Episode 190 – Erwin Szeto – Real Estate Rockstar: Mr. Hamilton Goes to the Sunbelt States

“In a business you want to be in the way of growing demand. I have more customers I can potentially rent to and there’s no rent control so as rent prices go up, I’m able to raise my prices.” – Erwin Szeto

  • Erwin Szeto is a seasoned investor specialist, Realtor, and influential voice in Canadian real estate. With a career dating back to 2010, he has facilitated over $440 million in income property transactions through his team, impacting the market with strategic insights and leadership.
  • While he has navigated the ownership of over 40 properties, his current focus is on teaching investors to harness opportunities in the cash flow positive, landlord-friendly sunbelt states. Erwin’s accolades include being a 4X Realtor of the Year to Investors in Ontario (including twice by REIN), hosting the #81 Ranked Business Podcast on iTunes “The Truth About Real Estate Investing for Canadians,” and creating wealth for 45 millionaire real estate investor clients.
  • Beyond his professional achievements, Erwin is a dedicated husband, father, and a (self-described terrible) golfer, who balances his personal passions with his commitment to real estate education and philanthropy.
  • Listen in to this episode as Erwin shares his plans for real estate investing in the U.S., a far more landlord-friendly and scalable business landscape, and what his short-term goals are in this arena. Patrick and Erwin discuss US rates and financing for Canadians, the challenges, and benefits of student housing in Ontario, entrepreneurship, the new-build condo market, and even a few movie recommendations! Erwin shares his thoughts on the future of Canada and his gratitude for the business and the wealth he has created.
  • Show Notes
  • [00:42] Patrick introduces his next TEDM guest, Erwin Szeto.
  • [02:29] Erwin and Patrick reconnect (Erwin is a long time REIN community supporter) and start their conversation in the tried-and-true fashion with Erwin sharing what he’s up to now. Like many Canadian real estate investors Erwin is looking to the south to reallocate his capital in a far more landlord-friendly environment.
  • [03:58] With all of what’s happened in Ontario and Canada since 2020, how does Erwin view the Ontario and BC market these days, particularly with rent controls? It’s not a terribly inspiring landscape! Erwin also shares what he is advising his clients who do wish to stay in the Ontario market and what he is looking at for his own portfolio.
  • [08:28] In Erwin’s market of Hamilton, rental licensing has been brought in to manage some of the issues around student housing. Erwin describes how it works, the upside and downside. While addressing safety concerns is of the utmost importance, bureaucracy for the sake of justifying more bureaucracy is the frustration for business owners who wish to do the right thing but get mired in the overkill and expense.
  • [10:53] Student immigration can have a negative impact on rental housing providers, but Erwin explains how his tenant profile differs and what his experience has been. Erwin operates his real estate portfolio as a business, and over time he has tweaked, refined, and incorporated strategies to develop a system that works well for him and for his clients. Many investors unfortunately still do not.
  • [15:42] Erwin and Patrick discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of the condo market, new builds, and assignments, which share some commonalities with the flip strategy. There is a significant risk potential to consider and it’s always the best idea to have a plan b, c, and d.
  • [21:27] Moving capital to the US housing market. Erwin shares his intention and goals with moving his capital from Ontario to the US. He talks about financing, rates, and how that has changed as a non-US citizen since 2008. It is a far more scalable business model from Erwin’s perspective.
  • [30:06] Erwin talks about his US investment plan from a logistics standpoint and the people he is working with to execute that plan.
  • [35:04] Kicking it old school with the REIN Goldmine Scorecard, Erwin shares where and what he’s considering buying, his thought process and how he’s approaching it. In a business you want to get in the way of increasing demand.
  • [42:13] In hindsight, had Erwin started investing in the US sooner, he could have avoided much of the grey hair he has acquired. That said, Ontario real estate has served him very well.
  • [44:05] Erwin and Patrick talk about Grant Cardone and the influencers in the real estate space.
  • [46:36] Erwin shares what he’s observing with investors, relying on, and investing money with “experts” in the business of real estate investing.
  • [51:25] How did Erwin’s entrepreneurial spark get lit? His own “rich dad” demonstrated through his plumbing business what successful entrepreneurship could look like and he also introduced Erwin to real estate investing. Erwin saw the power of owning property assets during the downturn in 2008-2009 and began investing more time getting educated, licensed, and investing his own capital.
  • [55:59] The future of Erwin Szeto. Erwin shares his short-term business goals, and his love for being part of a solution.
  • [59:07] Erwin’s optimism for Canada as a whole? A moment of dead air… but he does follow up with research suggestions and the truth of how Canada is positioned relative to the US in jobs, economic growth, and of course, real estate.
  • [62:42] A slow roll into the rapid fire: Apple or android; favourite music genre; favourite movie; room-desk-car; favourite swear word; message at the pearly gates.
  • [66:19] Erwin’s gratitude.

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