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How to Become Notoriously Big Chapter VII: Ladies & Gentlemen – Introducing Big Poppa Real Estate

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

“I love it when they call me Big Poppa

“Get those hands in the air, if your bank don’t care (‘bout chu)

“I love it when they call me Big Poppa

“Real estate genie, stand up so you can see me”

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

The year: 2012

It’s December 12, 2012 and it’s Jamil’s birthday.

And he was celebrating it by moving from LA to Phoenix, AZ.

Whirlwind, that’s the best word to describe everything that had happened in these past 3 years.

More than that, really - the past 5 years to be honest.

There was a horrific economic and housing market crash. He’d moved from Canada to the US and had gone from being at the top of the real estate investing game to the drop bottom before becoming a stand-up comic.

A journey has many paths, he realized, because this road had branches upon branches upon branches.

And honestly, Jamil was almost giddy to see where this new one would lead.

It was his birthday and Jamil had packed up his car to a U-Haul and – with his lovely fiancée by his side – he was making his way to the Grand Canyon State.


The change of location was simple – Arizona, as a state, was far cheaper to live in than Los Angeles.

Yes, it wouldn’t have the beautiful beach views he’d gotten used to or the popular tourist attractions and from what he heard, the summers were going to be killer, but it was a far more affordable option for him and his future bride.

More importantly, his sister and her family were in Phoenix.

And Jamil was already starting to see a bounce back in terms of investment in Arizona than he ever would in LA.

While he had struggled as a comic, Rhi-Rhi’s assertions that his previous pursuits in real estate weren’t for naught. Her brother had a good, solid plan on his hands and the only reason it didn’t work out was that he hadn’t really built a full scope plan for it.

So she had talked him through what she was doing with her investments and together, the two started doing deals.

Small ones, enough to help get Jamil’s confidence back, but it also helped to deliver some needed funds to the younger Damji.

As he delved back into the real estate game, the more he remembered how much he actually enjoyed it.

Win a Day with the Big Poppa!

Like he had done in Canada, Rhi-Rhi looked at distressed houses and sellers, those who needed to sell their homes but didn’t meet the “requirements” to do so.

The houses that needed a lot of work put into them, but sellers who didn’t have the money to do so before selling.

As Jamil got back into real estate, he finally understood what his role was and what it had been back when he first started – he was wholesaling.

Now, dear reader, when Jamil came to this realization, wholesaling as a concept was not one in very high regard.

Many a ‘wholesaler’ traded in fraudulent practices, some leftover from the previous recession and some who were just out to make a quick buck no matter who they had to step on to get that buck.

But we’ll come back to that.

For now, Jamil was moving for a second time, to the sunny city of Phoenix and life was going to take off from there.


Phoenix, Arizona, USA

The year: 2015

Rahima Blaza knew great potential when she saw it.

Even as a child growing up in Calgary, she had a keen sense to know when something had an opportunity to grow into something fabulous.

And that was certainly the way she felt about her brother, Jamil.

In their youth, she could see her brother was going to grow up to be something special; she didn’t know what that would be, but she knew it would be something.

Their parents wanted him to be a doctor and if that was the path he went, she was okay with it, but she didn’t really see her little brother as a doctor.

So she wasn’t surprised when he announced the same thing to their Mama and Papa.

For her, organization and a fine eye for detail was something she enjoyed immensely, so her decision to go into project management wasn’t a terrible surprise to anyone.

Rhi-Rhi’s talent at management was what initially lead her into the real estate market, becoming a licensed listing agent while still in Canada.

Both she and Jamil had entered their prospective real estate careers at a time when the housing markets were high.

Only to see those markets plummet during 2008.

Like most people and businesses that dealt with real estate, Rhi-Rhi and the rest of the family found themselves bankrupt and out of the beautiful homes they had been residing in.

In the aftermath, she found herself, her husband, her daughter, her parents, and her brother all living together in a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment in Calgary, all of them trying to figure out what went wrong and how to get out from where they were now.

Ultimately, both Mama and Papa were able to find a place, while she and her own small family and her brother decided to move to a new environment.

The United States.

While Jamil settled himself in Los Angeles, California, Rhi-Rhi and her family found themselves in the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix, Arizona.

Phoenix was certainly different than Calgary, the hotter temperatures for sure were something to grow accustomed to (no one ever does, not even the natives).

And not wanting to dismiss the brother she adored, Rhi-Rhi made sure Jamil was able to survive in the high-rent landscape of LA. She knew he was trying his hand at comedy, if just to get some income going.

But Rhi-Rhi knew Jamil’s path actually lay where he had been pushed off – real estate.

As an investor herself, she knew that the Phoenix market was actually coming back - slowly but surely - after the crash and there was a lot of opportunity for both buyers and sellers.

And she knew this was a perfect time for her brother to get back to what he clearly enjoyed doing.

But it wasn’t going to be easy.

Because the biggest obstacle her brother had to face was himself.


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