What Motivation is the Key to Success in Real Estate?

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 25 Comments

A blog post by Nick Johnson a few weeks ago (Nick if you read this could you help me find it?) spurred me into thinking about what is my motivation for wanting to become a real estate investor.   Nick talked about his life and the hardships he had gone through which motivated him to make a change.   For me, my life has been easy compared to most and I freely admit that.  My parents are great, my brothers and I are great friends and I’ve never experienced any money troubles.  Life was good in the Costello house.  I’d even call myself spoiled for the shear fact that I never worked a day in my life up until I was about 20 years old.  I was lacking motivation and thus just fell into the path of go to school, get a job and a steady paycheck.

In the beginning of my working life I really enjoyed being a programmer and creating custom financial and project management software.  It allowed me to be creative and offered immediate gratification every time I would successfully complete a portion of the program.  I loved it and found it rewarding.

Fast forward to the present and the need for new programs have dried up and now all I do is act like a help-desk.  I answer peoples questions, help them understand and use the programs that I have written and fix any problems that may arise.  The only programming left is when I have to add a small feature here or modify the program to accommodate a new government regulation.  Some might wonder why I don’t just go out a look for another programming job where there is a need for a new application.  I loved the programming part of my job in the past right?  Yes I did, but I’m not to sure I do any more…

You see, my life has changed drastically from when I was 25 years old.  I am now married to a wonderful woman, own a condo and a little dog too.  What has also changed is my way of thinking.  I can attribute that to getting older and wiser as well as reading such great books as Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Millionaire Mind and Crush It.

Sometimes you don’t know what you want until life takes you in a direction you don’t want to go.  Some people never figure out exactly what they want, or they do but don’t know how to get it.  I was like that in my twenties and the reason for that, as I know now, is I hadn’t found my motivation yet.   On July 4th, 2004 that motivation entered into my life.  At the time I didn’t now Valarie would be such an influence on my thinking and behavior, but as the years passed and we fell in love, got married and bought our condo a realization hit me.  I wanted to spend as much time with my family as possible.

I started observing how other families around me worked.  What kept them from each other the most?  It was simple to see actually.  It was the 9 to 5 (and many times the 9 to 9)  corporate job that came between families.  My father was very much like this growing up.  As we grew, it seemed, he had to work longer and harder hours with each passing year just to support me and my two brothers.  My dad would routinely come home at 11pm.   He was brought up to work hard, go to college, get a good job and provide for his family.  He is a WONDERFUL father and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in the world.  The only problem is that he taught me the same thing he was taught by his father.

My Dad is 68 years old now, and is forced to work in an office that is 1 hour and 45 minutes away from his family.  The drive was killing him, so now he stays in a long term hotel during the week so he can get some sleep.  You can hear the depression in his voice when he has to leave on Sunday evening and when he arrives home on Friday night the smile comes back to his face.   He could retire but a life time of working hard and resigning himself to that life has left him not knowing how else to live.   So he just keeps working hard.

That is my motivation!  I do not want to end up living 5 days a week, almost 2 hours away from my family.   As it is now, I only see my wife on weekends because we work opposite hours and it’s killing me!  This is a dangerous path we are on that is pointing us to the same place my father and mother are in.  I’m not willing to accept that and I will change our future right now!

What is your motivation?  If you have a story that you would like to share please leave a comment. Or if you like send me an email describing your motivation.  It’s inspiring to read them.

Scott Costello
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Comments 25

  1. Pretty deep stuff Scott.

    My motivation is also centered around my family.

    1) For my beautiful wife. She is the hardest working English teacher ever. I want her to be able to only work if she wants to, not because she has to. She says her ideal situation would be to teach just 2-3 periods in the middle of the day, so that she can be home any time that our future children will be home.

    2) My twin sister who is both mentally and physically handicapped. She lives of of social security disability. I want to be able to take care of her in the future. She deserves more than she has right now. I got the long straw when we were born, and I feel like it is my duty to care for her.

    3) My parents. They lost a lot of their retirement back when the market took a huge dump. They are good right now, but if anything were to ever happen again, the would be up $hit creek. I would love to one day to be able to pay off their mortgage.

    I love my family so much. I love helping people also. My parent ingrained that into my being.

  2. Looks like we have very similar motivation to make this investing thing work for us. My parents got hit hard by the market crash as well and completely killed any thoughts my dad had of retiring. I don't want to depend on the stock market to retire, that is like speculation to me.

  3. Great post. For me personally I got into real estate and stay motivated because I know I can't and don't want to fight forever and I raise a 6 year old boy on my own.

  4. I agree Scott. Why would anyone trade 71% of their time to get 29% back on the weekends? Just keep that desire in front of you all the time so you keep pushing when others would quit. Good post.

  5. Good post!

    I got started during the last recession, following the attacks on the World Trade Center. My work hours were cut to 20 hours per week, and with a wife and 2 young boys, I began studying everything I could about real estate investing. One night, while studying late, I had an inspiration and I vowed to purchase a fixer-upper house in 2 months or else. I wrote down my vow on piece of paper and carried it with me everywhere I went. About 6 weeks later I found a run down house that was just what I was looking for.

    I bought the house and my wife and I repaired it and rented it out. We learned as we went along. My two boys Jason and Bryan, affectionately referred to as, “I want” and “buy me,” also were part of the fix-up effort. Now we own 6 properties and are not so reliant on my 8 to 5:00 job to keep us floating financially.

  6. Terry, that is an awesome story! Congrats! BTW, I'm still laughing at “I want” and “buy me”….too funny.

    Scotty, this was a great post.

  7. did you break out the calculator there? I had to LOL. As long as I come home from work to an empty house that motivation is gonna be there.

  8. That is a great story Terry and that is awesome to hear how you guys have made the change in your life. So who is “I want” and who is “Buy me”? that couldn't be any funnier!

  9. Really good post Scott. As we all probably know by now knowing our motivation is soo soo important in regards to our success.

    My motivation is actually just like yours. Initially, I want to be free financially so that I can take care of myself and my family (and I, of course, include Kathy, my mom and lil Andrew, etc. in the family part.)

    Having money ALL of the time is super important to me. After reading and listening to The Millionaire Mind I realized that my money blueprint was set for “having a whole lot of money now and then in a few months not having any money.” Reason for this? My father spent a great deal of his life being self-employed like doing siding and windows and things like that. So he'd have lots of money somedays and none on others. He then got a “good” job and had money consistently but then fast forward sometime and he became a real estate agent. So again, he fell into the path of “lots of money some months and none other months.”

    So that's where I know I was and that's EXACTLY how my life has been.

    My biggest motivation, however, is exactly what you described. It's Kathy. She's an awesome woman and I really couldn't ask for a better partner. Smart, funny, beautiful and you know what? She wants a lot of the same things I want! So I want to spend more time with her, obviously.

    The problem is: she has a full-time job in the pharmaceutical field that causes her to travel….A LOT. When we first met she worked for a different company and the travel was bearable…not so much anymore.

    So my and I guess I should say our, because she's in with me in trying to find apartment buildings (and of course the atm business) is to make enough passive income that we can eliminate her job. When we eliminate that job, we'll be able to design the life that we want exactly how we want it. And that, of course, starts with spending more time together and doing the things we want to do with one another.

    As for my mom….my mom I think is a wonderful, smart, beautiful woman as well and I owe so much to my mom. I'm gonna toot my own horn for a second lol but I'm really tooting my mom's horn….I'm a smart, funny, kind, independent and very confident woman. I owe it all to my mom. I don't know exactly what my mom did, well I have some ideas, but it's because of her that I've never really been insecure (as so many people are) and I've never been dependent on anyone (as so many people are, a lot of women especially.)

    And my mom taught me about money and saving early. Now grant it, she didn't really know much about investing, but SHE got me started in trying to think a little differently about money than most kids my age were thinking. And, of course, as I got older I just dug deeper into things and learned more. But my mom started it all.

    For all of this, I want to make sure my mom is taken care of because she's always taken care of me. My mom is still young, she's only 53 but I want to pay off her house or move her to a better area and I'd like to buy her a new car and if she wants to stay in her house, I want to re-do her house for her. I'd honestly like to get my business to be so successful that I can hire my mom! (and other family members and friends that I trust.)

    Ok I think I rambled long enough. Again, good post Scott.

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  11. I love when your comments are lengthy. It tells me you have a lot to say and you are passionate about what you do. Excellent comment Carey, I may have to switch up what I wrote to what you have here..hehe.

  12. I love that!! We were always called “Not me” as kids… I think “I want” and “Buy Me” is so much better!! 🙂 Great story!!!

  13. Thanks for posting this Scott! We're just beginning (as you know) and it's awfully hard to keep our dreams in mind when right in front of us is a million roadblocks. But hearing other people who have similar dreams and similar obstacles STILL going after it is truly an encouragement!

  14. The best advice I can give is just go one day at a time. Have a goal for the future but just keep doing little things to build up to your goal.

  15. Not too bad, I guess. The big focus has been getting my mom moved up here to her new apartment, which is in process as we speak. 🙂 Then after I get her settled I'm going to focus on the REI and income generation, debt reduction…I should say that I'll be focused on that while I'm getting Mom settled…I can multi-task! lol

  16. Pingback: REI Motivation: What Will Keep You Going? | Real Estate Investing News Watch Blog Aggregator

  17. Seem to have very similar motives to make this thing work investment for us. I got hit hard by the collapse of my father as well as the market completely and killing any ideas and my father was in retirement.

  18. It’s all about not letting anything stop you.  The more you do the more you will learn and the closer you will get to your goal.  Just remember you ARE getting there even if it doesn’t feel like it.

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