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Announcer [00:01:19] Tired of the nine to five, tired of only dreaming about the things you want to do, want to have more time for your family, more time for you, more time for you. This is the breakthrough real estate investing podcast where we interview qualified guests in the real estate industry all across Canada. We want you to live life on your terms and we want to help you break through to that life through the power of real estate investing. This is the Breakthrough Real Estate Investing podcast. Now your hosts Rob Break and Sandy MacKay.
Rob Break [00:02:00] Welcome, everybody, thanks for joining us again today. We’ve got another exciting show lined up for you, just can’t wait to get to it. As usual, here with me again is Sandy MacKay. How are you this morning? Sandy?
Sandy Mackay [00:02:15] Rob doing awesome and excited for another show coming to backdrop here and new a new kind of setup. Some pumps.
Rob Break [00:02:25] For those of you who can’t see you listening on audio Sandy, he’s got that backdrop there is in. In true breakthrough REI podcast fashion. We’ve got a nice, red themed and a new logo there in the
Sandy Mackay [00:02:40] in the corner. Nice Canadian, good, nice Canadian backdrop for us all.
Rob Break [00:02:44] Loving it, loving it. Everyone listening should go over to Breakthrough REI podcast dossier, and you can listen to all the past episodes that we’ve done. Hook up with all of our guests so their contact info is in there. If you find one that you’ve really enjoyed, want to reach out to one of the guests? Go over and all their contact info, any references they’ve talked about. Usually all that stuff is in the show notes. So I go over to break through REI podcast dossier and you can get our free gift.
Sandy Mackay [00:03:15] The ultimate strategy for building wealth The real estate’s still relevant today, by the way, if you listen to our shows for years and them and wondering about that, I mean, is this still very relevant? I think the general strategy is there for you to give yourself a good foundation and then, you know, there’s a whole bunch of ways you can take that but go grab that gift and don’t miss out on the show. Get on our email list for updates and everything like that, and just keep in touch with us and learn what we’re up to. Definitely go do that.
Rob Break [00:03:42] Yeah, we’re sharing some really cool property of the week when people when people sign up for that.
Sandy Mackay [00:03:47] We’re also super cool now because it’s maybe has some southern flair to it.
Rob Break [00:03:53] It does, actually. We’re doing some Costa Rica properties of the week. VIDEO walkthrough is down here. Opportunities for Airbnbs and if anyone listening is ready for retirement, it’s not a bad place to be for that as well. So, yeah, get on the mailing list. They’ll miss that stuff. Go over to iTunes as well and leave us a rating review that helps, you know everyone knows it helps just spread the word about the podcast, right? Let more people who are looking for this kind of content have it show up, you know, in their in there, in their peripherals so they can join in and get all this information as well.
Sandy Mackay [00:04:35] I think primarily, I’ll just get to that top of the list. When, when, when you’re in Canada and you’re Canadian listener and you want to hear Canadian contents, we want to make sure we’re up at the top because that is all we do is throw Canadian based content for you and maybe a little bit. I’ve got a Costa Rican flair here and there, but all geared towards Canadians and how you can invest and build wealth in this business.
Rob Break [00:04:55] Well, that’s exactly it. And that’s a good point that you’re making there, Sandy is that, you know, in a couple of weeks, I’ve got a guy lined up that does themed Airbnb is in Florida area and different places. But, you know, we wanted to make sure that it was something that Canadians could be involved in, right? Like a direct, like a way that you know, a channel for them to be involved, right? A direct action that can be taken by Canadians, not just some random idea that you could use, maybe if you were in a different location. So that’s been very important for us. And I think that the same applies for the Costa Rica stuff, right? It’s more now I’m down here, I’ve got the knowledge I’m able to explain to people, you know, the processes and what they need to do in order to invest down here. So it’s more the angle that is. Is there to help Canadians take action
Sandy Mackay [00:05:53] while financing and money and getting it transferring in Arab countries like that? That is different than, you know, for us as Canadians versus an American or a citizen of somewhere else. It all looks different, right? So getting that experience and that knowledge is huge. So let us keep us sharing that with more people and get us out of the whole mess of everyone else online. And the more we share and grow this together, we can build some more great content and make sure it’s available for everyone.
Rob Break [00:06:20] Yep, believe this five star rating. So keep them coming, guys. What else we got going on, Sandy, what’s up? What’s new with the.
Sandy Mackay [00:06:29] What’s new, transitioning a bit of our businesses in some ways, which will have some more of a share in next week or two weeks, maybe as we grow, so probably over the next couple of episodes, if you’re listening to this one, you probably start to hear a bit more about that. But just some new structures, I suppose, into what we’re doing. We’re still doing the same General Model four strategies on investment properties across southern Ontario going into some bigger projects, probably. And just. Revamping our team and what it looks like, and in some ways, so that’s the big task for me, which is it’s like I have a lot more challenging now. There’s a lot more people involved than there was early on, so it takes a while to just do that stuff. So. Been working on that since for a while, a few months. And I’m excited about it. And I think we’ll have some new projects, new exciting things to share and the lessons learned for sure along the way.
Rob Break [00:07:18] Yeah, that’s cool. I’m interested to hear what it is because I’ve seen your rebranding, so I’m coming. Yeah, it’s kind of a cool call. OK, well, I mean, without further ado, let’s get to our guest.
Sandy Mackay [00:07:33] Awesome, guy. That’s Georges El Masri here today and super excited to have him share some of his experiences and Georges quick backstory on him. University of Toronto Graduate 2012. Pickup full time office job with a tech company and quickly realized how miserable he was. We’ve definitely heard that one before and after a long period of reflection, he realized he’d be much happier in Real Estate and he thought, What can I do every day for the next 10 years and wake up feeling happy? Answer was clear, of course, Real Estate and I got his realtor’s license as well, knowing that one day he’d become Real Estate investor as well, and he completed his first strategy project in 2017. Got hooked on that. Like a lot of us have on that, that strategy, and since then, he’s been obsessed with the idea of building wealth and helping others do the same. He is the host of his own podcast, well-off podcast and his loves playing chess, basketball and running for a few of his extra hobbies. They’re on top of Real Estate, so love messages.
Georges El Masri [00:08:31] Thank you. Thank you for having me, guys. I appreciate it.
Rob Break [00:08:34] Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s always good to hear those extra hobbies too, because the, you know, the whole reason why we invest in real estate is so we have the means to go out and do those other things right. So, yeah, welcome to the show. Appreciate you taking the time and coming to share your knowledge with us today. So I mean, we’re going to start out the way we always do. You know you’ve had some success with Real Estate. Let’s go back and learn about how you got interested in real estate and how it all started for you.
Georges El Masri [00:09:06] Yeah, I know Sandy touched on it a little bit, but I’m just going to share a little bit of the whole office jobs story. So I was working part time while I was studying at tech company and I was doing quality assurance work. So I was like basically copying and pasting from PDF all day and that sort of thing. It was so boring and I hated it. And then I took. I took on the job full time after I graduated thinking, OK. They offered me the job. It’s easy, whatever. I just do it. And after a couple of months of doing that, I remember I got a call at four fifty five pm and I think it was on a Friday. So there is a little every desk had a little phone on it. So I knew if you’re getting a call at four fifty five, it’s not good news. Something bad’s about to happen because I’ve seen it happen before and I got called into the office with the manager and there is a lawyer there and I think one other person and basically they were telling me, OK, we’re letting you go. So I was a little bit like, I wasn’t too happy with that. But at the same time, I felt liberated because it allowed me to do what I wanted to do. And like Sandy said, I just thought about what I wanted, and I always knew I wanted to invest in real estate. Like since I was six years old, I knew it. That’s what I wanted to do. So I got my license started selling. At that point 2013, I think I started selling real estate, and around 2016 I took a real interest in finding out about investing. And I reached out to a bunch of investors just like Googled and tried to connect with investors. And I think all of them turned me down except Sandy MacKay. I don’t know how I got in touch with Sandy, but like some way, Sandy said. Yeah, I’ll meet with you will have coffee with you. No problem. Just come to Hamilton and we sat down. We chatted for about forty five minutes and Sandy was kind enough to like, give me that time. And he talked to me about the strategy in that moment and it just got my wheels turning and I thought, This is perfect. This is exactly what I want to do. And that’s that was kind of the start of my investment journey.
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Rob Break [00:11:39] Awesome. So let’s hear about so. So did Sandy with Sandy team help you or no, I guess your realtor. So one way or the other, you guys work something out, but let’s talk about your first property that you bought.
Georges El Masri [00:11:52] Yeah, so is in downtown Hamilton. It was a two and a half story single family home. Actually, it was. It was used as a duplex at the time. So I went in there, it was listed, I think, originally for two fifty nine and they reduced the price to two forty nine at the time, and I ended up submitting an offer for two fifteen. And nobody wanted this house because it had a lot of issues, the tenants were like there were some bad tenants in the property, and I remember when I did a home inspection on it and the home inspector at the time said this was the worst house he’s ever seen. Which kind of scared me, you know, being a first time investor. But yeah, I bought that place. It had fleas. Cockroaches needed like a full gut, had all sorts of problems that I had never run into in my life. I didn’t know how to deal with them, but you just kind of figure it out as you go. And I did a lot of the rentals myself with some help from my dad and like some friends and stuff like that and we did new flooring, new kitchen, spruced up the bathroom, did everything and then rented it out and was able to refinance it a few months later.
Sandy Mackay [00:13:00] I heard you say it was two hundred and fifty thousand. It is in. So this is a Hamilton Sandy Ontario. Nobody wanted it. Yeah. Well, you know, we it was in 2017. Wow. Only 2017. See, that’s crazy that nobody wanted it. You can any house for that price. So Ontario right now, obviously now. But you could just almost say Ontario at this point would be a good 250 or less. That’s crazy that that’s only it’s only five years ago. Not even probably. It’s yeah, that’s crazy. That’s really crazy to think about that. That house is that house today is probably worth. What would that be? I know the house. That’s right.
Georges El Masri [00:13:40] Yeah, yeah, it’s probably around like 650,
Sandy Mackay [00:13:44] maybe
Georges El Masri [00:13:44] seven somewhere in that range. Yeah. Seven. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:13:49] Wild, so. So how did you gear up to, you know, because there’s a huge intimidation factor in what you’re talking about? That’s your very first place and yeah, you’ve got a good team around you. But how do you how do you prepare yourself for that level of renovations when you’ve got no experience in that?
Georges El Masri [00:14:09] I honestly didn’t. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was I just like, watch some YouTube videos. I think Sandy did the same thing with his first place because I think you had done some of the rentals yourself. But yeah, just go on YouTube, try to get some information and just do it and figure it out and whatever you don’t know how to do. You hire somebody to help you like obviously a plumber or whatever that was. That was it. I was terrified. Like I was so stressed in that moment, but I just figured it out.
Sandy Mackay [00:14:37] How do you think? Like, how did you get over that hurdle? It’s a hard like to take action on that. There has to be something. Yeah, you you’re fearful in a way, but you somehow overcame that. Was there any thinking back now? Was there anything that I don’t know in your environment or in your world or something that helped you really go past that hurdle and actually take action? Because, like you said, you didn’t have everything figured out. You didn’t really know what you’re doing. You were kind of. Somewhat prepared, but definitely not completely prepared. So what do you think that it was that hope to take action?
Georges El Masri [00:15:08] I think I had this like intuitive feeling that I had to buy something now because of the price point in Hamilton. Like, like you said, like, that’s unheard of today. So I thought, OK, if the opportunities there and I’m in a position to buy this home and it’s only two hundred and fifteen thousand dollars. What’s the worst that can happen? Know, I can probably sell that home like spruce it up a bit and sell it. Worst case if I had to. So I had that backup plan, and I just knew I knew Hamilton was going to increase in value. It was just there were too many signs that showed that it’s like super close to Toronto. There’s a lot of people going out in that direction because they’re getting priced out of the GTA. And it just made sense. So whatever fears I had, I just tried to logically defeat them.
Sandy Mackay [00:15:54] The being a real term to help people out of it just being, you know, having that, you know, being involved in other transactions is not necessarily wrong, but just not even investments, necessarily just everyday transactions. I’m not asking because that kind of help me a bit, I think get over some fear at the beginning to just being involved in deals kind of numbs you a little bit to the press sometimes.
Georges El Masri [00:16:18] Yeah, I’m sure that helped a little bit, but honestly, I didn’t know the market at all when I bought that house. I only had access to the Toronto Real Estate Board and as you guys know, you don’t get everything when you’re on a trip like you need to have access to the Hamilton board to see the majority of comparables and sales in the area. And I didn’t have that much information. I just thought this just makes sense. And yes, having not real estate like that realtor background helps in that situation. But I didn’t have a lot of information. I didn’t have it all figured out. I just I just went for it and just did it.
Sandy Mackay [00:16:50] It’s good for you, all right. Hard for too hard for a lot of people to do so.
Georges El Masri [00:16:55] Yeah, I agree. It was kind of crazy, but like I said, it was stressful, right? Like, not a lot of people want to put themselves in that situation where you go through that much stress or you put that much pressure on yourself and you have to just complete the project.
Sandy Mackay [00:17:08] That property, you still have that property.
Georges El Masri [00:17:10] I do, yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:17:12] And is that is that basically been your model since then? Is that the projects and sticking to that or have you gone out on a limb on anything else?
Georges El Masri [00:17:22] I haven’t done anything else. I haven’t done like any Airbnbs or student rentals or rent to own. I did kind of look into that at one point, but I’ve just done pretty much BRS the entire way. But now at this point where we’re burying three to six unit buildings instead of single family homes or duplexes. So we’ve just kind of changed the strategy a little bit
Rob Break [00:17:44] scaled it up. Yeah, exactly.
Sandy Mackay [00:17:49] What do you think? You kind of touched on that boat. Real Estate when you got into it, was it the investor side or was it the real true side that really drew me to it initially? Or was it a combination because you started out really as a realtor right before you hit the investment side, which is not uncommon, but there’s definitely a lot of investors, maybe even some listeners call that have done the investor side and transitioned to realtor because they thought it would help them with their investor business. You didn’t. You didn’t really get into it just to help with your investment business necessarily, right?
Georges El Masri [00:18:16] No, I got into it and I was doing like the classic cold calling and doorknocking and just trying to sell homes. But like I said, I always had that intention of investing. So I was just trying to understand how Real Estate works in general and gather some information so that I can invest at some point.
Sandy Mackay [00:18:36] And was Hamilton like, how did you decide on Hamilton? What was interesting about both Hamilton and you mentioned a few things, but was there other markets they were looking into at the same time? Because, you know, for a living Hamilton. So I know it wasn’t like you’re just going down the street and thinking it was the right area, you had to look outbound a little bit, right?
Georges El Masri [00:18:54] Yeah. Funny, actually. So the first property that I submitted an offer on was in Orange Ville. And it was like a semi single family, semi-detached, single family home, and I couldn’t qualify for financing for that home because I had been pretty fresh in Real Estate. I didn’t have that track record, so I didn’t qualify and then I was a little disappointed. And a few months later, I was looking around and I saw the price point Hamilton. And that’s what drew me really was the price point and the proximity to Toronto. And that that was the reason that I started focusing their
Sandy Mackay [00:19:26] Orangeville would have been more expensive.
Georges El Masri [00:19:29] Probably, yeah. Yeah, I was probably at the time for like a similar home is probably almost double the price, really, because I think the home I was looking at was like four fifty or something.
Sandy Mackay [00:19:39] Mm hmm. Well, those are fun times in 2017, but that was a hot market too, right? It was twenty. Or was it at that point? Seventeen was when those years that was crazy hot for the first part and then it kind of fell off. Was it was it in that area of everyone trying to buy everything in the early part of that year? Or was it later on?
Georges El Masri [00:20:00] It was later on. So well, I think the offer I submitted the offer in like June or something at that time. So I think I don’t remember, but I think 2017 was when they announced the like the government had just put in the first note, like the minimum down payment standard that had changed, I think, and that was impacting the market a little bit. Mm hmm.
Sandy Mackay [00:20:21] Yeah, there was a little tiny lull there, right, where there’s some opportunity opportunities like that’s probably the last time I remember any sort of like slow down, I guess. Yeah, probably. Yeah, it’s not a pretty fast uptick since. What do you contribute to some of the success early on, like our throughout your career now? Like how severe have you gone from that Rob kind of fresh person not really knowing the doing to? Going and doing bigger deals now and doing more investments and just continuing that growth. How have you done that?
Georges El Masri [00:20:55] Well, there’s been a lot of things, one of which was being around other people, including your like Adrian Pinos. I spent some time with him last year. I was finding deals for him and kind of learning and figuring out what he was doing because I know you guys do a lot of the three to six unit projects, and I know you’re growing now. But just seeing what you look for and how you do it, the creativity behind that, that really helped by being a part of different investment groups like Durham REI and I actually hired Quentin D’Souza to coach me around two years ago now, and that was probably the biggest thing for me. Having him as a coach, just the things that we implemented, just simple things like incorporating setting yourself up financially to purchase more properties and then finding deals. All these things he helped me with and we were able to more than double our units in that year, thanks to his help.
Sandy Mackay [00:21:53] And, of course, Gwen, we know friend of the show have been on here multiple times, so great. Great.
Georges El Masri [00:21:58] He does. He doesn’t coach anymore, doesn’t do any more one on one coaching case, somebody is wondering. But yeah, he was awesome.
Rob Break [00:22:06] When I think back, that was probably a pivotal thing for me, too is taking Quentin’s coaching. You know, believe. I’m pretty sure that I might have had one or maybe two properties when I took his coaching, but it really does hold you accountable, REIN, because that’s what you kind of you need is somebody to say, Look, you’re not going to misstep. We’re all here to help. You just need to go and take action. REIN. If there is accountability, there really, really does help propel you forward. Sure.
Georges El Masri [00:22:37] Yeah. Another part of that is whatever I was afraid of. You know, like, it was the biggest thing in the world for me. I was terrified of this or not happening for him. He’d been through it a million times and he would just calm me down and say, like, Hey, this is all you have to do in this situation. And you just help you get past that fear and get past those hurdles.
Sandy Mackay [00:22:58] Yeah, it’s pretty big in real estate investing, because some of it is pretty daunting, like if you didn’t grow up in a Real Estate family where people are buying buildings and bigger properties all the time, it’s like, you know, you don’t just go down the street and buy it for blacks because it’s, you know, it looks cool and it’s, you know, you have five hundred million dollars to just throw around like it’s not very typical for most upbringings. So getting that comfort level that definitely takes, I think, a lot about your environment or who you’re talking to and someone in your corner to help with that is certainly a big, big factor for me, too. Along the way, in so many ways, having a coach or mentor or someone that can guide you and calm me down is a major piece there. Exactly what you said. Some of that
Rob Break [00:23:41] now you’ve made it sound super simple so far. Right? Just like butter. It just flows, right? Yeah. But no, we need to talk about the challenges. Obviously, there’s been a lot of challenges that you face starting out as well, and let’s talk about those and how you’ve progressed and overcame them.
Georges El Masri [00:24:00] Yeah, I think, like investing in general is simple. The strategy is simple, but there are a lot of things that come up that that can make it difficult. For example, you know, there’s things that can make your life very stressful if you don’t know how to deal with those with those obstacles. So I can name a few obstacles that I’ve come up with, and I’m sure you guys have dealt with these types of situations. But I bought a five plex a couple of years ago, and the owner lied about having a bedbug problem, so I took over all the tenants. The building was fully occupied at the time and the day before closing the I’m walking through the building and the tenant tells me that they have like a bedbug infestation in the building. And again, this was like my first five Plex purchase, so
Sandy Mackay [00:24:55] I kept being Hamilton. There’s no bedbugs in the whole thing.
Georges El Masri [00:24:58] No, this was actually in Welland.
Sandy Mackay [00:25:00] Oh, that makes more sense.
Georges El Masri [00:25:03] Oh man, there’s tons of bedbugs
Sandy Mackay [00:25:05] in Hamilton, so I
Georges El Masri [00:25:06] know. Yeah. So like that, obviously, that I was really worried about that because I don’t know what to do. And now I understand that sort of situation a lot, a lot more. And we had a similar situation happen in Hamilton recently, where the same thing the owner lied about bedbugs. And like two days after I closed, I go over there and the tenants told me they have bedbugs. So again, now I have to deal with that problem. And if the tenants aren’t living a certain way, if they’re not clean and whatever, it’s very hard to eliminate the bedbug problem while they’re living there. So you need to vacate the units in order to get proper treatment. And so those are things that are stressful because you don’t really know how long it’s going to take with the way the eviction processes and whatnot. And you know, those are like, that’s an example of struggles that I’ve had to overcome with investing.
Sandy Mackay [00:25:58] What does that look like for the bedbugs? I I’m thinking about this and in terms of, you know, someone that could actually use some, some help or on that if they were walking into the property and seeing bedbugs as an issue or wherever walking through with a client, let’s say. And we’re talking about opportunity, and one of the things we talk about is like, ask the tenants what their experience has been like in the property. And yes, there’s two sides. You kind of got to take it with a grain of salt because you understand that the tenants, depending on the situation, might be just talking bad about everything in their life that might just be the property. So they might make up stuff where they might. They might be telling you this, but you kind of have to feel that out a bit and engage it compared to the type of tenants and whatever has happened in the property. But you can’t just bank on them saying, Yeah, there’s bedbugs everywhere and then assume that there’s bedbugs, but also come back to them saying that they’re there aren’t and it’s super clean and like, you’ve had that experience going in there afterwards. So any advice on how to navigate that and also then to like, how do they actually get rid of them? Because I know it is. Yeah. Did you actually get rid of them or is it
Georges El Masri [00:27:03] is that I’m actually working on it now? So I hired a paralegal to help me negotiate with the tenants because they weren’t willing, like I didn’t know how to really get them out. So I worked with the paralegal. We worked out cash for keys and we’re in the middle of doing that right now. But to answer your first question, what do I do now to try to avoid that problem? Like you said when I walked through, I ask a lot of questions to the tenants and it’s funny how much information sharing they’re like. They’ll tell you so much. They’ll tell you about the neighbors upstairs that they have a problem with. They’ll tell you about the leaks in the house and whatever else. So I also try to notice if there is any signs of bugs in the house, like sometimes they’ll have those little cans to kill bugs or whatever. So I look for that kind of stuff. And then I also now include a clause in my agreement of purchase and sale and schedule A to that that. The seller warns that they don’t have an active bedbug problem or that they haven’t had one in the last two years. At least two years. So I try to protect myself and not weigh and get as much information as possible.
Sandy Mackay [00:28:10] I’ll send down that. Would you buy a property with bedbugs in it again, like if it was the right deal? Or would you? Is that a real pain in the butt and not worth it?
Georges El Masri [00:28:17] I think if the property’s vacant, then yes. But I don’t necessarily want to assume the tenants unless it’s like a crazy discount, but I think I’d rather avoid it if I’m assuming the tenants.
Sandy Mackay [00:28:30] Would you agree for the right discount, I mean. Yeah, yeah, I
Rob Break [00:28:33] was waiting for that answer, too. You know, it’s for the right price, right?
Georges El Masri [00:28:37] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Because you can always negotiate cash for keys and in terms of treatment, you asked about that to vacant. I think it has to be vacant unless you have like really clean tenants that are going to follow everything because they have a preparation sheet that they have to follow. And a lot of tenants don’t care. They’re not going to do anything on that sheet or they’ll do some of it. So, yeah, getting the place vacant, doing heat treatment has been good and then following it up with chemical treatment, those are probably the most effective ways unless you guys know of other ways to treat it.
Sandy Mackay [00:29:11] It’s really hard to treat it like in depth, like permanently forever, right? That’s the challenge. Like you might get it fixed for a short period and ultimately it’s the tenants and who you have in there, right? So it’s moving. There’s typically there’s one tenants; I find that’s really that problem. And yeah, can you remove them getting lots of all that sort of thing and trying to figure that out? And the generally the bigger buildings you go into, the more that can be a challenge because if they spread so fast, it’s like, you know, bigger buildings, more tenants, more likelihood of someone being not treating their place well and having that issue. It’s a tough one. I know it’s really, really boring. Rob Szeto. It’s almost like when you’re at a, you know, at the lake or something, and it’s like, there’s they don’t go away.
Georges El Masri [00:29:58] I know it’s so weird. It’s like such a small thing, but so difficult to address.
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Rob Break [00:30:40] So how do you balance your time as you know your personal life, your investment side and your realtor side? How do you balance all that?
Georges El Masri [00:30:50] Yeah. So my wife is actually also a realtor, so she’s been taking over a lot of the real estate sales like, you know, working with homeowners and that sort of thing. And I’ve been focused more on the investment side. So that’s been great for me for being able to focus on that. And then the personal side, well, that’s also a challenge because we just had we just had our first child. So he’s three months old now that that’s been a different sort of challenge.
Rob Break [00:31:19] So congratulations.
Georges El Masri [00:31:22] Sorry, guys, the camera just went off. There we go. Yeah, so we just had our first. And we’ve been trying to figure out how to do everything and balance it all out. But I think it’s just a matter of like time blocking, setting time aside, making sure you’re taking care of yourself and you’re in a good place. And then that way it just carries over throughout the rest of the day and you’re able to get things done.
Rob Break [00:31:44] Three month old wild boy or girl?
Georges El Masri [00:31:46] We have a boy.
Rob Break [00:31:47] That’s awesome, man. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you. How are you enjoying it so far?
Georges El Masri [00:31:54] It’s awesome being a parent. It’s yeah, it’s the coolest thing, especially at this age, because now we’re getting to, like, interact with him and he’s not crying as much, you know, like he takes his naps and he sleeps through the night. So it’s definitely a good time and it allows us to also work, you know, like we don’t have to be with him 24 seven, because I think that’s going to happen as he gets a little older. He’s going to need company all the time. So it’s a good time, you look.
Rob Break [00:32:22] Yeah, you don’t look like you’ve lost much sleep.
Georges El Masri [00:32:26] Yeah, it depends. Some days, some days. My wife took a picture of me holding him a few days ago and she sent it to my mom and my mom was very worried because I had bags under my eyes and everything. But yeah, I guess some days are better than others.
Sandy Mackay [00:32:40] I feel like it would be similar to that first property, but maybe and going in, not knowing at all and just figuring out as you go.
Georges El Masri [00:32:48] Oh yeah, definitely. Same sort of thing. Yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:32:52] And a new a new Y or a reason to keep going with stuff. I imagine to add some motivation in that.
Georges El Masri [00:32:58] Yeah, for sure. Definitely. There’s a component of that and like the idea of like maybe buying a property for him so that he can have it when he’s older, that sort of thing comes up.
Sandy Mackay [00:33:08] How do you balance that with, you know, your wife? And did you work together like a lot? I guess in a way, like how do you work that they work together on a lot of things or they kind of separate your business because they’re both in the same field? Yeah. Do you separate things a lot or do you work together? How does that all work? Because I know husband, wife. I mean, I’m similar work with my wife. Not necessarily directly every day, but we overlap on a lot of things and that’s that brings some challenges to in the in the in the whole like relationship personal side. So yeah, what do you do that? How do you manage that? And any tips on that?
Georges El Masri [00:33:46] OK, so my wife was working with her mom, so they were a realtor team prior to us meeting, and they’ve been working together for years and years. So when I came on board, I just thought, I don’t really want to mess with what they have going on, so I’m going to let them continue to operate. And I’m like, at this point, I’m kind of referring a lot of my clients to them, and they’re working with them. So I’m trying to keep that separation because they have a good thing going and I don’t want to necessarily mess with it. And like you said, it could add some complications to the relationship. So I try to have some leave some space for them and just focus on investing.
Sandy Mackay [00:34:25] So they let you go and just play around with all the money and stuff and make all a big investment decisions.
Georges El Masri [00:34:30] Pretty much, yeah, basically, you know, so that’s my advice. I just give a lecture. If you’re a husband and wife, realtor team and you’re an investor, let your wife do all the real estate sales and just focus on investing nice.
Rob Break [00:34:47] Tell us about your podcast. You’ve got this podcast is doing quite well, I believe. Tell us a little about that.
Georges El Masri [00:34:53] Yeah, the Well Off podcast. So I started that in 2018, I believe, and I’ve had a lot of good people on there like Sandy and a bunch of people, and it’s been awesome to be able to connect with people. I’m sure, like, you guys know, it opens the door to pick the brains of a lot of really good investors and good people and just have a chance to connect. So that’s been great. And of course, just like you guys, I want to motivate people to take action to invest to better their lives, and I think we can use more of that content.
Sandy Mackay [00:35:28] I think and I think that’s just like business in general right now or in 2020, too, especially like if you’re not getting it giving value to the to the marketplace in some way, it’s really tough to grow a business of any significance, at least. I think like when we started this, there wasn’t necessarily it wasn’t needed to say this is 2014, but times have changed eight years later. I think you got to be pouring into the community, into the marketplace to get that reciprocity. People want to do business with you because you’ve shared so much and real estate investment, for sure. There’s still lots of room. I mean, I’m kind of feeling our competition here, but there’s a lot of room for more content out there like people should be if you want to learn how to add and build relationships, and that is nothing better than interviewing people and sharing it with the with the world, whether that’s a podcast or video series or writing a book or whatever that looks like. Yeah, it’s a great, great strategy for any business. It’s great like foundational piece to build upon.
Georges El Masri [00:36:24] Well, let me ask you guys something, because I know you guys have a successful podcast. What have you been able to do to differentiate yourselves from other podcasts that are sharing similar content?
Rob Break [00:36:36] That’s a funny question. I think that we differentiate ourselves. You know, you our first right, and I don’t know if other people have. I mean, we just stole our idea from BiggerPockets. That’s basically what we did. So I mean, I don’t know that we necessarily need to differentiate ourselves from everyone else. But the one thing that I think that we really did stay true to is making it actionable steps for Canadians, right? We want to have a bunch of content that wasn’t relevant to the majority of people that were listening. So I think that that that was the biggest thing that we’ve stayed true to this whole time and that’s helped us.
Sandy Mackay [00:37:18] And I think that’s we’ve had definitely I don’t know how many opportunities tons of opportunities have guests and coming on and we had every day, almost it seems like we got hit with emails and stuff with guests that are in wherever, somewhere else in the world that don’t have anything related to Canada. And we just passed past next year because it’s you’re getting out of your lane now and now. Now everyone’s going to be confused. It’s like, you know, we really focused on being the go to place for Canadian Real Estate content in podcast form. And if we deviated from that, we would have had some, probably some challenges and our listeners wouldn’t have sat around so long. Yeah.
Georges El Masri [00:37:55] So it sounds like the focus is important, just focused content and making sure you’re sticking to one thing and not going all over the place.
Rob Break [00:38:04] I mean, it’s really it’s really interesting because we’ve tried to cover all different aspects, like we’ve had someone in to talk about coaching and mortgages and, you know, everything the full spectrum of beginners to people that invest in multifamily and have been doing it for years and years and have a huge portfolio. So it’s all kinds of different, you know, walks of real estate, but again, still just things that the listeners can relate to and aspire to. And really, you know, listen to how that person has done it, where if we were talking to somebody, I mean, like Sandy said, we’ve got we got people all the time. Huge portfolios in the state’s multifamily investors that want to come on and share their stories, and I’m sure they’re very good at. I’m sure they’re inspiring as well. But the action steps, right? Like the how did you do it? The nuts and bolts are going to be relevant to the people that. We’ve sort of pledged to support, right, and help. So, yeah, I think that’s what it is.
Sandy Mackay [00:39:15] Yeah, yeah, exactly what I was just thinking more about the nuts and bolts piece there when he said that what would be one thing you go back and change how you did that? Maybe the first project or Anthony, a change in the way you went about your journey into investing early on? Would you would you go about finding a different deal, maybe for your first one? Or would you, you know anything there that you would have done differently? Not necessarily. The wish was changed, but you just you would do differently if you did another time.
Georges El Masri [00:39:43] I just wish I bought more. I wish I had figured out a way to just get my hands on more. But you know, at that time it was just I was working with what I had and the knowledge that I had and just trying to make the most of it. I think at the end of the day, I did pretty well. But like when we think about these prices, two hundred and fifteen thousand for a place in Hamilton, if I had if I could go back, I would just scoop up a whole bunch of Real Estate, right?
Sandy Mackay [00:40:11] And all I know is that the amount of times they’re like fumbling over a decision over, like, do I pay three twenty or three thirty three point three thirty seems rich. I mean, I don’t know. I guess that’s as any market that’s gone up a lot. But like, yeah, it’s just it really has gone up a lot, a lot more than I’ve ever heard of anywhere. Like it’s just been wild.
Georges El Masri [00:40:34] Yeah, but I feel like ten years from now, we’re going to see the same thing about today’s prices. You know, like it’s just likely going to continue to increase over the long term. So like the opportunities here now, even though it seems like prices are high, but who knows what we’re going to be out in 10 20 years.
Rob Break [00:40:51] Well, hopefully it’ll be out a little bit more of a sustainable pace than what it has been over the last little while, that would be nice. But yeah, I mean, there’s nowhere for it to go but up
Sandy Mackay [00:41:06] non-South Ontario right there. You know, the two supply demand can challenge to build new products, new houses and more immigration, more immigration and more immigration. So it’s hard to see it going anywhere. Hard to imagine it going at this pace at all times, you, but you never know, maybe well.
Rob Break [00:41:26] So what’s next for you? What big plans do you have coming up?
Georges El Masri [00:41:31] I’m so on the investment side, I have a goal to purchase a 10 plus unit building. I haven’t owned anything that size yet, so that’s one of my biggest goals this year and building up my cash flow to a certain level where we can start to replace our income and, you know, just reach financial freedom. That’s a big thing for us. And part of that is turning over these units that we have some of these buildings, we’re working on them, making them nice and filling them with good tenants and yeah, doing a little bit of options trading as well. Getting into that so I can add an extra income source. Aside from that, I really want to just get back to the shape that I was in or better because it’s been a bit challenging with the baby, but I’m working on that as well.
Sandy Mackay [00:42:20] Cool. Where’s the 10 Plex, 10 plus flex that you’re looking for, is there any specific area or is it anywhere?
Georges El Masri [00:42:28] What are you thinking for that? I’m aiming for the Negara region, but like all my stuff is in either the Negro region or Hamilton. So I’m sticking to those areas growth,
Sandy Mackay [00:42:39] booming markets for sure, and anger was really grown. Yeah, definitely not 250. But I guess I’d say somewhat on the cheaper end. Still, if you were to look across all of those Ontario, it’s still relatively affordable.
Georges El Masri [00:42:51] Yeah, it’s starting to like it’s starting to catch up sort of, in some ways to Hamilton like it’s pretty surprising you’re seeing these four or five unit buildings that are selling for one point to one point three, which was pretty crazy when I think I bought my five plex just two years ago for four forty five.
Sandy Mackay [00:43:12] Well, it’s to say Catherine’s for sure, I think Athens is really gone. It’s not far off from Hamilton at all. Yeah. From what I see. And then well on the Niagara Falls, a little bit a little bit cheaper, but still booming. And I think one of the great markets, I mean, anywhere. And so Ontario is a great market. It’s hard to argue with anywhere. Yeah, I agree. That’s in southern Ontario, Costa Rica. You know, you could argue with me about that, maybe that might be a better place, I don’t know.
Rob Break [00:43:42] I would argue that it’s better than either any of those places you just mentioned. Yeah, but that’s just me. I’m a little biased. I tell you what. Like. Oh, you’d be hard pressed to get me to come back to look at something in person, that’s for sure
Sandy Mackay [00:43:58] in person, in person. Yeah. What’s we’re talking about a podcast where people go visit that, where people get more info on that.
Georges El Masri [00:44:11] Well, off podcast here it’s on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and all the other major platforms. So that that’s one way to check it out. Or a couple of ways.
Sandy Mackay [00:44:21] Well, you got three or four years now content, right? So we got lots of South Australia.
Georges El Masri [00:44:25] Yeah, definitely is.
Sandy Mackay [00:44:30] Well, what else we got to kind of wrap up? Couple of questions here, we want to want to extract any more knowledge from before. Well, I
Rob Break [00:44:39] mean, we always like to get, you know, a piece of info or advice that’s always stuck with you and helped you along the way. Do you have anything like that?
Georges El Masri [00:44:49] Piece of, well, this is not exactly Real Estate related, but I don’t know why I always remember this when I was in high school, we were doing like a track and field day, and the best athlete in my class was aiming to do certain a certain number of laps. And I at first I was telling him, I’m going to keep up with him and whatever. I’m going to do the same thing. And he just he told me, Don’t try to keep up with anyone, just run at your own pace. I just, you know, like to me, that was something that I took moving forward because I feel like it’s very easy to compare we to others and to look at Sandy portfolio or Rob portfolio. And I feel bad about where you’re at. But just run at your own pace, go at your own pace and things will work out once you set your own goals and figure out what’s best for you in your life.
Rob Break [00:45:38] Yeah, very good, I like it, and those tend to be like the flashy headlines that we have, sometimes you know how somebody’s acquired, you know, 100 units in one year like that kind of thing. And that’s really and they’re great stories, but it might not be your story, you know? So I like that. I think that there is there’s a certain level of Work-Life Balance too involved in that. Or maybe there’s not. Maybe like some people just run into the opportunities and you know that that can happen. But I just think you’re absolutely right. People like, for example, you know, there is quite a few people that run into me and say, Wow, Sandy is like, Look, look, look at Sandy office, he, but he’s got this new brokerage and all that kind of stuff like, why aren’t you doing that? And you know, and it’s like, Hey, man, wasn’t you know
Sandy Mackay [00:46:33] where you are? And look where I am. Look at the end of the world you’re in. In a way you do. You got some have some different, pretty cool things going on.
Rob Break [00:46:41] Well, Mike, before this, let’s say, you know, and but it’s just like, you know, that wasn’t for me, that wasn’t what I was meant to do, right? We got I got my small team and that works for me, right? So I’m so I’m not like looking with envy at these other big companies that are doing things that we’re not doing. I think that because if you can be happy that you’ve chosen what you’ve chosen for yourself and you’re there because that’s what you want to be doing, that’s one thing. Now, if you are aspiring to do more but staying in one place, that’s completely another thing.
Sandy Mackay [00:47:16] It’s really relevant more than ever, probably through this whole pandemic to REIN with people just like really getting in more online and seeing what everyone’s doing. And it’s just not necessarily reality where you see people doing on social media and everything. So there’s a really good book I read recently around this the gap in the game. I’m not sure if either of you have read that before, but it’s a great book. It’s newer. It’s only been out for a few months. Awesome book. It talks a lot about that. Staying in the game, which is a lot of people look at the gap. Oh, that person’s up to that person. But in your idealistic person version of you or someone else, you look, Oh, I’m so far away from that. It’s so far away. And that’s like such a such a toxic mindset to be in day to day vs.. Yeah. But I was there yesterday and I’m back on here and you know, I should feel grateful, excited about what I’ve what I’ve done and accomplished. And it’s a lot more energizing to think that way. That’s a very, very brief overview of the book, but it was a really good book. I loved it. That’s exactly in line with what you just said. So actually, there’s literally a compelling story in the book at speed skating, but it’s exactly your story of just speed skating world, and it’s pretty funny. So I love that. I love that device. Thank you.
Rob Break [00:48:31] Yeah, very cool. Thanks, man. Appreciate that. OK, well, how can people reach out to you?
Georges El Masri [00:48:40] Yeah. If they want to connect with me on Instagram, it’s well off X. You can DM me there. You can also check out the podcast again while our podcast starts here. And yeah, we are always releasing new episodes and always talking to new investors again, Canadian content for the most part. So that’s the best way.
Rob Break [00:49:01] Awesome. OK, thanks so much for joining us again. Really appreciate this, taking the time to share all this with us.
Georges El Masri [00:49:08] My pleasure. Thanks, guys.
Rob Break [00:49:10] Sandy, how can people reach out to you?
Sandy Mackay [00:49:13] Two eight nine three nine six eight four six. I have a new email now, so I got to remember to say it properly because the old one still works. Listen to other episodes and you’ll still get me, but it’s just a little bit of a process to do that. So Sandy at Freedom Rep. Com is the best way. So freedom REI Scott.
Rob Break [00:49:32] Freedom Rob WSJ.com. Got it. So that’s the new brand will be looking out for it. The new one now. And people can reach me at Rob and Mr. Breakthrough. Okay, thanks for listening, everybody, and we will see you next time.
Announcer [00:49:45] You’ve been listening to the Breakthrough Real Estate Investing podcast. We hope you’ve gotten some useful and practical information from the show, and we hope you’ve been inspired to take control and live life on your terms. We’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, make sure to like rate and review the show. And don’t forget to subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. See you next time!