Cheryl Wilkes On Rental Properties

In this engaging episode, Len Lane welcomes back Cheryl Wilkes, an award-winning mortgage broker and real estate expert. Cheryl shares her extensive experience managing rental properties, including the challenges and rewards of being a landlord. From dealing with problematic tenants to navigating property management companies, Cheryl offers invaluable insights for both new and seasoned investors.

The conversation also delves into the often confusing topic of Holdcos (holding companies). Cheryl explains the pros and cons of setting up a Holdco for your rental portfolio, including tax implications and lender options. She emphasizes the importance of consulting with an accountant and setting realistic expectations for potential investors. 

About Cheryl Wilkes

Cheryl Wilkes is a distinguished mortgage broker with over a decade of experience in the industry. As one of the founding members of Brokers for Life, Cheryl has earned accolades for her exceptional performance, including recognition as Broker of the Year multiple times. With a background in sales and a passion for client advocacy, Cheryl brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to her role. Her commitment to excellence and dedication to client success have solidified her reputation as a trusted leader in the mortgage community.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Contact Len Lane | Brokers for Life: 

Contact Cheryl Wilkes: 


Len 00:02

Welcome. My name is Len Lane and I am the founder and president of Brokers for Life Inc. And we are Dominion Lending Centres in Western Canada. The topic of our podcast will be about what we consider to be Real Life Mortgage Solutions. 

Len 00:18

Welcome back. My guest this morning is once again Cheryl Wilkes. Cheryl Wilkes has a strong history in dealing with rentals not only as an owner but to the point where mortgage brokers all over Alberta send her their real estate files, especially when there’s over like a dozen or so rentals in the portfolios. Right? So, let’s maybe talk about where your passion for rentals comes from. Because as long as I’ve known you, you’ve had one on the go at least.

Cheryl 00:47

Yeah, I think it was just sort of one of those things where, you know, you read a book and I can say that the like sort of an initial, I don’t even want to call it an education. But you know, you’re very impressionable in your early 20s. And I read, good old, Rich Dad Poor Dad that everybody’s probably heard of, at this point, good old Kiyosaki. And it just sort of stirred that, hey, maybe there’s something else out there outside of pension plans and things like that when it comes to retirement and investments and growing your wealth. I was lucky enough for quite a while as we chatted about actually on the last one that I worked a corporate job for a very long time, which helps you qualify for some of this stuff. I also moved quite a bit. So, every time I moved, I didn’t really want to be a renter, even when it was like cities, right, like Fort McMurray and Calgary and Edmonton, Leduc, like a whole bunch of places. So, it was always figuring out, okay, where does the downpayment come from, and all this stuff, but I’ve always really liked real estate. To get a tangible you get like a, something, you know what I mean? I didn’t understand stocks. I didn’t understand any of that stuff. But I did know enough to know that there’s very likely not a good old, the government’s going to save you and your pension plan is going to kick in later in life for me. So, it was sort of like well, figure yourself out, get good at something, understand something and then sort of some of my rentals just sort of became default rentals because it didn’t make sense selling them maybe when I moved out. A lot of them kind of were like that, just bought a good property, right?


Len 02:20

Those would be the Fort McMurray ones perhaps? 


Cheryl 02:24

Yeah, they probably now let’s be Connors honest. I mean, they’re the bane of my existence at this point. Let’s be honest about it. But, you know what I can tell you I know people up that own property up there that like they’ve had just horrendous luck and horrendous tenants and all kinds of things. Have I had some speed bumps we’ll call them? Sure. Fires and floods, like everybody else. I was affected by both but they’re still standing and tenants are lovely in both places that I’ve still got up there. And, you know, landlording is just, it’s one of those things that you either are okay with it, or it’s an absolute hard stop no. And it doesn’t take much to realize what side of that fence you’re on. I don’t think.


Len 03:05

No, I’d have to agree. I think I had four at one point in my life and the hardest thing to do because they weren’t in my backyard they were in Fort Saskatchewan. They were in the other side of town. Taking the time and effort to watch over them, I guess, if you want to say is very demanding. There’s no question and/or finding someone good to take care of them for you. Seems to be not the easiest thing to do either. 


Cheryl 03:32

That was definitely my battle with Fort McMurray. I tried a couple of different property management companies. And everybody fell short, to be honest. But I mean, the hard part was, I mean, a lot of them were also in the industry doing other things that when the market was good, they made more money doing it, so it kind of just went to the wayside. That’s unfortunate, but it is the way in the industry, right? Like, you know, to find a good property manager, they’re out there and there’s lots of them but I just sort of realized that I’m okay with doing the drive and I’m okay with communicating with them. And I’ve had pretty good luck and I’ve also got a pretty good lineup of sort of what I’m going to call support team up there now in Fort Mac. I’ve got an appliance guy, I’ve got a handyman, I’ve got a realtor who’s a really good friend of mine who’s helped me out a couple of times over the years with just you know, I pay one of his agents a couple of bucks to open a door and do his showing for me type of thing. You know what I mean? Like, it does take, it takes a village sometimes, right? Like…


Len 04:30