Special Report – Family financial success through real estate

Special Report – Family financial success through real estate

Discover three ways to use real estate as leverage for your children’s future

Investing in real estate with your adult children:

A project filled with bright possibilities

Photo credits www.archimed360.com

At BARNES, our experts assist many family members who want to jointly invest in real estate, with good reason. 

Real estate investment has proven its worth over the decades. It’s a safe bet that offers a high level of financial sustainability in the long run. Family members have a bond of trust from the start, so it’s quite natural to be interested in creating these significant partnerships with loved ones. By pooling resources and leveraging the strengths of the parents and children involved, this strategy can generate truly surprising results. 

So why not invest in real estate with your children and build your family’s legacy together? Here is some food for thought that could lead you to a wonderful new adventure. 

Rethinking property assets when nearing retirement

One of the cases we commonly see is parents who are beginning a new life chapter and rethinking their property situation. In doing so, they may identify new real estate investment opportunities with their children. 

As an example, let’s say Marine and Louis sell their home in Town of Mount Royal because it has become too big since their son William moved out. Using the sizeable capital generated by the sale, they decide to purchase a rental building with William, which is funded in large part by the parents. Marine and Louis keep a home base in Montréal by occupying one of the units in the building. This gives William the opportunity to become the owner and landlord of the building, which he is fully responsible for managing. Using the rest of their financial assets, the parents acquire a vacation home in the Estrie region, which the whole family can enjoy. This offers them a new lifestyle combining the best of the city and the country, while giving a powerful push to William’s financial situation. As a result, the family’s real estate portfolio changes completely, and it benefits everyone. 

We advise many clients who are considering these types of real estate projects. They require an acute strategy, with attention given to a number of components. We develop very close relationships with these families, whom we guide through a major life change. In this process, all of the family members evolve, both in terms of their quality of life and financial situation. Wonderful family partnerships come to life, and it’s very enriching!” notes Félix Giguère, Partner and Residential Real Estate Broker at BARNES Québec.

Whether or not you are currently rethinking your property situation, there are many ways you can embark on this journey with your child, and here’s why it’s such a golden opportunity. 

Two generations, two great real estate allies

The two main allies of a real estate investment are money and time. Combining the parents’ larger capital with the children’s willingness to get involved is often a winning strategy. The parents fund most of the acquisition, while the children have the energy and motivation to do the hands-on work of managing the property. Thus, the strengths of the family members combine and complement each other perfectly, creating a solid team that’s off to a great start!

Time is of the essence in the real estate world. Therefore, the younger your children are when you consider investing, the more you’ll reap the rewards. “A parent who allows a child to purchase a property very early in life makes sure they will have a much more prosperous financial future. Real estate is a growth enabler that’s hard to match. When you own your first duplex at age 45, you won’t get the same return as someone who purchased a property at 22, for instance, even with a small portion of capital. There’s a huge difference!” explains Étienne Beaudry, Partner and Chartered Real Estate Broker at BARNES Québec.

The vast world of real estate investments

There are many different types of projects, and agreements can be tailored accordingly. Thus, having a qualified real estate broker to help you navigate this universe is essential. 

“Whether they are at the end of their careers or at the beginning of their adult lives, affluent clients have a strong interest in family real estate investments. The possibilities abound, and we work to find the best possible plan to meet each family’s specific needs. The beauty of it is that in real estate, all plans truly create wealth,” explains Étienne Beaudry.

Here is an overview of different types of joint investments to consider.


  • Pros: Often acquired with long-term—even lifelong—ownership in mind, multiplexes are generally among the properties that deliver the greatest financial gain.
  • Cons: These types of buildings require regular maintenance, and, over the years, all sorts of renovations. They demand a high level of management, and since these buildings are often older, they come with a higher risk factor. 

Rental condominium:

  • Pros: Requires a smaller down payment compared to a multiplex and, therefore, is generally more accessible. The level of maintenance and management is also less significant with this type of property, which normally houses one tenant on an annual lease. 
  • Cons: Having a single tenant generates less income than, say, a multiplex. Also, keep in mind that the tax treatment that applies to a secondary property decreases your capital gain when the property is sold. 

Condominium with a guarantee in a new housing project:

  • Pros: By getting expert advice on making a real estate purchase in a new project, you’ll be empowered to choose a project carried out by a reputable promoter with a guarantee plan. This makes it a very low-risk investment. This type of property also requires next to no management; all you have to do is make your payments on time, according to a predefined plan. Once your unit has been delivered, you can resell it for a profit or keep it and rent it out. 
  • Cons: By making instalments on your down payment, which are often spread out over a few years, you will be injecting sums for which you’ll only see a return later in the future. Your money is “frozen,” so to speak. If you choose not to rent out the unit, it will only yield a one-time influx of cash. 

Family vacation home:

  • Pros: Combining wealth creation and recreational pleasures, the purchase of a vacation home represents an attractive family investment. Invite memorable moments while building your legacy. What’s more, this type of property rents well, at a good price, which can provide you with a source of short-term income. 
  • Cons: A shared property may come with challenges or even create conflict. Make sure everyone involved shares the same overall vision and follows the general rules of life you wish to establish for the vacation home. This type of property requires regular maintenance, especially if you plan to rent it out, which adds to the level of management required. Various services and platforms can help simplify these tasks. Our brokers can provide excellent advice regarding the purchase of a secondary rental property. 

Where to start? 

By now, new ideas may be taking form in your mind. How might you put them into action? 

Each situation, each goal demands its own solution. An expert real estate broker will consider the level of involvement each party wants to have, the capital they have at their disposal, and their level of risk tolerance. Your broker will clearly identify the needs of each person and present you with different options. 

Everyone I meet talks about their project in a different way. A broker must therefore listen carefully and be sure to fully understand the intentions that lie behind the purchase. Some people wish to own a building for their entire lives to sell it when they retire or pass it on to their heirs; others want to use real estate to achieve significant financial growth. We have to adjust our strategy based on many criteria,” mentions Félix Giguère.

3 key questions to get started

1- What is your goal? For example, do you want to:

  • ensure the financial well-being of your child?
  • create wealth across generations?
  • start a joint venture and develop expertise with your child?

2- How much money would you like to inject into your project?

3- What investment of time and effort would you like to put into it? 

You’ll discuss this with your real estate broker, who will then act as the conductor of your project, while leaving you in control. Among other things, your broker can put together a strong team of specialists who will all play a crucial role: the mortgage broker confirms the financial capability of each buyer; the financial planner advises and guides clients based on their performance goals; the accountant or tax expert identifies the best approach for the purchase of the property (in the child’s name, in both names, in a company’s name, etc.), and the notary takes care of the estate plan. 

Create a fair agreement

Equally shared ownership is not necessarily the best solution for every joint investment. Many different types of structures and agreements exist. Different factors may be adjusted according to the parties’ needs, including percentages of ownership, variable periods, the definition of the tasks involved, the work required to manage the building, etc. 

Example 1: Earning shares over the years

A parent who funded almost the entire purchase of a multiplex could own 90% of it, and the child could own 10% of it. By being fully responsible for the management of the property, including the building’s maintenance and the ongoing management of the tenants, the child would earn shares over the years and own 50% of it after a decade. 

Example 2: No rent payment to lighten a financial burden

A parent and an adult child buy a multiplex together; ownership percentages are based on the sums each party has the capacity to inject into the property. The child moves into one of the building’s units and, as per the agreement, pays no rent in exchange for fully managing the property. This alleviates the financial burden of the child at a young age. When the child’s situation evolves and he/she pays rent, this will represent personal savings since the building belongs to him/her in part. 

These types of agreements, which we often see when selling multiplexes to families, are well suited to the stage of life of each party involved. Our advisors are committed to helping them find the best-case scenario, where each person is fully taken into consideration, in a fair agreement. We succeed every time, and we create wonderful parent-child real estate partnerships. It’s very gratifying!” mentions Étienne Beaudry.

Give yourself the gift of a comprehensive legal agreement

Regardless of the road you take, when you become a real estate investor with your child, it is important to create a written agreement clarifying the terms of the investment and the roles of each party. Among other things, this agreement should include the following:

●      the goals of the investment;

●      the financial contributions of the parties involved;

●      how the ownership percentages are divided;

●      the assignment of management responsibilities;

●      how income is distributed;

●      dispute resolution agreements.

Working with a lawyer to develop a detailed agreement, who takes the needs and objectives of each party into account, is also essential. When the time comes, our experts can recommend excellent resources. 

A rewarding project for your family and your finances

In addition to all the obvious financial benefits, family real estate investments can become truly unique projects that nurture strong bonds, while offering highly stimulating learning opportunities for everyone involved. It’s a great way to teach your children important financial values as well as management, analysis, and negotiation skills. Many resources exist to help you learn about this field—training courses, conferences, books, etc. Our experts will direct you to the best reference resources. 

From passing down values and knowledge to creating priceless family bonds, while enjoying high returns and building a legacy for generations to come, investing in real estate with your adult children is a truly unique experience that can enrich both your family and your finances. 

Ready to get started? Contact us today. You’re in for a great discussion. 

Photo credits www.archimed360.com

Dossier spécial – Prospérité financière familiale