Two Vancouver real estate advisors are taking the world by storm with their curated Cross Border Program. Amy Leong and Ally Ballam are top agents, ranking amongst the top 10 teams in Canada, the USA, and Mexico for sales volume. Licensed with one of the largest global real estate brokerages, Engel & Volkers, with over 10,000 agents in the Americas alone, this was no easy feat.
Innovative and Creative Business Expansion with a Focus on Financial Freedom
The ladies have become a force for innovation and creative business expansion with a laser beam focus on financial freedom and passive style investing. They often get asked how they can sell over 100+ homes year, and still travel. Leong and Ballam say they don’t have an off switch and are lucky to have a multi-lingual dream team behind them. The two regularly speak, coach, and mentor women in investing, life, and business. With a $7+ million dollar real estate portfolio between the two of them, Women on Topp wanted to know what this inspirational duo have planned for the year ahead.
Expanding the Cross Border Program for 2023
“For 2023, our team is focused on expanding our cross-border program so we can give people a dose of sunshine and plentiful cash flow” Leong says. Both women have been passionate about incorporating travel breaks into their rigorous work schedules, which came to a halt during the pandemic. Instead of slowing down in 2020, the two used this downtime to really evaluate where their business was going, how their personal portfolios were performing, where they forecasted real estate growth, and how they were going to travel moving forward. Fast forward two short years, Leong and Ballam now own multiple properties abroad in both the USA and Mexico. Their cross-border program allows Canadians to access amazing partnerships with renowned tax lawyers, top accountants, key mortgage brokers for financing options with the lowest fees, and short-term furnished rental management.
How it All Started
“It started because we personally wanted the snow bird life and a piece of early retirement. We wanted more cash flow, we wanted places we could hop on a plane and visit in less than 5 hours, and have those properties pay for themselves when we aren’t there” Ballam says. “We kept going out further and further to find investment properties that could do the numbers we needed to get our clients ahead, and what started as a 30 min drive, became an hour and a half ferry ride, and then a 4 hour drive to find cashflow. Amy and I had been going to Scottsdale, Arizona every year for mini getaways with friends and family, and we saw how affordable properties were compared to Vancouver prices. A detached home on the West Side of Vancouver is well over $2.5 million dollars compared to $750,000 USD in Arizona with a pool that cashflows even at current higher interest rates.” And in an expensive city like Vancouver where a newer 1 bedroom condo can start at one million dollars, it can prove very difficult to make even the slightest of cashflow – meaning the rent will not cover expenses such as your mortgage payment, strata fees, insurance, property management or taxes.
2021 and 2022 Success
Ballam excitedly shares, “In 2021, Amy and I bought a 3 bedroom house with a pool for $755,000 in Scottsdale and we are netting over $2500 USD per month over and above our expenses and mortgage. It’s amazing and we want to share that with people who might be struggling to find cashflow in pricey neighbourhoods like Vancouver or Toronto.”
What is impressive for their 2023 goals, Team Amy & Ally are fully embracing snow birding year-round, and opening inside strategic storefronts in both Scottsdale, Arizona and Los Cabos, Mexico with Engel & Volkers. With Ballam spearheading Arizona, they are officially launching February 24th 2023 with their close friends, family, and clients. Leong alongside powerhouse team member, Nuvola Capitanio, will launch their program in Los Cabos in Fall 2023. The team couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come and have already closed over $10+ million down South in 2022. It has taken the two over nine years of constant work to get to a travel-infused business life, and you can feel their passion for their next global venture. “Our clients look to us for sound investments that will help them retire earlier and retire wealthier no matter what job, background, or age. Opening in key areas that are economically strong in so many ways will help us achieve those goals, but also gives our clients an amazing and inspirational new lifestyle, and more happiness” Leong emphasizes.
So, how are your personal US investments performing currently?
“Amy and I wanted to test the market for a full year and be the guinea pigs so we could tell our clients the real results and numbers.” They couldn’t be happier with their first property grossing over $85,000 USD in 2021. Ballam stresses how amazing that is, as most people are not making this type of yearly income with their 9-5 pm jobs. Not only does one reap the monetary benefits by accommodating short-term, vacation-style rentals but being able to visit the property with friends and family is so rewarding in itself. Essentially, you are buying yourself another income by putting down the initial down payment of roughly 20-30% of the purchase price. Furthermore, you are carrying one of the strongest currencies in the world, so depending on conversion and deeper conversations with your accountant, you can also capitalize on this exchange when moving funds back and forth.
Can you explain what the term ‘snowbird’ means?
‘Snow birding’ is nothing new. It has been a popular choice for people to avoid nasty winter months and spend time in sunnier places. Typically, the snowbird term would describe a retired, older, and richer demographic but the ladies have found a way to bring this enhanced lifestyle to all ages with an expert level of knowledge and creative financing. The most important thing they want you to know is: It is possible, just like investing in your own back yard, but do not make costly mistakes with your hard earned money. After purchasing a few properties in Scottsdale, Arizona Leong and Ballam realized how little other agents knew about helping Canadians specifically. From tax implications to how to properly structure the purchase, to financing options, and contract clauses, thousands of dollars are on the line. The ladies know this all too well, kissing almost $40,000 goodbye due to agents not understanding that a Canadian needs special treatment. However, they are relieved they were the guinea pigs instead of their valued clientele.
Cross Border Program
The result? Their carefully curated cross-border program to help Canadians invest in revenue properties in the US and Mexico from start to finish, in A-rated areas for ROI and cash flow. “We have clients that want to visit their properties a lot, and some who don’t want to come at all. The way we have set up our program is hands-off and fully managed if that is what our client prefers. Our designer helps to fully furnish the property and we always have boots on the ground so you can buy from afar without worrying.” After a year of wild weather, politics, and record-high inflation, our team wants to be there to set you up for success.
One’s work-life balance is so important for personal discovery, deeper family and couple connections, and when you can use real estate as the vehicle to fund these special experiences and get closer to financial freedom, that is a beautiful way to live. Besides, who doesn’t want to make money and sip on a margarita poolside?
For more information about Team Amy & Ally, follow @amyamzz & @allyballam or visit https://www.amyandally.com/ investors/cross-border-investing
Cheers to women investing cross border, and taking control of their financial futures!