By Anna Black
Regardless of how long our Members have been with us, 10 years or 10 months, they never seem to stop learning. There’s always one new tip, one new shortcut, one more new lesson to learn. Cindy Wennerstrom is a great example of someone, who although a veteran of REIN with many doors under her belt, still manages to take away something new at every event she attends (and she tries her best to attend every ACRE). As she phrases it “…as you grow, things are going to change, and you know, success is in the eye of the beholder. I still feel I have a long way to go…I’m always growing, I’m always getting better”.
She was on hand at our recent Toronto ACRE, and shared some wisdom that she had gained during her real estate investing journey. It’s a journey of someone who is the “epitome of someone who grew into real estate”. Cindy attended her first ACRE back in 2007 after leaving a corporate sales and marketing job in the packaged food business. With a severance package, and a drive to make the right connections, Wennerstorm bought her first few properties right out of the gate, something she wouldn’t necessarily do if given the chance again. She warned the crowd that it does get harder simply “because [if] you keep your job, banks love you more”. She recommends instead taking the money and putting it into a corporation and also buying more when rates are low. Cindy regrets not buying more properties when she was starting out and the prices were substantially lower even though the mortgage rates were higher.
Not one to be heavily influenced by mortgage rates, Cindy offered up this tidbit: “Don’t worry about interest rates, especially not a quarter percent or a point of a percent or even a percent.” She added, “It’s all irrelevant, as long as your properties are cash flowing, as long as you’re being responsible, [and] as long as you’re creating a business out of your real estate investment portfolio.” She also warned against comparing the interest rates you receive against those of new investors, because it really doesn’t matter. The mortgage rate you receive is in no way an indicator of the success of your portfolio.
She’s also a big believer in presenting herself professionally as a real estate investor, at all times, even when going to the bank – and respecting the industry. Why is this important? As Cindy phrased it, “These people are giving me millions of dollars to grow my portfolio and to create generational wealth for my family”. Without their support, you can’t enjoy your time with your family and “leave something behind for future generations.”
For Cindy, the support she has received from others – including REIN - has made it possible for her to achieve her personal Belize - a property on the water in Toronto where she plans to build her dream home with her fiancé. This is a drastic change from where her life was only eight years ago, before she joined REIN. It was however, a change that Cindy had envisioned on her vision board at a REIN event many years prior:
“…I took a picture when I was at this property and I was on the water and I was asking for guidance from my deceased grandmother, going, you know, am I doing the right thing? This is so expensive, this is crazy, is this too soon? Am I going to be okay? And when I was looking through those pictures later on in the day, there was something in that picture that made me think I need to pull up that dream board. That Belize thing I did many, many years ago was on my computer as a PowerPoint slide, because I was a business person, so everything was in PowerPoint.
So I pulled this picture up and not only was it a picture of a modern house, which I didn’t even know I liked back then, I just thought this was a really cool picture of a house on water. It was on water, it was a modern house, and this is what I’ve grown to love and really want to build and design, but there was a colour to this picture and it was a pinky-purple sunset sort of picture and in the picture that I took in the middle of the day, there was a stream of light coming from the top of the picture all the way through like someone was shining a beam of light down in the exact colour and I thought, that’s it. It’s right, it’s meant to be…”
Russell Westcott pointed out “When you know your own purpose and you know it’s right, there are many signs that come along…”