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Are you ready to meet a real-life mogul? A real estate mogul!
This lady knows the ins and outs of real estate, investment, ownership and the rental market from having spent the last 20 years in the day-to-day, hands-on world. But that’s not where her story ends – it’s where it all began!
Not only is she one of the top 100 influencers in the future of Canadian real estate. She has vision; she has passion. And she excels as a leader who strives to see others succeed.
Carla Browne is the President of Real Property Management Canada, a Canadian company providing rental, building & tenant management and marketing services.
Our guest today is our first ever mogul to join the show. A real estate mogul. This lady knows the ins and outs of real estate investment, ownership and the rental market from having spent the last 20 years or more in the day to day hands on world. But that’s not where her story and it’s actually where it all began.
This lady is the whole package boys, but she is taken. Not only is she one of Canada’s top 100 influencers in the future of Canadian real estate, she has vision, she has passion, and she excels as a leader who strives to see others succeed.
Carla Browne is the president of real property management Canada, a Canadian company providing rental building and tenant tenant management and marketing services. I truly can’t do this description justice. So without further ado, welcome, Carla.
Thank you so much for that Barb. Wow, I hope I can live up to all of that.
You’ve already exceeded it.
When people introduce me and they talk about like the 20 some years because then people are like already envisioning how old is this woman?
Oh, no experience, ages just a number. But But explain this to me. So how does one business? Do all of this? Like that’s a broad product and service offering. So how does this actually work? Tell us a little bit about the company and then of course, yourself.
Okay, so real property management, the company I work with the franchisor right now Real Property Management Canada as their president, I also run a franchise in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
And that’s where I started with the company as I started out in the franchise world and continue to run that organization. So when I say I know the business inside and out, I definitely live and breathe it every day.
And Real Property Management is the only franchise property management company in Canada, we specialize in residential single family rentals. And it is an industry that is just growing beyond belief right now across Canada, it’s it’s a super exciting time to be in any kind of real estate investment, property management, rental housing provider, any anything that’s linked to that, which is there’s so many different ways that that could actually go when you think about all the things that we need in our day to day.
And what we do is we attract individuals who are looking for business opportunities, or maybe already own a property management company, or in that real estate space that see the synergy between the companies that are looking for a way to really get into this industry, but want to alleviate some of the pain points because we have figured out a lot of foolproof bulletproof processes and systems.
And through the use of the technology and a lot of that proven process and marketing can make life much easier on the day to day. So when people think about property management, often often Barb they think about fixing fixing leaks and toilets and going to doors and collecting rent. Yeah. And that’s not what we do at all. We are here to proactively manage the asset for the investor and create a very safe environment for any resident or tenant who’s coming on coming on board to live with us.
Wow. Okay, so you’re talking about single family homes? Ballpark, how many doors across Canada? Would you have?
You’re just right now, with we have 17 offices across Canada. We’re fairly we’re fairly new. I call us an emerging franchise right now and in the Canadian Space, and we have about 3500 houses or units, townhouses, condos that we’re that we’re managing right now.
Yep, that’s huge. And so what do you predict the growth will be like in the next, I don’t know, three to five years. What are you expecting?
I expect that our office base this year will go from about 17 active we have more than that. But seven what I call 17 really active getting going businesses to we will double that this year. And in three years, we will be about 100 offices across Canada.
Nice. And are you coast to coast right now? Are you still sort of reaching those borders?
We are very present in BC, Alberta. We have the office in Saskatchewan, of course we have one office in Quebec, and we have a few offices in Ontario. So we are pretty much coast to close. But we have lots of room for expansion, lots of territories that are available for people to come into.
Okay. So let me see if I can kind of paint a picture. So if I’m, maybe I even own a couple of homes that I rent out. And so I do property management as part of my service and maybe I helped a couple of other folks at the local level with their homes. Someone would reach out to you thinking Hmm, maybe I can expand my property map management portfolio, not necessarily do I need to own more homes, it’s expanding that portfolio from a service perspective to, as you say, the investor who actually owns the house, then Correct?
Correct. And we do see that often where someone just really has a love for that for this industry. So they themselves are an investor. But as as an investor, as soon as you start getting a number of properties under your portfolio, it becomes, it becomes a full time job to do this properly, the tenants now tenant, the tenant profile has changed a lot over the years, their expectations have really changed.
Technology has blown up this space, like it has in any industry, I’m sure from any business owner that you speak to these days, and COVID only accelerated that. So we by using technology, it doesn’t make sense for an individual investor to invest in these pieces of technology themselves from a financial perspective.
So they can use the power that we have of that buy down from a franchise and are putting this into their business lives. And then that start to expand that if they want to make a business model out of it.
So that’s one thing. And then the other thing I just want to touch on that you touched on where if somebody is doing this for themselves and wants to like expand to maybe do it for friends and family, multiple provinces in Canada are regulated.
And it is you actually have to hold a property management license through the provincial regulator in order to be collecting rent from others other than your own personal property. And I won’t get into it province by province, because it’s the there are some differences across the board. But that is the norm in most provinces.
And people don’t understand that. So lots of times, it’s like, I’ll just help my buddy out. And I’ll do all the rent collection and all of this, but it is actually a very regulated industry, which is good, because it adds a level of professionalism, which I’m really, really passionate about making sure that the profession stays professional. Yes.
You know, that was good. Yeah. And that’s one of the things that really caught my eye in your profile. Because when I think back to our professional history, you have always always been on the top end of the profession. And what I mean by that is, like, there was no slouch on your end, in terms of you always made it so professional. And as an industry, it’s not always what we think of when we think about the rental market, the real estate industry, some of those sorts of things. So turn your passion head on for me for a few minutes. And, and tell me, you know, how are you seeing that changing? What are you doing personally or professionally to start to raise that that bar?
Yeah, well, I’ll even talk just from like my franchise, my franchise here in Saskatchewan. It’s something that I talk about, with my team all the time, and that and how we present ourselves to anyone who’s contacting our office.
And it’s that level of professionalism and professionalism. It doesn’t, I guess it doesn’t take much to be professional, which is kind of mind blowing, because people look at it like you have to do so much. It’s like caring about your client, respecting who they are. Communication is probably the biggest part of it is that, you know, we have a rule in our office that every email and phone call is responded to within so many hours, even if we don’t have an answer, it’s all these little things that we bring to the table.
And so and then by putting in a lot of processes and systems, we now create what I call a very consistent client experience. So you know what to expect from us. And that’s what we’re trying to gain by by putting these in all of these offices across Canada. So by automating a lot of the workflows, you can achieve that so that you can have a very consistent experience, because what we do know in Canada is that people don’t always invest in their backyard.
So you might be in Ontario, looking at Saskatchewan or Alberta. So maybe you’ve bought a property in Ontario, and you’re using real property management, now you’ve bought a property in Saskatchewan and you’re using real property management, well, we want that we want you to feel the same no matter where you go.
And the way you do that is by creating a consistent client experience and trying to professionalize the industry. So we’re extremely transparent, our owners know exactly what we’re doing, why we’re charging it, what they’re going to see on their statement every month. There’s there’s nothing to hide here. And it really shouldn’t be people are willing to pay for a service if they see the value.
And they can see that we’re actually helping them through this, this investment. And as you know, my I entered into my professional life on the real estate side. So I’ve always believed in what the real estate asset can do for people. And it is the one investment that will never go away and it will always grow. I mean, there’s ups and downs like anything, but it’s not usually as volatile as any other type of investment that you make.
Right, exactly. So when you talk about the client experience, do you see yourself serving the investor and the tenant or is it primarily the investor? And the investor continues to serve the tenant? How does that work?
Yeah, that’s a really good question because people do get caught up in that. And this is probably one very unique part of our industry is that we have this two sets of clients, the investor is always our first client.
That is who we’re here to protect, that we want to increase the value of their asset and protect it. Those are the you know, the two main things that we’re doing. But we do that by finding high quality tenants. And in order to find high quality tenants, you also have to provide a very high level of service to them as well. So they matter.
We want to make sure that houses are clean, that they’re safe, that we listened to their concerns that when they have maintenance requests, we’re responding to them, it doesn’t mean we give them everything they want. But we make sure that we are responding and listening to them.
So it is definitely to clients investor is where I mean, they’re the ones essentially that are paying us it’s kind of funny to say it that way. But they’re the ones that get us the business, right. So you need the product from the investor in order to service the tenant. But we feel our tenants are very, very important to us. And we do want to create an exceptional client experience for them.
So do all of the tenants even know who owns the building they’re living in or do many of them just know you.
Most of them just know us. And the reason being is that an investor will come to us because they want to be hands off. They were very, I used to say this in the real estate world. So this will be this will be something you heard in my century 21 world is that we’re full service.
So we take the property from the investor, we do the takeover inspection, we do all of the advertising, we do the move in the move out the showing the vetting of the tenants, any any requests that come in, coming in through our portal. So an owner is literally hands off, going into their portal once a month, seeing what their Owner Statement look like getting any communications from us, and the money is just deposited into their bank account to simplify the process, I guess. So and from a tenant experience as well, they like that, because they like to know that there is this middle person that’s kind of looking out for them.
So when they do have something that’s going wrong, they’re not relying on possibly an investor who doesn’t want to spend any money, they can rely on us to help mitigate that and help to try to make sure that their their, you know, their concerns are being looked after. Okay.
And that makes much more sense to me. Because when I think about an investment, whether it’s my, our RSP, right, I put the money in, I’m going to manage my statement. But it’s but I’m not doing anything on a day to day basis. So this makes rental home ownership or rental property ownership, almost that exact same experience where I make the initial purchase, I’m still paying off that mortgage over time, but it’s being managed in the same way that a financial planner would manage that investment for me.
Yeah, and the space has changed so much. So it’s really interesting that you brought that up, because I do think that the time is coming where owning real estate asset or a part of a real estate asset is going to be just as common as buying an RSP that you are going to be able to buy into an asset group.
So we see this, you know, with REITs, and bigger corporations, but I think just anyone, an individual person will be able to say, You know what, I have $100 or $500. And I’d like to put it into a real estate asset, there’s going to be a way that they can do that.
And those assets could be owned by a number of people. So not just what you’re thinking is a regular joint venture, and they will be able to then contract companies like ours, to do the management for them and help provide the statements for those owners. So I see, I see, when I look at technology and what it’s doing this space, I really think opportunities are endless.
Okay, yeah, that sounds very good. Okay, so let’s kind of continue down that vein. How does someone even get started? As an investor, I already have a mortgage, how does someone get that second park property? Get the financing for it? Like, can you give us any of that kind of background?
Sure. Well, because our company is part of the Charlwood Pacific Group. The Charlwood Pacific Group is a family owned business business based out of Vancouver that owns the rights to real property management, Centum Financial Services, and Century 21.
So we have what I call the the Circle of Success. So by talking to any one of us on any of those brands, we can start that investor cycle for you and start to get you to understand what you need to know.
Now if you’re just if you’re just like, just thinking about it and you want to know like, what does rental prices look like? How do I cash flow? If that’s your strategy, I want to buy something as a long term investment. I want to create some kind of a legacy for my family. Those are conversations you could have with you could start with at the property management level so that we can kind of guide you and what might you might want to look at.
There’s several organizations in Canada that people can also go to, for a lot of resources. We are a trusted partner with the with REIN, which is the Real Estate Investment Network of Canada. And so we’ve worked very closely with them, they are, they are investors from all across Canada, I don’t even I think their membership is up to like 2500 people. And they have some very regular educational sessions and sessions where people can kind of meet up, what we know is Investors love to hang out with investors.
So like anything, so you can kind of learn and, and glean from them. So but I would say first call us. Um, but if you’re really serious about getting into it, then it’s something to definitely look at getting some more education so that you understand what you’re buying, because a lot of people think that they just buy a property, getting 1400 or $1,500 for rent, and now I’m, it’s, I’m laughing, there’s so much more that actually goes into it.
Well, and you know, it’s interesting, when you and I started talking about having this podcast, that’s exactly what went through my mind is a rental property sounds good on paper, but the time and effort and work that has to go into it to maintain it sort of a client do the repairs, all of a sudden, as you said, it starts to feel like a second job. And you know, you’ve got kids and you’ve got activities.
And you know, I kind of get why sometimes there’s a breakdown in communication between owner and tenant, because the tenant wants something fixed today, you’re at work, then you’ve got hockey for the kids until you can never get there. So I can absolutely see how the service that you guys offer helps bridge that gap. Can you think and I’m asking you this question kind of off the top of my head. So I might catch you off guard a little bit. But you have to have heard and seen some pretty crazy stories in your years. So what stories sprung to mind right away when I asked that question, because I can see a pretty good smile on your face.
Yeah, well, first of all, I think I’m a highly I’m definitely a feeler on the spectrum if on the personality spectrum, so I do definitely feel for people. And I have seen a lot of crazy things come our way. I’ve seen a lot of tears from investors coming in.
And a lot of that really stems around. They’ve gotten themselves into a situation and rented to somebody who they thought sounded really nice. That ended up not, not not working out not paying rent damaging the property, they don’t know how to get people out. And it becomes super emotional, because this is this.
This is this property that you bought, as as you recall from from our past life together. We were involved in what is the biggest transaction people make a house purchase. Exactly. And so this property lots of times becomes very, it’s very emotional. And I always say I can remove the emotion and just worry about protecting.
So to me, this is a it’s a business transaction. I’m protecting the investor. And I can go through with trying to help them through the eviction, but lots of tears, lots of damaged properties. And you see those ones on the news.
And I always think that could have been avoided like Don’t make it sound like every renter is a bad renter. People often in Canada now rent because they choose to rent this is not because they have to rent, we know that more than 30% of the Canadians across across this whole country right now are renters. That means one in every three houses is an investment property. Yes.
And it’s and people make this choice. So I think renters get lumped into this bad bucket as well as, you know, the landlords that don’t do any work on properties also get lumped in. And it’s really not like that, that’s the minority. But probably the the stories that I that I see that are there, I’m smiling, but it’s heartbreaking, because it’s very, very emotional for some of them when they walk into my office and the tears are streaming and they don’t know what to do. And you want to help them and sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.
Yeah, well, and you know what, you made a really good point. They’re the stories that make the news, the stories that make social media, those are the stories that didn’t work out. And it’s unfortunate that there are a percentage of them, but all of the other stories that are working that have long term tenants that you know have gone smoothly.
They don’t get any press because where’s the story in that? Right and so yeah, it’s like anything else it’s you know, the the stuff that sells and gets attention is the stuff that maybe isn’t the greatest of news and I don’t know how we ever became hardwired that way as a society but we certainly do tune into it.
Yeah, no, probably never changed. It’s not exciting to tell somebody how smooth things went. That’s there’s there’s no sensational ism in there. So Yeah, people don’t necessarily want to listen to it.
But it is it’s usually very a very smooth, smooth transaction. And I mean, our office runs into the the odd one as well, we had, I’ll tell you a short story, we had a tenant not too long ago that was telling us she was in a lower level of one of our properties.
And we had tenants up above, and she was telling us how, you know, they had she, they broke into her network, and that they were doing all of this and it was like, I was like, mind blown, what she was telling me and I, I was actually, I totally bought into it, I would have to say, I would say my staff didn’t buy into it, but I think I got a bit emotional and, and my, my need to help people was there.
So I really wanted to put her into another property. And my staff was like, no, like, we need to work on a different solution. And I think you probably know what that solution is that I’m, I’m talking about. So even though I feel our vetting and our screening is very, very rigid, the odd one does get through, but we deal with it right away. We just don’t let it go on and on. And on. As soon as something seems too good to be true. Mm hmm. Yeah, it is.
Yeah, too good to be true, or something is off. Right. So you’re a feeler, I don’t know what I am. I think that’s intuition. Because I get that gut sensation. Or I’m like, you something just feels off here. And right away, then my guard will be up. And you know, I just look at everything twice before I make any kind of decision. Sometimes it’s worked for me sometimes not so much.
Yeah, it’s so true. I always say when investors will ask how we vet our tenants, and I always say, Well, you know, we want to we want obviously be screened for income, what’s their income we screen for past history.
So that would be landlords or character references, things like that, we screen for credit, because we need to know, we need to know these things. Not if someone has bad credit, isn’t necessarily a bad renter. But we know that those history, things are usually going to repeat themselves.
And there’s, and we want to make sure it’s just not a slight bruising of the credit, I like to say, but then there’s that gut check. So when my property manager meets them, and like you’re saying the intuition, or the gut check tells us otherwise, it’s actually more important than the other three things we just read on paper. Yes.
And you have to, and you learn that with experience. So I’m lucky that I have staff that’s been with us for a number of years, that can help us through that, and we understand if it’s, if it’s just a story, or not, yeah, the pieces of the paper kind of backup the stories what I always say.
Exactly, the process you just described is just like hiring an employee. Everything can look fantastic on paper, but then you have the conversation, or you dig a little deeper, and all of a sudden, there’s nothing underneath. Right? And I think in a lot of cases, you know, we don’t dig deep enough, because we’re busy. We’ve got a million things going on, we look at a LinkedIn profile. Right, and then we don’t go any further. So the process that you’ve developed is probably similar to, you know, when you do bring on franchisees and things like that.
Totally. Yeah. Yeah. I think by nature, we want we want maybe it’s a Saskatchewan thing. We want to trust people, right? We want we want to see the good in people, or at least I certainly do. Yeah. So so yeah.
No, that’s awesome. So just really quickly, we’re almost at a time I can’t believe how quickly the conversations go. But give us a quick lowdown like, how did you get where you are, Carla? Because if I’m a young real estate agent, or if I bought my first property, like you’ve really climbed the ranks, how what advice would you share with somebody, you know, thinking about the industry or thinking about investing?
Yeah, I would say, if you have a vision, don’t be scared to try to get it. We had as you know, a top office in the century 21 system, but I always saw this need, where I lived for property management for quality professional property management. And I had this I had a vision. And that’s really all I decided that I was going to step forth and do so know who you are and what you want. And don’t be scared to step out of that box and go get it.
Yep, that’s awesome. That is absolutely fantastic. Just before we do wrap up, how can people either learn more about you? Or if they are a home, not home owner, a rental property owner? How do they find you? How do they contact you?
Sure, you can find me on any social media platform. LinkedIn is probably the best one to find me out. So you can find me just simply Carla Browne with an E a color with an E. And Real Property Management also is on every platform as well. That’s an easy way to find us are simply going to realpropertymgt.ca our website. If you are interested in franchise opportunities, there is a franchise button there that you can simply click and we’d be happy to send you some information and get in contact that way.
Okay, well that sounds fantastic. Carla, thank you so much for your Today, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you. You know, one of the things that’s always interested me is that idea of a rental property. But I’ve never gone down that path because of the thought that it could be, you know, a second, third or fourth job. And so now you’ve definitely given me some good food for thought and my poor husband will be Oh, God now what have you done!
Good, good. Well, I’m, and I’d be happy to have those conversations with you, too. You know that so much for having me on the show Barb. It was great to reconnect with you. And hopefully, hopefully the listeners learned a little bit about investing in real estate.
Yes, I’m certainly did. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb@abovethefold.live, or reach out on our Facebook and Instagram page at Abovethefold.ca. And just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our show just on our Facebook page.
So I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and #GoogleGirl. Remember you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.