The #1 Thing I Would Do Differently if I Could Turn Back Time

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Today I’m going to talk to you about the past. I’d like to share the number one thing I’d have done differently if I could turn back time. Check it out.

The Pros Say

Before I start, I want to tell you one really cool thing that I like doing. This happens in the late hours of my workday, once I’ve already plowed through my 14th and 15th hours. I look in my inbox. And I do a Google search, looking for other successful entrepreneurs out there like Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, and Mark Cuban, and all those Shark Tank folks. Then I get inspired to flick them a quick little email to try to get ahold of them one way or another. I actually did get a few replies from some of them, such as Grant Cardone. The question I always ask everyone is, “When looking back on your life — be it business or personal — what is one thing that you would have done differently?”

Related: 5 Tips for Investing in Real Estate When You Don’t Have Much Time

Believe it or not guys, I’ve gotten a few replies from very successful individuals. They all said they would have gone bigger much sooner. I was like, what the hell does that mean? I guess what that means is they would have taken more risks when they had momentum on their side and things were working out. Very interesting.

My Experience

Anyway, I’m talking to you today about the one thing that I would have done differently in regards to real estate and business in general. When I started my journey as a real estate investor, I caught the bug. It was all about the hype and buzz for me. I wanted to buy property; I wanted to build a huge portfolio; and I just wanted to get as many numbers on my board as possible. I wanted bragging rights. Because I was young and dumb, I wanted to go to a party and tell some ladies that I’m a real estate investor and an entrepreneur.

Well, that kind of backfired on me. It backfired because I was building my portfolio for quantity purposes, not quality purposes. I had no clue what I was doing. I was very young, very inexperienced, and I also got advice from a few bad characters. I built a very large portfolio in a short amount of time, and I was manipulating the system to borrow a ton of money. I had over $1 million in debt on only a $40,000 income. I was pretty much bleeding money on my monthly mortgage payments. But hey, I was hoping that these properties would appreciate more over time than what I was losing on my mortgage payments. Just like a lot of folks on the East Coast and West Coast did leading up to the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Bad idea, and bad move.

Related: 7 Top Business Books to Help You Put Vital Systems in Place

The Lesson

Guys, my message to you is do not invest based on quantity goals. Do not invest in real estate just for the title associated with it so you can say, “I quit my job. I’m a real estate investor and entrepreneur.” Don’t do that. What I need you to do is look into the future. Where do you want to be five years from now? Ten years from now? How much passive income do you need to live the lifestyle that you desire and want your family to enjoy? Then you need to reverse engineer and work your way back from that.

So let’s just say, hypothetically, in ten years you want to have $100,000 in passive income coming in each year from real estate. Every single property that you buy — and every step you take each day, week, month, quarter, and year must get you a little bit closer to achieving that end goal. So the properties that you add to your portfolio have to be producing passive income. They have to be cashflow positive, they have to put a lot of money in your pocket every single day, and those numbers must meet your end goal of $100,000 in passive income.

It’s very simple, real estate is a simple game once you get rid of the fat — and once you’re not focused on so many little things that people try and brainwash you with. It really just comes down to the fundamentals of a particular transaction. As the numbers show today, forget about capital appreciation. I’m buying it for this much. I’m renovating it for this much. This is how much rent I’m going to get. These are my expenses. I’m also going to overestimate my expenses: This is how much net cashflow I’m going to get in the worst-case scenario. Does that net cashflow get me a step closer to achieving my end goal? If that net cashflow does indeed get you a step closer to your end goal, the investment may be worth pursuing further.

In Summary

I’ve made mistakes; I’ve jumped in and bought properties for the purpose of quantity not quality. If I could turn back time, if I could do things over again, I would buy based on my end goals. I would buy a property to get me one step closer to achieving my end goal.

A big one I forgot to mention is this: I would have been more patient. OK, guys. Patience. Never cry because of a missed opportunity because there is always going to be another one around the corner. Never pay more than you need to for any particular property because there is always going to be another great deal around the corner, I promise. Be patient. Have the money in the kitty, work hard, save the cash, look at it in your account and then pounce when the right opportunity presents itself where the numbers truly make sense today. Not what they may look like tomorrow, focus on today. The numbers have to make sense today because we can’t predict the future.

So, guys, that is my zero point two crypto coins. Whatever — might as well use crypto coins, right?

What if you could turn back time? What is one thing that you would have done differently in your personal or business life, and why?

I’d love to hear from you below.

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora “The Real Estate Dingo” is a successful property investor, motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur that quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at 18. He is also a soon to be published author along with becoming a TV personality in his very own real estate house flipping show. To find out more go to . Engelo Rumora has been involved in over 400 real estate deals and founded five businesses in Ohio. The most successful is Ohio Cashflow, a company that specializes in providing turnkey properties in several Ohio markets. The newest venture is List’n Sell Realty, a real estate brokerage based in Toledo, Ohio and soon to be known as the #1 discount broker in the country.


  1. Sonia Spangenberg

    Engelo, I’ve only been doing this for 4 years. I have already made mistakes and learned huge lessons. Patience is the biggest point to remember. I think everyone pretty much learns the basics at first. However, we get to excited and the guru’s just put gasoline on the fire. THINK FOR YOURSELF, stick to the basics and BE PATIENT! I was afraid of lack of ability to do the math quickly and not confident on how to do bookkeeping. I relied on a partner who was not a good match for myself, (because she was supposed to be good at the math and bookkeeping but wasn’t and didn’t). Find REAL deals. That is even more CRITICAL if you like the concept of GOING BIGGER SOONER. Don’t forget that.

    I love the reminder to make sure the deal is profitable NOW not just in the future. Engelo, thanks for boiling it all down so concisely.

  2. I am so sorry to burst your bubble but you have it all wrong! The way you started your real estate career is exactly what you needed to become the person you are today. No guru on earth could have taught you the valuable lessons you learned from the gate! All of that is because you would not have listened anyway. My guess is that you would not trade the knowledge that you have gained over the years as an investor for a PhD.
    Now that you are mature, go ahead and shine, you earned it. Congratulations!

  3. Jack Eyer

    Engelo- been awhile since we saw you & sounds like you are a bit wiser today.. Looking back 40 yrs for me, I would say I started similar in that my College minor was RE so it deceived me to jump in quick at 22 and bought first one at Night- don’t recommend that and another within a week later. Real bad deal on first one and lucky on #2 in neighborhood that has gone straight up. The first one though over the years has earned me over 250k on plus paid for PP of 26k and have it up for sell now.
    What I would say today- looking backwards is your biggest enemy is TIME- you cannot get it back so Buy smarter but more important quickly about 10 Units. Not enough to sink you but let time have its way for you.. By then you should be comfortable and can get real picky and smart.
    Additionally, I would say Fix and FLIP one a year at least one a year for quick Profits and feel good part of it. Today as I enter retirement, I am liquidating rentals slowly and moving to much Short Term Profit taking which is FLIPS. Can afford them more readily and since time is more limited or on my side, I want the profits quicker..
    The TAX ADVANTAGES that were mine for so long are BETTER than EVER, with new Trump Tax Act- this I might miss, just not right now. Be a Rehab-er: today I am Helping others who pay taxes buy them a pot full of rentals today to get huge upfront write offs against earned income..
    Good luck to you and the readers. I don’t think it has ever been better to be a REI than it is today, in my past 40 years!! Patience is a virtue to in RE.

  4. I agree with what the gurus told you. I am in a market where you go big or go home. But it does beg the question, what bank was dumb enough to lend you a million on $40K of income?

  5. Alex Franks

    Engelo How are you, sir? I could write the book on bad decisions and what I would do differently. A lot of wise words above. I look back at one point in time we were averaging 15 to 25 deals in multiple markets. Yet making others rich and building debt. I decided to go out on my own in late nov 2016. Instead of rushing into anything I took almost a full year to really decide what it is that makes me happy. What do I Like and dislike in this business? Then putting a simpler plan to in effect. Now it is the start of year two but taking things slowly. We both know how to run this business from top to bottom. I think one of the keys is not chasing dollars but chasing happiness. True happiness is different for all. I put a major focus on family and friends revisiting relationships. Spending even more time in my garden and increased focus on my working out and running. Next word is time, one gone we just don’t get it back. So I find myself appreciating my time and others folks time, even more, today than ever. Diversification would be another word I would add in for the business. Hope all is well and sure we will talk again at some point in time.



    Thank you for your advice Engelo! Great post! I have been very eager to close my first deal and have been doing a lot researching to make sure I do everything for the purpose of QUALITY and not quantity. A reminder that opportunities is always around the corner and patience is important, was very much needed. Happy Investing!

  7. Ali Hashemi

    So between Grant Cardone and yourself my take away should be: “Go bigger sooner but not too soon” ?

    I guess that can be shortened to “timing”. So much of everything we do is simply timing, so I’m inclined to agree.

    Interesting article, thanks

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