Fact: Most Real Estate Investors Aren’t Aware Of 30-70% Of Their ‘Menu’ Options

by | BiggerPockets.com

Of all the Purposeful Plans I’ve engineered and executed, a significant chunk were with folks who’d come to me with a pretty nice portfolio. They’d done well, many enviably so. Or did they? Remember when we were kids and argued about who made the best ‘burger? When you added in homemade, the debates would get intense. Then it happened. You had your first really good steak. It was cooked perfectly. For a month you couldn’t make yourself think of hamburgers, cuz all your mind could picture was another plate-sized steak with your name on it. Right up ’til that day, you didn’t know steaks were even on your menu. I vaguely remember wondering why it took so long for Mom ‘n Dad to let me in on the secret. 🙂

The last 10 years or so I’ve done who knows how many after-the-fact analyses in order to learn what I’d of done differently if they’d called me sooner, rather than later. One of my clients called ’em post transaction autopsies. The modifications I suggested often would’ve  produced far better results. In most instances the investor has been easily able to perceive, in hindsight, that the changes woulda been reasonably doable. Sometimes it’s merely utilizing different techniques to get to the same Point B. Much of the time, however, it’s real value is in demonstrating to the investor their options menu had pages of which they were unaware. This opens up a new world to the typical investor, even when they’re very experienced.

BawldGuy Axiom: It’s not the answers to the questions we have that hinder us from ultimate real estate investment success. It’s almost always the answers to the questions we never knew to ask.

If you’re unaware of the existence of three different investment strategies, their benefits aren’t available to ya. Duh. That’s not the whole story though, not by a long shot. It’s one thing to learn three previously unknown strategies. It’s quite another to discover their power when combined synergistically. At the restaurant how would you feel if you’d been ordering from the same list of various ‘burgers for years, only to learn there were two other rooms where folks were ordering from a far more robust — and productive — menu?

Long term real estate investors have pages on their currently available menus they’ve never seen, cuz they’ve never been told they exist. We can’t execute a strategy(s) about which we know nothing. I know, Captain Obvious rides again. But on a serious note, this is how do-it-yourselfers apparently do so amazingly well, then arrive at retirement having followed a Plan that generated less than half the income reasonably possible. What makes it even more galling to some is that many of the strategies were known to them. They just didn’t have the expertise or experience to use them at the proper time, or in concert with appropriate additional strategies. Truth is, most of ’em never find out what could have been.

The real life difference.

I can tell you now, and with complete confidence that there are investors out there, maybe you included, who possess twice the capital/equity as the other guy, but to no avail. Due to the other guy’s thicker menu — and his ability to ‘order’ from it — he’ll hit retirement with as much income as you, very possibly more. A LOT more. The investor with the biggest menu and most options wins. It’s as simple as that. Outside of blind luck, which most of us have seen or experienced, the menu/options factor is the key to predicting your ultimate retirement income — or lack thereof, as Grandma used to say.

The difference can literally be six figures annually. Most investors simply don’t know what’s on their menu cuz they’ve never been able to see all the missing pages. Ordering that juicy, perfectly prepared filet mignon off your two page menu is literally impossible if it’s located on page three. How many years are ya gonna be building what will end up being a hamburger retirement, when steak had been on your menu from Day 1? Don’t build your retirement based on an incomplete menu. ‘Burgers are a nice change of pace, but I wouldn’t want a steady diet of ’em at retirement.

The power contained in the capacity to utilize all the options on all the pages on your own menu is there for you to harness.

Photo: Gabriel Amadeus

About Author

Jeff Brown

Licensed since 1969, broker/owner since 1977. Extensively trained and experienced in tax deferred exchanges, and long term retirement planning.


  1. Jeff Brown

    I know where they’re hiding, Diane. But, I’m not the Lone Ranger by any stretch. There are many with my experience, knowledge, and expertise. We’re the ones who, when you hear or read what we say, you begin to understand what’s been missing, and what’s actually possible.

  2. For some simply getting to know one approach that works for them and then repeating it over and over is what it takes to reach a “good enough” retirement amount. By getting too many menu choices you can spread yourself too thin and spin your wheels without accomplishing anything. What works for one may be a total loss to another.

    • Jeff Brown

      Hey Dale — You bring up a great point. My experience is that your suggestion works, ’til the day it doesn’t. In the typical 20-40 years people apply their ‘one approach’, the assumption is the market will respond the same way.

      “Too many menu choices?” The only time the menu has too many choices is when the person making those choice doesn’t have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to use them wisely. Investors with the most options AND the ability to take advantage of them are the ones ending up with steak retirements.

  3. If it’s true that most investors aren’t aware of most of their options, then it’s also true that they are no more aware of them after reading this. How about enlightening us at to what we are missing out on, or at least providing some examples? I had high hopes for this article, but then it ended so abruptly without any real helpful information.

  4. Not to be negative but I thought the whole point of blogging is to fill the page with words leading to no useful conclusion. Most times the obvious is stated in a long winded manner.

    I find this to be true in most cases. For example Robert Kiyosaki has made an $80 million fortune telling us the obvious; if you piss all your money away as most Americans do, you will never have a net worth of more then your next paycheck.

  5. So Jeff, how much of a “significant” portfolio does one need to come to you? Are there any/ many “menu options” available for an older(around 60)investor wannabe who is “unexpectedly” retired and needs income NOW!, not 10-15 years down the road? Can we senior citizens realistically obtain a 30 yr loan? Or, are we doomed to eat hamburger for the rest of my lives Thanks! I’ve been reading your posts and I appreciate your no nonsense approach and attitude!

    • Jeff Brown

      Hey RM — Anyone can call me, even without a portfolio. I’m not one of those who insist on a certain level of investment experience and/or success. I just love doin’ what I do. Gimme a call, RM. Or, better yet, go to my blog, click the ‘Contact BawldGuy’ button, and send me an email. We’ll put our heads together and figure something out.

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