1613 – Implications of Investing in the U.S. with Snowbird Investor’s Roel Sarmago

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Manager of CoachRoel Consulting LLC, Roel Sarmago.

Coach Roel from Snowbird Investor recently shared insights beneficial for Canadians and foreign nationals venturing into real estate, especially in Florida. He emphasized the importance of proper asset structure to reduce tax implications and secure assets, suggesting avoidance of personal name use for property ownership.

He recommends starting with short-term rentals, a mutually beneficial arrangement for newcomers. He urges investors to explore beyond typical tourist spots, eyeing potential growth markets.

Regarding education, Coach Roel provides resources like free courses and webinars. Lastly, he encourages embracing competition, viewing it as a sign of high demand. His insights are tailored to aid investors in making well-informed decisions.


About Roel Sarmago:

Roel Sarmago, a distinguished Financial Life Coach, was once trapped in the grueling world of financial consulting, experiencing high financial success and recognition but enduring extreme work pressures. Struggling with a profound imbalance in his work-life dynamics, he found himself on the brink of burnout at 36.

Questioning his life trajectory, he envisioned a future inconsistent with his current path. He yearned for a different living where he could fulfill personal dreams, like spending three months in the Philippines, and enjoy quality time with his future children. His search for a solution birthed a financial escape plan, a transformative tool supported by his wife that liberated him from his day “prison.”

Following his departure from corporate life, Roel cultivated a new career as a Financial Life Coach. Merging his rich background in investment and CFP knowledge with his passion for life coaching, he guides others toward achieving their life goals, underpinned by solid financial plans.


About CoachRoel Consulting LLC:

CoachRoel Consulting LLC empowers entrepreneurs to achieve personal and financial growth. The firm focuses on helping clients overcome barriers hindering their potential or progress. Its primary aim is to guide entrepreneurs to the next level in their professional journey, assisting them in making strategic and beneficial decisions that can lead to significant breakthroughs in their business.

Under the guidance of Roel, an experienced financial life coach, the firm offers personalized strategies and support, ensuring clients are equipped with the tools necessary for success and the motivation and direction to utilize them effectively. Whether entrepreneurs feel stuck or ready to upscale their operations, Coach Roel is committed to driving their advancement.


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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out CoachRoel Consulting LLC website at

Check out CoachRoel Consulting LLC on LinkedIn at

Check out Roel Sarmago on LinkedIn at

Check out CoachRoel Consulting LLC on Facebook at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Coach Roel. Coach, you are actually, I'm going to guess about ten miles from me at most. Yeah, probably a funny coincidence. Connected through the interwebs. And you're just down the road, literally. It's kind of funny. It's like, where are you based? Orlando. I'm in Orlando.

Josh (00:01:19) - We're in Orlando. East Orlando. Whoa. Yeah. So cool. Isn't that funny? Yeah. Yeah. Your website, by the way, Snowbird Investor. Listen, my family and I moved down here about 16 years ago, very intentionally from the Midwest. And, you know, there's, you know, there's some negatives for sure in Florida, but there's a lot of positives. But that seems to be kind of your main topic. But Coach. Well, I'll let you kind of explain what you do with Snowbird Investor.

Roel (00:01:54) - Well, basically I focus currently my specialty because I'm also from Canada originally, as we were discussing a few moments ago, about six years ago, my wife and I relocated down here. And as a real estate investor, as an entrepreneur, we acquired kitchen remodeling business. But then as the social webs go, you know, Internet people were asking, how did we do it? What are we doing? It's that's great. And so with the Snowbird Investor Program basically focuses on helping Canadians launch a Florida property, investing business, Canadians and other foreign nationals.

Roel (00:02:30) - That's the big challenge is the cross-border stuff, because you're literally investing in a foreign country when you're coming outside of the US.

Josh (00:02:36) - Yeah. So what are the complications for even Canadians?

Roel (00:02:41) - It's mostly the remoteness, the tax laws, just managing properties from a distance. A lot of people, like when they start off investing in real estate, they like to invest in their backyard. And so that's comfortable. They're used to that. But being from the Midwest, I'm sure you can relate is having the Four Seasons in the wintertime. Sometimes you dream about sun, sand and palm trees and it's like, Oh, it would be great if I had a place there. I had an excuse to go there, write it off as a business expense legitimately, and be able to enjoy that lifestyle. So when you're coming from outside the US, you're literally coming from a foreign country. So tax laws are different and all these steps are also just a little bit different for people.

Josh (00:03:29) - Yeah. And so what are the rules on? So when you mentioned like taxes, for example, what are some of the big implications that you should be aware of, particularly if you are a Canadian and you want to invest in US real estate?

Roel (00:03:47) - The big one is double taxation and navigating the US Canada tax treaty.

Roel (00:03:53) - So a lot of times people will just put a property in their personal name and for one thing, it's kind of risky for liability wise to have something in your especially your rental property and your personal name. But then also there's withholding tax. And if you end up selling the property and you have to navigate the IRS rules and then see which ones jive with the Canadian equivalent, which is the CRA Canada Revenue Agency. So that's really the big challenge. On top of that being, again, managing the property from a distance. What if something breaks down? You need a plumber, you need, you know, those kinds of things. Renovations done. Those are the big challenges.

Josh (00:04:31) - Yeah. So all that said, let's talk generally and then we'll get into Florida. So generally, even with these extra complications, why invest in Florida or why invest in the United States over kind of investing in your hometown?

Roel (00:04:50) - For me. Number one reason for me and my wife was the whether we are Filipino by heritage and we're so like to sometimes say we're tropical species, we're not built for shoveling snow.

Roel (00:05:02) - And so that was the big thing for us, number one. But dollars wise, Florida, I'll give you an example. In the province of Ontario, where Toronto is where I grew up, it takes 8 to 10 months to legally evict a tenant, 8 to 10 months in the state of Florida. As you probably know, it takes anywhere from 27 to 32 days, not months, days to legally evict a tenant. So there's so much more business friendly aspects to investing and doing business in the state of Florida versus Canada in general and other foreign countries. You don't know how good you have it here. Hey, as Americans, you guys got it. This is like the height of capitalism, right, in modern times.

Josh (00:05:48) - Yeah. And so speaking specifically about Florida you know, aside from the beaches and palm trees and so forth. Are there, I mean, is it logistically just, you know, other than, you know, again, again theme parks not not talking about theme parks and beaches, but, you know, are there any just market conditions or, you know, maybe there's some, you know, logistical or tax things that make Florida attractive.

Roel (00:06:20) - Oh, tons. Tons. And, you know, maybe one of the things you might be alluding to, there's no state income taxes. A lot of the southern Sunbelt states have no state income taxes, whereas in Canada, for example, we've got and for other states in the union, you've got the state level taxes and then you've got federal taxes. In Canada, you've got provincial taxes and you've got federal taxes. But the short form, I would say the shorthand is follow the jobs, the Florida's population is booming. I believe it was in December of 2022 when the Census Bureau said it was actually the fastest growing state percentage wise out of all 50 states, which is a huge accomplishment because what is it? I think Florida is the third most populous state, as it were, already. So percentage wise, translate that to absolute numbers. That's something like 8000 people per week are moving to the state of Florida and that trend is continuing.

Josh (00:07:17) - Yeah. You know, compared to, you know, and I'll just kind of share my own story, you know.

Josh (00:07:22) - Markets are what markets are and there's always going to be fluctuations. But I can tell you that, you know, we bought our home near the bottom of the market. Was he 15, 16 years ago? You know, when we eventually sell, I mean, it's that's a really big nest egg for assuming we downsize, which I anticipate we would. So I mean there's yeah, definitely favorable market conditions overall, like, you know, are there any hot spots within the state because you know, it's a big state. There are a lot of people here, lot of properties. How do we narrow it down? Do we look at the panhandle? Do we look at I-4 corridor down south?

Roel (00:08:07) - Oh, there's lots. There's lots. I don't even know where to begin. So where we're actually, I do know where to begin. What I usually tell people is figure out where do you where do you see yourself? Where would you enjoy being the most? Like, do you like Central Florida? Being in proximity to Miami is, what, 3.5 hours? Jacksonville is about two hours.

Roel (00:08:28) - You can get down to southwest Florida. So central Florida is nice because of the theme parks as well and the access to the other places. But then also there's basically look for the major cities like the Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa. And what I recommend is looking at the secondary and tertiary markets, the places that are a little less known, but they would benefit from the growth of the main metro area. So there's the bright line train system. Actually, that's probably a really good one to hang your head on is when that is completed, look for the stations along that line and the cities that were that are going to benefit from having those stations in those areas. So it goes from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, I believe, Boca. Then it goes right up the Atlantic coast to past Melbourne and Cocoa, and then they hang a left towards Orlando. And right now they're trying to figure out how they're going to get from Orlando to Tampa. Right. So along those corridor, that's going to be those are going to be growth spots wherever there's a station.

Josh (00:09:34) - So when you're talking about buying a property as an investment, it sounds like you're talking a lot about making that your primary residence or are you talking about. No, you're going to you know, yeah, you can live there during the winters and you can rent it out during the summer or short term vacation rental or, you know, are you looking at these properties as a long term rental or not? Not necessarily flipping. I'm trying to understand the investment side of this. You've talked a lot about lifestyle, which I'm sure the Florida Tourism Department appreciates. It is. It's a great place.

Roel (00:10:07) - Yeah, I recommend that people start off if they have no plan yet for Florida expanding to into Florida. I recommend that the first property be just a good enough property, something to establish a foothold. Again, you want to have the enjoyment, the excuse to be able to come down and enjoy the lifestyle part. But dollars and cents wise, I recommend short term rental one you can use for yourself when you're down here.

Roel (00:10:30) - Rent out to others when you're not essentially having it pay for itself. Ideally having other people effectively pay for your trips down to Florida. Once you have that foothold in Florida, then the world's your oyster. Like we have students who are now flipping houses in Ohio and Pennsylvania. They're also looking to expand westward along the Sun Belt. So the world's literally your oyster once you have that established. I'm talking to considering a foreigner coming down to invest and establish a foothold in the US beyond that first property like we've done, we acquired a kitchen remodeling business, started coaching consulting business. So each individual, the entrepreneurs, the founders that may be listening to this can then think, okay, well what's going to be my next move? They don't have to follow exactly what I've done, but if I could help people just launch, just get that foothold and then they could expand to whatever their heart's desire is after that.

Josh (00:11:28) - Yeah. So coach role. So how do you work with your students? Like what do you obviously you're, you're a big proponent of this but how do you and it sounds like you're working primarily with folks outside of the United States to kind of get them situated and get them, you know, help them find kind of an ideal property that's going to fit their lifestyle.

Josh (00:11:52) - And again, it's going to be a cash positive property. Am I on the right track there?

Roel (00:11:57) - Yes, Yes, definitely. That's really version 1.0 because that's where I came from, being a Canadian, having to had to navigate the whole system by trial and error and hitting dead ends and stuff. So that's my version 1.0. But then in a future or even very near future, potentially, if your audience is based in the US, then similarly, it's kind of challenging to set up a property business in a different state. So that's still also remote. One of the really big aspects is that I like to stress is the tax and asset protection, right? And I really don't recommend having properties in a personal name. So the way that you can structure it, even as an American, you can actually reduce your taxes to near next to zero, if not zero. Right, by having the proper structures. And so the way I help people is they start off with it and hopefully it can meet them where they're at.

Roel (00:12:54) - If they're brand spanking new beginners, then start off with like one of the free resources on my website. Or if they're intermediate to advanced, then we'd love to be able to have a mutual discovery call.

Josh (00:13:06) - Yeah, your website is Snowbird Investor. When somebody goes there, what would you recommend they do?

Roel (00:13:16) - I recommend that they click on the Free Florida Investing 101 video course, assuming that's their brand spanking you and just want to kind of get to know how things work, get the lay of the land. That's a good place I think to start. I do I still do live free webinars probably every two weeks or so at the time of this recording. I'll have one later on today, but that's also at Snowbird Investor Slash free Hyphen webinar.

Josh (00:13:44) - And I would assume include in there. I think if I'm thinking about, you know, maybe making an investment into a property that I can live part time, obviously one of my biggest concerns is, okay, that sounds great, but is there a lot of competition? Am I going to sit on? This is going to be really, really hard to find short term, you know, vacationers, rentals, you know, just renters is how challenging is that going to be, you know, and is that generally through Airbnb or there are other systems or platforms you recommend?

Roel (00:14:17) - Oh, yes, in central Florida.

Roel (00:14:19) - It's kind of like the Mecca for short term vacation rentals for the entire United States. As you know, it's the yeah, as you know, it's the most visited state in the entire in the entire United States. And but that's good. So there is a lot of competition but there's also a lot of people there's a reason why there's a lot of competition because here's where a lot of people are looking for short term vacation rentals, especially near the theme parks.

Josh (00:14:47) - Yeah. Awesome. All right, Coach Roel, you and your website Snowbird investor coach role, thank you so much for joining us.

Roel (00:14:55) - Thank you, Josh.

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