Hello from Hamilton, Ontario!

24 Replies

Hi Everyone. I've been a member of Bigger Pockets for months now but just started diving into this site a bit more recently... What a great resource for investors! I've been at it for about 10 years now. I formed a real estate investment corporation with some family & friends a few years back to invest in downtown Toronto. We've since liquidated all of our properties and are looking to invest in Hamilton or anywhere within about an hour drive from Hamilton. I have experience in single family, duplex and condo rentals. I also have some experience in renovations. At this point we're looking more into multi-unit or commercial properties but would always consider other opportunities (ie. wholesaling, private lending, joint ventures, etc.) If any of you have any opportunities you'd like to discuss, or just want to talk real estate investing and exchange experiences and tidbits, I'd be happy to discuss! Really looking forward to connecting to like-minded individuals who want to succeed in real estate investing.

Hey @Giuseppe Pavone

My RE empire has just lifted off the ground, so I'll be happy to learn what I can from you. 

Have you played with the improve-and-refi game much? 

Hi @Matt Geerts .  I'm looking forward to learning what I can from you also!

Most of my experience comes from a rental I held for the past 5 years which I just gutted and renovated completely including adding extensions, tearing down walls, etc., and now it's my principle residence.  And yes, I'm in the process of refinancing also.  Beyond that I haven't done much in that department.  I know some people who have.  Not as easy as it sounds.  The bottom line is scoring a great deal, which is the common theme I find in real estate success stories, regardless of the type of investing you do.  

I'd be happy to try and answer any questions you have.


@Giuseppe Pavone my name is Gloria and I am new to RE investing and Bigger Pockets. I'm also located in the GTA. I have been spending the last few months absorbing as much knowledge as I can and would like to dive into getting my first deal very soon. I'm looking to wholesale, but I hear that's not as easy as it sounds. I also want to buy and flip and then buy and hold for some steady income. Right now I'd love to connect with RE investors in my area just so I can learn as much from their knowledge and experience as I can before I start looking for deals. Hope to hear from you

Hi @Gloria Rizzuti and welcome to the forum. You've found a great resource. Like you've heard from other members, it seems difficult to wholesale in Ontario but honestly, I'm not 100% sure why that is. The mechanics of a wholesale deal seem to be the same whether you're in Canada or the U.S. but you only here of U.S. success stories. I wouldn't discount any investment strategy in this market... it all starts with finding a great deal... it's just the great deal is hard to find these days... but they're out there, they always are... they just go to those who take action. Go through all the resources this site has to offer, and don't be afraid to ask questions, network, and have fun. We're lucky to have a great group of people from Ontario in here! Good luck.

@Giuseppe Pavone

There are several reasons why wholesaling as a business strategy is less attractive in Canada; a few of these are:

  • real estate markets in Canada are relatively smaller than in the U.S.A., so smaller inventory;
  • mortgage arrears rates in Canada are historically less than 1.0% and default rate are half-again less (or more so), so there are comparatively fewer Canadians facing power of sale or foreclosure. Even when a property falls into power of sale scenario, Canadian lenders have an obligation to sell the property at FMV; and
  • Canadians appear to be well conditioned to find a realtor when they wish to sell a property.


Roy, I agree with your points. Finding a REO property in Canada is like seeing a unicorn in the wild.

The best way to make money in real estate in Canada is via flips.  For me personally, my company's strategy is buy, rent, hold - which is much better suited in most of the US.

If you are interested in investing in the US and want a Canadian perspective on how to do so give me a shout.  I'm happy to share and exchange info with fellow investors.

[Moderator:  removed self promotion and off-site link]

thanks for the reply @Guiseppe Pavone. Great information and feedback! Going this site is one of the best steps I have taken so far in my REI venture and I welcome an opportunity to network with as many Canadian investors as possible. I have given myself the next month to attend some networking sessions and workshops and really learn and absorb. Then I have committed to take the plunge and get moving on trying to find some great deals. As much as I would love to wholesale from what I have heard it is a venture that requires a lot of work and not a lot of payoffs here in Canada. That being said it is probably a great learning ground to the art of finding some great deals. I plan to take advantage of all the resources this site has to offer

Thanks again for your feedback and advice

Originally posted by @Eric Delcol :

Roy, I agree with your points. Finding a REO property in Canada is like seeing a unicorn in the wild.

The best way to make money in real estate in Canada is via flips.  For me personally, my company's strategy is buy, rent, hold - which is much better suited in most of the US.

If you are interested in investing in the US and want a Canadian perspective on how to do so give me a shout.  I'm happy to share and exchange info with fellow investors.

[Moderator:  removed self promotion and off-site link]


I must disagree with you. REOs can be found here - we bought one just last week. However, you are not as likely to find them at a deep discount to market, unless there is a serious issue with the property, or your market is seriously over-supplied and the lender has been sitting on the property for a year or more.

You can make money through buy and holds here, you just need to be quite choosey about what you buy and where.

@Roy N.

I agree with all of your points. I should've been more specific... I understand that it's more difficult here in Canada, but is it so difficult that it's that rare to find a wholesale deal? Apparently so. And when I say wholesale I'm not necessarily talking about an REO... but even just being able to find properties at a discount in general (eg. via FSBO) and then flipping over the deal to another investor/buyer for a profit. I've heard so many times through podcasts, books, etc. about how the marketing plan helped bring in the deals to help them wholesale, but it's always an American... I've yet to see it in Canada... and I live in the most heavily populated area of the country. I see the "I BUY HOUSES" signs all over the place... are they actually working for people in this area?

I particularly agreed with your point about Canadian conditioning.  I think Canadians find the realtor because it's the smarter and safer decision which falls in line with our stereotype.  Perhaps we're just not as risky as the Americans which could be viewed as good or bad... that's a whole other conversation.

My point is sometimes I wonder if the rules are actually limiting the possibility for wholesale deals to the extent that they're almost impossible to find?  Or has just nobody cracked the code here yet?  And if they have, they just don't want to share the secret.

Probably the former, but I like to believe the latter :)

Eric, I think that when you say "Canada" you mean Toronto and Vancouver. REOs, buy and holds and other options exist in the rest of the country and flips are not easy in my neck of the maple trees.

Giuseppe, is anybody REALLY trying to wholesale? I BUY HOUSES signs are pretty tier-one wholesaler ammunition... Where are the yellow letters, Hurst chasers, direct callers, post carders, bird doggers, etc? 

Sure, we don't have those easy mailing lists of easy-pickins potential sellers, but there HAS to be avenues to chase. 

REOs, so I have heard, will not allow an "or assigns" contract, so you can double close and pay gains, but where's the meat left on that bone? 

Absolutely it is assumed in Canada that you need an agent to buy and sell, and FSBO is considered the wild west of realty. Before learning about BP I'd have assumed anybody approaching me to sell that was not an agent was a scam

Exactly Matt... I'm not sure if anyone has actually utilized all of the methods of finding that deal but if they have I'd love to hear about what has/hasn't worked.  Maybe it's been brought up in past forums... time to do some digging.

The real estate business is not new here or in the US. Our business practices and Canadian way of buying and selling, due to the much more restrictive banking system, does not lend itself to the wholesaling business.

The reality is if it was financially possible to make money here wholesaling it would be done and we would all know about it. No one is going to reinvent the wheel, wholesaling does not work in Canada. Do not waste any more of your valuable time trying to find ways to make it work.  

Hey Guiseppe,

It seems Toronto is just to pricey to make the numbers work.  I live in the Niagara region and am finding that very few real estate agents (and i mean basically none) understand that an investor needs to positively cash flow for the property to work.  Every multi family i have looked at in the last year are either basically a tear down, or so overpriced that the numbers are impossible.  I am sure that there is a deal lurking but with the prices in Toronto gaining at an exponential rate, everyone and their dog want to cash in on it.  Good luck, i'm sure you'll find something, but be prepared to see a bunch of duds on the way!

Thanks Giuseppe, for the thread. I'm another Canadian new to investing and have been trying to get educated on the best way to enter the real estate market with little cash flow. I too am wondering if wholesaling can work in Canada. Jeff, I agree with you about the Toronto market, and  it's true (I think) that Canadians are a bit more risk averse than our US counterparts but there must be areas in the country (i.e. outside of the major hubs) where rehabbers or landlords are looking to buy without a realtor. 

If the wholesale thing is a complete no-go in Canadian markets, I would appreciate your thoughts on what you all think I should do with 5k out of the gate to get started. 

Thanks for the input everyone... really appreciate the support.  Let's just be clear though... I'm not saying that wholesaling will work in this country... I really don't know, but will do some digging just to see if there's anyone who's tried.  I agree that it's much more difficult to pull off in this country though.

Regardless, I believe finding a good deal whether you're wholesaling or not comes down to marketing, networking and most importantly, action... making offers, failing over & over again. I heard one podcast where it took someone about 4700 tries before he found a deal.  Now he's fine tuned his craft and is doing well for himself... mind you he was from the U.S. :)

From purely a marketing standpoint though, you don't seem to hear about any Canadian real estate investors outside of Don Campbell who have turned their expertise into an empire, whereas in the U.S. the names are endless.  I can think of several reasons for this but I believe our CONDITIONING has much to do with it.

Thanks everyone for the feedback and advice... I think we're pretty fortunate to have this platform to discuss REI.

Hey guys!! 
Looking to buy my first investment property in Hamilton. Was hoping a) you could point me in the direction of an agent who has experience working with investors and really knows the area. B) would any of you be interested in grabbing a coffee sometime and chatting?
Thanks so much and looking forward to connecting with you.

Good to find this thread. I was in Toronto for a real estate event and they were talking about Hamilton. Two of my friends have investments there and they themselves are amazed by how healthy the market has been in couple of years. Toronto boom has impacted prices in the neighborhood and Hamilton is no different. You asked about whole-selling and I personally have done it twice in last  6 months. For both properties at time of purchase, intention was to keep it for myself, but ended up selling it to friends. 

Hi Zack....good to be able to seat down over coffee (though not sure the forum rules on this as am fairly new here....do you know?). Those experienced and are open to join this meet to pls guide on this (thanks!)

I have great interest in house flipping in the Hamilton area. I have just completed my 1st flip (bought in Oct, sold in Feb & closed this month)....not very profitable due to unexpected lender penalty (another conversation altogether). Am on the hunt for the next but is being challenging. Typically sale prices now go for up to 50 - 100k above listed price!!!!!.....bidding war!!!!.....this is a recent craze that has spread from GTA to surrounding areas now.

And.....does anybody knows how to go around this bidding war for a flip property....as it not prudent to put so much over asking price to buy a property for flip (at least so I think).....or am I missing something...someone pls help me out 😳😳..lol

@Lanre Odesilo There is no issue sitting down for coffee with BP members. It is likely encouraged. I hold a monthly meetup in Toronto with new and experienced investors, you're welcome to come out if you have some questions.

I flip in Toronto and GTA. Asking price means nothing, so paying over asking doesn't mean anything. Don't pay more than the property is worth to you, but that can be over or under asking price.

I bid $400,000 over asking on a property recently and didn't even get it.

New flippers often don't take all the costs into account when analyzing property, and it can really cut into your bottom line. Luckily the market exploded between October and February, so I'm sure it helped.

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