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Down-to-Earth Canadian Real Estate Success: Believing In Yourself and Achieving Your Goals

In Chai Harjo’s second book, Down-to-Earth CANADIAN Real Estate Success: Believing in Yourself and Achieving Your Goals, the author applies what he’s learned over the course of the last decade in the real estate business, to answering the larger questions that investors (and anyone else) need to be asking. Questions such as, how can I improve not just my investing business, but myself in general? How can I make the types of invaluable connections that will help me throughout the course of my life? How can I truly come to discover the work/life balance that seems to elude so many? 

Harjo takes a good long look at what happens when you have dreams and when you long for the investor’s life style and yet run up against a wall of doubt from family, friends, and co-workers. How do you persevere when so many people are unsure of whether or not you can make a go of it? At the heart of his second book is how to believe in yourself and keep going even in the face of those who would question your capacity to do so. 

Fear is common. It’s a natural human response to the unknown. For those who haven’t been involved in real estate before, or even for those who have, there are moments when fear creeps in and tries to undermine your best efforts. Harjo’s message is to not run from fear but to use it to your advantage and turn it into something productive. 

The world of real estate investing can be tough, but it is manageable. In fact, it is a world in which, with a lot of heart and a lot of spirit, you can succeed. But one needs to think practically and have realistic expectations. Harjo’s down-to earth approach is made evident in Chapter 2, Testing the Real Estate Waters. Where others may be tempted to jump right in, enticed by get-rich-quick schemes, Harjo prefers a more conservative, step-by-step approach. Getting comfortable with the investing landscape is critical and there are a few ways you can do this. For instance, you might start by renting out the finished basement apartment in your own home. Tiptoeing into the water as opposed to diving in head first could mean the difference between success and failure. 

Readers also see the author’s practical perspective on full display in the chapters which tend to focus on life questions as they intersect with his investment journey. In Chapter 10, aptly titled Living Simply, Living Smartly, the author recounts an endearing and yet highly practical exchange with his daughter regarding the cost of rice at a Chinese restaurant versus that of cooking it at home. During their conversation, he manages to deliver an important lesson in economics regarding concepts such as overhead and the cost of doing business. We actually see a lot more of Harjo’s family life on display in this second book as he guides readers into the day-to-day realties of someone who’s genuinely made a go of real estate investing while still maintaining a full-time job. 

Ultimately, the book can be divided into two sections. The first half is a more grounded, hands-on exploration of what it takes to make it in the world of Canadian real estate investing. In the second half, the author draws upon relevant experiences and illustrates how he managed to incorporate them within the context of his life as a whole. 

The hands-on advice in Chapter 3, Gaining Confidence / Growing Your Business, gives readers insights into the importance of treating their rental property endeavor as a de facto business, and reflects on meaningful ways in which one might reinvest back into the company. In Chapter 11, Don’t Forget About You, Harjo holistically explores how extremely important it is to take time out for yourself and why you must invest in yourself by attending seminars, reading books, and participating in other real estate-related activities. 

This concept of self-development is an important theme throughout the second book. Not only does the author demonstrate how he has come to experience growth in terms of knowledge and his own inner well-being in general, but he also taps into his friends for their stories. The inclusion of stories from members of what Harjo deems his “power team,” is critical to the tone and tenor of book two. 

There are, for example, the somewhat humorous, always insightful tales from Harjo’s property manager—also an investor himself. To read his stories, it would seem that this man has seen just about everything in his decades as a landlord. From hidden basement sex rooms, to AWOL military tenants that are somewhat off-balance, the property manager’s stories both inform and entertain. 

Harjo also includes anecdotes from the likes of mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and builders. It is this collection of real-life insights and experiences that authentically reinforce the book’s central message: it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you do, if you have a dream and a plan, and you stick to it, the world of real estate investing is an option for you. 

Always one to look at both sides of the coin, Harjo also presents the experiences of a female tenant. Hers is a hard road, one fraught with difficulties and financial upheaval, and yet it is the truth of her story that shows the importance of empathy in this or any business. Her story is a very compelling one.

In addition to the wealth of information and aspiration in this book, the author wanted to end on a more personal and introspective note. In the last section, Q & A with Chai Harjo, he answers questions ranging from how holding down a full-time job and running a real estate business has directly impacted fatherhood for him, to why he prefers meditating in the mornings. 

Perhaps one of the most consequential things we learn about the author in this text is that he is truly committed to giving back to his community in the form of empowerment and knowledge. He relates stories of sitting down and having coffee with veritable strangers who approach him seeking investing advice—and Harjo is never too busy to offer it. Here we get a glimpse of a person who loves what he does, but may love even more, teaching others so that they too might follow their real estate dreams. 

Down-to-Earth CANADIAN Real Estate Success: Believing in Yourself and Achieving Your Goals, is a guide for those eager to explore the world of Canada-specific investing and is also an inspirational account of those who’ve already invested in Canadian real estate including the practical experiences they’ve gone through. With this second book, Harjo has emerged onto the scene as more than just an IT guy turned landlord. He is someone who has thought through his processes very carefully and who has reflected on the lessons he’s learned through the years, and how he could best put them to use. Finally, he is someone who, more than anything, has a passion for sharing his knowledge, expertise, and views on how life and real estate really do come together in the end. 

Down-to-Earth Canadian Real Estate Success: Believing In Yourself and Achieving Your Goals