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Erwin Szeto [00:00:05] You see, this episode is brought to you by the Halton Real Estate Investors Group on April 28th at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. The Halton Real Estate Investors Group will be hosting a joint venture expert, Joey. We’re going to where he’ll be sharing his secret JV formula, where partners fit around his schedule and his investment strategy. We also will be hosting nearly because myself and many other investors enjoyed the paid version of neighborly, but now it’s free. Jerome of Nimboli will be coming in to explain how the automated, automated data gathering in the tenant risk analysis works in plain English. We were happy to pay for it before, but now it’s free, so we’re happy to host Jerome and neighborly. Plus our regular from the streets update on rents and prices in targeted investment areas. We will have April’s Best Buy property and the meeting is followed by our street smart tour of one of the top areas for investment in Ontario. To register, you can go to Halton REI dossier slash sign up. That’s one word. Again, that’s Halton REI dossier. Sign up and hope to see you there. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, investors across Canada. My name is Erwin Szeto, a.k.a. Mr Hamilton, and welcome to the truth about real estate investing show. As always, I have the pleasure of interviewing the titans of Canadian real estate to figure out what makes them successful. We will listen to their teachings, learn from their mistakes and experiences, so we too may replicate the excess. Before we get started, I’d like to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. It’s been over a week of celebrations. Raptors, including Raptors basketball games. Game Singular. Leafs vs. Montreal. The following night dinner. And a party at Dave and Buster’s with my Real Estate team. The fifth and final workout of the CrossFit Open. And finally, my favorite time of the year. The Hamilton Pasta Brigade Easter tradition. So this past Saturday, we delivered 350 Easter dinners to families that could have been with a dinner that weekend they had with the best brigade is a registered charity that I co-founded and served as the president, where my role is mainly fundraising, marketing and communications. The charity itself, its mandate is to provide poverty relief, and since 2014, we have delivered over 2000 holiday dinners to families at risk of going hungry. I would like to thank all of our volunteers, our board of Governors, our top, not our top four donor donors, as many of you. So just go to the top four. Scott Dillingham of CIBC and Pipe Solutions and Hamilton Matt Green in our very own James T Mag’s of the tiny investment Real Estate team for Thanksgiving. Best pregame, we will be shaking things up a little bit and we will provide more for fewer families. We hope to maintain same budget if donations keep coming in, but we will be looking to serve 50 to 60 of the of the most extreme cases of less fortunate families. We get the best brigade up to go beyond just a meal this time and fulfill wish lists of what our family’s needs. They can include winter coats, socks, boots, school supplies, light bulbs. Yes, seriously. Someone previously has requested light bulbs. Maybe some toys with the budget allows for kids, and again, our volunteers will be meeting with the families, but this time to unbox some of the gifts. I personally can’t wait to see the faces of the kids for what I look forward to as the greatest volunteer experience as the vacuum brigade has been for me. So if anyone’s coming, just please someone bring some Kleenex now onto the show, from homeless in Ottawa to Mr. Ottawa with Tony Miller. Tony is many things a father, husband, real estate investor, real estate agent and not just any real estate agent, but rather the preferred real estate agent for Ottawa by both kiss buyer and the real estate investment network. He has literally been homeless and live on the streets of Ottawa when he was a teenager, but he turned it around, including a long stint working for the government of Canada with great pay and one of those wonderful defined benefit pensions that we all envy. But don’t forget, you do have to trade a good portion of your life to for that guaranteed money. This wasn’t good enough for Tony, though, who decided to leave that steady job and pension to pursue to pursue a Real Estate pursue Real Estate as a full time endeavor. Tony, Tony and I discuss his recent solo weeklong vacation, how the market is faring in Ottawa, Ontario, and his recommended investment strategies. So without further ado, I give you Tony, Mr. Tony, Mr. Tony, Mr. Ottawa Miller. How’s everything?
Tony Miller [00:04:29] Pretty good. Not too bad. Just. Are we starting yet, or would we?
Erwin Szeto [00:04:36] Are you recording? I usually do as little chitchat first, you know?
Tony Miller [00:04:39] Oh, OK, OK. I wasn’t sure if I had to be on or not. Yeah, pretty good.
Erwin Szeto [00:04:44] It’s good to be on. Decent case like we do something awesome and then I’ve decided to include it.
Erwin Szeto [00:04:49] Yes.
Tony Miller [00:04:50] Okay. So you can cut and everything. Yeah, it’s going well. Had a had a nice vacation down south in Cuba, Varadero and spend some time alone there. And I try to do it a yearly on a yearly basis. Get away on my own,
Erwin Szeto [00:05:06] all by yourself. Yeah. Oh yeah. How about yourself? Okay.
Tony Miller [00:05:11] Yeah, 100 percent. I started doing it three years ago and I said I got to go and do was a lot of just busy, either dressy or the whole thing. And I said, Listen, man, I got to get out here. And so I booked the book The Flight and the trip. And I remember that year tours by my sister in law. You know, she’s awesome. She’s great and everything. But we have a small enough house and she was living with us and her young son was living with us. It was over Christmas. It was just a whole bunch of stuff going on, so I just needed to get out. And that was that sort of took the edge off big time. That year, I remember how great it was, just lying in the sun and I like going to those places. I like going on vacation myself because I’m not a big talker. I’m not a big jogger, I’m not a big party or type of thing. So just going out to the to the beach and sitting there and letting read a bit and let the mind wander and think and it really, really helps. Did that last year as well and did it this year, too? So I think I’ll do something different next year. I don’t know if I’m going to go to varied arrow again. I’ve gone to the same spot three years in a row and battled on, and it’s pretty quiet. And once you find a place, you know, y change something up when it’s working. But the only thing on the way home from Cuba, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass because it took us 13 hours to get home. Whoa. The flight was delayed an hour and you have to leave the, you know, we have to leave the check out at a certain time and leave the hotel at a certain time and sit around like three hours, three and a half hours in advance before the flight leaves. And it’s just a bit of mayhem and tiring. And plus some of the flights only leave later at night. So you’re getting home in the middle of the morning. And you know, you go for a relaxing vacation. I want to make you go on vacation. I want to make it all easy, right? I want to. I’m going to I’m going to take direct flights. I’m going to book, you know, like a better room or better service, that type of thing, and maybe take a taxi home instead of, you know, scraping the snow and ice off the car when you get home from down south. Hmm. Hmm.
Erwin Szeto [00:07:22] Hmm, hmm. Yeah, that’s
Tony Miller [00:07:24] that’s a rough thing to do. But yeah, how about you? What’s going on your end?
Erwin Szeto [00:07:29] Oh, same old, same old jazz player.
Erwin Szeto [00:07:33] That’s why we’re talking about travel. I’m looking into booking a trip to Greece. It’s a trip I’ve always wanted to do. No way. Yeah, nice. Specifically, island hopping Air Transat offers. Yeah, packages. You heard of this before.
Erwin Szeto [00:07:49] Mhm. Oh yeah. So Air Transat, Air
Erwin Szeto [00:07:52] Transat, like, like you said, I’m like, I’m the same way. I want things simple. But island hopping is not simple, but Air Transat actually puts together packages. You just choose which package you want, like which islands and how many days you want to stay in, like one star hotel you want to stay in. And they yeah, they make all the accommodation for your hotel. Probably some breakfast and you’re transportation between islands, so it’s all arranged. No kidding. Yeah.
Tony Miller [00:08:15] So would you take the kids with you?
Erwin Szeto [00:08:16] No, no, no. This would be just my wife and me.
Tony Miller [00:08:20] Yeah, you and Sherry.
Erwin Szeto [00:08:21] Yeah. Yeah, because that’s just not easy to do with kids island hopping, you know?
Erwin Szeto [00:08:26] No, no, no.
Tony Miller [00:08:28] Did you say there’s a third seat for an Ottawa realtor, though, what you said? Sorry, did you say that there’s a third seat for an automobile plane?
Erwin Szeto [00:08:39] I could, but that’s all right. I think it’s a temporary rule, which
Erwin Szeto [00:08:49] is, you know, we’re self-employed and I, you know, I’m a bit frugal. I don’t want to travel at the peak, which is the summer when everyone’s off. So I want to go actually, like, maybe like the week after Labor Day when the weather’s so nice. Yeah, I won’t be crazy busy. Right? And hopefully we shouldn’t be.
Tony Miller [00:09:10] Didn’t they have the Olympics air like three or eight years ago and it was like November, not November, but I think it was like October was in the fall and it was still really, really hot there in the fall.
Erwin Szeto [00:09:22] Hmm. Hmm.
Tony Miller [00:09:23] Which is good, which is that’s awesome, like I’ll take the heat and everything. But yeah, that would be an awesome vacation to go to Greece. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel as well, Egypt. Just check out all the ruins, all the sites, the history that’s there. It’s really fascinating to me. And but I don’t know if I don’t think I can go now. Maybe it’s just maybe it is safe, but I just wouldn’t feel safe. So I’ll just go somewhere else instead.
Erwin Szeto [00:09:52] Right, right, right.
Erwin Szeto [00:09:54] I do want to touch you. I want to go back to you how you’re doing these trips by yourself. Are you married by chance?
Erwin Szeto [00:09:59] Yep, yep. Oh, your wife? Yeah.
Erwin Szeto [00:10:03] Oh, you’ve even more long time. I that’s OK. Can’t go on individual trips. You guys know each other well enough.
Erwin Szeto [00:10:09] Yeah.
Tony Miller [00:10:10] And I think it was the Szeto 94 96. It’s, you know, 22. You will be 22 years in May that we’ve been married. So yeah, there’s no issues there and we totally support each other in what we want to do, whether it’s business related or changing jobs at the time or going on trips. She’s going with her sisters down south during March break. She works in the school system and the only time she can really go is OK, March break. So that’s not a good time for us as self-employed people, realtors at that time of year. So yeah, she’s going and that’s fine. That’s cool. And we try to take trips during the summer. We’ve been to Newfoundland several times and with the kids as well. We actually drove Erwin to Newfoundland and it was the best experience, the best trip, family trip ever. It was just, you know, how easy it was planned. But all these things happened along the way. That was that was really that were really funny and that you don’t expect to happen. And that’s what I wouldn’t want to drive there again because it couldn’t. We could never duplicate that terrible trip. And we’re driving through Montreal, for example, and we’re about to go in through one of the tunnels. I look over to my right and I see George St. Pierre Georges next to us.
Erwin Szeto [00:11:39] Like Jason has a nice black car
Tony Miller [00:11:42] like super sporty bike and I just say GSP, and he weighs backriding and gives me the high five sort of thing the party sign. And we drove on from that. From that moment on, I knew the trip was going to be great. That’s awesome. But if he had a chance to go to Newfoundland with the family, that’s pretty good too
Erwin Szeto [00:12:01] for our listeners. Join St. Pierre is considered at least top three greatest UFC champion ever.
Erwin Szeto [00:12:09] Right after.
Tony Miller [00:12:11] Yeah, after Erwin Szeto, right? Yeah.
Erwin Szeto [00:12:13] Hello, yeah, I’m a pacifist. I’ve never even been in a real fight, so I don’t even know what would happen.
Erwin Szeto [00:12:19] No, seriously, you’ve never been in.
Tony Miller [00:12:22] You never been in a fist fight. You’ve never been in any anything like that.
Erwin Szeto [00:12:25] Fisticuffs just with my brother. But that’s not that’s not real, right?
Tony Miller [00:12:31] That doesn’t count, right?
Erwin Szeto [00:12:32] Yeah, there’s no there’s there are there.
Erwin Szeto [00:12:35] There are rules that we have to follow. And yeah, how about yourself because we’re going to get into it. Maybe we get into it now, but you had you had a rocky beginning
Erwin Szeto [00:12:46] and
Tony Miller [00:12:47] yeah, had some rocky start. Or I guess you would call it now back in the early teens sort of thing. And it’s not that I thought that was a bad kid, although it was a good kid. My problem or my thing at the time was that I was. I’m still that way. I’m so quiet and everything. By the time I was, I was just following the follower rate. It’s, you know, meet people and, you know, want to hang out with the crowd and the good crowd or whatever who I thought were the what the popular crowd and whatever they did. You know, I’d want to follow in and be part of the group, be, you know, feeling of inclusiveness and be part of the gang. And sometimes the activities that we did weren’t all that cool. I thought they were cool at the time, perhaps. But looking back, you know, I’m not always the smartest thing. And yeah, so yeah, you know, we partied a lot, definitely when we were younger and again, it’s not that we were terribly bad kids or anything like that. It was just some people that were hanging out with, you know, maybe they were a little more aggressive in their lifestyle than being there. So, oh yeah, we had a boy, I guess we’d have. We’d be drinking and there’d be drugs. And not just we’re not just talking pot or hash, but we’re talking hard stuff. Back then and expensive and yeah, yeah. And, you know, drinking and the whole thing, and so there was there was a lot of there was a lot of that. And I remember my first drink was like that with friends, that type of thing. And that was what, 11, I guess. And I crazy. I would go to a restaurant when you’re 11 or 12 and they serve you. What do you call that as a black Russian? I think it was that they served us. And yeah, it was just stuff like that. And I think, you know, when you’re when you’re that age GLC, you have choices to make and some of the things that were done and you know, whether it was crime or doing some other stuff, you know, I tended to walk away. I didn’t have the guts to go through with stuff like that. And as a result, I’d sort of get in trouble with my friends or the people I was hanging out with because I wouldn’t go through with it. You know what they were doing? And so I go home. And yeah, I remember those times. It was, it was. It was kind of a kind of rough, you know, it was kind of kind of different. So a lot of a lot of street smarts, a lot of experiences. And then I guess how old I was 16. And it’s not. At 16, that’s where I was living on the street for a while. And it wasn’t because of drugs or drinking or girlfriends or anything like that. It was something else. And so I ended up on the street for a while and stayed living outside as staying in my cousin who lived down the street from us or in the same area. His dad had built a tree for it sort of thing in and a little shed in the backyard that had like a little bit of think of it like a coach house or a bunk house. And so I’d spend some, some evenings and there and other times I’d just be wandering around at night. I’d sleep in the Canterbury Arena. They had these little cubbies. And so if I needed a place to sleep, I’d go in there and crash for a little while and wake up and walk around a little bit more. And what I found interesting or what I learned, is that a lot of people, many people who I didn’t know that well really stepped up to help me in that day. They’d see me or they come out and see me, let’s say, at supper time, and they dropped me off a few sandwiches and a drink to get me through the night, the evening in the night, those type of things. And that was, I’ll never forget that that was really nice. The people at Canterbury Community Center, I remember, would let me go in and, you know, take showers and, you know, clean up sort of thing. At that point in time. And can you tend to get dirty Erwin when you when you’re living outside, you tend to get smelly. And so, yeah, and then eventually finally moved into my I guess my cousin invited me and actually her brother to go live with her in the West End of Ottawa, which we did. And at that point in time, I decided, Okay, well, it doesn’t look like I’m going back to school at the age of 16. So or go get a job. So I was looking for a job at the same time of applying for student welfare. And when you applied for student welfare at that time, the city or the province, whoever it was, would always. But they would need to contact the family. The parents of the kid who was applying for welfare see if they can get them back together. So there were a couple of people involved and, you know, took a couple more months before finally ended up back home. And yeah, so a lot of experiences going back in, you know, my ages 12 to 16, that type of thing. And we are still I still once I went to, once I got back into high school, that Charlebois things were much better. But we still party. We still had lots of fun, just none of the real nasty stuff you know that we used to do. I won’t say nasty, but I guess some of the some of the crime that was associated with it, you know, that was that was sort of that tapered off. We just grew up, I guess, right? And somewhat matured somewhat. And some of the people who I knew back then when I was a young team, some a couple of them have gone a different route. And like I say, you come to choices, right? You are just. What are you going to do? You know, you have a decision to make. Are you going to do this bad thing or you can do a good thing? And some people just went on to keep doing what we were doing back then. And they’ve learned big time, it’s really about who you surround yourself with. Hey. Especially now in business where you always want to hang out with people who are smarter, brighter, more advanced, whatever you want to call it and are just good people and hang out with those type of that type of crowd, right? And so, yeah, I really learned that from that experience.
Erwin Szeto [00:19:49] All right. Thank you for sharing. Tony, yeah. I remember all your high school years where I was. That was like the experimental age, and I remember trying drinking for the first time, the grade nine and grade 10. And then I don’t know what happened, but my group of friends changed.
Erwin Szeto [00:20:07] Hmm.
Erwin Szeto [00:20:07] I like to me to like two of the guys over my wedding party, for example, like Mike and Dave, like they were both silver medalists at my high school. All right.
Tony Miller [00:20:18] But in what sport?
Erwin Szeto [00:20:19] No, no. As in academics, they had they both. Yeah, they tied for the second highest average in our in our four graduated rate. But those are those are my friends in like the last three years of high school. And then, yeah, like it’s just different for me, like we were competing in class. You know, I mean, like we tried to yeah, we tried out. We tried to help each other and try to do and we were all that was. That was just that was our objective. Just like just like we as he wears Real Estate investors, right? We’ll try to bring each other up. We’re on this journey together. What the what the end game being getting rich in real estate, right? But when you’re in school and you’re in your head, you’re around people that were, like, really driven to be good students. That’s what I was around.
Erwin Szeto [00:21:07] Right? Yeah.
Tony Miller [00:21:08] Yeah. So it was. So that was a good experience for you.
Erwin Szeto [00:21:12] Yeah, it wasn’t always a good experience, but that was my experience. And then, you know, we’ll get off we’ll get out the school thing in a second. I mentioned before I spent, I spent too much time on social media and I see I see all the other people who are bashing post-secondary school education. Yeah. And I think back to well, I look at today how much it costs us to be around high level people like, look at Jason Gaynor’s mastermind talks, for example, it’s like 5000 or 8000 American for a weekend. Right? Wow. That’s a great weekend. And then think about how much it costs you to go to school, something like that.
Tony Miller [00:21:50] Yes.
Erwin Szeto [00:21:51] But I went to I went to business school. So we it was actually you’d apply to get in. Like, even when you’re in in the universe, you’d apply again to get in. So it was, yeah, it was, you know, pretty it was challenging to get in. I think about one in five of the crop. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, like you. But I think maybe a little bit of 40 percent of people who applied got in. But yeah, like and again, same thing
Tony Miller [00:22:19] for you, though.
Erwin Szeto [00:22:21] So I was around people, but this was the end, you know, came from high school and university and then has around like great people, all really driven all hard workers. And that raised my game. But that became my context, right? Yes. And to your point, yeah, it’s so important who you root, who you spend your time with.
Tony Miller [00:22:43] Exactly. Yeah, yeah. And I also find that when I’m talking about going on vacation, we talked about that. And one of the reasons why I really felt I needed to go on vacation was because I was in a slump from January 2017 till after Christmas. Some time I just didn’t feel right. I just felt I didn’t feel motivated. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. And so getting away helped me, you know, get back that focus and that desire sort of thing. Mm hmm. But also, it’s hanging around the right people is important, but it’s also what you feed your mind. Mm hmm. I found and I was trying to think, OK, well, what? I was looking back, what was I doing during that time period, July to January or December? That made me feel that way? Now what was I? Was I doing something different and I was trying to put my finger on it? And I found that it was my, my scheduling, my spending more time on social media and paying more attention to the news. And I found it really just sucked the wind out of me, man.
Erwin Szeto [00:23:55] It wasn’t
Tony Miller [00:23:56] really. It wasn’t a good wasn’t a good thing. So my habits, right? It was the habit. What do I? What do I do? And I just sort of getting into that bad habit. So what I’ve done since beginning of January, and it wasn’t it wasn’t any type of New Year’s resolution or anything. It was just something that I decided to start. And so instead of waking up in the morning and grabbing my phone and. Are checking social media and messages right away, basically going to work right away. I just leave it there and I hop in the car and I go over coffee and I’ll read a book. I’ll read some type of paper, a business article or something, you know, something that I like that I enjoy. And I think that’s really important as well who you hang around with, but also what you’re feeding your mind. And I since then Erwin since I’ve been doing that, I feel a big change and a large change and feeling much better, even going to bed like I love reading well before going to bed. Now I’m just reading different stuff and it could be Seneca Park or the Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah, yeah. And you know, I just like reading and just pondering on it, you know, thinking about stuff. And it’s made a nice change.
Erwin Szeto [00:25:20] Nice, nice. I tend to read science fiction before bed because if I read stuff like Gary V., I’ll get an idea and then I start working on it.
Tony Miller [00:25:31] Do you have a notebook beside your bed to write down ideas?
Erwin Szeto [00:25:35] You know,
Erwin Szeto [00:25:36] because my I am, my mind goes on a hamster wheel. If it has the time to, that’s why I tried to. That’s why I like the way I think of it as her and trying to submit my mind by reading.
Erwin Szeto [00:25:50] So that’s how we’re trying to exhaust it. This is great until I got you.
Tony Miller [00:25:55] Yes, exactly. Yeah, I understand.
Erwin Szeto [00:25:58] So that’s my tip for anyone who has trouble sleeping like I do. This is what you’re talking about with the opposite. I would that would help me stay awake.
Erwin Szeto [00:26:07] Do that stuff in the morning. Yes.
Erwin Szeto [00:26:12] So, you know, you mentioned like social media in the morning. So what I actually do is I set my Facebook so that I see Gary. The first thing I see is video that’s a good idea. So at the top of my feed, I always get two items from Gary V every morning. That just seems what happens. Gary Vaynerchuk for anyone who doesn’t know. Yeah, brilliant speaker. He’s not the cleanest language. Kind of like Eddie Murphy, but motivational.
Tony Miller [00:26:43] And he’s so clear and concise the way he gets it across. You go with where he gets his message across. Yes. And I only started listening to him a few months ago. And okay, yeah, it’s good. But I just like his direct approach, right? No B.S. This is it. And that’s it. He’s more or less black and white in many cases.
Erwin Szeto [00:27:05] Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
Tony Miller [00:27:07] Yeah. So I yeah. But as with crush it, that’s his latest book. Nice. Or is it crushing it? I’m forget the title. I just got it yesterday in the mail. So, yeah, I’ll be starting on that one soon.
Erwin Szeto [00:27:22] Who your favorite author?
Erwin Szeto [00:27:24] Don Campbell.
Erwin Szeto [00:27:28] Oh, I
Erwin Szeto [00:27:29] haven’t mentioned this in a while, so I just had Don on and I released his podcast today. But when I talk, you’re talking in general like favor books
Tony Miller [00:27:40] or just general fear of
Erwin Szeto [00:27:41] babies books or
Tony Miller [00:27:45] just general something that you like to read.
Erwin Szeto [00:27:48] Uh, so I’ve talked about like maximum achievement by buying Tracy, that totally changed my world and the way I thought about things. So if you haven’t read it, highly recommend anyone who’s listening. Read it. Maximum achievement by Brian Tracy. Rich dad, poor dad totally changed my thinking about money and work and taxes. Yes.
Erwin Szeto [00:28:09] Yeah, for sure.
Erwin Szeto [00:28:10] And then for a fun one down
Erwin Szeto [00:28:14] the oh yeah, the science fiction book.
Erwin Szeto [00:28:17] Yeah, I’ve read. That’s always. Yeah, I like that book.
Tony Miller [00:28:21] Do you know the rich, rich dad, poor dad. They also have a rich kid.
Erwin Szeto [00:28:27] Rich dad, rich kid. Yeah.
Tony Miller [00:28:31] Check that one out. I bought it years ago and read it and know I had it to my kids. Three when they got to a certain age and I don’t think they read it. But yeah, it’s a good option for parents out there too who want who, who want to teach their kids about money in financial management. And yeah, I know it’s a really good book. I just stumbled across it and I go, Wow, I didn’t know he had that. And it’s a good. If you’re not sure what to say to the kids, you know you get a high level spiel about it and let them read it.
Erwin Szeto [00:29:06] What’s called again? And when I was out now,
Tony Miller [00:29:09] I think it’s I think it’s the rich, rich dad, rich kid.
Erwin Szeto [00:29:14] I’ll find it. And for the little listeners, I’ll pass in, the show notes.
Tony Miller [00:29:20] Very cool. Yeah, definitely a good book.
Erwin Szeto [00:29:22] So. Actually, what we’re talking about kids like, what are you having much success teaching your kids about, like work and entrepreneurship and saving and investing
Tony Miller [00:29:34] sort of in a way, you know, I think sometimes kids will absorb things when you don’t realize it. Mm hmm. And ah, first of all, my ah, daughter, who’s fantastic, she’s at Sheridan College. She’s in animation third year. She’s some people are into business and finances and know how to handle money. She’s the opposite of bad, right? She’s very artistic and it’s just not her thing, right? And our son, Sean is much like me. When I was a young kid, I take out the monopoly set and I count the fake money. I was so excited to have it and any money he makes. He likes making money. He likes the idea of money, and he’s a good saver. But now that he’s a little bit older and have a job, he’s spending money pretty fast. And I did too at that age REIN and same night. My belief is let them do it now because they won’t be able to do it when they get older. But at least teach them as much as you can about their financial management, money, money management at this age. So no, in terms of teaching about entrepreneurship, I think that they know what I do and where I’m going, and I let them know and I offer help. And that’s about it at this point. And I just hope that they’re that they soak it in by listening to me talk at home and that type of thing. We used to with properties here in Ottawa, we take the kids to the properties. That’s when they were pretty young and they’d assign Tara the job of cleaning the dryer and find the job of cleaning the washer to shine and the coin operated machines. And they would get to keep the money that was inside the machine that they did a good enough job of cleaning the dryers and the area, the like, the utility room, that type of thing. And it got to the point where they just started fighting all the time while we were there and kids being kids. And so that sort of I think Paris didn’t want to go anymore. Regardless of the money and so on, enjoying taking the money. But you just didn’t like doing the work. And I do remember he’s pretty young, right? And so, yeah, it just did little things like that, right? That’s up in the hills. Yeah, yeah. But it was fun. That’s where we’re at. In terms of I wish we could have. I wish we could have taught them more, you know, dragged on. But you know, if they’re not really interested in it, then you can’t force them, right? They don’t want to turn them off on it, either. When I was a kid, I don’t know if you know, but I’m not a handyman. I’m pretty bad when it comes to fixing things and knowing how to repair things and construction and all that stuff. And when I was a kid, my dad was trying to show me how to fix a bike, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn’t care, right? I just wanted him to fix, though I can go and ride my bike. And I remember he got really pissed off at me because I had no interest in it. And I remember I just didn’t want to. I didn’t want to do that to my kids, right? If they’re not interested in it, I know what they’re like, then I’m not going to push them. And when they’re interested and then they can figure it out, right? But I’m pretty bad when it comes to construction people as they say, Well, wait a second, you’re in Real Estate. Shouldn’t you be really
Erwin Szeto [00:33:19] good at all this stuff? They haven’t met me yet.
Tony Miller [00:33:22] Then I go, No, I’m brutal. Like, What do you mean with the laminate? Well, what do you mean? Vinyl glue on what’s? What’s quartz countertop? All this stuff and jeepers creepers, there’s enough to know. And I think that I’m better served by having people who are expert than those type of things. Look after it for me and for us, you know, getting contractors who know their stuff. Designers who know their stuff. And I’ll focus what I think I’m good at.
Erwin Szeto [00:33:56] Hmm. Hmm. Hmm, hmm.
Erwin Szeto [00:33:58] That’s interesting. So here’s the other flip side of that with the renovations and like how to do stuff. So I’ll have this conversation with the people who are renovating my property because they appreciate this. I got this Tiffany in Tsavo. I explained to them, Why are we doing some renovations? Like, Why am I doing a vinyl floor or why am I doing laminate? Because I know how much more rent, I can get. And I explain that to my contract because they’re fascinated by that, right? So even though like you and I don’t know how to. You know, to put down a perfect laminate floor, I know how much more roughing it.
Erwin Szeto [00:34:27] Yes.
Tony Miller [00:34:28] And that pizza I totally get. Yeah, absolutely. And even though he’s, you know, this stuff inside out and these eating. Have you been on this bus?
Erwin Szeto [00:34:42] No. Booking them right now, by the way. We’re booking them for you. Well, maybe,
Erwin Szeto [00:34:45] maybe you when you’re in town, I’ll let you know when we book them because we’re ushered in callers. We do our meet ups. I’m ushered in college. So when we them? Yeah. In Oakville, when are you in college? Oh, so you can. You can come in as well. You can come to a school.
Erwin Szeto [00:35:00] Yeah, it
Tony Miller [00:35:02] would be funny. The yeah, I luckily my, my contractor, the one who I use the most, especially when it comes to basement conversion, adding secondary suites. And his wife is also a realtor and a designer. And so we’ve been together along with our finance guy, a mortgage specialist. But he knows you’re very familiar with that, right. And so we know that many in some cases, I’ve seen people put in do some rentals and they’re going lower end now in terms of product and we choose to go higher end. We’re going to put in those quartz countertops, you know, we’re going to go, we’re not going to go hardwood floor or anything like that. There are some something that we won’t do because it is, after all, a rental, but we go higher and, in some spots, so that we can increase that value and appraisal right when the when the time comes and get higher rents, of course. So with the whole system, so being, yeah, I’m lucky that my contractor gets that and he goes, Oh no, no, this is this is much better. You’ll get a better return if you use this product, and it’s much easier in the long run, true to if you have to replace it or fix it. It’s cost effective.
Erwin Szeto [00:36:19] Very good. So, Tony, you actually take a step back and let our listeners know what it is you do for a living.
Tony Miller [00:36:24] Sure, I’m investor focused realtor in the Ottawa area, so I help investors buy sell. We do some leasing. You know, if, if and when needed, but not, not that much. Honestly, leasing isn’t my isn’t my forte, but definitely helping investors buy sell. And I think, you know, as well as Erwin, if you’re working with investors, there’s a. People say, What do you provide coaching as well? And I go, Well, I don’t officially provide coaching. It’s just part of the package REIN. If you’re going to work with an investor focus realtor. We can’t do our jobs without providing coaching at the same time. The property analysis, the here. This is where you should be. This is what you should do at this point in the life cycle of the property. You know, here’s a recommendation for that. You know that boom cycle, are you? And a bust is at a recovery, you know, all those type of things. And even coming down, especially when it comes to property management, a lot of newer investors have a lot of questions about stuff like that. And so, yeah, definitely investor focus realtor and I’m an investor myself as well.
Erwin Szeto [00:37:40] What do you invest and
Tony Miller [00:37:41] what have
Erwin Szeto [00:37:42] you and also do?
Tony Miller [00:37:43] Oh, yeah, no. I should also mention a REIN to write articles for Postmedia, the Ottawa Sun real estate investing articles. That’s super cool and cool. Yeah, yeah, that was. I’m pretty happy with that, though. I struggle, so I’m not a no, I’m a writer. I do write, but it takes me a long time to write articles. Everything’s in my head, but it takes me a little while to get it out on paper. And but that was that was pretty cool. How he scored that. You know, I went to the Ottawa Citizen here and I said, Listen, know you guys, every Saturday, you have big Real Estate S. You have homes for sale, properties for sale. You have mortgage columns and articles. You have renovation articles, but you don’t have anything focused to the Ottawa investor. Like there are a lot of investors in Ottawa. So you’re missing sort of a niche there. You’re missing some, some clients, and I’m sure your readers would like it. I sent them a draft article and they said, thanks, but no thanks. We’re going to pass this. Okay? So I went to the Ottawa Sun and Georges seem like the next day. Yup, okay. You’re up the coast and doing that for. Yeah, I’ve been doing that for three years now. The Postmedia owns the Citizen, the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future or whatever, but it’s nice to be able to put stuff on paper and I sometimes wonder, is it? Actually helping anybody, is it, you know, the people read it is people benefiting from the articles and once in a while, you know, I get an email from somebody or a message and they say, Thanks, man, that was a that was a good article. Can you help me with this or can you help me with that? So that’s good to know. So I’m happy about that.
Erwin Szeto [00:39:40] That’s fantastic. I was going to ask you how you got that. So did you know somebody or you just like to do the general email or
Tony Miller [00:39:48] yeah, I just I just contacted the home’s editor and I said, This is what I want to do. Here’s what I can offer you. Let’s fill that, that that niche should fill that void. And yeah, it’s been good. It’s been it’s been really good. Yeah. And it just goes to show if you do you want something, you just have to ask for it. It was the worst they can say is no right, right? And if they’re going to say no, I was just going to go to the next newspaper, right? Maybe the one in Gatineau,
Erwin Szeto [00:40:19] maybe, you know, French or
Tony Miller [00:40:22] something, you know? But yeah, you just have to go out and ask and make it happen. And that was that was one of my goals for 2015. I think it was to have something published somewhere. And yeah, it was published in Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine. Is that what is true? Is it true? Yeah. And then on C.F.R. and been on TV a couple of times. But yeah, the rating is having been the one constant and consistent aspects when it comes to media, for sure. So you ask me where I invest in it? Yeah, here in Ottawa and Halifax as well.
Erwin Szeto [00:41:02] How about Dartmouth, Nova Scotia? Oh, no kidding. OK?
Tony Miller [00:41:05] Yeah, yeah. And you know, the older, the older I get, the less I enjoy doing property management stuff. And so we have gotten into lending funds out as well. And I don’t do syndicate mortgages. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the person. You know me to someone who I know a friend, I know, let’s say, was an investor and I know them already, of course, and I trust them. It’s much easier for me to do my due diligence. And it’s been more works out really well. So we’re doing really well in that aspect as well, right?
Erwin Szeto [00:41:45] Yeah. Syndicate of mortgages is a funny thing is because technically, as soon as you have two people on one mortgage, that’s the syndicate mortgage. But you know what you’re referring to referred to the large ones like the large multi-million, like 10, 20, 30 million dollars with hundreds of investors.
Tony Miller [00:42:00] Yeah, you got it.
Erwin Szeto [00:42:01] But I agree. Like, I think that good advice that I give people is like, if it is me personally, I’d want to be lending on someone’s principal residence.
Erwin Szeto [00:42:11] Mm-Hmm. Yeah, right. Yeah.
Erwin Szeto [00:42:14] Preferably in the Golden Horseshoe, because I understand that.
Tony Miller [00:42:19] Yes. Lower, lower the risk. And yeah, when you mention, you know what? My criteria for loaning my money out, they have to be people who I know and trust and they have a track record sort of thing, right? And also and I like short term. I like six months to a year so that if something else comes along, I can roll it in to take my money out and roll it into that. It has to be in the Ottawa area. You know, I don’t know other markets that well. So no, I’m I’ll stick to the Ottawa area and that’s this is what I know when I’m a lifer here in Ottawa. So I’m pretty familiar with it and comfortable with it. And yeah, those are pretty much just short term and in the Ottawa areas, what I look for and definitely not into any major syndicate type of mortgages,
Erwin Szeto [00:43:13] I don’t think you can anymore. It seems to me they’re all being shut down.
Erwin Szeto [00:43:18] No, there’s still some other ones,
Erwin Szeto [00:43:19] but there’s a lot of big ones have been a lot of big ones have been closed down. Can you give some examples, give you some examples on terms that you think that you invest in for a for lending your money?
Erwin Szeto [00:43:29] Sure. Yes. For the listeners benefit
Tony Miller [00:43:32] the good thing is that when you’re lending your own money, I say our ASPs. If I’m lending my own RRSP out, there’s a way to do that. And so the terms that we come across and it’s negotiated directly with the borrower. And the best thing is that the borrower is paying all the fees because I’m the bank and the bank doesn’t pay any fees, right? So they’re paying everything in terms of fees. I guess we should explain there’s an Administrator Olympia Trust, and that’s the organization that administers the loan between the borrower and the and the lender in these situations. So there’s fees, there’s monthly fees are set up fee, there’s lawyer fees, of course, to set up the mortgage. And so the person who is borrowing the money. He’s for all of those, so that’s a prerequisite right there, so the interest rates really depend on what position mortgage if it’s first second. No, I’ve never done it before, but first or second. And what type of property it is, right? And so the last deal, for example, they did so still go on. We did a one year term. It was $60000. 11 percent interest in free. They can prepay it. We can cancel at any time, that type of thing. Hmm. And there’s no penalty fees for prepayment or paying it off ahead of time. And we can roll it over. They can continue. We just keep it going. I think it expires in July, so we’ll probably just roll it over. I know they’re going to be using that funds for those funds, for something else. And so it’s great. I just know I’m getting 11 percent net Erwin net. That’s, you know, that’s the key word here that it’s net after expense. And if I’m yeah, compared to an RSP, our mutual fund that I’m getting with the tangerine ads that I see, you know, you yo-, you can get two percent. Well, actually, it’s not two percent it problem. It’s probably zero after you take away the fees and taxes and all that stuff, right? It really is a joke. So I’m really happy with 11 percent, right?
Erwin Szeto [00:45:58] And what’s the loan to value when there was a second position
Erwin Szeto [00:46:03] that one was second position?
Tony Miller [00:46:05] Yeah, no. But what was there? I don’t remember at the time. I don’t remember right now.
Erwin Szeto [00:46:11] That’s okay. Yeah, yeah. All right. Very good. How about you?
Tony Miller [00:46:16] Do you do you get into that as well?
Erwin Szeto [00:46:19] I right now, I’m actually looking. I have to do some reps because of, yeah, because of how last year went. So I’m actually personally going to invest in post investments. So, you know, Brian and Brian and Kyle with the apartment building?
Erwin Szeto [00:46:32] Yeah, yeah.
Erwin Szeto [00:46:34] That’s awesome. Yeah, I looking for a little more upside. Yeah, because I think I can get so many low returns, but you know, I can probably get more upside as well. It’s instead diversification problem, does it? Mm-Hmm. I don’t do. I don’t do apartment building investing myself. Not that I, you know, it’s just not an easy thing to do. So that’s the path to choosing. Yeah. But I want to ask you about government because you’ve written you’ve written about, yeah, how long were you working for the Canadian government?
Tony Miller [00:47:06] Yeah, federal government, 20, almost 25 years. I was I was working for the federal government here in Ottawa,
Erwin Szeto [00:47:14] and that’s a long time I got myself.
Tony Miller [00:47:16] Is it is. It’s a long time and right up front I am. I consider myself very lucky to have worked for the government for 25 years. I know a lot of people who would love to have a government job. Yeah, the security and the pay, the bills. There are a lot of people, the pension, there are a lot of people who would love to have that home. I was fortunate that my dad and actually my mom too at the time, they, my dad, worked at this organization for thirty five years and he got my foot in the door into the mailroom. So I started in the mailroom and I thought I thought it was a great place to work to start off because I learned all about the organization at the base level and got to know people and just learned about different things and how it or how will the organization work to a certain degree. And, you know, worked my way up to a certain point and had different jobs throughout. And it really helped, you know, because my wife, it allowed us and allowed my wife to stay home with the kids and raise them until they get to high school. Mm-Hmm. And that was something that we both wanted. So I was in the government, but I was in the mailroom, so I wasn’t making a ton of money. You know, I guess back in 1990, making twenty one grand, I think it was. But that’s not too bad. Her first job was fantastic. We yeah, for my first cause, I was I was working private sector stuff, right? And then retail and so yeah, it we were okay, but we found as time went on, we had to supplement, you know, and we had to cut back. So while in the government and I was slowly trying to climb the ranks, we had different businesses to help support us and. And my wife staying home, so she had a daycare. She had two kids and our own. And after the tough job, then that’s a real hard job. After that, she had a business called Toys R US
Erwin Szeto [00:49:39] so
Tony Miller [00:49:40] that it was a manicure pedicure mobile unit. I guess you could call so people who one day call her book appointments and she would go out there and do their do their toes whenever I got home from work and she did, what else are maternity photography? And I did something called pretty long traders to help sustain. So, you know, when it’s somebody’s birthday and a lawn ornament, dinosaurs, flamingos, that type of thing. So why would work during the day? Come home and, you know, hang out with the little ones for a little bit and then get ready to go out at midnight to put out the storks and flamingos and all that stuff. And of course, if we had two or three orders at a time, I only had a small car with a small Suzuki Swift or something. So I’d have to make multiple drives in the evening and then the next day I’d have to make multiple drives to go pick up everything. So yeah, it was a lot of work. So, yeah, the government was great. And by the time I reached, you know, climbing a little bit, you know, nothing was an upper management or anything like that. Now close to that. And I don’t think I wanted to. Then it gets around 2000 and. Nine, I guess, 2000 and 2008, 2009. I just started getting kind of tired of the gig, and I was wondering, I mean, there’s got to be more to life than this, getting up in the morning, taking the bus, doing this every day and then the government Erwin gets here. There’s not much room for independent thought people for people who want to accomplish things and wants to get things done. It’s not the right place for you. Don’t go there. If you’re a creative person and you like being creative and you like that type of thing and free flowing organization, and no, it’s definitely not for you. And as I got older and had different jobs, I found myself changing and I go, I don’t know, like, there’s got to be more to life than this. And the thing is with, if you if you live in Ottawa, if you’ve lived in Ottawa your whole life like I have and my parents worked for the government. The thinking was and probably still is a bit is that okay? You go to school high school, that is you get yourself a diploma and then you go work for the government for 30 years and you’ll be happy for the rest of your life. And the truth is, is that yes, you are making good pay, you got the pensions, you got security, but you’re exchanging that for your potential for doing other things out there and really accomplishing stuff. Yes. Yeah. And then it’s and I came to realize that the kids were getting older was sort of like the perfect storm that kids were getting older. My wife was getting ready, you know, going back, getting back into the workforce. And I just I didn’t. I wasn’t. I wasn’t suitable for government work anymore. And a few things happened while I was there. You know, there’s not a lot of accountability in the government. If you work there, so somebody does something, then there’s just not a lot of accountability. There’s not much you can do. You can complain about things and formal complaints and what have you, but there’s not a lot of recourse. And so I just really got tired of it, and a few things happened to me and I just decided to move on and I planned my exit. I spoke, spoke to Lily, my wife and I said, Well, what do you think? I think I want to do this. And she said, Go for it. We’ve always said, we’ve always supported each other right and doing those type of things. So I planned and didn’t tell anyone except her and maybe a couple of close friends that, yeah, I’m going to get my realtor license and I’m going to leave the government when I get my license. And I had to plan and save up some money and make sure the finance financials were all right and all that. And once I got my license a couple of months later, I sent an email to my boss with a letter with my with my resignation letter. And that was it. And six months later, I walked out, right? And that was my career in the government. What was really helpful, though, starting in as a as a realtor, you know, when you first start out, yep, you are just you’ll take any business that comes your way because you’re just starting out. And what I found really helpful was that I was an investor before I was a real. I was a realtor. So about going out and helping investors as a realtor just felt natural to me. It just felt like the right thing and less of a learning curve because I was already doing it since 2008, sort of thing. And it just, yeah, it just made sense. So being or being an investor first, then becoming an investor focused realtor? What were the right steps?
Erwin Szeto [00:55:07] Very cool.
Erwin Szeto [00:55:09] So when I when I started, my path was similar. When I started, though, like, there is no one in that field. That’s partly and yeah, and there was a skill already had. It was it was a talent already had with being a successful investor. Was it the same thing with Ottawa? Yeah. Was that gap there and then the market?
Tony Miller [00:55:31] In terms of an investor focus realtor, yeah. For sure. Yeah, no. There are definitely some there are definitely other realtors in Ottawa who work with investors, but I don’t think that as far as I know, there aren’t any investor focused realtors and not how they market themselves or promote themselves. And we try to try to differentiate ourselves. And the way you do your stuff is great. It’s fantastic. And as you know, I you know, I for those for your listeners, I yes, I use Mr. I2i and we talked about it. Erwin, I asked you before doing it. That’s OK. Okay. And you were super gracious to say, Yeah, man, go for it. And I tried to use your examples here in Ottawa, you know, and it’s really about helping people. That’s what it comes down to, whether it’s the basket brigade that you do or just as your team helping people build wealth. Well, that email you sent the email, but the Facebook post you put out sending cards to clients, been with you for five years or property five years. And the wealth accumulation over that period of time is substantial. Previously, how many people have you helped write in? And so how can is there anybody like that in order? I don’t think so. I think I’m filling a niche and we do other things as well. We do Mr. Oddworld meetups in Ottawa. And so that’s like, I don’t it’s not a monthly event. It’s not a six every six months type of thing. It’s Erwin as required. And there’s a strict no selling rule, except for one time during the year when I do the bus tour and then we’ll bring people to properties that, you know, if they’re available for sale, then please go ahead and move forward with it if the numbers work for you. All right. So we do. Yeah, we do a bunch of different things like that that other realtors aren’t doing right now. And plus, you know, like you’re associated with REIN, your REIN buyers group now, right? Yep. Yeah. Congrats. Awesome. Thank you. And that’s a big thing. And being part of different organizations like Bupkis Buyer and REIN and investor on fire above the brand, those are that just gives you a lot of credibility because those organized organizations are top notch.
Erwin Szeto [00:58:07] Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm.
Erwin Szeto [00:58:09] Before we move on, can you where people learn about the Mr Auto meet ups in the bus tour?
Tony Miller [00:58:14] Oh, if they go to Meetup.com or AK and just type in Mr. Ottawa, meet up and my meet up will come up.
Erwin Szeto [00:58:25] Got it. And you spell it. Mr. and Mrs. T are full.
Tony Miller [00:58:29] Yeah.
Erwin Szeto [00:58:30] Mr. Awesome. We actually shook. We actually changed up our meet ups, our meet ups a little bit in that we actually had some feedback, quite a bit of feedback from our attendees that they wanted to see opportunities. So really, we don’t like we don’t sell. So how we present it is here is a recent success that one of our clients has pulled off and like, these are the numbers. And then here’s a house that’s available for sale on the same street. If you want it, that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s cool, too.
Tony Miller [00:59:06] That’s interesting that they’re asking for a day that they were they were looking for opportunities. The feedback that I’ve gotten here previously, like before I started the meetup was definitely no selling. Like, don’t do anything like that because you
Erwin Szeto [00:59:22] no try it the way people
Tony Miller [00:59:23] are talking about
Erwin Szeto [00:59:25] like that. We’re so it’s I think people are tired of the traditional selling yes, right? Versus presenting opportunities. Like if you like these numbers, this is what the market this is what we’re the best we can do, right? And that also saves everyone time. Oh, that’s not good enough for me. I want bitcoin instead. I don’t belong here.
Erwin Szeto [00:59:46] You know, I mean, I
Erwin Szeto [00:59:48] heard someone made like three times their money with bitcoin, so I need to make money at that rate. I don’t belong here. All right. And that’s cool, right? Save him instantly.
Erwin Szeto [00:59:57] Yeah.
Erwin Szeto [00:59:58] And also, again, save people time
Erwin Szeto [00:59:59] cleaning up
Erwin Szeto [01:00:01] because your events, you know, they play. Book the day to be at your event. You know, like learning is great. Taking actions
Erwin Szeto [01:00:08] better. Yes. Honestly, it is. It is.
Erwin Szeto [01:00:14] And if it’s you presenting, the opportunity is different as well versus, you know, like the scumbags that are there.
Erwin Szeto [01:00:21] Exactly. Yeah.
Tony Miller [01:00:22] There is the property that the opportunity that you present are legitimate and you’ve already vetted them. Yeah, right. Yeah, they’re going to be good opportunities. And yeah, just here rely on Erwin here. And he knows what he’s doing and take action for sure. And we so yeah, we sort of like during the bus tours. We, you know, we I try to find properties that that people would like, and we’ve actually put in offers on properties that people have seen during the bus tour event. And that’s been fun. That’s been cool. Are you looking into doing a bus, a bus thing?
Erwin Szeto [01:01:03] I remember we talked to Spencer.
Erwin Szeto [01:01:05] I don’t know what you’re paying for them, but they’re really expensive, really. We just do it for free
Erwin Szeto [01:01:12] tours and people bring their own vehicle. They’re already paying for their own vehicles. That’s just the yeah, continue to use that area.
Tony Miller [01:01:21] It was. It’s really and it’s a good time and it’s we have a breakfast. We meet at a restaurant, we have a breakfast together and I invite speakers in for the first hour or so while everybody’s eating and the speakers and want, they’re usually higher profile. Let’s see a city councilor or we ask the mayor to come in or somebody from invest on the wall, somebody with some clout and just talk and it’s the city councilors are there. Well, we asked the City Council if we’re showing if we’re going to go see certain properties in certain areas, and we asked the city councilors to be there so they can tell us and explain to us why we should invest in their in their wards, what’s going on in your audience, what’s happening there? And most of them are more than happy to be there. They buy them breakfast too, and they’re happy to be there and they actually need it. Sometimes on the bus, REIN will take a stop, will take a break and they’ll come on the bus and grab the microphone and chat away and explain what’s happening in the areas that that that we’re in. And we look at different type of properties, too. If anyone’s interested in joining the meetup, we look at ones that are, let’s say, we’re doing a basement conversion where the project’s ongoing. So we’ll look at that one. We’ll look at one that’s maybe under contract and at the real dove, it’s a real dump. So we’ll look at that one first and then we’ll look at one that the work is ongoing and then we’ll look at the finished product will go to a different one where the product is finished and it’s rented and we can show them the final numbers because sometimes we’ll show them a property or some of the numbers and they go, Get out. You’re not, you’re not. You’re not getting that. All right. So yes, we are. Come on out and check it out, and it’s nice to see like they see the dump and then they see the finished product and that excites. People and they can actually touch it and see it. It’s not just on a piece of paper.
Erwin Szeto [01:03:20] So what are your preferred strategies for Ottawa and also for our listeners who don’t know Ottawa? Why should they be paying attention to Ottawa?
Tony Miller [01:03:29] Oh boy. Okay. Well, I guess let’s start with why people should be starting. Should be paying attention. Ottawa. Number one reason is the federal government jobs that are here. The why I believe the most recent numbers are. I think it’s one hundred and twenty five thousand federal government jobs here in Ottawa. These jobs are high paying jobs. They’re secure jobs. And what’s important to note as well is that since the liberals have come into power, more people are being hired and the risk of having their jobs or positions cut are not that are not at risk. Remember when the conservatives were in power, they were cutting back on positions and I know people who lost their jobs. And yes, they those are real people, real jobs. And it was time for a lot of people and there was a lot of anti-Harper sentiment, I guess, because of it here too, that the government town. And yeah, so now that the liberals are in there, there’s that. There’s that the calming effect, right? There’s a good vibe, but their jobs are safe. So if you have that many jobs, just federal government, they’re not going anywhere, right? The business of the government of Canada has to continue regardless of if they cut a few jobs or not. And in addition to that, we have a lot of diplomats like there’s one hundred and thirty six embassies here in Ottawa. So if somebody is into diplomatic rentals, then great, that’s an opportunity for you as well.
Erwin Szeto [01:05:09] So like fully furnished and
Tony Miller [01:05:11] or is a long term loan to its long term? Usually it’s usually a three to four years that they’ll sign up for. And the one clause that you have to have in there is that they can leave at any minute because sometimes they get posted out on one minute’s notice, like the next day or a week later. But they do pay, they do pay good rent and they’re generally good tenants. Except there was one that when there was the U.S., diplomats here in the US wasn’t paying rent. Yeah, yeah, she wasn’t paying rent and so was going through the court systems now. But that’s an anomaly. And so another reason is, you know, we look at fundamentals. When we’re looking at in about cities and areas. So we have all the jobs, population growth and unemployment, pretty much even with the provincial standard. I believe OTTAWA last I checked in the third quarter of 2017 was 6.1 unemployment and the provincial average was six. Correct me, if I’m wrong, I believe it. That was something like that. Population rate now in Ottawa is nine hundred and seventy five thousand thereabouts. By the end of 2018. They’re expecting it to hit one million, so the growth is still happening. And number three, we look at transportation. So what’s really transformed the city and this is really exciting is the LRT, the light rail transit that will be operational. So our mayor tells us in November of this year, and that’s going East-West and we always hear dawn talk about, you know, being close to the LRT stations and the impact that LRT has on a city like, wow, have we ever seen it here in Ottawa? The changes that have happened, the development that has happened around the LRT stations going east to west and now going, we already have LRT going north south. But that is going to be expanded as well under phase two of the project. So that will be up in 2023, going to the airport. And it just it’s just so, so special to see like Ottawa used to use to be, this vision of a man is just boring old town at the government town, which yeah. Okay, yeah, it is. You know, I guess it could still be, but it’s being revitalized like there’s a whole bunch of gentrification projects that have happened and are planned. And a lot of them are because of the LRT. And we talk, you know, people when builders and developers are coming around or if you look at the Ottawa Senators owner, well, where do they want to move to? Well, you know, the senators would like to move to downtown Lebreton flats, right where the LRT station is.
Erwin Szeto [01:08:07] Makes sense for transit, for families to it?
Tony Miller [01:08:11] Exactly. Yeah. And. So it’s really, it’s really been a boon transportation wise and in everything when it comes to transportation and accessibility, what we’ve seen in Ottawa, and it’s a small thing, but it’s really had a big impact. Our foot bridges, foot bridges going over the Szeto River and the retail canal here in Ottawa. We’ve seen three go up and wow, one’s going from a community called Overbrook over to Sandy Hill. And so students can live in a cheaper area in Overbrook. Little bit of a B-minus class type neighborhood but be into Sandy Hill in a matter of minutes by walking this foot bridge. And yeah, it’s fantastic. And so the accessibility of these bridges that the bridges provide have really opened the door in terms of, you know, especially people who work downtown and they want to work close to downtown. But and they want to walk or take a bike. But now they can, and now they can look at other areas of the city because of these foot bridges. And they don’t have to drive. They don’t have to cycle 10 kilometers around to get to a certain point. You know what I mean? Now they can just take that footbridge close by in their neighborhood and get to where they want to go in a matter of minutes. So that has really helped. What else we’ve got for universities and colleges? Algonquin College, Ottawa University, Carleton University and something called last seat at a French college.
Erwin Szeto [01:09:49] And yeah,
Tony Miller [01:09:51] and we have Ottawa. A lot of people don’t know us, but we were a major tech technology hub in Canada during the dot com boom out West, then in the west end of Ottawa, it was it was a major model, was a major player. Now we’re nowhere clear, nowhere close to those numbers or numbers in terms of number of businesses or tech businesses, as it was back in the dot com phase. But while there are a lot of companies here and a lot of talent here and the companies are growing, and what we’re finding is that a lot of the companies are moving their offices from the West End into the downtown core. So yeah, it’s definitely a tech hub and tourism right. Tourism Ottawa is a big capital city of Canada, and we get a lot of tourists. And so for some people, Airbnb, especially with Canada, 150 celebrations over last year, they did pretty well, those short term rentals, type of things. So now Ottawa is just booming. There are so many things happening here. LRT the biggest, but it’s because of the federal government jobs that provide it stability provide people stability. We’re not going to hit the and says, you know, you’re not going to hit, you’ll hit the odd home run, but it’s really doubles and singles in Ottawa. And looking back to the stat, I always point to that shows how stable Ottawa is in that since 1956, the year over year average sale price in Ottawa for rent for homes and condos has decreased only five times. That’s pretty solid. Man, like everything else, has been positive. And I think three or four of those years was in the early 90s. So it’s just stable. It’s just gone, go, go. You really have to mess up to lose in Ottawa, right?
Erwin Szeto [01:11:58] Right.
Erwin Szeto [01:11:59] And then with strategies like you mentioned, you’ve talked about basement suites. You talked about Airbnb. Do you do you do any Airbnb
Erwin Szeto [01:12:07] or yeah,
Tony Miller [01:12:08] some people do. No, no. Too much work and too much work. I don’t want it. I never I don’t want to do property management anymore. I’m not doing that stuff. And that’s property
Erwin Szeto [01:12:19] management, steroids and Airbnb.
Tony Miller [01:12:23] There are some people I know who try for a few months, and they got out of it quickly. They just didn’t like the hassle and the cost of managing and everything but the best. There are different strategies. Ottawa Right now I see a lot of people fix and flip. They’re finding properties and converting them into, you know, just flip. And I know some REIN members who are doing it and some other people, and they’re doing it successfully. And so that’s really cool for most of my clients. A lot of my clients, they really dig the basement conversion or adding a secondary dwelling unit. That’s the technical term that’s used here in Ottawa. And that’s you and they really like that. And we look we do it in certain areas and in ours. Our area is close to Algonquin College. I see. And we the reason why we’re around there is it’s like the perfect storm. You got the student population that is growing. The city is planning massive development across the street from the college. There’s a lot of vacant land there, so it is going to be some intensification happening there. We have the city offices that are closed by their DLR, the LRT station. The new one that will be built is roughly all within a kilometer of most of the properties that we’ve converted, and that’s up to 14 in the last two years. So the people will, you know, our investors, clients and ourselves are going to do pretty well by that due to the proximity of the LRT. So it’s like the perfect storm. Everything’s happening, Mary and a lot of activity. So definitely basement conversions. And the good thing about the property are the basement conversions that we have our team here to help. So I have the contractor, we have designers have a mortgage specialist who actually had to create a separate file because of the number of deals we’ve done with secondary suites. Mm-Hmm. And so with the whole process and we have it down to a tee and the cookie cutter, we know what we’re looking for and we just make it happen. So that’s probably number two. I would say, you know, one and two lot of fix and flip and a lot of people are definitely basement conversions. And people, by the way, are not selling. Once they convert the basements, they’re holding on to them. The cash flow is really good and most of them and the equity, the forced depreciation is pretty good. And the boys are going to say the most people will hold on to it. And then the third thing is really the third strategy, I guess not strategy, but the people love multifamily units, of course, whether it’s multifamily, residential and, you know, maybe five six units, some mixed use, perhaps some commercial property like that. But multifamily as people, those things go like hot cakes here, especially last year here in Ottawa, they went really fast. Big demand for those. And if we can’t find what we’re looking for Erwin like here in the city of Ottawa for a client, then we go outside of the city and there are certain spots that are that are doing really well. Sort of like Camp Phil, Carleton Place, Elmont, we go to Cornwall as well. We have some new build product; new construction product and we’re going to some new construction product again in Camp Bill. And I know some people who are an investor who’s building what it’s about 40 40 unit building in Elmont and another 25 unit in Carleton Place or Surrey, Perth, another one there. So yeah, we can’t. But we’re looking for here in Ottawa. Then we go on the outskirts and not to fire like, you know, an hour at the most so far out of Ottawa and find something there. Hmm.
Erwin Szeto [01:16:29] Interesting. So I want to
Erwin Szeto [01:16:32] say, I want to say, first of all, do your clients realize how lucky they are that you’ve created a one stop shop for them?
Erwin Szeto [01:16:42] I don’t know.
Tony Miller [01:16:44] Thanks. So, Don. You know, it’s really nice to have people who, you know, like minded people like and people who I trust and who are there to help and, you know, not take advantage of them and everything. And they and they do good work as well. And so I’m really, really happy and fortunate to have them with me.
Erwin Szeto [01:17:09] And I don’t know if it was as hard as for you and you started out investing, but it was hard when I started out because I didn’t know about REIN. A lot of these places didn’t exist like a T spire or a germ REI or my own Halton REI. Mr. Mr. Ottawa Meetup did not exist when I started messing back in like 05 06, right? You were on your own.
Erwin Szeto [01:17:30] You had to figure this stuff out.
Tony Miller [01:17:33] That was and that’s tough. And I don’t know about you, but my first deal was hell.
Erwin Szeto [01:17:39] It was brutal. It was. It was. It was.
Tony Miller [01:17:43] I thought I knew what the hell I was doing. But it turns out I sucked and I was losing whatever, pulling out two hundred and fifty bucks out of my own pocket every month. And, you know, smaller town outside of Ottawa. Nice, nice two bedroom condo, though, was really, really nice. But I was losing money. And as you say there, I, you know, in those days, I think that was 2007, maybe 2008, 2007. And I thought, Yeah, I know what I’m doing. And it turns out I didn’t know how to analyze the. Property, especially when it comes to condo fees and mortgage rates and all that stuff, so yeah, I actually went to the REIN website and I told them to explain my situation and a couple of people came back and said, Sell. Go learn about it and then go start again, you know, take the hit, right? And that was the best advice I have ever gotten. You just straight to the point. Sell. Go learn and then start again. And we see I see a lot of people here in Ottawa. I meet a lot of people
Erwin Szeto [01:18:50] who
Tony Miller [01:18:51] do the same mistake, who are doing the same thing that I did, and I just want to help them not make those mistakes. It’s a real drag. You know how it can really suck at the end, not only the money, but it sucks the energy out. If you’re not successful the first time you, do it, the first time you buy a property, you give up. You say, Oh, this, this is no of people talking about, Yeah, it doesn’t work. And it’s not only that, it’s like what your team provides, it’s there’s ongoing support as well. Right? It’s okay. We’re going to help you with this. We’re going to show you how to do it. And but we’re not running away after the sale is done. I’m always here. Just text me, call me here all the forms you need. Here’s everything you need. Let’s go out and do things together. And let’s build you a portfolio depending on what your goals are. And yeah, that first property is always tough. I met some people recently. I mentioned Lebreton Flats, and I know a couple of people who bought condos there. And oh my gosh, there’s no way that those things are providing positive cash flow. And one of my biggest I won’t call it Pepe, but the thing that I it kind of drives me nuts is when I see a listing. I’m a realtor and it says great investment opportunity, attention investors. Anything else, right?
Erwin Szeto [01:20:13] Yeah, there’s still people investors
Tony Miller [01:20:17] for the heck of it. I just go ahead and analyze the property and it’s all.
Erwin Szeto [01:20:21] It’s just awful. Who would buy this?
Tony Miller [01:20:24] Who would you say attention that they’re just selling, that you’re transactional. They don’t care here by the property. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a five hundred dollar hit a month. You know, it’s really important to work with build the team who, who, who are investors themselves and understand the game, not the game, the business, because it’s not a game, it’s a business.
Erwin Szeto [01:20:49] And to add to that, like this is our business like these. These properties are like to pay for like my retirement, my kids’ education, all sorts of things. So this is like my present. So the other thing about my business is this is like my baby. Right, right. And so, yeah, the analogy would be, is this an analogy my mentor gave me? So this is your baby, right? If you’re baby sick, so it need surgery, do you want the world’s best surgeon or do you want the guy who does surgery part time?
Tony Miller [01:21:22] Yes. 110 percent. Yeah.
Erwin Szeto [01:21:25] So I want her money, so boggles
Erwin Szeto [01:21:30] me when people work with like, Oh, my cousin knows somebody and I’m going to, I’m going to buy with him,
Erwin Szeto [01:21:38] right? Just this week,
Erwin Szeto [01:21:40] just this week, going to one of our listings on a student property that has had students? The agent asked. We won. We want to assume the terms. How do we do that?
Erwin Szeto [01:21:51] Oh, oh, right, right, right. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know what you’re doing. Yeah.
Tony Miller [01:21:59] And you can’t help but feel bad for the people, like for the for the buyers in that situation. Right. And have you? I’ve received offers on listings, their investment properties and their multifamily and the I get the offer and it’s like it’s a single family home. Mm hmm.
Erwin Szeto [01:22:18] Yeah.
Tony Miller [01:22:18] But what? What’s going on here? OK. And I’m, you know, hey, I’m representing the seller. It’s not up to me to say anything. And yeah, it’s unfortunate. It really is. It is too bad. So it’s a lot of my clients are people who are new to investing or have a few properties and are building a portfolio. I do have some that are more advanced and more sophisticated. And but I really, I really enjoy working with the first time investors because they get to brainwash them the right way.
Erwin Szeto [01:22:58] But I think it’s right here. You don’t
Tony Miller [01:23:03] think like this. No, no, no. You want to go over here. I have one client other than another example people I was working with and they went and worked with it with a different realtor. They bought something, and they had so many questions afterwards. The realtor wasn’t around to help them with anything in terms of property management tenants. There was a tenant already in there, but it was moving out and I’m not even sure if they had it rented yet. And that was probably four months ago, and they just don’t have that support. Okay. And then like, well, listen, you know, talk to your realtor, right? And because I think they’re still under contract with them and I think you’re going to buy something else. But it’s that it’s that extra, you know, you want to not only do you want to work with someone of these trusted, but who can provide you with that added value. Right? It’s not. We’re not just there to sell, we’re not transactional. It’s we want to help you make some money. The bottom line is you want to make some money, but we want to respect what your goals are and what your intestinal fortitude and risk levels are and what will make it happen. And let’s go. Let’s go do it.
Erwin Szeto [01:24:23] Yeah. Awesome, Tony. And you made the point about you. Sorry, you didn’t make the point. You mentioned the brainwashing. I remember one of the first tenants that we got. And then I learned and they were terrible. They’re terrible. They cost us a whole bunch of money, much of money. It was hard to get them out. Oh, wow. And remember the lesson, right? The lesson that we learned at REIN was you either learn how to. Pick tenants or your tenants will teach you which would you prefer?
Erwin Szeto [01:24:49] Yes, you do. Sure.
Tony Miller [01:24:54] That’s true saying. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s I don’t I don’t know about you, but I recommend to first new investors to manage the properties themselves as part of their learning curve. And, you know, I can help them along sort of thing. But go ahead and manage the property or sell the properties in Ottawa, even if the property is a distance away. I still recommend that they go ahead and try to manage it themselves. They do that for them, for property east. And it’s just about building a team in that city or getting to know certain people. But the best way to learn the business is by doing the work yourself and asking for help when you need it. Don’t be scared to ask for help. And so that’s a big thing that I encourage people to do is go ahead, work, you know, go ahead and fill that vacancy and work through this problem or that issue when they’re when they’re finally working with tenants in the property. Mm-Hmm. It might be a different take. I know some people like me say, No, no, no, I don’t. I don’t want to. There are some people who are dead set against it. They don’t want anything to do with tenants, and that’s fine as well. And also, there’s something to be said about time management and having more time to do stuff that you should be doing instead of managing your property. But it’s hard. It’s hard to direct your property manager what to do when you don’t know what the rules are. Rules are yourself. So I think it’s important for that to happen.
Erwin Szeto [01:26:38] Absolutely. All right. Yeah, it’s almost nine o’clock. Yes, I thank you for preparing with me and going over time, but
Erwin Szeto [01:26:47] I probably shouldn’t go over time.
Tony Miller [01:26:50] No, no. The Sun. Thanks for the chat. It was great talking with you and everything.
Erwin Szeto [01:26:57] Awesome. We talked about the MR although I meet up in the midst of the bus tour. How else can people get ahold of you if they’re interested in following up with you and possibly investing in Ottawa
Tony Miller [01:27:09] that they can reach me at Tony at Mr. Ottawa VA? So it’s Tio NY at Mr Am I TR Ottawa. Okay, or they can drop me a text or call six one three six two zero seven nine eight nine.
Erwin Szeto [01:27:26] Wow. I think of the first to give up your cell phone number.
Erwin Szeto [01:27:30] I cut that out and cut that one out. What about what about you, the articles that you write? Where can they find that?
Tony Miller [01:27:39] Oh yeah. You can find that in the Ottawa Sun. They’re published every second week or so. And so the next one will be coming out. Not this weekend, the following weekend. And just Google Ottawa Sun and go to the home section and you’ll find my articles there. Or just go. This sounds silly. I do. I don’t think I’ve ever said that Google, Tony Miller, Ottawa Sun
Erwin Szeto [01:28:04] and
Tony Miller [01:28:05] my art. It sounds weird, but yeah, that’s what you can do too.
Erwin Szeto [01:28:09] Very cool. Yeah, that’s very cool.
Erwin Szeto [01:28:12] All right. Thank you, Tony. So much for your time and thank you for sharing it.
Tony Miller [01:28:16] Thanks, everyone. Great talking with you, and we’ll see you in a week or so.
Erwin Szeto [01:28:33] Do you want to be a real estate investor and don’t know where to start? Then I recommend you attend our Halton Real Estate Investor Group meetings, where you’ll meet and learn the secrets of many of the guests of the show who have earned seven figures or more from the real estate investments. Almost none of them did so without having to manage their tenants around like toilets. We have the best property managers and plumbers. We can refer to our clients. I can’t promise you results, but you’ve heard from every client of mine who’s been on this podcast, and you may have noticed they’re quite successful and on their way to financial freedom. Plus, I’m a big believer that knowledge is power. To register, go to W WW Dot Halton REI dossier, and this could be your launchpad to financial freedom. Do you register as soon as you can? We had a star waitlist for the last meeting. Our seats are always limited. I hope to see you at the next meeting.