I am frequently asked, “If you had it to do over again what would you do differently?” Well, I’d like to answer that question for you. There are several things you can do to help your business grow and several things you can do to kill the dream before it ever has a chance to become a reality. Let’s talk about the “ten deadly mistakes” that can kill your dream.
- Listening to people who make less money than you do. There are a lot of folks out there who don’t understand this business at all, yet they will want to give you advice faster than anyone else. They basically want to keep you where they are, which is broke. Surround yourself with people who can guide you in a positive way and a forward direction. Get involved with your local real estate club or a mentoring program. Read all you can on the subject and educate yourself to move forward with your business. Don’t let a “naysayer” kill your dream.
- Lack of Focus. If you’re anything like I was when I first got started in real estate, then you know how to find something else you’d rather do, or something that seems like it’s more important at the moment. I found very quickly that I had to do the work in order to succeed in the real estate business. The more of the initial “work” I did, the faster my business grew. What I mean by the work is finding motivated sellers, learning how to structure deals and then figuring out my exit strategy. The other part of the work was to very quickly find ways to automate these systems, and get someone else doing the work for me so I could deal only with the sellers. This took concentration and the ability to learn to avoid distractions, like the telephone for example. I very quickly learned to return all calls three or four times a day instead of taking every call that came in. I also had to learn how to focus on specific types of real estate deals at the beginning of my business instead of being pulled in all directions and not accomplishing anything at all. You must stay very focused in order to become successful in any business you pursue.
- Getting Beyond the “Get Rich Quick” Mentality– Anyone who thinks this is a “get rich quick” kind of business is in for a rude awakening. It takes time, discipline and ongoing education to be very successful at real estate. Isn’t worth it to take some time now to learn the business and start doing deals that make you thousands of dollars so you can vacation and spend time with your family a little later? There are so many “get rich quick” schemes out there that just don’t work. Real estate will work for you over and over if you give it the time and discipline it well deserves.
- Wasting Time With Unmotivated Sellers– I cover this extensively in my Marketing Magic System. Don’t waste valuable time dealing with people who want to sell a property. Deal only with those who NEED to sell. And don’t waste a lot of time on the phone with them. Automate your system to develop ways to get sellers to give you the information you need to determine if there is a deal to be made before you ever have a conversation with them. If a seller is not motivated enough to accept your offer-be it price or terms, find another seller who is. Time is money in this business. I would suggest however, that there are times you will want to follow up with a semi-motivated seller and there are great ways to do this without taking up a lot of your time. I also cover this extensively in my system. Also, don’t waste your time looking at properties before you have made an offer to the seller. I never look at houses anymore without having a very good idea what my seller will accept. I just make the offer “subject to inspection” which gives me an out if the property isn’t what the seller and I agreed to. Usually the deal is made before I ever see a property.
- Building a Huge Rental Base Before Taking Care of Today’s Cash flow Needs. I could absolutely write a book on this subject. When I first started in the business, I started keeping every single property. All of a sudden I had 55 properties in inventory and no money to pay the bills. I actually started thinking the real estate business just didn’t work. Thank goodness I was proved wrong, but not before learning a very valuable lesson. I have my mentor to thank for that. We started liquidating some of those properties to get cash coming in and then developed a plan for how many houses we would retail and how many we would keep each month based on what our personal needs were. If you are just starting out, believe me when I tell that you wholesaling properties is a really good way to build cash flow quickly. If you want to keep some properties, you can do that. Just make sure you develop a plan of action that will work for you and your personal finances. Make sure you have enough cash coming in to meet your personal needs and build a nest egg of extra cash.
- Fear of Making Offers. This is another subject I could talk a lot about from personal experience. I remember targeting motivated sellers, having them contact me and then leaving the information on my desk because I was afraid to contact them. Once I learned that they are just people too, it became a lot easier. If you already have the information about their situation and their property in front of you because you have built a system to do that, you already know most of what you need to know. The rest of the deal lies in your ability to pick up the phone and talk to the seller. Fear of sellers is probably one of the most serious problems you will encounter as a real estate investor, because without the sellers, there are no deals. The biggest problem that I see with students is the fear of rejection from the seller. So what? Either they sell to you or they don’t. If they don’t, then simply move onto a seller who is willing to work with you.
- Making Excuses like “I don’t know enough yet to make deals”. I am one of those people who just has to jump in first and do it and then fix it later. However, in the real estate business, this just isn’t a really good idea. You do need to get some education in order to do this business, or work with someone who already has the education. Working with a partner or a mentor isn’t a bad way to get started. However, your own education is going to be an ongoing process and you need to do it. If you try to do deals without having any idea what you are doing, you’re going to get burned out quickly. You will not get offers accepted, you won’t know what to do if you do get an offer accepted and you may not make nearly as good a deal as you could with a little education under your belt. Even after all the years I have been doing this business, I still go to seminars and read books to learn even more ways to do great deals. In the beginning, I learned enough in a very short time to do a lot of profitable deals and you can too. Once you get active in the business you will run into a lot of different kinds of scenarios concerning sellers and situations. This is one of the reasons I offer ongoing support to all my students. If they get stuck on a deal or an offer, they know where they can get their questions answered.
- Procrastination. There are several things you need to do in order to become a Real Estate Investor. Sitting in front of the television watching re-runs isn’t one of them. You will be able to find lots of reasons to put off getting started in the real estate business. My personal favorites were “my job is keeping my too busy” and “the kids need me.” Once I started making a specific plan and put it in writing, things started to happen. I have always been a list maker and working the real estate business involved making several more lists. So I started keeping a detailed planner outlaying what I have to do the next day, the next week, the next month, etc. This helps keep me very focused and moving ahead in a specific direction. This will make your business grow faster than you know. You will be able to track tasks, deals, and you can keep your appointment schedule organized as well. There is nothing I know that will keep things in prospective better than a specific plan of action.
- Lack of Communication Skills. One of the major obstacles I hear my students having trouble with is their lack of communication skills. There are a lot of reasons this happens. One is simply because the student is from another country or part of the country and has an accent that makes it difficult to understand them, or they don’t have a total grasp on the English language. To these folks I say, find someone else to do the talking for you until your communication skills improve. A Realtor can certainly help you with this problem and you should have a Realtor as a part of your “Dream Team” regardless of your communication level. As a matter of fact, if you have automated your business the way I teach you to, you can buy houses without ever seeing them or talking to a seller. Many of my offers are made in writing without ever seeing the property and then the details are handled by the closing agent. In fact, I deal with a lot of Spanish speaking sellers and I don’t speak a word of Spanish. I simply developed a system to handle these sellers.
- Fear of Failure- Let me be the one to tell you that the only person who can truly kill your dreams is YOU. The decision is simply yours to make. I know this sounds cliché, but do you really want to go through your whole life wondering if you could have done it? The only way to realize your dreams is to “fail forward”. You may make some mistakes along the way but you will quickly learn what not to do the next time. I would much rather know that when I reach retirement, I will be able to do what I want to do, go where I want to go and not have to depend on anyone to provide for my old age. The easiest decision to make is to do nothing at all, but you get no reward that way. Half of the excitement of my life these days that makes me get up in the morning is finding and doing the next deal because it’s a thrill for me. It definitely isn’t a job anymore. I can also choose to just take the day off and do what I want to do. Only you have the ability to set yourself free to do live your life in whatever way you want to, and real estate is definitely the avenue to accomplish this goal!!
For more information about Kathy Kennebrook’s real estate products go to marketingmagiclady.com