How to Embrace the Uncertainty of Change & Make Your First Deal

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In life, change can present many challenges and can therefore be frightening — but to become a successful real estate investor, you will eventually come to a fork in the road called transition. One question you will face is: do I continue on the path of working a job that is paying the bills but which I dread going to everyday, or do I set out to follow my passions and dreams?

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What is “Transition”?

“Transition” is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a change from one state or condition to anther; or passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to anther; change.”

This definition is simple enough to follow, and everyone understands what transition is as a noun, but the state of transition is very difficult when in action as a verb, as in “I am transitioning.”

Note: I am not trying to get philosophical, but for anyone to change from one state to another, there is a period where the subject that is changing or transitioning will encounter a time when things are uncomfortable or uncertain.

The Caterpillar-to-Butterfly Transition

Lets look at the transition of a caterpillar to a butterfly, for example. The caterpillar transitions to a butterfly, but during the transition, although they look completely different, they are still the same insect. The caterpillar during the time of transition is affected tremendously and can no longer do what it was able to do before.

Related: The Hidden Key To Success In Real Estate Investing

While in its cocoon, it is unable to crawl, eat, breed etc. I hope you get the point. After the transition, it is completely transformed; it can do things that it could not do before (fly), it can go places where it could not go before (high into the air), it looks different, and it attracts different things because its surroundings are different.

How Does This Apply to Real Estate?

The caterpillar-butterfly metaphor was used to describe the transition you will face when finally deciding to become a real estate investor.

You are still “Matt,” “Sally” or “Joe,” but during the transition, things will become different, uncertain — and even difficult. You will not be able to do some of the things you did before, such as hang out with friends as much, spend all day Sunday watching football because you need to study, or even take your spouse out as much because you do not have as much money.

This will become uncomfortable, but during this transition period, you will have to remember that you are finally going to be able to reach the potential that you were made to reach.

  1. You will be able to attract things to you that you would never have been able to attract (private money).
  2. You will be able to go places where you would not have been able to go before because your surroundings have changed.
  3. Instead of crawling on the ground eating what is within your reach, you are now able to soar and experience new and exotic things.

How One Uncomfortable Decision Changed My Life

I considered my life to be comfortable: my family owns a successful business, I have 3 wonderful kids, an amazing wife, and I am a college graduate, but I was living life as a caterpillar. Things were comfortable, but uncomfortable at the same time; I was ready to transition.

I knew there was a thirst for real estate that could not be quenched in my current position in life, and as much as I loved working with my family, the hunger and passion of real estate was beginning to gnaw at me.

My Transition

My wife was awarded a great job in Phoenix, AZ, and it was something she always wanted to do. Great, was my first reaction. But are we really able to do this? was my common sense reaction. I knew that with my job I was able to work remotely, but it was my family business. How would my side of the family accept me leaving? What about my kids leaving their grandparents, cousins and friends?

I do not know anyone in Phoenix. How will I… everything?

Talk about uncomfortable — this was it, but I understood that Phoenix was the epicenter of real estate, and after putting together a plan (that eventually fell miserably), I set out for the valley of the sun.

The Opposition

No one understood what we were doing: not our family, not our Pastor, not our friends and especially not our 13 year old daughter. No one understood, but despite the criticism and the uncertainty, we finally came to a decision: GO!

The Launch

A few weeks before the road trip, I stumbled across a website while looking for answers on how to rent our house (at the time we could not sell). The site was BiggerPockets. I became engrossed in the information and began to download podcast after podcast. I became more excited, and I could visualize the end from the beginning.

During the drive from Chicago to Phoenix, I absorbed everything I possibly could from the podcast, but I did not understand:

  • Real estate marketing
  • Finding buyers
  • Building a team
  • Knowing where and how to get started
  • The Phoenix market

There were may unknowns and uncertainties, but I was still driving West — and could not understand why.

The End Result

Once landing and getting situated, caterpillar-to-butterfly transition began to take form:

  1. I couldn’t do what I did before, spend down time watching football; I had to educated myself.
  2. I began to attract the people I needed by networking at meetings, so my surroundings began to change.
  3. Instead of crawling on the ground, I am now able to soar and wholesale deals to other investors, which is now taking me to new and exotic places.

This is the reason why I kept driving West; I knew that this was my passion and that I would just figure it out along the way. I heard a familiar saying by Joel Osteen: “It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit.” I knew I would hit something, either gold or coal, but I was shooting!

Related: 5 Tips for Beginner Real Estate Investors

Recently working with a partner, we were able to secure a deal we got under contract on a Friday — and had it sold the following Monday. The end result a gross payout of $40,000. BOOM! I hit something and it sure wasn’t coal. 🙂 This is one of the 12 deals I have done in 18 months since moving to Phoenix, AZ.

There are many uncertainties you will have to face when transitioning, but you’ll emerge on the other side stronger, wiser and better off than where you began.

Are you up for the challenge to be transformed? Are you ready to make the transition from caterpillar to butterfly? Instead of crawling, do you want to soar?

Let us know what you are doing TODAY that will effect your TOMORROW.

About Author

Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney G+ is the Executive Officer of Equity Realty & Investments as well as 3rd Generation Management & Holding LLC, both are family owned and operated real estate investment firms. The firms' goal is to provide affordable solutions in real estate while providing exceptional opportunities for community redevelopment for the residents of Phoenix, Arizona and Chicago, Illinois. You can follow Marcus on Twitter

18 Comments

  1. Gloria D. Wilson on

    Wow! Marcus – thanks so much for this post on transitioning – it certainly came at a needed moment – when I’m kind of dealing with TMI (too much information) and uncertain about which direction or next steps or if I should even by trying to do this at all. It’s certainly helped me take a broader, yet more intensive view of where I am and where I want to be. Though I don’t think I’m in the “flipping” mode; more interested in buy and hold rental properties, it’s renewed my resolve to make it happen.
    Continued success to you in Arizona. And thanks for the Joel Osteen quote.
    Stay Blessed
    Gloria D. Wilson

    • Gloria,

      Transitioning is very difficult when your in it but once you come through it you will see that you had to go through it for a reason. It really help me evaluate the quality of my interactions with people and cherish each conversation, because it took a lot for me to get where I am, and where I am going. Although 18 months is a long time, there where a lot of tests that challenged my faith and character.

      Thank you, for the encouragement as well.

      Continue to endure, remember, for every mountain top there is a valley on each side.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  2. Wow! Great post. I needed to read this as I am going through my transition. Moving from Houston to Minneapolis. Change is painful, buts it’s worth it.

    Thanks for great article.

    • Ilhan,

      I’m glad my story is an inspiration to others. The most important thing to do is remain consistent; know what you want to get accomplished that day and get it done. Have your daily positive affirmation of where you are going, and i the evening evaluate yourself. You will start seeing the progress. I am a huge advocate of speaking to someone through BP daily if possible.

      Keeping moving forward!!!!

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  3. Great Post.
    Thanks, Marcus as this post truly defines my current situation. After coming across this post, It’s a sign that I need to steer the course and see it through.

    • Lamont,

      Thank you, just be persistent and no matter what the obstacle learn from it and know the more obstacles you encounter the closer you are getting to your dream materializing. Its not easy but its fun, when you accomplish small task.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

    • Hattie,

      You are exactly right….I used to get disappointed when I would hear some investors success stories, but I changed my perspective and realized that if its working for them eventually I will have the success story. Remain faithful to your plan and HE will make a way!!!!!

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  4. Another great post. I’m currently building my cocoon in preparation for my transition from pursuing a “buy & hold” portfolio to incorporating “wholesaling” and “fix & flips” to generate larger chunks of cash to help expedite my pursuit to become a full-time investor.

    • Larry,

      That was how I started out as a landlord and wanted the excitement and challenge of finding and negotiating deals that could fund more buy and holds and fix and flips. I always network with those that know more than me and have done it before. I look at as drafting in NASCAR, get behind a industry leader and learn and follow and incorporate some of my own talents to it. Try it and challenge yourself!!!

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  5. Tavonte Battles on

    Great articl
    Thats awesome im going through some of the things u said but determined to be successful real estate investor any advice on how u analyzed your market to get started

    • Tavonte,

      Thanks for the compliment. I began researching the Phoenix market by going to REIA meetings. They would give a in-depth review of the market and upcoming trends. By doing this I was able to learn comps. I would also search outliers on the MLS, these are deals that sold for considerably less than the market yields, those deals I knew had to be investor purchases. I would also look at investor flips on Redfin, and I would look at the property history which shows the purchase history. So I would look at how they bought and how they sold it, and DOM (days on market).

      Join every wholesalers mailing list, this is how you can track deals, you are basically a researcher at this point, pick a few deals and follow them. I use the tax assessors site to see who bought the properties, and see what the end result will be.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  6. Thank you, Marcus! This is exactly what I needed to hear (read) right now. I was starting to get into a rut with the uncomfortable feelings of my transition. Your article has really inspired me! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I wish you continued (and ever expanding) success!

  7. Marcus – this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. It will be uncomfortable…awkward.. and sometimes I may want to give up but I know this is the time of my life I have to grow and pursue my passion. Thank You for the post. Looking to secure mentors as I embark on my journey.

  8. Marcus, thank you for speaking to those whose feet are tentatively testing the waters. Should I or should i not? I have a full-time job currently so that’s my comfort zone. Yet I would love to start the process and have been reading a lot from BP. My question to you is this: Was the transition for you easier because your wife held the fort with a stable job? Sometimes, the questions in my head swim around where to spend my non-working and non-sleeping hours: on the Word as a teacher which i know has “out-of-this-world benefits” or on reading on RE investing…
    It would be great to hear your perspective…

  9. Casey DeCaire

    Thank you for this post Marcus! I stumbled upon this article at just the right time in my life… Let’s just say I’ve been transitioning for a little bit too long in my opinion, I’m 26. Some say I can relax, but for my sanity… in my situation… something has to happen NOW!

    I’m similar to you in the sense that we both headed West(I’m from Michigan) and found real estate along the way. I’m in Seattle now and I’m so excited to be here, I almost can’t contain it. From just falling in love with the city itself to realizing how much potential there is for real estate out here. I’m still gathering my network, scouring this website for knowledge, finding a mentor, and getting my family and friends on board with the idea but I can feel my wings spreading. Thanks for the inspiration!

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