Stories From The Trenches and Some Real Life Case Studies!

It has been one of those whirlwind weeks where you literally look up and think – what day is it again?  In between submitting an insane amount of offers (crazy market conditions), being knee deep in renovations and continuing to scope out deals for our clients – I’ve barely had a moment to myself.

We work as a team – my wife and I – and now that we have a baby, well, he is part of operation.  Most of the time he seems to enjoy himself, I think he has met more contractors and seen the insides of more homes than any other kid on the block!  Talk about starting them young.

I think that people expect that you slow down, relax, ‘enjoy’ your life more as you get older and more established in your respective field or business.  But seriously, what fun is that?

We have a handyman who comes to do work for us around the house.  He is ‘retired’ from his longtime career at GM, but showed us pictures of what he does when he is forced to sit at home – he makes massive origami structures.  He told me that sitting around doing nothing is what makes him feel old, stagnant, even ill.

Life is about testing your limits, and pushing yourself to do more and more each day.  It is called growth – and the harder you push yourself the faster you grow.

And yes – money is often a measure of this.  But it isn’t just about the money.  It is about the challenge – overcoming those obstacles and proving to yourself that you can handle anything that comes your way.

This resiliency is what keeps us in the game.  Real Estate Investing is simple but not easy, I think I’ve talked about this time and time again.

Every single investor can tell you their share of horror stories.  And every successful one, can also tell you that no matter what the obstacles, they stuck to it – upped their game and grew to heights they never imagined possible.

When we first started actively investing almost a decade ago, we picked Windsor Ontario – the cheapest place we could find in Southern Ontario.  We bought foreclosures (power of sale) properties, and were driving almost 4 hours to tend to our massive renovations projects.

We finally found a godsend – an ‘amazing’ contractor who understood our plight and promised to take over all the GC work on our projects.  We were exhausted and desperate and thrilled to have found a solution – not to mention have a few weekends off from driving.

We paid him his deposits – spoke to him daily and were assured that progress was being made.

That is until we went to visit the properties a few weeks later.

Nothing had been done.  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  And he was nowhere to be found.  He promised he was on his way to meet us, and never showed up.  And then he stopped picking up his phone and eventually weeks later literally disappeared.

We had no idea what to do.  We were angry – frustrated – but most of all we were questioning what the hell we were doing. This was a huge mistake – one with a $12,000 price tag. Yes that’s right – he had disappeared with $12,000.

I will spare you the details of a long and agonizing battle to try and recover our funds – we didn’t manage to get even a penny back.

But we moved forward – we had no choice.  and believe it or not things worked out in the end.  Years later I sold many of those properties for a great profit, and even learned a lesson or two about managing my investments and working with contractors.

We still talk about it to this day – and it is usually in the context of ‘If we got through that – we can get through this’.  It truly was invaluable to our learning.

I have clients I work with from all walks of life – from those just starting out in their careers to those who are approaching retirement.

What makes them successful is their ability to be coached and to ultimately take action.

I read a great quote by Grant Cardone “Luck is just one of the byproducts of those who have taken the most action!”

But equally important is their ability to be resilient and bounce back from obstacles and keep chugging forward.

So let’s talk about some of them – just normal people doing awesome stuff.

Let’s start with Mr and Mrs X.  They are middle aged, have two school aged kids and a beautiful home which has done extremely well in this market.  Since they have this asset that is literally just sitting there, they have taken out a HELOC and are leveraging these funds to purchase property.  They recently made their second purchase, not long after their first one – but this time they ventured into a multi-family dwelling (since cashflow was of importance to them)

My client was determined to rent the unit quickly, and made countless trips to show the unit, and on some occasions no tenants showed up.

It happens – you market, you follow up and the weather is crap that night and no one shows.  They don’t even bother to tell you that they aren’t coming.

Imagine driving all the way from Toronto to Hamilton – and no tenants show up.  We have been there too – it is just part of the game.

But guess what – he realized that this wasn’t working for him.  And no he did not give up.  Instead, he hired a local leasing agent to help him.  Problem solving.  Seeking solutions.  Pushing forward.

I’m pretty sure he’ll have the itch to buy another one soon.

Then we have Mr and Mrs Y.  They just recently purchased a property for which the appraisal came in $90,000 less than the purchase price.

We worked it through, we pulled up as many comparable sales as we could, we got a second appraisal done – and we are getting ready to close the deal.

Yes there were some tough moments I’m sure – worrisome ones at that.

But at the end of the day, I’m certain that they will tell you that it was worth it.

And they have some great stories to tell.

So until next time, happy Canadian Real Estate Investing.

Jose Jafferji, REIA

Your Real Estate Investment Advisor, Coach & Realtor



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