Success Story – Part 1

One of my favourite things is to meet “young” people who are either successful or well on their way to becoming successful. Well, I just met one of these people today. His name is Lee and he hails from Edmonton, Alberta. We met randomly and I asked if he would be willing to share some of his story. Here it is, in his words. I hope you enjoy!

Hi Karim,sure! Well lets see. As Inigo would say “Let me explain. No there ees too much. Let me sum up.”

My name’s Lee, I’m a computing scientist by education, and a beach volleyball player at heart. And here is the story.

Well back in 2002 I was working at Nortel and our site got shut down, so I had two choices: either find a new job in Montreal, or fly back home to Edmonton and look into real estate while trying to find a job. I like a challenge, so I went for option B. I also knew there was a game company back home that I wanted to work for called Bioware, so I figured hey, might as well apply, and see what happens right? So lo and behold after 3 months of hard work applying I got the job. so this is May 2002 approximately.

I knew my brother had been doing well in real estate, so I figured I’d buy my first house, and try and find a rental property. By that Christmas I had enough money saved up to put my first 10k onto my first house (yes the one I would live in silly). The first night I slept on the floor because it was so cool to own my first house. And by the end of the month, I had rented out all 3 rooms in the house to students because I lived near the university, and I wanted to treat my house like a rental property: i.e. the house should pay for itself.

Also at the outset I joined an investment group called REIN, and I got my first joint venture partner from there and we bought a duplex together in february of the next year. Now, this is the part where I almost got crushed: by the time we got keys on the place, someone had broken in, the pipes burst on the main kitchen floor on one side and did about 15,000 dollars damage to the place. I was thinking at this point “I’m screwed!” Well luckily, with the help of my Dad and few friends we got the place all torn out, I borrowed some money to get it fixed up, and we rented it out. It took about 3 months to fix the place up, working 9 to 6 at the day job and 7 to 11 at night and weekends doing renos, but we got it done. The duplex was mostly break even in the first year, but I made enough in equity to buy out my investor because she was moving to the states, so I refinanced the place, and paid her out.

Then two years passed… I did diddly except work at my job for 80 hour work weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but I could see that this was not the way to get out of the rat race. At the time we got a really big payout from work so I had enough money to live off of for a year as long as I kept my tenants, which was awesome. So in Christmas of 2005 I decided to quit my job, and buy some houses. Now don’t get me wrong… this is probably insane, and if you knew me, well, its probably par for the course. Anyway, in the next 7-8 months I put offers in on places and closed on investors and bought 10 places. Of course, its very motivating when you know the only money you have left is slowly dwindling away in your savings account because it costs money to live (oy! whats up with that anyway?!).

Now I’m sitting on 11 properties, 2 more of which I’m managing, and I have enough partners now to purchase my first apartment building. Who knew? The equity is doing quite well in all of them, but I’ve got minimal cashflow… thus why I’m moving into the bigger leagues.

For anyone interested in learning more about me, I’ll put more details on my website in the next week: Come say hi, and pass on my contact info if you know anyone who is interested k? I’ve got 3 houses right now at 90k down that will return the same in the following year. Who likes 50-80% returns on their money in a year?! Sign me up!

I hope this is what you had in mind Karim, if you need anything else, don’t hesitate to call or email me k?Ciao for now,~Lee

Do you know of any other success stories? Let me know at

Have a great day!

Karim Kanji