Oh, the joys of Thanksgiving! Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free This wonderful holiday is full of delicious cranberry sauce, traveling to see family, eating lots turkey & pie and spending time reconnecting with friends. We love the football games, time off and, of course, the shopping deals on Black Friday! There are a lot of reasons I love Thanksgiving, but probably what I love most about this holiday is the meaning it represents. It is all about being thankful and grateful. Of course, it is easy to be grateful for the “good” things going on in our lives – our family, our friends, our kids, our health, food to nourish ourselves, a roof over our heads, and money in our bank accounts. However, it is not as easy to be grateful and appreciative for the “perceived” setbacks that happen in our lives – especially in our business lives. If you are a real estate investor, you have experienced some type of setback, frustration, or disappointing situation during the course of this year. Whether you are a newbie just getting started or a seasoned investor with years of experience and properties under your belt, there are always “perceived” setbacks that we need to deal with and move through as an investor. Related: A 3 Step Exercise in Gratitude to Refocus Your Mind for the Holidays Just to be clear – I am using the word “perceived” because it really is all about perception. We choose the meaning we place on everything that happens to us. We choose to refer to a situation as “good” or “bad.” We can choose to grow and learn from a setback, or we can choose to get discouraged and become resigned. It is up to us. As 2014 comes to a close and we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it’s Liz (Matt’s wife) back this week to share three “perceived” setbacks that happened in our real estate business that I am grateful for. 3 Setbacks I’m Thankful for This Holiday Season 1. A Fire at One of Our Properties During the spring time, we experienced our first fire at one of our single family home rentals. In the 10 years we have owned properties, we have never had a fire before. I am sure many of you would agree: there is a first for everything! Well, this was certainly a learning experience for us. We actually found out that our property had a fire by an insurance claims adjuster on a Sunday morning. You would think our tenant would be the first person to call us. Nope! Those claims adjusters are very aggressive in these types of situations since they are looking for business. We were really grateful the tenant was safe and not harmed. The rest of that Sunday was spent dealing with our insurance company, the restoration specialists who were hired to board up/protect the property and the claims adjusters who were trying to get in on the “action.” Here is why I am grateful for this fire: this single family home was part of an older portfolio of ours. This single family home was always meant to be sold instead of rented. However, due to changes in the local market, we decided a few years ago to rent the property out of necessity. After the dust settled with the insurance company, we were approached by a real estate investor to sell this property to them, which ended up being great for us. The fire at this property and the sale of this single family home has caused us to look at our portfolio differently and assess the long-term strategy with each buy and hold we own. As they say, good can come from any situation. 2. Vacancy I have never met a landlord who likes vacancy. As some of you may know, we shared in last week’s video blog five strategies to fill vacancies. This is a “hot” topic for us right now. Over the course of the last couple of months, we have more vacancy in some of our buildings than typical for a variety of reasons. Vacancy = no tenants = no rent. Obviously, we don’t like this equation too much! However, as a result of these vacancies, we have been revamping our “marketing and leasing” process and activities. We are exploring new and creative ways to market our units. We are also tightening up our “process” on leasing units. It is completely unacceptable to allow properties to linger too long vacant on the market. This whole process has taught us the importance of managing this process closer, finding ways to be on the cutting edge, and doing our homework. Just because you are a landlord and have been a real estate investor for many years, it does not mean you are shielded from vacancy. Just like marketing any product, you have to be ahead of competitors, know your market, and do what others are not willing to do. As a result of beginning to revamp this area of property management, we have been able to close 4 new leases in the last week. I am also excited to share on a future blog some of the creative marketing techniques we are trying out. Again, good can come from any disappointing situation. You just have to look for it! 3. Ineffective Partnerships Whether it has been on previous blog posts or during the BiggerPockets Podcast interview with Josh and Brandon, my husband Matt and I have made it very clear that when we began, we got involved in too many different facets of real estate investing. Related: The Power of Gratitude: How to Boost Profits & Spread Joy With Thank You Notes During this time of “exploration,” we got into a project with a partner who let’s just say has not worked out too well. Without getting into a bunch of boring detail, I’ll simply let you know that the project has been at a standstill, and we are in the process of developing an exit strategy for all involved. I am grateful for this happening because it has reminded me the importance of being incredibly careful with choosing a partner. If you are the type of person who “trusts slowly,” then this should be easy for you. However, if you are the kind of person who “trusts quickly,” then it is best to slow down and take baby steps before jumping in to a becoming a 50/50 partner in a project with someone. If you are considering partnering with someone, start small and take baby steps — just like you would if you were considering marrying someone! In closing, I would love to hear from you on what “perceived” setbacks you are most grateful for. Again, it is all about perception. Don’t forget – we humans are meaning-making machines. We have the choice to make anything that happens to us to mean something positive or negative. Lastly, I am grateful for everyone who has read this blog of any of the blogs we have been posting for the last several months. It is an honor to be part of your real estate investing adventures! Investors: What items, either positive or negative, are you thankful for this holiday season? Don’t forget to leave a comment below!