Book review: Landlord By Design

Book review: Landlord By Design

A complete guide to real estate investing

landlord by design


Building your real estate rental portfolio

Who it’s for: Anyone who’s ever considered becoming a landlord.

More specifically: Real estate investors who want to go beyond renting out a basement or a room in their home and want to build a real estate portfolio.

Does it have a design?: Yes. Michael Currie, an east coast landlord and property manager and one of the founders of the Fort Nova Group, offers practical advice on the decision-making process on becoming a landlord. Even better, he helps distinguish between being an accidental (or occasional) landlord, being a real estate investor and being a property manager-cum-landlord.  

Why we like it: In a market filled with get-rich-in-real-estate books, mostly from the U.S., it’s great to have the insight of a Canadian landlord. Better still, Currie helps to distinguish between being a landlord and being a property manager—an often-overlooked aspect of real estate investing. Currie also wanted to offer a comprehensive guide to anyone serious about do-it-yourself real estate investment. 

What’s missing: It’s written as a guide and, in that respect, tries to cover off everything that a landlord/real estate rental owner may come across. It’s an ambitious approach and while it offers a great deal of insight—from the type of tools you should have on hand to the type of tenant you want to attract—it also gets a little light in certain areas. For instance, when discussing whether or not to evict, Currie offers a list of questions that should be answered before a decision is made. He offers a personal story, but neglects to follow-up on how the answers to those questions should guide the reader in their eviction decision. Of course, there isn’t a simple answer to this type of question, but some guide posts certainly would’ve helped. That said, Currie’s examples on the type of evictions that are possible will certainly help newer landlords trying to negotiate the legal quagmire of their provincial Landlord and Tenant’s Board. 

Surprising fact: As Currie states: “Real estate is an amazing way to build wealth, but (and it’s a big but) real estate investing is a business.”

Action item: If you haven’t already, sit down and determine what factors of real estate investing you are more adept to and what factors you should hire someone else to attend. Do that, and keep a contingency fund, and your real estate empire won’t crumble. 

Key takeaway: “A year’s worth of cash flow can be wiped out with one major problem…[but real estate] is also a long-term wealth builder.”

You can buy the book on or go to Currie’s dedicated website.

—Romana King