It happened again last night. It happens frequently.

“Ron, what do you do for work?”

Even my mother hasn’t quite got that figured out.

But last night it came from a new acquaintance at the curling rink. A part of curling culture is to join the team you just played against in the upper lounge for a drink and a little “get to know you.”

“I do rent-2-own real estate,” is my standard answer.

Which extracts the puzzled look.

“Huh?” What’s that?

So I explain that I help people who can afford a mortgage but can’t yet qualify for one, but who are within shouting distance of that,  to get into a home now while cleaning up the issues that are currently preventing them from doing so, so that they can get a mortgage at the end of the term and become a homeowner—with our help, of course.

I explain that the three main barriers holding people back are too little down payment, a less-than-acceptable credit file, or insufficient work history (often associated with being self-employed.) There are certainly a variety of other issues, too, but these are the big three.

And I explain that, in most cases, those issues can be rectified in a two- or three-year program. And that all of them can be solved simultaneously.

I usually explain, too (lest they think I’m rich and am going to buy everyone a round), about needing investors for every deal because, when we buy a home for our clients, since we’re not living in it ourselves, we need 20% down payment. I explain that I’m not rich enough to do that multiple times over and that, even if I was, the banks wouldn’t give me that many mortgages.

Which, like the person I was talking to last night, occasionally perks the interest of someone looking to invest in real estate—which, of course, leads to another conversation about the benefits and safe-guards for the investor.

“Wow, that sounds like a great idea,” they say. “How did you get into that? Did you invent this yourself?

(You see, rent 2 own isn’t a well-known concept—though governments are trying to popularize it by dabbling in it. To those of us who have been in the industry for awhile, they’re simply demonstrating their total ignorance of the industry. Maybe they should just stay ignorant!)

I explain that I didn’t make this up, that I’ve been in it for twelve-and-a-half years after taking a training course from a mentor who’d already done many deals and written a manual on the subject.

I explain that the industry has been around for a long time but is unregulated. So, we have a professional association to hold us accountable for high ethical standards and professional operation, to ensure we put our clients into successful scenarios, and that we have a coaching program to get them qualified, and also to separate us from those who might not have the best interests of their clients at heart.

Unfortunately, I also have to explain that, in the current marketplace in the Fraser Valley, we’re pretty much limited to condos and townhouses, since our model works best at lower price points, but that we can still do houses in outlying areas like Merritt, Logan Lake, Kamloops, Salmon Arm and the North Okanagan. And maybe even up along Highway 97 to Prince George.

Yet, they’re impressed with the model. One, to whom I explained it, remarked, “So this is really a social program. You’re sort of a social worker.”

I hadn’t heard that assessment before. But I had to agree that they weren’t far off.

But, since you’re receiving this post because you’ve already visited our website, all this is likely not new to you, like it might be to my curling colleagues and others.

What may be new to you (though I’ve mentioned it before) is that, with just a slight tweak, we can also help some homeowners facing foreclosure on their property to avoid that foreclosure, save their integrity, their credit hit, and keep them from losing the home they’ve enjoyed for “X” years.

With all the mortgage renewals coming due this year and next at much higher interest rates than the rock bottom ones of the covid era, there may be many who could use our assistance. (Please see my previous post on this topic.)

Do you know of anyone facing that situation? You could save them by referring them to us.

And, in rare circumstances and with another little tweak, we might even be able to help a homeowner desperate to sell their home.

What do you do for work? Is it easy to explain? (Hey, I’ve run into so many high-tech and research-type workers whose jobs are also almost unexplainable, at least to me.)

Does it broaden the world of the one who wants to learn?

Even that is a good contribution to their world.

At least, that’s how I see it . .  .