Real Estate News & Commentary

6 Mistakes That Almost Kept Me From Real Estate Investing Success

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The road to being a successful real estate entrepreneur has never been paved smoothly. In fact, there will always be obstacles at every turn, but it's those experiences that help mold you into a real estate success. Whether you've been in the industry for a year or a decade, every mistake you've made is a learning opportunity. Here are six mistakes I've made, so you don't have to.

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6 Mistakes That Almost Kept Me From Real Estate Investing Success

1. Not Being True to Myself

Although many entrepreneurs quote Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous saying — “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” — they have it completely wrong. One of the key elements to being a successful entrepreneur is being different, not just better. The key is providing investors and borrowers with valuable insight and information they couldn’t get elsewhere.

When you’re launching your investment career, you’re so focused on the success of your business. There are times when the desire for success overpowers your judgment and you find yourself participating in deals or transactions that aren’t true to you. No matter how much money is on the line or properties are at stake, the biggest mistake you can make is not being true to yourself.


2. Trying to Save a Few Bucks (That Ultimately Cost Me)

Word of mouth just isn’t enough anymore, so it’s important to put money behind your marketing efforts. Like many folks, I was skeptical about investing money in marketing. I soon realized that consistent marketing is an integral part of any business. Whether you hire an in-house marketer or outsource to an agency, investing in strategic marketing is a necessity. How else is anyone supposed to know about your business?

My advice: When marketing, go beyond social media. Ensure your website utilizes search engine optimization features. Brenton Hayden, founder of Renters Warehouse, said, “The younger crowd knows that the first place to go for information is the Internet, and companies are cropping up all over to accommodate this need.”

Related: The 5 Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made in My Real Estate Investing Career

3. Not Trusting My Gut Instinct on Big Decisions

There is no such thing as a false positive on a bad gut feeling. There are times when you’re getting ready to invest in a property, and as your pen is about to hit the paper, you can’t help but feel like something is holding you back — something is just wrong. And even though the profit looks promising, there’s still a gut wrenching feeling that’s holding you back. Believe me, we’ve all been there.

As much as the real estate industry encourages risk taking, there are just some risks that aren’t worth it. When your instinct is telling you no, listen to it.

4. Not Finding the Right Fit

One of the best aspects of being an entrepreneur is the ability to handpick your “dream team.” The quality of your team is one of the biggest factors that sets your company apart from the competition. As entrepreneurs, we’ve all made hiring mistakes; we’ve hired employees who don’t compliment our work styles or even core values.

When hiring, you want to look for the best of the best in the real estate industry. However, don’t overlook character and work ethic. Your candidates should be as passionate and business savvy as you.

5. Relying Too Much on Others

Oftentimes, investors will back projects and expect that should the deal go poorly, there will be people — angel investors — there to get them out of trouble. Even if there is a safety net, you shouldn’t rely on it. You’ll never be truly successful when you are constantly relying on others to come to your rescue.


Related: 10 Lethal Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

6. Always Saying “Yes”

Even though something may seem perfect on paper, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for you or your business. The deals you say “no” to are just as important as the ones you say “yes” to. We’ve all put ourselves in situations where we felt compelled to say “yes,” knowing that it wasn’t the right decision. Saying “no” when something isn’t right for you can save you from making a poor business deal or committing to a project that will take your company nowhere.

Learning from the mistakes of others will oftentimes help in your own journey. In business, you either pay with your time or with your own money, and it’s always best to invest time with others who’ve been there before. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned real estate veteran, there’s always room for growth and learning.

What mistakes have YOU made that could’ve derailed your investing career?

Let me know with a comment!

Steven Kaufman, CPA, MsEDE, is a finance enthusiast and the Chief Acceleration Officer and founder of Zeus Trust Company , which operates
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    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks so much for sharing this. Being able to prevent mistakes like this can really help those getting into real estate investing.
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hi Steven, Good blog post. Not adding to your list, rather offering how I solved some of your issues to share with others: – My business partner, my wife, has been a key player in making good to great decisions and avoiding the bad decisions. I have found that a women’s eye in real estate is much MUCH better than most men’s eyes. We see 2x4s, a women sees a “home” and more importantly in more realistic terms will it be attractive to a buyer or renter. Some of the ugliest homes I can now see where a solo man’s decision. LOL. We try our best but if we don’t have a good team it can go badly. – Being the same vs different. I asked a room full of REIA members what deal types they where doing. Should I do the same because it’s been validated by a room full of (competitors) or be defferent? LOL hell NO, don;t do what ever the REIA guys are doing!! – More on being different; I asked the same room full of REIA folks, how far theyd drive for a deal. Farthest was 45 minutes. So what did my smart business partner and I do? We moved to small towns right on major freeways more than 45 minutes away. Small towns with good jobs on freeways within commute distance to major jobs center are great places to cheery pick with little competition. – More on being different: everyone is pileing into cheap houses on the marginal side of town touting the virtue of Sec-8. Guess what, we bought in small towns in good school districts and have no turn over or eviction problems. The rule so far seems to be: do the opposite of the “touters”. 🙂 Which brings up the tip, to deeply question who ever is giving real estate advise. Ask what year this last worked and what they are doing now. So much advice doesn’t work today, or for you, or in your zips.
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Number 6 is true with pretty much everything. One of the best skills you can learn in life is to say no.
    Ro Rueda from Houston, Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Wonderful post Steve! It is a real surprise to see you in Bigger Pockets. That made my day. Thank you.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    youre right! 🙂
    Jon H. Investor from Kent, Washington
    Replied over 4 years ago
    6 points well taken