Five Times is the Charm for Investor Couple
Rushes of Southfork Homeowners Reap Returns
Whether shopping for a personal home, or looking to become a landlord with an income property – homebuyers will always consider return on investment in a real estate transaction. Richard Rahbani and wife and Sonja discovered both a personal and business venture five-times over at Rushes of Southfork in Leduc, Alberta. Since 2014 they have purchased five units at the townhome community, built by Hunter Residential Developments.
“We looked at options and layout and value for our dollar. And we ended up purchasing at that time two units at once,” said Richard Rahbani. They call one of the properties home, and the remaining four are rented.
“A big reason that we continued to purchase additional units was our experience with Hunter,” said Rahbani – adding that Hunter’s salesperson Kit Morrier has since become a friend, and general manager Priscilla Unger made the transactions easy. Meanwhile, the construction personnel and service teams who attended to tune-ups post-possession were responsive to their needs. It was most logical for the couple to continue the relationship. They searched elsewhere to diversify their inventory, but could not find anything offering the same bang for the buck.
“The value for the dollar is very hard to compete with – the finish we received for the dollar. I couldn’t find anything that was close that would give me a similar return.”
As residents, they know firsthand the benefits of the neighbourhood, and they’re close-by if their tenants need anything. The fact that the properties are new means they require few repairs, except for paint and cleaning prior to changing over to new leaseholders.
Choosing Leduc was a happy accident as the couple encountered the site while taking a shortcut – and a closer look revealed the property was as functional as their former single-family home.
“The layout has a very good functional use of space. There’s lots of light, and the finishing is durable with upgraded materials,” Rahbani said.
They noticed the quick commute to Edmonton for work was stress-free with a single on-ramp from the highway compared to rail crossings, lights and left turns that tested his patience driving to other communities. The location also allows them to see siblings, parents and in-laws who are close in Edmonton and Wetaskiwin. Leduc offers a longer list of stores and restaurants over smaller centers. Without children of their own yet, the couple finds the dual-master design will suit their home life for about four more years if they convert a bedroom to a nursery. The lock-and-leave aspect to a condominium with no exterior maintenance means travel is worry-free – especially when the Edmonton International Airport is a seven-minute drive away.
From the beginning, the couple has kept to a strategy to hold their investments long-term versus a quick flip. Given the change in the area’s oil economy, fewer would-be tenants are lining up for rental units – but the Rahbani’s plan accounted for vacancies so it won’t leave the couple on shaky financial ground or settling for unsuitable renters.
“We make sure our renters are people we would like as a neighbour,” he said. “After all – we live here too.”
Fitness Mom Finds a Zen-Like Escape
The Rushes of Southfork is a community that is brimming with active singles and couples, and Melanie Milne is right at home among them – along with her two school-aged daughters. When Milne settled into Leduc with her husband 14 years ago, the safe and quiet neighbourhood they chose to make their home was ideal for starting a family, and her two daughters were born. Years later, when the relationship ended, Milne searched for a new home suited for her and the girls, within her budget.
“I was looking at places I could afford, that I could comfortably transfer my kids to. We were in an upscale neighbourhood. I didn’t want to move them into someplace they felt unsafe,” she said. “I saw some used properties in neighbourhoods that weren’t ok,” she recalls.
But when she saw the new properties at The Rushes, she was sold. “It’s edgy and homey,” she explained.
The rustic-modern architectural design of the Rushes site reminded her of the Olympic Village in Whistler – and it triggered a happy memory that caused her to take a closer look.
“I love the mountains – and if you live in Alberta, you get out and enjoy them often,” she said. “The design gave me a sense of being away but not really away.”
The dual-master bilevel plan was the right amount of space for Milne – a self-described minimalist who placed a priority on location and quality design over extra square footage. Adornments and clutter are few and fit with a zen-like environment that she favours. As a certified yoga instructor, Milne is a true believer in keeping physical things simplified to benefit mind and body.
“I would rather live modestly with space than become further in debt,” she said, adding that quality was maximized on her budget. “I was impressed with the upgrades included.”
Her daughters who live with her 50% of the time get their own floor, and share one of the grownup-sized bedrooms with walk-in closet and ensuite. In the off weeks, Milne is on her own, and takes comfort in the safety of the community and the closeness of neighbours. Plus the location is central to the communities where she travels to teach classes.
More than three years after purchasing, Milne says investment in durability paid off. The materials have stood up to daily wear, without a sign of aging. “I’m really impressed. Everything seems to have withstood. Even the carpet barely looks lived on,” she said.
Meanwhile, service from site staff, including Garry Rouzes, has exceeded her expectations. “Garry has been hands down amazing. Anything that is gone on, he has gone above and beyond and he makes it right… He wants it fixed so there isn’t an issue.”