Table of Contents - Setting up for retirement in her 30s with Sarah Larbi
George El-Masri [00:00:00] Welcome to the Well-off podcast on this episode, I interviewed Sarah Labi for the second time, Sarah's a really cool person because she's in her early 30s and she's got a handful of properties. She's in a position to actually potentially retire over the next little while. She's even considering for the time being, just go part time because she doesn't need to work full time anymore. She's really good at leveraging her time, getting a personal chef and things of that sort. And she didn't share these things to show off or to sound kind of like she's got everything going for her. She's just sharing because real estate has changed her life, owning real estate has. And she hopes that other people will be able to benefit the same way that she has. So listen to her story. Check her out. Just a reminder, you guys know someone who is thinking about buying or selling, mostly buying investment real estate. That would be great. If you know someone, I'd love to help them. But then again, if someone in the GTA mostly typically around Mississauga or Brampton that are thinking about selling their homes, I love working out there. I've sold a lot of properties in those areas because I grew up in both those cities. So keep me in mind for those as well. And I look forward to connecting with you guys. Leave us a review. Let me know what you think or if you have any guests that you want to hear on the show, let me know for now. Enjoy the episode. Welcome to the War podcast, where the goal is to motivate, inspire and share success principles. I'm here for the second time with Sarah Labi and some of you know her because I actually I didn't do a technical podcast the first time. It was a YouTube video, but it was the start of what became the well-off podcast. And a lot of people that I speak to that are not necessarily like avid listeners of the show. They seem to remember Sarah on there for some reason. They always tell me, I just remember watching this 30 year old girl that had like nine properties. And so I decided to do a follow up episode with her to see where she's at. A lot has changed. So for those of you that don't know, I'll do a quick introduction. Sarah is and her tagline is to inspire all Canadians to own property faster and easier. She does online training programs. She was featured in the Toronto Star 10 ten news, talk radio, all sorts of different places. She's a speaker or she's done some speaking at the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Investor Forum. She's the host of her own podcast called Where Should I Invest? She does all sorts of things. She's also one of the founders of the right club. So tons of stuff, very involved in real estate. She has a full time job as well. So I think there's a bit to learn over here if you are working yourself and you're looking to buy some property. So welcome to the show, Sarah. Thank you for doing it.
Sarah Larbi [00:02:41] Thank you very much for having me. I'm excited to be here for a time. Number two to my first second guess.
George El-Masri [00:02:46] Yes, you are awesome. You're the first. Second. Yeah. So obviously you've done many of these before as the host of your own podcast. I don't remember if the first time I had you on if I had you tell me your story, because usually what I do is I ask about your background, what you did as a child, what you remember. So if you want to just quickly go through that.
Sarah Larbi [00:03:06] Sure. So I am a real estate investor. And you mentioned I work full time as well. I'm a sales manager. I work in the Ontario market cover in Canada, and I got into real estate in 2013 after I went to the bank and realized I had no assets and I had been working for a few years. So I went home and I Googled literally how to get wealthy and how to get rich. Real estate kept coming back over and over and over, and I figured that seemed like the obvious choice. And I decided to take the plunge and rented to my sister in law as our first tenant. And fast forward to today. We just sold one property. So we had Ted, now we have nine again. But we've we've changed and traded a few of them. And yeah. So we we are still actively looking. I am keeping Daliah Barsoum, my mortgage broker, very, very close. So right now we still are good for two more, actually. Still with a lender is still qualifying and one as a second property. So another second cottage and another rental. And then at that point in time will be going to to some more B lenders or potentially commercial. But, um, just recently actually I had an offer in on a six plex. Unfortunately, the inspection didn't go so well. The the foundation had some issues and the sellers decided that they didn't want to budge on the price. So but that's that's what we're looking at right now. Just something bigger at this point.
George El-Masri [00:04:30] Cool. Good for you for for actually doing so much in a pretty short span of time. So before we get into all of that, I do have some questions for you that just came to mind. But I want to ask you just to recap some of the events from your childhood, where you grew up. What are some of the memorable experiences you had back then?
Sarah Larbi [00:04:48] Grew up in Toronto, in the West Village. I was born in Montreal, but moved to Toronto when I was about six months. My parents are entrepreneurs. They always were. And and so we went to school. But I always really knew that I was meant to do something more than just have a job. And and so that was instilled in me, I think, when I was a young kid. Other than that, I mean, I went to French school, learn English when I was six, and I went to school for nursing and nursing, has a bachelor of science in nursing. I'm nothing wrong with nursing, but it just wasn't for me. I feel like the financial cap or the ability to to advance your career is limited in that field. They're underappreciated. Underpaid in the nightshifts would kill me. So that's just a little bit about my background. And, you know, I guess here we are today.
George El-Masri [00:05:38] Cool. What's your cultural background, by the way?
Sarah Larbi [00:05:41] So my dad is from Algeria and my mom is from Quebec City.
George El-Masri [00:05:44] OK, that's cool. So that's why you have the French, Algeria and Quebec City. Great. OK, so we have somebody who did a bachelor. Was it a bachelors degree in nursing?
Sarah Larbi [00:05:53] You said Bachelor of Science and Nursing.
George El-Masri [00:05:55] Perfect. And then you ended up I think you work. What is it that you do now? You're your full time job.
Sarah Larbi [00:06:01] Yeah. So I work at Lavazza, the Italian coffee company. Yeah. And sales manager for the Ontario team. And I am also responsible for distribution.
George El-Masri [00:06:14] OK, Canada, did you work for like a chocolate company in the past?
Sarah Larbi [00:06:18] So they actually were just recently acquired, OK, in December, so essentially it's the same same thing that I'm doing because I was in the last four to five years ago. But, you know, the really cool thing is I'm working right now because I love the culture, the environment. But if I lost my job tomorrow, I would not look for another one.
George El-Masri [00:06:34] True, you would be able to survive without without technically getting a salary or whatever. That's awesome.
Sarah Larbi [00:06:41] I'm trying to I'm going to you know, I've been going back and forth with my boss a little bit, just about going down a part time. So some, you know, some something to look forward to. Ideally, Thursdays and Fridays off starting next year. Wow.
George El-Masri [00:06:55] How many people can say that at your age? Not many,
Sarah Larbi [00:06:58] many. But you know what? The other thing, too, is? I'm still qualifying for financing. And I think that's the big pieces. If you find something that you enjoy and you're OK doing it for a little while longer, like as soon as I leave, I'm not going to be qualifying for the same type of lenders as I'm doing right now. So I'm going to do two more, at least since that's the aletter spots I still have left and and then go from there. But I I'm not in a huge rush to leave until I, I kept myself financially in terms of that, the spots that I have to be able to acquire as many properties as I can.
George El-Masri [00:07:35] Right. Yeah. So you're let's say let's say nine because you're selling one of them. Yeah.
Sarah Larbi [00:07:39] Well one just sold so we had
George El-Masri [00:07:41] one just sold. OK, so you're at nine properties now and I'm assuming that you sold it so that you can free up some capital to buy one of your bigger properties, right. Exactly. OK, perfect. And all right, let's talk about the growth of your portfolio, because in six years you bought, let's say, around 10 properties, which means that you are doing more than one a year and several years. Where you leveraging your properties, where you refinancing or where you just using your income?
Sarah Larbi [00:08:10] I was not using my income. I'd have to save for I don't know how many years for that. I do the burn method. Right. So I'll buy a buy a property all renovates to rent, then I'll rent it out, refinance it after the appraisal and then I'll, I'll take my money and I'll repeat it and get another one. And so after your first one or two, once you've bought. Right, because you become a market expert in the area, you're going to be able to find the good deals right away. Are you going to be able to close on them fast? You're going to be able to know what your renovations are needed to bring the after repair value as as high as possible without renovating. And then you're going to be able to use the bank's money. You know, and most of the I mean, the properties that we're doing now, like none of it is our own money anymore. So I'm not over leveraging. I still have lines of credit with, like homelike lines of credit where there's no money used on it. And it's important to do that because even though you don't need the money today, I, I don't need the money today because I don't have a deal. I want to have the money available as a hillock so that when the deal does come up, I have the ability to go ahead and buy it. And I think that's the important piece. So if you guys are sitting on your house and your house has a ton of equity inside, it's like to me that's dead money. You don't have to use it, but unlock it so that you can write.
George El-Masri [00:09:27] Yeah, something interesting about that. A couple of months ago I was talking to the broker here and he was saying that if there ever was a recession, like, let's see if we go back to 07, 08 in the States, if you do have access to home equity lines of credit or whatever else, they can actually freeze it. They can freeze your cash and you would have no ability to take it out or whatever, do anything with it. Were you aware of that?
Sarah Larbi [00:09:52] Yes, I think we're talking about the same person because I've heard I've heard that as well. Yeah. You know, if that does happen, then you go to the bank and you pull it out in cash if you need to before.
George El-Masri [00:10:00] Well, it would have to be before, you know.
Sarah Larbi [00:10:03] But again,
George El-Masri [00:10:04] I'm not saying that people should be afraid of that. And, like, they shouldn't get lines of credit credit, but I just didn't know that that was possible. I thought, like, if you have access to money, you have access to money any time.
Sarah Larbi [00:10:16] Yeah, yeah. I mean, look, I don't have a crystal ball. I don't know what's going to happen or I don't know what's going to happen in ten years from now, you know, but I don't stress about that. And if for whatever reason, my lines of credit that does happen. Yeah. You know, I'm OK. I'm I'm sitting on cash healing properties right now. And, you know, I'm happy with where I am.
George El-Masri [00:10:35] What kind of properties are I know things are changing now, but let's say for the first couple, what kind of properties were you targeting? Where you just trying to get your hands on anything that was a good deal and that fits the the better method?
Sarah Larbi [00:10:47] Yeah, I was really targeting Brantford, became really well known or, you know, I just analyze the market to to know which areas are good, what property types are good. And so I was buying, you know, just kind of more dated three bedroom single family properties. I would be able to renovate and and increase that equity so that I could reuse it. And so that that's really how we got to where we are today. I think at this point, you know, I'm looking at like just. Looking at higher income cash flow, something that I could I could hold on for 30 plus years, 40 plus years, and none of that is not cash flow anymore, but it's not where it used to be three or four years ago. Right. And Bramford, when I used to be able to buy something for, you know, under two fifty and a lot of them were under two fifty, it's getting a lot harder now. So, yeah, you're definitely buying something that needs a lot more work, a lot more works, which is fine. But the market's changed and so, so and so have I. And at some point do I say, OK, do I keep doing what I'm doing or do I go into multifamily and do I do something a little bit bigger that I can create more cash flow with? And I think that's that's the the route that we're going. So we bought a triplex in Hamilton and that was a single family technically because it wasn't properly legalized. Right. Is owned. But we are going through that process right now. And and I think that's going to bring in more cash flow than my single family properties were.
George El-Masri [00:12:19] OK, so that's interesting. Your your triplex, it was zoned as a single family. So did you have to get a minor variance of some sort
Sarah Larbi [00:12:26] of have to get variances. So it was zoned E just never. And when they did the three units, they never really actually did it properly. Yeah. And we knew that going in. So that's what we're going through the city. We're doing the variances. We're doing, you know, the drawings. And when I say we here's here's the thing is that with a full time job, like you guys are probably wondering, like how how do you do it with a full time job? I try to delegate as much as I can, and I think that's the important pieces, you know, work on your business but don't work in your business. So, for example, like, I really don't have time to figure out how to do the drawings on my own and go back and forth to the city and do all of that. So I'm like, I hired somebody that does it for a living. And yeah, it might be a little bit more money than, you know, upfront, but it's going to create a lot less hassles and struggles and it'll go faster because, you know, for me to learn how to do all of that stuff from scratch, it's just easier to hire it out. Same thing with my job. I'm not a cook. I don't like grocery shopping.
George El-Masri [00:13:23] So I sold out. Someone was telling me, actually, are you familiar with the Shannon Sullivan? I don't even know if I'm supposed to, but maybe she she said she recently met you and you inspired her to hire a chef because she doesn't like well, they do like cooking, but they just don't spend the time on it. So, yeah, that's that was a good tip.
Sarah Larbi [00:13:42] Yeah. I actually I didn't not know that they were so affordable. So like, if you think of hiring a personal chef, you think of like, oh my God, I'm going to pay someone a whole new salary. But she comes once a week and so she goes and does all the grocery shopping. And the coolest thing is when I do grocery shopping, which I hate doing, I just go and buy stuff that's already made. So it's like really expensive. Right. And then if you think about like if you go out once a week to restaurant, it's 150 bucks, give or take. And then you do like one meal that you do takeout on, like you're already there. Like it only cost me about three hundred or three hundred and fifty dollars a week, food included. So to me it's a no brainer and I don't have to spend forty minutes waiting for food because I'm not going to cook that. My boyfriend is, I was, you know, the cook for, for that time and I think he kind of enjoys not having to do that anymore as well.
George El-Masri [00:14:32] So in that, that you said like three forty or whatever, that includes all of your groceries, not just what she's using to cook your meals,
Sarah Larbi [00:14:41] that includes all the groceries. So she'll make it all and then we'll have food for the week. She puts in Tupperware, cleans up the kitchen. Oh, awesome. And that's pretty good. Yeah. You can freeze. Good deal. Yeah. Yeah, it's pretty, it's pretty good. It's just an hourly thing I think. Yeah. It's like forty bucks an hour.
George El-Masri [00:14:54] OK, and that frees up your time for you to do other things in terms of that trip. Like just to go back there. I know that like specifically Hamilton and other areas you need to they have very specific criteria for what will qualify. Like, for example, the House has to be a certain distance away from the street and there has to be a certain amount of parking spaces and whatnot. So did you do did you research all of that prior to purchasing the the triple X, knowing that you are going to legally convert it?
Sarah Larbi [00:15:25] Yeah. So we were actually hoping for a four unit. The four unit did not get approved. So we're going to get the three unit. We did do some research and I had like my team in that works in Hamilton probably every single day with many other investors. So they were looking at it and they were, you know, giving us the insights. You know, one of the things I just heard recently is that if the parking is not long enough, you got to pay this fee. I think it's like three hundred dollars or something with the city a year. That's right. I don't know,
George El-Masri [00:15:56] small price to pay.
Sarah Larbi [00:15:57] It's just like everything, right. Nickel and diming investors that are trying to, you know, leave that political stuff aside.
George El-Masri [00:16:06] Yeah, yeah. OK, so that's smart. You you went from single family and with your single family homes, you said that you targeted three bedroom properties. Why three
Sarah Larbi [00:16:17] is. What got me the highest runs, so between a two and a three in Brantford, like, I can't talk for every single market, but the rent difference was the greatest and the demand was the highest. And so those two things made me want to just stick to three bedrooms and there is just the easiest properties to sell if you need to sell them. Right.
George El-Masri [00:16:38] That's true. Yeah, because I bought a few months ago, I bought a one bedroom home, a one bedroom bungalow in Hamilton, and it was a great deal. And I refinanced it since and unlocked some. So like, I didn't do any work to it. It was already renovated. It was just a good deal. But first of all, with a one bedroom, it's harder to rent. I could find people, but it's just like the pool is much smaller. And the second thing is resale value. It's going to be a little bit challenging. And actually, another interesting thing that I didn't know is that I had trouble finding getting financing because a lot of banks don't finance properties that are smaller than like six, seven hundred square feet. So a couple of things. So like learning for the future, although I got it, I did a pretty good thing here with this property, but I think going for a three bedroom house in the future will be a much better plan.
Sarah Larbi [00:17:29] Is there a way to create another bedroom on that property?
George El-Masri [00:17:32] I don't think so. It's only like four hundred fifty square feet.
Sarah Larbi [00:17:36] I actually think that that sounds very similar to my first property. But in Bradford, it was a one bedroom, but we already had our tenants light up. It was my sister in law, but we actually divided it because there was a big enough room to just add a wall and create another bedroom to it. Yeah, but yeah, there are some odd ones out there. But you know what? If you got a good deal, you were able to refinance it. I mean, every single property for the right price and the right purpose makes sense.
George El-Masri [00:18:00] Yeah, exactly. So yeah, it's it's always like a lot of people just find reasons not to do anything. So that's maybe another thing that I'll discuss with you, because you are kind of working alongside people and coaching them and helping. What do you find is holding people back? Because a lot of people that I speak to, they just find so many different excuses not to invest. What are your thoughts?
Sarah Larbi [00:18:24] Yeah, I mean, it's it's analysis paralysis. It's maybe not knowing enough, not being able to come up with the money, the financing. But it just comes down to sometimes they just need some handhold them to to assure them and to give them the right insights, the right advice along the way. And, you know, once my goal is when I coach somebody and I and I show them what I do, is that the second one they're gonna be able to do on their own, which, you know, I had a couple I was coaching last year. And really, we like we can hope like I can help them through the whole process. We go see properties together. I would look at every offer that they would send out. I would I actually was on the phone while they were screening the tenants that, you know, as I have the screening stuff. So they they went through the whole process and now they're looking for the third one, you know, a year later, which is really cool. So, you know, I think it's just a combination of a lot of different reasons. Just not everybody is always comfortable just going ahead and taking action because of the fear of potentially making a mistake. And otherwise, you know, I see it sometimes they have financing, but on the money, the money and not the financing, potentially the partner is not on board. Lots of different things.
George El-Masri [00:19:33] Do you still feel fear? No, not not with real or not with.
Sarah Larbi [00:19:38] So potentially like for something bigger like that.
George El-Masri [00:19:41] Six Flags.
Sarah Larbi [00:19:42] No, no, no. There's no there's no there was not so much fear on that. And I think it's just I don't know. I feel like if you just hang on for the long term, it'll all be OK. That sixth place wouldn't have lasted five years, unfortunately, because of the foundation. But, you know, one of the things I would say is as you get more comfortable, you're going to start making offers. And I probably don't see the half the properties I make offers anymore. I go to them and I go to them during the inspection or whatnot, and then I decide if I want them or not. But, you know, the inspection report has saved me a ton of money. Even that Hamilton property.
George El-Masri [00:20:17] The triplex.
Sarah Larbi [00:20:18] Yeah, the triplex. We ended up reducing the price. Twenty thousand dollars after that report came out. So sometimes you just get something under contract and then do your due diligence and negotiate it down.
George El-Masri [00:20:30] That's very rare, though. The agent on the other side must have been really angry.
Sarah Larbi [00:20:36] It is what it is. Yeah. Get a good inspector. My inspector gives me like a forty five page report. Forty seven pricing that goes along the way like this is going to cost me X amount. Let's share, let's share the price.
George El-Masri [00:20:47] Read through that forty five feet work. Yeah. There's lots of pictures OK. Because a lot of people would be like terrified of that. If you have somebody inexperienced in DC. Forty five pages of what's wrong with the House, it would probably be really scary.
Sarah Larbi [00:21:00] I love it because the more stuff that's wrong with the house, the more I can negotiate. And that's that's how you got to look at it as their jobs are to find every single small thing that's wrong. And the majority of the stuff just it's small. It's small things you can fix. No problem. Yeah. You know, even electrical, electrical, electrical. I just when it comes to a foundation issue that could cost me one hundred thousand dollars plus I've already bought this property or have it under contract for quite a bit. Yeah, I don't really feel like spending another hundred grand before I even fix up the units. Right. And so there's just some things that I'm I'm willing to do and I'm not willing to do. Like I've I've taken some small foundation stuff that I fixed over the years, but it was because the price was right too. Yeah.
George El-Masri [00:21:45] With that apartment that you were just mentioning. What's your plan? Are you planning? Are you going to buy apartment buildings from now on or was it just a one off that you thought was a good deal?
Sarah Larbi [00:21:56] I definitely want something bigger, like I'd like. Well, it's more stable.
George El-Masri [00:22:00] Even if it's an apartment building, it's a six.
Sarah Larbi [00:22:02] Actually, it was actually six townhouses next to each other. I really liked about it is that tenants are responsible for their own yards from tenants are responsible for their own utilities. It was definitely a very different clientele that I'm used to, but that's OK at the end of the day, from fair and consistent. And at this point in time, you know, going to the board doesn't scare me as much as it would have. You know, property number one is an example, but it that's what I liked about it. I like the cash flow numbers when I looked at it. But the amount of work that it did for the next five years, it just didn't make sense at the price that we offered. So. So it is what it is. And they didn't want to negotiate and they said, OK, well, onto the next. And and that's often what happens, right, is we make offers, we get on a contract and then you do your due diligence. And if it works, that's great. And if it doesn't, then it doesn't. But, you know, it's so I would have actually gone through RBC with that because I received four six Plex can do it residentially. And so that would have been really good because they had a really good terms, 20, 20 percent down 30 year m. The rate was pretty good too. So it's
George El-Masri [00:23:07] really good. Yeah, cool. OK, so what are you thinking moving forward. Like what's your what's your game plan. Do you. Because some people just like to do the same thing over and over like our friend Alfonso just does rent to own. And there's a couple of people who have like their own specialty. Do you find that you're going to be switching to something a little bit different? Or do you do you get bored of doing the same thing over and over? What are your thoughts?
Sarah Larbi [00:23:33] I would. So I love the burn model. I guess I'll just do it on something bigger. Yeah. At this point. Right. And so whether it's a small multifamily, so two to four units or something a little bit bigger, I think at this point I'm at a point where I've got like hillocks available with a decent amount in there because of the effort that we've put in that to build it up to that point that you know why I just spend sixty or fifty K as a down payment and get something that's a single family. I might as well spend a little bit more, get something a little bit bigger and I think the return over time will be greater.
George El-Masri [00:24:09] What does your like your family and your friends, what do they think of you now? Maybe the people that have been around for a long time and kind of knew what you were doing a little bit, but and see where you're at today?
Sarah Larbi [00:24:21] I think they're all very happy and proud. And, you know, it's it's funny how I've never had those friends and those families that told me I was crazy, you know, and I think I was really lucky for that piece because because my parents were entrepreneurs and in a lot of my friends, you know, look at me as the person that was always like financially savvy, even if it was before the real estate time, they were always very encouraging. So, you know, I think that was that was a good thing. You know, some of them want to do it and they're still having that analysis paralysis. They're not really sure starting. You know, I'll help my friends and some of them will just never pull the trigger. And it's OK. But, you know, over time, my friends are actually a lot of real estate investors now. They say you're the average of the five people you hang out with the most. Yeah. And I would look back and I would say the last three years, a lot of my friends have changed. We're good friends, will stay in, will always be there. And then your new friends that you have the same passions with and, you know, a lot of common things with, you're going to hang out with them probably a lot more. And so they become closer.
George El-Masri [00:25:20] Yeah, that's true. And so let's see those people that were in your circle maybe ten years ago. Well, obviously, maybe you're not hanging out with those people as much as you do with your current new friends, let's say. But do you find that you've inspired people to kind of follow in your footsteps? Because people could do a lot of talking. You can talk about all the things you want to invest in, but when they see you actually doing it, is that have you found that you've inspired others?
Sarah Larbi [00:25:46] We had a friend, so Gabby and they bought their first investment property in Hamilton, which is a flip. And so I've known them for about ten years. So some I would say yes, some have gone ahead and bought something and some of them, you know, maybe it's something that they still want to do in the future. But, you know, it's not on the cards. It doesn't have to be in the cards for everybody. And, you know, I was just talking to some other investors. And if you really look across Canada, there's not that many of us out there that are actively investing, that are actively learning. Going to these different meetup groups or different events, there's not that many, I think, you know, if I had to take a guess under five thousand,
George El-Masri [00:26:25] really, you think really across Canada or you're talking about across Canada? I think it's probably more than five thousand.
Sarah Larbi [00:26:32] Do you guys have the answer?
George El-Masri [00:26:34] Well, think about where the right club. Like maybe we can even talk about that a little bit. How many people come out to a club event every month?
Sarah Larbi [00:26:40] About two hundred and fifty, give or take. Um, I think ultimately we've got about sixteen, seventeen hundred members in total at this point. So very all of them will go to the different ones as well. Yes. Ontario. Right. So I don't know, I don't know what the answer is, but I don't think it's that many. And you know, the other thing I was thinking, we're all like one or two degrees of separation away from everybody. And it's really
George El-Masri [00:27:05] cool. It is. It is pretty cool. When you're involved in clubs like that, you start to get to know everyone slowly. But within maybe a year or two, you if you're active, you'll pretty much know everyone. Yeah. Yeah. So why don't we talk about the right club a little bit? Because that's like been a very successful group and it's pretty young. How how long has it been since you started. Like two years or something like that.
Sarah Larbi [00:27:28] Two and a half years ago we started and it's grown really quickly. I think the biggest thing with with our club is that we just really want to help others. And we are not like that club that you go to in the upswell, you and then the absolu weekend event and then the Saluda, this coaching thing. And we just really want to truly help and educate and we want to find speakers. A lot of the speakers are actually our members that are doing it, you know, and being able to to share what their accomplishments are. And I think the big success of the club is that it's not about us. There's four founders. It's not about us. Like we don't want to hog the stage. We want to bring the best people to speak on stage. And, you know, it's not us. It's not us. And and at the end of the day, like, yes, OK, I do birds and the others do rent to own. But like, I wouldn't want to talk about, who knows, you know, multifamily or commercial or investing in the US or, you know, whatever that topic is. I'm not that expert tend to be.
George El-Masri [00:28:31] Well, the thing is, even at your own events, like, I don't really see you going up on stage and just sharing all the things that you're doing. You do have most of the time somebody from the club telling their story. Yeah. How did that whole thing start? How did the right club come to be what it is?
Sarah Larbi [00:28:49] We all got together. Daniel used to have a little club in Stoney Creek and there was maybe ten, fifteen people that would come every single month. I spoke at one of his club events and Afonso in him. I think he went to like a key Spier event. Anyways, long story short, lots of people running to the back to sign up for this like weekend, like a thousand dollar course anyway. So Daniel and Alfonzo started talking. Daniel called me, got us all in one room and said, hey, let's let's do this. We were all we were all up for it. And we said, you know what? There isn't anything out there that is affordable that is really about members and and their success. And we said, OK, you know what? There isn't really anything in Burlington consistently. And so let's just do it and see what happens. And I think the big thing is that we were all networking before and so we all had different networks. So our first event actually had one hundred people.
George El-Masri [00:29:41] I was just going to ask. Yeah, yeah. One hundred people. First event. And how did you get those hundred people? Were you just personally reaching out like everyone reaches out to their network, you call people or whatever and get them out.
Sarah Larbi [00:29:54] That's it. We just all had, you know, large networks and reach out to them and said, hey, this is what we're starting. Come out and take a look. And and two and a half years later, it's still going strong. We we are launching this amazing online community because we have a lot of people that reach out to us from Edmonton or Calgary or Vancouver or wherever else or even Thunder Bay, and they can't come to Irvine. So we are launching this whole online community that anyone in Canada can have access to this information and have access to off market deals in the marketplace section, have access to joint venture partners, money partners, be able to ask questions in the forum like bigger pockets, but not really. But if you think about something similar to that. But Canadiana is right. You really want to talk about what's relevant in Canada, because when you think about it, there's lots of podcasts. And thank you for making a podcast that's Canadian as well. But there's lots of podcasts with content relevant to the US. But when you think about the financing and you think about the taxes and you think about, you know, their LLC and all that stuff, like the legal stuff, it's all very different. And so, yes, the concepts are similar. Even the prices are different. Concepts are similar. But can you how do you apply that here? It's not always the same, right?
George El-Masri [00:31:11] Yeah. Well, you touched a bit on networking as well, which I think is something that you do very well. Where did you does networking come naturally to you or did you do some research, did you take a class or something? How did you become so good at it?
Sarah Larbi [00:31:25] I don't know if I think of myself as good at networking, but thank you.
George El-Masri [00:31:29] Well, I say that because, first of all, the right club is very successful and that that all began from networking. And obviously, you you are part of that. But also there are a lot of people that have good things to say about you have a lot of good relationships with people. I'm sure if you like your podcast, even you launched a podcast and you're able to get all these guests, you were able to grow it quickly. And I think all of that, the source of it is from your networking. Would you agree?
Sarah Larbi [00:31:54] I agree. I agree. And you know, what I look at is if you're interested in other people and you ask questions, I think I think that helps tons. And so, you know, at one point, you know, long, long ago I was pretty shy. But I look at it and I'm like, these are really awesome people that probably have an awesome story. And I want to a if I can help somebody, I'd love to, but vice versa. I mean, you know, everyone's got a great story and so what's their story? And so I think if you're curious and you're interested in, you know, ask questions, I think you can develop some great relationships. And and I know there's a lot of people out there that don't like networking, but, you know, even just at the tables, just introduce yourself and and ask everyone some questions, maybe what their strategy is, how long we've been investing for. And I think you get conversations going from there. Yeah.
George El-Masri [00:32:42] Yeah. I think the worst thing someone can do is be sitting at a table, walk over to someone and say, hey, here's my card, call me if you need anything and then by just walk away. And that happens at every single event, somebody will come up and do that. And that's just the worst thing. I don't think that person will ever do business with anyone from that short, tiny little conversation.
Sarah Larbi [00:33:02] Yeah, I mean, you know, I'm in sales and they say, put in your deposits before you take your retractions or, you know, you ask for anything. And I think that's just important. And I think that's just life in general. Right. Give before you take, ask before you tell. Yeah. So I think if you if you live by those rules and you'll be OK with networking.
George El-Masri [00:33:22] Yeah. For sure. All right. Well that's great because like we discussed, your networking has led to a lot of success for you. Do you think that it had something to do with your portfolio as well, with the success of owning 10 properties
Sarah Larbi [00:33:35] with the networking? I don't know. I don't know. I think somebody that's brand new, that's, you know, interested in others can do just as good as, you know, in networking than than anyone else.
George El-Masri [00:33:46] Has it helped you find deals?
Sarah Larbi [00:33:48] Has it helped me find deals? I do have some deals that are given to me, as you know. Here's an opportunity not that I've ever bought from those, but, you know, it helps me connect with others. I've had people from my podcast, from networking. They're like, hey, you got a great story. You got to come on the podcast or you've got a great story. Why don't you speak out on stage in the future? Has it gotten me deals? No, not yet. Has it got me some potential JV partners potentially? You know, I'm still trying to figure out if I want to JV right.
George El-Masri [00:34:17] That's another thing I want to ask you about.
Sarah Larbi [00:34:19] Yeah. You know, and I have I have my reservations on it because I'm a coach. Somebody has the money, the financing ability, the willingness to do it. They want to be the active partner. I actually will tell them to try to just do it themselves and I'll coach them through because I think in the long run, it's actually better for them. That's what I tell them. Somebody wants to be passive, not participate because and they just want their money working for them and they want to hold the financing and and put the money down. I consider it if somebody has the financing but not the funds, I probably wouldn't or vice versa because I still do. And at this point in time, I prefer to teach somebody how to do it for themselves because I think they're going to be better off in the long run unless they're the passive type of person or they're you know, I had somebody I was talking to recently, she's in Vancouver. She wants to invest in Ontario. She's obviously she needs a JV. And so I'll consider something like that. But, you know, it's and the other thing I would say is if you're if you're not going to take action and you need somebody to hold your hand through it and for whatever reason, you don't want to hire, coach or mentor, then maybe the JV route is the way to go. And when you've got, you know, or if you've got three or four or five properties and this is what helped my students at that point in time, you can start looking for jobs if you need them, you know. But with a JV partner, you've got an exit strategy, you've got a time limit. And so when I buy properties, I want to have a twenty to thirty year time horizon before I do anything in terms of selling them, if possible.
George El-Masri [00:35:45] Right. Yeah, I'm sure there are people in your network that have like say 50 plus properties and that do JVs this and not. Have you ever asked them what they what they think of your your approach? Obviously you went on to buy properties by yourself. You haven't partnered with anyone. What do they think about that?
Sarah Larbi [00:36:05] I don't think they think anything. I think they think it's fine. You know, I think everybody can be successful doing something different in real estate. Right. Even just strategies. If you're Flipper, you can be successful or you can not be successful if you're a buy and hold investor or vice versa. So I think you can be successful joint venturing, just like you could be successful doing it on your own. And I think a lot of people are open minded and realize that I'm not saying that I'm not going to JV at some point. It just has to be with that right person and it has to be in their best interest to because my brand, my reputation is actually more important than any other, you know, because it can it takes time to build. And it could be one thing that you do that ruins that forever. So, you know, I'll take my brand, my reputation over anything. Right?
George El-Masri [00:36:47] Yeah, that's a good point. And because there's been a couple people that come to mind for me that are very, very successful and they have told me that what I should be doing right now is just focusing on finding JV partners, forget about buying properties myself and not focus on partners, and you'll be able to grow much faster. But like, maybe I'm wrong for thinking this, but I just think that I would rather do a couple on my own and just have those for me because I don't want to rely on others and I don't want to have that possibility where we just don't get along and something happens and I lose everything potentially, or I have to sell everything. Right. So I kind of I kind of agree with your approach.
Sarah Larbi [00:37:31] Yeah. It's not a one size fits all right. It's going to make sense for some people and it's not going to make sense for others in whatever you choose to do as long as you take action. And I think that's the biggest thing. If you're not going to take action, then someone that will help you do it. Yeah, but, you know, it's you know, it's not black and white. And if you can buy some of your own first, buy some of your own first wife, and then you'll be able to find the JV partners that look at you and say, well, he's already got a few. He's already done it successfully. I am going to provide the financing, the money and, you know, take Georgia's lead on things. But if you start from scratch, I don't know. I mean, here's the other thing. If somebody brings me an amazing deal and it's off market and they're like, I want to JV and it's awesome. Yeah, I'm going to do it, you know, it's going to be awesome.
George El-Masri [00:38:15] As in you would be the passive partner in that case eventually.
Sarah Larbi [00:38:19] You know, the other thing, too, is I have some RSP money that's sitting in the community trust. I got to figure something out with me. So there's options. There's options. You know,
George El-Masri [00:38:27] have you thought about doing private loans, private mortgages?
Sarah Larbi [00:38:31] Ye, yes or no. And the reason I'm hesitating, there's a few things that I would say talk to your mortgage broker and I don't want to go into too much detail on here necessarily, but so I can take my RRSP money, then I can loan it at 10, 15 percent or whatever, or I can take the money loan as a second mortgage on your property that you have some equity and you're going to get it refinanced. And I can loan it to you at prime time and you can get that property refinanced. You can pull out that same amount of money together. We can go and buy a separate property and be 50 50 JV partners. I mean, that to me is more enticing than just loaning it at 10 to 15 percent. Right. I'm looking for that person right now.
George El-Masri [00:39:13] OK, that's interesting. Well, there's a lot going on, a lot of things to think about. Do you have anything else going on right now? Because you're doing so much, obviously. And we talked about quite a bit of the stuff that you're doing. Is there anything else, Major, that's going on with you right now, Major?
Sarah Larbi [00:39:30] I would say just looking for more deals. But the major thing is that online community that is just going to be I think it's just going to be amazing. Like like imagine everyone in Canada being able to connect with one another, being able to talk to one another, being able to share ideas, being able to see the content of the videos from the events. I mean, that, you know, to me that is going to be a game changer for us Canadians.
George El-Masri [00:39:53] For us Canadians. Yeah. What is the vision for the right club for, let's say, five years from now?
Sarah Larbi [00:39:59] Yeah, just to be the best real estate education club in Canada, really online and offline.
George El-Masri [00:40:04] So do you see yourself maybe potentially being full time involved in the right club rather than working your job?
Sarah Larbi [00:40:10] It's going to happen? Yeah. You know, it's going to happen at some point. I don't know what the time frame is, but one of the things I look at is my job is the culture is awesome. My boss has his own properties. He just bought the sixth one. Oh, really? So, yeah, he's he's awesome. And at some point, yes, I will, but I'm not in a huge rush. And it's not about the money. It's actually financing capability right now. And it's also the culture that I enjoy. But I'm still able to delegate a lot of stuff, so I'm still able to find time. I do wake up before I think I will give a five switch that up to four so I can hit the gym. Wow.
George El-Masri [00:40:48] Five before. So you must be in bed by eight.
Sarah Larbi [00:40:51] Oh ten. Really.
George El-Masri [00:40:53] Ten of forty six hours. Yeah. Yeah. It's a horrible Sombat I guess. Yeah. Yeah.
Sarah Larbi [00:40:57] Hey you know if I found that since I started working out I have more energy in general. Mm hmm.
George El-Masri [00:41:02] Which is. So you weren't working out before.
Sarah Larbi [00:41:04] Maybe one or two days a week.
George El-Masri [00:41:07] But now you've got like muscular arms.
Sarah Larbi [00:41:09] I thought five, six days, six days a week now in the mornings. But I, uh, I used to work out in the evenings because I really I was never and I still am not that type of person that could just go to the gym alone and figure out my workout alone. I always need a trainer and the trainers were more available, you know, after work. And they didn't come at 5:00 in the morning. Yeah. So this Orange Theory fitness is where I'm going right now. And they have a five, fifteen a.m. class come Monday to Friday. And then, uh, the earliest is seven o'clock on the on the weekends. So so I've been going to that and it's just been really easy with the scheduling.
George El-Masri [00:41:45] That's awesome. Well five fifteen class. That's pretty rare. I don't think a lot of gyms offer that. Yeah.
Sarah Larbi [00:41:50] Yeah. And you've got the trainer and you've got some of you, you know, not one on one which is fine, but you've got somebody there and you have a scheduler. So you like actual schedule yourself in and you have to go because you're going to get charged if you don't watch it. I think it's actually pretty smart. Yeah. It forces you to get your butt out of bed.
George El-Masri [00:42:07] Yeah. Cool. OK, well that's great. You've got all this stuff going on. You've got your health, you've got your personal chef, you've got your workouts, you've got your full time job, you're doing all these things. So your life's all coming together very nicely and hopefully you'll continue to grow your portfolio and whatnot and the right club. I think that's pretty cool. Do you think that you'll have potentially income coming out of the right club
Sarah Larbi [00:42:32] at some point? Right now we we are putting everything back into the business. Right. And I will say in comparison to last year, we're doing better this year and I think we're only going to keep growing. But I don't think it's the right time to start pulling money out of it right now because there's so much to do.
George El-Masri [00:42:49] So it's like it's like a property that you just bought. You want to give it some time before you start drying out money from there? Potentially, yeah.
Sarah Larbi [00:42:55] And it's just like that compounding interest. Right. If you leave it in every year, it increases more.
George El-Masri [00:43:02] That's pretty cool that you have like you have your properties, so your income to potentially be generated from there. But you also you're growing a business at the same time, the right club, which is a club, but it's also potentially an income source for you. So you get these two different things. You're like truly an entrepreneur. It's pretty cool. Thanks. Yeah, great. OK, so let's get into the Raynham five. Do you want to quickly check if anyone replied to you to see if we if we got anything there? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not.
Sarah Larbi [00:43:29] But I mean, we kind of did. The last minute we're like, hey, guys, send some questions.
George El-Masri [00:43:33] Yeah, we did. Yeah, we did it like within five minutes of not that long.
Sarah Larbi [00:43:37] Yeah, we started.
George El-Masri [00:43:38] So thankfully, I've got questions prepared. All right. So let's see. First question is, who was your best friend in elementary school?
Sarah Larbi [00:43:49] Danielle Reiter bands. And in my class, I think we were seven. Oh, really? It was a small, small class, small class, you know, who went to my school like boy. Ron.
George El-Masri [00:43:58] Oh, really? I don't know.
Sarah Larbi [00:44:00] Yeah. Yeah, it was a French school. It was new in Toronto.
George El-Masri [00:44:03] Right in Toronto.
Sarah Larbi [00:44:05] And so there was not a lot of people yet.
George El-Masri [00:44:08] Were you in the same grade?
Sarah Larbi [00:44:09] You know, he he's like four or five years younger.
George El-Masri [00:44:13] Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Because he's only a year older than me, so. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sarah Larbi [00:44:18] Danielle, I still talk to her to this day to really.
George El-Masri [00:44:20] Yeah. She an investor. No, no. She's got to get on board one day. OK. Have you ever thought about going vegetarian or vegan. No. Never crossed your mind. No. OK.
Sarah Larbi [00:44:32] Hey you know I don't need meat every single day. I can definitely eat, begin meals, vegetarian meals, enjoy them because I love vegetables. But unless there is a reason that I believed in or the like a health reason, I like my steaks. Yeah.
George El-Masri [00:44:47] Your chef is there to make steaks for you. That's it. Yeah. What was your favorite vacation to date?
Sarah Larbi [00:44:54] Probably when we took Matt's parents to Jamaica. That was their first trip ever because they were never able to afford it. So they helped us. His dad helped us do the Runnels on a property that we bird and we did it. So we took them on their first trip.
George El-Masri [00:45:08] Wow, that's awesome. Yeah, I love hearing that. There's been a couple of people that have said that their goals were to take their families out on vacations. I think that's a really awesome goal. Yeah. Thanks for you. OK, what's your most memorable real estate experience?
Sarah Larbi [00:45:25] Memorable? Uh, I would say probably when we bought that cottage, we bought it sight unseen. Our realtor went up, she FaceTime to me and the cottage. We would have never found it if we would have waited a day because there is an open house. It was already under contract by then with a line up all the way down the hall.
George El-Masri [00:45:45] Oh, you had it under contract. We had it. And they still did the open house.
Sarah Larbi [00:45:48] Still do the open house. And so we bought it day one. We hadn't seen it and we bought it for ten grand under asking. It would have gone into multiples for sure. And we bought it by refinancing, uh, property number two that we had bought and used that as a down payment. And we are renting it for like five hundred dollars a night. July, August obviously doesn't get that in the winter, but it covers itself pretty well. So cool.
George El-Masri [00:46:13] Five hundred bucks a night. Yeah. How big is the cottage.
Sarah Larbi [00:46:16] It's four bedrooms.
George El-Masri [00:46:17] Four bedrooms. Is it right
Sarah Larbi [00:46:18] on the water. It's right on the water. Yeah. Not super big. It's on Airbnb. People wanting to take a look and but I think that's cool because I would have not thought at my age that I would own my own cottage.
George El-Masri [00:46:30] Yeah, that's. Yeah that's really cool. And most casual pretty well.
Sarah Larbi [00:46:35] Yeah. You know, we're not necessarily doing it for the cash because we still we still end up taking a whole week in July, a whole week in August. I would say the cash flow is there. But really ultimately my goal is just to have its costs covered and all the things that we want to do with it covered. And then I would say with short term rentals, you know, there's that thirty thousand dollar threshold. Talk to your accountant about that, because the HST starts being applicable and there's some ways that you could probably get around there. But something to keep in mind.
George El-Masri [00:47:03] And I'm guessing you buy all of your properties under a corporation right now.
Sarah Larbi [00:47:08] Yes. Yeah. When we were doing it with Scotia, Scotia's terms are better without them. And we had a management company, therefore, with those ones. And there are some with that in the courts. And I will say, you know, and I don't know, hopefully nobody necessarily looks at this or listens to this. That shouldn't be. But sometimes the ones in the corp don't show up in your credit. Oh, yeah. So it opens up some extra room. That's another reason to potentially have a court saying just saying.
George El-Masri [00:47:38] Yeah, that's a good point. OK, the next question, what one quality does it take to be a Millionaire?
Sarah Larbi [00:47:45] Just action taking finding the right method, real estate or stocks or business and just sticking to it, taking action and then just being consistent with it. But nowadays, being a millionaire, I feel like it's like maybe ten years ago it was something. But now, like I feel like most people are, especially in real estate.
George El-Masri [00:48:07] Yeah. Most co-founders. Yeah. Even like the primary homeowner that bought their house fifty years ago, they're millionaires technically.
Sarah Larbi [00:48:14] Technically, even though that money. If they
George El-Masri [00:48:16] don't. Yeah. It's like I heard this from from a Keysborough event. They were saying that your primary residence isn't an asset, it's a neutral asset at most, because anywhere you go to buy a place, you're going to have to spend just. As much, right, you hear that from old people all the time, I want to downsize, but where am I going to go? I have to pay just as much to be to be in the condor and to be in the Senate. So that's why it's really important to have appreciating assets.
Sarah Larbi [00:48:43] Yeah, absolutely. And I think a millionaire now is like a or a millionaire is a millionaire. You know, maybe that's the question. What do you what's the quality it takes to be, you know, that millionaire times 10.
George El-Masri [00:48:55] Yeah. And a multimillionaire.
Sarah Larbi [00:48:58] So taking action, I think. Taking action over time consistently. Mm hmm. And doing it over and over and over. Yeah. And it's it's not rocket science. I mean, ultimately you're not going to get there by just having a job. You need to have something else in your life.
George El-Masri [00:49:11] That's so true. I hate the idea of like saving your whole life to have a million dollars for retirement. Yeah, I think that's the worst game plan anyone can have. And people are just going to be miserable. And that million dollars is not going to last very long. But if you have like, say, ten properties, even if you had three properties and you hold them for like twenty five years, you maybe don't want to do what Sarah is doing and have ten properties. But those three will be more than enough to last through your retirement. You're going to be able to live off the cash flow eventually once you pay down the mortgages. Much better plan than saving a million dollars.
Sarah Larbi [00:49:45] And I think that's the difference is that it's not about a million dollars. Who cares about the number in the bank? It's about the income, because at the end of the day, if you have ten properties and you're to sell two or three to pay off everything else, the rest of the mortgages, that's the cash flow that you'll never get from a million dollars regardless. Yeah.
George El-Masri [00:50:02] And plus that rent is going to increase every year. So just imagine what it's going to be in twenty five years. Like when I first started in real estate, which was in twenty thirteen, I worked with a lot of tenants because I was like earning a commission from, from helping them find a place to rent. And back then like a whole house in Mississauga or Brampton would rent for somewhere around like maybe seventeen to nineteen hundred a month. Now St. Catherine's is getting like two thousand a month for a house. Mississauga, you're talking about like three grand for that same house. So the rents are going up a lot and you don't want to be on the other side of that where you're paying the rent, you want to be on the side where you're the landlord.
Sarah Larbi [00:50:42] Yes. And the other thing I would say is, as the landlord in Ontario, when you screen your tenants, you do not want the ones that want to stay there for their whole entire life. Because the problem is and you said it, market rents go up maybe 10 percent a year. Right? I mean, I don't know what the exact number is, but they go up a lot more than the one point eight or the two point two percent that we can increase. And so when I screen my tenants, I really want the ones that are have a goal of buying their own property at some point because I need to get back up to market rents to increase the cash flow at some point in the business. At the end of the day, you treat them while you treat them firm, fair and consistent. But ultimately, you've got to make money in this game for sure.
George El-Masri [00:51:19] Great. Well, I think there is a lot of good stuff in here. Before we end things, do you want to share how people can reach you and what you might be offering to to the listeners?
Sarah Larbi [00:51:28] Sure. So they can reach me. They can go to my website, Sarah Labi dot com or send me an email, which is Sarah at Sarah Larbi dot com. They can also check out the right club. So it's t h e r e i t e club dot com. So it stands for real estate investing, training and education. And if your viewers or listeners haven't been yet, then reach out to George and George will get you a free pass for your first right club.
George El-Masri [00:51:56] I didn't even know I could do that. Yes, you can. You go. All right. Perfect. I have the power to give away free passes to reach out.
Sarah Larbi [00:52:02] First timer is
George El-Masri [00:52:03] first timer is the first timer. OK, perfect. So that's it. Do you have any last last message or just something you want to share before we end things?
Sarah Larbi [00:52:12] Just go take action. Go take action. It's not about timing the market. It's about time in the market and it's going to change your life over time. And so, you know, listen to the ones that are where you want to be, not the ones that are trying to scare you
George El-Masri [00:52:28] like your mom and dad.
Sarah Larbi [00:52:29] Right. I mean, unless they're helping, you know, they mean well. But listen to the ones that are where you want to go and the other ones. That's fine. You can be nice to them, but don't take their advice. Yeah. Yeah.
George El-Masri [00:52:41] Linendoll And maybe one thing I want to add to that is if you are in a position where maybe you can buy something, let's say you have like a two hundred fifty or three hundred thousand dollar budget, don't wait till next year to save that extra thirty grand so you can buy a little bit more. That's not a good plan. I don't think you should do that. I think you should get in there right now as soon as possible. And just next year you'll see where you're at and you might be able to sell that property, do whatever you need to do. Just take action now.
Sarah Larbi [00:53:08] Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of people have equity in their properties and their primary residence, so they don't know that they can even unlock. That's true. If you do go talk to a mortgage broker because it just opens up the door so much more.
George El-Masri [00:53:21] Yeah, there you go. So, Sarah, thank you once again for doing episode number two of the series of episodes with Sarah Labi. So I look. Great to see you again soon, and thanks again for your time. Thank you.