How long do you spend on your hair each day?
You don’t actually have to answer that question, unless you want to in the comments below (hint, hint.) I ask the question because I know a lot of people spend more time on their hair than they do eating breakfast, brushing teeth or talking with their spouse in the morning. And I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it either. After all, this semi flattened faux-hawk doesn’t form itself each and every morning!
People spend time on their hair, their clothes, their make-up, and more because we want to look good. It feels good to look good, which is why I believe one of the best ways to improve your mood is to dress the way you want to feel. That’s my Quiiiiick tiiiip for the day! (Podcast inside-joke)
Maybe this isn’t the case with you – maybe you don’t care what you look like. That’s fine, really. However, while you might not care what you look like on the outside – you probably should care what you look like as a real estate investor. I’m talking about integrity, reputation, and honor.
Why does that matter?
Because the better image you can create for yourself as an investor, the more success you are going to find. In general, real estate is a people’s game. Whether you are flipping houses, wholesaling, landlording, note investing, or one of a hundred other ways to make money in real estate – you are going to have to work with other people to accomplish your goals.
Trust me – you want to look good as a real estate investor – you don’t want to look “ugly” to others. As nearly every single guest on the BiggerPockets Podcast has mentioned – integrity is everything. Your reputation is one of the most important tools in your investor belt and one of the most easily broken. You may buy ugly houses – but don’t be an ugly investor.
So, without further ado – these are seven things that can destroy your reputation and make you look ugly as a real estate investor.
How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job
Many investors think that they need to quit their job to get started in real estate. Not true! Many investors successfully build large portfolios over the years while enjoying the stability of their full-time job. If that’s something you are interested in, then this investor’s story of how he built a real estate business while keeping his 9-5 might be helpful.
1.) Not Being a Man (or Woman) of Your Word
Let’s start with the obvious one: being truthful. In real estate – people talk. If you are untruthful, or knowingly deceive people with half-truths – you are going to be found out. I know some investors who advocate telling motivated sellers that you are bringing over a contractor when really it’s a cash buyer, or telling a seller during negotiations that you are only buying one house this year so they better sign quick. This is the kind of thing that gives real estate investors the bad name. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” -Mark Twain
2.) Being Late
Punctuality is next to godliness (or is that cleanliness?) Either way – it’s important. If you are consistently late to appointments, late to meetings, late to return phone calls, late to fix repairs – you are going to earn the reputation of being “unreliable.”
3.) Talking Too Much
Sometimes people have the tendency to simply talk too much (I tend to flirt with that line, as I’m sure you can tell from my YouTube Videos). I’m sure you know a guy just like this (and if you don’t … well… I hate to break it to you but you are probably that guy!)
It’s uncomfortable to talk to these guys, who yap on and on for hours without letting you get a word in. I firmly believe this is one of the hardest habits to break but one of the most important in developing a strong reputation. On a related note – talking too much can also hurt you in negotiations. Learn the art of being silent.
4.) Paying Too Slowly
When I use to do contracting, who do you think I was more inclined to do work for –
- The guy who paid me when rent came in, two months later?
- The guy who met me at the job site and paid me the minute I finished?
Exactly. Build up your reputation as someone who pays quickly and honestly – and word will get around. This is one of the easiest things to do, and one of the best ways to always have great contractors to work with.
5.) Being Too Cheap
Ooooh I can see you squirming in your seat right now!
We real estate investors are all a little cheap, aren’t we? It’s in our nature! I’ll spend 30 minutes at Home Depot trying to determine the best bang for my buck when it comes to paint, just to save a few dollars (seriously, I did this. Check out my unscientific results here)
However – there comes a point when being too cheap is not healthy. This is especially true when dealing with contractors. If you are getting a good, honest bid from a great contractor but insist on whittling him down so he makes nothing – you are going to quickly earn the reputation as an investor they don’t want to work for. If you are like me, and struggle with being “too cheap” – try instead to aim for getting better deals. This way, you can afford to pay an honest wage and still make the profit you desire.
Have you ever held the door for someone, only to have them walk through without even acknowledging you? It makes me want to slam the door on their backside and watch them drop their Venti Mocha Latte all over the floor (kidding!) But seriously, ungrateful people are not pleasant to work around.
As an investor, chances are you are probably a little bit difficult to work with. I’m not saying you are a jerk – but you are probably a little bit of a hustler so you probably try to get things done with better quality, faster, and for less money.
This week I’ve been working on closing on a duplex (in-depth case study to come soon!) and I tried everything in my power to get the deal to close on Friday so work could start this weekend. I had several people running around trying to get paperwork filled out, money wired to the correct place, and contractors lined up ready to start work. I’m sure I made more than just my own day a little bit stressful.
In the end, the deal didn’t close yet (it should tomorrow… fingers crossed!) Writing this post, right now, I realize I don’t think I ever thanked those people. Sure, they were doing their job – but they worked extra hard to help me out and even though we didn’t close on the day I wanted to, they still tried. I’m going to take a page out of Glenn Schworm’s book and send some brownies.
Finally, when you ask a non-investor what they think of real estate investors – what word do you think comes to mind?
I’ve not seen a study on this, but I bet it’s “greed.”
Whether it’s true or not, real estate investors do have the reputation of being greedy and money-grubbing. Now, perhaps you don’t have a problem with being greedy, and you agree with Michael Douglas’ character in the film Wall Street that “Greed is Good.” However – despite how you feel about greed – the rest of the world doesn’t think it’s so good. So control your thirst for riches and don’t let it get in the way of how you treat others, how you run your business, and how you live your life.
Can you think of any other traits that would make a real estate investor look a little “ugly” to the world? Are there investors that you know that you just can’t stand to be around because of their “ugliness?” Let me know what traits you find most repulsive in the comments below!
Photo: Irish Typepad