Three Less-Talked-About Characteristics for Successful Real Estate Investing

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As I watch the election results come in from around the country, it’s hard not to contemplate all of the hard work each of the candidates invested to get to this point. The thought of organizing a campaign of that magnitude while doing interviews, preparing for debates, managing campaign personnel, strategizing, etc. seems overwhelming for a single candidate. Most people simply don’t have what it takes to ever legitimately run for elected office. However, certain individuals have the skill sets, temperament and personality to endeavor to a nationally elected position.

I think the same holds true for real estate investors. There are certain character traits that are inherent in most real estate investors that enable them to be successful in what they aspire to.  Just last week I was having lunch with an old college roommate who said something that I thought was quite profound. As much as he was struggling to figure out what his next career move was going to be, he said he knew he wasn’t cut out to run his own business. While he is a very intelligent, hard-working individual, he knew his natural skill set simply doesn’t lend itself to being a business owner.

I think the same could be said about some people when it comes to real estate investing. Some folks simply don’t have the character traits that make a great investor.

Now when most people think about the kinds of adjectives that describe a successful investor, they think of words like creative, tenacious, self-starter, salesman, negotiator, persistent, and I would definitely agree with them.  These are definitely the type of qualities in an individual that will help them be good real estate investors. However, there are three character traits that are rarely discussed, but I would consider extremely valuable as a real estate investor:

The Three Essential Character Traits of Successful Real Estate Investors

Intuition – Knowing where to buy, what to buy and who to sell to is paramount for any real estate investor. While any smart investor will study existing data carefully before developing an investing strategy, there is certainly an element of intuition involved with any real estate decision.  Do I accept this offer or wait for another higher one? Do I buy in this neighborhood or do I think it will decline over the next several years?

Making these types of buying and selling decisions can be a lot like playing poker. You never have all of the facts, but you make the best decision based on the information available as well as what your gut is telling you.

AdaptabilityI wrote a blog last week about the speed at which the real estate industry changes. Any investor that wants to stay profitable and relevant needs to continually stay abreast of changing trends and adapt business models to stay current. Having the ability and foresight to make these types of strategic changes midstream is what sets successful investors apart from the rest.

Patience-  While patience is rarely regarded as an important quality in real estate investing circles, I think it is one of the most important ones. Whether it be waiting to buy the right deal or waiting to get the right price on a sale, learning to be patient with your investments is of utmost importance. Too many investors have purchased bad properties because they weren’t willing to wait for the right ones.

Investing in real estate is not rocket science. It does not even take a college education to be good at it. Some folks are naturally talented while other develop their investing skills over time. Either way, knowing your strengths and weaknesses as an investor is critical to improving your chances at prospering in this business.

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About Author

Ken Corsini G+ is the founder of Georgia Residential Partners, LLC - a real estate investing firm based in Atlanta, Ga focused on creating turn-key investments for investors all over the country. He's been investing in real estate since 2005 with hundreds of real estate transactions.

9 Comments

  1. These three traits can help not only real estate investors and professionals, but businesspeople of any type. I personally believe that the intuition part is really more of a learned trait, as the more knowledgeable you become, the better your intuition will be on what constitutes a good deal, good neighborhood, etc. What are your thoughts on that Ken?

    • McKellar Newsom on

      Hi Ken,
      I couldn’t agree more with your 3 important but less talked about characteristics for investors.

      I also agree with Josh that intuition improves with experience.

      I always look at the numbers and facts but never, ever buy a property if my intuition says no. I often walk into a house and walk back out because of a gut feeling about the place. I also use my gut whenever a house keeps nagging at me. For some reason, the property must deserve another look, consideration or rebid. Thanks for your blog. mck

    • Ken Corsini

      I would agree with you … you definitely develop your intuition about real estate (or any business) the more you experience it. There is not a month that goes by in my business where I don’t stop and consider what I learned from a particular experience. All of these small “lessons” help shape and develop my intuition on future circumstances, people, properties, etc.

      • I agree intuition can be learned. I’m a new investor just starting out in the business and learning so much and I can tell you with full confidence that two years ago I would have been the guy saying “I don’t have the right stuff for real estate investing.” With all of the education I’ve been picking up I’m feeling more and more confident each day. Its also the same right now with running a business. I have no training in the field and have very little comfort in the idea of being a business owner, but I feel confident that I can discover ways to mitigate those feelings and increase my aptitude for business.

        • Daniel McSweeney on

          I couldn’t help but think, when I read Steve’s post, that he’d be “at sea” if it weren’t for the wealth of information on the web – literally at the tip of the fingers, at that!

  2. Of the three mentioned above, I think patience should have a higher priority. People are always looking for the “get rich quick plan” when they should be plodding along patiently like the tortoise in the story of the tortoise and the hare. They do not have the patience to forgo the consumer spending today to get to a point where they can buy whatever they want. Once you reach the point where you can literally buy whatever you want – you sometimes realize you no longer want to own that big fancy car, house, suit, shoes, watch, etc.

    Although not a trait – a good exit plan when buying helps the end game as well.

  3. Ken –

    I also agree with you completely on these three traits. And like McKellar, even if the house looks great on paper, there are just those times you get a nagging feeling telling you not to buy. Your intuition absolutely gets better with experience.

    I believe that the one thing sets “great” businesses apart from “good” businesses is the speed of implementation. When you have a great idea, don’t sit on it forever. Run with it and get it implemented. If after a time it isn’t working as planned, then “adapability” comes into play. Be ready to change and go a different direction. Information changes so rapidly today you have to be willing to move faster.

  4. Great post. Adaptability is certainly huge especially as the markets are now shifting in real time day by day. Being able to buy and sell with the market is huge and it amazes me how unadaptable some buyers came be. Great reminders here!

  5. I often think in terms of the “3 P’s” when I think about the traits it takes to succeed at anything. A successful person must have Persistence, Persaverance, and Patience. I think especially in the recent difficult real estate market this is especially true.

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