5 Minutes with Lena Guirguis

by REP20 Mar 2014

What is your favourite part of your job?
Right now, I’m working with youth, specifically girls’ leadership. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work with the City of Cornwall to get high school-aged girls into leadership programs. I enjoy showing young girls that regardless of who you are or where you’re from, you can actually build something yourself if you truly believe in what you’re doing.
What is your most memorable tenant encounter?
We specialize in purchasing distressed multi-family properties, so the types of tenants we inhering during our purchase are generally do not fit the profile we would want to be renting to. One morning, I get a page on our emergency pager at 3 a.m. I check my voicemail, and I get a message from one of my tenants saying that their floors are incredibly hot.  We then find out that the upstairs tenant had broken into the downstairs unit to turn the microwave off, but he couldn’t find it, so he threw a brick through their TV instead. When the downstairs tenant came home, he realized that the insurance deductible wouldn’t cover the TV, so they broke down their back door and robbed themselves in order to make an insurance claim.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who don’t respect your time. I deal with a lot of professionals, including Realtors and city permit people. When you’re there and you need to get your work done, and these people are sitting there, having a coffee and not even acknowledging the fact that you have an appointment, or they’re late and don’t show up, it’s insane. The same thing will happen with tenants who want to view your properties. They’ll book and confirm an appointment and not show up. The lack of respect for an individual’s time in this industry makes me crazy.
What are you most proud of?
One of the biggest wins for us was the severance of a duplex in Cornwall. It was on a heritage street, so initially we got a bit of resistance from the people living on the street because they didn’t quite understand what we were going to do. Then the city dragged the inspection on, so what should have taken six months ended up taking 18 months. We ended up having to gut the entire property, which ended up costing us $80,000 instead of $30,000. When we finally finished, we actually had the city congratulate us. When we put the property on the market, we almost everyone who lived on that street came and thanked us for cleaning up both the property and street, thus increasing the property values.
What is the last book you read?
Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s about the importance of building relationships and networking in order to be able to have a successful business. The success of your business is based on the relationships you build with people, and the only way to be able to build these relationships is be understanding how you can be of service to people who you want to learning from, growing with and working with.

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