You see, a few short weeks ago my wife and I secured a fixer upper that we will be taking possession of the very first week of January (what a way to start of the New Year with a bang!)
We plan on converting this single family home into 2 separate legal units by leaving the main level as a 3 bedroom unit and converting the basement into a separate legal 2 bedroom unit.
Now this is surely not my first kick at the can at this sort of thing.
However, this particular project is different.
Unlike our conversion in Hamilton, we unfortunately needed to get a Minor Zoning Variance on this property to make this happen, something we never had a need to do on any of our previous conversions.
However, even this did not phase us.
In fact we embrace these types of “challenges” as a form of “real estate investor professional development” if you will.
The need to go through the “old conventional” and more costly route of going through minor zoning variance application processes and municipal committee of adjustment hearings to allow for conversion of single family properties to legal two units is indeed becoming a rare requirement especially after the Ontario government passed “Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011“ nearly 5 years ago.
Unfortunately, the necessary and procedures in this specific municipality for where this specific property is located are not expected to be implemented until at least sometime in 2017 in respect to this legislation that is now 5 years old!
Nevertheless, I decided to move forward regardless because I refuse these types of hurdles, regardless of how illogical or irrational they may be, to deter me from achieving what I set out to do. Indeed, what is the point on dwelling on things outside of our control?
So we are going old school with this project by applying for a minor variance to get the municipality’s blessing for our “legal” 2 unit home conversion. After all, where there’s a will, there gotta be a way, right?
This particular municipality required that a copy of the Registered Deed to the Property and other property particulars like a survey, among other documents, be submitted as part of the Minor Variance application.
Since we are not the owners of the property just yet, we contacted the sellers agent and asked for a copy of the Registered Deed to the Property and a copy of the property survey from the seller and current owner of the home.
What the seller’s agent came back with was this (I will paraphrase below):
“Hi Felix, I spoke to my client and unfortunately they do not have a copy of the survey for the property.
As for the copy of the Registered Deed to the Property well uh, I don’t know how to say this without making it sound like total B.S., which I can assure you it is not. In fact it is the actual truth but, uh… the seller said that HER DOG ATE THE DEED TO THE PROPERTY!”
Now this was definitely a new one for me. I have not heard this one since grade school as someones poor excuse for not getting their homework done, because unbeknownst to most teachers dogs must have apparently found paper to be way more tasty than their Kibbles and Bits!
To be fair the seller and her agent have been nothing but awesome in getting us all the other necessary authorizations and most of the other information required for the Minor Variance application and we are truly grateful to them both. So we have absolutely no reason to doubt them, despite how unlikely as their reason may appear to be.
However, both these particular items were explicitly indicated as being required to be included in the minor variance application.
So what to do now?
We still required a copy of the Registered Deed to the property and a valid drawing or survey for the property to enable us to submit the application by the mid-December deadline and in time to be heard at the January Committee of Adjustment hearing in the New Year.
The alternative? We would be unable to do so until after taking possession of the property which would have left us dead in the water for at least another 2 months!
As an experienced real estate investor I have learned to expect the unexpected and to deal with any issues that I come across to make “it” happen, whatever “it” may be.
So undeterred, I contacted the sellers agent again and asked if the sellers lawyer had a copy of the Deed to the Property from some 15 years ago when she originally purchased the home.
I also contacted my lawyer to see if he could get copies of the deed and survey for me from Land Titles.
My lawyer indicated that they were able to get me a plan of subdivision that only contained the property dimensions.
However, this document contained no details or measurements for the house and other structures along with all the set-backs that were also required information for the application.
So I went into action. I contacted a BCIN and asked them to create the required property drawings along with all required structures and measurements. “Oh and by the way, I need it in two days please!”
And you know what?
In less then 48 hours, first thing in the morning on Tuesday (the application deadline date) I got that copy of the Registered Deed from my lawyer along with the required property plot plan from my BCIN.
I personally went to City Hall.
I met with both Planning and Zoning officials. They were extremely helpful getting all the remaining information required for the application and getting the application completed in full as required.
Finally, I submitted the Minor Variance application along with all required documents at the 11th hour and in the process potentially saving us 2 months of downtime and thousands of dollars in carrying costs.
Recently, I told you that simply having a plan of action is meaningless and attempting to formulate the “perfect plan” before taking action is a Utopian concept at best since there is no such thing!
My latest experience is a great example of how this applies to every day real life.
There is no such thing is a perfect plan or perfect strategies.
Your road to success, to your financial freedom, to living your life on your terms will most certainly be paved with many bumps, cracks, imperfections and challenges along the way.
The key is to stay focused, stay the course, to plow through and overcome each and every bumb along the way, to do what you must to get you to the finish line.
“It called the American ‘Dream’ because you have to be asleep to believe it” – George Carlin
Are you ready and willing to do all that you must to realize your dreams?
Are you ready for your awakening?