The major league baseball season is almost upon us! I personally don’t follow any other “pro” sports except for one: baseball. Opening day is less than three weeks away! When I was a little girl, my father and I use to watch our favorite team, the New York Mets (no, not the Yankees!). I would sit there excited and anxious to see the game unfold. I always had a baseball glove in one hand and sunflower seeds in the other. My father, who was from Brooklyn, NY, taught me (and continues to teach me) so much about the game of baseball.
We talked a lot about the meaning of a player’s batting average, which is arguably the most important “metric” that baseball players are evaluated on. If you think about it, a baseball player’s goal is never to have a perfect batting average. That is nearly impossible in baseball! If a player has a batting average of 300 (which is considered great), that means that they only got 3 hits out of 10 times being at the plate! The most successful baseball players work really hard on a daily basis throughout the entire season to increase their batting average. They know it does not happen overnight, and it takes baby steps.
Okay, so how does this relate to real estate investing and habit formation!? When you look at someone who is successful in real estate investing versus someone who is not successful, there are many reasons for this. One major difference between these two types of people that you will see repeatedly is that they have different habits. Successful people do things differently and in turn get different results.
A couple of years ago, I read a terrific book about habits that I highly recommend called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Dughigg. What I love about this book is that it provides ideas and strategies on how a habit forms and how to create and change existing habits. I won’t go into too much detail on the book, but if you can, put this one on your reading list!
Creating successful habits will help you become more successful in real estate investing. More importantly, these habits will help increase your batting average. It is not about going from a 250 batting average to 400 overnight. It takes time and it takes a daily commitment.
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8 Habits to Improve Your Real Estate Investing Batting Average
1. Successful investors look for deals everyday.
It was said that the “deal of the decade” comes along every day. Deals do come around ALL THE TIME. I don’t believe that there is a shortage of deals out there. However, you must look for them constantly. I have created the habit that on a daily basis to look both on the MLS and Craigslist for deals. I review the listings and see if any jump out to me that would be ideal for our current goals.
2. Once they have had some success, they don’t forget to run the numbers on every deal.
It is so easy in this business to get to the point where you feel comfortable and confident in your knowledge. You have done a bunch of deals and know your “stuff” so to speak. Then a new deal comes along, and you figure, you know what you are doing, so you really don’t have to run the numbers too specifically. Bad mistake! Don’t allow yourself to get lazy. A good deal can become a bad deal very quickly. Run the numbers regardless!
3. They constantly set, review, and reflect on their goals.
Successful real estate investors who are looking to grow and expand their business have this habit down to a science. They don’t just goal-set during December; they review and re-evaluate their goals on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Remember, success is about making small changes throughout the year.
4. They network with people who are more successful than they are.
The minute you think you “know it all,” you know you have a problem! No one in this business (no matter how successful they are) knows it all and has everything perfect. My husband Matt and I set some aggressive goals 10 years ago when we started investing in real estate. Although we have met many of these goals, we are now looking to grow and expand our business in a new way. We are always looking to network with all types of folks in real estate investing. We are always focused on connecting with individuals who might be doing things differently than us — that way we can learn from them. You always have something to learn as an investor!
5. They are always reviewing the numbers of their properties/portfolio.
This is a fairly obvious one. But I have to say this is a habit that is not always done by real estate investors. I remember early on, I used to ask my husband, how is x property performing? He would say to me “good.” I would then probe further about why it was performing “good,” and he would not be able to get me the detail I wanted! What I love about reviewing numbers is that it puts an objective view on your business. We typically review the numbers on a monthly basis. This has been so incredibly helpful for us. It has allowed us to save money, reduce our expenses, and keep an eye out for “blind spots.”
6. They learn and continue to know their market inside and out.
In order to build a real estate investing portfolio and execute deals successfully, you must know your market better than anyone else. This can mean neighborhood by neighborhood or street by street. We all know some markets change quicker than others. It is so important to know not only other real estate investors in your market, but know and network with business leaders in your market as well. You can’t possibly know everything, but you need to network with and keep your “finger on the pulse” constantly.
7. They form, evaluate and cultivate a rockstar team and partners.
I probably talk about the importance of a team in real estate investing ALL THE TIME. However, it is the habit that will (single-handedly) help you be successful. You can’t do it alone. I really wish you could, but I don’t know any successful real estate investors that did it all by themselves. A team (or partner) can either accelerate or slow down the achievement of your goals. Remember to take time to cultivate these relationships. If any of these relationships are going “sour,” move quickly to clean it up or move on from the relationship!
8. They find a solution for every problem.
How many times do we hear this? Be solution-oriented! Focus on the solution, not the problem! Well, in this business, sometimes this is not the easiest thing to do. Partnerships, deals, construction, tenants (the list can go on and on) will at some point “go South,” and we need to on a daily basis get into action and solution mode. Successful investors create the habit of moving through the frustration and finding solutions to these issues quickly!
So what am habits am I missing?
Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting. Happy investing!