Do You Really Want Real Estate Advice

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Can you imagine someone saying to you, “I want your advice and I want you to be brutally honest with me. Of course, if you don’t tell me what I want to hear I’ll assume you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ridiculous right? Yet it happens all the time.

This brings to mind one of my all time favorite movie scenes from A Few Good Men.

Tom Cruise character:  I want the truth!

Jack Nicholson character: You can’t handle the truth!

As a veteran real estate investor I am often approached by newbies who read a book, took a guru course, or heard something from somebody somewhere about a surefire way to make money. They’re bubbling with enthusiasm and excited about the “secret” they just discovered and can’t wait for someone to validate their belief. If I don’t they’ll assume I’m not “in the know.” If they don’t want my opinion why do they ask for it?

Popular Delusions

Most of these wanna-be tycoons are looking for a shortcut. Common denominators seem to be that they have no cash, credit scores barely north of absolute zero, little or no income, nonexistent work ethic, and a need for instant gratification. Real Estate gurus and other hucksters seek out these neophytes, feed these misguided beliefs, and drain as much cash out of them as possible.

Why do people fall for this garbage? Because they want to believe that being wealthy involves a secret of some sort. They are willing to max out credit cards or borrow money to learn the tricks of the trade. In order to save you time, money, and a boatload of trouble I will now reveal the secret to being truly successful in real estate or just about any other venture.  Are you ready? Here it is:

Hard Work

Not what you wanted to hear? Then you can assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about. On the other hand, maybe it’s possible that I learned a thing or two in almost twenty years of real estate investing.

Secret of Success

I’ve come to know a good number of successful real estate investors over the years. They made their money in a wide variety of ways: Residential rentals, rehabs, apartment buildings, commercial development, land, etc. Their area of focus may be different and their methods may vary but they all have some things in common.

Success Traits:

  • Hard work
  • Willing to take risks
  • Don’t follow the herd
  • Avoid being over leveraged
  • Educate themselves about their niche
  • Set goals with action plan
  • Patience

This list is not pulled out of a book; it’s from my personal observations and certainly isn’t all-encompassing. If you want to be successful at something, seek out someone who already is. Do what they do not what some book or guru says.

You can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar. – David H. Sandler (Corporate sales trainer)

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  1. Anyone can do it – but it ain’t easy!

    It takes dedication and intelligent risk taking. About being over-leveraged: A lot of the books (and guru’s) out there insist on steering you toward no-money down deals. Be careful – leverage is a wonderful tool that cuts both ways.

    No-money down deals can be had, but you had better be sure that your business can handle it in the event of (yet another) economic downturn

  2. Stop lying Rich! Anyone can get rich with real estate with no cash and crappy credit in weeks just by getting exposed to a few secrets that this guru or that will teach you for the low price of only $4,999.

    Ok – anyone legit understands that is a load of crap.

    As for your post . . . pure gold, my friend!

  3. Great Post Rich,
    Your success traits list is good advice. The problem is; Every trait on your list is a education in it’s own right, all of which should be learned, before you even attempt to Invest. Josh hit the nail on the head. People don’t want sound advice, they want instant overnight wealth gratification and that’s what most Guru’s bring to the market place. The Real Estate Industry is and always will be made up of Greedy, I could care less if you succeed, Gurus. Someone was trying to pay me a compliment the other day when they called me a Guru! Boy did I cringe!!! They wanted me to put all my 30yrs of knowledge and experiences into a book and sell it online. I said; It would never sell!! Why? Because I don’t have any Secret magic formula on how to Get Rich quick! He said: It doesn’t matter-We’ll make something up! I said Goodbye!!! Thanks again Rich, for your post.

    • Angie Menegay on

      Matt – Such integrity and courage to resist that temptation!!
      Rich – Thanks for the post. I almost bought into those seminars (and systems) a couple times (especially when they have a special of $1999 instead of $4999 if you pay NOW with your credit card :-).

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