Episode 177 – Alfonso Cuadra – The Godfather of Real Estate

“There’s no time to wait, and you’ve got to get educated in order to take advantage of the opportunities. People think you have to be in the right place at the right time, that’s incorrect. You’re always in the right place, and it’s always the right time, you are just not aware of the opportunity.” – Alfonso Cuadra

  • Alfonso Cuadra is an Award-Winning Real Estate Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Author of the 2012 book From the Ground Up!
  • He is the President and CEO of The Cuadra Group of Companies and has an extensive background in business and Real Estate Management, Investing, and Development. Alfonso is dedicated to showing others how to overcome their obstacles and become high performers. He truly is in the business of changing lives and has a special gift in his ability to connect with people and move them forward.
  • Listen in to this episode as Alfonso shares his own story of overcoming great obstacles to achieve his dreams. Born in El Salvador during the civil war, his mother, the head of the newspaper, was arrested for reporting the truth to all about the corrupt government in power. After escaping to Canada and being raised in poverty, at 17 years old, he started a small company that quickly grew to multiple locations across Canada. Alfonso shares his journey to real estate and how a seed planted as a teen came full circle courtesy of his daughter, 12 years later. Alfonso and Patrick talk about financial markets, real estate in ANY market, and the importance of critical thinking, staying aware and educating ourselves to get ahead of opportunities.
  • Alfonso is a dynamic leader that is passionate about sharing his story and inspiring others to create the life they want and to never give up on their dreams.
  • [0:42] Patrick introduces his next TEDM guest, Alfonso Cuadra.
  • [02:01] Alfonso and Patrick swing into action and Alfonso tells us where “The Godfather of Real Estate” came from!
  • [04:32] Alfonso shares a bit of his background, his family’s difficult journey from Latin America in the 70s, the uptick and downtick of his business, and how real estate then came to show up in his life.
  • [09:13] As an immigrant to Canada and now a Canadian citizen, Alfonso has a real understanding of both sides of the immigration controversy. As witness to his mother’s hard work and tenacity plus the thousands of people he has employed in his business, Alfonso understands how hard people are willing to work, and want to participate and contribute to their community.
  • [13:03] A life re-imagined. Alfonso recounts some impactful moments in his life from the young age of 3 being held in captivity, coming to Canada with an undeveloped education and all the emotional and behavioural challenges that result from that, to living on the street angry at the world. The turning point came at the age of 17 when his daughter was born. His whole life opened up with love, he started to realize the opportunities he had turned his back on and became reinspired.
  • [18:06] Always fascinated by the concept of real estate investing, thoughts of being a building owner and collecting rent drifted in and out over the course of Alfonso’s life. When his business took a downturn, Alfonso studied and found inspiration in books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and he began to rebuild his business and committed to building his wealth through real estate. A seed planted as a teen came full circle courtesy of his daughter, 12 years later.
  • [23:53] What is Alfonso’s outlook of our economy and what opportunities is he sharing with his investors? Macro view: massive opportunity.
  • [29:42] As issues continue to arise in pre-construction condo markets, housing markets, and commercial, Alfonso sees big opportunity in the office space. As refinancing becomes a prohibitive option, there may be opportunity to repurpose and convert to multi-family. In the multi-family space, Alfonso doesn’t expect prices to go down, but creativity to go UP.
  • [34:38] There is no bad real estate markets, just the wrong strategy and tactic. This is a great time to get educated on creative buying strategies!
  • [36:10] The interest rate influencer. Alfonso uses the analogy of pro hockey players and the ever-changing NHL rules to demonstrate how sophisticated investors work within the ever-changing interest rates, and lender rules. Play defense and formulate Plans A through C.
  • [41:05] Alfonso shares his perspective on the US losing reserve currency, and the market overall. The state of the US currency directly affects any currencies that are connected to their monetary system, including Canada. Patrick shares his thoughts on how things have come to where they are.
  • [46:24] Alfonso comments on the inconceivable number that the debt is currently at both in the US and Canada. But what if the monetary system collapses? What happens to all that debt? Alfonso offers his thoughts. There is no crystal ball, but Alfonso encourages getting educated.
  • [49:18] Sometimes we must engage the dark side, to have a well-rounded and pragmatic approach to our financial future. Real estate is a proven asset vehicle and strong investment choice when full diligence is undertaken. There is of course a balance to strike in our investment strategies, and it’s important to stay aware, and sharpen critical thinking skills as we evolve.
  • [54:18] You can’t steal in slow motion. Get in front of the opportunities; get prepared and get educated to make more informed decisions and be ready to act. Alfonso poses an interesting question: if you could jump in a DeLorean, go back to April 2020 and find yourself, what would you say to yourself about what to do in real estate? Your future self would likely have a similar message!
  • [59:25] As fellow educators in the real estate space Alfonso and Patrick reinforce the message: our first job is to get educated, don’t let opportunities pass you by. Learn from other people’s experience and mistakes so you don’t need to repeat them [you will of course make some of your own]. Community, culture, environment – the three pillars of greater opportunity.
  • [62:41] Consumer mindset vs investor mindset. The financial issues at hand can’t be solved with the consumer mindset that has brought many to where they are. A new mindset must be developed to start working toward solutions. Alfonso compares the predictable life of a zoo lion to that of a jungle lion to illustrate the difference between these mindsets.
  • [66:50] Let’s roll on into the rapid fire! Books for a positive impact, favourite quote from Jim Rohn; favourite inspiring song; favourite movie; favourite swear word in English – though he likes to slip in a good Spanish swear word too!
  • [71:05] Alfonso’s gratitude.

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