Welcome To The Mortgages by Gretchen Show!

Welcome to the Show! We’re here to share valuable tips and info to help you and your family create the life of your dreams.

Michael Dominguez is both an investor and an investment specialist realtor, focusing on cash flowing and wealth building investment properties in the Durham, Northumberland and Kawartha Regions.

Gretchen: Welcome, everyone, to this episode of the Gretchen Casey Show, where I talk to real people who are in the field of real estate and who are not only experts, but are also very generous and willing to share what they have learned and experienced and share their wisdom and their tips. So the goal of the show is for you to gain some great information to help you reach your goals in owning real estate and to take out some of the guesswork by hearing from experts on what to do and who to call and they can help guide you in the process.

So today, I’m very lucky to have Michael Domínguez here with me. Michael is a realtor with Remax Jazz. I first met Michael by attending the Durham area meetings and those are networking meetings for real estate investors held in Ajax each month. And I very quickly was interested in Michael. He was very open and friendly and participated in the meetings and everybody in the place seemed to already know him. So I said that is somebody I have to find out more about. So I’m going to turn it over to Michael and you can tell us a bit more about yourself and your background and what you do and who you work with.

Michael: Sure. Well, thanks for having me on the show, I really appreciate it and I’d love to be able to share some tips and tricks and for your listeners. So as I said, my name is Michael Domínguez. I’ve been working with Remax Jazz brokerage here in the Durham region. And my team, we have the Doors to Wealth real estate group. And we focus on helping people with investment properties and building wealth through real estate. And so that’s certainly my I guess we’ll call it my nine to five is as an investment realtor. And simultaneously I’m also an investor myself. My wife and I, we have 13 investment properties, including 11 legal two unit dwellings, primarily in Durham region. But also we have properties in Northumberland as well. And I also own two multiplexs. In addition, I have a number of joint venture partners. But my wife and I are certainly owning a number of the properties ourselves. So that’s my story in a nutshell.

What Is an Investor-Focused Realtor?

Gretchen: OK, excellent. So can you explain a bit about what an investor-focused realtor is and how that might be different from another realtor who doesn’t have that same focus?

Michael: Yeah, that’s a great question. The best analogy I can give you is I absolutely adore my family doctor. I think he’s excellent. I can ask him pretty much any question and he’ll help me out. But if I were to get to a point where I needed an operation, I had cancer or something like that, I wouldn’t be using my family doctor as my surgeon because that’s not his skill set. And not to say that it’s the same as surgery, but certainly there’s a lot of nuances that are involved with investment, real estate certainly finding the best opportunities for you. And so working with an agent who has and has not just done this for a week or a month, but owns a number of properties themselves. They’ve got the experience. They’ve worked with countless, countless clients and help them build wealth. I think that’s really the difference between the two. You can sell. Like, you know, I often say this as well. If you’ve got a relationship with your agent, the joke is, is that, you know, everybody has a family member who’s a realtor. But the reality is, that family member may be a great person to help you buy and sell your next home, but they don’t really know a thing or two about investment, real estate. And they may set you off in the wrong direction, which could pretty much kibosh the entire project or set you back years.

Gretchen: All right, so what are those things that you know or have experienced that help someone to not have that setback that you used to know?

Let’s say the goal is to buy a property that you want to add a secondary suite

Michael: Well, there are lots of things involved, but to sort of break out some of the highlights of things that have happened in the past, certainly if let’s say the goal is to buy a property that you want to add a secondary suite, knowing that you can add the secondary suite is kind of an important thing to know. And there are sometimes issues in terms of whether it be zoning or ceiling height issues or maybe not having the proper egress. Perhaps it’s in a floor plan. These are things that if you’re not really investment focused, you may not even know to look for things like that. Secondarily, it’s not just a matter of whether or not you purchase a property, In many cases, it’s where it’s located as well. I’ve seen many agents show some of the biggest, ugliest investment properties there are in downtown core, 100 years old, haven’t been renovated since the turn of the century. I’m not talking to the twenty-first century. I’m talking about the 20th century. These properties are available for purchase at and if you don’t know any better, that’s the kind of property you may decide to buy. But unfortunately, if you buy a property in a really inferior location and inferior condition, you’re likely going to get pretty shitty tenants as well, and it’s going to make your whole experience much worse and break you before you actually built your portfolio.

The key in a buy and hold strategy is to find a property that’s not only going to be rentable but is going to be as little work as possible on an ongoing basis. The key to this industry is to hold onto the property, not for a year or three, but 10 or 20. And that’s when these properties really build some generational wealth.

Gretchen: OK, so you walk them through that process of picking up property and educating them along the way, then?

Michael: Absolutely. And again, in our case, Doors To Wealth, we also provide clients with copies of our leases and how to select a tenant because there’s more to it. Anybody can help you buy a house but that’s only one aspect of an entire process, is the actual acquisition of the home. Helping you in terms of determining not just which market to invest in, but which location within the market can make a huge difference in terms of your ability. So there’s more to it than just simply showing you a couple of houses.

Gretchen: And do you help people figure out how to maximize the cash flow as well?

Maximizing Cash Flow with Investment Properties

Micheal: Yeah, that’s a good question. If let’s say someone came to me and said, I need cash flow, that is my number one concern. Then, certainly, we can look for a property that will maximize your cash flow. If you came to me and said, I’m looking to build my wealth and maybe buy a property where I could use a strategy, it’s called BRRR, which is Buy, Renovate, Refinance and Rent. And in many cases, the cash flow on a property like that won’t be great after the refinance is done because of the fact that now you’ve maximized the amount of money owing on that particular property, hence lowering the cash flow. But you can certainly improve your net wealth a lot faster that way. So there’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter answer depending on what you’re looking for. There are different styles of properties as well. If you come to me looking for something, I may be able to tweak you in some manner to sort of offer you some thoughts you hadn’t thought of before. But for the most part, it’s again, it’s trying to find the right match for you in the right condition property for you.

Gretchen: OK, someone is a first-time investment buyer. They don’t know all the questions to ask or they’re not really clear on what they want, is that long-term net worth? So I assume with your experience, you kind of help them get clear on what’s the right thing for them?

Helping First-Time Homebuyers Get Clarity

Michael: One hundred percent. And that’s you know, that’s really the just how we orientate them into the system and we determine whether it’s the right option for you. And even in a situation where there’s a first-time buyer, there’s still a wide range of first-time buyers. There’s someone who has the skill sets of myself, which is at least when I bought my first property, I knew what end of the hammer was the right end to hit, but that’s about my limit of construction knowledge. Right to the other portion where someone who has maybe been a contractor for many, many years may have a certain type of property that they would buy that I might not be prepared to take on. So it’s not just your level of experience as an investor, but your level of experience in terms of working on a project as well. I’ve got clients of mine, a couple of younger investors, sisters, actually, who just purchased their first property just a few weeks ago, and they bought a turnkey property in a great location. And sure, it may be more expensive than what I would have paid, but at the end of the day, they were in their 20s. And it’s a property that exactly meets their needs. They’re going to be able to hold onto that property for probably five, 10, 20 years. Even though this isn’t necessarily their forever home, they’re going to hold onto that property and then rent it out when they decide they want to move out of it. The fact that it has a legal secondary suite will help with the rental. The rental income will help with the mortgage and allow them to be able to move, move forward much quicker, building their wealth. So it’s good all around.

Gretchen: Excellent. They’re very happy to have that.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. So, that’s just a part of what you’re looking for. If you can hear I apologize, might somebody just ring the doorbell so the dog is barking.

Gretchen: It’s real-life real people. Excellent. So I know you’re writing a book. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Michael: Yeah, I’m kind of excited about it, actually. I’ve been working on this for a long time and I’ve had this in my head for even longer. And honestly, if it wasn’t for the covid-19 pandemic, I probably still would be a work in progress, but it’s allowed me the opportunity to sort of sit down and really, really write it. I’m working with a great company called Book Launchers, and they’re helping me in the editing process and such. Honestly, it’s designed so my goal is to help people buy that first property, that second property, even up to three properties. And in a nutshell, if you’re a seasoned investor, this book really isn’t written for you. It’s to get you convinced to buy that first, second, and third property because it can make a huge difference in your life, adding a little bit of additional wealth that gives you more financial freedom to be able to have more options, more choices. If you’re to lose your job, there’s less things to worry about. If you were to want to retire earlier or pay for your child’s education, owning an investment property can help you get there. So it’s basically the premises as a part-time job that can make you a millionaire, that will make you a millionaire.

Gretchen: Excellent. So we know with the launch date of this lovely book that we are going to want to be buying?

Michael: Well, actually, I’m working on the process of editing as we speak. So it probably will be, I’m hoping to be, pre-Christmas when it’s going to be available. Stocking stuffer, right?

Gretchen: Oh yeah. Perfect idea.

Michael: But no, I’m really excited about it because it’s not something that we see. There are a million real estate books out there. The one thing that really wasn’t talked about a whole heck of a lot is a lot of people talk about how to acquire properties and how to build your portfolio up to 10 or 20 or a million properties. I wanted to write something not just to like just to buy one or two properties and how that, in fact, can change your life. Then the other thing that’s the thing that not all people talk about is it’s not the acquisition of the property that builds the generational wealth. It’s holding on to those assets in the house and having them appreciate if they’re in a solid location. That’s really where we focused on the whole, I’d like to buy a quality property in a quality neighborhood, allowing you to get quality tenants, and then that leading to quality long-term profits. That’s really the premise of what my foundation of real estate has been. I’m never going to, you know, lead the world in terms of the number of properties I own. But honestly, owning two or three properties and just holding onto them for a long, long time can change your life.