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I am 29 years old. I worked very hard at a well-paying (but not exciting) job and spent my vacation time buying and renovating properties. Currently, I have 4 condos with an approximate equity of 445,000. All my units have been completely renovated and that number is just using what other units have sold for recently. A savings account around the 70,000 mark and no debt other than mortgages. One of the properties I live in but also rent a room; the other 3 are rented out for positive cash flow. The real estate market here has been going pretty insane for a while and I expect it to cool off in the next 2 years (still go up slowly but reach a price cap for awhile after 2 years). Should I sell and diversify my holdings?

I am working towards a Ph.D. in mathematics and, thus, for the next while my income is low and paying taxes on capital gains may make sense. I have a scholarship at my university that covers my mortgage and living expenses so the purpose of the money is just for investing. I also have a 50k line of credit so I don't really need to hold any funds aside if an emergency comes up I can cover it if I'm slow to liquidate or it's a bad time.

I live in Canada and have run my own investment account before on the stock market trading shares and options and made a lot of money doing it but don't really want to spend that level of time while in school.

I would like to be semi-retired by 50 though given I really like what I am doing now I guess that's not really a big deal.

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    Do you enjoy being a landlord? If you sold one or more units would you need the money for anything else or just invest it all elsewhere? What are your mortgage rates and loan to value ratios? – Hart CO Jun 6 '18 at 14:28
  • I don't need the money for anything else just investing, two of the units are managed by a propetymanagement company as one is rather far away I make about 70-100$ per unit after mortgage is paid strata fees and property management company is paid if relevant. The other unit has a disabled man in and I don't want him bothered so I manage the unit and give him a break on rent so I make about the same off it he's been in there for 5 years and is a good tenant checks come straight to me from the government. – Faust Jun 6 '18 at 14:32
  • The rates aren't great on the rentals because there rather small mortgages 100k on the one worth 180k, 82k and 88k on the other two worth about 160k each probally more given the renovations. – Faust Jun 6 '18 at 14:34
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    I also have a 50k line of credit so i dont really need to hold any funds aside if an emergency comes - If an emergency comes, first thing is your loc gets cancelled! – Daniel Jun 6 '18 at 15:01
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    About 260 goes to principal so it's not bad. – Faust Jun 6 '18 at 17:26
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Ultimately, yes, you should diversify, being solely invested in residential real estate is somewhat risky, a mix of stocks, bonds, and real estate would most likely be safer. The harder questions to answer are how soon should you diversify, and should you sell one or more units in order to diversify?

Since your rates aren't great, it may be worth selling one unit to pay down/off loans on others, that's guaranteed benefit. Be sure to calculate your effective rate after tax benefit from interest deduction to know how much you're actually getting by paying down debt. Similarly, when comparing rental property to other investments make sure to factor in depreciation (capital cost allowance) which provides some benefit.

If you enjoy being a landlord and think you'd like to do that for a while longer or maybe in perpetuity, then don't sell now just to diversify, but rather plan to diversify when you have money to invest again. You seem well-positioned to weather a minor down-turn, so stick with things as they are for now and then max out contributions to tax advantaged retirement accounts when income is flowing again.

Being a landlord over a few paid off properties seems like an ideal semi-retirement to me, but it's not for everyone.

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