Table of Contents - Boring but Effective Profits in Real Estate with Lee Strauss
Dave Debeau [00:00:09] Well, hey, everyone this is Dave Debeau with another episode of the Property Profits Reality podcast, and today my guest zooming in all the way from the whereabouts of Kitchener, Ontario. Lee Strauss, how are you doing today?
Lee Strauss [00:00:22] Good, Dave. Thanks for having me. How are you?
Dave Debeau [00:00:25] I am fantastic. Fantastic. So, Lee, you're a young guy. But you've got a ton of experience when it comes to real estate investing, in fact, I think you've been investing since a ripe young age of twenty one, is that correct?
Lee Strauss [00:00:39] That is correct.
Dave Debeau [00:00:40] So what does this twenty one year old lead to jump into your first revenue property?
Lee Strauss [00:00:47] Well, first of all, I just want to comment and thank you for the young compliment because I'll be turning thirty nine in a few weeks, so
Dave Debeau [00:00:55] I'm not turning 50 to next week. You're still
Lee Strauss [00:00:59] young. OK. OK. OK, thank you. Twenty one. I grew up. I was fortunate to grow up with a really good example. My father was was a real estate investor. Nothing crazy, but he did own some properties. And I guess as a as a young guy, I just thought that's kind of what you do. It just it just seemed normal. So it was just one of those things. He was a mechanic. He owned his own transmission franchise. Mr. Transmission, like a Canadian company, but, yeah, as a mechanic, he was doing that and then on the weekends and evenings and so on, he was managing by a handful of properties. And me being a young man, was dragged in to go clean up after tenants left and cut down trees and do this and do that and, you know, clean this, paint that, whatever. So it just seemed like, although at the time I was like, well, this this sucks. I'm I'm eight. I don't want to be like cleaning someone else's toilet or doing whatever, whatever I'm told to do. But then as the years went on, I just seemed like this is just what you do. And I didn't really understand it to the degree that I do now. When I was twenty one and we started looking at some houses and he was kind of saying I think would be a good idea if you bought a place and rented it out. I was still living at home with with my parents and
Dave Debeau [00:02:23] his gentle, gentle way of kind of
Lee Strauss [00:02:25] pushed up. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well I actually yeah. So I never actually did live in that property. So I was I was away for the weekend with just with some friends and he called me up and said, I saw this property, I think you should buy it. And it was there wasn't a lot of thought put into it on my behalf. I know he was probably had the wheels turning, but I was just like, OK, like like there was no big light bulb moment. I didn't even really I just whenever
Dave Debeau [00:02:55] I to mentor right there. So that's pretty
Lee Strauss [00:02:57] handy. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So I cut the weekend short, I went home, looked at the property and I just said, OK, whatever. And I mean this is, this is kind of like one of my big tips that I. Promote with my clients and like my my realtor clients and my coaching clients basically at the time, so I was twenty one at the time the house is lifted up. It was listed at one hundred and fifty thousand and it just seemed like so much money and oh man that's like I'm like that's a lot. And everybody was saying, yeah you know what, that's maybe you should wait for the market to come down. Right. We all know that. Right. But so I kind of went in with like a hundred and forty eight thousand dollar offer thinking like there's no way I'm paying one hundred fifty. That's crazy. And I got it. Long story short, we got the deal done. There's no holding off our competitiveness at that time. But right out of the gate, I was able to go in. I took off some wallpaper, fixed up a couple of things, like nothing major. I might have put five hundred bucks into it maybe. And all my friends thought I was crazy or like, did you buy a house to like, how partizan or like like, what are we doing? And I started living at home and it was as simple as putting a for rent sign up in the window or on the front lawn. There was no piggy then and I rented it right out of the gate for a thousand dollars a month. So it was it used to be, I'd say, easier than it is now. You could just buy a house or rent it out and it was just work. Yeah.
Dave Debeau [00:04:32] Yeah. All right. So that was the first one. And you're twenty one. Were you working at some sort of a job or profession or something like that before you got into real estate full time?
Lee Strauss [00:04:41] Yeah. So I was working with my dad at his shop. I was the manager of one of his jobs. He owned a few locations and Koocher. So yeah, I was working there kind of learning that business, realizing I didn't want to do that. But in the meantime, I bought this house and just rented it out. And then like, I put everything I had into that first one. I think if I recall, I had to put down twenty five percent. So like at twenty one, there's a lot of money. Fast forward a couple of years. I learned what a refinance is. I was able to do that. And I have another property. This one was was kind of a fixer upper. It was dated and I actually started fixing it up, learning how to renovate, learning all those things. I ended up living in that property. For a number of years, I bought that property for two hundred and fifty thousand, which again seemed just crazy. I lived in it for probably I think it was eight or nine years. I ended up selling it for five. Sixty five years later. And in the meantime, I guess before I sold that property, I bought a handful more three or four or five more properties, student rental housing.
Dave Debeau [00:05:49] These these properties were just really good with your money. Where you saving up refinancing,
Lee Strauss [00:05:54] refinancing, refinancings. I mean, that seems to be the best way to go. I did get into joint ventures at some point and I still continue to do that. I actually wrote a I was interviewed by Canadian Real Estate Wealth magazine years ago, and I always just said I will never partner with anybody. I don't want a partner, no way in partnering. And then I ran out of money. Oh, man. I guess I have to partner. So, yeah, I didn't really get the concept because I was able to buy properties until until I was maxed out. Yeah. So I mean joint venture. I learned to live with joint venturing. I do a number of joint ventures and that's kind of like, like I ended up I guess in a fast forwarding and a handful properties, tons of experience. Became a realtor with with Rockstar Real Estate based out of Oakville. I started my own my own company, kind of like what you have, starts investments where I where I kind of orchestrate joint ventures with with me and other and other clients or people or I kind of coach people through things through at the same time. So they all kind of go hand in hand.
Dave Debeau [00:07:00] So we're talking a little bit off camera that you've been a realtor actually only for a handful of years. So and what they did ever get to the point where you became a full time real estate investor, so you quit working for your dad at the Mr. Transmission's, you were just doing real estate full time. Was that something you're doing for a number of years?
Lee Strauss [00:07:21] No, no, I never did. I actually still when I was working for my dad, I was also going to school to become a firefighter. So I was doing that. That school was part time. It was for your part time program. And so I was working during the day, going to school at night, managing my life. At the time, I only had the one property, the first one. But then my dad passed away around that same time and we sold the shops like both of our our transition companies. And just kind of I was in limbo for a bit. I didn't have a job. I wasn't a firefighter yet. I was I was out of work from the business and I just kind of did some just some random jobs here and there. I worked at one of the local hospitals to kind of help my resume with firefighting, got hired as a firefighter in Kitchener. And I began that that career kept going by and properties and so on.
Dave Debeau [00:08:20] Well, hey, there is David, but I just want to give you a quick little heads up that's starting in January of twenty twenty one, we're going to be doing something a little bit different with the Property Profits Real Estate podcast, and that is on Fridays I'm going to be doing something I'm going to call Free Flow Fridays. What does that mean? That means that it's not going to be the typical interview that I do with a leading real estate expert. It's going to be either some Hands-On in-depth training around raising capital, attracting investors or raising capital, which is my specialty, or it's going to be a short but sweet little video log with some sort of a mindset or a raising capital tidbit, or it's going to be a short one on one conversation, interview style with somebody who is actively raising capital so that the free flow Fridays are going to be a lot more all around attracting investors and raising capital. So we'll get that started in January. In the meantime, have a very, very happy holiday and all the best to you and your family. Take care. All right, very cool. So then you had four years ago, you decided to become a realtor. Why was that?
Lee Strauss [00:09:38] I found that in all of my years I got a lot of bad advice. Friends, family, acquaintances, other professionals I looked up to, particularly real estate agents. I found that as because I started so young and I was I was more investor focused than just the realtor that sells a house to Mr. Messersmith every 10 years. It's very, very different. I'm sure you can attest. So while I was like looking at properties, like looking to continue to grow, I would ask questions. And in the beginning it was always like, OK, like. Whatever they say goes because a realtor and then as my years of experience grew, I start to go like I don't know if they are right. So I kind of started testing them. And there wasn't really a lot of investor focused realtors at the time. So I would kind of go in asking questions that I already knew the answers to and waiting for waiting for these these responses. And I didn't like a lot of what I was hearing like. And I actually did find that some of the advice I got in the early years, like, kind of hindered me. It definitely held me back from taking the plunge and maybe buying more properties or buying these specific properties that probably would have been long term beneficial. However, I just it just didn't sound right because somebody said something that didn't make sense. So, yeah, I I did that and then I also found that a lot of realtors are very hesitant to put in offers. Obviously, me being a realtor now, I know that it takes some time, but putting in the offer is that's just what you do. And that's, you know, if you don't have
Dave Debeau [00:11:27] realtors were hesitant to put in offers. Well, if you it.
Lee Strauss [00:11:31] Well, yeah. Right, right, right. If you want to submit a lower offer or specific conditions or things like that, they just I think really in the end they they just didn't understand. Well, they just
Dave Debeau [00:11:46] didn't fit in their parameters that didn't fit in their box. So they said no.
Lee Strauss [00:11:49] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can't do it. It can't be done. Well when they get again, as my experience grew, so did my knowledge and it just I was just like, you know what, I just can't find that that kind of missing link. I found that a lot of realtors are hesitant to negotiate, hesitant to ask. And one of my buyers is, if you don't ask, you don't get. So I have no no issues putting in what people would say is insulting offers, because if you don't ask, you don't get in. And the majority time you don't get that. But you can open the door and maybe start the conversation
Dave Debeau [00:12:32] with a lot of people are afraid of they're afraid the the the seller is going to take offense and slam that door right in your face. They don't come back. Right. That's but that's not what you found, correct?
Lee Strauss [00:12:42] That's not what I found, though. And I was I would be sitting on the other side asking my agent that I was using or different agents, hey, do this or, hey, do that. And they wouldn't I don't know, maybe we shouldn't do that or they would be. When it got to the negotiation standpoint, I almost felt like I was kind of coaching them on what to say, like say this to this. And then I know I just I just got a bad feeling. I thought, you know what? I have to become one, even though I don't I never set out to be one. I have to become one to benefit myself. And I almost feel like a bit of a flaw in the industry. And I want to fill that void for other people because it just it just wasn't there. And Russia's got a great group of other realtors that are also investor focused and really good, hence why I was drawn to them, because, I mean, I live over an hour away from the office, but I've got no issue with what what Tom and Dick have done. And the star kind of community is very, very good. So I'm happy to associate with them as a realtor for sure. Very cool.
Dave Debeau [00:13:48] Yeah. All right. So so you've kind of you've kind of come you know, it's very interesting journey there for sure. We've only got a few minutes left here, but I know that you you don't have any what you kind of do have one basic strategy written about this off camera. You've done all sorts of different things. You've done Renton's, you've done flips, you've done single family homes. You've done all a bunch of different stuff. What do you find is just over the years, the almost 20 years you've been doing this now works the best?
Lee Strauss [00:14:18] Yeah, well, yeah. I mean, I again, I tell everybody is it's just it's it's the most boring, least appealing, non shiny object chasing strategy is just buy a house rented out and just sit on it and we roll with the punches. Right. Like things will happen. Roofs will leak. Tenants will leave. You just roll with the punches. I think it was Rocky Balboa that that said it's not how hard you can you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit and keep going. And I've had a lot of bad experiences happen with just life and real estate. But you just you keep going and time will will kind of heal all of those those issues. I just literally last Friday, I refinanced the property that I bought seven years ago. And there is I'm able to pull it one hundred and seventy thousand dollars. That's a cash tax free money. And there was some problems with that property. I had a major flood. At one point, tenants left. It started as a rent to own. It didn't it didn't go full circle. Lot of vacancies on that property for some reason. It's a nice property. Just just wouldn't rent out. But look at the big picture. That's that's kind of my go to the big picture. Things will happen. Problems will happen. But you, Lipsitz, you can make money rental and you can make money in student rentals. You can make money all like there is no right or wrong way. I kind of got to keep this going any longer, but I do. I associate it with, like fitness or working out or a diet. Everybody's like, oh, there's there's low carb, there's Hito, there's Atkins, this is this is this. And it's like, really. Anything you do is going to help you get your goals. There may be one way that's better or faster, but consistency and just doing the same thing is that is the big secret. There is no formula for magic floss out there. There is no magic sauce. There's no manual you can put in the time. Take the hits and keep going.
Dave Debeau [00:16:35] That's it. Yeah. If people want to find out more about you and what you do, what should they wish to go, which they do?
Lee Strauss [00:16:42] Well, me as a realtor, you can contact me at the LTTE at Rockstar Brokerage dot com me as my as my corporation Instagram is at Stroh's SDR. A US investments is a good way to contact me. Alternatively, my my email. So the ad starts investments dot com.
Dave Debeau [00:17:04] Perfect day. It's been really good chatting with you today. Thank you very much for your insights.
Lee Strauss [00:17:09] Thanks for having me Dave. Appreciate it.
Dave Debeau [00:17:12] All right. Take care. See you on the next episode of a. Well, hey there, thanks for tuning into the property profits podcast, if you like this episode. That's great. Please go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. Give us a good review. That would be awesome. I appreciate that. And if you're looking to attract investors and raise capital for your deals, that may invite you to get a complimentary copy of my newest book right back there. There it is, the money partner formula. You got a PDF version at Investor Attraction book, dot com again, investor attraction book, dotcom ticker.