Maximizing Rents With Basement & Garden Suites With Andy Tran

Is everyone feeling better about the budget? It’s been two weeks now and it’ll be about 2 years from now till we have a new budget from what is expected to be a Conservative government.  Welcome to the Truth About Real Estate Investing For Canadians Show. I’ve been your host since 2016, Erwin Szeto.

Investors, not just real estate investors, continue to be disappointed with the recent tax changes around increasing capital gains inclusions on personal and corporate owned investments.  Both the Canadian and Ontario Medical Associations have asked the Trudeau government to reconsider as many doctors incorporate their medical practices for the tax advantages to make their income more comparable to their American counterparts.  This was something over governments negotiated to stem the brain drain of our locally trained doctors from moving to the USA.  

Unlike government employees, these doctors don’t have pensions to rely on.  If you’re having trouble finding a family doctor now, it’s going to get worse and it will be less likely they were trained in Canada where we have some of the finest medical schools in the world.

Quality of life will continue to diminish in Canada. Cherry and I have no plans to move to the USA other than our real estate investment portfolio but we are investigating private health care alternatives because we can NOT rely on the government to take care of us.

Canada is still comparatively a wonderful country to live, buy a house, raise a family. Ask any international student what they left behind to come here and the alternatives.

I just returned from a week in Singapore, widely considered among the least affordable cities in the world. The path to permanent residency there is harder than here in Canada. Opportunity is among the best in the world, low taxes including a flat 15% income tax but my word housing is expensive.

According to a one bedroom apartment in the city centre average rent is $3,625 in 2022 so it’s likely higher today vs a Toronto 1 bedroom is around $2,500.  The price to buy seems around 50% higher too. 

Would I live or invest in Singapore, likely not even if I could afford it, but with the new capital gains taxes, it makes sense to own less expensive properties, to stay under $250,000 in capital gains for example, I can own three houses in the USA vs one triplex here. It’s easier to sell one house per year to spread out my capital gains vs I can’t split a triplex to sell.  

The case to invest in the USA only gets stronger with the new budget and pushes more and more Canadian investors away from socialism and towards capitalism.

As for investment, I’ll continue to look to cherry pick the best markets for investment in the USA but with the way this country is going, my focus is not just on investment in the US but potential houses for my kids to live should they ever want to move.

Maximizing Rents With Basement & Garden Suites With Andy Tran 

On to this week’s show! We have one of my oldest real estate investor friends Andy Tran who was among my first clients and home inspectors.

I’ll always remember the first deal we did together, a detached house in Hamilton for $216,000. The house had been sitting for nearly two months before we came along and during our appointment to see the property, I noticed there was something not right.  The owners listed a man and woman’s name but while inspecting in the fridge and closets, I could tell only the father and kids lived in the house.

In speaking with the listing agent to gather information for our offer, the agent informed me the sellers were divorcing and hated each other.  Knowing we had a motivated seller, our offer was a low one and was promptly accepted to our surprise.  Note that we also included our closing costs to be paid for by the sellers.  This was back in 2010 and we’ve both come a long way.

Fast forward to the present, Andy is the market leader in secondary and tertiary suite additions.  In plain language, that’s basement apartments, additions for self contained apartments and garage or garden suites which are also apartments.

Andy is a master of maximising the rental income that can be generated from one property.  Andy has consulted and designed over 100 apartment conversions between my clients and I including land severances.

If you’d like to learn more about Andy’s services available at Suite additions, simply go to where he has checklists and beginner guides to secondary suiting plus his in person training program Andy mentions on the show which sold out in April but expect another this fall.

Andy’s a good guy and that’s the truth about real estate investing. Please enjoy the show!

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Before you go, if you’re interested in what kind of properties I am looking at in the landlord friendly states of the USA please go to for what I consider the best investment for most Canadians, most of the time.

I’ve been investing in Ontario since 2005 and while it’s been a great, great run. I started out buying properties in the 100,000s and now it’s $800,000 to $1,000,000.  How much higher can it go? I don’t know

To me, the remaining potential for appreciation does not match the risk hence I’m advising my clients to look to where one can find rental properties that are affordable range of $150,000 to $350,000 US$, with rents that range from $1,400 to 2,600/month plus utilities.   As many Canadians recognize, these numbers will be positive cash flow and are night and day compared to anything locally. Plus the landlord has all of the rights, no rent control, and income is US dollars which are better than Canadian dollars.

If you don’t believe me, US dollars are better than Canadian dollars, go ask 100 non-Canadians which currency they prefer to be paid in.

So to regain control of your retirement planning.  Go to and check out what great cash flow properties are available in the USA.  

The best part is, my US investments will be much more passive compared to by local investments as I’m hiring an asset manager called SHARE to hand hold me through the entire process.  As their client and shareholder, Share will source me quality income properties, help me with legal structure and taxes, they manage the property manager and insurance provider while passing down to me preferred rates so I save both time and money.  

Share will even tell me when to strategically refinance or sell.  SHARE can even support investors all over the country for proper diversification hence my plan is to own in Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas.  Share is like my joint venture partner but I only have to pay them fees while I keep 100% ownership and control.

If your goal in investing is to increase cash flow, I don’t know of a better strategy for most Canadians most of the time.  One last time that’s to see what boring, cash flowing real estate investing can look like on your path towards financial peace.

This is how I’m going to make real estate investing great again for my family and hope you choose the same.  Till next time!

Sponsored by:

This episode is brought to you by me! We don’t have sponsors for this show. I only share with you services owned by my wife Cherry and me.  Real estate investing is a staple in my life and allowed me to build wealth and, more importantly, achieve financial peace about the future, knowing our retirement is taken care of and my kids will be able to afford a home when they grow up.  If you, too, are interested in my systematic strategy to implement the #1 investment strategy, the same one pretty much all my guests are doing themselves, then go visit and register for our next event.

Till next time, just do it because I believe in you.



As a committed advocate for transparent and responsible real estate investment, I want to openly share my involvement with SHARE SFR (Single Family Rental) as an Advisor. I hold an equity position in this company and receive a referral commission for clients I introduce to their services. My endorsement of their business model – focusing on direct ownership of positive cash flow income properties – is consistent with my own personal investing since 2005, is based not only on a professional assessment but also on my personal experience and belief in their approach. Please note that while I stand behind my recommendations, it is crucial for each individual to conduct their own due diligence and consider their unique circumstances before making any investment decisions. As always, my priority is to provide you with honest, insightful, and practical real estate investment education.
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