By Keith Uthe
The road to success begins with an audit of your life and determining what is working for you and what is not. When I did my own life audit I knew that I was extremely happy with the real estate investment portfolio my wife Nancy and I had built on our own, and with co-venture partners. Where I was very unsatisfied was with my shift work job that I had no passion for, was hard on my health and hard on my family. I knew that in order to portray and emit the right feeling to a potential co-venture partner I had to love and be passionate about my work, not just real estate. My real story of where I was in my life and how we ran our business was evident in my body language, no matter what words I used and the investment success we had achieved. I was so focussed on building a successful real estate investment portfolio that I did not recognize the pitfalls and the emotional suck the job I had no passion for was having.
I convinced myself that going to expensive real estate seminars and buying a few properties would be the answer to bringing me happiness. What I did not know when I started going to these seminars and spending thousands of dollars was that there was a better, more successful , Canadian based program called ACRE run by the REIN group that would have changed the course of my life much sooner. Thanks to my wife, Nancy, we discovered Don Campbell’s book Authentic Canadian Real Estate in late 2010 and attended our first ACRE in March 2011.
I thought that I knew a lot about investing in Real Estate from those other seminars. What I quickly found out at ACRE was that I did not know most of the critical information and how important that was to being a truly successful real estate investor. Since that first ACRE I have not missed a single REIN local monthly meeting, All-Day event or Calgary ACRE. In fact we have been so dedicated to our real estate investing education that we have been to every Alberta ACRE since 2011 with the exception of one in Edmonton.
Not only did the REIN events and monthly meetings offer opportunities to make friends and associates in a group of like-minded people, it provided clarity on what changes in my life I had to make. For me, going to these REIN events was like attending continuing education classes from a university. The incredible difference is the information was provided by those that lived it and had success through it. I easily related to the information on a personal and professional level and absorbed it like a sponge. REIN helped me truly understand what this passion was that I had for Real Estate investing and how to be successful.
It was not all rockets and fireworks for our business after joining REIN. We discovered that we had some work to do to get our ships in order. It was a presentation by Patrick Francey on “How to treat your real estate investing like a Business” that gave us a wake-up call as to how we needed to streamline our business for ourselves and our co-venture partners in order to free up time for ourselves and move our business forward. Hiring a book keeper and the right professional accountants had a huge impact on us.
The more I learned, the more we improved how our business was run and increased my desire to leave my job. Writing those first few “Belize’s” was very hard because so much of it was focussed and depended on leaving a job I had no passion for. I finally realized that my Belize needed to reflect a more positive focussed message of the type of career and life I wanted. Although my Belize is always a work in progress the one thing that never changed was “To have a real estate based career”.
I knew that I would not be happy unless I made a career change. Real estate Investors often think that you have to quickly become a full-time investor to be happy and successful; however, success comes in small steps and looks different for everyone. My health, happiness and family depended on these steps. To achieve that first step I had to start making lists of the qualities I would bring to a new career.
I tried a resume writing service for help since I needed to emphasize the new skills, I had gained through REIN, as I was looking for a real estate related career, which was a complete 180 degree turn from the dull 12 hour shift work I was doing at the University of Calgary.
I submitted many resumes and specialized cover letters, always emphasizing my real estate experience and background. Unfortunately my prior post-secondary education and current job did not reflect real estate business education or expertise. After more than 18 months and many revisions I could not even get a response to my resume for an interview. It was very frustrating as I had all of this knowledge, that I had gained through REIN and real estate investing, just waiting to burst out and benefit an employer.
In the summer of 2014 I searched even deeper for opportunities and came across a career as an underwriter for private lender that intrigued me. We were leaving shortly for a two week vacation and I would not be available for an interview so I decided to delay my submission. After returning I spoke with a trusted friend and mentor, Dan Heon of REIN, that I knew would have knowledge of what the company was like.
I stepped out of my comfort zone and emailed Dale Koeller at Calvert Home Mortgage and he promptly responded that they were and asked that I submit my resume, cover letter and essay. I knew that the essay was the opportunity to show my depth of knowledge in the realm of real estate and wrote an essay titled “The Changing Face of Lending”, using the knowledge I had gained through REIN.
I submitted everything and to my delight I received an email requesting a telephone interview.
Prior to the interview, I decided to relax by playing some recreational shinny hockey and dislocated and fractured my right shoulder. Fortunately the shoulder went back into place and I was able to go home for the interview. When I walked in the door with an ice pack on my shoulder Nancy asked, “What did you DO?” I explained everything and she said we have to go to the emergency. My reply was yes after my interview. I would have had to been dead to miss this opportunity. The first question I was asked was how my day was and I told him the honest truth of my injury. He politely offered to reschedule and I said absolutely not and that I might just be a little slow taking notes with my injured right-arm.
After other interviews and testing, they subsequently offered me the career opportunity that has changed my life forever and I could use my Real Estate knowledge every day to have a positive impact on people’s lives and futures.
I am proof that REIN impacts lives in many different ways. I have not become a full time real estate investor, however, one day I will. In the mean time I have found a career that fits my passion and my Belize. I am a new person, with a new confidence and a new drive to gain more knowledge and ways to invest in real estate.
I wake every day happy to look forward to the challenges and opportunities it holds, I did not have that for 15 years, – and I have to thank REIN for that.
Keith Uthe began his real estate investing business with his spouse Nancy in 2003 when they bought a condo for Nancy's mom to live in. They now own 8 properties totaling 18 doors, have 6 joint venture partnerships and specialized knowledge in grants and rebates. After 17.5 years working at the University of Calgary, Keith recently started a new career in the underwriting department at Calvert Home Mortgage. His favorite hobbies are fishing, biking, traveling, watching CFL Football and basketball officiating.