How to (Gracefully) Handle Epic Failure as a Real Estate Investor


Life, as we all know, is full of unanticipated turns and twists. Despite our endless hard work and well-thought-out strategies, there are times when our planning simply derails. At that point, nothing seems to be working and all the exit doors appear to close. We try, we struggle, and then we succumb to the circumstances. The reality hits us hard, and we find failure staring hard in our face.

I’m sure many of you might have faced similar or even worse situations in life. Nobody can tell you better about tasting failure than the real estate guys. When the financial crisis of 2008 happened, many investors got hit by the recession, bad. You know what? I’ll tell you what my life was like just a couple of years ago. I was in the same boat as most people, having an eye-to-eye with failure. I dropped out of school at the age of 14 to pursue a soccer career that didn’t work out — and then to earn my living, I took up a job as a construction worker.

I was at the absolute low point of my career; I had nothing more to lose. I knew that from that point on there was just one way to go. And that was to go up. I said NO to that lifestyle. I picked myself up and found the motivation to climb the ladder of success. I learned a lot about the real estate business. However, I made many mistakes along the way. But the only thing that remained constant for me was my determination to never give up, come what may. I’ve always remembered this quote by Winston Churchill: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” And so I kept moving ahead. Every failure added to the building block of my success. And within three years, I got to where I’m standing today.

So, if destiny comes crashing down on you, my question to you is this: What are you going to do with that harsh reality you met with? And do you have plans that’ll help you bounce back?

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about tips to recover from a financial setback in real estate.


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Face the Reality and Accept the Situation

There’s no point putting your head in the sand agonizing about your current situation for ages. Come out and face the reality. Yes, you’re a victim of the financial recession, and that’s devastating. But it’s also true that the worst is over. It’s done and you’ve got nothing more to lose. From that point on, any positive achievement will be a step in the right direction. Now is the time to conserve your energy and hit the nail hard because success is, after all, “how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.”

Related: The Top 10 Most Outrageous Fails I’ve Seen as a Real Estate Investor (With Pics!)

You’ve faced a setback. Get over it as fast as you can because that’s the best way you can help yourself. By wallowing over your loss, you’re wasting your energy, which otherwise you’d have put to focus and strategize in the right direction.

When you lose something big, you get into a desperate state of mind. And let me tell you, that’s a great state to be in. You don’t want to be in that position, and so the only way to go is to move forward. Desperate times call for desperate measure, so quit being a crybaby, get up, and make it happen.

Seize Control

After you’ve calmed down, do a thorough analysis of the situation that led to your crisis. What happened? Why did it happen? What didn’t work for you? Take a note of all the facts and figures. Doing a postmortem of the situation will help you to build a foolproof plan this time. It’ll be a good idea to ask your friends and your colleagues to give you feedback about the whole situation. Getting a different perspective will help you in analyzing the situation from a different angle altogether.

Now, after taking a stock of the situation, put them into writing. Write down a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) for your business. Take a note of your current financial situation including your debts, your lost assets, your liabilities and everything in between that’ll help you to form a holistic picture of your situation. You have to know where you are right now before you can develop a realistic plan to get where you want to go in the future. It’s no different from a road map where you’re trying to figure out your destination route. In order to locate your route, you should first know where you’re standing now.

Some of the questions that’ll help you in analyzing your current status are:

  • How much money do you owe?
  • Is there going to be any additional outflow of money?
  • How much is going to be your monthly cash flow?
  • How much are you going to spend each month?

Generate a Plan

The next step towards your financial recovery is to generate a plan that is good and offers you a fallback option as well. So, prepare your goal that’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. In short, prepare a SMART goal. You know, your planning should be specific, as in, “I want to make $100,000,00 in two years.” Now this is a measurable and specific goal. Since you’ve already assessed your current situation, the plan that you prepare will be attainable and realistic. For example, if you’ve lost four properties in a go, you can’t have goals like “I’ll build six more properties within next six months.”

Seek Contacts and Referrals

Next, you need to start working your way through the situation. You’ve got friends, colleagues, family, and relatives. Tell each one of them that you’re looking forward to any doors that open up an opportunity for a profitable relationship. Be straightforward and honest. Let them know that you’re looking for deals, referrals, contacts, and leads.

Trust and relationships matter a lot in real estate business. If you’ve helped others during their bad times, rest assured, people will come forward to help you. And if not, you know you have got other means like internet research, newspaper ads, and network events to gather information on leads and property locations.


Work Your Way

When tough times come, you know that you’re up against the odds. It is very essential that you give it your 200 percent this time. Push yourself to the limit so that you get things back in shape. Start from the beginning and build it again. Brick by brick. Make sure that the foundation is much, much stronger this time around so it doesn’t collapse.

Related: Confessions of Serial Mistake-Maker: How I’ve Found Real Estate Success Through Failure

Do not hasten things. When you push things in a hurry, there is the chance of making the same mistakes that you did last time. So, with every step, pause for a while, look at every detail, and then move forward. Believe me, if you really work hard, leaving no stone unturned, leaving no lead unattended, success will be yours. Focus on consistently doing the numbers every day.

Additional Source of Income

When you’re dealing with a financial loss, you’re in a state of urgency. Take advantage of this situation by building up an additional source of income. It can be anything — a part-time job, investing in small projects of real estate, or anything. Just make sure you’ve got an extra source of income so that when the main source gets a beating, you still have a fallback option to take care of your needs during crunch time. Remember that 9-5 is just survival and what you do before 9 and after 5 is the bigger picture dream building stuff.

Your Habits

Before I close this blog, I’ll emphasize on the value of what good habits bring. If you want to be successful, you got to take care of your daily habits. By those, I mean, work productively, manage your time efficiently, and keep yourself motivated and energized. Outsource your weaknesses and change your behavior for a better self.

Never fear failure. They are a part of your journey. Try new things, innovate, and think out of the box. If you fail, get up, look around, gather courage and once again get back to trying new things. PUMP IT EVERY DAY.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy

Investors: Have your investments ever failed catastrophically?

Let me know your story — and how you handled it — with a comment!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora is the CEO/Founder of Ohio Cashflow and a successful property investor that quit school at the age of 14. He is known for buying “Australia’s Cheapest House” and building a property portfolio valued at over $1,000,000 in only 6 months. To find out more go to

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