3 Practical Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone (So You Can Do More Deals!)

by | BiggerPockets.com

When I had my first 12-unit apartment building under contract, I was overwhelmed. This was a HUGE building to me, and I thought of the 134 things that could go wrong if I moved forward.

Now, an interesting thing happened. In the 3rd week after ratification of the contract, after a site visit, talking with investors, lenders, inspectors, and reviewing the financials, I became more and more comfortable with the idea of closing on this building.

In fact, I suddenly hoped the building was bigger! I found out later that it’s about as much work to purchase a building twice the size (or even larger) as it is a smaller building. In addition, the closing costs were actually less, and I could get a non-recourse loan and make more money.

Related Post5 Reasons Why Bigger is Better with Apartment Building Investing

As I reflect on this phenomenon of becoming more comfortable with something that was very scary just a few weeks before, I concluded that our comfort zones are proportional to our beliefs.

As I got more and more into the deal, my belief that I could purchase this building increased, and this expanded my comfort zone.

Now the question is: Is there anything I could do to proactively expand my comfort zone all the time and intentionally, rather than waiting on a circumstance to force me to?

I think the answer is “YES.” You can expand your comfort zone by exercising it like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more it expands.

Here are 3 specific things you can do to exercise your comfort zone muscle.


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3 Practical Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone (So You Can Do More Deals!)

1. Visualize.

This is so important; don’t skip this step. Professional athletes, for example, do this constantly. They visualize themselves performing at the highest level, beating the world record, and holding the gold metal.

The same can be true for us real estate entrepreneurs: see yourself touring the apartment building, negotiating it, and signing the contract. Visualize yourself at the closing table, signing the closing documents. See yourself meeting with the property manager to discuss the previous months’ performance. Imagine the bank account grow as the rents come in. See yourself selling the building in 5 years and getting a $430,000 check at closing.

Related Post: 5 Tips to Use Visualization to Become a Successful Real Estate Investor

2. Create a sample deal package.

A Sample Deal Package is a document about a deal you WANT to do. Everything in it is real: the property description, photos, financials, your business plan and projected returns. The only difference is that you don’t have it under contract.

It’s a tool that forces you to behave as if you had an apartment building under contract. You’ve reviewed the marketing package and the financials. You’ve made assumptions and projections. Behaving “as-if” makes it seem real.

The Sample Deal Package can also be used to speak to potential investors about investing in a deal you might get under contract sometime in the future. You can say, “I’m about to show you a deal. I don’t have it under contract, but it’s representative of the kind of deal I’m looking for. When I get a real deal, the package you’ll get will look substantially like this. I’d be happy to answer your questions. At the end of the meeting, you can decide how interested you might be in investing with me.”

In addition to expanding your comfort zone, a Sample Deal Package can help to create credibility with investors, sellers, and other professionals you want on your team.


3. Visit larger properties.

A great way to exercise your comfort zone muscle is to visit properties that are outside of your comfort zone.

My current comfort zone with apartment buildings is somewhere between 75 and 100 units. I can see myself finding and negotiating the deal, raising the money, making renovations and making money with it.

But I have a mental block at anything much larger than that. A 150 unit building seems overwhelming with regards to the amount of money I would have to raise and the complexity of managing such a beast.

If I someday want to purchase 150+ unit properties, one thing I can do to expand my comfort zone is by visiting properties like this, analyzing them, and making offers.

I’m currently working on a 154 unit deal that requires substantial work to stabilize. It’s definitely a long shot, but I’m going through the process. Even though I may not end up purchasing it (but maybe I will!), I’m behaving as if I were going to purchase it. Once I’m done, the idea of taking a swing at the next 150 unit property might not be so overwhelming.


You should ALWAYS be exercising your comfort zone muscle. You can wait for circumstance to do it for you, or you can be more intentional about it. Visualize what you want to do as if it has already occurred, create a Sample Deal Package, and visit properties that are outside of your comfort zone. If you do these 3 things on a consistent basis, you will be amazed at what you’ll be able to do.

What have you done that’s outside your comfort zone? How did you feel beforehand and how do you feel now?

Don’t forget to leave a comment below!

About Author

Michael Blank

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment building deals with a special focus on raising money. Through his investment company, he controls over $30MM in performing multifamily assets all over the United States and has raised over $8MM. In addition to his own investing activities, he’s helped students purchase over 2,000 units valued at over $87MM. He’s the author of the best-selling book Financial Freedom With Real Estate Investing and the host of the popular Apartment Building Investing podcast Apartment Building Investing podcast.


  1. Daniel Ryu

    Excellent post! I try to visualize regularly by rewriting my goals everyday and I think it definitely helps. I’ve also taken your advise and downloaded several large MF loopnet deals and try to analyze them and what I like, don’t like about them. The next step will be to create my own “ideal” package.

    I got to thru reviewing 3 deals when I got a little sidetracked because I started reading up on what it takes to be a commercial mortgage broker. In addition to wanting to understand the financing side of large MF transactions better, I also thought that I might try to work for one in the future as a way to help stay up to date on all the developments going on in an area and earn money as I build a portfolio (besides it being something I think I could be good at ^^).

    To help with the visualization, do you know if any real estate brokerages host online or virtual open houses for larger MF deals?

    I think it’d be cool to actually “walk through” a property while a realtor discusses it’s value, opportunities, etc.

    Anyways, thanks for continuing to educate and inspire!

    • Michael Blank

      Hi Daniel – good to hear from you!

      > when I got a little sidetracked because I started reading up on what it takes to be a commercial mortgage broker.

      I too am a sufferer of “Shinyobjectitis” !

      > To help with the visualization, do you know if any real estate brokerages host online or virtual open houses for larger MF deals? I think it’d be cool to actually “walk through” a property while a realtor discusses it’s value, opportunities, etc.

      No, I don’t, but it’s a great idea and something people have asked me before. I do have some case studies like this as part of my online training course, but doing something like this at least once per month would be cool. Will work on it.

      Thx – Michael

  2. Daniel Ryu

    LOL! Guilty as charged of shinyobjectitis but ive made significant progress toward recovery ^^

    That would definitely be awesome if you could make the walkthroughs happen.

    Thanks as always for the encouragement!

  3. Laurie Williamson

    Thanks for the article! I like the very specific idea for a visualization exercise, and will try this soon. I purchased my first rental property about 6 months ago, a single-family home, but my ambitions are toward multi-family eventually. Saving up for a down payment on a larger property is my largest obstacle at this point. And, I guess, engaging in a partner deal is outside of my comfort zone. Maybe something to think about. I do know that, even if the practical pieces are not yet fully in place, visualization can help make the very idea of a goal seem more attainable. Anyway, I appreciate you sharing the good ideas.

  4. Cydni Anderson

    I like and appreciate this article; thank you for taking the time to write it.

    Right now I am somewhat consumed by fear. Really having a hard time pushing myself to take the next step. Been going to the library and binging on finance/investing/re books!

    Funny thing is, I know myself well enough to know that I WILL eventually take the plunge, but it is frustrating none-the-same!

    Thanks again!

  5. Daniel Ryu

    Just downloaded the free ebook! Thanks for offering that.

    Cyndi.. Overcoming fear is always the hardest part, in my opinion. That’s one reason I like reading Michael’s posts – he talks about the mental aspects of real estate investing. It took me a long time to overcome my fear of investing, networking, even posting comments on posts like this.

    I’m no expert on the subject but I know it helps to work with others! BP has been great for that.

    Anyways, if you ever want talk deals or about your education, feel free to reach out! I’m constantly reading too and I like being able to discuss what I learn with others. ^^

  6. Micki M.

    Great article. I recently pushed myself out of my comfort zone by renting out my personal residence and temporarily living in a different state where I was flipping a house. It really helped me get my focus on where I want to be and what type of work I want to do. I’m interested in scaling up into different types/size of projects and will be working up some sample deals after reading this. Thanks!

  7. Valerie Brown

    What a wealth of information in this article. I too, am getting out of my comfort zone and overcoming fear by posting comments. But, I like the tangible examples that you gave and my plan is to use them immediately. I can’t wait to put these tips into practice. I have 3 rental properties and am looking for more deals, preferrably to flip. So, thanks so much sharing these ideas!

  8. Kate Hall


    Great post and perfect timing! I’m in the process of doing my due diligence to acquire a block of 8 & 12 town homes. (With owner financing!) How did you determine the value of your purchases? I understand that you’d run the numbers to make sure it’s returning correctly for whatever CAP rate you desire, but what about the value of the buildings and land themselves? Did you get an appraisal?

    Thanks for any insight!


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