Dig For Real Estate Gold With Cindy Wennerstrom

Dig For Real Estate Gold With Cindy Wennerstrom

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Dig For Real Estate Gold With Cindy Wennerstrom transcription and audio link.

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Georges El Masri 

Welcome to the Well Off Podcast where the goal is to motivate, inspire and share success principles. This time I sat down with Cindy Wennerstrom, from Oro Properties, Cindy's a full-time investor and she also has tenant find services so she helps people fill their vacancies with their rental units. She does a great job. She's really fun to be around. She's got a great spirit. In addition to being very knowledgeable, I think people will truly enjoy working with her and listening to all the advice that she's going to get. So check it out. Everyone, welcome to the show. Once again, I'm here with Cindy Wennerstrom. And she's with ORO Properties. She's been really kind and giving her time and helping by sharing information. She's done educational programs for kids, she was just telling me which is great. So we're going to be discussing a couple of different things. She's a professional real estate investor, a full-time investor, she owns several properties. And I guess you're originally from Sudbury. So maybe we'll start by talking about where you came from.

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Sir. Originally from Sudbury, my family's most of my family's still there. I was born and raised. And never thought I'd leave. But I got an offer I couldn't refuse from an employer and decided to embark on the journey to come to Toronto. But I had bought my first property in Toronto, I was a student. And because of that I was marketing and renting to students. So I lived in an apartment in the house and I renovated the rest to have enough bedrooms that I could make a substantial amount of cash flow to support my education. And yeah, the rest is history. It's where I started.

 

Georges El Masri 

Great. So you used the income from your rental property to pay through school pretty much to pay through your MBA,

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Essentially. So I bought the property before I got accepted into the master's program, knowing that I was going to go back to school, I was a little nervous about it because I didn't know how that would all pan out if I would be able to, you know to afford the home and education and everything together. But I was lucky enough that being that I was renting to students by the room, I was able to afford the cash flow. And when I was finished my program, I was able to pay off any and all debt within six months because of the property. So I'm really very grateful that I made the decision to buy it and plow through all of the frustration that owning a home comes with especially when you're you know a student and part-time work, but it was really well worth it.

 

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Georges El Masri 

For sure not many 24-year-olds are having the courage to do what you did. Did you come from a family of investors? Where did you get the courage to move forward with it?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Well, if it was up to my dad, he would have been a heavy investor. My mom tamed that lion within him. But my Nana and no, no, it's my mother's parents on her side Italian they always had an apartment in the attic, a coach house in the backyard. My dad's parents, my grandma and grandpa had a bachelor apartment in their house. So without even knowing it, I guess you could say it was inbred. And when it came time to leave home, it wasn't about picking up a renters guide to see what was available for rent. I very naturally just grabbed a buyer's guide, there was no question like, I never thought I would be a renter, I just knew I would be a homeowner and rent to somebody to help with the payments. Because I was alone I was single and a student. So buying a house to live in and not having any help with the mortgage payment was not an option. But it was just very natural for me. So I think that it was subconsciously drilled into my mind that I would buy a home not rent and that I would have tenants just naturally.

 

Georges El Masri 

Mm-hmm. Were you nervous at that point? Or were you just confident that you can make it work?

 

 

I was very confident I could make it work. I think just because it was so naturally around me. It didn't seem like there was I? I don't know, it just didn't seem like there was another option. That was it. And I could do it. And everybody else had done it before me and why couldn't I do it? As long as I could make the payments, which is always, I guess a little daunting. I think the biggest fear was that purchase because it's very permanent. And it's a huge commitment. You buy a home, it's the single largest investment you'll probably ever make. And you're doing it solo alone. No cosigner, no husband, or wife or what have you. It's just you. So for me, that was probably the fear factor was that the butterflies in the stomach when you're signing those offers? It's this is a commitment, and you need to be sure that you can follow through with it. But I think I always knew it would work out. It was just wow, I'm doing this.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah. And did you think at that point in time that you were going to move forward with your life specializing in helping investors and your tenant find services?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Now that was very far from any kind of reality that I might have had at the time, you know, is that that whole inbred, you know, history of my family. They didn't have multiple properties. It was just they had a house with an apartment. So I think I think that was natural to me, but I didn't understand the concept of buying and holding more than one property at a time and It really wasn't until I moved to Toronto and I was at my cousin's house, actually. And we were playing a game cash flow, cash flow something or the Kiyosaki game, I think it is. And you know, it was all about buying and holding properties and having multiple cash flows that you could sustain, you know, more than one mortgage. But I was brought up as a wealthy barber daughter, my dad was like, read the wealthy Barber, put most of your money away in savings from every paycheck, pay down your mortgage, wherever you can. So whenever I made a bonus at work, went on to my mortgage, there was just no question. That's where it was going, versus a savings account where I could have built up a down payment to go buy another house. That was a foreign concept. So I love this game. I think I won that weekend or something. And my brother said you know, you should really go to this real estate investment network group, and learn more about it because that's what they do because my cousin was involved in that at the time. And I'm like, No, no, no, I don't, I don't need to do that. I don't want to do that. And I think it was about a year later, I finally went and my mind was blown. I'm like, wow, people do this. Why can't I mean, I did it. Once I'm doing it. Now I can do it again. And it was it's just I think being around others who are doing it, it just opens your mind right up. Whereas, you know, you don't think about something until it's presented to you. So the concept was never really something I sought out or anybody told me about. And once I had that idea, and that vision, I was like, there was no turning back. I like to have to do this, right? This is the way it should have been from the beginning.

 

Georges El Masri 

Right? So you knew right away after maybe after going today to rain? Yeah, you found out and you said, This is what I want to do, I want to focus on investments and buying properties.

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

I didn't know I'd be a guru to help others. So that wasn't, it wasn't like, oh, I'm gonna do this, and I'm gonna be a consultant, and I'm going to help other people. I was extremely career-focused. I mean, I got my MBA, had a four-year undergrad in honours. So for me, you know, education and professionalism and building my career were really, really paramount. That's why I moved to Toronto. But it was probably about my seventh year into working and, you know, multinational corporation, that I realized that we're all very disposable, things started crumbling around, you were co-workers were being let go or packaged out and pink slips. And I was like, wow, you know, they put in their heart and soul to this company that you think, and I was still of the era where you would start working for someone and you would stay, you know, there was none of this bouncing around every two years you see nowadays. So I was quite flabbergasted by that. And I thought, you know, that scared me. And I had already started to invest at that point, I had a couple of properties. But it pushed me to go further and deeper and buy more and build my portfolio. And I quickly realized that no one was going to take care of my retirement or my savings or my future, except me, a company's not going to do it. Yeah, they can help with a, you know, retirement package or what have you. But how many people actually make it to retire with them? Or how many people really get the stock options and the RRSP and contributions like not everybody. So that's when it became a sort of my vision and my mindset that I was going to do it for myself. And naturally, people would come to me for, let's call it advice. I became the water cooler girl for real estate. Everybody wanted to know what my thoughts were on interest rates rising or falling, or market prices going up or down? And they would say, You're crazy. You're still buying, you should stop. And I'm like, No, now's when you want to do what everybody else is running, I should probably be, you know, not doing the same thing. Based on my research based on the fundamentals. It doesn't make sense to stop buying, I need to keep going, you should be buying too. And, you know, they were like, No, no, I think I'll wait, I'll wait. And I mean, they're all still waiting. Right? So I was 10 properties 11 properties in and they still don't even have one other than maybe their principal residence. So they could have been millionaires, but they wanted to wait. Right? Right. I just couldn't wait

 

Georges El Masri 

to just let fear hold them back. And you didn't you move forward. So you were working with your corporate job for 12 years? And then what was that? Like? Do you remember what it was like to consider actually leaving, leaving that the security of paycheck every two weeks and going into starting your own company and devoting yourself to investing?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

It was exciting, but I got that butterfly feeling again, right? So I knew that my job was eventually going to be phased out and I kept asking my manager so like, How much time do I have how much longer? And I thought I had about another six months. But eventually, when the new budget came in, it was that fiscal new period day one, I got my opportunity to leave. And I got a good package, which meant that I could go out and buy more properties. But it was like oh my God, this means I have to do what I've been wanting to do now like now I have to act on it. I was behind the scenes preparing in the sense that I was you know, building my portfolio and I was refinancing properties and I was doing renovations and buying like everything was kind of the perfect storm. was probably two months too soon, because I was in the middle of refinancing in the middle of a renovation in the middle of a purchase of a new property. So I didn't want to lie to the mortgage companies when they asked me, you know, are you still employed at McCain? And I was like, No, like, I can't say no, or you're not going to give me the mortgage. But they would ask questions like, so how are things at work? Or how do you enjoy working there and like, oh, working there with fantastic, so I never really like it? So essentially, it was scary. But it was I was semi-prepared, not completely prepared. And I was really excited. So I knew and from that day, that moment, I literally just told everybody, I'm for hire, you've all been wanting the advice. I'm happy to give it to you. But now I'm up for hire because I don't want to go back to work. I don't want to work for anybody else. I just want to do my thing. I love this and passionate about it. I love taking you to know a derelict property and converting it into something beautiful. Handing keys over to someone who really appreciates it, it's going to make a great home for them and their family. So I was super stoked and super excited. But it was a huge adjustment, the security was gone. My job was as a husband, I had a company car, I had a computer, I had a phone, it paid for my internet, I had health benefits, I had a healthy paycheck every two weeks. And suddenly, every single one of those things was ripped away from you. Yeah, you got a buffer period. But within a few a couple of months, that was going to be gone. So it was extremely scary. But I think that's being an entrepreneur, you have to start somewhere, anybody who starts a business, or has a vision or has an idea, you have to just do it. The fear holds people back. And had I not got my package would I have ever left? I probably would have but I kind of I wanted the package. You don't want to leave without getting it cuz you're like I work 12 years, right? I kind of I want that, you know, package to be able to take that money and start my venture. So for me, it was kind of like a gift. But it was a scary one. Sure,

 

Georges El Masri 

yeah. Yeah, I can say that you're probably one of the people that are the most passionate about real estate that I've ever met. And you're the second person that told me I just interviewed someone recently, Andrew Brennan, who went through a very similar thing. He was actually working for a company for about 12 years. And they gave him a package they downsized. And he started his journey. He's got over 100 properties now.

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Oh, my God, that actually stresses me out.

 

Georges El Masri 

So after you basically left work and you started or, or Oh, I guess? Yeah. Did you have a hard time getting more properties? Because you didn't have an income? Oh, yeah. You were probably generating income from your consults and stuff. But what was that like?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yes, the banks. And it was funny because it was a perfect storm at the time the banks had, well, they're always changing their practices and policies. But at that time, they had decided that there were stricter rules employed for rental properties, with respect to add-backs and offsets and income. And also self-employed people were getting dinged. And I did not have any history of self-employed income. So you needed a good two years of, you know, showing viability, they didn't care that I had a, you know, a years package of salary that was irrelevant to them. What they wanted to know is that you had the income to support mortgage payments moving forward. So even my cash flows from all the properties which were substantial, back then we were getting between 1000 and 1500. dollars every month positive cash flow, after all, expenses, they didn't care. So I had to on the one property, we were closing, I had to come off the mortgage, even though I was, you know, obviously beneficial, and could help and I had all the financial, the bank wouldn't count it. So my investor partner was on the mortgage exclusively on that one. So that deal for me was different than all the ones I had done before. But I guess it you know, over time, and just start to showing GM. And so they start to like you again, the policies change. And so now they have a new policy for self-employed people, which helped my case and they then started to look at portfolios differently. So every time you apply for a mortgage, it's never the same thing. But it was more challenging, like right at that moment when I left and embarked on my own business because you don't have anything to show them. As far as you know, security for them. They just want to be secure.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah, for sure. And where are you at today? in your, in your career? Are you still looking to buy properties? Or are you kind of just keeping what you have and focusing more on ORO?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yeah, so if I had all the money in the world, I'd still be buying. I think that because of the last two years for me personally have been very different. I got married, I bought a piece of property with my husband actually on the water. And we started building our dream home. So for us, we decided, let's just take a back seat, let's put all of our money that we would have put into real estate into an account for the bills and let's focus on that because we don't know if we'll need emergency funds and we didn't want to tie up all our money. So that was sort of the idea was let's just focus on our personal Billy's goals, if you will. And then if there's money left over, then we can get back into the market. However, that being said, Every time an opportunity comes our way, we're like, you know, viciously analyzing it, can we make this work? This is a good opportunity. There are still many, many opportunities out there. If I went out tomorrow to buy a property, I would find one. But I'm helping clients do that right now, and focusing on the tenant find services division of the company. So we're just, you know, obviously, matching tenants with landlords constantly, because that's what happens when you consult for people and find the properties, then they need to fill the units with great quality tenants. So focusing on the consulting and helping others build their portfolio right now,

 

Georges El Masri 

for sure. So just out of curiosity, did you meet your husband through some sort of real estate event or something related to real estate?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yeah. So you know, they say it's the guy next to you or what have you. Yeah, that's what happened. We met, at the real estate investing network, you know, became friends, he was part of my elite realty investment Club, which is a small group of us who meet on the side. And we eventually bought a property together with another one of my friends and colleagues and then did renovation projects together. And eventually, the friendship grew and blossomed. And here we are.

 

Georges El Masri 

That's great. Oh, that's good. That rain was good for more. Real Estate knowledge, hate

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

off the membership fees were worth it.

 

Georges El Masri 

You're buying a place together? Right? Or you bought more than one together?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yeah. So we have I we have a couple we have a few together. Yeah,

 

Georges El Masri 

yeah. So can you tell us a bit about rain and maybe other events or groups that you're a part of, and how they've helped you in your career,

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

there is so much to be said, For surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and even just going online and seeking out, you know, podcasts and following people like you and it brings so much knowledge and knowledge is power. It motivates you, it reminds you you're not alone, and your ideas aren't crazy. And if somebody else is doing it, you can do it too. But being a part of REIN, I remember going every month and thinking I have this question that I need an answer to tonight, I want to know this. And 99.99% of the time, I would get a complete answer. By the time I left that meeting, because there are so many experts in that room in all the fields that you might have a question in taxes, accounting, you know, plumbing, construction, you name it, there's somebody there a real estate agent. So I really, really like I can't say enough good things about it was, I would say like launching pad to success because I went in and I would absorb everything they had to say the notes I did the research myself afterwards, I was really diligent in implementing the strategies that they taught us like how, why redo it? They've been researching for years. And to them, this is working for them. So I didn't like I took their information and said, I'm going to tweak it. No, no, no, like, that's what you say works, I'm going to make it work for me too. And I think that was the foundation of my success was just listening, absorbing, learning, and then doing my own background research to verify it on my end for the areas that I wanted to invest in, and really treating each and every purchase that I made as an individual business. So property a was a business a property B was business B because you can't mix them. So you know, the key to success is making sure that each business is managed efficiently and effectively, that their cash flowing, expenses are managed. So each one has its own bank account, you know, their own set of clients or tenants. So that I think helped me a lot as well, but being a part of a group that can support you and your questions, and it's second to none. And then I know there's a lot of great groups like meetups out there. So if you don't want to be committed to an annual membership, because many of these organizations have membership fees, that's great as well, you're not going to get as much out of them in the sense that the information is limited to a one two hour session. So you'll get some really good tidbits of information from, say an expert speaker. So if they bring someone in to speak about multifamily buildings or about tax implications, or about tenant find services, that's fantastic. But when you're involved in an organization that teaches you all of that every month, inclusively, you're always getting information, I think that's even better. And of course, reading books and forming your own groups is good, too. But you're also limited by who you bring into your group. We formed one ourselves because we felt like we were almost not outgrowing. But we wanted to have a group of investors who were doing the same thing in the same area. So we were all focusing on a certain geographic area. And we made it our focus that every month we would meet and discuss things that were happening in that geographic area, what everybody was doing, how they were, you know, making changes from the government or from local municipal bylaws into effect in their portfolios, and working together to troubleshoot each other's issues and be sounding boards. It was another resource, so that's awesome as well, but usually, people do that when they're a little bit more advanced, let's say,

 

Georges El Masri 

Mm-hmm. Sure. So obviously, you're very passionate about what you do. How much of your life revolves around real estate? And what do you do? Aside from real estate?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Well, before I was married 95% of my life revolved around real estate. Now that I've tried to have more of a work-life balance because it's fun too because you have somebody to share life with. I would say, it's still pretty high, but I, you know, 75% 5% you know, like, even when I, for instance, we were driving home last night after dropping my stepdaughter off. And I'm like, Where are you going? Because, you know, he took a different turn, I go, nevermind, I know where you're going. Because in the morning, he's like, oh, by the way, you know, number whatever, on Kevin's day just came up for sale, and it says such and such amount of money. And I'm like, Oh, yeah. And he's like, I don't know if it's gonna cash flow. And you know, so when he made that turn down the street, Oh, nevermind, I know where you go. So we ended up going to look at the house. And it's just, it's sort of naturally a part of our lives. We, we could just drive around the streets and look at houses for fun any day of the week. And I would never be annoyed and say, Can we go home now? I mean, I'd be like, what about that one over there? And just let me go on realtor dot. What's happening on this street? And yeah, so we're constantly aware of the market and what's happening because you have to be so if you've made this, this if you've made this you know, your your your retirement goal, or dream or your passion or you're whatever, you have to be on the up and up. If you don't know what's happening around you. Yes, the markets adjust slower in real estate, but you have to be apprised of what's happening. So we just enjoy it. Like I mean, I love looking at houses, I love looking at how I can make it a better home, how I can make it you know, make money, how I can see the future potential or future value, how I can convert it, because I like taking a single-family home, making it a duplex or taking a duplex and making it a triplex changing the use to maximize the efficiency and the money that you can get out of the property. So yeah. 75% 75% and then 25%.

 

Georges El Masri 

What do you travel to?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yeah, like we're, you know, we try last year, we got away a lot. But then we were pretty stagnant over the last year, just the house build and waiting it out. But now I think it's we're both getting the itch again. So

 

Georges El Masri 

yeah, that's cool. It sounds like your relationships good. Everything's going well, for you. Your business is good. So that's, that's really what I'm sure you imagined for yourself. Right?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yeah, I mean, I probably should have some kind of a work back goal and say, Oh, I want to be here and so many years, but I, when I left my corporate job, it was just like, I just want to make as much money as I did when I was working. And then I'll never have to work for anybody else again. And whether that comes from the business or from cash flow, I just thought that was kind of my, I'll be fine. If and I never said Oh, by 2018 I want to have this much in sales, like a true entrepreneur and MBA should, it was more just, I love what I do. And the money will come and I'm just gonna, like, I'm just gonna do what I do and enjoy it and not look back. And you know, I don't I can't say that I plan to, you know, be somewhere and have some a certain amount of massive properties or anything. It's just, it's fun every once in a while, though, to go back and analyze what you have and go, Oh, so that worked out, okay, you know, and to be able to share that with people who come for guidance and advice and say, oh, that guy just bought five years ago, when we were talking about it. This is what it would be today and giving them the inspiration to say it's still not too late. It's never too late. You know, people would have said it was too late when I started. And 12 years ago, I should. And it's not it's always a good time to buy as long as you do it. Smart.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah, for sure. So if we go back to that time, when you were working your corporate job, just want to bring that up for a second. Were you happy doing what you did? Did you picture the perfect life being a corporate job, and you know that nine to five, or were you kind of miserable doing what you do?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

I have always been very dedicated and devoted. And when I do something, I do it with every grain in my soul. So I was very devoted to the company, he would say it was tattooed to my behind. And I put forth great effort in making sure that I was devoting myself completely to it. So I was passionate about what I was doing in that regard. You know, the passion wears off at the end when as I said, you seem like the consulting groups come in and people get let go, you're like, wow, it's not. It's not what I started out loving and the, you know, the team and the bond and all that stuff, it changes. But I still went to work every day going, No, I'm like, I'm gonna do a good job today. And I love what I do. And I love the people that are still around me and you just got to like, trudge through it a little bit. But definitely, when I left that office, I loved the real estate more. So that was what kept my fuel, you know, in me going, I literally would start as the last couple years, I started parking in a parking lot across the road that I had to be out of by 6 pm. Because if I wasn't, I would get a ticket. So it was like encouragement for me to leave the office on time, like by six at least, because I was one of those people that would stay till 10 1112 o'clock at night. And I still do that today. But now I do it for myself. So I would have to leave by six and then I would run to like the Home Depot or whatever pick up what I needed, go to the properties check work that was done or show apartments or because I was doing everything myself back then obviously didn't have staff. So that was sort of my routine and ritual. And that really kept me energized because from you know, six to I'm not gonna lie, it was like one to three in the morning, I would be doing real estate and then I go to bed and get up six hours later, and I do it all over again. And then and it was that like it was like, like adrenaline rush after work. Okay, now I re-energized it's time to work on my, you know, real estate. And, and that was, you know, had I not sad Okay, six o'clock, I'm out of here. I probably wouldn't have advanced as far as I did. Because when do you find the time, right? That's why it's hard for people with families. Like I get it, you're working full time and you have a family and you want to do it, but you're like, how do I do it? Where do I find the time? And somehow you really you just do? So did I know where I would be today? Kind of but not really. Its sort of just all fell into place

 

Georges El Masri 

for sure. And so as we're sitting here in your office, when I came in you were you had like these mindful sounds playing on your laptop. You've got an infuser, Himalayan salt lamp and all that. What do you do to stay positive and to maintain your energy level?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

All that running, keep saying yoga but like yoga classes are few and far between because of time but you know, just being with my family and we bought a waterfront property for a reason. You'll find us there even though the house is not built, you'll find us on that beach having a bonfire and you know cigar cognac, tea, whatever, just about any day of the week that we feel we need to you know, get grounded and be like, a piece I guess if you will, it's important to have work-life balance, which I've never had, like for me my balance is everybody's balances different. But, but definitely just family. So making time. So I try to leave early on the days when, you know, I know we have my stepdaughter and stuff because that's, it's more important to me than working right? There's a balance to be struck. So yes, I have the Himalayan salt lamp. Yes, I use essential oil diffusers, we eat extremely healthy like we try to live a healthy lifestyle because it keeps you energized. You know, like yesterday, we went rollerblading down by the water along the waterfront. And just getting outside and having some fresh air and not being stuck in an office 24 hours a day does a lot for the soul.

 

Georges El Masri 

And you feel like that work-life balance that you now have, has that motivated you or I should say has that helped you become more productive?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Probably I mean, every time you go away on vacation, you have to do a lot before you leave. I always used to say if you ever want to clean your desk off, go on a vacation. Of course, when you come back, it's piled up again. But I mean, I would say that I always feel like I could not that I'm not protected. I'm very productive. I can knock off more things in one day that I think most people can look weak. And that's why you know, you're successful. But I always feel like I'm catching up. And I think any entrepreneur feels that way it feels like no matter what you do, you're never the spot that you want it to be there's never anything to do. There's never you never caught up on bookkeeping or payroll or whatever. There's just always something notices for tenants. Like it's constant. So this is not a life for someone who doesn't want to be bothered say after five o'clock at night, and I'm okay with that. Because it's my lifestyle and I'm okay being accessible 24 hours a day if you will. But unless you are you have to hire all these things out to management companies and, and even still, we need to get a hold of our clients sometimes after hours to make decisions or make them make the final decision. So I don't even know. Does it make me more productive? Maybe? I guess without it, I might be a lot, you know, a lot worse off.

 

Georges El Masri 

I'm sure it recharges you and helps you and in different ways. I want to ask you what are some of the principles that you live by some of

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

the principles that I live by, like from just in general,

 

Georges El Masri 

General, either personal or for your business?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Okay, well for my business, we've always said that as far as Oro is auto means gold and Italian. For me, that means the gold standard. So I never take on any kind of a listing for a client unless the property is a gold standard. So that means to me if I wouldn't sleep there or rent it myself. We won't take it on Unless you do ABC to get it to that level. So, you know, that's, that is paramount to me that I'm, you know, serving tenants with a product that they, you know, that's not derelict. That's, I guess beautiful and, you know, they can appreciate and I can be proud of. So always, you know, having that sense of pride. And when I do, I was telling my staff this morning because they said like, why or what, what does it just because it means gold? or What is it? And I said, Well, yes. But when I was a little girl, it goes back to my history and my family. So for me, everything is really about family. We don't do any things strictly for money, let's put it out there. Unless you're, I don't know, someone who's that's your main goal in life. But I think we all agree that family and friends and that is most important to most people. My Nana who passed away many years ago now I always used to say a little delay no now, which is known as gold. And I wanted to remember her in my business. And remember that it's about family, and it's about generations and taking care of future and past generations. So Oro means gold, but it also brings back a family tie for me to remind me that every time I do something, I'm helping somebody else, I'm helping them in their family, whether it be in my consulting, or handing over keys to a property that we've just newly renovated. And I'm making a difference and a positive impact in some way. So my philosophy is to just be the best at what you can do, and carry that, you know, the family value in everything and in every aspect of your life. So from business to personal, it's very important to me,

 

Georges El Masri 

I had no idea that's what Oracle stood for. I thought it was an acronym of some sort. But I know

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

a lot of people do and that's okay. It's it was always just for me to remember her and to carry on her legacy if you will, because she when she passed, she actually had accumulated some wealth that no one really knew about to make sure that her daughters were cared for,

 

Georges El Masri 

you know, some gold, she had some gold.

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

So that was, I was like, wow, no, no, you're so cool, you know. And that was I was just really, really impressed. And she was the glue that held our family together. And there's, you know, that's just I just never want to forget that. That,

 

Georges El Masri 

huh? It's all starting to make sense. Now, why you want to put concrete in the front with a gold right? Makes sense? Yeah. So Who were some of the people that you admire the most?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Well, I mean, I just told you about the one I no longer around. But I have to say that when it comes to, you know, my business and the goals and the portfolio that I would I have a mast, I owe a lot to Don Campbell, he's, you know, he was the main real estate investment network. icon and he is just so down to earth, and so friendly, and so to a wonderful human being, but also so powerful and knowledgeable, and his insights and what he does, and so passionate about real estate, and that passion was felt like, you know, he's just larger than life. But he's this little guy, and he's just so amazing. So I really owe a lot to, you know, the fact that I join that organization and, and I was able to really learn from him and his experience and, and take all his information and use it and, and I was just really proud to be a part of that. So, yeah, Don, I owe you one.

 

Georges El Masri 

Go. Well, that's cool. I yeah, I've heard a lot about Don, but I've never never met him. I think I should make an effort. One day. Yeah. All right. What are some of the biggest challenges that you've had to face in your, in your business? And maybe just in general?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Well, honestly, the biggest challenge in my business is staffing, I'm not gonna lie, it's an ongoing problem. And the generations today that, you know, I'm not going to get retirees working for me, because it's not the type of work they want to do, I guess, but younger, you know, in the 20s, applying for work, and it's very hard because they're very transient, and their employments are sporadic. So they work somewhere for a bit, and then they want to travel to India, or they want to start their own business, or they want to, you know, or they or they made a mistake, and they're like, Okay, well, I'm gonna leave then Well, come on, you know, like, I think that one of the biggest challenges we face with our youth today is that somehow they're not being taught, or I don't know what the proper word is, but they're not been taught that you need to make mistakes, to learn how to do things, right. And that's going to guide you in your future. So mistake doesn't mean quit. It means to make yourself better because if I didn't quit, with every mistake that I made in my life, I would never be here today. You have to make mistakes in order to proceed. So it is a huge challenge. And I still don't know what to do about it. So if you have any advice for me, but it is, you know, I've tried everything from hiring just consultants, so they're not really on payroll because they seem to like that. Freedom. And then I said, Okay, well, I'm going to try them full time, because then I have more control. And they have set schedules, and they're here, that kind of didn't work. So then I went to part-time, and then I went back to consultants, and then I went back to full time. So I'm, you know, trying to find my way in that whole maze of being an entrepreneur. Because when you start, it's just you know, and then you hire someone to kind of help you a little bit. And then you need more people. And so you grow and evolve, but I wish they taught this stuff in school. Because it's nothing like the organizational behaviour, you know, HR courses you take, it's just, it's just, that's the toughest. That is the toughest part. It really is.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah. Have you looked for groups that may be that you can join where they work on team building? And maybe they can help you with your problems?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

No, no, I haven't thought would be something better. Yeah. I mean, we've done some team-building things like on just shooting ranges. Yeah, you know, luncheons, and stuff like that.

 

Georges El Masri 

I meant more team the building, like hiring, but that I'm sure you've looked into all that stuff in the past. So maybe we'll just move on to the next question, which is something that I want to ask you earlier, actually, how important has Sorry? How important have relationships been to you in your success? And in your personal life?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Yeah, well, relationships are everything. I mean, you're building a team when you're starting a business. So you have to have, you know, accountant, the lawyer, the real estate agent for this business, it's really important to surround yourself with people who can do those things, but are also in the world that you're in. So, for instance, if I'm a real estate investor, I'm not going to get my friend Sally who's a real estate agent to look for my properties for me, because she might have just gotten her license, she might not know the first thing about investing, she might be focusing on principal residence purchases, I need somebody with the background, the mindset, the education surrounding what I'm doing. So I want someone who knows about real estate investing and is surprised at it. And that's going to help me be more successful. The same thing with a lawyer, you're not going to go to a family law lawyer if you need a real estate lawyer. So those kinds of relationships are fundamental. And, and of course, you want to work with people that you're like, This isn't like, you know when you're working for an employer, where you're forced to work with certain people, you have the ability to choose who you get to work with. And that actually is a great privilege. And it makes a big difference in your day today, you know, business dealings and transactions and overall happiness. For sure. The same goes for clients now that if you're self-employed, you have the ability to not accept certain clients and they're just too high maintenance or not friendly or not, you know, they don't treat your staff well or something. And then it's like, Okay, well, we're not taking them on again.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah, it'll just drain you

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Knows, sure that at all. Yeah,

 

Georges El Masri 

great. So let's jump into the next segment, which is the random five so I'm just going to ask you five random questions. And then you just answer them whatever comes to mind first, they're like real easy questions to answer. And he was what's your favourite sports team or your favourite athlete?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

I am so not a sports fan. Oh, I love going to watch them live. But I couldn't say I but I will give you one. His name is Curtis Wennerstrom. And he will be an Olympian. Okay, nephew. He's breaking every record in track and really, no, seriously, he's awesome. How old is he? He's like 15 right now, but like, This kid is blowing everybody out of the water right?

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah. Well, what does he specialize in? Like with

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

triple john long john vi he's phenomenal. Like he just broke another record. Off sir. Something. Wow.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah. There you go. favourite athlete. Yep. favourite athlete. What's been the most influential book for you?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Dawn's the very first book I've ever read of his probably which was investing in real estate one on one or something. I don't remember the name of it. But his first book because it again, it opened my eyes to the possibilities right that I was not privy to in the past. Cool.

 

Georges El Masri 

Yeah, I got to look into this guy a little bit more. Do you listen to podcasts? Or are you more into maybe audiobooks or anything of that sort?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Um, well, I was because I was a rain member. And I didn't always attend the meetings. And then the last, I think two years, I was actually just a remote member. So I wasn't going to the meetings, but I was getting the CDs. That's about that's about it. But I'm like a constant YouTube junkie, not necessarily only about real estate, but about all things. So I'm always seeking information and listening and it's mostly on YouTube. Mm-hmm.

 

Georges El Masri 

Are you like listening to stuff about yoga and mindfulness, everything?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Everything. Everything food? I love food cooking. Yeah, everything health, nutrition, cancer therapies, like everything. No,

 

Georges El Masri 

yeah. You're living the Zen life. Are you more of a morning person or a night person?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Night Hawk? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I've always been even in university could work till three, four or five in the morning. No problem, but get me up at five in the morning.

 

Georges El Masri 

Do it so you wake up at like eight o'clock or something like 730

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

to 830 is really awesome. Back to get up early, right? Well, but I'm a graduate I'm not.

 

Georges El Masri 

Okay. And are you more into ice cream or surveys?

 

 

Chips

 

Georges El Masri 

yeah okay because You sound like you're really into you mentioned that you're really into well-being and eating well and all that so which chips are your weakness?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

My weakness? Yeah, there are faults I can't add the crime salt vinegar chips and yeah if you gave me the two options of sorbet and ice cream ago, I don't know why maybe I'll go see if there's any.

 

Georges El Masri 

Got it. Okay, so that's the last question. Is there anything you want to share? Can you tell us how people can reach you and what services you might offer?

 

Cindy Wennerstrom 

Sure. Well, I can be reached online you can Google my name Cindy Wennerstrom or Oro properties and you'll find all kinds of information at Cindy at ORO properties.ca is my email and I'm always happy to take on new clients who have really nice properties and they want to find you know, triple-A awesome tenants because we don't just look at gold standard at the property it's also the people that go into it. And my consulting services are very so I do everything from going to look at a property with you to see if it will cash flow or what you need to do to make it a viable investment to you know, doing a consultation prior to even going shopping. I arrange shopping days with other agents with you to take you out and see 10 to 15 properties and then make offers that day. I manage renovations I give design advice. So and then the tenant-find service so kind of your one-stop-shop for anything and everything related to real estate investing landlording tenants, etc.

 

Georges El Masri 

Definitely very knowledgeable and design taste is really good. So I'm sure you've helped a ton of people. And yeah, I really appreciate your time, and we'll definitely stay in touch.

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Georges El Masri

Georges El Masri

Toronto born, I spent my early childhood in Mississauga. My passion is to help your family become "well off" through real estate investing. I always work with the idea that your needs come first and I'm here to guide you. You can trust that my opinion will be a genuine one! I look forward to connecting with you soon if we haven't already.