The Education of a Newbie!
Yes, Education is one of my Lines of Efforts (LOE) and a critical one at that. I have stated that it will continue in perpetuity simply because the more I learn, the more I realize I have a lot more to learn! Between reading, attending REIA meetings with speakers, asking questions, going out and learning through experience and listening to podcasts I’ve garnered a lot of knowledge and experience. Still, I was told several times that I need to take a class. I knew this, so I followed this advice and have taken several thus far.
Now, I am a relatively quick study and pick things up pretty fast but I will readily admit that when people like Peter Fortunato get in front of you and talk about the deals they have done and go through them it takes me a bit to wrap my brain around what they just did! I finished a weekend class with Pete and John Schaub and learned a lot in two days of drinking from a fire hose. I thought I understood a good bit of creative financing but both Pete and John tend to take what you think you know and turn it on its head! The biggest takeaway from the two days with these two masters of the deal; there is always a way to make it work!
The second biggest takeaway, just because you can make it work doesn’t mean you should. The second part I kinda already understood from Larry Harbolt’s preaching. Larry likes to say, “you’ve lived without that house for 50 years, you can live without it for another 50” or words to that effect. His point being that it is okay to just walk away and often times, walking away is the better deal. I think this is a critical lesson for newbies like myself who WANT to buy EVERYTHING!! We DON'T NEED to buy everything, we need to buy what will create the best fit for what our goals are. I force myself to always re-look a deal and consider walking away. I’ve walked away from several deals because they just were not going to give me enough bang for the buck or the risk could not be properly mitigated.
The other couple of classes I have taken was an introduction seminar given by Larry as well as his creative financing class. I made my wife go with me to the intro course so that she would better understand the methods to my madness. She enjoyed meeting the curmudgeon known as Larry Harbolt and thought that the seminar was quite interesting. It gave her an insight to my thoughts and answered a lot of questions that she had about why people would do the things that Larry was teaching and I was practicing. For me it was a review of the concepts that he teaches but, I still learned a few new things as Larry threw in a few experiences that I had not yet heard which gave me some great ideas in my pursuit of properties.
The creative financing class was another great opportunity to learn from someone who has been at this for over 40 years. I met some great people in the class and the day we collaboratively analyzed deals and came up with new ways to work them was priceless. Yet, I’m still not done learning. I will be taking another course on Land Trusts in June so that I can wrap my head around this concept especially when my attorney swears they aren’t a good thing to do. Although I understand her argument, I don’t know enough to agree or disagree with her. For me, I need to learn the ins and outs of the subject THEN, I’ll make a decision on how it best fits within my strategic plan. The learning just never stops and I absolutely love it! After all, when one stops learning, it is usually indicative of a condition called death.
So, if you are a newbie as I am or even someone who has been doing this a while, keep learning. Read, listen, watch, ask questions and take a few classes. The benefits far outweigh the costs but I will caveat this with the fact that not all classes are created equal. Know who is teaching it and ask around about it. Nothing worse than taking one of those courses that only give you a piece of the puzzle and want to charge you extra to learn the missing piece!
Never assume you know it all, always assume you know nothing and you will find that you will always learn something!