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Building Your Real Estate Team: What I Learned From Finding A Live-In Nanny

Hello to all you real estate investors and real estate professionals,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families this past weekend.

Robin and I were at the Rock Star Inner Circle Member Event this past Saturday learning about real estate investing with Fundrise and another 400 + hardcore real estate investors who attended like those from Douglas County CO. That’s what I like about real estate. There is just so much to learn and a lot of the time, it can be pretty interesting. Before I first started in this industry, like many people, I had a lot of questions I didn’t know the answers to. For example, I wanted to know what is cap rate? After doing some research and speaking to specialists, I can say that I feel confident in more than just the basics of the real estate industry, but I am always learning.

The event was amazing and informative as usual.

It was also announced that I will be hosting some free real estate accounting and taxation classes for Rock Star Inner Circle members very soon! Stay tuned for those dates and more details!

We started our week with a lot of excitement as we were preparing for Robin’s nanny to arrive on Tuesday from halfway across the globe. We made the decision to take over our friend’s nanny from overseas a few months back.

All of us were cautiously excited. After all, we had never lived with anyone before! We didn’t know if she would even like us. Our agent advised us not to notify the nanny ahead of time so she didn’t know she would be working for a different employer!

As Tuesday came, I was at a real estate taxation seminar with another 350 accounting professionals getting the latest tips on real estate taxation in the morning (I will publish these materials in a different post). Erwin and Robin were given the responsibility to pick up Carolyn, the nanny, at the airport.

She had no idea that we were taking over from our friend before her arrival. She was shocked to see Erwin and Robin. She insisted on talking to her cousin, who’s also a live-in nanny in Toronto, before coming home with us.

Upon completion of the morning seminar, I rushed over to the airport to meet up with them hoping to make Carolyn feel better. We had lunch together and like most people, Carolyn immediately adored Robin. But she was still scared.

We finally got a hold of her cousin. She spoke to Carolyn briefly and advised her to leave us immediately because Burlington was too far from her and she believed that she could find Carolyn another employer closer to Toronto. We did not expect this at all! I somehow managed to persuade Carolyn to come to our house, check out our place and stay until the end of the week, hoping that she would change her mind. At this point, I really did think we’d have to find an au pair from somewhere else but I remained hopeful, positive thinking reaps positive rewards.

We showed Carolyn our lovely home and our friendly neighborhood. None of which seemed to impress her. She was waiting to talk to her cousin again later that night. I guess Erwin and I didn’t have the warm and fuzzy feeling that we were expecting to give off. I was devastated because we planned our whole schedule around Carolyn’s arrival. And yet, she didn’t want to stay with us! There is no ‘plan B’!

Being someone who wants to have everything done yesterday, I immediately started researching for a new nanny who was already in Canada to replace Carolyn. Little did we know that there was high demand for live-in nannies in GTA. People are willing to pay a premium to hire someone immediately. Some people were offering 80% premiums just to get a line-in nanny as soon as possible. I was getting worried and started emailing everyone that had a posting online. After twenty emails and a few phone calls later, we were able to secure a nanny interview the next afternoon at our house.

We had a candid conversation with Carolyn the next morning. She expressed that Burlington was too far away from her cousin and she preferred to live closer to her cousin. There was no way of convincing her at this point. She was leaving us without even giving it a try.

It’s well within her right to choose who she wanted to work for. It was just sad for us that it didn’t work out with her. We took another morning off to take her to her cousin.

We interviewed Sharmein that same afternoon. She arrived with her aunt, checked out the neighborhood, toured around the house and her potential bedroom, met Robin and sat down with us to have a discussion. Erwin and I found Sharmein to be bubbly and easy going.

Within a few minutes after she had left, Erwin and I made the decision to hire her! We knew that the market for live-in nannies is tough and we needed someone right away. We like her because of her easygoing personality. She adores Robin and couldn’t stop talking about how cute she was, so Sharmein started this Tuesday.

What went wrong? What kind of lessons can we learn from this stressful situation?

  1. We listened to the wrong advisor. The original agent that we worked with advised us not to notify Carolyn in advance. The agent repeatedly expressed that she didn’t have any experience dealing with situations whereby the original employer decided not to take on the nanny. We ignored that comment and have now learned to always be open and honest with the people that you work with. If she chose not to work with us, we would have had a lot more time to prepare for a Plan B.

Make sure you find an informed and professional real estate accountant for advice! Many accountants or bookkeepers can do your tax returns, only few can do the tax planning, and even fewer specialize in the real estate industry.

  1. We didn’t have a Plan B. It didn’t even dawn on me that I needed a Plan B because we put so much reliance on one option.

Be aware of the risks and benefits of any tax planning or strategies you are getting yourself into. Ask as many questions as possible. Prepare for a Plan B.

  1. We didn’t know the market well enough. We didn’t even know that live-in nannies are in high demand.

Whenever we decide to make any new purchases, real estate or any other products, make sure you do your research, check your references with anyone on your team, meet with them and see if they can provide any valued tax planning opportunities to your situation.

Luckily enough, Sharmein, our new nanny, has now started and life can continue on as planned. It had been a stressful week but we finally got the right person on our team. Have you selected the right real estate accountant on your team yet?

Until next time, your real estate tax advisor,