Falling into Real Estate Investing

My name is Sarah Coupland, and I kind of fell into real estate investing (and lots of networking). I was super broke and living in my parent’s garage and trying to buy a house. I was told that basically the only way that I could get a mortgage is if I had either a spouse or tenants. I decided to go the tenant route. Then from there, I’ve built my portfolio. I saw the value in it and have just kept going from there on.

You said that you fell into it. Is it something that somebody introduced you to besides the bank, or better yet, how did you meet Doors to Wealth and Michael and his team?

That was a little bit later on. I actually met Michael at a Landlords Association meeting in Cobourg. I’m an investor in the Cobourg area, and he was needing help with some property management in Cobourg area. He approached me after the meeting and asked if I could help manage one of his properties, so I did. From there, I decided to offer property management services to other people as well and I quit my job. Michael’s actually the reason why I became self-employed and had my own business. From there, we built a relationship and he had a lot of knowledge about rentals and multi-unit properties. He helped us buy our next property after that which was a four-plex in Port Hope.

Michael and Doors To Wealth, they’re known for their property tours, is that one of the ways that you learn about the new properties or in the newsletter that he sends out?

I do read his newsletter, which is great because you can see everything that’s available in up and coming. I have been on property tours in Cobourg, which is my hometown. I don’t invest in the Durham area I’m primarily Cobourg, Port Hope. They did start doing tours in Cobourg last year, so I have been on some of those. I’ve also helped to provide consultation on property management in the market for outside investors coming to that area. They are definitely very valuable, the tours.
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As someone who does property management as well as the investing, what advice would you give someone who’s looking at getting into real estate investing?

Hire a property manager! No, but seriously, there’s a feeling that you need to do it all. I think that when you’re just getting into investing, it’s hard enough to figure out your strategy and do what you’re going to do, as well as manage your properties. I self-managed my properties when we first started, and I had horrible tenants. I had damage, I had really nasty stuff happen. I’ve learned, over the years, how to properly screen people, how to deal with difficult situations, and how to make my properties more profitable, by not making those mistakes that newbie investors make and what I made early on. Even though I know that there’s a huge need to feel like you have to do everything, I think that it is really valuable to get somebody to help you out on a number of things. Even if it’s just tenant placement you manage on your own, finding the right tenants is the biggest thing that you should really be focusing on. If it’s not your area of expertise, you should hire somebody who’s it’s.

Would attending real estate investor meetings or networking events also help create that network that you would need in order to be able to handle anything that may happen with your properties?

Definitely, yes for sure. I think that the real estate investor community is actually very small. Until I started going to the Landlords Association in Cobourg, and then I met Michael and Michael introduced me to the Durham real estate investment club, I didn’t know any other real estate investors. I was flying by the seat of my pants and I had no idea. Going to events and meeting other like-minded people, and being able to have a conversation and chat with people about what’s going on in your business and what they’re doing. You’ll also learn new strategies as well. Going to these events, and in particular the Durham Real Estate Investment group, Durham REI, I have learned so much there that it has helped to– I would say that it’s one of the number one things that has helped me to really expand my portfolio and do different strategies. We went from just buying and renovating properties and holding, to now we do private money deals and we do RRSP mortgages and we do no money down deals. We do so many different things and different types of investing. I’ve learned all that from the people that I meet, and from the groups that I go to.

One quick question about Doors to Wealth, whether you meet someone who is a new investor or a veteran, would you be willing to bring them into the Doors to Wealth family?

Michael and Lisa and Cheryl as well, they’re support staff, and Anita, they have really in-depth knowledge of real estate investing because they are investors. That’s the thing right, with me, with property management. I am an investor so I manage my properties in a certain way. They are investors and they do their own deals and they walk the walk and talk the talk and all that kind of stuff. Definitely, I would bring them into Doors to Wealth. They’re actually the realtors that I recommend to my property management clients and any newbie investors that I meet. I say, “You need to go talk to these guys because they know what they’re doing.”