Hello ladies and gentlemen investors from across Canada, welcome to another episode of the truth about real estate investing, where it is my pleasure to bring to you investor stories to educate, inspire and maybe even entertain. This week we have a guest referred by a friend of the show in Amy Halpenny. She’s new to real estate investing, but she shot out of a cannon. She acquired five properties in just over six months in Collingwood and the Durham Region, converting each of them to add secondary suites, for a total of ten units.
On-the-job Amy combines strategic ‘big picture’ thinking with well-honed management skills, operational know-how, and a relentless persistence to “get ‘er done.”
Before getting into real estate, Amy worked in small business and start-ups for over 15 years in strategy, sales, marketing and operations.
In this interview we talk about Amy’s reasons for investing, the courses she took, and how they helped. She also discusses how her investing strategy will insulate her from market corrections.
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Coaching recommended by Amy: https://durhamrei.com/coaching/
This Episodes Transcript
Erwin Szeto: Without further ado, I introduce to you Amy Halpenny. You’re good to start.
Amy Halpenny: Yep.
Erwin Szeto: I always like to start with the standard networking question. I think people are generally need more help in their networking skills. So, I always like to start off with, “Hi Amy, what’s keeping you busy these days?”
Amy: Well, I … It’s interesting. I kind of jumped on part of me deciding to do this was actually to … to kind of jump off the fast pace life. I worked for a tech startup. I was kind of head of strategy there and having three small kids and extremely busy working life where I kinda felt like I was on 24/7. Jumping into this was a way for me to kind of cultivate a more balanced lifestyle. When I think about it, I’m actually still really busy. It’s amazing how much time this takes, but I think the main difference between then and now is I’m in charge of my own time.
Erwin Szeto: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Amy: So, that flexibility to me and that ability to be able to say yes, like I did yesterday to take the day off and go for a field trip to the police station with my daughter in Junior Kindergarten, that’s worth more money in the world to me. What’s keeping me busy is definitely my real estate business, but it’s a different type of busy. It’s a busy that I’m in charge of and it feels different because I’m in control and because I’m building at the pace that I wanna build. I’m reaping this huge sense of satisfaction out of it because it’s … You can really kind of look and say, “Wow, look at how far I’ve come in the last six to eight months and how far I still have to go.” But it’s all kind of your own doing, if you know what I mean. It’s hugely, hugely satisfying and the stress … It’s not the same type of stress. It’s actually a more manageable stress, a more feel good stress as opposed to that type of stress that eats at you and gives you a heart attack at a young age.
Erwin Szeto: Right. Right. We’ll get into that. So, in reading your bio and what we discussed with our mutual friend, it’s fun that you bring that up about control, how you’re enjoying having control over your life. In the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, they actually talk about the three pillars of job satisfaction. One of them is control. Another one’s creativity. Actually, I didn’t mean to get into it right now, but can you … Do you wanna talk to the creativity that you have in your current work as a real estate investor?
Amy Halpenny: Yeah, I think you had talked to me when we were emailing back and forth about what’s one of my biggest surprises about being a real estate investor. I would say that it has unleashed in me this creative streak that I didn’t even really know that I had. So, if I look back at my old desk job, everything about it was: you’re sitting at your desk and I did a lot of writing and reports. To a certain degree that’s creative, but I think what I love about this newfound creativity is this kind of seeing progress in three dimensions.
Erwin Szeto: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Amy Halpenny: So for instance, you see what we’re doing is buying houses that are single family homes and we’re converting them into duplexes. So, you walk in and you see the existing space. It usually is really awful. We’re not buying beauty. In fact, one place that we bought in Colling was so bad when we first saw it that I changed my clothes when I left. ‘Cause I felt like I was just crawling in dirt and possibly living organisms when …
Erwin Szeto: Okay. Okay. [crosstalk 00:04:22] Living things are bad.
Amy Halpenny: Yeah, it was more … It was just … It stunk so bad. So, the sense to be able to envision and imagine what that place could become, and then over the months watching it transform into, from vision to reality. It is so creative and so satisfying and every time that you go and every moment that you’re working on that project there’s new and different problems that you’re presented with, with no clear solution. You can’t look online or read in a textbook what that solution is, so you really need to trust you’re instinct. You need to trust the people that you’re working with. You need to talk it through and you need to be willing to kind of come to solutions in a organic way and a securitise way. Be willing to make a different decision the next day if you have to. So, you’re always weighing all of these different options and choices and making decisions on the fly, trusting your instincts.
Amy Halpenny: I just love working like that. For someone who needs to follow a clear path and have one plus two equals three, this is probably not the best career for you, but if you get jazzed by creativity and watching yourself grow and learning as you go, oh god this is just so exciting, so fun. It’s addictive. I can totally see and understand now why people get into this and they just grow and grow and grow because it’s really, really fun. Honestly.
Erwin Szeto: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Amy, how many properties do you have now?
Amy Halpenny: So, I’m very new in the real estate investing scene. I guess I’m the new kid on the block. We have five properties.
Erwin Szeto: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Amy Halpenny: And we bought our first one in last June. I’d say in nine months we have bought five single family homes and converted them into duplexes. Now we have ten units.
Erwin Szeto: Fantastic. And where are they all located?
Amy Halpenny: Four of them are in Durham, Oshawa specifically, and one of them is in Collingwood.DOWNLOAD THE TRANSCRIPT