Real Estate Write Offs: Taxes and Weekends

Think that real estate investing is the quick and easy way to become super rich? Have visions of shopping at Holt Renfrew and sipping the finest wines the minute you begin investing? Well, I’m sure there are a few people in the world who claim this is their experience, but it’s not the norm. Expect to spend time, money and sweat building your real estate portfolio. And, while you are writing off your expenses for the tax man, know that you’ll often be writing off your weekends too.

Take this past weekend we spent in Toronto. I had some work to do in Toronto during the week, but for the weekend Dave flew in to meet me. We had a wedding to go to and a lot of friends to visit. It was a mini-vacation… or it could have been if we weren’t real estate investors with a handful of units in Toronto.

Two of our close friends live in and manage a tri-plex we own near Little Italy in Toronto. While visiting them, they mentioned a leak under the sink. When Dave took a quick look he found rotting wood and a definite leak that needed quick attention. Knowing it has to get fixed and that a plumber call on a Saturday would cost us a fortune, Dave set about making the repairs. Thankfully our friends were up for joining us as we went to Home Depot, Rona and then back to Home Depot. And they entertained themselves while we put in a new faucet and prepared dinner in the bathroom sink instead of in the kitchen sink.

Thawing shrimp in the bathroom sink while we fix the kitchen sink

Thawing shrimp in the bathroom sink while we fix the kitchen sink

Dave drying some of the wood that was wet from the sink leak

Dave drying some of the wood that was wet from the sink leak

Sunday had more fun for us as we met with another friend who lives in one of our units at the Toy Factory Lofts in King West in Toronto. She was kind enough to let us wander around her house spotting the deficiencies that still need repair while catching up on life. Afterwards, we stopped for a quick bite to eat and were back to the tri-plex to do yard work… in the rain! It had to get done before we flew back so we were both out there pulling weeds, spreading pine bark and picking trash while the skies showered their liquid sunshine on us. We consoled ourselves with the fact that brunch was a tax write off, and we were able to get a lot of good visiting time in with friends while crossing things off our to-do list at the same time.

It feels really good to have handled a bunch of the issues with our investments that are tough to deal with from Vancouver. And, it’s a nice bonus that our trip expenses are tax write offs because we did spend half our time dealing with our investments*, but I can’t say I want every weekend to be like this. There were definitely moments where I felt like it was the weekend that I was writing off, not our expenses for tax purposes!! But, that’s life as a real estate investor!

*always speak with an accountant about what you can and can’t write off for taxes as there are a lot of rules about what qualifies and what doesn’t.


Filed under investing, real estate

2 responses to “Real Estate Write Offs: Taxes and Weekends

  1. Dave

    It pays to be somewhat handy when you are investing. And while we hire a fair amount of our work out to professionals, it works out well if we roll up our sleeves and do some of the work ourselves. For the 4 hours or so we spent replacing the taps, pulling weeds, mulching the yard, we likely saved hundreds of dollars. Of course, we don’t want to do this every weekend, but once in awhile it pays, or rather “saves”, to do it yourself! Plus, if you do it well, you receive a nice feeling of accomplishing something – at least that’s how I feel!

  2. Becoming a “Dave’ of all trades will not only help to get projects off the ground it can save you money………or it can cost you money. When you know what needs to be done and hire someone else to do it, at least you will know if it is done right. Either way it will be a learning experience!

    Look at all the bends and stretches you did towards your MOMAR training!

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