Table of Contents
Sandy Mackay [00:01:10] Breakthrough real estate investing podcast episode sixty-six.
Rob Break [00:01:32] 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 Brake, and here with me is the super tan Sandy Mackay.
Sandy Mackay [00:01:53] I’ve never, I don’t think I’ve ever been super tan, but I have been away a little bit lately, so I was just getting
Rob Break [00:01:58] to know that you probably were because you’ve been away
Sandy Mackay [00:02:00] better than normal yet.
Rob Break [00:02:03] But do you wear like the suit everywhere?
Sandy Mackay [00:02:08] That event we were at? Yeah, pretty much. Why? Where were you? I was just at a Keller Williams realtor annual big conference thing out in near L.A. or Anaheim. So inside for the most part, but it was whether it was nice.
Rob Break [00:02:23] I’ll bet it was probably just a little bit better than here.
Sandy Mackay [00:02:28] Yeah, although, you know, I came back. It’s hot here now. The temperature was the exact same on that Tuesday.
Rob Break [00:02:36] It is nice and warm. All of a sudden, all of the snow disappeared. But you know what? I get a little bitter about that. I have to say because I’m going away on Sunday. In two days, I’m leaving and I’m like, you know what? It is supposed to be like frigid, like freezing cold with like eight feet of snow. That’s what I want to see here when I leave out there. But 81, that’s still here. Yeah, right. So but anyways, I guess I’ll get over it. I’ll still be there and whatever, and we’ll have fun. OK, so a couple of things before we get started, I guess we like for everyone to go over to our website Breakthrough Oreo podcast Dot S.A. And there you can download all of the past episodes. You can check out all the links of the guests that have been on, and you can like and share us on Facebook and share us on iTunes and all kinds of other things through there. So please go over and check that out. Breakthrough Aria Podcast Dossier Oh, and pick up our free gift, our new free gift.
Sandy Mackay [00:03:35] Yeah, it should. It’s been actually a lot of good feedback on it so far, only for a month or so. The ultimate strategy for building wealth, the real estate and go grab that. I mean, you’ve got to put your email in and get up on our email list and you’ll hear about some events are doing and things like that as well. So go grab that today again on our website, you’ll see it on the right side. Break through our podcast on C-A and iTunes, Rob and anything going on there.
Rob Break [00:04:01] Same stuff as usual. I’m not going to read any reviews today because the last show we recorded was just a couple of days ago and there is some other ones, but I actually didn’t keep track of which ones I read and which ones I didn’t. So, you know, just keep the reviews coming in, please. I think we’ve got like one hundred- and forty-five-star reviews on iTunes or something like that. So it’s really, really awesome. And every time you guys send something in, it just helps us get the show out there to more people. So please keep them coming. And we do appreciate everyone who’s taking the time to do that. You know, I don’t think we’ll waste too much time. The last couple of shows we’ve talked about the stuff that we’ve been doing. So you want to just get right into our interview setting,
Sandy Mackay [00:04:42] and it sounds great. OK. You’re so welcome to this show, Sarah Coupland. And she’s going to talk about a lot of different things around property management and what she’s been up to lately. So Sarah’s been investing in real estate in Northumberland area for ten years and getting experience in many different strategies. I just completed many apartment renovations and flips and currently focusing on growing a portfolio of multi-unit properties. Sara specializes in creative financing. She works with JV partners and property management. Our company is called Tag Property Management, and they manage approximately 200 units or so in the Cobourg area, offering full management services as well as tenant placements and deal consultation to investors. New In 2018, Sarah created the Happy Landlord, which provides property management coaching for self-managing investors. And yeah, anything else to add to that, Sarah? Or I mean, welcome to the show.
Sarah Coupland [00:05:40] Thanks. I know that sounds pretty good.
Rob Break [00:05:44] Yeah. Welcome, Sara. Thanks for being here. Oh, so you have an interesting story on how you got started out in real estate investing. Do you want to share that with us?
Sarah Coupland [00:05:54] Yeah, sure. The story is actually we have been a couple of years into investing, and he almost quit actually because of a tenant. She actually came to us as a mature lady. She was a bit down on her luck. I couldn’t call references because she’d been dating her landlord. Things went south, so she bailed on him and bailed on him and her job. And apparently, he was stalking her, so I couldn’t contact any references. So I just rented out to her an apartment and a duplex above an elderly couple. Turns out she had actually just been released from jail and was prostituting. Herself to pay for her drugs. So she was a little bit crazy. She’d climb on the roof to get into her apartment. She smashed some windows to get in. She’d be out dancing on the porch at 4:00 in the morning. Needless to say, the older couple called me constantly and between them and her, we almost passed it in. We almost quit. But eventually we were able to evict her, and we decided to actually learn from our mistakes instead of quitting. And it’s been great ever since then. From that story, I’d really like to send the message that one sometimes managing yourself can cost you more than property management through the stress and the bad decisions that might come along and to don’t quit because of bad tenants, it always does get better. Get help, learn, and move on from there.
Rob Break [00:07:20] Hmm. I mean, if you’ve done any investing really at all, you’ve dealt with bad tenants. So I like how we just breezed past the whole prostitution and drugs thing.
Sarah Coupland [00:07:31] Yeah, it was an interesting experience, for sure. It took us a while to figure out what was going on.
Rob Break [00:07:38] Hmm. Well, OK. Well, that’s pretty interesting. So then you didn’t quit, though. And since then, you’ve been doing a bunch of really interesting stuff, right?
Sarah Coupland [00:07:48] Yeah. So we went from there. At that point, we only had two duplexes which we had renovated and rented out. And from there, instead of quitting, we went, and we’ve grown our portfolio. So shortly after we flipped the house, we bought a four Plex did a couple of other flips and moved more into buying multi-unit properties. So in the last couple of years, we’ve bought a 12 unit with some commercial, a six unit. And then right now I’m actually negotiating three different multi-unit properties a 20 for a 14 and a nine. And we started working with JV Partners, which is great. So we bring these in on our deals and we take care of all of the management and the tenants and offer good opportunities for other people to sell. We’re growing, which is really nice.
Rob Break [00:08:34] So you mentioned creative financing, and I’m getting a little off topic here, but you mentioned some creative financing and that you’re negotiating deals, so that sounds pretty interesting for people listening. They’re probably like, OK, well, what does that look like? Like, how do you structure something like that? And I mean, I guess we don’t really have to get too deep into it, but I mean, you’re negotiating three buildings right now. So that’s pretty intense. And let’s just say that you wrap all three of them up. Are you going to think is the intention to buy all three?
Sarah Coupland [00:09:04] The intention is to buy all three, and that’s the beautiful thing about using joint venture partners is that we aren’t limited by our own finances and our own capabilities, right? So we’ll be bringing in partners for most of those deals. As far as creative financing goes, like, for example, one of the properties, it’s a 14-unit complex that needs a full renovation and a bank probably won’t touch it. So I’ve actually negotiated private financing with the seller, so there’s no qualification process. They’ll hold 75 percent of the mortgage, and you don’t have to make any mortgage payments for a year because there’s a renovation on that. So just getting creative. I walked into the property, and I said, well, you know, you know what? I’m looking at, right? And you know how difficult this is going to be. So I sat down with her, and I laid it all out and said, this is what I need. And we came to an agreement. So we do those kinds of things like I’ve bought on flips, we’ve got private money, we’ve done private mortgages and then we’ve done RSP mortgages on a different property to get the renovation budget. So we’ve bought a number of properties with no money involved of our own. And then we’ve also brought in joint venture partners who do bring in money at some points as well. So there’s lots of ways to do things where you’re not limited by your own finances and your own ability to get a mortgage like I’m self-employed and my husband’s self-employed. So it’s we’re refinancing a bunch of stuff right now, but for a couple of years, like the banks wouldn’t even look at us. So for us to continue investing, we had to look at different options.
Rob Break [00:10:30] Hmm. And it’s always one of those things Sandy. And I’ve talked about this a bunch of times before is when you first start out, you’re of course thinking, like, why would anyone want to work with me? Like, what am I bringing to the table? How can I possibly continue to do this when I have no money? And so that is one of the things just like, you’re out there and you’re negotiating these crazy deals. I mean, that sounds fantastic. The 14 unit, that’s a very interesting story where you don’t have to qualify with the bank at all. So now, man, if that isn’t an opportunity for an investor, I don’t know what is.
Sarah Coupland [00:11:05] Yeah, yeah. And it’s great because if you don’t, you can just close quickly and just bring somebody in. And if they see value in the deal, you don’t have to worry about it. That’s one thing you don’t have to worry about until a year from now, when it’s renovated and you go to refinance, then you’d be talking to the bank. But private financing is great, and we have some private money lenders who basically I just call them and say, hey, I’ve got this deal. Do you want to fund it? They don’t even really look at the deal. They’ve done a couple with us. They just say, OK, how much do you need? And we sign the paperwork, and we have a mortgage. So it’s pretty simple. So if you can build relationships with people like that, then it can really help to catapult your business because you’re not tied down.
Sandy Mackay [00:11:42] Mm-Hmm.
Sarah Coupland [00:11:43] We pay a little bit more like some people like we pay seven percent for our first mortgages when we’re private, but they let us buy those nasty, ugly, horrible properties that the bank won’t look at, and those are the properties that we make the most money on.
Rob Break [00:11:55] So, yeah, for sure. Very, very cool. Thanks for sharing all of that with us.
Sandy Mackay [00:12:00] No problem. And so what do you mean by the mindset for managing tenants? What does that mean?
Sarah Coupland [00:12:06] Yeah. So managing your tenants, there are a lot of upsides to investing. We just talked it, but there’s also a lot that can challenge you, especially dealing with tenants. But if you have the right mindset when dealing with your tenants, you can approach the challenges in ways that allow you to keep positive even when things go bad. And that’s kind of what came out of my example with my prostitute tenant. How do you deal with something like that and not go crazy in the process and want to quit? And so having the right mindset can really help with that. And there are a couple of key factors to keep in mind when treating your tenants. The first would be what kind of landlord are you really sitting down and figuring out what you’re going to offer to your tenants and who you’re going to be? Because in treating your tenants, you have to have integrity and a genuine desire to have a Win-Win relationship with them. If you aren’t honest or sincere, they’re going to see through that and they’re not going to believe you, they’re not going to trust you. And this whole system is not going to work. So they’ll be less likely to follow through on their end if they don’t expect you to follow through on yours. And that’s why we really try to have a lot of open communication with our tenants. So I want them to know that no matter what happens, they can contact me and I’m there. If they have a friend over and he punches a hole in the wall or something like that, they can call me, and we can talk about it. And or if they’re going to be late on their rent or whatever is happening, they know they can contact me and vice versa. I’m going to be open with them if they need something done and it’s not in my budget, I’m going to honestly say, Hey, it’s not in my budget. I tell them what my plans are for the property and exactly what’s going on. Another thing that I think is really important and a lot of landlords have a really tough time with this is not taking things personally that your tenants do. So many people when they come in, they hire us for property management. They’re at a point where they’re just like, I don’t understand why they’re doing this to me, paying rent late or closing down. We’re getting complaints. Why are they doing this to me, and people take it personally? But you actually have to realize and landholding that it’s not about you. Your tenants aren’t doing anything to you. Your tenants are behaving in a way, in a certain way because of things that are going on in their life. They’re not paying the rent late to spite you. They have something happening. So I think it’s really important to remove your own personal emotions from the situation and not take it personally. And then that way, if there is a challenge or an issue, you can focus on the solution instead of focusing on the problem and how it’s making you feel. And in going with that too, we have a mantra in our office because we deal with a lot of challenges and to keep positive about it and keep in the right frame of mind. We like to kill our tenants with kindness. So even when we’re dealing with nasty situations, we always try and be kind, especially if we’re doing inspections. Are you going to do an inspection and the place is a disaster? It’s very easy to get emotional about it and get angry about it and confrontational with your tenants. Well, once you get aggressive and confrontational, they’ll get aggressive and confrontational and then it’s a battle and you’re not going to get anywhere. So in all situations, it’s important to try and remain kind, and you will get further because you can focus on the solution. Right? Mm-Hmm. So that’s really the mindset of it and the frame of mind that you need to come from to be able to do the tenant training and all of the other things that we’re going to talk about without going crazy.
Rob Break [00:15:37] Right, sir? You know, I really, really like this idea of training your tenant because, you know, it’s one thing to have some advice on how to deal with different situations that come up. But this is a sort of hat on. Let’s stop it before it starts. Sort of idea that, yeah, you can actually set expectations and you can let people know that this is how they’re expected to be or, you know, to a certain extent, I guess.
Sarah Coupland [00:16:06] Yeah. Like, if they don’t know how you expect them to behave, they’re going to behave how they think is appropriate, right? And not everybody’s idea of appropriate is the same. And your tenants is very likely, not the same ideas as yours. Mm-Hmm. And going through like we have about 200 units now, so 200 sets of tenants and you know, I’m 10 years in. I’ve had a lot of experience with tenants and every time when I sit back, like if we have a challenge or we have something that comes up, I sit back and think, how could we have handled this differently? How could we have prevented this right? And then we put a new policy in place. We put a new procedure in place, and that’s kind of how the tenant training program has come about. It’s how do I stop the pain going forward? Mm-Hmm. And really, it’s all about expectations and not necessarily just what you expect of your tenant, but also what your tenant can expect of you. If they have a maintenance issue, how do you respond? How often can they expect to see you at the property when they contact you? How long until you get back to them? If it’s not an emergency, it’s like, what can they expect of you? And then every opportunity that you have to train them and let them know what your policies and procedures are really important that you have consistent message to them, so they know exactly what it is that you expect of them. So we start training our tenants right from our first interaction. So when we get the phone call, somebody is looking at a vacancy. We’re going to show them the unit. We start right. Then here are our hours of operation. Here’s where the showing blocks are. This is how our process works. And then when we’re actually at the unit and we’re showing them the unit we start talking about, well, this is how we collect rent. This is how we do this. This is how we do that and we’re very open with them about that. And then it continues from there. Like every interaction that you have with your tenant is an opportunity to reinforce your policies and procedures, and you do it in a nice way. It’s not like you go when you list them off every time, but you kind of slip it in here and slip it in there and just really be consistent with the message that you’re sending them and then constantly also be developing and reinforcing your policies with them.
Sandy Mackay [00:18:16] And then can you run us through some of the policies that you have that I’m sure there’s a bunch, but maybe some of the key ones?
Sarah Coupland [00:18:21] Yeah, I’m not going to go through them all because it’s there’s a ton of every single time, I have something happen that I don’t like. I then go back, and I write something up and I implement it right. But basically everything that we try and treat our tenants on, we actually put in a tenant orientation package, and we give that to them. So I’ll go through a couple right now, but specifically, the things you want to let them know is, of course, how to contact you. Right. And I strongly urge everybody to not give out your personal cell phone number. I totally did that, and I have a ton of tenants who still have my personal cell phone number because I’m here for you. If you need me, call me. Here’s my cell number, and then I get constant movement constant. Because I’ve kind of stepped away from it, but people contact you whenever like I had one guy call me at three o’clock in the morning because he was up thinking about something that wasn’t an emergency is just ease up thinking about it. So how can they contact you? Use a different phone number if you have to get your voice or grasshopper or some sort of phone system, do that. And a separate email and let them know how to contact you have an emergency policy. Let them know what an emergency is like. If these things are happening, then call my emergency line. If it’s not these things, then it can wait till Monday and then follow our regular procedures for maintenance or whatever. Specifically, something that I am very, very kind of strict on is my late rent policy and my tenants. They know we’ve told them when we signed the lease. When we do the move in, we have it in their orientation package. What we do when they pay their rent on the second of the month, we send out in force to every single person who has not paid their rent and what’s in it for the end for it’s the notice to terminate tenancy for nonpayment of rent. So that’s the document that you have to serve the tenants within order to then be able to apply to the board for eviction.
Rob Break [00:20:17] So if they don’t end up paying, it gives them a certain amount of time. And if they don’t end up paying, then you can move forward. But it’s just a first step kind of thing.
Sarah Coupland [00:20:26] It’s a first step. Yeah. And before, like when I was first landlording when I was new at it, I was very, very lenient on and force and any other kind of notice because your tenants always have a story, right? It’s like, well, oh, my car broke down and I had to get a transmission, or I was off work for a few days. So I don’t have the money. Or, you know, even if it’s, oh, I get paid on Friday and rent’s due on Tuesday, you know, you let them. Do you say, OK, no problem, and then you wait and then they don’t pay, and then they give you another date and then they don’t pay every day that you let go by, that you haven’t served that notice. It’s going to extend the amount of time before you can actually evict them if they end up not paying you at all. So our tenants aren’t surprised when they get in force. We train them right from the beginning that if you don’t pay your rent by the second, you’ll get an M-4. We send it a nice letter with it that says, hey, you know, as is our policy, please find enclosed your end or is this is what it means. It’s not going to impact our relationship, but it’ll be void once you pay. But this is this is what it means. And they know that they’re going to get that. They’re not surprised because we’ve already told them in our training like three or four times what happens.
Rob Break [00:21:37] Mm-Hmm. And the N4 is an Ontario for them. I’m sure whatever province you’re in, there is the equivalent of that, but that’s a really good piece of advice and I recommend that everyone should follow that for sure, because you don’t want to get caught up in the Oh OK, we’ll just wait another two days or another three days, and then eventually things just get pushed down the road and you suddenly find yourself wondering how you got there three months later with no rent. So exactly. Yeah, exactly. Just start the ball rolling. And like Sarah said, they’re expecting that. That’s what you’re going to do. So it’s not like they’re going to get offended or whatever. You just say, hey, look, this is how the business works. Once you pay, it’s gone. So don’t worry about it, but this is our policy.
Sarah Coupland [00:22:19] Yeah. And if you’re not consistent, they will be upset about it, though. Like if you say OK on the second of the month, you get an unfair and then you don’t do that. And then all of a sudden you start doing that, then they’re going to get upset about it. But if you just do it right from the beginning of the relationship, then it makes things much easier.
Rob Break [00:22:35] I wanted to ask you something. I know you’re not done talking about the policies but go back to one that you were talking about before is you know that they don’t contact you unless it’s an emergency now. How would you go about saying, OK, well, this is an emergency, and this isn’t an emergency because I’m sure you’ve got with 200 tenants, some that go well, it’s an emergency to me?
Sarah Coupland [00:22:55] Yes. So we have a maintenance and repairs system, and we have a policy for that. And if it’s during business hours Monday to Friday, thirty-two to 30, then they contact our office and that’s fine. Outside of that, we let them know if it’s something that is going to cause harm to a person or the property. It’s an emergency. So if it’s minus 20 and you have no heat? Yeah, that’s an emergency. If your kitchen cupboard hinges, let loose a screw, you know, not in emergencies. And we talk to them about that ahead of time, like when we’re going through the tenant manual or orientation package, we talk about what is an emergency like, how would you contact us? And I even I screen my phone calls that come through my emergency line they come through. We have a separate extension for emergencies. They come through to my phone and they leave a message, text their message to me and I call them back. But I kind of gauge like, OK, you know, this person thinks that that’s an emergency, but it’s not. And I might text them back and say, hey, you know what? I got your message about x. I will have Angela take care of that on Monday when she’s. The office, right, right. So I reinforce that that is not something that I’m going to deal with at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night. But when it is an emergency, we action at very quickly. So we have trades people who are on call, they have emergency service, and we make sure that things get taken care of when there is an emergency, but otherwise we follow our policy and our protocol.
Rob Break [00:24:24] Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. Sorry to pull you off topic there.
Sarah Coupland [00:24:28] No, that’s OK. Yeah. So emergency, we’re talking about late rent. Oh, and the thing about the Enforce two is even if your tenant does pay, it’s really important to still do the enforce because if they collect a number of them, then you can apply to the board for eviction based on being consistently late. And that’s another policy, and that’s something that we let them know when they’re getting close to the point where we’re going to try to do an eviction for being consistently late. Our letter that goes along with the UN for changes to let them know that if you continue to do this, you may be evicted based on being consistently late and then we have a conversation with them about that. Again, open communication, you let them know what that means. And quite often, if you go to the board for a first time, you’re not going to get an eviction based on an inmate, but you can at least get an order for a day late, dollar short. And so in that it in itself is helping to train them to change their behavior. So we have a consistently late rent policy as well. Also, damage. So damage is something that before if I came into a unit when I was doing an inspection and I saw damage the tenant again, I’m very kind of it. So usually we work together on it. But I was very hesitant to give and fives and five is the notice to terminate based on you can use it for damage and a couple of other things. But now, right away, as soon as we see damage, I give the N5 notice and that gives them officially seven days to rectify the problem because otherwise it could take them forever to get the damage taken care of, or they might never get it taken care of. And I had that conversation with them. Do you have the skills and ability to do it, or can I have somebody contact you and they can help you? So we take care of that as well. And if they don’t take care of it, then we can get it done and fixed at their expense, and we would go to the board for that, so we would do an application to the board.
Rob Break [00:26:20] So this sounds like a lot like all of these policies and all of these things are really like something that a landlord just who bought a house would never have any idea that there was a form so that they could charge their tenant back for any damages if they didn’t fix it in seven days. Like a lot of them. Have no idea that that’s out there, right? So you know your training, I guess your training course, which you’re going to talk about in a minute that would probably cover all of that stuff.
Sarah Coupland [00:26:47] Oh, yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. And it’s I’ve been there, and I think that’s where my property management company. We offer kind of a bit of an added value service because I have felt that pain. I have been the naive newbie investor who had no idea what I was doing, and I had a lot of pain. I didn’t know how to evict tenants. I didn’t know what to do if people were late or, you know, if I have a lady smashing windows and disturbing other tenants at 4:00 in the morning. Like, I didn’t know how to handle that, and I didn’t have any policies or procedures in place. So I’ve come from that experience. And so for newbie investors, it’s really kind of a scary thing. If you look out and you’ve got great tenants, that’s great. But they’re not all great and having systems in place to be able to deal with it quickly is really important, especially if you have people who are causing damage or who are mistreating your property or disturbing your other tenants. If we find this a lot in multi-unit properties where we often do the same and five notice not for damage, but because you’re disturbing the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants as well, like your tenants and you have a right to enjoy the property. And if somebody is impeding that, then you can take action, and a lot of people don’t know that.
Rob Break [00:28:03] Mm hmm. So yeah, that works especially well with two unit or multi-unit properties.
Sarah Coupland [00:28:08] Yeah. And especially if you inherit if you buy a property and you’re inheriting the tenants and you’ve had no opportunity to screen them yourself, it’s really important to kind of started with them as well. And I guess it’s getting back into the training. If you’re acquiring existing tenants, start your training with them right away and let them know because quite often if people are selling because they’re having bad issues with their tenants, you’re going to inherit those issues. And if you don’t right from the get-go, let your tenants know that you’re serious and you’re going to follow certain procedures. And if you don’t do them quickly, it can quickly escalate. And then you can be that stress to landlord who wants to sell their property, right? So following these certain procedures and using the landlord and tenant board in the Residential Tenancies Act in your favor, a lot of people say that it’s very skewed to the tenants. And in some cases, I think maybe it is. But you also have rights as a landlord and if you exercise those rights properly and you do the proper notices. The proper applications, you can get favorable outcomes at a hearing, you can evict people, I’ve evicted a ton of tenants who were not doing what they should be doing, and the Residential Tenancies Act does support that.
Rob Break [00:29:18] Well, now what’s this tenant reward thing?
Sarah Coupland [00:29:21] Well, I think that it’s really important to thank your tenants and reward them. So if you have great tenants, appreciate your great tenant and this comes down to treating your real estate business like a business, it is a business. You’re offering a valuable service for people; you’re offering them housing and they’re your clients. They are paying you for your service. So when they are doing what you want them to do, reward them. So for example, if you have tenants who pay their rent on time all the time, even just a simple thank you, send them a letter. Hey, thanks so much. I really appreciate that you’re always on time with rent or if you do an inspection and the place is spotless. Hey, maybe leave them a five-dollar Tim’s card and say, do you know what? I really appreciate that you’re taking great care of this apartment. I really appreciate it. Here’s a little something for you. Also, too, though, as an incentive. So if you’ve done the end four notices with the tenant and somebody is consistently late, but then they start to turn around and they start doing the things that you want them to do, let them know that you’ve noticed and that you appreciate it, but give them a little something, right? Because then that can go a long way like you want to keep your good tenants and you want to build that relationship in that rapport with them. So I think that letting them know that they’re appreciated and that you’re doing a good job and it’s really important in building that relationship and also helping to incent their behavior as well.
Sandy Mackay [00:30:45] Awesome. Well, clearly, Sarah, know a lot about the thing, and I learned a lot of experience there. So now let’s talk about the education system you’re launching and coaching there. What’s that all about?
Sarah Coupland [00:30:56] So I’ve been having a lot of people kind of ask me to pick my brain and help them. There are a lot of landlords who want to self-manage, but they’re not quite sure how to do it and how to set up the systems and how to do like a tenant training program and how to operate things. When I’ve had a lot of people approach me about that and I thought, you know what? Maybe this is something that I should offer. So I’m actually I’ve opened a happy landlord, which is going to be a coaching program for people who want to self-manage. And it’s very new. So I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to roll out, but it’s going to be one on one coaching for people who want to go it alone and it’ll be very customized. So it’ll be a series of phone coaching where we sit down and we look at their portfolio, how they’ll structure things. If they have questions or they need help working through certain things with tenants, then I would be there to help them during that process. My goal is to later in the year, possibly even do day seminars and really get the knowledge out there because I know how painful it can be to be in a situation where you love real estate, and you see the values of investing in real estate. But we landlord part of it is something that can really hold you back and make you not enjoy it. So I want to share my knowledge and get it out there for other people to be able to develop the mindset that allows you to enjoy it, even when things are bad and how to handle those situations. So as of now, I would be accepting coaching clients.
Sandy Mackay [00:32:22] Very cool. Is there a way that people can get in touch with you about that or is there a specific place to go for that?
Rob Break [00:32:29] Is it the happy landlord,
Sarah Coupland [00:32:31] the happy landlord? I do have the website, but it’s not developed yet. So the best way to reach out to me about that would be to send me an email. So my email address that Sarah tag properties dot the H tag p r o p e r t i e c OK.
Rob Break [00:32:50] Okay, good. So on the other side of that, I guess there are people that should hire property management and not self-managed. So when do you think that someone should actually reach out and hire the property manager?
Sarah Coupland [00:33:02] Well, I think honestly, if you don’t have the time to be a great landlord, hire somebody who can help you with that. As I said, it’s a business, right? And if you have great tenants, you want to keep them, but you also want to make sure your property is taken care of and that your building is maintained. And so if you really don’t have the time to be a great landlord and really take care of your property, hire somebody to help you. Also, two, if you’d maybe do have the time that your time is better spent doing something else, hire a property manager in real estate investing the amount of time that you spend on property management. What could that time bring you in return if you were spending it on investing instead? And I’ve seen this. I have a property management company and that is it’s been scaled, and I have staff and all that kind of stuff. So it makes sense for me to do that. Property management. But if you’re spending a ton of time managing your properties and you don’t have time to work on your next deal, you know, look at what your time is worth and maybe you pay somebody 10 percent to manage it for you, but you’re going to make way more than that 10 percent if you find another deal, right? Or maybe you want to spend more time with your family like it needs to fit into your lifestyle.
Sandy Mackay [00:34:17] Do you think people should self-manage like in the beginning, just to learn how it’s all done or the right person? Just go right into having a proper manager, honestly.
Sarah Coupland [00:34:26] And I get that so often where I have people call me and they’re newbie investors, and they said, you know what? I want to manage it myself for a couple of years to get a feel for it. And then I think maybe after that, I’ll hire property management. Well, you’re going to go through a really difficult couple of years because you don’t know the Residential Tenancies Act, you don’t know, like you don’t have the systems and processes in place and you’re going to learn, but you don’t learn the hard way. So I would really recommend for people to do the opposite where if you’re a newbie investor and you have a landlord before you haven’t done property management, hire somebody to help you because it can be extremely costly to get the wrong tenant or to mismanage your property like that’s going to cost you time, money, aggravation, stress. So I’d really say hire a property manager if you’re fairly new and like, I have some clients and they come on and they hire me and they’re very involved. They like to know what’s going on with their property, and I kind of talk them through it and they learn that way. But they’re learning how to not make the mistakes that I made early on. They’re painful. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. So I’d say hire an expert right away to help you out.
Rob Break [00:35:39] Interesting.
Sandy Mackay [00:35:40] I agree. I used to think the other way I used to think it makes sense to. On your own forbid, but I mean, doing their own could mean tens of thousands of dollars of issues, right or more so
Rob Break [00:35:51] right, like if you don’t know all these little tricks and tips that you know, sure. If you go in and you’re armed and you know exactly what to do when somebody is late or when they damage the property, that kind of stuff, but you won’t. But if you did, then you’d be OK. But yeah, that’s the whole point is just having the right tools to deal with the issues when they come up with the tenants.
Sarah Coupland [00:36:15] Yeah. And I know a lot of people, it’s like, well, cost. Like it’s a lot of money to hire a property manager. Well, it’s a lot of money. If you put it in a tenant who doesn’t pay you for six months to right, and it’s a lot of money if you have somebody causing damage and you don’t know what’s going on. Like, even though I manage my own properties whenever I do a deal and I buy a property, I make sure that the property can cash flow if I’m paying property management fees. So I would almost even look at that right from the beginning. Does this deal cash flow? How I want it to if I’m paying for property management, because that’s the biggest thing is, oh wow, well, I can just do it myself because it’s really expensive. Well, make sure that your deal can cover it in the first place and then you don’t have to worry about that.
Sandy Mackay [00:36:58] And yeah, it makes sense. The higher profit margin. I think there’s good and bad property management companies as well, so I think that’s a very good one. How do you identify what a good one is? And if you’re dealing with something that’s not doing a good job, how do you know when to fire a property management company?
Sarah Coupland [00:37:13] Oh, again, it comes down to expectations. So when you hire a property manager, you should know exactly what it is that they offer and what they do. And I go through that with my clients. I have heard some really interesting stories about other property managers and sneaky things. And you know, we have full disclosure. So we use a property management software where all of our documents are uploaded. Our clients have their own portal. They can log in, they can take a look at the documents, they can take a look at least ledgers and rents and all that kind of stuff, and they see what’s going on in their property. I think that having that sort of openness is really important. If there is any sort of sketchy behavior, I know instances where people have been, well, basically their managers has stolen money from them, and it would be very easy to do. I think if you’re not keeping an eye on things and don’t have somebody that is reputable in that you can trust, if there’s anything fishy with your financials, sit down and talk to your property manager. And if it doesn’t pan out, then I would let them know immediately because it’s your money, right? If they’re not meeting their obligations like, I would be very involved in the beginning process. Like, I have a number of clients who they know me, and they trust me. So they’re not constantly saying what’s going on, what’s going on, what’s going on. But I also have clients who are skeptical because they’ve had bad situations in the past. Be involved, ask your property manager questions. And if they don’t have the time to necessarily answer them for you or let you know what’s going on, that might be a red flag.
Rob Break [00:38:47] Mm-Hmm. OK. Jesus.
Sarah Coupland [00:38:49] And one thing I will say as well is even though you hire a property manager, it’s still your property. And so like, we go in and we do inspections every six months. I do recommend as an owner that you should maybe attend your building once in a while as well because I’ve taken over properties that were managed by another company. The client came to me because they thought it was being mismanaged and I’ve gone in to do inspections. And in this one building, I had a tenant who didn’t have any heat and also had no running water to their bathroom sink. I had a lady with like five dogs and 20 cats like three people, hadn’t paid rent and hadn’t gotten any notices. And there was a company managing that building like it is still your responsibility as the owner to make sure that things are getting done the way that they need to be getting done. And if anything seems not right. Go and check out you’re building and talk to your tenants.
Rob Break [00:39:41] Is that a true story?
Sarah Coupland [00:39:43] That is a true story. Like, the guy didn’t have any heat to his sink, and he didn’t have any water to his thinking, his bathroom. And he had no heat. She was renting space heaters because his rods weren’t working. And the lady so there were three tenants in that property who were like way behind on their rent. And when I took over management, I went around, and I do an inspection right away and I talked to everybody. And the lady with all of the dogs and cats. And I said, well, just, you know, our local bylaw, you can only have two dogs and two cats, so you’re going to have to get rid of some of your pets. And also, if you haven’t paid rent in three months, here’s your end for notice. We’re going to be proceeding with eviction against you. And they actually just moved out. We didn’t even go to the tribunal. She moved out and another person moved out. And then the third person, we did end up going to the tribunal and getting an eviction because they couldn’t come current with their rent because it was horrible, and they were paying for management on that property. It was crazy.
Rob Break [00:40:34] And isn’t it amazing how quickly you guys turned it over to you? Because I can imagine that that is exactly what would happen. I mean, someone who has five dogs, and 20 cats is. Is probably not going to be willing to get rid of them.
Sarah Coupland [00:40:47] Oh yeah.
Rob Break [00:40:49] Mm hmm.
Sarah Coupland [00:40:49] Yeah. And we went in, we didn’t in five, we didn’t. Then four, we did the damage, we did nonpayment of rent. And I just sat down and again open, honest communication. And I was kind of I sat down with her, and I said, hey, look, it’s like, this is the situation, and this is where it’s going to be going. So if you want to save yourself the trouble of having to pay for the application fee for us to take you to the tribunal, you’ll just leave. And she did very good.
Rob Break [00:41:13] Yeah. Do you have a piece of advice, sir?
Sarah Coupland [00:41:16] Yeah, and I think I kind of already touched on it, figure out what your time is worth. And I’ve heard this a number of times. I first heard it through both Michael Dominguez and Quentin D’Souza really talking about finding out what your time is worth and don’t spend your time on, you know, I guess now minimum wage is $14 an hour, but don’t do $14 an hour work when your time is worth two hundred. You know when it comes back should you or should you not hire a property manager? What is your time really worth? If it’s going to cost ten percent to hire a property manager, but your time is worth much more than that, it’s an easy decision, right?
Rob Break [00:41:57] Yeah. And you know, I’m going to bring it personally a little bit, because last Christmas and this Christmas, like clockwork on Christmas Day, I got called because of plumbing issue. A property now is just down the street from my house. But it was Christmas Day for the last two years. And other than that, everything’s fine. But then all of a sudden, I go home, and I don’t think anyone else is working. I guess this is my problem and back everybody, you know?
Sarah Coupland [00:42:27] Yeah, I had the same thing happen, but I get paid to do that. So, yeah, I took care of it. We had we had frozen pipes on Christmas as well. Mm-Hmm. With tenants and yeah, like it’s your lifestyle too, right? Like, do you want to be called? And now we’ve actually got my, my husband. He’s always done our maintenance on our own properties. Now that we have our property management company and we have a full team of tradespeople, we’ve got handyman and tradespeople and emergency staff. He doesn’t want to be the one going to go and do the plumbing. He doesn’t want to be the one going and taking care of the crappy emergency on a Friday night or Christmas Day. So we have a full team in place, so he doesn’t have to do that. So even though we have the property management company, I’ve got a plumber that I can send. I just call them, and they’ve got service. And because we give them a lot of business, we get priority. Mm hmm. That’s another really good benefit for hiring a property manager, and I actually have had people hire my company, not because they don’t want to deal with tenants, but that they can’t get maintenance done. So if you have a little maintenance job to do, contractors aren’t necessarily going to choose to do your little job. Like it’s really hard to get people to decide to come in and do an hour here, an hour there or are plumbers. They’re really busy, especially like after hours emergency. I make the call and they come because we give them a ton of business. If you’re an independent landlord who only needs them once in a while, they may not necessarily come for you because they’ve got other priority clients. So I have a handful of people who’ve hired us just for our access to maintenance people.
Sandy Mackay [00:43:59] That’s a great point. I’m sorry, exactly, for sure. All right. Well, Sara, it has been awesome stuff here. How can people get in touch with you? And also, who would be best in touch with you as well?
Sarah Coupland [00:44:10] How will my email address their tag properties? Okay. We’re revamping it, but you can check out our website as well, which is just 10 properties. Dossier talks a little bit of a property management company who should get in touch with me. Right now we are doing property management in The Colbert Report Holt Colburn area. So we’re out in Northumberland. This is where I live in Maryland best and where we manage plans within the next little while to expand to Durham Way, but not quite there yet. So anybody in this area who is interested in property management let me know otherwise. If you are interested in and coaching, if you could use some help, if you’re in situations that you’re not quite sure how to handle or you want to even just develop a tenant training program and go over what that looks like. You can give me a call and we can do some coaching,
Rob Break [00:45:00] OK, and I guess maybe anybody that wants to invest in some multi-unit properties?
Sarah Coupland [00:45:05] Oh, yeah, that too. So I always forget to promote that. But yeah, we do have three projects on the go right now with the Multi. They can take some time, like the 14 unit that we’re negotiating. I have it under contract and we are looking for partners on that right now. But the other ones, like it’s I develop relationships with these people, and it can sometimes take six months to a year to hash out a deal. But I will be looking for JV partners for those. Also, if you are looking to make a return on cash that you have without actually being the investor, we do borrow private money as well, and we’re quite stable and secure. So not a bad option for parking your money somewhere and second mortgages and first mortgages also.
Rob Break [00:45:51] Okay, awesome. Awesome. Well, thanks again, Sarah. This was really, really good.
Sarah Coupland [00:45:56] Oh, no problem. Thank you.
Rob Break [00:45:57] New would be. All right, Sandy, how can people get in touch with you this way?
Sandy Mackay [00:46:02] Is there office now? Five three eight three three three or info at Mackay Realty Network dot com.
Rob Break [00:46:10] OK, good. And people can reach me at two eight nine nine two seven zero four six four. Or info at Breakthrough Aria Podcast. That’s here. And that’s it, I guess. Thanks, everybody. Have a great night. Now.