“We see a lack of direct real estate investment options for ordinary Canadians,” Jones says. “With my experience at Wealthbar and CI Direct, I have been able to provide some insight and help Willow with its mission to change that.
“Whether they are DIYers, the largely affluent, high-net-worth individuals, or clients who work with financial advisors, we are here to provide them with more controlled, transparent access to real estate investing,” they say. “We like to see ourselves as REIT 2.0.”
When weighing the various risks and opportunities in real estate, Jones says investors should consider factors such as cash flow, location, property type, tenants, and supply and demand conditions. As an example, he said that during the pandemic, real estate assets associated with the entertainment and hospitality industries were more affected by tenant risk; Because those businesses were largely unable to operate, it raised concerns about their ability to pay rent.
While the average investor may find it difficult to do due diligence on their own, they do not face the same type of growth using the Willow platform.
“At Willow, we have a retail property in Ottawa where the tenant is one of the Big Six banks,” Jones says. “In selecting that property, we did our due diligence to make sure there was a long-term lease agreement. We also found that the neighborhood was developing and improving, and population growth in the area was taking place as well. “