How We Bought Our Vacation Property

Quality Retirement Planning, Calgary

We have a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo in beautiful Scottsdale, AZ. It's located within walking distance of historic Old Town. It's in a lush and tropical gated community with 3 pools, 2 tennis courts, his and hers fully equipped gyms with saunas, 2 hot tubs, pottery studio, art studio, woodworking shop and underground parking. There is also a library, games and billiards room. It's like a resort, probably even better. If all that wasn't enough, it's also surrounded by a beautiful par 3, 9 hole golf course which is free for residents.

Now, how did we get it for free?

We were vacationing at a 2 bedroom condo that we found on VRBO in November 2013. We had stayed in the greater Phoenix area a few times and really like it there, but this time we decided to spend some time in Scottsdale. After just a couple of days there we fell in love and knew this was where we wanted to have a place. 

Before that trip Nancy had done some research and had already found a realtor that got outstanding reviews on Redfin. His name is Dave Fernandez and he is by far the best realtor we have ever worked with. 

We spent a day with Dave and he showed us several properties. When he showed us the one we ended up buying, we immediately knew it was the one for us. It was empty and partly renovated. For whatever reason, the owner had paused the renovation that was underway. We could smell a deal. We love benefiting from someone else's unfinished projects.

We placed an offer below the list price because we were willing to take it as is.

We settled on a price of $83,000 USD. At the time the Canadian dollar was near par. We closed on the deal and I went back to Scottsdale a few weeks later and hired a contractor. We completed the unfinished reno in 5 days and put it up for rent with the help of Dave, realtor and property manager.

We have had a tenant in the unit on a full-time basis ever since. We have not yet had the privilege of spending a single night in the place. The purchase was a part of a longer-term goal for us. (aka: delayed gratification) We intend to use it for ourselves in the near future, but in the meantime, someone else is paying all of the costs associated with the condo and funding our account at Bank of America with lovely US dollars. Oh yeah, and they're funding all our trips to the US - now you know why we go to Montana so often. ;-) The increasing US bank balance will also cover the cost of all furnishings when the time comes for us to take it over and buy everything we need to set up house. At that point, we will rent it out to snowbirds for a few months of the year to cover all of our costs and then use it for the rest of the year for ourselves - for free.

Why are we telling you all this? The point is you can fund your goals and dreams with a little planning. We would be happy to sit down with you for a coffee and help you and your spouse get clarity around your goals, put them on paper and create a plan to make them happen by your desired date. When our son was growing up there was a poster on his wall which said, "If you can dream it, it can happen!" It's time to turn your dreams and goals into a plan to make them happen. What are you waiting for? It's fun!

How we Came up with the Money

When Nancy started working at TD Waterhouse in September 2007 part of the benefits package offered employees a stock loan program. She took a staff loan from TD of $36,000 for the purpose of buying TD bank stock. We then set up a repayment plan of $300 per month for 10 years. The interest charged on the loan was the same as the dividend yield on the stock (approx. 3%), so basically, there was no interest to pay because the dividend covered it. (side note: Know the benefits that your employer offers and take advantage of them - this was a free loan to buy a top quality stock which over time was going to increase in value. What employer benefits are available to you that you're not utilizing to grow your wealth? Why not?)

As we paid down the loan the interest owing on the loan decreased so that the dividends more than covered what we paid in interest. That enabled us to use the additional money to pay down the loan faster. We paid off the loan completely in about 3 years. We then opted to use the dividends to buy more shares. Back in 2007, those shares were trading at about $70. The shares took a big hit in 2008, down to $35 but then rebounded the next year. We eventually sold those shares and had a nice gain. We then exchanged the money and put it in our US bank account when the Canadian dollar was near PAR with the US. 

When the opportunity came to buy the vacation/rental condo in Scottsdale, we had the available funds saved up and made the purchase. 

Go ahead and set a goal and a plan to achieve it. 

Advisors for Advanced Retirement Income Strategies,

Willis and Nancy Langford

Want to retire in the next few years? Find out more about Advanced Retirement Income Strategies.




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