Building an income property portfolio – How it all started.

It was the year the Devils won the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history, Lance Armstrong won his fifth Tour De France and Eminem’s hit song Lose Yourself topped the charts. Yes, it was 2003.  If I remember correctly the epiphany of investing in real estate did not happen while reading an economist report from the Globe and Mail, but instead laying on the couch watching the same highlight for the third time on TSN of the Oilers losing again to the Stars. I believe what I said was, “f*&king Oilers….hey Krista, I’ve been thinking for a while about this and I feel we should start investing in real estate, what do you think?”. I think that Krista’s response was a simple “sure why not… we know a bunch of people who own rental properties, why couldn’t we?”. And there you have it, the idea was born.

We heard somewhere that almost every millionaire around the world invested in real estate, so we thought this was a no-brainer opportunity. Not quite. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were starting down a path that, although lucrative in the long run, did not go without its bumps and bruises…ah…more like crashes and bangs.

It was one night, when I was elbow deep in a tenants toilet and Krista was steam cleaning another property because a tenant lied about not having pets when she was actually “The Cat Lady”, that we got on our Motorola flip phones and promised to each other that it was only 5 years of this, and then we’re out.

However as we forced ourselves past those crazy tenant problems, we started to build our own systems, hired great staff and relentlessly continued to grow our business. Looking back, we’re immensely glad that we did suck it up, because we’ve learned that the best returns are the long-term returns—and boy are we winning now because of that.

We call it the “10 Year Reward”. We’ve found that the real money in this game comes around the 10-year mark. The problem is that most investors, or people for that matter, just don’t have the patience to wait it out.  Those who do have the patience will attest that it is truly worth the wait.

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