Incorporation vs Sole Proprietorship in Real Estate: Key Considerations

Property manager

May 17, 2024

When diving into the world of real estate investment in London, Ontario, one of the critical decisions you'll face is choosing between operating as a sole proprietorship or incorporating your business. Each structure has its unique advantages and disadvantages, which can significantly impact your property management strategy and financial outcomes. This post will explore the key considerations for real estate investors when deciding between incorporation and sole proprietorship.

Sole Proprietorship in Real Estate

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most straightforward business structure. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your real estate investments, and all profits are directly yours. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of this structure:


  1. Simplicity: Setting up a sole proprietorship is quick and inexpensive. There are fewer regulatory requirements and paperwork compared to incorporation.
  2. Tax Benefits: Profits are taxed only once as personal income, which can be beneficial if your income is within a lower tax bracket.
  3. Direct Control: You have complete control over all decisions related to your real estate investments.


  1. Unlimited Liability: As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for any debts or legal actions against your business. This can put your personal assets at risk.
  2. Limited Growth Potential: Raising capital can be more challenging since investors may prefer the security and structure of a corporation.
  3. Taxation Limits: As your income grows, you may end up in a higher tax bracket, which can reduce your overall profitability.

Incorporation in Real Estate

Incorporating your real estate business involves creating a separate legal entity. This structure offers distinct advantages and some drawbacks:


  1. Limited Liability: Incorporation protects your personal assets from business liabilities. Creditors can only claim against the corporation's assets, not your personal wealth.
  2. Tax Planning: Corporations benefit from various tax deductions and can retain earnings within the company, potentially lowering your overall tax burden.
  3. Credibility and Growth: A corporation may appear more credible to investors and lenders, facilitating easier access to capital and growth opportunities.


  1. Complexity and Cost: Incorporating involves more paperwork, regulatory compliance, and higher upfront and ongoing costs.
  2. Double Taxation: In some cases, profits can be taxed at both the corporate and personal levels, especially when dividends are distributed.
  3. Regulatory Requirements: Corporations must adhere to stricter regulatory requirements, including annual filings and maintaining corporate records.

Which Structure is Best for You?

Deciding between incorporation and sole proprietorship depends on your specific circumstances and long-term goals. For small-scale investors with a few properties, a sole proprietorship might offer simplicity and cost savings. However, if you plan to grow your portfolio significantly, attract investors, or seek better liability protection, incorporation could be the better option.

In London, Ontario, local real estate market conditions, property management needs, and personal financial goals should all play a role in your decision-making process. Consulting with a property management expert or a financial advisor at LSK Property Management can provide personalized insights and help you make the best choice for your real estate investment journey.