Jessi Johnson and Kyle Green are both self-made millionaires, nationally recognized and well decorated in their fields, and now best-selling authors. We sat down with them to discuss their new book, the real estate scene in Vancouver, and of course, IMBY.
Despite their staggering accomplishments and proven success in their careers, both Jessi and Kyle instantly established themselves as down-to-earth. In fact, Kyle proves that quite literally when he answers our first question of “Who are you?”
“Wow starting off with the heavy existential questions.” Kyle starts, tongue-in-cheek “Well, I’m a carbon-based life form. Male. 31 years of age…” We all share an easy laugh, then he jumps into his impressive career trajectory even from a young age. After starting his career in banking at 19 he quickly made the shift to mortgage brokering, and started his own business even more quickly after that at just 21 years old. Now Kyle runs his own brokerage in addition to a team of 9 people that work for him.
Jessi has had quite the entrepreneurial journey himself, beginning with a humble startup. “I started my first business at the age of 6. I wanted a pair of shoes, so I went into my parents fridge and harvested all the unopened products. Cheese, eggs, an unopened carton of milk, and went door to door selling my parent’s groceries to my neighbours. Mom shut down the operation pretty quick.” Fast forward to today and Jessi is nearly 14 years strong in the real estate game, 6 of those spent owning his own brokerage, and most recently taking on the realtor side of things selling luxury homes.
Why Invest in Real Estate?
With the exception of Jessi’s (very) brief stint in food distribution, both he and Kyle knew they wanted to get involved in real estate from a young age. When Jessi was growing up he took note of all his family friends that seemed to be somewhat successful, and they all seemed to be involved in real estate in some way. It became clear to him early on that there was a strong correlation between being involved in real estate and being a success.
Kyle also cracked the code of finding success through real estate early on in his banking career when he quickly learned the power of leverage. “If I put a 20% down payment on a $500,000.00 mortgage, and the market appreciates just 5% after my first year, my net worth from that purchase would grow to $525,000.00.” He goes on to explain that doesn’t even include the average 7.5% rate of return the borrower could receive in rent from a tenant. “How often are people getting returns like this in their stock portfolio? Look at the numbers. The returns are good, and it’s a solid asset you can see and evaluate and know what you’re getting. [Plus] there aren’t any Enron type crises [in real estate].” For Kyle there will always be stocks, and they will always be unpredictable, but with real estate, “You own dirt. They’re not making any more of that.”
Jessi and Kyle point out that between the low rates on safe bonds or RRSPs and the volatility of the stock market, real estate is all that remains when it comes to finding a sure bet with high returns. “Look at Trump and his tariffs,” Kyle points out, “stocks are all over the map! Rates of return are unpredictable.”
Although the numbers always add up for Kyle and Jessi when it comes to choosing real estate over other investment ventures, they’re careful to point out that success in real estate and, well, anything really, comes at the application of focus and hard work. That’s one of the tenants they swear by in their new book Rockstar Real Estate Investing
Rock and Roll (and Real Estate)
Already a best-seller on Amazon, “Rockstar Real Estate Investing: Expert Advice for Making Your First Million” promises that making serious income in real estate is safer and easier than you think. “A lot of the premise of the book is that if you really are focused, you will be able to do things you never thought were possible,” says Jessi. “If you don’t have money, that’s okay! There are ways around that. Same with if you can’t qualify for certain mortgages. You can hit your goal eventually if you have enough ambition.”
“We really wanted to focus on people that are new to investing and say a) change your mindset [to be open to the possibility that anything is achievable] and b) here is how you invest.” Both Jessi and Kyle are huge advocates of the idea that with enough perseverance, anything is possible. But that said, they’re not blind to the mounting challenges facing potential new investors in the Vancouver real estate market.
Kyle sites government intervention of new legislation, taxes, and mortgage rules and rates as hurdles of potential investors, “Qualifying is a lot harder these days. It’s hard to put just 20% down and have everything cover itself with prices the way they are.”
IMBY Makes Qualifying Easy
This is why Jessi and Kyle both see IMBY as an approachable, and educational platform for those looking to begin investing in real estate. “What they’re doing really well is their digital platform for investing,” says Jessi. You can invest in a property “without going through the hurdles of taking out a mortgage. What do you buy? Where do you buy? [IMBY answers] those questions and makes investing in real estate easier. Crowdsourcing for real estate. I think that’s pretty cool if you ask me”
“In general [new investors] need to be educated on why and where they should invest in real estate. [With IMBY] new investors don’t have to go out and find a property themselves they don’t have to do all of that work.” Kyle also appreciates that IMBY removes the financial barrier of entry into real estate investment. “They can enter into the investment world with a small piece of a really big buy. They don’t have to buy a million dollar home on their own [in order to invest in real estate].”
“You can put your money in and walk away. All the micro managing, the research. You don’t have to do that. You can just invest and walk away.”
This idea that you can dip your toe into real estate as a first time investor is a whole new ball game. IMBY taking the guesswork out of where to invest, and removing the large price tags for minimum investments, opens up the world of cash-flow investing to almost anyone with steady fixed income or savings. This means that with no barrier to entry into the real estate investment market via IMBY, almost anyone can action Kyle’s succinct and final piece of advice: “Don’t wait to invest in real estate. Invest in real estate and wait.”