Need vs. Want in Real Estate Investing

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Apparently, when American consumers get above 35,000 feet they become impulse buyers. There’s no way else to explain the success of the SkyMall catalog. Fly any of the major U.S. airlines and this little magazine can be found in the seatback pocket in front of you.

The next time you travel try to resist picking this thing up. I dare you.

It’s easier to say no to another potato chip than it is to fight off the urge skim every item in SkyMall’s gadget-laced inventory. As a matter of fact, in a recent unscientific poll, conducted by me, 98% of all air travelers admitted to reading it cover to cover.

This week, I flew to New York to visit my wife’s family. I’ll admit we weren’t even taxiing to the runway yet before I started flipping through the pages. By the time the plane reached cruising altitude I was seriously considering buying the SomaWave Helmet, which, according to the description, melts away stress and tension.

Then there was the Thundershirt for dogs, available in either pink or blue. A must have for sure. This fashionable polo has a profound calming effect when the canine is anxious. And here’s the funny part – I don’t even own a dog.

In life, and business, we make buying decisions everyday. Recently, I got into the habit of asking myself “is this a want, or a need?” If I’m being mostly honest with myself, and the item I want to buy isn’t technology related, then the answer is usually “want”. However, if I’m being completely honest with myself, then the answer is always “want”.

Unless we’re talking about food, water or transportation, there’s truly very little any of us need.

If you’re just starting out in real estate investing distinguish between what you want and what you need from your business. For example, I need my fix and flip operation to generate enough income to pay the bills and feed my family. I need it to generate enough income to fund my daughters’ college tuition and retirement.

If things go well I can take care of all those wants – a home on the golf course, second home on the water and the financial freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want.

Oh, and the genuine Navy Seal watch from the SkyMall catalog – I want that too.

About Author

Marty (G+) is the Chief Financial Officer for Rising Sun Capital Group, LLC, a real estate investment firm based in Gilbert, AZ. His firm purchases homes at the courthouse steps and public REO auctions. They have two exit strategies, either fix and flip or seller financing.


  1. Great article, needs versus wants are huge factors to consider and keep in mind, especially for first time buyers. Love your intro, I think SkyMall is successful because they are the only interesting thing to look at when you are stuck in a small space for hours at a time.

  2. Hi Marry!

    Its been really interesting to differ b/w want and need and I think its mostly depends upon the person and with that you can judge is whatever he going to buy is want for him or need e.g. I want to buy a car that would be my need as to reach out with family somewhere when needed that is not there but if I am already having it and still wants to buy that would be my want.

  3. Hilarious! This is so true. The Sky Mall magazine has so many awesome gadgets that intrigue me every time I flip through its pages.
    And yes, I believe delaying gratification (wants) to fulfill all of your needs first is a true principle that if followed will eventually lead to greater happiness and financial freedom.

  4. Not to damper your flying experience, but I’ve read many times the reason so many people get sick after air travel:
    1. Recycled air (not much we can do about that – do not open the window or doors while in flight)
    2. Ice in the drinks. ALWAYS ask for no ice
    3. Those magazines. People put nasty stuff in those seat pockets. (oh, yeah, the fold down trays are NASTY, too!)

    Now, to tie this back to real estate – always research before buying.

    Thanks for the article.

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