When I sat down to talk with Mitch Parker, the man behind Toronto’s MP Private Capital, I warned him that I was completely out of my depth when it came to matters of finance and investment. He quickly put me at ease, explaining that I was in the majority.
“It’s not something that’s taught early in school. No one really teaches you personal finance, which is kind of crazy when you think about it, because you need it all your life.”
In the end, I needn’t have worried; Mitch Parker is an engaging speaker and is more than happy to take the time to explain the both the broad concepts of real estate development and investment as well as the subtleties of what MP Private Capital does to set itself apart. He predicted I’d catch on pretty quickly.
“We work with investors who either aren’t happy with the returns that they’re making or want to get into real estate investments but don’t want to be hands on. We line them up with different real estate-backed investment opportunities that are very safe, very secure, but that will give them a better return than what they’re getting now.”
Mitch finds that when he takes the time to educate the potential investor – rather than simply sell a %-return – the relationship starts from a place of trust and everyone wins. Right from the first meeting, the client isn’t bombarded with charts and graphs that most dismiss as gibberish anyway.
I ask him what kind of investment opportunities MP Private Capital is involved with. “It can be strictly residential, a condo building, for example. But we’ve been involved in projects where the developer has built commercial plazas…they vary widely.”
Mitch goes on to explain that while the banks will finance a portion of any development – primarily the construction costs – completing a large real estate project requires a number of other expenses, and this is where private investors can get involved. Clearing land, sales offices, marketing budgets – it costs money to build, so Mitch and his team provide investors with the opportunity to help finance the project.
The clouds parted, and as Mitch predicted, I started to put the pieces together. So now that I understood what Mitch and MP Private Capital do, I asked how he got started in the industry.
“I finished school in Ottawa and was looking for a job right away. In the interim, I had a friend working construction renovations who needed help. I said, ‘why not?’, it’ll put a little bit of money in my pocket. I ended up loving it – super-fun, super-creative – but the only question was whether I wanted to be doing it when I was 55. I installed a hardwood floor for three days at 21 and I could only imagine what it would be like at 55.”
It was around this time that all the Buy and Flip real estate shows were popping up on television. Mitch spotted the opportunity right away.
“I’ve got access to a crew of guys that can do the work, I have the financial expertise…I could definitely do this.”
He ended up buying a rental unit and fixing it up for students. Right away, Mitch fell in love with real estate. He could see the potential for serious wealth and began to expand. One rental unit became multiple rental properties, and while his focus soon switched to the hands-off real estate investment that MP Private Capital specializes in, Mitch still owns that first student house.
“My parents still live in Ottawa. I use the rental property as an excuse to see my family, and my family as an excuse to see the rental propety.”
Today, Mitch Parker maintains an extensive list of contacts that are always on the lookout for the right development. His clients particularly appreciate his hands-off investment offerings, and the ease with which they’re able to get involved in a project. Starting at $25K, investments can be initialized with cash, RRSP’s, RESP’s, tax-free savings, or locked in retirement savings.
But while it does seem simple, Mitch does make it clear that it’s not ‘easy money’.
“Whether it’s rental properties, investing in emerging areas like Hamilton, or being involved in the development of commercial properties, one of the most important things to remember is you have to look long-term. If you really want to make good returns and have a comfortable retirement, you can’t expect to find that quick investment that’s going to make you a ton of money. They just don’t exist. Instead, get into these opportunities that offer 8-12% per year and you’re going to consistently, safely and conservatively build a nice nest egg.”
For someone thinking about the future, the idea of investing in real estate does make for an attractive option. And I realized that I actually understood the information that Mitch was telling me.
“I went to school for finance. I did my Canadian Securities course. I did all my courses to become a certified financial planner and one of the things that you learn from all of that is that a lot of investments are complicated – but I really don’t think that they have to be.”
Speaking to Mitch Parker about real estate investment opportunities is not only uncomplicated, it’s exciting. And that makes for a business we can get behind.
MP Private Capital
MP Private Capitalis a Toronto-based company that links investors looking for safe and stable real estate opportunities in the Canadian market with top-tier developers across the country. Visit their website for more information.
Mitch also participated in our 20 Questions feature in September.