Patrick: Good day ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this episode of The Everyday Millionaire podcast. My guest today, Michael Dominguez is a longtime REIN member who is a realtor and a real estate investor primarily in the Durham Region which is east of Toronto in the Golden Horseshoe area of Ontario. Michael owns a couple of multiplex buildings but his real focus and the sweet spot he’s found for himself is in legal two-unit dwellings. As an investor, he owns a number of these properties but as a realtor, he and his team have helped clients purchase and create well over 200 legal two-unit homes throughout the Durham region. Michael’s a former winner of the REIN Realtor of the Year award and lives a life of contribution in the success of others.
As much as Michael’s investment focuses on cash flow generating properties in the markets with good fundamentals which are primed for wealth appreciation, he also brings that same passion to the equity market where he has a strong and diversified portfolio that generates just really solid dividends and growth as well. With many real estate deals and years of investing experience under his belt, Michael has many lessons to share with listeners here on The Everyday Millionaire podcast today. Seemingly ordinary people achieving extraordinary results, Michael Dominguez, he’s one of those guys. Please, enjoy listening in.
How a Success System is Vital!
Patrick: Michael Dominguez. Welcome to The Everyday Millionaire podcast. Thanks for being on the show.
Michael Dominguez: Thank you very much.
Patrick: Michael, I always begin by asking my guests, if you had a 60-second elevator speech and somebody said to you, “What do you do Michael?” What’s your 60-second elevator speech. If it goes longer, that’s okay by the way.
Michael: No. I understand. Honestly, I’m an investor that happens to also be a realtor. I focus on helping my clients build wealth through real estate. Starting the 60 seconds that’s what I tell people.
Patrick: The long and the short of it. You’ve been a REIN member for well– how long have you been REIN member now?
Michael: About six, seven years and actually about three years ago I believe I was named the realtor of the year for REIN in the Ontario market. REIN’s been a huge part of my life.
Patrick: You’re an award-winning realtor. You’re also an investor. When you came in half a dozen years ago or so Michael, were you a realtor back in those days as well?
Michael: Yes. I got my real estate license back about 10 or 11 years ago. This is my second or third life. Interesting. I actually was in franchise sales before being a realtor. I worked for a company called Pet Valu Canada which really doesn’t have a big stage out west but in Canada and eastern Ontario, Manitoba we have a number of stores. I was selling franchises for them as well as I believed in the product so much at the time that I actually, I purchased the franchise for myself as well as my brother Pat bought a store and my folks bought a store.
I thought that was the way to move ahead and build wealth and it wasn’t until I was 40 years old and I realized I basically had virtually no wealth. I was 40 and I was saying how the hell did I get into upper middle management retail? I said I needed to make a change and somehow someway I ended up in real estate.
Real Estate Investing is a business!
Patrick: Isn’t that interesting, I’ve been a business owner for about 35 years now. I still own retail stores by the way amongst other things in Edmonton. It was back when I was about 40 that I went — it’s great that I own the business, it’s profitable, it’s doing all the things that it does but when I looked into the future, gosh if I can’t sell the business and exit, saving money I’d done but how do you really leverage that? The realization that real estate was a way to go with that. Now, it sounds like you had that same realization. You did the franchise, did you think at the time that you’d actually buy yourself a job? That’s a classic case and I’m not saying that franchise was that but was that part of your realization?
Michael: Yes, a little bit of that. It wasn’t so much buying myself a job because I was the franchise sales manager for the company and so I was basically buying my wife a job, it’s what I was doing. I was doing my traditional 40 hours or so work week plus commuting into Malcolm every day. Then in my spare hours, was putting another 15 to 25 hours a week working at the store. After a couple of years of that, my first wife and I got divorced. She got the store and I got my freedom, so we both won.
How does the Success System help with Real Estate?
Patrick: When did the real estate light bulb come on for you, Michael? Because you’ve been doing it in a while, when was the realization that real estate was a direction for you to go?
Michael: Well, in 2006 again, I had just turned 40 and I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I wasn’t happy in my job as many people I’m sure listening to this can attest. When I was a teenager or even in my early 20s, I really thought of myself as very entrepreneurial but then over time you finish your education, you get your degree, you meet a girl, you get a job, you get a couple of promotions, you get married, you have a kid and the entrepreneurial spirit gets beat out of you at you a little bit.
15 years go by really fast and so now I’m 40, 41 and actually, I was looking at buying a house for residential and the person who was my realtor happened also to be a manager for a real estate brokerage and said, “You’d be perfect for real estate.” Then I said, “Sure, I’m sure you say that to all the boys.” She said, “No, no, really you’ll be perfect.” I started doing some homework, some more research and sure enough, I decided to take my courses. I thought I’d be more focused on commercial real estate because of my background with the franchising but it wasn’t until about a year in that I started working with some investors.
I just saw what they were doing and said, “These are my people,” and fell right into it. Within about a year, I became focused on working with investors and I thought, what the hell, I should probably buy a property myself just so I can talk to them about the same conversations and the journey began.
How the entrepreneurial spirit is part of the success system!
Patrick: I always have an interest in the journey to entrepreneurialship and because in your case you’ve said it gets beat out of you when you get into a journey where it’s traditional and all of the things that we go down those paths. You talked about your entrepreneurial spirit, and you actually mentioned that your parents had bought a franchise, was being a business owner or being an entrepreneur also your background as a kid growing up Michael or how did that evolve?
Michael: My father ran a business. He was self-employed as an appliance repairman. I think using the analogy of Rich Dad Poor Dad, my dad he did well, but my uncle was my rich dad essentially, and he was the millionaire. Didn’t have a lot of education, formal education but he had that mindset and let me give you a reference that you and I will know but anybody under the age of 40 wouldn’t know this probably. My favorite tv show when I was a kid was Family Ties. Alex P Keaton which is Michael J. Fox. Actually, I started signing my name Michael J. Dominguez as a result of Michael J. Fox. Actually, that middle initial. I was this smart ass 18-year old, this 17, 16-year-old. When people said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Then everyone always had this scanned answers.
My answer was, I want to be a millionaire which maybe sounds– I’m sure it is very cocky but I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I wanted to be wealthy, but a year turns into 10 and turns into 20. I’m sitting there at 40 years old with a house, second marriage and we were doing okay. We had a good 9-to-5 income but we really weren’t moving forward. We started either thinking of going into other franchises at the time because again that’s what I knew. Then I started to look into real estate as a realtor and I did the old, “I’m going to give it a try and see how that goes. If it doesn’t work in two years then I’ll go back into working in upper and middle management for retail management.”
I never went back. It was good.