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Announcer [00:01:22] Tired of the 9 to 5? Tired of only dreaming about the things you want to do. Want to have more time for your family. More time for you. More time for you. This is the Breakthrough Real Estate Investing podcast, where we interview qualified guests in the real estate industry all across Canada. We want you to live life on your terms, and we want to help you break through to that life through the power of real estate investing. This is the Breakthrough Real Estate Investing podcast. Now your hosts Rob Break and Sandy MacKay.
Rob Break [00:02:03] Hello and welcome back once again. We’re very happy to see you all here to enjoy another episode chock full of exciting information for you guys on real estate investing, specifically for Canadians. So we’re really excited to bring that to you again today. And as usual, here with me again is Sandy MacKay. How’s it going, Sadie?
Sandy Mackay [00:02:24] I’m amazing. Excited to be here and excited to do another episode and learn more about some interesting topics today. Short term rentals and know something. That’s something for sure that we’ll touch on. That’s hot and.
Rob Break [00:02:39] Right in line with your coming seminar, right?
Sandy Mackay [00:02:42] That’s exactly it. We’re going to be doing one of those on June 15th. So if you want to search or look up. Yeah. I don’t have maybe we’ll be able to share that somewhere in this. But the Eventbrite will be out on some of my social feeds if anyone is listening and wants to check that out. A very good.
Rob Break [00:02:59] Question, Sandy.
Sandy Mackay [00:03:02] Well, after listening to this episode of maybe this just came out, might be the day that this comes out. We’re not totally sure yet. So if that if that lines up nicely, then you’ll be able to see it. Or if you miss it for some reason, then we always record those, so we’ll be able to get that out as well. So just reach out to me and we’ll find out a way to get you that information. You have done a cool webinar on everybody’s recorded rentals and kind of an Ontario wide outlook on that. So should we call?
Rob Break [00:03:28] Awesome. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. And everybody that’s listening should go over to our website, break through REI podcast dot s.A. There you can of course listen to every episode we’ve recorded over the past well over there and you can also get in touch with all the guests through the links in the show notes there and also get a free gift.
Sandy Mackay [00:03:52] Yeah. The ultimate strategy for really off the real estate, which is totally free there and free when you sign up and you never miss out on a show. And like Rob said, you can access all of our stuff there. So go jump in on that and make sure you got that gift.
Rob Break [00:04:08] You get more accurate information on the on the events that Sandy and I are throwing up. Exactly. Exactly. So he doesn’t have to remember them and throw them out. If you are part of our list, you’ll get all that information. You won’t have to rely on Sandy to give it to you during the show, which is also very, very good.
Sandy Mackay [00:04:27] What they should do is just go. Follow us, follow me, follow you and me or somewhere in my social media world. You’ll be able to find all this stuff because we’re posting it to be actively on there.
Rob Break [00:04:38] Exactly. And go over to iTunes as well. You guys know, leave us a five star review. Let us know what you think of the show, any guests you might want to hear from, any topics you might want to learn more about. Just go over there and write us a rating or leave us a rating and write us a review. And of course, that helps us get out there to everybody who might want this kind of information. So please take a couple of minutes and go over there and do that as well. Sandy, other than the information session that you have coming up, what else is going on?
Sandy Mackay [00:05:09] What else is going on? I mean, I’m doing this episode in an interesting place, a little different than normal in Antigua. So down in the Caribbean, looking at some opportunities, I guess maybe you inspire me to check out something new in a different place. I’m hearing about all your adventures in Costa Rica. Every show that we do. I haven’t I have nothing much to share here yet. Aside from that, there’s lots of opportunities around here potentially.
Rob Break [00:05:31] What kind of places are you looking at?
Sandy Mackay [00:05:34] Well, I have a good friend that bought a few for places down here recently, and it seemed like an interesting place to go. Check it out and learn a little bit about the. The real estate options, the tax advantages, pros, cons, all that sort of thing. And just learn about really just learn. That’s kind of my main goal for this trip is just to learn about the opportunities that are there and see if they align with our goals and that or not and explore different out of the world that I’ve never been in. And I’ve been in the Caribbean, I’ve never been to Antigua, so it’s been pretty fun.
Rob Break [00:06:06] Yeah. You know what? I would I would give that advice to everybody listening here because I get contacted a lot. People say, Well, show me some properties, send me properties. I want to see what there is. But I think the more important thing is to get a feel for the area where you want to invest in, you want to be in and then and then look at properties after that because there is a lot of different a lot of different climates, a lot of different fields, a lot of different elements to each individual town and place, attraction, whatever it is. So that’s always my suggestion. Come get a feel for it, explore, see what you like, and then we’ll start looking at places.
Sandy Mackay [00:06:47] Well, that’s like, you know, especially when you’re looking at different countries, right? And that’s, you know, there’s no MLS here. Like there is none, I believe, in Costa Rica. Right. So it’s very hard to know. All right. Sorry. Is that changing now?
Rob Break [00:07:02] Well, it’s something we’re rolling out, but we don’t have our hands on it yet.
Sandy Mackay [00:07:06] Okay. Yeah. With no MLS, it’s pretty hard to search online and find out options where it’s like you got to kind of go scout it out a bit better than that and. I mean, get a little vacation while you’re at it. Why not, right?
Rob Break [00:07:21] Yeah, exactly.
Sandy Mackay [00:07:22] And you got something coming up around that. You got something coming up there in the air. I share it.
Rob Break [00:07:29] With the world. Yeah, yeah, I’m going to. We just solidified the date. So in conjunction with Therm REI, we are doing an investor tour here in Costa Rica, Gold Coast, northwest sort of area, and the date is November 18, 1920. So we’ll have more we’ll have more information on that coming up. But we’ve just solidified the dates and the accommodations and got a got a feel for the itinerary. And so Quentin’s going to have all of that information on the Durham REI website, and I’ll be, of course, promoting it a little bit more as we get all the links and stuff like that available for people to go and get more information. And we are actually just starting to look into some container house builds because everybody’s going nuts over that kind of that modern style of house. So the future plans for us is we’re going to start building them because there’s not enough here to meet the to meet the demand. There’s not really enough properties in general to meet the demand, but a lot of people are looking for those container houses. So I think we’re going to start building them.
Sandy Mackay [00:08:38] So yeah. Cool. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:08:41] So that’s the that’s the plan going forward here. So today we’re very pleased to have, you know, what I got, too. Hopefully I get this right because I wanted to talk to you guys before we started recording, but we’ve got Spencer, Giles and Ashley Antidormi that right.
Spencer Giles [00:08:58] It’s clause it’s Giles like a Jane but it gets mixed up all the time. That’s all good.
Ashley Antidormi [00:09:02] But you got mine right?
Rob Break [00:09:03] So those.
Sandy Mackay [00:09:05] Guys privilege.
Rob Break [00:09:07] Yeah. I’m really excited to have you guys on the show today. They’re going to be sharing the ins and outs and investing in short term rentals and value add, buy, renovate, refinance and rent properties. So thanks for joining us today, guys. Welcome.
Ashley Antidormi [00:09:21] Thanks for having us.
Spencer Giles [00:09:22] Yeah, thanks for having us, guys.
Sandy Mackay [00:09:24] Brief background for those that do not know who you are, you’re nager based realty investors and you love travel fitness dogs started investing in 2018 and have since expanded your portfolio in 19 units makes some short term long term rentals and you’re also co-founders of Travel Luxe Property Management Short Term Rental Management Company, which has grown to become one of the most popular short term rental management companies in the Niagara region, and their goals to both become time and financially independent tenants using real estate as the main vehicle to do so. And also importantly, continue continually traveling the world and experiencing everything that’s out there. So pretty cool stuff. We’re excited to learn more about this. Anything, anything I missed on that introduction?
Spencer Giles [00:10:11] No, I think you nailed it. You know, we love to travel. So while we made the decision to do what we needed to do to have to free up that time.
Rob Break [00:10:21] Well, you guys have a really cool Instagram presence, and I’ve been watching you guys for quite a while now. And that’s why I didn’t know your last name is because you guys are just Spencer and Ashley, right? That’s how I know you guys. So I didn’t even know you had last names until today.
Ashley Antidormi [00:10:36] I really think we go for one casual.
Rob Break [00:10:39] Yeah, no, but I’ve been following you guys, and you guys do a really great job with that Instagram page.
Spencer Giles [00:10:44] Thank you. Thank you. It’s mostly her.
Rob Break [00:10:49] And by the looks of it, I mean, every time I look at it, it doesn’t seem like you guys ever sort of are actually in Ontario. You’re just off around the world somewhere. Well.
Spencer Giles [00:11:04] We try. Like you said, you got to do that research and development, go to a bunch of different places, get a feel for it. And, you know, the goal is to own a place. And everywhere we love one day. Right. Every year you’re not there and use it when we are.
Sandy Mackay [00:11:17] Yeah.
Rob Break [00:11:18] That’s awesome. Goal. Okay, well, then let’s just start by just tell us a little bit about how in real estate investing.
Ashley Antidormi [00:11:28] Sure. So I actually bought my first property, the house that we’re living in back in 2011. No goals of actually getting into real estate. Just kind of wanted to get out of the house. And I rented out the top three rooms to students and basically house for about four or five years until I met Spencer and then Spencer got into it from a buddy of his.
Spencer Giles [00:11:50] Yeah. So I had a really good friend who I went to university with and I’ve been following each other in social media and I kept seeing this guy buy houses there, student rentals. So I reached out to and said, like, man, you know, it seems like you’re crushing it. And like, how are you able to, you know, work your job and continue to buy like a new house every year? So we met for a beer out of Boston Pizza one day and he kind of introduced me to the whole BR method as I was like, I knew he had a good job, but I also knew how much it was to put a down payment on a house that’s like either really, really aggressive at saving or something, you know, that I don’t. So he kind of walked me through how he was able to leverage and how he was making cash flow from this and just the whole, you know, opportunity in real estate. So I ended up buying my first property with him and we actually went a different route. We are, you know, hearing about Airbnbs and how much cash flow they were making and we had a really good mutual friend that was doing it and doing extremely well with it and wasn’t just here. He was in Collingwood and kind of all over the place and he kind of influenced us to try it out. So we bought our first place and we were shocked with the results. I mean we went in pretty comfortable and confident, but it just blew our expectations out of the water on the cash flow. And from there it was we were kind of hooked, like it was a value add play. We were able to pull pretty much all of our money out. And, you know, a year later, Ashley and I bought a house on the same street. And then I think four months after that, we bought another one just.
Ashley Antidormi [00:13:19] Around.
Spencer Giles [00:13:20] The corner from it. And yeah, that the rest is history. We’ve been able to keep that method moving and scale that. And we’ve also formed our property management company because we had the teams in place and yeah, we’ve just been growing ever since.
Rob Break [00:13:36] But you guys actually have a really heavy focus on short term rentals. So why did you decide to go that way?
Ashley Antidormi [00:13:45] Cash flow was basically our main motivator. We saw what Spencer and his buddy did with their first house, not only pulling out their money from the for the rhinos and the fight, but also just the overall cash flow that they were getting. And since they had tons of equity in the house that I was living in at the time, so I had purchased it for like 215 grand or something like that. We were able to pull out a hillock and then use it as a down payment for a house in the exact same area. And that area was in an area that was more up and coming. It was raped by a really popular beach. And so we knew that the numbers were going to be good and it’s exceeded our expectations. So once you get that level of cash flow, there really isn’t any way to go back and say, you know what, let’s do long term rent.
Spencer Giles [00:14:28] Yeah, because we had a goal of what we wanted to essentially get to so we could leave our jobs. Like the goal has always been to travel. You know, Ashley got me hooked on our first trip to Thailand and Vietnam. I’d never really been anywhere else besides hockey before that. And, you know, two weeks wasn’t enough, you know, two weeks’ vacation just suck. When you get when you get over to the other parts of the world, you know, you need a lot more time than that. So ever since then, you know, once we realized, okay, we need, you know, X amount of cash flow per month and we saw what Airbnb was doing, we did the math and said, Hey, we can get to that goal a lot faster doing this than say just doing like student rentals or long term rentals. And we actually really enjoy the whole hospitality aspect making like really cool, unique stays and you know, having people come, come over and just like even when they mentioned like, hey, that was like really cool. Like, I love the backyard, just those kind of compliments, you know, it really, really pays off more like on the emotional side than just the financial, which we really enjoy.
Sandy Mackay [00:15:29] Cool. That’s certainly an element of it, maybe a little more fun than dealing with landlord tenant board and health issues. But the longer term stuff, I know a lot of the care, a lot of people will or would definitely appreciate that side of it more than the longer term.
Rob Break [00:15:45] Nobody going in and painting your places or anything like that? No.
Ashley Antidormi [00:15:51] Not yet.
Spencer Giles [00:15:51] No. I mean, we’ve had some story, but if you don’t, you’re not really like your tenants. Wait a few days and they’re gone. So that’s kind of another main reason to why we went that route.
Sandy Mackay [00:16:01] What are the main things that you should look for then and what are what do people what should be on their mind when they’re looking for short term rental investments? What are the keys?
Ashley Antidormi [00:16:08] So first time would probably be location. You want to make sure this is somewhere that people are going to actually want to pay money to be right. So yeah, it doesn’t have to be a waterfront property every time but look around the area. Is this somewhere that is either up and coming that’s becoming popular or somewhere that actually is fairly popular? And that’s why we love to say like North Edson Catharines or Niagara on the lake. Like not going to lake doesn’t have very many hotel spaces or anything like that. So there is an actual need for short term rentals because people want to be in the vineyards, they don’t want to be in Niagara Falls and hotels. So location would be number one.
Spencer Giles [00:16:44] And then yeah, I mean, just, just overall layout of the property too. Like we personally have pivoted to more of a private, secluded type of property. Like we’ve been buying properties in Niagara on the lake that don’t really have neighbors. They’re just surrounded by vineyards just to create that more of a unique stay. But at the end of the day, like we kind of look at a property that has a ton of potential. And, you know, we have some systems in place where, hey, like we can add certain things to make it even more desirable. But I would say it definitely comes down to location 100%.
Sandy Mackay [00:17:20] So location, yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s pretty much where the what we’re looking for. It’s the word for everything in real estate, really. Right. I mean, if you have a location in great locations, nothing compares to that. So.
Rob Break [00:17:34] Well, yeah, because it makes sense. Like you can have a really, really cool themed Airbnb that might differentiate you guys from other people in an area with an attraction. But it’s like the rental itself is never going to be the attraction, right?
Ashley Antidormi [00:17:49] So it can be. So we’ve seen some that have created, if you can create such a unique experience because right now, kind of like you were saying before, up with the containers, you want to build these containers. Like that’s such a cool, unique experience that people are striving for and really want that Instagrammable spot. We know people who just have land up in the Muskoka cars and put on like a bunch of tiny homes that don’t have any electricity or running water and they’re sold out year round because people want that comfortable experience. So if you can create something unique like that, that would also be then your spot is the attraction.
Rob Break [00:18:25] That’s very interesting. Yeah, I would say the key to that too, though, as you said, there’s a bunch of them. Yeah. So there’s probably just one on its own. Might not be the same thing, but. Yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:18:38] That’s I mean, certainly I’ve seen some of that in right here, actually in Antigua, where I am right now. There’s a place down the beach here on the beach. It’s great location, but it’s got they’ve got this is just like the cost of what they’ve done, you can tell is very cheap, but it’s also very attractive because people are going to go there for the Instagram photos and all that stuff. And it’s just tents on the beach, but they’re charging like crazy amounts for it and they’re sold out. I’m like, there’s only like six or eight of them, so there’s not like not a ton of them, but they seem to be sold out all the time. Mhm. Charging I don’t know $800,000 a night type thing, you know, like it’s a tent. Yeah. But, but they look cool there too. I can see why they’re attractive and that’s. Knowing your audience I guess to set it up and, and attract that, that type of clientele which, which is interesting. Just the margins on it can be amazing.
Spencer Giles [00:19:27] Definitely. Like I mean location definitely helps. Obviously that’s the first thing that we look at because we’re fairly risk averse. But you know, if you’re willing to take that risk and you know, put some money into it and make something super unique and creative, like you can get success in that as well.
Sandy Mackay [00:19:43] So how do you go about setting these up? What are some of the tricks and tips for that setting up there be little unique or just kind of more standard, I guess. What are some of the tricks to optimize them?
Spencer Giles [00:19:55] Yeah, like well, obviously now, especially with all the changes of there being these photos are extremely important. They’re the number one selling point. So we look for, you know, renovations where we can create a lot of natural light on the inside. But I would say, like our biggest selling point, especially in this area, is the outdoor set up. Like people love like an outdoor oasis. So like where we’re looking at, okay, how can we make like this really sick backyard where it’s like instagrammable string lights, fire tables, luxury patio sets where, you know, that’s usually our first or second photo, where when people are going, they’re going like, wow, like I can picture myself, you know, spending a day at the vineyards and then coming back, having that nice glass of wine, maybe making a meal or like having something catered in and just really like creating that experience and that going through their head all within a few seconds when they’re scrolling through listings. So we look at places and you know, the first thing from like a renovation site is like how can we, how can we make this like super instagrammable? And if it’s possible that outdoor setting to have covered just the reason being because if people are spending a couple thousand bucks a night or a thousand bucks a night to stay at your place, and what sold them on it was that outdoor setting. If it’s raining that whole weekend, it’s nothing we control. But that would still kind of be a bit of a bummer. So we always try to look for contingencies. I’m like, okay, this is the selling feature. How can we ensure that they get to use this thing year round? And then from there it’s it is a grind setting these things up. There’s a lot of a lot of furniture, a lot of stress. You know, you have to, you know, if you’re good with decorations, you can do it yourself. But if you’re not, I would highly recommend using some sort of designer decorator that will source and do these things for you. We’ve done both in the past. Now we’re at the point where we’re pretty busy. We try to use like experts that are just going to go and say, Here’s the theme, this is what we want, go source it, here’s our budget and they make it work. But yeah, from there you want to get your furniture and then the supplies after that is like the next step. And then from there you just got to take your cleaning team and have all your maintenance and people ready to go. And yeah, it’s a long journey, but it’s you definitely want to make sure that you have checked all the boxes before going live.
Rob Break [00:22:14] It’s one of those things that like, I would never want to set that up myself. There’s just too much detail involved in that for me, right? You got to get everything right, right down to the smallest detail and then sourcing that stuff. Especially like around here, let’s say is incredibly difficult. So I think yeah. Like to have somebody that specializes in that would be a big bonus.
Spencer Giles [00:22:39] Absolutely.
Rob Break [00:22:41] And then like. So do you just do you pull a theme from the house itself? You go, okay, this this is a theme that would be good for this house, or how do you decide how to decorate it and that kind of thing?
Ashley Antidormi [00:22:58] You can do that. Some of our houses that are on the beach we have is beach themed. I mean, that one’s pretty obvious. Some of the ones that we have on like a vineyard are more like wine house or farmhouse themed. The house that we’re working on right now is kind of an older home, but it’s surrounded by like vineyard and trees and land. It’s beautiful. So we’re definitely going with that strong, like, farmhouse theme. You can look around the house and be like, you know, in Costa Rica, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a bunch of like jungle themes or something like that beach house. Like, it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you create it throughout the entire house, not just by one room. Right. You don’t want to walk into each room and be like, I’m confused as to where the theme is in every single room. As long as you carry it out into the outback, everything, then you’ll be good.
Rob Break [00:23:44] And then again, there’s so many details that we can talk that we’re going to dig into on this, because I feel like this is like the most important. Part of the whole thing is how to optimize it correctly so. So what are the things that require the most attention, I guess?
Spencer Giles [00:24:11] Well, I mean, it really starts with your supply list. We have a very detailed supply list, like right down to the number of sheets per bed. And, you know, it’s something that we follow. So it takes a lot of the headache out and we can just go through and basically order it all in like a few hours. And, you know, Amazon’s been great in our area. It’s obviously a little bit more difficult, as you mentioned in that in like Costa Rica or anywhere remote. But yeah, from an actual optimization standpoint, there’s just there’s just so many things now and Airbnb’s constantly updating their algorithm. But I would say from there, just before going live, you want to make sure that you have everything in place. And by that I mean if you’re waiting a few weeks for the fire table to come in, but you put your listing that you’re considering putting your listing live, I would highly recommend not doing that. And the reason being is the second you click activate or less, Airbnb is giving you a huge SEO boost, which is it means they’re going to put you at the top of the search rankings where you’re with a ton of Airbnbs that have been or a ton of short term rentals that have been doing really well and that are highly ranked. And they’re going to test you, they’re going to test you on conversions and they’re going to get tested there and then they’re obviously going to test you as you get those first two or three reservations. So they’re going to see how many people are viewing to book, right? So you want to make sure that you have all of you are capturing items in that listing before you go live. And yes, you might take a short term hit of not going live for two or three weeks, but I guarantee you, in the long run, when you have that good conversion and you know, Airbnb likes that they’re going to keep you up at a higher ranking and you’ll continue to get those bookings, you know, other than the first two or three that you’ll get pretty quickly just because of that boost. So that’s one of the main things that we focus on. And like when we work with our clients on the management side, you know, we kind of have to really talent is trust us on that and you got to think long term just because it’s coming so much more popular. And everyone’s pivoting, especially with the rising costs and interest rates now especially they’re a lot of people are pivoting to do short term rentals. So you want to make sure that you are checking every single box, you know, before going live that that would be like my number one tip for all people that are just getting started are looking to go live with something.
Rob Break [00:26:40] I like that because it’s the same as our tip for like any clients that we have doing flips, right. Like a lot of times they’ll say, well, let’s just get it up, let’s, let’s have the pictures done. I’m like, There’s no handles on the cabinet door, right? Like, we’re not going to do that. It’s important to have it finished and looked at in the pictures. And, and I guess if you’re going to do it that way, you can run into like one of two problems. You’ve either got to take that firepit out of the ad or. Say that it’s there and run the risk of it not being there when people come to enjoy it. Right.
Ashley Antidormi [00:27:19] Yeah. And that would be terrible. And we put so much emphasis on professional photos like iPhones are great, but they’re not good enough for Airbnb listings. You need a professional who can take photos and edit photos with a professional camera. And if you take these photos without having every single item that you want in that listing, like a fire table or whatever it is, then to add it later on, a crappy picture isn’t worth it. You have to wait till absolutely everything is perfect for those pictures and then you can go live.
Sandy Mackay [00:27:51] Yeah, we say that similarly in long term rentals is the do I mean quality photos can go a long ways. And once you do them once like you typically don’t have to redo them. You have to redo them with Airbnb as if you’re adding things or things, you can.
Ashley Antidormi [00:28:03] Make a major.
Spencer Giles [00:28:04] Change. Yeah. And we like to take like all different types of season photos. So for us, like we’ve recently been putting in these outdoor wood burning cedar size in some of our nicer properties. So obviously that photo’s a lot better when there’s a little bit of snow covered on it. You get like a little fire going beside it that creates that like winter theme. So we will rotate the photos when it’s getting closer to our slower season, if you want to call it that, just to just to drive bookings during that. So other than that, I wouldn’t say we adjust too much unless like actually mentioned we do something major.
Sandy Mackay [00:28:38] Even then it’s like a few photos versus yeah. The whole read it right. And exactly are you listen to these on any other websites is the Airbnb the only or is it just kind of the main one? And there’s some other ones.
Spencer Giles [00:28:51] So right now we’re, we’re only on Airbnb just because we’ve got a pretty good system down and we’re, we’re pretty happy with it right now. Not to say that being on other channels is bad like video. The old HomeAway I guess is an option. Personally not a huge fan of their insurance and like hosts a guest guarantee. And the other thing is if the deal with you in Ontario is to go so I guess just, you know, long story short, we actually have a direct booking site because that’s what we want it to move towards. We’re about to go live. And then our lawyer actually warned us and mentioned that, hey, if you’re not eco certified, you can’t be facilitating direct bookings and taking direct payment.
Ashley Antidormi [00:29:36] In Ontario and.
Spencer Giles [00:29:37] Ontario only. So not like everywhere else in Canada, you’re fine. And to do that, it’s basically you’re licensing yourself as a travel agent. You know, you got to take a few courses, pass a few tests. You have to have like a decent slush fund in a trust account. And I know they do take a percentage of revenue quarterly as well. So there’s that aspect of it. But yeah, just that’s, that’s something that we ran into. And I know we do want to pivot towards direct bookings just to, you know, there’s a lot more opportunity when you’re not paying your service fees.
Rob Break [00:30:06] Right. Right. Yeah, that’s interesting. So what do you have what are your tips for getting good reviews like as far as that goes and getting people to actually submit those?
Ashley Antidormi [00:30:19] So we always ask for a review. We have automated messages that go through to people the when they book a couple of days before their check in, giving them all the details they need the day before they check out. Just kind of outlining, Hey, can you make sure the dishes are done and the garbage is collected and put here and reminding them when checkout time is because people like to forget. And then at checkout after checkout time, we say, I hope you enjoyed our stay with your stay with us. Any feedback that you have for us where we can improve guest experiences, can you let us know privately and otherwise? Can you leave a review? That’s usually how we ask. Most people listen and they’ll give us a review.
Spencer Giles [00:31:00] Yeah. And then the other thing that we do like right off the bat is we use the law of reciprocity. And in our favor we always like to leave some sort of a welcome gift. So like if it’s our winery area, places, we’d like to leave just a bottle of wine or like you can leave a nice welcome note with some chocolates and coffee or just something where it’s like, you know, add that nice touch to it and it’s, you know, it activates the law reciprocity. And then from the rest there, it’s just honestly customer service. If, if, you know, if they’re reaching out to you, the response time is critical. And just thinking of all the details before they’re arriving, like having recommendations on what to do around the area. You know, our favorite local spots because people that use Airbnb don’t want to go it usually to all that really touristy spots, they might want to check it out. But I know personally for us when we travel, we want to go off the beaten path. Like that’s where all the tourists go, where do the locals go? So we always want to try to create that experience for our guests, and I find that that definitely goes a long way. But yeah, just making sure you have a clean house and that everything’s set up just like the photos, if not better, and just, you know, making sure that you’re there for them during the stay.
Rob Break [00:32:09] Mm hmm. Now, scaling Airbnb is quite difficult, right? Especially if you’re trying to manage everything yourselves. Yeah. So it sounds like you guys have been able to do that quite successfully. So how did you manage that?
Ashley Antidormi [00:32:25] I’d say after about five, you’re going to feel the growing pains of trying to manage them all yourself. We’ve since brought in a property manager who actually runs all the day to day operations, and at that point we were able to step back. Another thing that we totally recommend is automation like that. Automation will be your number one friend. We do not schedule our cleaners every single time that there’s a clean they schedule themselves. We have it so that they can access the calendar. They get booking notifications the same way that we do, and they look at the calendar twice a week and they schedule themselves when they need to. And then any booking that comes in within 72 hours is communicated to them either by us or by our property manager, so that they know just enough why there was a last minute booking. Here’s the details. And other than that, we trust and give them autonomy to be where they need to be at the time they need to be there. And that frees up a ton of time.
Rob Break [00:33:22] Is that an Airbnb feature or is that your is that some other kind of software that you’re using?
Spencer Giles [00:33:28] There’s multiple ways you can do it, so you can add them as a co-host. That’s the way we originally started, but we’ve recently integrated into a channel manager. It’s called Hopefully They Can Have their own direct cleaners access so they don’t get to see like all the details of the property per se, as you would as a secondary co-host. And then from there they get automatic. Notifications to text to their phone. They have their own log in for the schedule and actually said, we kind of we hold them accountable. We train them up in the beginning because not everyone’s Airbnb experience and we originally created playbooks for each property on like where the remote goes and pictures and all of that and the list. So it, you know, they kind of follow a system and then after a while they’re used to that property. They can just kind of do it off of muscle and we want to call it that.
Rob Break [00:34:18] And know what happens if something is missing? Like it’s not necessarily. Okay. Well, on the side where what do you do? How do you communicate that with the with the guest? And on the other side, how do you take care of replacing things?
Ashley Antidormi [00:34:35] So the cleaners are responsible for telling us if there’s any damage or if there’s anything missing. These are missing things I’d like to go missing all the time are like wine openers. I don’t know what happens with them, but those are things we tend to take.
Rob Break [00:34:49] Yeah.
Ashley Antidormi [00:34:49] Yeah, I thought so. So if a guest is saying, hey, there actually isn’t a wine opener here, that’s something we want to get to them within an hour or so. So that’s when you need feet on the ground for us. That’s our property manager who’s always feet on the ground. And if it’s not her, we can have the pay the cleaners to run out. If it’s not the cleaners, we can have our maintenance guy to run out. There’s always someone that will be able to run out to bring something like that to the guest. If it’s something bigger that’s missing. I don’t know what has been missing.
Rob Break [00:35:21] Like, like towels, sheets, stuff like that. But we.
Sandy Mackay [00:35:24] Always have.
Spencer Giles [00:35:25] Tons of extras though. So yeah, I feel like the number one thing too. And setting it up is thinking of contingency plans. You have to assume that everything will go wrong. So what do you have as a backup? Right. So like things like lock boxes, if the door code battery dies, they know things like extra sheets and towels, assuming that, hey, you know, there’s eight people here, but we’re going to leave out enough for almost double that. So if something gets stained or it’s not usable, then there’s tons of extras there. And our cleaners are trained to ensure that that stuff’s out.
Ashley Antidormi [00:35:55] If it’s not our supply closet is right there. And we always say to have 3 to 4 times the amount of sheets and towels, then the number of beds and guests. So you have tons of extras, right? So if worst case scenario, our supply key is always on site in a lockbox, we would just give them a lockbox code and tell them to go into the supply closet.
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Sandy Mackay [00:36:53] Well to get tips. Here I was. I was thinking I was only asking more about your PM, your company and how you help manage other properties as well. But before we get to that, you do have some other properties that are not Airbnb, correct? So I was wondering maybe some and some of the families, I was wondering because there’s a lot of process, Airbnb and short term rentals. Given that you do have both types, what would you say are potential cons or potential negatives to that strategy versus traditional, longer term or multifamily property?
Spencer Giles [00:37:26] Yeah, well, it’s a lot more work. It’s a lot more demanding. You are now in the hospitality and hospitality industry. You have to be on all the time. And it’s you know; it’s not just now is like a long term. It’s not just like dealing with like a minor. You know, leak or, you know, light bulbs out. It’s like you’re dealing with you can deal with some higher maintenance people and it’s your job to make sure that it’s being taken care of. You know, I would love to say that everyone’s a perfect guest. And, you know, they say hi at check in and they say buy a check out and that’s it. But that’s not the case. Right? You have to make sure that everyone’s needs are met. And that’s definitely a lot more work than obviously from the investment side. There’s a lot more money that goes into it. Right. You’re not just, you know, putting your basic finishes. You’re now spending 30 to 60 grand, if not more, depending on how high end of a property you’re doing to furnish and put amenities into these properties. So to scale, you need a lot more capital. But yeah, I would say like those are probably the two.
Ashley Antidormi [00:38:33] Another main one would be if the bylaws change in the area, the bylaws could go from being either graying or nothing to disallowing short term rentals. So we tell people all the time, we tell our clients all the time, Airbnb cannot be your only option. If all else fails, can you sell for profit? Can you turn it into a long term rental for a profit? We always need exit strategies and when we personally buy, we always have an exit strategy. Airbnb mainly may be number one, but there’s always a backup.
Sandy Mackay [00:39:06] Good advice makes sense, and probably I would. I’m guessing it’s a bit more upfront work like in time. Like you said, there’s time. I’ll throw it before you get to the point of scaling and getting some leverage. I’m sure there’s quite a bit of probably a little more extra time than maybe a traditional investment.
Spencer Giles [00:39:23] Well, a lot more. Yeah, a lot more. Like, you know, you can get a place furnished up and running in a few days, but it’s very unlikely. Right? You don’t want to you don’t want to, like, go too fast. We always recommend maybe stay a night or two in your Airbnb because you’d be surprised. Even though that list is detailed, you’d be surprised like the smallest thing that they keep adding up, especially in the beginning of going live like a four star review is now a one star. Like if you if your average is under 4.2 you like they basically put you on the bubble basically probation based on saying if you don’t improve like we’re going to we’re going to block your listing. So you know where people come in and say like, oh, you know, I gave you 4 to 5 stars, that’s still pretty good. It’s not. We need to ensure that nothing is missing and that it’s perfect, especially in the beginning.
Sandy Mackay [00:40:10] Yeah, that’s like any house. You buy a house to live in yourself, right? You start living there, you start the things you would never thought of that are kind of annoying or whatever. I mean, same thing goes here.
Ashley Antidormi [00:40:22] Or you can go from zero to furnished right away. Or at least when there’s a house that you like live, you’re like, Oh, that room’s not done. We’ll get to it. Do you buy since you’re in there? No. Like it has to look from empty to live in and homey. And we tell people that all the time with our clients. We walk through houses and like we have a bed and a dresser and a lamp and I’m like, it doesn’t feel like a home. Like you need Prince and you need fake plants everywhere. And, you know, you need to feel homey.
Rob Break [00:40:53] Yeah. So do you guys with the Airbnb properties, are you refinancing those? Like, is that something that you’re doing? And you would have to obviously. Do you have to do that before the ads go live?
Spencer Giles [00:41:06] Yeah. I mean, ideally that’s what you want to do because we’ve been using like the schedule is for market rent. I mean we’ve; we’ve dealt with some pretty creative mortgage brokers in the past where, you know, we’ve gotten other avenues of, of, of getting it. But it is it is difficult, especially once you hit a certain amount of properties, you know, you have to either get really creative or, you know, you have to potentially prepare for the risk of, you know, the banks not allowing it.
Ashley Antidormi [00:41:32] But some lenders are starting to see the light and they’re starting to accept Airbnb income if you’ve had it for two years. So we’re getting somewhere.
Spencer Giles [00:41:40] Yeah, a lot of lenders are actually looking at income now, which is.
Sandy Mackay [00:41:44] One of the big lenders. L.A. is probably still there, maybe never. Who knows while they’re going?
Spencer Giles [00:41:50] Yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:41:51] The lenders are. I mean, a lot of a lot of self-employed and other entrepreneurial type people are. That’s generally the path a lot of them are going anyways. So it’s not at the end of where those rates have been really low for a while. Yeah.
Spencer Giles [00:42:01] Yeah, they were.
Sandy Mackay [00:42:04] So how can you help people make this a little easier? What are some of those options? You know, you have your company travel. That’s one thing. Tell us a little bit about that and how that how that works.
Spencer Giles [00:42:14] Yeah. So, you know, we obviously found a pretty good system and, you know, we wanted to scale this a lot faster. So we originally put out a code God saying like, hey, we can do this for other people. We had the team in place, we enjoy it, we’re passionate about it and we knew there was a ton of cash flow there. So what we do is essentially make it a hands off approach for a lot of investors. So people that want to buy a property and maybe get into Airbnb because of the cash flow but don’t necessarily have the time to run it. That’s where we come in. So we essentially right from the beginning help them, you know, facilitate like a property. Like we don’t necessarily do what a realtor does, but we have everyone in place if they’re looking for it. We have general contractors, real estate agents will advise them on what areas to avoid, what areas that are good, what areas don’t allow it, what areas do, and from there essentially guide them through all of that. The key to success, right? Like we have a very detailed supply list. We have people that can set it up for them if they choose not to for a fee. Obviously, we don’t do that for free anymore. We’ve learned that hard way. And yeah, after everything is in there and we go live, we, we take it over just like it’s our own property and our name is attached to it. So we want to make sure that, you know, it’s in our best interest for this, their property to be successful.
Ashley Antidormi [00:43:36] And all of our clients are mostly definitely out of the Niagara region and a lot of them are actually out of the country. So a lot of them are looking just to kind of, okay, it’s ready to go, hands off. We’re connected via like, say, WhatsApp chats, but otherwise we are able to make decisions where we’re needed because they are out of the country.
Spencer Giles [00:43:53] Yeah. And the most important part of it is while these people are buying in like vacation destination areas, they want to use it themselves too, but they obviously want to make money while they’re away. So it’s kind of a. A win for them. And yeah, we just try to make it as hands off as possible. But the beginning there’s, there’s some work on, on their end as well. But what we try ourselves.
Rob Break [00:44:15] It sounds like you’ve got two things going on there. You’ve got a coaching business and then a property manager because it sounds like a it sounds like it’s both of those things.
Ashley Antidormi [00:44:24] We do coaching and consulting calls as well. So yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:44:28] And a lot of people, you know, property management is always a for depending on your where you’re at and your investment timelines or whatnot. I think a lot of people will steer away from it for in general property management at the beginning. They want to do it themselves or, you know, save the costs, etc.. This type of space, I think the property management side would be exponentially more valuable just in terms of the experience you have, but then the leverage of time that someone like people probably under really under, under, under appreciate the amount of time that’s put into managing and optimizing it because the tricks that you’re going to utilize are going to make them so much more money. It’s exponentially higher than I would, I would think at least than the traditional property management company, for sure.
Spencer Giles [00:45:15] Sure. I would say if you’re not passionate about it, you know, don’t, don’t, don’t do it. Like you have to enjoy it because it is it’s very demanding. It’s a lot of work.
Ashley Antidormi [00:45:23] And we get so many clients who have said, hey, we’ve been running this ourselves and we just can’t anymore.
Sandy Mackay [00:45:30] Yeah, you know, I mean, they’re taking their own time, but they’re also probably losing a lot of money from like the obviously that you have fees for managing it, but the fees are going to come back probably in spades for them to optimize the rental and make sure that they’re just and yeah, just great a great experience versus just having something that’s there to live in. Like it’s a lot. The experience is where you really get that, that extra hour, I would imagine.
Spencer Giles [00:45:55] Definitely. And I mean that comes down to pricing. I think that’s probably one of the number one mistakes like people make is not pricing it properly. Like I cringe when I see someone post that my summer is fully booked in. It’s December. It’s like when I when I see that I’m like, okay, you probably left 20 to 40000 on.
Sandy Mackay [00:46:11] That they underpriced right now overpriced.
Spencer Giles [00:46:14] And that’s like that’s like the biggest you know if you’re going to learn like one thing about optimizing the listing, besides having it like looking nice is no, no, your pricing not the market always be on top of it and just.
Ashley Antidormi [00:46:29] And don’t use smart pricing.
Spencer Giles [00:46:31] Yeah.
Ashley Antidormi [00:46:31] Everybody does not use Airbnbs for pricing. They want you to get 100% occupancy. So the lower all the prices, we do not care but 100% occupancy. I would rather have a 65% occupancy rate but making five grand more. I’d rather have higher prices and less people less wear and tear. More money.
Sandy Mackay [00:46:51] Yeah, exactly.
Rob Break [00:46:53] I’m into that sense. Yeah. You guys still work with joint venture partners on these things?
Spencer Giles [00:46:59] We do. Yeah.
Ashley Antidormi [00:47:00] We’ve in one right now.
Spencer Giles [00:47:01] Yeah. We’re currently in one on an Iron Lake property so we’ve, we’ve done a few of these where we’re the managing partner there, the money partner. So again, completely hands off for them. This is now we are actually personally going in and finding these finding the right deals, you know, putting the package together. You know, once we find a property that we all agree on, then we close on it. And then from there, we’re in charge of all the renovations, setting it up, optimizing it. You know, we have obviously expectations of what we need to get it to for it to work. And, you know, the people that are aligned with it, you know, we feel good partnering with or we’re open to it. And yeah, it’s been it’s been very, very good so far.
Rob Break [00:47:42] So we’ll put people in touch with you at the end of the show. We’ll get your contact information for anyone wanting to do that, reach you on a joint venture level. What big plans do you guys have? What’s coming up for you?
Ashley Antidormi [00:47:57] So we obviously love to travel. I left my corporate job just to focus on real estate in September.
Spencer Giles [00:48:03] And I’m assuming this excuse me. I’m assuming this episode isn’t coming out until after Friday, but Friday’s my last day in the corporate world, so I’m off button.
Rob Break [00:48:13] I don’t have one, but.
Sandy Mackay [00:48:14] Yeah.
Rob Break [00:48:15] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Spencer Giles [00:48:17] Oh, really? Thank you. Thank you. Yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:48:21] That’s super exciting.
Spencer Giles [00:48:23] Because. Yeah, it’s like we got it this far, both in full time job. It’s like, you know, imagine we’re going to be a year from now, we’re fully 100% into the November and looking at deals, traveling and finding different pockets and areas. So like, yeah, our, our long term goal is obviously to keep expanding. We’ve expanded the management business actually, not just in Niagara. We have over 11 properties in British Columbia. Now that includes like the Vancouver Island, Whistler, Squamish area. We’re recently in the middle of expanding to Alberta. So we have a partner out there that we’ve teamed up with and we’re kind of going to be creating that model, you know, all over the world. I know I actually mentioned earlier where we’re looking at Costa Rica because we have some friends down there and, you know, we have the systems and the tools in place to expand this without sacrificing our quality of life. Yeah. So we’re, we’re planning to just continue to scale and grow that.
Ashley Antidormi [00:49:17] And we love that we can work from wherever. So we’re, we’re about to go on a big, big five week trip in the next week. But we plan to work while we’re there. We’ll just be on a different time zone. I know you guys understand. Understand that part.
Rob Break [00:49:30] Where are you going?
Ashley Antidormi [00:49:32] Europe. All of our kind of all around Europe.
Spencer Giles [00:49:34] So yeah, we’re doing like Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Rome for a few days. And then we’re in McInnes for.
Ashley Antidormi [00:49:43] Celebrating a friend’s birthday. Yeah.
Rob Break [00:49:46] Well that’s.
Sandy Mackay [00:49:47] Well.
Rob Break [00:49:48] That’s. Yeah.
Sandy Mackay [00:49:49] I mean I’m the world.
Spencer Giles [00:49:50] Obviously, so a lot of we’re going to get a lot of inspiration.
Ashley Antidormi [00:49:53] So we actually do get a lot of inspiration when you travel overseas. Yeah. And see how other people do it.
Rob Break [00:49:58] Well, I mean, jeez, I don’t know what you guys travel a lot like. You must have had a job that allowed that to some extent.
Ashley Antidormi [00:50:07] We get that all the time, but we only had four weeks of vacation. We’re just very strategic. Like we if people like, Oh, I have a week off to do housework. Him and I were like, every day that we took off, we were out of the country.
Spencer Giles [00:50:21] Yeah, we always schedule around long weekends and I was always a remote job even before COVID, so I was pretty fortunate in that sense. So we drink whole, we eat a lot of travel within Canada and my favorite was working on the West Coast because I get up early anyways. So starting my day at 536, being done at two or three, I had the whole afternoon and evening to enjoy hiking and stuff like that. So we got away with that and we were just recently in Florida for a month and I was I was working there and we took a few days off but got to enjoy palm trees and sunshine instead of the big snowstorm we got here.
Sandy Mackay [00:50:57] Awesome fun, fun way to go about that. Traveling, learning. You get so much perspective and different ideas and stuff when you’re traveling. I think it’s a great piece to tie in, especially when you’re Airbnb rentals. I mean, that was pretty hand to hand, right? You’re going to get inspiration and ideas just from staying in your own product in a way. Yeah, so that’s cool. What’s a piece of info or advice has always stuck with you? Rob I’m your question. You always ask that question, but I thought that was the right time. What’s a great what’s one great piece of info advice that’s always stuck with you and helping you along the way.
Ashley Antidormi [00:51:32] So every time we’ve talked to other real estate investors and we kind of tell them about our goals, especially when we were just starting out, we’d always hear like dream bigger. And I feel like we’ve created this lifestyle within like two years, so it didn’t take a whole ton of time. So that’s really stuck with me. Every time we come up with a concept, I’m always in my head like, let’s like make that bigger, like dream that bigger because we’ve proven that we’ve we can do it. And the other one that’s really stuck with me as well is if there are strong barriers to entry, there’s likely more capital or more income involved that you could gain from it. So just because there’s a barrier to entry, don’t just stop there and be like, go. I tried. You know, every time there’s something that’s come up, we always look for solutions. And those solutions have always created more opportunities that we were able to work off of that. Now a lot of people have done.
Spencer Giles [00:52:26] Yeah, and for me my biggest thing is just like for us is take action. I’m a big reader, read hundreds of books and tell you actually go out and start implementing it and trying and failing. Don’t be afraid to fail. You’re not going to really get anywhere, right? You can have all the knowledge and know, hey, I know how to do this, so this is what I need to do. But until you actually go and do it, it won’t happen. And you’ll be shocked that we’re you know, we’re still shocked at like, hey, like, I didn’t think I was going to be able to leave my job in two and a half years and live the lifestyle I wanted. Like, I thought this was going to be a five year goal. But, you know, every day, like, just do something and eventually you end up in a place where you’re happy with.
Ashley Antidormi [00:53:08] And we didn’t get here because we were correct the entire time, right? Like we’ve made mistakes. And that’s why when we tell our clients, like, you need to have this, this and this in place, it’s because we’ve didn’t haven’t had them in place before and it’s completely screwed everything up, right? So you just learn from your mistakes and you keep going.
Rob Break [00:53:27] Yeah. I’ll agree with you guys. Like setting when whenever we’ve set the goals we seem to get like achieve them much quicker than we imagine that we will. So I really like that. And of course, yeah, applied knowledge is the only way to get anywhere, right? That action stuff. Yep.
Spencer Giles [00:53:46] So that means you got to think bigger. That’s it.
Rob Break [00:53:49] But, you know, look, I think if you go back and you listen to any single one of our shows and we ask that question, that’s always one of the answers. And because it has to be right, no, you can’t get anywhere until you take action 100%. So how can people get in touch with you? Anyone that wants to learn about your Airbnb management, anyone that wants to maybe partner up with you guys? What’s the best way to do that?
Ashley Antidormi [00:54:15] To get in touch with us personally. We’re very active, like you mentioned on Instagram, just simply Spencer and Ashley, our property management, if you want to look at what your property can, can do or possibly work with us in that realm, you can go to travel x property management dot com and we work with partners on that and they’ll be able to do up a report and talk to you about your property there. Two main ways.
Rob Break [00:54:42] Very cool. And we’re going to have all of those. We’re going to have all that info in the show notes. So anyone that missed it just go over into the show notes and you’ll be able to get in touch with these guys. Thanks. Thanks for being here. I really appreciate everything that you guys have shared today.
Spencer Giles [00:54:57] Hey, thanks for having us.
Ashley Antidormi [00:54:58] Yeah, it was fun.
Spencer Giles [00:54:58] Inspired, a lot of fun.
Rob Break [00:55:00] See the other people get in touch with you.
Sandy Mackay [00:55:03] Same way social media if you want to. It’s easy to find me on Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn or Sandy at freedom reps dot com. Is the email.
Rob Break [00:55:12] Perfect and people can reach me at Rob at Mr. Breakthrough dot CA. Well, thanks guys, for joining us and we will see you next time.
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