Why I Love to Drive, but Not for Dollars…

by | BiggerPockets.com

Don’t get me wrong, I think driving for dollars is a great way to find deals.

I do it myself all the time when I am out driving around, which I do a lot.  Technically I don’t go out driving neighborhoods just to find vacant or dilapidated houses.  I am driving around to complete one of my hundred tasks I have to do for my real estate business.  I could be inspecting a new REO listing, looking a potential purchase for a flip or rental, or inspecting one of my current listings or projects.   One of the reasons I love being in the real estate industry is I have the freedom to get out of the office.   In fact I spend A LOT of time on the road, so It is a good thing I love driving.

Driving has many benefits that I want to talk about besides driving for dollars.  It may not be the best thing for the environment, but hopefully we are all driving electric cars or hybrids.  One reason I love driving is I love cars.  I have three cars right now and I plan to collect them like I do rental properties.  A great thing about the real estate industry is the income you can earn, which allows me to have an Audi S4, Porsche 928 and supercharged Mustang.  If you have not seen my big goals on the forum; I also want to buy a Lamborghini Diablo in 2014.  I like big goals!

What Do You Listen to in the Car?

The point of this article is to describe the personal improvement aspects of driving.  I spend hours and hours in my car, by myself, and it is my choice how I spend that time.  Some people may consider it a waste if a day to drive four hours to do inspections on homes.  I have to do them as part of my job as a HUD listing broker and I don’t think it is a waste, if you use that time in the car wisely.

I used to listen to songs on the radio whenever I drove or listen to my personal music from my phone.  I started to realize I was listening to the same songs over and over and it became rather boring. Then I started listening to talk radio; mostly local sports shows.  I am a huge sports fan and enjoyed listening to sports for a while until I noticed how negative it all was.  As a sports fan, you aren’t really happy unless your team wins the championship.  With most major sports there are over 30 pro teams in each league.  The chances of your team winning the championship are not very good.  I realized most of the sports talk shows were full of negative people complaining about how bad their teams are or how they got screwed by the refs.  I decided to stop listening to talk radio last year and I haven’t turned it back on since then.

When I started my personal improvement kick last year I started listening to audio CDs in my car.  I listened to hours and hours of self help talk from Jack Canfield, Harv Eker, Tony Robbins, Steve Covey, Zig Ziglar and may more.  I started listening to some podcasts (great way to learn), I even listened to fellow blogger Ben Leybovich tell me about investing.  The great thing about listening to something productive when I drove was I was now using my time to complete my tasks for work and learning at the same time.  I was leveraging my time much like I leverage my rental properties.

In the last week I have something new I have started.  I have started listening to classical music in the car (not opera, I don’t like words).  I heard someone once say in one of the hundreds of CDs I listened to that listening to classical music was great for you.  They said it helps you relax, focus and feel good about yourself.  They were right!

How Classical Music Helps Me Focus

When I listen to classical music in the car it really does help me focus and put me in a good mood.   When I am listening to a song, I tend to get scatter brained and my mind is all over the place.  When I listen to talk radio I get annoyed at the hosts or callers.  When I listen to audio CDs I am focused on learning and thinking about what the CDs are talking about.   With classical music there are no words to distract me.  I am left to do only a couple things with my thoughts.

  • Look at the scenery or road, which actually can be very relaxing as well
  • Think about my day and what needs done
  • Think about my previous days and what I could have done better
  • Think about specific tasks or ideas that I need to work on

I think one of the biggest issues I have and that most people have is focusing their mind on specific tasks for prolonged periods of time.  There is so much going on in our world that we are easily distracted by our email, phone, internet, music etc.  There is very little time for us to think about the big picture or even small ideas without distraction.  When I am in my car listening to non-obtrusive classical music my mind is free to wander where it may or focus on specific ideas.   I think both scenarios are equally beneficial to help us succeed.

In the last week since I started listening to classical music in my car I have come up with an incredible amount of new ideas for my business.  I now see my car as a brainstorming session rather than a boring means to an end.

Cool Ideas I Have Thought of

Here are just a few things that I have come up with lately in my car;

1.  I mentioned my goal to buy a Diablo in 2014.  It’s a huge goal, but something I have wanted since I was kid.  In BP forums I talked about my goals for 2014 and one of them was buying the Diablo.  I had been thinking of ways to use the Diablo to market my real estate business so it could be a tax write off and generate business.  I thought of using the Diablo to park in front of open houses to gain traffic and attention.  Well as I was driving today I thought of parking the Daiblo of the busiest cross roads to the open houses with directional open house signs on it.  What better way is there to draw open house traffic!

2.  One of my other goals is to sell 300 homes in 2014 as a real estate agent.  I have a team of agents so it would not be all me selling 300 homes.  To get to that goal we have to change our marketing and branding.  I thought of a new website and a way to advertise my team while driving as well.

3.  I want to fix and flip 15 homes in 2014 and by 6 more rentals.  To do that I have to find a lot more great deals.  I have used driving to help me think of improved ways to track our direct marketing and new ways to try to buy foreclosures.  Not only am I coming up with ideas, I have time to remember old ideas I had or think about ideas others have given me more in-depth.


I am also a huge fan of visualization and affirmations to help me get what I want in life.  Classical music has helped with that as well.  I can now easily picture myself driving in the Daiblo with classical music blaring as I work the gears through the gated transmission….

What about you? Are you using your “Driving Time” to improve your business? How? Share with me in the comments below!

Photo: SpeedHunter XxX

About Author

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson is a has been a real estate investor and real estate agent/broker since 2002. He has flipped over 165 homes in that time, including more than 70 in the last three years. Mark owns more than 20 rental properties that include single family homes, as well as commercial properties, including a 68,000 square foot strip mall. Mark has sold more than 1,000 homes as a real estate agent and is the owner/managing broker of Blue Steel Real Estate in Greeley, Colorado. Mark started the InvestFourMore blog and website in 2013, which has hundreds of article on real estate. Mark is constantly sharing his insights, case studies, and interesting things that happen to real estate investors on both his blog and well-known sites like Forbes.


  1. Great article! I think that most of us do spend a lot of our time driving and it is important to spend all hours of the day productively and listening to self help podcasts or CD’s is a great use of time while driving!

  2. This is what makes me feel like I’m never really going to fit in with real estate investors (or most kinds of investors, really): I have no understanding of this really common desire to accumulate fancy things. I understand wanting to own the most efficient or cost effective thing in a given category, like a hybrid or electric car if you do a ton of city driving or a really high quality cast iron skillet if you do a ton of cooking–stuff like that–but to have really expensive things for their own sake doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not saying it’s wrong or anything. I just don’t understand it. And when I’ve gotten together with other real estate investors, there’s been a very subtle one upmanship on display that makes me feel like, for as much as I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to optimize the heck out of my investments and always improve my portfolio, the fact that I enjoy using that money to see how many people’s lives I can change for the better makes me an oddball.

    It might help if someone could try to explain the appeal? Is it something that can be explained? Or is it just a gut feeling you either have or you don’t?

    • Hi Leslie, thank you do the comment! I could write another blog on this subject and have covered many topics related. My money attitude post may be the most relative.

      I think the idea that investors or people in general want fancy things just to show up others or for fancies sake is not always accurate. In my experience a lot of the people with all the fancy things are trying to show they have money when they actually don’t and are living off debt. The truly rich and wealthy leave all the fancy stuff behind, but have no qualms about spending money on things they love or that will make them happy. I personally don’t care about clothes, watches, shoes, but I love cars. I have since I was a kid and I have always dreamed of owning exotic cars. If you see me at work I would probably be wearing jeans and polo shirt with beat up shoes, but I also might be driving a Porsche or hopefully Lambo one day.

      There is good in being efficient and cost effective, but you also have to have fun and not be worried about spending money on things that make you happy and love (assuming you can afford them). I am always trying to get a great deal on house to grow my money, but I also spent more money on my personal house for my family and myself. I go on vacations to relax and experience new and exciting things.

      I think it is great to help others and give money away. I do that as well. The more money you can make, the more you can give away. Just because people have expensive things does not mean they do not donate their time and money as well.

      My thoughts are you can’t mask what you really want in life because you don’t feel it’s possible or you don’t think society will think that’s a worthy cause.

  3. “It may not be the best thing for the environment, but hopefully we are all driving electric cars or hybrids.”

    “I have three cars right now and I plan to collect them like I do rental properties. A great thing about the real estate industry is the income you can earn, which allows me to have an Audi S4, Porsche 928 and supercharged Mustang.”

    Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

    Perhaps your next car should be a Tesla? 🙂

  4. Mark you are always thinking and now you found a way to think better. Brilliant!
    My wife bought be bookends for my desk of the sculpture “the thinker” because my mind never stops. Never would of thought of listening to classical music to think but can see how it is helping you. Funny because I find myself more in the office these days and today I was out driving with my acquisition partner looking at some larger purchases, meeting with our contractor, meeting new realtors and evaluating the deals…….I have to admit it felt good to be out today. I think I will make it a habit once a week to just get out check on the rehabs and other things……..Thanks for idea!

  5. I learned Spanish in the car! I had a 45 minute commute to Silicon Valley. That’s an hour and a half a day of driving. I got a very good course of CD’s called “Platiquemos”. It was 55 audio CD’s stored as digital mp3 data on 8 computer CD’s. I cut my own audio CDs, and drove to work every day listening and repeating in the pauses. Nice thing about being inside a car, nobody can hear you babble.

    I spent on average 8 hours on each lesson. Times 55 makes 440 hours. I would also listen to the local Mexican radio stations, and about halfway through the course, their machine-gun gabble started to resolve into actual conversation.

    Now I use Spanish routinely in my property management business. The phone rings, my wife answers, she yells “ESPANOL!”, and I talk to the people about what apartments I have available, what’s the rent, what are the amenities etc etc.

  6. Mark,

    I liked your article. I am like you; a car guy. I built some pretty nice rides when I was in Japan (spent about 10 years there), I am also a huge Lamborghini fan have the ever so famous white countach with golden gate bridge backdrop still stored somewhere. Anyways, I work overseas and only return to the U.S. for short periods of time each year. My last visit, I spent the better part of about 5 days just cruising and exploring. I do not really listen to music when driving, because I am one of those guys that likes to “war game” and when I listen to music, I always catch myself doing everything but something constructive (air drumming, steering wheel drumming, rapping, etc.). However, it was during one of these quiet cruising sessions that I came to the idea of approaching becoming a real estate investor and how I would execute such an Idea. I had always been interested and due to a failed attempt that netted me a loss of six figures, I was a little gun shy.

    Furthermore, being married, such a venture would definitely require the approval of my extremely prudent and very cost conscious wife. Maintaining my employment is a must as well. However, I formulated a solid approach and funding plan and although I cannot execute until the later part of this year, it was that period of driving that allowed me to formulate what I believe to be a solid plan and method to use when I approached my wife with the ever dreaded “honey I need to take money out of savings”. Ultimately, the wife agreed to let me have half of what I wanted and I get to go ahead get on it when I return from Afghanistan in September. Had I not taken those drives, I doubt I would have been able to put together something that she would agree to. She is not American and getting things to the point of her understanding what is going on and the effects is a challenge in and of itself.

    Anyways, my point is this, whenever I get an idea or want to put an idea into words or develop an approach to a problem I take a drive and work it out.

    Have a good one, drive safe.


  7. Mark, Just wondering. Because you say goal is to buy and sell this amount of houses and selling 300 houses. How much is you monthly income ( you dont have to be exact) but I wonder the ball park to see if I start doing the same. Just wondering are you making 200k , 300k or 500k a year?

      • Awesome, I am a bit short of 300k, let see if by the end of this year I end up with 350+ at least . Wouldn’t you invest in something much bigger than just houses? I would start looking into whole buildings with that kind of money. I thought you were in the ballpark of around $200k to 300k .

        • I make more money off individual houses. I didn’t make that much money last year. I talk much more about it on my blog, but I like SFRs because I know how to buy them cheap, there are more of them, less hassles and multifamily in my area is crazy expensive.

  8. Mark if you need help with that new website idea or help with marketing your team via social media, etc., my team can help. The more time you can be freed up to be focused on achieving your goal of 300 sales, the better, and let reliable experts like us support you on the marketing side to widen your funnel.

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