Last night, my business partner Reid and I attended the Ontario Real Estate Investors Organization (OREIO) monthly event at the Travelodge Hotel on Carling in Ottawa. This month I was very excited, because this month the presenter was one of my mentors and educators and the catalyst which brought me out of the phase that many investors get into known as “analysis paralysis”. The presenter was none other than Don Campbell himself!
For those of you who don’t know Don Campbell, he is one of Canada’s most experienced real estate investors. He wasn’t born into riches, didn’t have a silver spoon, he started when he was working at a customer service desk at Sears and worked his way to where he is today, one accomplishment at a time. It wasn’t an easy ride, there’s no such thing as easy money, but he worked through the challenges as he faced them and any real estate investor can save themselves thousands or even millions in mistakes learning from his experience. He is a realist at heart, and isn’t afraid to share both the successes and challenges he’s been through.
What was the catalyst that Don Campbell brought to the equation that finally got me over my analysis paralysis? It was two key ingredients. First of all, all of his educational material focused on the fundamentally safe, straightforward and unemotional system of ACRE. Furthermore all of his educational materials surrounded Canadian law, while the majority of real estate investment courses focus on benefits that are applicable only to our neighbor American investors. Finally, he provided a wealth of tangible examples that addressed many of my key concerns and fears while showcasing real-world examples focusing on the success stories of numerous Canadian investors, without sugar coating any of the challenges that popped up along the way.
Tonight’s presentation was incredibly useful. While keeping his tone and dialogue cleverly scattered with humour, he addressed many of the topics that most investors tend to shy away from; the intangibles.
For any investor who’s been in the business a few years, you probably can recollect a number of networking events whereby the same topics are addressed over and over again, the tangibles. Tangibles are both easy to learn and teach, because they either work or they don’t (e.g. cashflow, financing, tenant laws, etc.). There are concrete rules surrounding these topics. They are absolutely essential to learn and to continue to refine and any networking event surrounding them is bound to add a few gems to your arsenal of knowledge, but it’s the intangibles that are the toughest to learn.
The intangibles that Don Campbell discussed tonight were surrounding numerous topics ranging from the best areas to invest in to the rules surrounding early detection of areas that are poised for faster than average appreciation and/or less susceptibility to depreciation. Of course he also talked about the inevitable correction that will be forthcoming related to the Toronto condo market and explained his conclusions.
Other topics related to tangibly verified statistics was the comparison of investments in single-detached homes, semi-detached homes and condos from major cities that REIN members have invested in over the last 15 years (sample data representing greater than $1 billion in investment properties) and which type of property appreciated best on average.
Signing off at the end of the evening were some very familiar words. If you’re investing in real estate is exciting, you’re doing it wrong. Real estate investing is a systematic, long-term commitment and decisions should be made based upon facts, not emotions.
Oh and above all, the most important element to real estate investing is cashflow in any investment that is made. If the property doesn’t cashflow, it’s not an investment, it’s gambling.
Founding Partner, Amplified Investments