8 Real Estate Success tips for 2009Reading Time: 7 minutes
It’s that time again! Time to turn the page on another chapter in our lives. Time to look back on all of the things that we did last year, and all too often, the things we SHOULD have done but didn’t get around to. But more importantly, it’s time to make a plan for next year and muster up the resolve to carry it out for all 12 months instead of the all-too-common 1 or 2 month burst of focus and productivity.
As you prepare for 2009, I encourage you to take the following tips into consideration. They have helped me greatly each year as I have navigated my way through the world of real estate and just life in general. It’s my new year’s wish that these tips will have just as big of a positive impact on your life as they have had on mine.
Tip #1: Create a Game Plan – Know what you want, and outline the steps that you must take to get there. Who will be involved? How will you meet them and gain their cooperation? How much time will it take? Where will you get this time? How much will it cost, and where will you get this money? What’s the risk? How will you handle it?
Tip #2: Have an Expert Review Your Plan – The first real estate plan that I created involved me single-handedly buying 100 houses in a year. And it listed out several different marketing strategies that were completely cost ineffective. I had a friend of mine who isn’t even in real estate review the plan, and he said it looked good. How stupid of me. About 8 months into working this over-reaching and misguided plan, I had an expert investor review it. He tore it apart, and together we re-constructed a better plan with more realistic goals (buy 12 houses, not 100) and a better marketing plan. Shortly thereafter, I bought 6 houses, and I actually felt good about my progress. Six out of twelve feels much better than six out of 100!
Tip #3: Don’t Give Up – The life of a new real estate investor is filled with countless highs and lows. You’re on a high when you think you have a property all locked up to purchase, and then you hit a low when it suddenly falls though at closing. Or you’re on a high when you finally do close on that house, but you hit a low when you hit a 3-week dry spell where it feels like you couldn’t get a seller to agree to your price even if you paid double. I hit a personal low when I was $5,500 in debt from fruitless marketing attempts. Oh, and jobless. But I got up early each morning and worked toward my goal of financial freedom. Even though a voice in my head told me to give up, I never did. That’s probably the #1 key to success. Don’t give up. I swear, you can be as dumb as a box of rocks, but if you don’t give up, you’ll eventually succeed.
Tip #4: Take Baby Steps – When you break it all down, big goals, big dreams, and big plans comprise nothing more than a series of miniature action steps or “to do” items. When you dissect the daily life of a successful investor, you’ll find that he or she does 8 to 12 things each day that are real estate related. One item might be “Watch DVD #5 in the new investing course I bought.” Another item might be “Call title company about the name on the warranty deed”. Or “meet inspector at house on Watson Street”. All of these little tasks each day add up to what is or what eventually will be a large and highly profitable real estate investing operation. So don’t toss that “to do” list by the wayside, thinking that your little efforts today don’t mean much. They mean everything.
Tip #5: Become Comfortable with Discomfort – I was actually nervous at the first real estate investing meeting that I attended. I was wondering if I would say something stupid or if I wouldn’t fit in. After all, most of the investors in the room were 40 or 50 years old, and I was 22. But by the third meeting I attended, I became comfortable with the crowd. Had I quit after the first meeting, I would have missed out on the very information that enabled me to buy so many properties. I’ve learned that one of the biggest keys to success is persisting though uncomfortable situations until they eventually become comfortable. This is where true growth occurs.
Tip #6: Do What You Say You’re Going to Do – As a real estate investor, your reputation means everything. They say it’s a small world, but the world of real estate investing is even smaller. So be honest, be courteous, and for heaven’s sake, do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to buy another investor’s house, by golly, you better move mountains … if that’s what it takes … to buy it! Otherwise, your name will eventually become mud, and you’ll have a tough time buying from not only that investor, but just about every other investor in town. Believe me, I can count at least 10 local investors of the top of my head who I will NOT do business with because their word means nothing. And I know several other investors who won’t deal with them either. You DO NOT want to be black listed.
Tip #7: Be on Time – Showing up late is just about one of the most disrespectful things you can do to another real estate investor, or anyone for that matter. It shows them that you don’t value them or their time. And whether you realize it or not, our time is MUCH more valuable than money. Money can be replaced. Time cannot. When someone shows up late for a meeting with me, I instantly throw their credibility in the toilet. And there are countless other investors who feel the same way I do. On the other hand, when an investor shows up on time or early, it makes me want to smile, reach out my hand, and strike a win-win deal. So be on time, and you’re much more likely to create trusted allies who can help you along your path to success.
Tip #8: Eliminate Certain Activities – I’ll wrap up with one more tip that is closely linked to the first tip, which is “Create a Game Plan”. That game plan will involve a series of goals and steps or “to do” items that you must follow to become successful. But what many people don’t seem to realize is that for all of these things to happen, certain activities in your current schedule must be REMOVED. For example, if you’re going to attend two real estate meetings and make five offers per week, what must go? Possibly TV time. Possibly a friendship. Possibly your workout plan. Of course, what has to go is unique to each of us, but you must realize that if you’re an extremely busy person, you’ll have to make some TOUGH sacrifices. But these sacrifices are only for the short run. If you have to quit your exercise program to have enough time for real estate, for example, then so be it. You can resume in 2 years after you’ve achieved financial freedom through real estate. And you’ll have more time to exercise than ever. Early on in real estate, I gave up friendships, exercise, sleep, vacations, and leisure time. How much you give up depends on how quickly you want to become financially independent.
Hope these helped! Feel free to leave comments on the tips that have helped you to succeed in life or real estate. Or let us all know what your goals are for 2009.
Until next time, Happy New Year!
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