Before you decide whether you should buy single family homes, 2-4 unit suites, larger multi-family, student rental, do rent to own, wholesaling or flipping, the first thing to do is educate yourself, then put yourself in a position to take action.
Julie Broad wrote, in her best selling book, More Than Cash Flow: the real risks & rewards of profitable real estate, “The only thing holding you back is you. The biggest character trait that is evident in successful real estate investors is simply the willingness to take action. In the face of fear, successful investors just take a step. After a big screw up, successful investors get up and keep moving. A successful deal doesn’t stop successful investors either, they keep making things happen. They learn from what works and what doesn’t. Success is elusive to those who sit on their ass. The missing piece is always action.”
Before I become a realtor in 2008, I had a contractor friend of mine sharing with me that his body was breaking down and he had to start “working for himself” and start buying real estate as an investment. I think, at the time, he was speaking about a buy, renovate and flip strategy, but I wasn’t too savvy an investor and really didn’t inquire that much.
Fast forward 7-10 years. In that time, I became a real estate agent, began to shift my focus to investment real estate, did some research on types of properties to invest, bought my first property (a 6-plex in Cobourg, On in 2010), a 2-unit in Oshawa in 2011, another property in Oshawa that I did with my first joint venture partner, and eventually legalized to a 2-unit in 2012, and another joint venture, this time a 9-plex in Oshawa in 2013.
I may not win any race, in terms of the number of properties I add to my portfolio. However, I am plugging away. I am making sure that before I invest in anything, I want it to have a strong likely hood that it will bring me closer to my eventual goals.
Meanwhile, my contractor friend still is seeking his first property. Annually he tells me he is making process. Whether it be attending more real estate courses, improving his website, adding funds, or building a network, he claims he is getting closer. I smile and nod.
Of course, I know that he has entered into the “paralysis by analysis zone”. That was never a place I wanted to be.
Has every decision I made correct? Hell no!!! I made tens of thousands of dollars worth of mistakes. Will I make them again, I hope not. Despite my screw ups, am I further ahead then if I hadn’t purchased the properties at all? Absolutely.
Believe me, there are days when I go to my property, only to discover that the vacating tenant has left half of his furniture behind, or I walk into a vacant apartment am attacked by fleas, or walk into a tenanted apartment only to be attacked by the tenant’s cat (bite and claw marks included) or walk into a unit only to see surface mould on an area you just spent thousands of dollars repairing. The only viable solution is to rip out the work you already did and do a foundation dig. Or try to clean out a vacant apartment with an incredibly foul odour that you want to wear a mark. After days of cleaning, you discover the tenants swept the pet’s urine and feces into the duct work and you have to rip out the lower level ceiling to replace the ducts. Those are the days I question, what the hell am I doing.
It would be so much easier if I did like so many of my Facebook friends do. Went out drinking. Out fishing at the cottage. Played Farmville for 24 hours straight. Easier yes, smarter, nope.
I sometimes need to close my eyes, take a deep breath and remember why I’m doing this. I’m trying to reach my financial goals. I think about my coaching training that reminds me that to get from where I am to where I want to be is not a straight line but one with twists, turns, jagged edges, loop de loops and yes, feces in the duct work.
I’ll finish off this posting with one more quote from Julie Broad’s book. “If you are ready to take action and keep taking action, then you will succeed. Period.”
I can’t say it any better myself.