Thorwin Properties’ Kris Thorkelson on rental property investment during economic downturns

Posted On Monday, 31 May 2021 19:23

Investors and business people – everyone – questions what should be done during market downturns and corrections. Some are inclined to batten down the hatches, consolidate efforts and hold fast for fair winds, while others decide to head out to sea no matter the size of the waves. 

Different kinds of people embrace varying modes of investment. As some stock investors are panicking and selling, contrarian investors are swooping in, banking on the cyclical nature of the market – that it will go back up and they will have shares to sell for a profit. 

Real estate is a different kind of investment, and often a safer one, even during economic turbulence. Shelter is, after all, a part of the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Kris Thorkelson owns Winnipeg-based Thorwin Properties, which provides multi-family homes in an assortment of modern and heritage styles. He says the company’s assessment of income properties encompasses many factors in the goals of making quality homes available to tenants, as well as sound long term investment. 

“Myriad factors play into my selection of a property to add to the Thorwin Properties portfolio. This might sound strange, but our final decision in selecting a property is always, ‘Would I want a family member to live here?’ That really helps our team look at the property from a tenant’s perspective,” Thorkelson said. 

Thorwin Properties invested in Lumen luxury townhomes off of 100 Southview Crescent in and The Royalwood Flats in the St. Vital area in March and 30 University Crescent in May, which provides affordable luxury near the university. 

Though the properties are distinct from each other, they do have some similarities. 

Kris Thorkelson provides a few of his criterion for property selection: 

Location, location, location 

Yes, that is something often heard in real estate. Yet, that idea should take on almost a fever pitch during a pandemic. Proximity to conveniences like stores, restaurants and public transit is essential. 

“Beyond that, I try to always select properties that offer a nearby park or greenspace because even in inherently urban areas, that connection to the outdoors is vital to mental health. Happy tenants equals consistent tenants,” added Thorkelson. 

For Thorwin Properties, good property means pet-friendly property 

“Proximity to a park or greenspace is not only for the benefit of our human tenants, but for their dogs as well,” Thorkelson said. “If there is no nearby greenspace, we look to see if there are affordable ways to adapt the property to meet the needs of tenants and their pets: i.e. rooftop dog areas. We make all Thorwin Properties pet friendly because we know the comfort that pets can bring, especially during a pandemic.” 

He provided an example of what happened in Spain: people were actually renting out their dogs because access to the outdoors was limited, but those with dogs were allowed to walk around. This proved an unforeseen benefit to pet ownership. 

Is the community growing? 

You can always find beautiful and incredibly affordable properties in places where people do not want to live, however rental properties need people to rent them. 

“It is good to take notice of the movement – and sometimes lack of movement – created by this pandemic. Finding property near a university is also a good move, especially as vaccination efforts are underway and students crave in-person learning,” Thorkelson said. 

Diversification is key 

“With decades of experience and an expansive portfolio, we know that diversifying is essential – as it is in all forms of investment. It is good to find rental properties that have different price points as the economy fluctuates,” Thorkelson added. 

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