Investing in Belleville, Trenton, Scaling Up with Ribhu Rampersad

Recorder 2 24

Podcast Transcription

Georges El Masri [00:00:01] Welcome to the Well Off Podcast, where the goal is to motivate, inspire and share success principles. I’m your host Georges El Masri. This is the War podcast and today I interviewed Ribhu Rampersad, who is a full time real estate investor and co-founder of Olympus Properties Group. He focuses on value add acquisitions in Bellville, Ontario and Trenton, Ontario, and his recent acquisitions include several duplex conversion projects, a mixed use commercial residential property, and he’s done several flips. And on this episode, we talked about how he got started in real estate investing, why and how he quit his full time job at Procter and Gamble, why he invests in Bellville and Trenton, the economic factors and other desirable traits of the cities. His recent mixed use acquisitions, some of the challenges he’s faced with getting financing, and his development plans for this particular mixed use property. So now you guys are going to enjoy it. Make sure to leave us a five star review on the Apple Podcast platform and then give us a look and subscribe on YouTube. Also, share this with a friend or a family member that might benefit from listening to the information if they need a little kick to get started. And if you guys want to connect with me, you can go to well after dot CA and book a call there or feel free to go on Instagram while off X. I’m happy to have conversations with you guys. I appreciate all your support. As I mentioned in the past, we have lots of really cool opportunities now that the market’s a little bit different with the recent interest rate hikes. So always happy to chat with you. And there you go. Enjoy the episode. All right. I’m here with Ribhu for the first time. This is the first time we meet. Thank you for coming out. I thought that because you invest in Bellville, that you had driven out from there, which is a couple of hours away. But you told me you’re coming from Mississauga and then you live in Toronto. So anyway, thanks for coming by today.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:01:54] Thanks for having me, man. It’s cool to be here.

Georges El Masri [00:01:56] Yeah. So tell me a bit about your childhood. We were kind of talking about this a bit before we got started, but where did you grow up? And couple good memories.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:02:05] Sure. So I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, a little island boy. I went to school there up till 18, moved to a U of T, so moved to Toronto for university. And I never went back. So kind of growing up. Then I’ll have some fun memories. Lots of time with the cousins growing up. Pretty big family on both sides. I was one of the youngest on one side and I was the eldest on the other. So is that kind of good dynamic? Yeah. And another cool thing was, you know, one of the things that got me into real estate with my grandfather was in theory, let’s see it in Trinidad. So you can always go into his office going to my dad’s office and seeing firsthand how they kind of did things. That whole entrepreneurial mindset just kind of tagging along for the ride on a good.

Georges El Masri [00:02:51] That’s cool. So what did your grandpa invest in in Trinidad?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:02:55] So a mix of different real estate or residential commercial, different things. You know, it’s one of those motivated things. Early on in my life when I connected the dots that Uli grew the family from a point where, you know no shoes farmers kind of thing to now. His brothers went to school while my parents my parents and their siblings all got to go to University of Toronto and stuff like that really showed me early on in that impact that entrepreneurship, you know, investing could have on generations.

Georges El Masri [00:03:25] Yeah, absolutely. Very cool. Okay, so what got you into real estate investing like? Well, I know you’re doing that now and you’re taking it on full time, but let’s talk a bit about your journey. How did you get to this point?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:03:38] Yeah, so it was always something in the back of my mind that I wanted to do. So my grandfather’s company was our RAMPERSAD Investments, my initials, and they’ve been our RAMPERSAD Investments. So I actually did an internship at Procter and Gamble in Bellville back in 2014. And, you know, prices down were a lot different than it is now. I’m one of the drivers that pushed me back to Bellville. I mean, the company was good, too, but it was the fact that I could buy a hose ride all to school. My first house, I got a five bedroom, you know, 480. Okay, of the bubble. I rented out all the rooms to all the engineers who started with me. And that’s really what got the bug going into real estate. I always thought initially that it was going to be more of a passive thing. It was a smart thing to do. I was going to climb the corporate ladder, but really, yeah, just, you know, I always wanted to buy a house and I bought one the cheap spot.

Georges El Masri [00:04:30] Yeah. Five bedroom house in Bellville. What year was.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:04:32] That? That was so I bought that when I went back full time in 2016.

Georges El Masri [00:04:36] 2016. So we actually started around the same time. Well, nice because I bought I bought my first place in Hamilton.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:04:44] Oh cool.

Georges El Masri [00:04:45] In 2017. So yeah, that was pretty cool. All right. So from there, what happened? You end up so you end up buying this place in 2016. You rent out the rooms to some of your roommates, and then what?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:04:59] Yeah. So, I mean, I was kind of figuring out my own way. Unfortunately, I did not look at, you know, a lot of podcasts, a lot of videos, a lot of books. At the time I was just kind of doing what I thought was right. So I did rent all the rooms out, like I said, slowly, kind of by myself, finished the basement, you know. Well, the basement, the bedrooms are finished, but out of the kitchen, that kind of thing. And then based on the cash flow. So I was making some pretty good cash flow, if you’d want to do the math at four bedrooms, $700 mortgage. Yeah. So I use that money to then buy a townhouse and on the subdivision and double.

Georges El Masri [00:05:33] Use the cash flow or like.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:05:35] End up. So I pretty much saved up a bunch of money and then I moved in. So I did, you know, I was it was a for my own homes. I put 10% down and then bought the second townhouse. That was a good move because that was before. Now, if you drive north of the 401 in Bellville, there’s just subdivisions like subdivisions and subdivisions. That was one of the early ones there. So I got another good time, got a nice quality townhouse, and then I had three bedrooms and I don’t I rented out two or three. Two other people who were at the party with me. Yeah. And then that just kept snowballing. In 2019, though, my two business partners, they were also investing on their own, and we decided to join forces to get a bit more aggressive with it. We were all at that point, I had three houses, they had a few under their belt, and we knew we were getting to a point where we were going to get captive financing and fun fact. When I did my internship, I actually was housemates with the two of them. Oh, okay. So that’s cool. We were friends for a long time and we figure let’s jump in. Very different skill sets. Um, yeah. And Olympus was formed.

Georges El Masri [00:06:43] Okay, so let’s talk a bit about you, your journey there because you were working full time at that time. Yeah, our Proctor and Gamble was us. Yeah. Okay, so what happened? Because now you’re. You’re not working there anymore. Tell us a bit about that transition.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:06:56] Sure. So, yeah, I was working at Proctor and Gamble. I mentioned before, you know, I definitely had no intentions of, you know, leaving my job, going into real estate. I had every intention to grow the corporate ladder. I was getting my promotions; I would get my problems. But I think, you know, at a certain point I realized that my growth was going to be capped. Um, I was doing real estate, I was making really good returns there. I mean, if you go to Instagram page, one of my comments is just like you realize that one property he was making double, triple what he would make in his raise and I remember was one day we were doing our first flip. So, you know, evenings and weekends we would go over after work and we did like the full renovation ourselves, full of got job everything. And I remember over some pizza and beer and math and I charting out on a chart by, okay, how much money do we actually need to make this thing full time? And the answer was not very much. Yeah. And so yeah, we made a plan and we ended up leaving Matt. Matt left first and I left about four months later. Uh, yeah. And now we’re just doing a full time.

Georges El Masri [00:07:57] So you get, you’re basically living off of the cash flow that you’re making from the properties, is that right?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:08:02] So it was a mix. So we’re not living fully of the cash flow. So it was one of those things where, you know, we were not at the point where we were fully financially independent from cash flow, but we figured, you know, if we’re going to work 60, 70, 80 hours a week at P&G, let’s try to do it for ourselves. I mean, we felt like we were smart guys. Let’s see what we can make happen. So initially what we did right off the bat when we left is we did a bunch of really big flips to really kind of stockpile. We knew that it was a where we knew it was temporary because, you know, our investing until that point were all buy and hold and they continue to be buy and hold. But we figured let’s write the way what we can. We use our to stockpile a bunch of cash. We had some of the cash flow and now we also have a little bit of a property management income that we take from other local investors in the area. We help them managers. We have everything set up. Yeah, yeah. And that’s kind of how we manage and just continuing to grow the portfolio now.

Georges El Masri [00:09:02] Yeah. So how do you feel doing this, what you’re doing now compared to working out full time job at P&G and kind of working for someone else and whatever else?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:09:12] I think it’s a huge difference. So I think it also took a while to get to where I am now, where, you know, when you first left because again, like I wasn’t in a lot of mentorship programs. I regret that. I know, but I wasn’t in all of these things, hearing them all mentality. So I quit my job and now I don’t know, I just the mindset wasn’t there yet. It took me a long time to kind of realize, you know, the visionary mindset, the longer term thinking mindset, to really transform the way I did business. And once I made those connections, man, now I love it. I could never go back. I think the first six months I was like, Why did I leave P&G for this? Like the 25th every month I’d get my paycheck. It was a good paycheck. I know I wasn’t getting anything. I’m like always working, always turned on. But now I love it. You know, once those mindset change, things kicked in. I would never go back.

Georges El Masri [00:10:03] Yeah, I know it’s there. There’s a pretty nice feeling when you work for yourself and then you know that you’re building toward something big. Because if you’re working a job like, yeah, you’re getting the paycheck every two weeks or whatever, and it’s awesome. But then you’re constantly kind of, you know, like, it’s kind of a cliche, but you’re on the treadmill, you’re on the hamster wheel or whatever. You’re just constantly working. Whereas, you know, when you own some real estate, you give it some time. It’s going to be beneficial for you as long as you’re responsible. You’re not pulling money out to go on vacation all the time and that kind of thing, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:10:34] For sure. I think I think you hit the nail on the head, though. That vision point, that vision is key. One, once you got laser focus on that, you realized you were you are working to something bigger. Yeah, for sure.

Georges El Masri [00:10:45] And I think a big part of that too is probably having like a supportive partner. So I know you just got married. Congratulations. Thank you. What did your now wife think of you leaving your job? Did she think you’re crazy or how what was that like?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:10:58] She definitely thinks I’m crazy, but I think she also knew that I got to the point at P&G where I. Okay, I wouldn’t say that I hated P&G because like I had a great time there, but it was it was to the point where I was done and I was ready for the next step. And she knew that. She knew I was itching for the next step. So yeah, it was definitely very, a very good thing that I had such a supportive partner. We’ve actually been together for about nine and a half years. We met in university.

Georges El Masri [00:11:23] Yeah.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:11:23] So she’s seen the full transition, so she definitely very supportive. Mat and I always joke when we left our jobs, when we sold our first flip, we took the girls out to dinner. So he just got married in June. I got married in July and we’re like, Thanks for paying for our lives for the last six months. Let’s not do that again.

Georges El Masri [00:11:41] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so that’s great. But y okay. So tell us a bit about Bellville. You said that you kind of got started at first because it was cheaper, it was easier to get in. What makes you want to continue to invest out there?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:11:55] Yeah. So, yeah, 100% right away it was the price. Cost of entry was low. But then over time, you know, you started to learn, you started to read books. Okay, what are the economic fundamentals? So things like GDP growth, you got industry, you know, demographic changes, infrastructure investments. And when, you know, I’m reading all of these things, I’m like, okay, well, check, check has got all those. And especially recently, like in the last five years, it’s just been blowing up in terms of investment. You know, you see things on the news are a black male golf course in Bellville. They’re building like they have a $1.5 billion budget to build a golf resort. You have, you know, 110 acres of industrial land just acquired and building permits taking out. You know, there’s rumors of who it is, but regardless of who it is, 110 acre industrial development is massive. You got Proctor and Gamble out there. You got Black Diamond out there. There’s just so many good economic drivers to that area. You know, you got the GDP growth, you got all of those things. It just it’s like one of those things. If it’s not broke, why fix it? We don’t. We built the local connections there. We built our team there. Um, and the numbers still work so well.

Georges El Masri [00:13:06] What was it like building your team there? So finding contractors and all that. I’m guessing you have to start from scratch because you’re not from Bellville. So how what was it like finding people to do the renovations and your electricians and plumbers and other trades?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:13:19] It has definitely been a journey, has definitely been a lot of trial and error. I’d say that there’s a lot of contractors out there, but not necessarily a lot of good contractors, which I guess is the case anywhere you go. And, you know, we went through a lot of the good ones and the bad ones and, you know, we made the mistake early on in, you know, not planning too far ahead as well as making costs be the final decision for who we picked. Those are two things we two things completely we should not do again, because if they’re available next week, probably they’re likely not good.

Georges El Masri [00:13:48] Yeah, yeah.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:13:48] Good guys the button way for the next week for sure. And the cost is the cost for a reason. The big thing about it, though, is, you know, being local over time, people kind of heard about us, which really helped. So, you know, we can call a plumber up like our plumber. You know, we have drinks with them. We have them on speed dial. So we’ve been able to build very good local relationships over time, and that’s really helped. We actually have a couple of guys who work directly for us as well, so kind of a general labor painting, that kind of stuff. And even those have been built over time where we kind of had done part time, hired them for our jobs, and now we’ve just kept them busy 40 hours a week for the last two years.

Georges El Masri [00:14:24] Yeah, yeah. Well, how did you find them in the first place? Is that something like you just found on you, Google them, or did you ask people around in the area who they’re using?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:14:33] So initially we were using Google, but then our best success has been word of mouth. And I mean, once you get a couple of good contractors, they know the other good contractors, they follow them and build stuff like that. And then especially in a smaller town like that, once you build a good reputation, you know, people want to show up and work for you. But definitely word of mouth has been the best. And you think I’m joking but Tim Hortons drive thru is involved. Well, a lot of the good guys don’t need to advertise because they’re just busy all the time. They are like Matt and I; we have folders on our phone, no joke. We’re like trucks and Timmy’s drive thru. We need a framer model. Text me. Hey, look, this guy’s in the drive thru. So I think.

Georges El Masri [00:15:14] What’s the idea behind that? Somebody is in the drive thru, right? Why does that make them good?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:15:19] Well, it’s not necessarily in the draft, but it’s just we find a lot of contractors around town just kind of, you know, driving around on trucks. So word of mouth, I think just boots on the ground is help us find some really good people who don’t need to market because, you know, they’re good at what they do and they’re not looking to scale this massive business. They just want to go in and do a good job and move on to the next. Okay.

Georges El Masri [00:15:39] Interesting. I’ve never heard anyone say that before, but that’s how I think that strategy could work if you’re in a small town, correct? Yeah. I could see how that that would make sense. Or even I thought you were going to say like you’re asking the people that work at Tim Hortons who know who’s well because everybody knows each other in small towns. But yeah, I.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:15:56] Mean, don’t get me wrong, we need to vet the guys that we call. Yeah, but we’ve gotten a lot of leads. Contractor leads that way for sure.

Georges El Masri [00:16:03] Okay, what’s Melville’s population? Do you happen to know?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:16:07] Yeah. So it’s about 55,000 people in Belleville proper. Yeah. But if you go on to the website on the blue city website, there’s a couple of links. So Volvo Services, a lot of rural areas around it. So within about 30 minute drive from the center above, we have about 200,000 people.

Georges El Masri [00:16:22] It sounds a lot like welland. Yeah, well, end is about 55,000. Then you have St Catherine’s, which is about 200,000, about 15 minutes away.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:16:29] Yeah. Yet I think not as mature as those cities yet. You know, there’s still it’s still growing. I don’t think it’s, you know, quite to that point in terms of in-home systems, infrastructure, that kind of thing. So it’s interesting to see how it’s going to go in the next few years.

Georges El Masri [00:16:44] What kind of properties are you targeting in Bellville right now?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:16:47] So right now we’re looking primarily a duplex conversions as well as we’re looking to take down, you know, a larger multifamily in the next six months. Duplex conversions. And although we kind of, you know, churn those out there, become a bit of our bread and butter. So we got two on the go right now, for example, and we love them there. You know, it’s pretty straightforward and bubble so that that’s what we’re looking at.

Georges El Masri [00:17:12] Can you kind of break down the numbers on your duplex conversions right now? What’s the like what’s the purchase price, the amount that you’re putting in, that sort of thing?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:17:21] Yeah, sure. So the one thing so I can give you an example of one project that we just wrapped up last month and we have tenanted. Um, the one thing to note is the projects that we do take on kind of widely vary in scope. So we’re all engineers by background. So sometimes we take on, you know, some really, really bad projects and business prices and stuff are a bit skewed. But I think this one that we wrapped up last week is pretty representative of, you know, a normal deal in bubble. So we picked up a deal last year in November off market from a wholesaler. So we bought that for 347 wholesale fee included. It was a single family duplex. I’m sorry, single family bungalow. Bungalow, yeah. And at the end of the day, we put in 150 K into that. One thing to keep in mind is that we like to do a little bit higher end renovations, you know, in terms of our finishes to attract asset certain, you know, tenant profile. We have military tenants out there; we have nursing medical students. So we try to target that kind of profile as well as we fully separate all the utilities. So water, heat, hydro, uh, everything we are laundry capability, etc.. So I’d say 150 K that that’s what drove a lot of that budget.

Georges El Masri [00:18:38] Is that just for the basement or is that 150 like you did the upper level as well?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:18:43] Upper level and lower level, upper level needed relatively minimal work like it wasn’t a four job. So, you know, paint we did put in a new kitchen just to kind of bring it up to standard, but 150. Okay, that’s pretty good. Yeah. So, um, yeah, we thought so. Yeah, it was, it was a good is a good project for sure. So, you know, at that point we’re about 500 again. So right now Bellville duplexes brazing anywhere between 650 to 700 K so that specific property was 675 appraised. Um, and yeah, so that’s, that’s the one. And then for from a rent standpoint, so the upstairs we’re actually renting for 2000 plus utilities, I’m sorry, 2100 plus utilities and a basement renting for 1750 plus utilities.

Georges El Masri [00:19:33] That’s crazy. Yeah, that’s a crazy number.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:19:36] 1754 Bellville Yeah, it is. Actually, I would say even at 2100 is on the low end right now. Some of the units are renting for 23, 24. But, you know, we got a good deal where the tenants upstairs are going to help at lawn care for a couple of our properties.

Georges El Masri [00:19:52] Yeah, yeah. That’s cool. Yeah. Okay, so the 1750, the basement, is that a walkout basement or is. Just kind of like a standard basement.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:20:01] So it’s not a walk out. It’s a standard basement. Yeah, there was a site entry, so we kind of cover that. We did split the deck down the middle. And, you know, as I said, like two really big bedrooms, nice bathroom, nice kitchen and laundry, everything in there, and then fully separate utilities. So heating, cooling, everything. But it’s still crazy. It’s crazy to think.

Georges El Masri [00:20:18] 1750 Yeah. Because I’m thinking like even in Brampton where we live, a lot of basements go for like 13, 1400. Yeah. So I don’t know, I don’t understand how Velveeta would get that much. It’s pretty insane.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:20:30] Yeah, I think a couple of drivers do it on top of the quality. Like there’s a nice big backyard. The location is really good. The person who moved in is actually working like right down the street. So there’s a lot of positive factors going for. Yeah, but frankly, there are just no supply of good rental units.

Georges El Masri [00:20:45] Yeah, yeah, that makes sense because I know it’s. It’s kind of the same thing in Hamilton, right? I don’t know why Brampton seems so far behind me. Because there’s a lot of basements for rent in Brampton. That could be the reason. But yeah, that’s. Those are great numbers. So you’re basically if you refi, you’ve got 675, so you’re getting 80% of that back. So you’re going to cover like pretty much all of your rental costs and then some of your down payment, right?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:21:08] Correct. Yeah. So that one actually though, we’re actually now going to do the refi. So we did this one other partner. Okay. Who does who would like to leave the money in to keep the cash flow high. Yeah, but I mean we could have if we, if we wanted to.

Georges El Masri [00:21:22] Yeah, that makes sense. So did you buy it from a wholesaler? Did you buy and get a conventional mortgage or did you have to get private?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:21:29] So we did conventional grading through with a with a JP partner. So that made everything pretty good. So the JP partner actually also got married, I think it was a seasonal wedding. So I think he wants to leave some money in so that he could buy himself and his new wife a bigger house.

Georges El Masri [00:21:45] So yeah, yeah. Well, all the people that were thinking about getting married the last two years and postponed it, they all pretty much got married this year, right? Yeah. A lot of people like we got married in 2020, 2020 and we had 12 people at our wedding because that’s all we were allowed to have. Right.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:22:01] So.

Georges El Masri [00:22:02] But yeah, it’s pretty cool that we’re seeing all these changes and a lot of babies, too.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:22:06] Yeah.

Georges El Masri [00:22:07] Okay. So. So Bellville seems to be working out very well for you. What’s the plan like? What are you aiming to do here? Do you have a certain goal in mind or are you just like, go, go, go, whatever. No’s don’t stop until you die kind of thing?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:22:19] I mean, kind of. But I think I think we’re going to keep steady is the duplex conversions and blah blah so the Quincy region so we also have a couple rentals in Trenton. So Bellville, Trenton, similar market, pretty much the same market. So I think we’re going to keep those going. You know, we have a couple of JV partners even on one that we started last month and we’re going to continue to grow that, you know, just kind of bump those out. But the really aggressive goal that we want to do is start taking down, you know, ten plus unit buildings. Um, you know, that being said, we may have to wait. No kind of lends for that, but we’re going to stick on the East End. So from Quincy region to Kingston and just trying to, to, to increase the amount of multifamily is in our portfolio and get into that game. We kind of dipped autos a little bit in the multifamily space to get to get it more experience with the commercial financing and stuff. When we bought a mixed use building in Bellville at the beginning of this year and now, you know, with a bit of that experience, I don’t care how to navigate multi rows, financing, stuff like that. Um, yeah, we’re right. We’re ready to jump into the next step.

Georges El Masri [00:23:20] So tell us a bit about that mixed use building that you that you acquired. Um, yeah, break it down for us and then maybe tell us how the financing went.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:23:28] Sure. That financing was very tough. So I definitely happy to share. So, you know, being there in Bellville for a number of years, we were seeing firsthand the growth that downtown building in particular is seeing for context. Like back in 2010, 2011, Bellville was the top unsafe city in Canada. And that break and entering. Wow. The city has been doing some really good things in terms of policing, you know, mental health, stuff, like there’s somebody downtown. Like if there’s a mentally challenged person that you call this lady who knows everybody and they do, they have really good services there. I mean, it really cracking down on a lot of things. And we were seeing that growth, I’d say five years ago. I would have never bought a property in downtown Bellville. But, you know, over the last couple of years, they’ve dug up the roads, put new plumbing, all these things. And so we saw an opportunity on the market, you know, at the end of 2021 for this deal on the MLS, it was $440,000 for a mixed use store upstairs. It’s completely abandoned. You know, there was fire damage decades ago and nothing is being used. And downstairs was commercial and it was tenanted.

Georges El Masri [00:24:31] So it was a two unit.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:24:33] At the time. Yes. I mean, I think at some point there were two residential units upstairs, but I mean, it was just one big empty space when we bought it. You know, this is the time where deals are getting harder to come by. So we figured, you know, this is a great strategic plan, especially as we build our reputation in Bellville, because I don’t own like there’s a bunch of money getting pumped in. We want to, you know, be known in the local community so as a really good strategic play. As well as for three units, a 440 K and we had a vision of making it four units. You can really get that price very easily. So we decided to offer on it. We got it on the MLS, but the financing was very tough. So that was a lesson in commercial financing because I did not realize that a lot of lenders actually have like a minimum limit that they would actually lend on the select two mills. So yeah, well would be like, yeah, but this commercial, I need a commercial mortgage for 404.

Georges El Masri [00:25:27] And.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:25:27] I’d just be like, No, no, you’re not going to get that as well as like we need it like 600 K of renovation budget to bring it up, you know, to be good. Mm hmm. So ended up, you know, there was a lot of calling, calling a lot of brokers dealing with it, a lot of people. It was a very tough deal to finance. But I was able to get one broker with Clover Mortgage. So my girl, he’s super great. We got a private deal, private lender to lend us on that deal, both construction and purchase price, which is very handy. We were able to leverage collateral on, you know, the equity that we had in in a lot of the properties in our portfolio because we’ve been holding some for a number of years. So we didn’t actually need to put cash out of pocket for this. So the MRV based on cap rate and we’re being a bit conservative on the cap rates, going to sit at our own 1.55 mil. Once we’re done, however, they’re going to get capped because of the interest rate. So we’re going to have to be, you know, keep the debt service coverage ratio at a healthy number. So, yeah, we’re looking to pull out most of our money. We’re going to leave about 200 K in in order to keep that debt service coverage ratio. And there’s a lot of good things that I do. You’ll do, like I mentioned, the strategic part, but then also it’s actually zoned for three stories. So there as the downtown bubble continues to grow, we’re framing things in and we’re setting things up in the construction so that we’ll be prepared to take that next step once that growth continues.

Georges El Masri [00:26:57] Okay. So you’re saying your plan is to turn it from two units to four. Right. So are you going to convert that commercial space into residential to residential units or are you going to keep two commercial units?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:27:10] We’re actually going to convert the upstairs into three residential oh. So it’s actually a pretty long building. So it’s about just over 2200 square feet per floor. So we’re going to keep the commercial unit as it is because we think it’s a really good space and I’ll set it up as a nice cafe or something like that. And we’re going to be very strategic in the tenant that we pick for there. And then the upstairs are going to have three units. The best plan right now is to see how we can get into the Airbnb space. It’ll be our first step into that because of what we’re seeing on that street, that street, what’s happening behind the walls and that street. Like there is going to be a huge number of high end Airbnbs bed and breakfast launching by next spring. So we want to be part of that. So it’s going to be interesting for us. Nice brick walls, nice loft ceilings. I think the ceilings are like 16 feet, at least with nice, exposed brick walls. We took the horsehair plaster off and it it’ll be beautiful when it’s done.

Georges El Masri [00:28:04] Yeah. Cool. Yeah. So 2200 square feet upstairs. Are you working with an architect or a designer to lay out the units and all that or you’re not there yet?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:28:13] Yeah. So that’s already done. So we’re actually under construction right now. Framing is being done as we speak, of course. So yeah. So we worked with the engineer actually is well my other partner has his old school friend of engineering. He’s actually based out of Barre. We also have a couple of local designers going to help with, you know, some of our smaller projects. So we definitely have to get a bit creative with this one, like, you know, adding skylights to meet minimum, like lights for a threshold requirements and stuff like that because you know, we’re jammed on either side, but I think the units are going to be very nice when it’s done adding separate entries for each one. So we don’t have shared walkways, shared corridors, stuff like that. We definitely have to be creative with this one.

Georges El Masri [00:28:55] Right. And then do you have to put in like a fire escape at the back or something for each unit or what’s that going to be like?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:29:01] Yeah. So how we’ve designed it is that each unit has its own entry, so it’s not a shared entry at all. There’s no shared space. So we do need two points of egress. So on one side of the building there is a building that’s shorter than us, so you can actually exit through the roof. But yeah, we definitely I think that that was the longest part. The premise took a very long time to go through. I was all fire, you know, fire code regulations like one need to be being combustible, noncombustible material. But the positive, though, is once you go through all of that bubble actually gives a lot of rebates. So they give you a rebate for improving the front facade. They give you rebates for retrofitting of the current fire. Could they freeze your residential property tax if you meet certain requirements for ten years? So it was a pain, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end for sure. Yeah.

Georges El Masri [00:29:53] And how do you apply for those rebates? Is that something I guess that’s something you have to do ahead of time. Right before you start doing the work and then you get the rebate later on as you provide the invoices and the proof that the work’s been done.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:30:05] Correct. So you need to do that in parallel with your permit submission as well as like the front facade. You need to have courts ready for it and submit all that at once. It is a pretty rigorous process. But overall, I think, you know, it’s good it’s good amounts of money that they give you. Yeah. And I think it’ll be a nice building one has done for sure.

Georges El Masri [00:30:24] And you’re doing all this yourself, managing like all the rebates and all that, or is that something that your designer is doing, your architect’s doing?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:30:31] So between Matt and I, we’re managing that all ourselves. What we were trying to do is, you know, kind of bring everything in-house. So we actually brought an admin on to our team. She’s starting next week. We have a resume set and like we’re trying to bring everything in, host our team to really kind of cut costs. I mean at the end of the day when as a managed operation, so like ops is what I’m good at so I’m trying to build my, my own operation. Yeah.

Georges El Masri [00:30:54] Yeah. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. Yeah, I like that. Yeah. Okay. So aside from that, so you’ve got a lot going on here. You’re not only purchasing properties, but you’re adding value. You’re starting to get into more of the larger units. What’s, uh, what do you. How do you think you’re going to start getting into those ten unit buildings? What do you think’s going to have to change?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:31:15] I think we need to grow and a lot of the systems that we currently have. So, you know, we’ve been spending a lot of time building our back end system. So from a, you know, using us on how we get automations into our system just so we could scale it a lot better so that we don’t spend all our money outsourcing everything. So that’s one. The second thing would be really, you know, starting to raise a lot more and getting outside of our bubble in order to, you know, get into those larger deals. So, you know, we have we have high aspirations and those numbers get very big. But I think, you know, once we have that solid business operations back in us, I think we’ll be in a good spot. So I think the operations are pretty much set up now. Now we just have to find the next deal. Yeah, yeah.

Georges El Masri [00:32:00] That’s great. When it comes to those ten unit buildings or larger, what are you doing to find the opportunities? Are you just looking on MLS or are you doing other things too to create opportunities?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:32:11] Yeah. So right now MLS is a big part. You know, I’ve been messaging, you know, a lot of realtors or in contact with a bunch and on the especially the units that are there for a long time. So, you know, 30 plus days on market I.

Georges El Masri [00:32:24] Do have that’s funny that it’s a long time because 30 days on the market isn’t that long. Really. Yeah, very. Now we got used to.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:32:30] 100%.

Georges El Masri [00:32:30] Properties so long as we keep going.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:32:32] I’d never said, Yeah, that, that is a good point. But you know, a lot of those that that are sitting a bit longer that I know are overvalued for Bellbrook and are reaching out right now in conversation with a couple to see. You know what deals we could work out building. You know, I’m going to have to leverage a lot of the local relationships that I’ve built now, you know, the county landlords association and stuff like that, you know, and just getting really aggressive with it now that we have things in place in order to take these projects on is going to be an interesting few months.

Georges El Masri [00:33:02] Cool. Yeah.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:33:02] Yeah.

Georges El Masri [00:33:03] Well, I’m excited to see how you grow because I’m kind of doing the same thing. My goal is to get into a ten unit building or larger, and I’ve been just trying to either find off market opportunities on the MLS and then start raising capital, like you said, you know, like just finding different ways to raise capital other than the ways that I’ve been doing in the past because I was going after smaller deals. So yeah, there’s definitely some adjustments, but I find that when you start focusing on something, things start to come into play. I’ll give you an example. I, I kind of like wrote down a goal that I’m going to buy a ten unit building and all of a sudden, literally, I think two days later I get a message on Instagram from someone saying like, hey, we’re about to buy we’re looking to buy a building. Can you help us? Can you, like represent us as a realtor? I know it’s not exactly what my goal is, but I’m starting to draw that in, which is pretty cool how it works, right?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:33:55] Yeah, that is very cool. Yeah, definitely. You know, I understand what you’re saying, and setting that vision is definitely key. Um, and it’s been interesting, too, because I’ve just never gotten social media. But you, you don’t realize the power the social media has until you start like posting regularly and other we start at the post, you know, people actually see, hey, these guys are doing a lot of cool things. I think for a long time people thought we were just a construction company and now they’re realizing, Oh no, these guys have actually built quite a portfolio for themselves, so it’s going to be good.

Georges El Masri [00:34:25] Yeah, for sure. Keep doing what you’re doing because that does sound like some pretty exciting projects and then you’re going to keep building that cash flow. You’re going to grow your, your portfolio. And, and again, like when you when you start noticing some of these people that are selling their properties now, they’re maybe a little bit older, they want to get out of the game. What they what I keep hearing from them is like, I don’t really want to sell this because I’m generating really good cash flow and this is my retirement fund and whatever. So it’s cool to get to that point where you’ve been investing for 20, 30 years and like every property’s generating one. Over $50,060, 100,000 a year before you and you get to keep all that. At some point once you paid off the mortgages, right?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:35:04] Yes, I think that’s a good point, because I think one of the angles that I’ve been tackling as I reach out to people right now is how do I approach from a vendor take back standpoint so that they still keep their income? Because I was crazy. I was like, Man, enjoy your life now. Like, I’ll just be you and then getting the asset for myself. So I’m definitely trying to work a couple of those right now, and I think that there is a big transition that’s about to happen and bubble, you know, I think a lot of other landlords, definitely a lot of opportunity there, a lot of, you know, turnover, a lot of buildings that have just been sitting for a while without any real improvement. So my partners and I want to see Bellevue continue to grow and improve and happy to be part of that.

Georges El Masri [00:35:43] So yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I think the key thing with the vets is like if you want to be successful is to really understand them. Well, for one. Yeah, because I remember when I first got introduced to the concept of TVs and went out, I was trying to get them. I didn’t really know how to explain it. Like, what’s the benefit? Why would you do this? Because people always want to know why. Why should I do the B2B? Once you really understand how it works and how it benefits the seller, that’s a key, really important factor. Um, yeah, because the that’ll help your chances. And then another thing that I’ve been hearing from different people is to try to get a property under contract and then negotiate a VTB after.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:36:23] Oh, interesting.

Georges El Masri [00:36:23] Yeah. Like, show them that you have every intention on closing. Like, you’re really working to get the financing, but then you’ve come across this challenge or that challenge getting financing. So, hey, do you think you can help out by? Well, I mean, it’s beneficial to you too, but like by providing a portion of the mortgage yourself, then it’s a win situation, that sort of thing, right?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:36:43] That’s an interesting way of approaching it for sure. Yeah. So that would be cool. I think another thing too that I am doing differently is earlier on I mentioned that I went a long time without coaching and I finally got to coach. Oh yeah, well, he joined the Durham REI. Oh, okay. You know, we had Paul and Quentin there. Yeah. And that has been game changing for sure. Yeah. All my stupid ideas. I can just filter it out. The WhatsApp chat and I don’t need to learn the hard.

Georges El Masri [00:37:07] Yeah, yeah. Paul, Paul was just on. He’s the one who introduced us. Yeah. So for those that are listening, if you want to listen to the episode with Paul, he came I think it was two or three episodes ago that he was here. Yeah.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:37:18] Great guy. Great, great.

Georges El Masri [00:37:19] Group. How’s that coaching going?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:37:21] It is good. So, you know, we have our weekly calls, we have our WhatsApp chat, which is phenomenal. You know, I think even just today, the Bank of Canada interest rate announcement, you know, got announced today and obviously the chat was buzzing. So it’s kind of good to just, you know, have a forum where you have other likeminded investors and stuff. And I kind of dedicated way to just kind of chat, share thoughts, share your stories, learn from people who’ve done more than you. Definitely is great. I would definitely recommend it. And just coaching in general, like I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. Like I got I had a coach and everything else, every other aspect of my life except this one.

Georges El Masri [00:37:56] So yeah, yeah. If you have the right coach, it’ll bring you miles ahead of where he or you would have been without one for sure. Yeah. I got coached by Quentin as well as well. Quentin you get, you got Paul. But yeah Quinn helped me so much and now I was always going to be grateful for that. Yeah.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:38:13] Yeah. It’s aspirational when you hear people who do, you know, really, really big things like that to just surround yourself with them and just, you know, have bigger goals than you thought was possible.

Georges El Masri [00:38:22] So yeah, exactly. And just getting pushed all the time, that’s the good thing. And then having community communities like this, I got to meet so many good people just from having them on the podcast, learning all these different strategies, what people are doing, different markets and all that. So yeah, that’s another cool thing. So anyone listening, make sure you keep listening to this podcast and you’ll learn more and more. So do you have any advice for maybe people that are listening, that are interested and kind of going on the same path as you maybe queering their job, that sort of thing?

Ribhu Rampersad [00:38:50] Yeah. So I think, you know, two things. One, you know, be really clear on what you actually need to survive on or live on or, you know, thrive on if you don’t want to just survive because sometimes that number is a lot lower than you think. And, you know, the security of the paycheck is, you know, just almost like a mirage because that number is not really that high. When you when you think about it. And you could probably jump sooner than you can think than you think you could. The second thing is, is patience is key. You know, I think a big thing with Olympus on our portfolio is we’ve been able to build up a large amount of equity in our portfolio because of time. You know, when I bought my first one, so the one acre, like, I mean my, my mortgage rate was in the high threes. One of my other houses, I had a fixed conventional in like high three and I was freaking out that this thing is like so high when interest rates dropped. But now, you know, I’m in a good position again. So, you know, everything averages out over time. Things, you know, if you’re buying good quality assets, patience is going to be key. There was a period, you know, I was getting, you know, really caught up with the hype with the market. With everybody online and, you know, just being laser focused, having that vision and having patience is very important.

Georges El Masri [00:40:05] Absolutely. I remember I went through the same thing. I had a mortgage at like 3.6, 9%. And I thought that was so crazy. This was like, I think I got the mortgage in 2018 and then the rates went down to like the low twos. And then, yeah, I was just thinking I could see so much if I just refinance this thing. Since then, I’ve only been getting variable mortgages because of the flexibility. But yeah, now I’m like, you’re starting to feel the pain. If you have properties that were cash flying X amount and now with the higher rates, you’re it’s dwindling way down, right? So yeah, yeah. But hopefully it’s just temporary. Like a lot of people feel like it’s going to go on for another year, maybe two years, and then things should go back to normal. But yeah, we’ll see what happens.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:40:49] I mean, the economy is cyclical, right? So we’re just in a bad part of the cycle. Yeah. So that’s our patience is going to be key.

Georges El Masri [00:40:56] Exactly.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:40:57] And good quality.

Georges El Masri [00:40:58] Assets. Exactly. And now is a great time to start buying those assets. Right, because there are deals like I’m seeing stuff on the market now that for sure, if this was six months ago or a year ago, it wouldn’t be on the market. But there’s no way there’s lots of those opportunities. So yeah, to capitalize, if you can, let’s go into basically what your if you have any services that you’re offering or anything of that nature and also the best way to reach you.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:41:27] Sure. Yeah. So I mean, the three big well, the two big things that we do. So we’re always looking for joint venture partners, both, you know, and our larger deals like the mixed use duplex conversions always don’t just chat about real estate in general, about Belvoir in general. You know, we didn’t know the area pretty well and we’re still looking to invest in a lot more duplex conversions. And then secondly, we actually just launch our property management in Bellville in the country region. You know, we felt that there was a need there. There was there’s a lack of, you know, investor focused property managers who are investors themselves. You know, and we have our team there and we figured let’s extend the service to some others of people who want to build good quality units like us in terms of how to reach me. I’m on we’re on Instagram, Olympus Dot Properties and if you message Olympus, I’m probably going to be the guy answering you. So, yeah, that’s the best way. The quickest way to reach us.

Georges El Masri [00:42:23] Yeah. One last thing I want to ask you, because I was going to ask you before, but I forgot when you did, when you purchased that property off the wholesaler, the one that you got for 347, the duplex conversion. Yeah. And you said you got a conventional mortgage. So how did that work? Because they take an assignment for you. So. So you how do you, like, pay off the assignment fee and then get a mortgage on the remaining amount.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:42:43] Yeah. So did so the deposit that we put down, the down payment was larger than the deposit fee. So I guess the bank was okay with it. I’m to be honest, like I was prepared to pay the extra fee, but we didn’t have to and the deal it.

Georges El Masri [00:42:58] Was built in.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:42:59] Yeah, they built it in for us. I mean the big surprise for me with the wholesale deal, I was my first wholesale dealer. Actually, the biggest surprise was the fact that the deposit is like, you know, you got to do it like right now as well as the size of the deposit is usually a bit bigger than, um, another real estate transaction, especially in bulk. But the bank is pretty okay with it. I mean, the property was fine. There was nothing like structurally wrong. It was inhabitable. It was just, you know, a bit dated and the basement was unfinished. So overall, the property is in good shape. The appraisal came in, you know, way higher than what we were paying for. So I think the bank is, you know, pretty lenient with us for that because they felt that they were going to get, you know, like it was a secure investment for them. So.

Georges El Masri [00:43:40] Cool. Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing all this. I hope that the people that are listening got something out of it. I know I love hearing about people reaching for certain goals and going after the ten plus units. That’s exactly what I going for. So we’re on the same page here. And yeah, I look forward to having another chat with you soon.

Ribhu Rampersad [00:43:57] Yeah, man, thanks for having me on. It was a lot of fun.

Georges El Masri [00:44:01] Thanks for listening to this episode. Your support is truly appreciated and if you can share this with a friend or family member that might benefit from the information. Remember, our goal is to motivate and inspire others to take action and to build wealth and to become well-off. Enjoy the rest of your day.

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