I have been contemplating for the past few days on why we decided to invest in real estate. There were so many other areas of business that either Brad or I could have focused on (and that we tried). But, real estate has been a love of ours for over a decade. Here are a few of the traits that I think a successful real estate investor must develop:
Learn how to delegate properly. This is something that we struggled with for many years. Some of it was a lack of money, so to make up for that lack of money, we used our own time. Now, however, we do more and more delegating to other people. It’s not that we can’t do everything; we have and certainly could again. It’s that a person only has so many hours in a day, and so much space in their brain. By hiring out tasks, it frees us to focus on the things that only we can do, and makes all of our efforts more productive as a result.
Invest in yourself. The most successful people I know take time to become better people. I remember many nights when I’d be up late painting listening to Tony Robbins or Dave Ramsey books on cd when I was 20 years old. Now I listen to podcasts in the car or read in the evenings before bed. No one else is more invested in your future success than you are, and you cannot rely on traditional schooling to give you the tools to make you successful.
Be strategic, and set goals. I have always been very good about setting goals for myself. I have yearly goals as well as longer term goals. Do I always accomplish every single goal? Not necessarily. For example, my goal last year was to learn to snowboard and go snowboarding 5 times. I did learn to snowboard, but I only was able to go 4 times. So did I fail in meeting my goal? I guess technically yes, but I still counted it as a win, as I never would have gone snowboarding at all without the goal. Sometimes goals can help push us to do something that we never would have done otherwise.
Be proud of what you do. This is kind of an old school value, but I still believe that it holds true. Brad and I are very proud of the properties we own. We may buy a place that needs work, but we put the work in to make it a nice place to live for someone. The term “slumlord” is not applicable to us, as we provide nice clean places for our tenants to live in. We are also always upgrading our properties, and adding more value for current and future tenants. Take what you do seriously.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes. I am a perfectionist at heart, so this is something that has been very difficult for me. I think the educational system also instills a fear of mistakes that can carry on into your adult life if you are not conscious of it. It is okay to make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, that probably means that you are not actually doing anything, and you are just sitting there being paralyzed by fear. It’s okay to analyze opportunities, but at a certain point you have to move forward and act. Use the mistakes and become a problem solver, which is a valuable skill that many people are lacking.
Get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. I can’t remember where I learned this from, but I try to remind myself of this often. That your success in life is judged by the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have. Just think about this for a moment. If you think about choices you have made in your past, many can be traced back to the uncomfortable conversation you did or did not have.
What else does it take to be a successful investor?