My next wave of mailings is ramping up so I expect to be getting some calls this week sometime. I’ve got 85 letters out in the mail and another 80 postcards that just went out last night. It’s going to be a busy memorial day weekend week because my summer hours started for work which meant that I now work 9 hours each day Monday to Thursday and then only work 4 hours on Friday. I’m really able to get some solid real estate investing work in during my half day Fridays because my wife works till midnight which leaves me all day to get things accomplished.
This past weekend one of my best friends, who I’ve known for 28 years got married in central park, NYC. It was a great wedding and it always means a lot to me when I’m chosen to stand next to one of my friends as they get married. I was honored when I was asked if to say a few words during the reception. He knows that I’m a shy person by nature and he made it clear that he would be okay if I chose not to. I had some reservations at first but then remembered all the advice I’ve gotten from some good friends like you and Sean Stephenson in his book Get Off Your Butt. The advice was if you ever want to get anywhere in life you have to step outside your comfort zone, so I did just that.
I gave by most people’s account a very very good speech, in front of 140 guests, about my friend. I didn’t even use notes as I they always seem to end up being a crutch and I wanted to learn to think on my feet. There were two moments that day that gave me confidence and allowed me to not freeze up. First was when another friend was preparing for his turn to speak. He is the type that never seems nervous, is always the center of attention at parties and loves talking. I was sorta shocked to see how nervous he was, and how many times he rehearsed. Seeing this showed me that we are all the same, we have all the same fears and I wasn’t alone. This really boosted my attitude!
The second moment came when I realized I was talking about someone who I know better then 99% of the people in the room. The only difficult thing should be picking the right stories. At that moment I honestly put down the notes I had jotted down and just relaxed. Sure I was still a bit nervous, but my mind was fairly clear and I was even able to look at the crowds and adjust my speech on the fly. I was very proud of myself and it really wasn’t that hard at all.
What I spoke about in my speech was how Scott (my friend) and I spent most of our earlier years breaking things. We never were afraid to try something new even if it mean we could get in trouble, and we did many times. It seemed as though we would never get something completely right, but that never stopped us. We broke computers, basketball hoops, car electrical systems, windows, legs, and many many more things. After all the disasters even we managed to learn some valuable lessons. Now people come to use to fix their computers or build them a custom cabinet for their wall and even remodel a bathroom.
Those lessons I’ve learned over my life, with my friend, can easily be translated into how someone goes about getting into real estate investing. At first you’ll break things, lose money and piss some people off. But if you work hard and keep at it things will come around and you will learn how to do it right and be a success. Just remember you don’t have to go fast, just go a step faster then what you are comfortable doing.
My step away from the comfort zone for this week will to focus on getting the sellers to quote me a price they’d be willing to sell at for an all cash offer if we can close in a few days. I’ve been leaving that to Bruce in the past but it’s time for me to step up.
What are some moments in your life that helped you turn the corner with investing? Was there one phone call with a seller that flipped that switch or was it just call after call after call that helped?
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Good Stuff Scott.
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Well when I started investing Scott I started in mobile homes because they were cheaper. I was afraid of the bigger single family deals because they had a bigger price tag on them. I started with mobile homes in 1999.
Then one day in January of 2001 I was at my mom's house and my step-dad asked me how things were going. I was telling him about what was going on and that I'd love to do bigger deals. So he asked me the obvious question: why haven't you?
🙂 Of course, I told him I was scared. blah blah blah. Then he had a talk with me that I'll never forget. He said and I'll paraphrase: You are so smart. You know so much about real estate and you need to just go and do it because you have the knowledge. There is nothing at all to be afraid of. Let's just pretend you buy a house and something drastic happens and you can't pay the mortgage? Well guess what? There's no foreclosure jail. You're not going to go to jail. Nothing horrible is going to happen to you. And besides, if you ever get in trouble, you always have a place to come home to. Now stop being scared and go out there and buy a single family house!
On Feb. 1, 2001 I got my first offer accepted on a sfh and I closed shortly after. 🙂
So that's my story about stepping out of my comfort zone.
awesome story Carey, thanks for sharing.
There was one offer I made that I think flipped the switch for me. I made an offer on a SFR, the couple had inherited it a few years earlier and there was a tenant in it.
When they called up, we spoke and I asked them what they thought a fair price was. They said we dont want to go any lower than 175k. I said, well that is a bit high and I wont be able to get to that price. If the tenants are giving you a headache and we can close fast is that the lowest. “Wellll… if we can close fast I guess it would be 150k.” Then out of no where, and I mean no where, I dug deep and it just came to me, I threw this out at them. “That still is not where I can go, but…. let me ask you this….. If I showed up to your front door tomorrow with a silver briefcase handcuffed to my wrist like in the movies filled with cash, what is the lowest it needs to have in there for you to sell?” pause……… pause….. Now I am getting nervous. pause…. pause…. “well….. you know what, let me call you back and ask my husband” I say to myself, great, I screwed that up. She calls back 5 minutes later and says “125k” I was floored. She went from being pretty stern about 175k. So if I had not asked that way I would not have known that 125k was doable. (I did not end up doing this deal for other reasons)
The gurus also talk about this one, and I used it only once and it was pretty cool when it sort of worked. This guy call me up recently with a total attitude, he would not give me a number at all. Then all of a sudden he said, “Now that I think about it, I'll take 750k for it (it was worth 90k)” I paused and asked, “Are you being serious?” He said, “Yes”, so all of a sudden the guru advice came into play and I threw down, “ok, my offer is …. One dollar”, he said, “Are you serious?” I said, “Yes” He burst out laughing and so did I. He then threw out a number that was too high and he was not motivated enough but that was one of the more funny conversations I have had.
Have fun with this Scott. These are people, just like you. Talk with them, don't be so tough on yourself that you need to be expert negotiator. Just be professional and nice. I know all the gurus out there say, “If they are not motivated, f#$ck em, move on” Listen to me, right now, just focus on talking with sellers, I mean really talk with them. When you are bangin out deals and the time vampires are really hurting you then you can get to the point more quickly cuz time is money. But in the beginning, just get over the hump of being fluid on the phone. Develop your style, its your own, nobody can tell you it is right or wrong.
Sometimes I still talk to a seller for 15 minutes even though I know I dont have a deal. I got a great connection because of that once. If it feels right just go with it.
Oh by the way, I am not one of these type A, walk into the room, “Chris is the name, selling is my game” types. I think of myself as an introvert with an extrovert fighting to get out.
Great story Chris. Sometimes it really is just one moment that changes you. It’s the A-HA! moment. Your mind and body all of a sudden relaxes when you realize that you get it.
Nice post, Scott! I agree – real estate can be just like breaking things. At first, there will be many many mistakes made – it's not perfect. I made my share of mistakes when I first started out. Though, I learned from those mistakes. And, from those mistakes came experience which is priceless. There can be no dollar figure placed on experience – it's the backbone of the learning process.
I am a believer that there cannot be success without failure – I think the two go hand in hand. Success is a poor teacher – failure is a better one. I think we learn the most from our failures, not so much from our successes.
I enjoyed reading the post, thanks for sharing!
So true Rachel. The hardest part of making mistakes in real estate is that it usually costs you money in one way or another.