Table of Contents - EPISODE 13: TRACY MA THE FINANCIAL NIRVANA MAMA
Sandy MacKay [00:00:00] Break through real estate investing podcast, Lucky Number 13.
Rob Break [00:00:26] Hello and welcome to the Breakthrough Real Estate Investing podcast, we put this show together to inspire you and help you break through to the life that you want to live through the power of real estate investing. My name is Rob Break, and here with me again is the king of style, Sandy MacKay.
Sandy MacKay [00:00:45] Oh, the king of like that. Well, look
Rob Break [00:00:49] at that profile pic.
Sandy MacKay [00:00:53] That's good. That's good. I have a couple for one for you. Next time then what would you give me? The King of rubber
Rob Break [00:01:00] on the king of many things. Sandy made too many to name right now.
Sandy MacKay [00:01:05] OK, I'm going to play that angle. Fair enough. All right. Well, let's get into this is episode 13. This is going to be a good one. We've got our first female guests coming up later on.
Rob Break [00:01:17] Yet, Tracy Moss, she was a great guest and I was really excited to have a different perspective. First woman investor on. And I think that she gave us a lot of good knowledge. And she also, you know, maybe provided a little extra something for our women listeners.
Sandy MacKay [00:01:35] Yeah, she really hit it out of the park. It was a great interview. So it's going to be coming up. It's really awesome stuff, particularly if you're a female. But I wouldn't say it's necessarily only geared towards that. It's going to work for everybody for sure. Of course. Yeah. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:01:49] So if you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the show, please go on over to break through Ariah podcast here and leave us some of your input. That would be great. We'd really appreciate anything that you have to say. Also, go on over to iTunes and leave us a review or what else? I don't know, Sandy. I mean, I think anyone that's listening should have already done that by now, especially with that contest we were just running.
Sandy MacKay [00:02:18] Oh, they should know for sure. All I've missed out on that now. But, you know you know, we got the winner now, right?
Rob Break [00:02:24] Yeah. They miss out on it now because we're about to announce the winner is our we're doing
Sandy MacKay [00:02:29] we cut or we could maybe we should do at the end of the episode, make them listen all the way through.
Rob Break [00:02:33] They're going to listen all the way through anyway. Come on. People want to know.
Sandy MacKay [00:02:38] Yeah, we got to do it.
Rob Break [00:02:40] OK, well designed to find out who's going to steal your. I think actually because you were saying something about us giving away another a little surprise with it and what the what the other surprise was. Actually, it's going to go along with the speaker. This veto wireless Bluetooth speaker that we're giving away is actually Sandi's tanning spa in his backyard. So the speaker actually just stays in his house. And everyone, whoever wins, gets to go over there for an afternoon and and hang out.
Sandy MacKay [00:03:12] Yeah, I guess I could do that. You know, that's what it is. That's not it. But well, I don't know, maybe it is, you know, maybe throw a little special invitation in in the package or something.
Rob Break [00:03:22] I don't Speedo for the king of style like.
Sandy MacKay [00:03:28] Well, it wouldn't be the king of style with a Speedo.
Rob Break [00:03:31] Well, all right. Well, you know, our winner can decide whether to go.
Sandy MacKay [00:03:37] Yeah, fair enough. All right. Well, here it comes. Ready for the winner.
Rob Break [00:03:42] Hold on. I'm going to do a little drum roll here. Ready? Go for it.
Sandy MacKay [00:03:48] The winner of this Velho Wireless Bluetooth speaker three, sixty and five is West Felicidad and Hope I'm pronouncing that right, last wrote in and he wrote, It just feels like you're involved in the conversation. Guests are super knowledgeable and I kind of like the non groomed sound and feel he's going to continue to listen. He says here.
Rob Break [00:04:16] That's a great review. Yeah, and again, we want to thank him and everybody else who someone in please continue to send in your reviews, everybody listening. We would really appreciate that. And yeah, so I guess very soon we're going to send this out. It's a great little speaker.
Sandy MacKay [00:04:32] Oh, yeah. Yeah, I've been enjoying it. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:04:36] I don't know. You put the plastic back on somehow.
Sandy MacKay [00:04:40] Well, you know, I'm not the king of style for nothing. I got some tricks up my sleeve.
Rob Break [00:04:45] OK, perfect. OK, yeah, thanks and congratulations to us. So I guess again in this episode, Sandy, we're going to continue our segment with the Michael Minute with our friend Michael Domínguez.
Sandy MacKay [00:04:57] Yeah, it's great stuff from him. He's back on episode number four, I believe. Is that his episode?
Rob Break [00:05:03] Yeah, we interviewed him on Episode four. Everyone should go and listen to that. And on this one, Michael encourages us all to as investors to ask ourselves the question, who is my tenant? So here it is that the Michael Minute.
Sandy MacKay [00:05:19] Too many of us are so focused on finding the deal that we often don't sit back and contemplate who's going to actually want to rent our place. Let me offer you another way to think. Consider first the tenant that you're actually going to want to have living in your property and then go out and actually search for the property you want to buy. Let me offer you an example. If let's say you're targeting student rental. It certainly helps if you've got a property that is close to the school. Another option is that if it's one bus transit that goes straight into the school and of course, you're going to want to have a property, you know, in a market where the school actually has students that want to live off campus or in residence and away from mom and dad. Now, that may seem obvious, but that's certainly something that you definitely want to be considering. If you are focused on student rental, if the property is two or maybe three bus lines away from the campus, what you're going to end up finding is if you do make that purchase, it will certainly not be the student's first choice. And as such, you may have four vacancies and you're going to have discount rents for years to come. Personally, I like renting to Generation Y kids. Now, Gen Y kids often don't own their own cars, which makes transit even more important to them. The other thing that I find is that a lot of the Gen Y kids do not compromise on the quality of the euro. So by adding some ceramic backsplash and having quality laminate flooring and ceramic flooring through the kitchen and bathroom, perhaps having paint colors that are that are on trend, I can actually lower vacancy and have market leading rents. So think about the tenant before you buy. If you're targeting young families, for example, you're certainly going to have plenty of parking and want to have a nice backyard. And I want to be close to schools. You're looking for seniors. Perhaps you want to be close to grocery stores or drug stores, close to the parks and other amenities, perhaps a little bit less yard work for the tenants to do. If you're focusing on the single office workers, perhaps you're going to want to be in the city close to their work. You're going to want to be, again, on transit and probably absolutely no yard work for the tenant to do so. Saving a few thousand dollars on the purchase feels really great at the time, but that feeling can go away really fast. If you struggle to rent the place and you lose thousands of dollars on vacancies, or if you're forced to deal with tenants that don't even come anywhere close to fitting your profile. This is Michael Domínguez with another Michael minute interview time, I guess.
Rob Break [00:08:14] Yeah, I think it is interview time. So do you want to tell us about our guest?
Sandy MacKay [00:08:19] Yeah, we've got a great, great guest coming up, Tracy Marr, and she is a real estate investor, mainly in the Ottawa area, although she's she's focused on a few different areas across the country, is going to tell us how to juggle a full time job, twin girls and a large real estate portfolio and still have an actual life. On top of all that, she can talk about the ins and outs of investing in other provinces. And she's going to share with us the story about her story about screaming matches, broken windows, burst pipes, and even police showing up at one of her very first rental properties and how she was actually able to overcome all that despite a lot of challenges.
Rob Break [00:09:06] Yes, she had a lot of great stories to tell, and it was a really exciting interview. So here it is, our interview with Tracy. We are very pleased to have our very first interview with a woman investor, Tracy Marr, and we've definitely waited too long because I think it's going to be great to get a different and fresh perspective. So welcome and thanks for being here tonight.
Tracy Ma [00:09:33] Thanks for having me here. I'm super excited and I'll try to add a ton of value to your listeners.
Sandy MacKay [00:09:39] Perfect. That's what it's all about. And for anyone who doesn't know who we're speaking with here, Tracy Mott is a residential real estate investor. She's also a mother of twins. And she's got a full time career as an engineer as well. Despite all of these responsibilities, she's managed to build up a really awesome real estate investment portfolio. And, yeah, we're really excited to have her on the show and learn a lot more about her and how she's been able to do all this.
Rob Break [00:10:12] We wanted to start out with a little bit of your story and how you got started in real estate investing.
Tracy Ma [00:10:18] OK, thanks so much. I might try to invest in real estate stems from my family's hardships and struggles in China. My great grandfather, he was a very successful businessman. He owned land and ran businesses, including banks. Unfortunately, during World War Two, China went through a cultural revolution and became a communist country. At that point, my great grandfather was executed and overnight my family members were forced to live as beggars, like literally living on the streets. And so despite living on the streets, a few of my family members, my great aunt made her trek to Canada and slowly became a multimillionaire in Vancouver, all due to real estate investing. And more importantly, she helped my mom and dad start a life in Canada. So my aunt is a really strong role model for me, not only did she help her family come to Canada, but she also created a strong foundation for kids by creating a legacy for them and inspiring them to invest in real estate. And to this day, her kids invest in real estate in Vancouver, all of which has inspired me to do the same and continue on doing to create a future for the future. So these family stories give me the confidence and drive to look at Canada as a land of opportunity and that anything is possible if you have the right mindset. So in 2006, I took the plunge and I bought my first condo using my art piece. And then a year later I converted that condo into a rental. And I just noticed, like while living Ottawa, how much opportunity there was in Ottawa for rentals. So I just continued investing in real estate and just jump start my path to meeting my financial goals.
Rob Break [00:12:12] That's great. And that's actually quite a sad story, but an inspiring one at the same time. So thank you very much for sharing that. Amy. So which real estate investing strategies do you use and how did you choose them? So it's something that your aunt passed on to you or.
Tracy Ma [00:12:32] Yes, it is. So I call it the Warren Buffett way of investing. It's like the slow tried true method of buying real estate by and holding it and renting it out while doing it. And it just takes patience and time. And then your assets just become wealth creators. It's it's a really boring way of investing, but it works and it's the way my family's done it. I don't like to be bogged down by fancier methods investing only because it takes time away from my family. And so that's how I choose the real estate investment strategies. The other way I do is I buy real estate, I fix it up and I rent it out. So I bring it up by putting in some sweat equity and then rent it out. And the blinking is fairly minor. It's mostly cosmetics, including new kitchen flooring and painting. And my last strategy is lending out my equity as first and second mortgages. So I use these strategies depending on where I'm at with life, and I need to ensure that these strategies align with my life. So when I didn't have kids, I would have time to put in sweat equity into my properties. And I love doing renovations. It's fun and balance my day as an engineer. Then when I had twins, I bought newer properties with high cash flow because I want to raise my babies. And then when my now that my kids are preschool age, I do a combination buy and hold as well as fixed by fixed and hold. And the greatest thing is that I now hire contractors to do the renovations and my latest and greatest strategy is lending my equity out, otherwise known as hard money lending, private lending to other real estate investors who need quick financing. And it's a much more hands off approach.
Sandy MacKay [00:14:32] So are you doing some of the renovations yourself? Is that what you're saying?
Tracy Ma [00:14:35] Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure
Rob Break [00:14:37] I'm working backwards because I'm trying to get into doing the renovations myself instead of hiring them out.
Tracy Ma [00:14:45] No, I well, between my husband and I, we are well, we're both engineers and we love tinkering with things. So we have a whole garage full of tools and it's actually fun for us. It's like, ah, it's kind of like our bonding moment, which is kind of weird, but we love it because it's instant gratification. So you you change a flora also. All of a sudden, not only did you save a lot of money, but it looks great. You're like, wow, I can't believe I just completed that. Right.
Sandy MacKay [00:15:18] Mm hmm. Yeah. You do get either you get a good feeling when you are able to do a little bit of yourself. I think it's also just as good of a feeling to pay someone and have just done it way. Yeah. And a little bit less. And I shouldn't say less stressful, but it's it's less work obviously. Sometimes can be less stressful, I guess. But yeah,
Tracy Ma [00:15:43] I well now I love using contractors. The hardest part is finding the right contractors. Right. Yeah.
Sandy MacKay [00:15:49] Right. So what do you look for when you're evaluating a potential deal.
Tracy Ma [00:15:57] It's a really systematic way of looking at deals, I start with finding a starter home in a city, in a nice neighborhood, close to schools, great transit, lots of ongoing and future employment to create demand for rentals, historical appreciation above inflation. And, of course, it needs to cash flow. And I have rules I follow. So it must spring rent annually, equal to seven percent of the purchase price. That's the bare minimum, and it gets higher depending on the area. So the further outside of Ottawa, the property needs more and more rent, more rent coming in and higher cash flow. And the further away I have a rule where the property must be new or almost new. And so, for example, my in Ottawa, my cash flow criteria is at least one hundred dollars per month after all expenses. And that's like the bare minimum. I'm comfortable with that because I live in Ottawa. Of course, when I buy properties outside of Ottawa, it must cash for at least three hundred dollars after all expenses. And then I also have a mental checklist of what I don't want in a property, for example, I don't want just one bathroom. I don't want six foot ceilings in the basement. I don't want more than two units on a property. I don't want condo fees. I don't want electric heating. I don't want oil tanks or foundation structural issues.
Rob Break [00:17:35] That sounds like good things to not want. So have you found now that you've you've actually, you know, being in this for a while? Have you found that now you've found the neighborhoods that you like and you stick with them or you open still to all areas as long as they fit the criteria?
Tracy Ma [00:17:54] No, I'm pretty picky with my areas. I literally only invest in three areas in Ottawa and I have a set area in Edmonton as well as set area and. So it's being a submarket expert within the city and I'm only limiting it to now three cities that I invest in. I'm trying to tailor it down to two. Really.
Rob Break [00:18:20] So how do you get started investing in the city so far away like Edmonton?
Tracy Ma [00:18:25] It's so you need to be. I guess I kind of think of it as like Warren Buffett again. You need to be comfortable with the city you're investing in. You need to know what type of tenants you're attracting. So I'm very lucky that I get to travel as part of my career. And I've lived or and are frequently visited many provinces. And this has given me the confidence to invest in areas outside of Ottawa. I start with a team. I interview people once I build the team, then starting with a reliable, knowledgeable realtor who has real estate investing experience and a knowledgeable property manager. Then the deals start coming to me that meet my criteria, and the moment I have a hard time building a team, then I have no interest in investing that city. And right now, just because I've invested in three provinces, I'm trying to I'm not I'm not going to scale it anymore. I mean, I'm trying to limit it to two cities now because it's I find it I'm spreading myself too thin. Right.
Sandy MacKay [00:19:35] So it's just the familiarity with a city or province that allows you to invest there, or I'm assuming you dove into the getting to know the area a lot more than just that. But it would be something that you'd recommend for other people to look at in a specific city, maybe that they're looking at investing in that they don't live in
Tracy Ma [00:19:57] that they don't live in. I would first start start with it all depends on your comfort zone. I would start with a city you used to live in. So, for example, I used to live in Vancouver, so I'm comfortable buying a condo in Vancouver because I knew the area. I knew what kind of tenants I, I could attract and already have a team in Vancouver. I used to always also live in Regina, Saskatchewan. That's where I'm born and raised, and I worked all across Saskatchewan as my summer job. So I was familiar with S7 being one of the cities that I invest in Saskatchewan, and I was just very comfortable knowing I already knew the city. So it's not like I just jumped into the city and then started getting familiar with it. I would I would strongly encourage those people who want to invest outside of their own city to start in a city that they used to live in.
Rob Break [00:20:52] That's good advice. OK, so we were communicating a little bit before the show, and you mentioned a scary story to us about one of your properties in Ottawa dealing with some extensive water damage. Could you do you want to share that story with us and how you were able to overcome it?
Tracy Ma [00:21:10] Sure. I have a small multiplex in Ottawa. It was my second investment property and I still have it. I bought this property really early in my building, my portfolio. So I'll buy a property that had low ceilings like barely over six feet tall in the basement. And I had a hard time renting it out. So I decided years ago I just I came across a nice female. She had a steady job with government and she had OK references. The only thing is she didn't have quite of a rental history because she's been living with her mom. So I decide, OK, well, it's the middle winter. It's hard to rent this place out, so I'll give her a chance. I rent. I rented it up to a month, a month and. Given that a month after she occupied unit, it was fine until we started receiving a lot of noise complaints from the other tenants and it was screaming matches between her and her boyfriend. And I didn't realize her boyfriend was visiting her and starting to live in a unit. And then all also sudden, she just she tried to get rid of her boyfriend. So she started calling the police. Anyways, over the course of two months, she got a restraining order against her boyfriend who became her ex boyfriend. And then several weeks later after that, her ex boyfriend decides to break into her unit by kicking her window open. And so I was called up. I dealt with police and fire trucks I had to deal with all night till 2:00 a.m. and police thankfully caught him. So with all these problems, I really want her to move out is causing so much disruption to my other tenants. Fortunately, my wish did come true, but in a very unfortunate way. So literally weeks after it is like the middle of winter, it's minus 30 degree weather. And one of the tenants left a window open in her bathroom. And I think this partly cause the pipe burst, which flooded the entire house and all three apartments had to be vacated. So I had family living in in one apartments and she had a new baby and and. Yeah, and so for three for the entire winter, all of them had to had to leave. They they couldn't can come back to the house. There's so much water damage that it took about four to five months to fix it. I can't remember how long has been. It's been years. It was like the worst winter and the worst year of tenant problems. And I was also pregnant with my twins and had to deal with this during my pregnancy. And the insurance bill came to eighty thousand dollars. So lessons learned from this is that make sure you buy a house that aligns with your lifestyle and make sure you get your tenants to get tenant insurance. How I overcame this obstacle is that because of the renovations, it's made it into a nice property and I retained a very good property manager to manage this house now.
Sandy MacKay [00:24:27] So do you think a lot of people would have given up after dealing with something like that?
Tracy Ma [00:24:31] Yeah, my my husband almost gave up.
Sandy MacKay [00:24:33] Yeah. Yes. He said that was your second property.
Tracy Ma [00:24:36] Yeah, it was my second property and it almost like it. My husband really want to sell it, but I always knew going in that, you know, it's not all red roses when you jump into investing real estate, especially if you're very new and which I was. And I knew that there's going to be tenant problems. I knew that being taking the position where I want to manage it all, being property manager, that that's the type of problems you deal with. So how are we came that is just realizing you can't do it all. You need to build a team and get a great property manager, a great handyman, and start reducing the noises.
Rob Break [00:25:24] Let me let me tell you guys a quick story that I've never told here. So we had a basement apartment in the house that we lived in just when my son was about one or so my my oldest son. And in the woman drove around in a scooter and my wife, we said, I've seen her on the road. She'll come home and say, I saw her on the road. And she's all over the place. Like, I don't even know how she drives. I think so. But one night we were it was a Friday night. It was only about seven thirty. And we were reading our son story and I and I saw flashing lights outside the house and I thought, oh, boy, something's going on at the neighbor's house. So I jumped up to go out and have a look and know it was our house. There were there was two cops blocking off the end of the driveway. And when I walked outside this Tennet that I had picked and I thought was great was screaming at the top of her lungs. For the cops to just shoot her over and over again and I went out and and the guy says, are you related to this one? I said, Well, she's my tenant. And he said, well, we're arrested for drunk driving. And I said, OK, well, if you need anything, I'll be inside. And then they stayed out in my driveway for over an hour with her screaming and carrying on. And then they took her away and and the next day I asked her to please just move out. And so she did. But that was a that was a fun one to tenants.
Sandy MacKay [00:27:02] Bad times are not good for business, that's for sure. Well, yeah.
Tracy Ma [00:27:08] Well, lucky that your tenant moved out.
Rob Break [00:27:10] So I have all kinds of them, but I won't I won't take up all the time with my stories.
Sandy MacKay [00:27:16] It makes it better. It's your house, too, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:27:22] So what's your why why do you invest in real estate?
Tracy Ma [00:27:26] So I invest in real estate to provide financial flexibility in my life, really, my husband, I just want choices in life. We don't like to think that we rely on just one source of income being our day job. So just in case anything happens, we have choices. And secondly, to pay for my kid's education using real estate so I don't have to worry about paying off their student debt nor and they don't need to worry about it. And they also have enough capital to buy their own place. Plus I get to have them out of the house once they turn 18 rather than having them live the live in my house, save their money to buy a place.
Sandy MacKay [00:28:11] So that's a good reason
Rob Break [00:28:13] because you're going to educate them all the way up to where they'll buy their first property at 18.
Tracy Ma [00:28:18] Oh yeah. And also have them purchase a property and they manage it and have it to rent it out to their friends and teach them life skills.
Rob Break [00:28:30] Yeah. My son, who's four, always keeps saying that he wants to, he wants to learn, but I just hope he keeps it up. But he's a teacher. Doesn't lose interest in it.
Tracy Ma [00:28:40] Oh, just inspire him. Yeah. And I've my long term goal is to retire early with my husband with at least ten mortgage free properties and to move back to Vancouver. So I'm closer to family. And then when I finally leave this world to leave a legacy for my kids.
Sandy MacKay [00:29:02] So how early do you want to retire?
Tracy Ma [00:29:05] I'm almost there.
Rob Break [00:29:06] OK, well, that was because that was my question. It was it seems like you love your job as well, your day job. So you're not really in any hurry to get out of that. Am I wrong or right about that
Tracy Ma [00:29:17] No, I do love my day job. I wouldn't say I love I actually really enjoy it. It's just that this year I decided probably almost just exactly three months ago to just take a year off. So to just take a break in life and say, OK, well, I work so hard building this real estate portfolio. Now it's time to take a break and just enjoy life. So I'm living the dream of taking a year off from work and I'm spending the summer with the with my twins before they start school, September. And then I when I've been doing some traveling and then I'll go from there. So it's not like I'm in any hurry to quit my job. At the same time, I'm not tied to my job, which is a good thing.
Sandy MacKay [00:30:00] Yeah, that's great. So how do you juggle all that? How do you juggle the full time job twin girls, which is a lot. And then, you know, real estate and doing your own renovations even sometimes. How do you do all that? And still you don't have a have a real life, like a social life and all that.
Tracy Ma [00:30:20] Oh, how do I do it all? Well, so, you know, my twins are clones of myself. They're like my mini munchkins come to work. No, seriously, I view life as an adventure and full of opportunity. So I don't like wasting my time on low priority things. So did you know that the average Canadian spends forty five hours online social networking and entertainment sites and that's from the Canadian Internet Regulatory Authority. That's one extra week in your life every month. So honestly, I only put in ten percent more effort every week. It really literally amounts to maybe twenty hours per month. And you divide that up between mentoring, managing my website, real estate, investing and continues education. It isn't a lot of time. And I'm relying heavily, heavily, heavily on my great husband, who manages the day to day operations of real estate. So dividing our roles and responsibilities when it comes to our real estate portfolio. I also rely heavily on awesome team of knowledgeable, like minded real estate professionals like the Great, my great realtors and property managers that I've spent years to find. And I little I simplify my life to maximize time so I don't. Iren and I stopped cooking fancy meals and I also have a real estate business plan. I just follow it. I don't even think about it anymore, except I modify it once a year. Real estate investing is literally a very boring vehicle for me to accomplish my financial goals and take me to my final destination, which is awesome. And it's so boring that it's systematic. There's very little motions. It's a checklist process for me. And honestly, if you were to just talk about how much time I spent on real estate investing per week, it is about two, two to three hours between my husband and I.
Sandy MacKay [00:32:23] That's pretty awesome, actually, to have a good, solid portfolio like that and not spend, you know, even half a day on that throughout the week. Have you ever had to make adjustments to your team's fire agents, fire property managers, that type of thing? There is a restaurant pretty smoothly.
Tracy Ma [00:32:41] Well, all the time I actually have I have like backlogs of property managers, and I'm always not I don't rely on just one realtor per city. I mean, I do relying to always have a backup. And I do have property managers where I've I've noted their names and their experience. And I know that if things don't turn out right, then I can rely on this other property manager. So I have contingency plans in place. And I've came across situations where if I fired probably five property managers over the course of seven years
Rob Break [00:33:18] and many of those were not in the local market, how many of them were in your other two cities?
Tracy Ma [00:33:25] Half of them were in the other two cities, really?
Rob Break [00:33:28] So so 50 percent of them were in Ottawa? Mm hmm. Yeah, but I guess there's you have more properties in Ottawa as well.
Tracy Ma [00:33:35] Yeah, exactly.
Rob Break [00:33:38] Well, it's interesting. I would have thought it would be that's a big fear of mine. I just I don't I don't know if I could trust anybody to do it
Sandy MacKay [00:33:45] in another city. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:33:49] I constantly want to be there.
Tracy Ma [00:33:51] Yeah. Yeah. Well that's why it's my criteria for buying properties outside Ottawa is that it's new or almost new. So literally it shouldn't take a lot of the property manager's time and it shouldn't be I shouldn't see big maintenance bills. So and my I have a time like a time zone for every property I buy outside of Ottawa. It's five years and if five years the market's decent, I'll sell them because I'm not I don't feel comfortable holding real estate outside of my own city for that long just because with time properties wear and tear. And then it comes up with more and more bills, right?
Sandy MacKay [00:34:34] Yeah. So is that is that the main reason why you're looking at new stuff? Is it just the maintenance and and that type of issues that you want to avoid? Is that that it?
Tracy Ma [00:34:43] Yeah, exactly. I want to simplify my life yet I want to brain I'm trying to diversify my portfolio by bringing in kind of higher cash flowing properties and to balance some of the the properties I have in Ottawa, which are just, you know, not very I mean, the cash flowing, it's just that they're not great, great cash flowing properties.
Sandy MacKay [00:35:07] OK, awesome. Well, let's get into the website a little bit what's what's up at Financial Nirvana Dot Dotcom? How did you start the site? Why did you do it? And and how's it been going?
Tracy Ma [00:35:21] So I started this Web site mainly because I couldn't find moms doing this or investing in real estate ads and who are very young. So I figured, hey, while I can't find it, I'll just do it. And I want. So I created it to help inspire, motivate and educate women to invest in real estate, to build their wealth and start their path of being financially independent. So they have choices in life and the confidence to lead whatever life they want to lead and more importantly, to showcase that you can start even when you're holding your career, having a family and still having fun. Yet you can invest in real estate part time in your spare time the right way.
Rob Break [00:36:08] Perfect. So what has been the biggest lesson that you've learned through creating the site and sharing your knowledge with others?
Tracy Ma [00:36:16] Building a website can be a big pain, and I didn't realize how easy or difficult it was to building it. Easy in that it's with WordPress is really easy to build a website in like 15 minutes. At the same time, if you want to have a scalable and as time goes on, you need to say you want to plan A members area, sell products, you have to have the right theme. So lesson learned is to pick the right thing from the beginning. So anyone looking to build a website I really strongly encourage by optimized process is not very expensive. And that's a good thing where if you want members pages or sell products, it's really easy to do. Secondly, thank God for YouTube. YouTube is an awesome resource for building my website and honestly, I didn't do everything myself. I used a great resource called Fiverr and that was to build my logo to create videos and graphics and adding content that adds a ton of value to your audience. So knowing your audience and my audience is Mammas and future Momus, so just making sure that when you're writing creating videos that you're adding a ton of value to your audience. And I've been finding that with blogging, doing videos and doing so, trying to do some fancy graphics that videos are are the key. Like it's it's getting a lot of attention, more attention than my blogs. In fact, my graphics are getting more attention on my blog. So I would start with videos and graphics, then blogs and don't be shy. So don't be shy to share your story and just be transparent with your mistakes. The value is how you overcame those mistakes and that's what resonates with your audience and helps them.
Rob Break [00:38:17] Yeah, I've been on there and there's a lot of good articles, and I would recommend that everybody go there, financial nirvana, Mama Dotcom, everybody go check it out.
Sandy MacKay [00:38:26] Yeah, and I think that was a really good point. I just found transparency, too, because some people don't even get started with stuff like that because they're too worried about how people are going to look at them and all that. And really, when you're sharing your mistakes and overcoming challenges and all that and maybe doing the first video, that's terrible, you know, and then getting better as you go. People actually really I think they really like that. They like to see that transparency. So anyone else trying to do share knowledge with anybody about real estate, about whatever it is? It's it's really not that difficult. You can't be scared. You got to just go for it.
Rob Break [00:39:03] I've never done a video. I don't think I'm ever going to.
Sandy MacKay [00:39:07] Well, we've done our show here, Rob. And I mean, we were very good at the start. I mean, you know, and now we get we got a good amount of listeners.
Rob Break [00:39:14] So, yeah, we do. It's definitely gotten much better from the beginning. Oh, yeah. The first one, we kind of just sat down one day and said, all right, let's let's do this and then hit the record button.
Sandy MacKay [00:39:26] Yeah, it goes from there.
Rob Break [00:39:28] Yeah, it got a lot better from there. So, Tracey, can you recommend a book that you would have the listeners read if you could pick one for them?
Tracy Ma [00:39:38] Yes, I'm going to say an inspirational book, it's a fact my boss told me to read it and which could be a bad thing and why. The book is called The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. It's about balancing life. And it really resonated with me in that it's about a lawyer who appeared to have it all money, cars, women, any everything in life. But then he he realized he didn't have it all and he only realized it almost when he was dying in the hospital. It's a self growth book and it's about balancing life. And I find that when you're investing in real estate, you can get caught up with chasing the money and then realizing that you're not true to the life that you really want to lead. So this is a book that has helped me a lot.
Rob Break [00:40:33] Thank you very much for recommending that book. And you can get an audio book just like the one mentioned here for absolutely free when you go to break through RMI podcasts, slash audible free trial.
Sandy MacKay [00:40:47] Yeah. So I think it's do for someone reading books out there and getting into real estate. You think it's more important that they learned how to invest in real estate type of stuff, or do you think it's more important to learn something like like you're recommending there something to do with the mindset or spirituality and all that type of stuff? What do you think is more important?
Tracy Ma [00:41:10] I would say it's both. Honestly, I'm seeing it from experience. And that's I started with the book called Real Estate Investing Canada, which is Creating Wealth Through the Ecosystem by Don Campbell. Awesome book. And teaching you a systematic way of buying real estate in Canada. What I found by going through that system is that in the beginning I was as I guess, as good as I was in buying properties and picking the properties. I started realizing that I wasn't buying the right properties, aligning to the life I wanted to live. So I think that this is a common story with a lot of real estate investors who get caught up. They don't buy real estate and income. Commonly, they buy real estate. That doesn't that could be a big hassle in their life. So just making sure that if you do venture off and want to build a tremendous, awesome, great portfolio, that you do it the right way. And you also think about balancing your life, because in the end that you only have one life to live and you want to make sure that you're living the life that you want to live, not doing a business that continuously promises you that better life, but you actually don't take the time to enjoy that life, right?
Rob Break [00:42:28] Yeah. You're really hitting home with me on this kind of stuff, especially lately. For me, a lot of the successes that I've had, I know I should be celebrating them, but instead, I'm kind of just going, OK, that was good. Now let's move on. Let's get the next one. Let's get the next one. And they're not taking the time. And my wife and I both said, OK, we've got to start appreciating these things as they come in. It's tough to do sometimes because they do have sort of that competitive, that competitive with myself to just keep going and do better. But it is really important to stop and realize that this is life and you have to enjoy it or else I'm just going to keep doing that forever.
Tracy Ma [00:43:12] Exactly, yeah, and I found it funny that my boss recommended me this book, so it pointed out something that was flawed in my career to.
Sandy MacKay [00:43:23] Well, working people in my agency,
Tracy Ma [00:43:26] well, they can go to financial nirvana, Marla, I'm sharing tons of content there. I'm trying to post blogs as frequently as possible. Well, you know, managing real estate and taking care of my kids. I'm also students in R Be videos, so I have a backlog of ideas I need to upload.
Sandy MacKay [00:43:49] Awesome. So and it's on the site there to a road, a couple of things for Canadian real estate Wealth magazine.
Tracy Ma [00:43:56] Yes, I wrote an article about how to pay for your nanny. And it's a true story of how I is like one of my dreams. Really early when I jumped into real estate investing, I always thought, wow, I really want a nanny to help take care of my kids. And so I wrote this article and it's based on how I did it.
Sandy MacKay [00:44:21] So that's your secret is you have a nanny. That's how you manage all this.
Tracy Ma [00:44:25] I don't have a nanny. I love the part of the thing I realize at the same time, I really do want to take care of my kids for a very short period of time in my life, which is just the summer before they go to school her.
Sandy MacKay [00:44:40] Awesome. Oh, if you add one thing to say to someone is if there's a mom while we're listening in right now and she was you know, she's interested in real estate. She's worried about how she's going to manage it all. It will be one thing to tell her to get her started in the right direction.
Tracy Ma [00:44:57] I would say first, educate yourself and read books and see if that's something you want to do. And one book I really recommend is called More than Cash Flow by Julie Broad. She reveals the truth about real estate investing and what it takes to become a successful real estate investor. And if you are OK with that, which I mean, I strongly encourage going into investing real estate, then get a mentor. And shorten your learning curve because you don't have time when you're a momma.
Rob Break [00:45:31] I guess we're going to list all of these books in the show notes, right, Sandy? Yeah, for sure.
Tracy Ma [00:45:36] Did all that stuff, too many books, sorry,
Rob Break [00:45:38] no, you know what I was just thinking, why would we be asking people to just name one book when there's so many good books out there? We should be letting people list as many as they want. Yeah, for sure. Right. There's so many out there and all of those books that you mentioned. Well, I haven't read the first one. The monkey sold this Ferrari. I've never heard of that one. But the other ones, you know, those are great books and people need to know about them. So, yeah, as many as you want. Do you got any more?
Tracy Ma [00:46:05] Oh, I'm an avid reader. I have a ton not so much on real estate investing, just more about just self growth and pushing yourself right now. The book is, I guess The Magic of Thinking Big. That one's really popular book, Who's Up? I wish I knew his name forgot.
Sandy MacKay [00:46:26] It's not a big thing to have people spent those. I forget the exact number. He said forty five hours a month
Tracy Ma [00:46:32] or two hours a month,
Sandy MacKay [00:46:34] a month. And if you spend ten hours of that reading, you know, if you're in a year, you just you'd be going crazy or you'd be so much more educated.
Tracy Ma [00:46:44] Exactly. And if you work out then you can hear an audio book if you take a bus to work. We listen to audio book. If you just I mean, just think of how to get to read a book or listen to a book while you're doing dishes like that's just another way of being efficient with your life.
Sandy MacKay [00:47:05] Yeah, the audio books are great because I go through like one a week almost now and it's it's just doing daily tasks. You can get through them. It's so easy, you know. So yeah. If you can sit down to read you might as well. You all everyone has time to to listen while they do other stuff so.
Rob Break [00:47:21] Right exactly. I would say 75 percent of my education is through audio and I love it. And I'm going to mention afeared too. I just got a book by a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk in the book called Crush It. And it's all about business development and it's it's amazing. So that would be my recommendation.
Sandy MacKay [00:47:40] Mm hmm. Yeah, cool.
Tracy Ma [00:47:42] I was going to say, oh, I did get the title. The Magic of Thinking Big is by Dr. David Schwartz. And it's a it's a self-help book. It was first published in nineteen fifty nine, but it's a very, very popular book.
Rob Break [00:47:56] OK, great. Well thank you very much for being on the show. I really appreciate you taking the time. And this has been great. The people are going to learn a lot from it. So thanks again.
Tracy Ma [00:48:08] Thank you.
Sandy MacKay [00:48:09] Yeah, it's been terrific. Tracy, thank you so much.
Tracy Ma [00:48:12] Great. Thanks for having me here. Have a good night, guys.
Rob Break [00:48:17] Thanks a lot.
Tracy Ma [00:48:18] Bye bye.
Rob Break [00:48:20] If you're interested in investment opportunities with us, go to break through, Ari, I thought s.A. Sandy and I added it a little bit afterwards, too, so if something doesn't go quite right, we've just we'll fix it later, OK?
Tracy Ma [00:48:58] OK, and I wasn't sure if this is alive. Yeah. Like, oh, my God, no.
Rob Break [00:49:04] It's a you know what I was thinking of doing, Sandy, you know how on the end we have the little bloopers and stuff is putting all of our arms and eyes at the end, just like in a big long stream. Yeah, yeah. Go on for a while, you know, and
Sandy MacKay [00:49:22] yeah, we kind of did a lot of arms and asked if we can. Side by side. No, no, I got I've got a little.