Personal Development

Want to Be Successful in Real Estate? Challenge Yourself to Do These 3 Things.

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, AskBP
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(The following is an excerpt from the new book from BiggerPockets, The Book on Rental Property Investing. If you are looking to buy more rental properties this year, pick up a copy today!)

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The first and perhaps most important step in becoming a successful rental property investor is thinking the right thoughts. In other words, it’s not an external action you need to take, but an internal mindset you need to create.

This mindset begins by flipping a switch in your head so that you say to yourself, “I am doing this,” rather than, “I want to do this.” You tell yourself, “I will do this,” rather than, “I can do this.” Your mind says, “I won’t give up,” rather than, “I hope I won’t give up.”

Let me illustrate this further using a common desire for most of the world: six-pack abs. You see, I want to have six-pack abs. I can get six-pack abs. And when I start to work toward those six-pack abs, I hope I won’t give up on that journey. But you know what? I’m not getting six-pack abs with that mindset!

To take it a step further, I even know how to get six-pack abs. I know the exercises I need to do, the food I need to eat, and the lifestyle I need to follow. But I’m still not getting that six pack! Why? Because I’m not yet committed! I haven’t yet flipped that switch in my head so that I tell myself, “I am getting six-pack abs, I will do this, and I won’t give up.” Deep inside my soul, I know I have not flipped that switch, committed myself, and started taking action. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, I know that I have not yet committed to getting that six pack. It’s just a dream, a desire.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you “flipped the switch” of success in your mind? Have you made the commitment to yourself that you will become a rental property investor, come hell or high water?

If not, don’t worry. I believe that by the end of this book, you will. First, here are a few tips for moving in that direction.

3 Ways to Change Your Mindset for Real Estate Success

1. Write Down Your Goals, and Read Them Out Loud Every Day

I got this tip from Grant Cardone, an investor with over $350,000,000 in real estate assets whom we interviewed on the BiggerPockets Podcast (show 108). He’s been reading his goals out loud to himself every morning and every night for 30 years, and he also reads them when he’s feeling down. In addition, in his book The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, Cardone encourages his readers to take whatever goal they might have, multiply it by ten, change their plan/mindset to reflect that new goal, and then take massive action to accomplish their revised objective.

For example, one of my goals was to achieve 100 rental units, and my mind worked toward that goal. I could buy a fourplex here, a single-family house there, a small apartment building there… it was all very attainable. After applying the 10X Rule to my goals, though, I’m now aiming for 1,000 units. My mindset is very different. I no longer think in terms of “a single-family house here.” That will never get me to 1,000 units! I have to think bigger. As Napoleon Hill states in Think and Grow Rich, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Your mind will naturally work to solve the problem or goal you’ve set before it. So raise your goal, think differently, and 10X your life.


2. Realize That You Are Who You Associate With

As entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Think about the five people with whom you occupy your day—you are likely very similar. Why is this? One big word: homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a scientific term that essentially means that things like to stay constant and level. The human body is a homeostatic biological machine that wants to stay at 98.6 degrees. Your home’s thermostat is a homeostatic device that wants to keep the house temperature at a comfortable 72 degrees. Your car’s cruise control is a homeostatic feature that keeps your freeway commute moving at a steady 74 mph while you drive to work.

Your social life is a homeostatic entity that desires to keep everyone on the same level, usually subconsciously. As you start to grow your wealth or your level of success, your friends will naturally feel the pull of homeostasis, and with no maliciousness intended, attempt to pull you back to their level. They won’t understand your newfound passion. However, if you instead hang around with five people far more successful than you, their homeostatic tendencies will kick in, and they’ll naturally want to help you rise to their level of success.

Please understand that I’m not encouraging you to abandon all your friends. Money is, by far, not the most important thing in life, and the homeostatic phenomenon also applies to character, intelligence, passion, and other nonmonetary traits. I choose to spend time with people who make me a better person in all aspects of my life. I’m also not suggesting that you to befriend successful people just to take advantage of their position and raise yourself up in the world. I’m simply encouraging you to be mindful of the people with whom you spend the most time and of how they influence your world view.

Try to spend time, each and every day, with other real estate investors. Their homeostatic tendencies will naturally lead them to want to help you achieve their level of success. When I first got into rental properties, I helped my best friend paint a house for his landlord. While painting, the landlord Kyle stopped by to check up on the work, and he and I got to talking. That conversation led to coffee later, which progressed to thousands of phone calls and one of the best friendships I have today. For the past eight or so years, Kyle and I have chatted about business at least once a week, sharing our stories, our problems, our tenant drama, our financing tips, and more. Kyle naturally wanted to bring me up to his level of success, and I graciously accepted.

Who do you know in your life with whom you could build a relationship? If you said "no one" and immediately shut your brain off, shame on you! There are tens of millions of real estate investors out there, and likely dozens right in your area. Get off your couch, and go build some relationships! Local real estate clubs and landlord meetups are good places to find these individuals, as is a referral from your real estate agent or simply word of mouth.


3. Change Your “I Can’t” to “How Can I?”

In my previous book, The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, I spoke at length about the concept of changing your mindset from one of “I can’t” to “how can I?” This change of vocabulary is simple yet profound. As Robert Kiyosaki explains in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, responding to new ideas with “I can’t” shuts your brain off and stops it from working for you. By changing your mindset from an immediate declaration of “no” to an immediate question of “how,” you put your brain into overdrive to help you accomplish your goals.

  • “I can’t afford that property” becomes “How can I afford that property?”
  • “I can’t find a good deal” becomes “How can I find a good deal?”
  • “I can’t connect with the right partner” becomes “How can I connect with the right partner?”

In all these situations, suddenly you have a puzzle to solve, a journey to start. You’ll begin to see solutions where before you saw only a blank wall. You brain will learn to think creatively, and over time, you’ll find that nothing is impossible. Mom was right when she told you, “You can do anything you want if you just put your mind to it.”

Change the way your mind thinks, and you’ll change the way your mind operates.

Investors: How do YOU keep yourself in the right mindset to achieve success?

Let me know with a comment!

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on,,, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.

    David Roberts from Brownstown, Michigan
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Its a hell of alot harder to get 6 pack abs than it is to do real estate. 🙂
    Jonna Weber Real Estate Agent from Boise, ID
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Nice, Brandon! I’m actively looking to up my game in who I spend time with everyday. Many tend to overlook that listening to great podcasts and audiobooks can count as people you hang out with. I probably spend 2 hours a day listening to those more successful than I am, all via my iphone. Looking forward to reading the new book!
    Marty C
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I spend my time with my two kids. I am in trouble I thought. Great news came from you because I spend lots of time with people more successful also.
    Karen Rittenhouse Flipper/Rehabber from Greensboro, NC
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I remember years ago when my brother talked about being an ex-smoker. For years he tried to quit. He tried everything, including acupuncture. What finally worked? A shift in mindset. He no longer thought of himself as a smoker, but as a non-smoker. You don’t have to struggle to quit smoking once you realize you’re not a smoker! The mind is such a powerful tool. As a man thinketh….
    Andrew Davis Rental Property Investor from Winter Park, FL
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great stuff Brandon, really looking forward to the new book!
    Douglas Skipworth Rental Property Investor from Memphis, TN
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I love the internal mindset you highlighted above. It’s just like Tony Robbins’ “Should’s vs. Must’s.” “I should do my sit ups,” “I should read about real estate investing,” “I should talk with another investor” versus “I must do my sit ups,” “I must read about real estate investing,” “I must talk with another investor.” Until we make the shift, we’re just like Karen’s brother above before he went from should to must. (Kudos to your brother, Karen!) Thanks for a great article Brandon. Can’t wait for the book!
    Don Alberts from Frankfort, Illinois
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Excellent information. I agree we attract what we think about. That’s the secret. Don
    Marty C
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Wow, Yes you can, that is excellent advice. Now those are practical comments on a tough business. The hard part is getting those deals done and then paid for. Thanks you for sharing.
    Timothy F.
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Really enjoyed the article. One thing I’ve started doing is writing down my goals several times over each, at least twice a day (morning/night). I forget who I heard that from, but so far I’m liking it.
    James Gorman IV Investor from Gig Harbor, Washington
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Interesting post. Thought provoking & good, with a sprinkle of hype
    Albert M. Investor from Bristol, Connecticut
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Nice article, Brandon. Thanks for sharing your perspectives. Haven’t quite finished reading your 1st book yet (60% of the way through, I’d gather). Nevertheless, I look forward to reading your 2nd. Yes, from all that I’ve been learning, reading, and listening to lately … whenever or wherever there is a goal/objective worth pursuing, it all starts with & in the mind. If you don’t have your inside figured out, you won’t be able to get far on the outside. As someone recently shared with me …. the “car analogy” … the mind is truly a powerful mechanism if we can only learn to clear the road in front of us (aka, get out of our own ways of “stinkin thinkin”), determine that we WILL absolutely reach our destination regardless of the obstacles we encounter along the way (aka., never ever give up on the prize you forsee for yourself), and look back in the rear-view mirror only to remind ourselves of lessons learned (aka., not dwell on our past failures for the mistakes they were, but rather, on the lessons we may have learned). Big mind shift indeed for many – if not, most – of us. Again, thank you. Now, before parting, I’d like to know if you might be able to offer your ideas (i.e., the steps) you plan to take on developing those six-pack abs you’d like to get. I’m serious here – I too would like to develop these and any suggestions, articles, or book you can recommend, would be most welcome. Thanks, best with all, and Happy Holidays.
    Account Closed
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great article! Thank You!