5 Mentalities of Millionaire Real Estate Investors

by | BiggerPockets.com

One of my favorite things to ask financially successful people is simple — when did you make your first million?

And really, it’s not just WHEN, but how did they do it, and what lessons did they learn? Often in the public, we hear of an incredible income or see a beautiful home, but we don’t really understand the back story. From there, what is the reality of being a “millionaire”? And a hint — it’s actually not about the money.

Review Your “Why” Often (Beyond Money)

Being successful financially (and remembering there are many ways to be successful that don’t include money) starts with having a massive “why.” Then, build a plan around it, drive to achieve it, and have the guts and patience to overcome adversity through obstacles, setbacks, and the learning process that is a part of it.

An example of your “why” could be putting your kids through college or traveling to Europe once a year. It could be a lake house on the water for the grandkids to swim and a boat to teach them to water ski. I know for me, my “why” is travel, time with family, and having amazing experiences with the people I care about. To be financially set without worry, grow an incredible business that supports our team, give a positive experience to our clients, and build a legacy of wealth through real estate.


Learn From Successes of Others (But Don’t Obsess Over What They Have)

Learning from others can be in many forms, from blog posts, podcasts, and books to an afternoon cocktail with a friend on the porch. I love having conversations with guys doing what we do in the turnkey world because I get to hear what is working, hear what isn’t, and learn about innovation. I usually get to hear a very funny story or two.

Related: New Study: Ability to Delay Gratification Predicts Wealth, Health & Success

Think for a moment on the Olympics we just watched in Rio, the sprinters specifically. These athletes have devoted their entire lives to train, lift weights, and run (a lot). And their moment, the 100 meters or 400 meters of sprinting, is mere seconds. Our tiny glimpse into their life is the few seconds they are running on our television screen, but we have no concept of what they had to do to get there. We have no insight into the years and years of devoted training, trials, injuries, and breakthroughs. The coaches and mentors who helped along the way.

As a real estate investor, we see people out there with incredible businesses and incredible wealth. It’s true! These people ARE out there. Let those people help motivate us, inspire us, and give us the opportunity to learn we can achieve. But let’s not to obsess over what they have. They can remind us of our own unique abilities and opportunity to do what we want to. And it’s up to us to go get after whatever “it” is and to create our own business, income, or lifestyle we desire.

Grow and Learn Daily

I’ve spent a lot of my time the last few years reading as many books as I can get my hands on and listening to as many podcasts from the most interesting, inspiring, and incredible people I could find. Learning has opened my eyes to things in the world and brought some healthy obsession for me in cooking, training, martial arts, racing cars, real estate investing, and LEARNING things, pushing myself in areas I am uncomfortable.

Think for a moment on something you do really well. Say for me, if I pick up my guitar, I can just play it — whatever I want to play, I can usually figure it out. That didn’t happen by accident. It happened because I consistently played the guitar for decades. When I hear something played that catches my attention, I want to go and figure out what that person did.

Within the context of real estate, I still learn and grow daily. Maybe it’s more nuanced, such as how a foundation repair can be done or how framing of a house is run or repaired. Or instead of how to flip a house, maybe it’s how to teach people on my team all the things I have inside my head that I want them to learn.

Related: One Simple Habit the Vast Majority of Wealthy People Practice Every Single Day

Growing and learning must be a part of your vocabulary and your actions — because without it, the opportunities that will come up will be missed. You won’t have the tools to handle them.

In other words, you may already be working at your millionaire idea, business, or job. It could also be something you haven’t even gotten into yet or something you literally invent and create yourself. But growing and learning will give you education, insight, and business acumen — and therefore the opportunity to see what is coming and to take massive action and calculated risk when it appears.


Save Your Money

I am guilty here. When we first started doing well as the business was really growing and taking off, it was so easy for me to allow that creep of income be an immediate creep in spending. This is a daily practice. You WANT to have that _____ , but do you need to go get it today? Should you? The answer is likely NO!

When I think of the most successful people I know (financially and otherwise), they have money to spend on their wants, like travel or cars. But their wants do NOT directly impact the daily operation of their households, their savings and wealth building.

Living below your means cannot be overstated. The more you save, the more you can invest. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to dinner or enjoy taking a trip with your spouse or your family. You should do those things and not put them off. But if you do something at the cost of your financial and mental sanity, it won’t be worth it to your long-term plan.

Celebrate Small Successes

Don’t miss opportunities to appreciate the hard work you have done — the trials and the successes. It’s so easy to glaze over them and on to the next fire. Stop that. And slow down for a moment to reflect and marinate on the moment. There will always be something for you to work on, some fire to put out. That’s OK. By celebrating the small moments, we are also setting ourselves up to celebrate the big moments.

If we don’t celebrate now, why are we working so hard? Are you allowing yourself the time for gratitude in the moment for the hard work you or your team have done? What’s the point of working so hard, having passive income, or being a millionaire if you never take time to enjoy it?

Final Thoughts

Real estate has been an incredible tool in my life and for my family. Remember, real estate (or anything else) is only the vehicle to whatever else it is that you are working towards. Being a millionaire and having lots of money is a great opportunity to do something awesome with it. Learn, grow, be humble, earn, and do great things with those earnings. Save, contribute, spend money doing awesome things with people you love, and don’t let the earning of money be the end game. Let the money be the vehicle to your lifestyle, to your family’s legacy, and also to the help and benefit of others. That’s when we know we’ve done it right.

Anything you’d add to this list?

Leave a comment and let’s talk!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties per year. With over a decade of experience in real estate, Nathan is a seasoned investor with a large personal portfolio and a growing business portfolio. Just last year, through Bridge Turnkey Investments, he helped investors add over $12 million in value to their real estate portfolios. Nathan regularly produces educational content to fuel his passion for helping other people learn about and find success in real estate investing. He has been featured regularly on industry podcasts such as the BiggerPockets Podcast, Active Duty Passive Income Podcast, Freedom Real Estate Investing Podcast, Fearless Pursuit of Freedom Podcast, Titanium Vault, The Real Estate Investing Podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, the Good Success Podcast, FlipNerd, Wholesaling Inc., The Real Estate Investing Profits Master Series, Flipping Junkie Podcast, Flip Empire podcast, Think Realty Radio, and more. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and can be found on stage regularly at events across the country.


    • Nathan Brooks

      I tell you what … it is such a huge thing. The saying, not what you make but what you keep is so true. Put the money in its place … a tool, like everything else. Use it, play with it, have fun with it, but save and invest it so you have it to create the wealth/real estate/income … etc.

  1. Jacqueline Sapp

    All good points, Nathan. I’ve begun rehab work on a row house. I have not done this in a while and the process hasn’t always run smoothly. But the same crew I worked with so long ago was ready to work with me again; that means a lot to me. Once the last upgrade is completed, I plan on hosting a gratitude dinner for everyone on my team, and I hope to make that a regular part of my rehab success story.

    • Nathan Brooks

      Garrett … thanks man. Listen… great a great mentor/partner/coach … dig deep, start small, learn, and get after it. You don’t know what you don’t know. AND, whatever you do, know this… you WILL screw up 🙂 We all do. Do don’t be afraid, mitigate your downside like crazy, and get after it.

  2. John McConnell

    I just wanted to stop and say that I feel like your blog post is me channeling through your keyboard. It sounds like my writing style and frame of mind. It is exactly the word I want to write down but haven’t been able to materialize so eloquently. Thanks for a great post. You are 100% spot on and it is inspiring to know about others with the same mentality and even some of the same word choices when explaining things. Thank you!

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