Garth's experience. Your advantage.

On having a Financial Freedom Plan

I believe one should have a financial freedom plan (or maybe it’s a retirement plan) based on realistic and achievable goals and a timeline within which to achieve it. Let’s call that your Financially Independent Life. By that I mean a life where you are living where you want and doing what you want without a need to trade time for income beyond any work you truly want to do and from which income is derived. I believe this is important because I see the freedom to live one’s life without financial constraints is what allows people to live a life of meaning and value, and of course whatever that might mean to you is as individual as you are as a person. This really isn’t something that we are usually well prepared for by our parents, schools and workplaces. We found ours almost by accident in the coming together of the random events of our lives together and as we interpreted them from how we absorbed the lessons of our youth. And that leaves me fortunate enough to be able to do my best to pass along what of this that I can to others.

On Getting From There to Here

In 1996, after 25 years of very hard work in two careers with the benefit of the guidance of 3 mentors, I sold out of the business I was in and made my big move. And within 18 months, at a point when I thought we were ‘that close’ to reaching our FIL, my business went bust, and with that all the capital we had was gone, which left me feeling like I had completely blown it – that we could never recover from that to any significant level. After all, I was 43 years old. So after a period of woe is me and then a couple of years working for others, in 2002 I started my 3rd career by making a (scary to us) move into owning, developing and operating investment real estate, something I always wanted to do but knew nothing at all about.
There are many ways to invest in real estate, from active to arm-chair and everything in between. And I did them all. We purchased 90 residential properties, renovating most of them. Our strategy was to operate on a 2 to 1 ratio - we flipped 60 properties and kept 30 as long-term rentals. During that time, with partners, we also purchased 7 apartment buildings which we then renovated substantially and converted to condos and sold the individual units. In 2004 my wife joined the effort full-time and in 6 years (2007) we reached our goals, and that was because we worked at it full-time plus, and because we were lucky enough to be in boom times in Alberta. In doing this we transacted well over $25 million in real estate along with another $5 million in property improvements. Now what we did was done a hyper-speed with two people working full-time at it, and it is certainly not what many or indeed most people would do. Normally to build a property portfolio that would sustain one’s cost of living would likely take more like 20-25 years, assuming one approached it as a part-time endeavour, meaning that it would swallow up about as much time as people spend on an active hobby. So it’s really not that big a job, and it is certainly within reach of just about anyone who is prepared to embark on a learning curve that I found to be much less steep that I had envisioned what I got started. There are good groups of investors out there who are all well able to share what they know, and that is just such a good way to grow into something like this.

On My Work with Investors Over the Years

Since my start in real estate back in 2002 I have worked with literally hundreds of property investors in as many roles as you could imagine. I have partnered with, coached, advised, loaned money to, and provided mortgages for in my capacity as Mortgage Broker. I have crafted work-out plans for investors who were about to hit the wall, which sometimes meant connecting them with experts in various fields to address specific needs. In doing all this I learned that investors often bought the properties that did not serve their interests because they didn’t truly understand how to analyze the financial potential of properties, and also that most did not have the business training needed to properly manage their cash-flow. So with those lessons in mind I co-wrote the REMA Real Estate software suite during 2007-2008 to assist investors with analysis of prospective purchases, cash-flow projections and management of their existing properties. Then in 2009 I became a Mortgage Broker specializing in property investors’ needs. That move allowed me to continue my work with investors and actually be paid by the banks for my efforts, which made it a win-win.

Awards and Recognition within the Investment Community

I have been a member of REIN (Real Estate Investment Network) since early 2003 when I first found the group. During that time I have been awarded Top 10 investor awards in 2004, 2005 & 2006. I was the recipient of the Michael Millenaar Memorial Leadership Award in 2005, 2007 and 2013 – the only person to be awarded this honour 3 times. And I currently serve on the REIN Advisory Board.

On My Consulting Work with Investment Property Owners and Small Business Owners

Since 2002 I have provided Consulting Services for Investors and Small Business Owners primarily around business and real estate analysis, budgeting, projecting and planning. For example, I have developed a sophisticated financial analysis for investment property portfolios that allows me to then walk owners through what my analysis unveils in a way that finds most investors uncovering the opportunities to improve the performance of their portfolios, and to make those decisions within the context of their long term life plans. I am always open to a conversation to see if there is a way I can make a meaningful contribution to the performance or direction of your business or real estate investments.


  • "We found the service from Garth and his staff to be beyond exceptional."

    - Jim Osterreicher, 2015

  • "I recommend Garth's services, and refer him often."

    - Robert McLeod, Realtor and Managing Partner, McLeod Project Marketing, 2010

  • "What sets Garth apart from other brokers, is his involvement in your real estate deal."

    - Chris Pryce, Client , 2015

  • "I'm tough to impress having been a real estate lawyer for 35 years. I'm glad to say Garth has impressed me."

    - Barry McGuire, Ritchie Mill Law Office, 2016

  • "Garth's experience and expertise are second only to his integrity."

    - Jim Hassett, Partner, Hassett & Reid LLP, 2010

  • "You've made what has been a nightmare in the past a breeze."

    - Norman Glover, 2013

  • "Garth is not just another mortgage broker."

    - Tony La, Client, 2013

  • "Garth is an experienced knowledgeable kind person who cares for his clients and their overall well being."

    - Linda & Rod Nagata, 2015

  • "I appreciate the amount of time you spent analyzing my mountains of data."

    - Wade Fenner, Edmonton, 2015

  • "Garth is a trustworthy individual who can be relied upon."

    - Thomas Beyer, Properties Group, Majority Owner, President, CEO, 2010

  • "Garth's understanding of financing strategies is far away the most advanced I’ve ever met"

    - David Sanbrand, Client, 2015

    Disclosure: Garth Chapman is a licensed Mortgage Advisor with Jencor Mortgage Corporation in Calgary Alberta. Garth is not a Financial Planner. Roadmap should not be considered as a substitute for what a licensed Financial Planner provides. The information contained in this website should not be construed as personalized investment, financial planning, or tax advice.

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