyone want to walk through their first Canadian SFR or Multi-Family purchase? Specifically how they found it. The MLS is crazy expensive, and privacy laws seems to restrict most of the sources the they use to find motivated sellers. Thoughts on how to get started up here?

@Greg Downey

Your first few deals will seem the hardest as the learning curve for both real estate in general and your local market are like the long walk from Water Street to Signal Hill - uphill and fairly steep in places.

What we have found works best is to select the types of properties (SFRs, 2-4 unit residential, small multi-units (6-20), mid-large multi-family or commercial (office, industrial, etc) and the neighbourhoods in which you are interested and then visit (I go for a run) and make note of candidate properties.  We enter all these properties of interest into a database and then learn what we can (owners, tax assessment history, sales history, etc) about each.  We also collect information about similar neighbouring properties 

Once you have your list of properties you can start approaching owners who you think may be ready to sell (old, tired, need money, etc.).

We presently maintain a "watch list" of around 100 properties in three cities, and update each at least once, if or twice, per year.

@Roy N. how are you able to find out who the owners of the properties are? As well as tax assessment history and sales history? One of the markets I am looking in is great as the city has tax assessments right on their website through a portal that tells you exactly what they are in a matter of seconds, but not all markets seem to have this. Presumably sales history is from the MLS?

@Graeme Ford

Here in NB (and also in NS) the provincial government lists all tax assessments and recent sales prices online though a portal.  Québec has MERN (their land registry); Ontario has a similar portal, but I believe you have to pay for access there.  MB allows you to search property tax assessments on-line.  In SK, Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert have their own sites and SAMAView covers {almost} everyone else.

In Alberta, online availability of tax assessment and property sales information is decentralized ... it seems to be left to the individual Cities/Towns/Villages or RMs ... which makes things a little more work for the investor.

Hi guys,

I'm looking to get started in Calgary as well. It does seem much harder to find good deals to buy. I've mostly been using the MLS for now and making offers here and there.

I'm considering building my own 'watch list' in the area and perhaps sending direct mail to these properties.



@Roy N. awesome information. Thank you for your insight! Teranet in Ontario looks like it could be a very pricey option, but I am going to have to complete some more research into that for sure. 

@Graeme Ford , in Ontario, you can go to any city hall (at least in the Greater Toronto Area this is true) and look for the Assessment Rolls sections. There, you can sit at a computer terminal for free, enter any municipal address, and you will be given the name of the owner and the address to which the municipal tax bills are sent = where you can contact the owners! :-)