A couple’s journey to becoming a millionaire on YouTube

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Forced by the desperate choices the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon many people, a Colchester couple went through an HGTV episode that turned them from no income to real estate millionaires.

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Stephanie and Brian Aspinall risked the equity of their primary residence to buy and renovate four cottages in the Colchester area as Airbnb rentals. In just over a year, they have turned their sweat capital into a tidy $ 1 million profit on this property, along with the rental income and proceeds from the sale of their main home.

“Our whole world was changed by COVID on March 13, 2020,” said Brian Aspinall.

“I was a keynote speaker at an IT conference in Grand Rapids when they told us, ‘You better go home. They’re talking about closing the border. ‘

“Within a few days we lost 18 months of future business and no longer had to have an income and had to go to CERB.

“It was scary figuring out how to survive.”

Stephanie and Brian Aspinall can be seen Monday August 9, 2021 at their waterfront home that they are currently renovating.
Stephanie and Brian Aspinall can be seen Monday August 9, 2021 at their waterfront home that they are currently renovating. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor star

Aspinall said that as business and education pivoting, opportunities were re-emerging in IT, but back then there was no way to know that scenario or the schedule.

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“It took six to eight months, of mostly silence, before these opportunities really arose,” said Aspinall. “We couldn’t wait until the beginning of 2021.”

After purchasing a property with potential as Airbnb in late 2019, the Aspinalls decided to use the equity in their primary residence to get funding for the renovation. They had chosen the area because of the lack of accommodation to service a growing wine region and because it was easily accessible to sustain it.

It was the ultimate bet on yourself and your resilience.

“The only income we could prove to the bank was what we’d saved at our teachers’ retirement home for 15 years,” said 40-year-old Brian Aspinall, who had left elementary school with his 41-year-old wife, Jobs at the Chatham-Kent Schools Board to found her IT consultancy Code Breakers Inc. in 2016.

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“But it felt good to think about wielding a hammer to build something after we’d both spent all of our time in careers that weren’t physical.”

With some building experience from his high school and University of Windsor days, Aspinall and Stephanie began their adventure into the unknown.

They decided to create a video blog of the entire trip that can be viewed on YouTube.mraspinall.com.

“Working and spending so much time together was something new for us,” said Brian Aspinall. “We learned over time. Every project got more complicated.

“We used each property to finance the next. With the third and fourth houses, the bank didn’t care that we didn’t have a paycheck because of the rental income and the wealth we had built up. “

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However, the road to becoming a millionaire has been riddled with challenges, from material shortages to headaches over tenants breaking rules that prohibit large parties and local government regulations.

The couple cashed in on their chips in May 2021 when their Code Breakers business flourished again and lectures returned across North America.

“We’d have to set up a property management company to run it,” said Aspinall. “Washing laundry for five households with just one washer and dryer is not easy.”

However, the couple have no regrets about their life changing adventure. They plan to continue their Airbnb Renos in the more touristy, southern climates like Mexico in the future.

“We’d do it all again,” said Aspinall, who said the couple are now building their dream home on Lake Erie in Colchester.

“The secret for us was not to offer wars. We’re letting the market cool down a bit. “

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