Mistakes I made in real estate


I know I make mistakes. Let’s consider real estate. At first, I was mistakenly thinking that it would take me 2 years to get the real estate license and decided not to spend the time. That was a mistake. As a consequence though, I began running a successful business unrelated to brokering property sales. That stint lasted for 10 years. Then, when that business faltered, I looked at the licensing requirements again and understood that it would only take me 6 months to complete the process. So, I made a mistake of going for it. Once I got the license, I made another mistake of thinking that making money would be easy. First day of cold calling clarified this for me. At this point, most people would realize this was a mistake and would pull out. I always go for more.

We can talk about falling forward inspiration nonsense. You probably know from personal experience with falling, that whether you fall forward or backward you can still break your arms. So the first thing to do would be to learn how to do this property, since falling is inevitable.

What do you learn on the first day of a judo class? How to fall. You need to know where you need to place your limbs and then counterintuitively, relax. Gravity will do the rest. In most cases you don’t die and don’t break anything. With practice, you internalize this as a part of the training process and even learn to enjoy those occasional falls. When you look back, you learn nothing form the fall itself, you learn from what preceded it. You can look at the last 5 seconds before it happened - this likely the least beneficial approach. You can look at the match as a whole - this will tell you more. Or, you can look at your entire training approach. This will give you even more information. Ultimately, you want to become stronger, more nimble, to have better technique and the higher level of confidence going into the match. As a consequence, falling less will be the result.

Back to real estate. As I mentioned, my first mistake after I got the license was that I thought it would be easy. Yes, I read the Millionaire Real Estate Agent and knowing that most people just wing it, I figured that reading this book was a good enough crash course before I embark on making half a million dollars per year. I have also studied every video Jordan Belford posted on YouTube and convinced myself that no-one will go to such lengths and this will put me into 1% of Realtors in my market place. I was excited. Then came the cold calls and no results for a few months. No appointments, no sales, no buys. Just nothing. So get this into your brain and into your metabolism: it can be exciting, but it will not be easy. Even if you read the Millionaire Real Estate Agent book.

Recession hurts. Especially, if it is tearing up you sector. I bought my first home in 2004. It appreciated over the next 4 years. In 2008, I was so busy trying to keep my non-real-estate business afloat that I was not paying attention to property prices. When I started looking at it again in 2009, things seemed to have gone back to normal and I did not even notice the dip of 2008. When I got my real estate license in 2015, the market was booming again. So, the only market dynamic that I saw with consistency was unstoppable appreciation. I mixed that with the confidence of having acquired and obviously perfected the new set of skills and thought that I became invincible. In 2017 the market started dropping and along with it my confidence that my skills were sufficient to perform in the landscape I no longer recognized. Overconfidence will hurt you bad and can even be fatal. Your first judo lesson on how to fall will not help you much, if your plan is to jump off of a 30 foot ledge. Lesson for me - I have to stay less confident in my assumptions.

When everything was moving up, complacency began to tighten its grip on me. I started believing that I am the shit and it is not the tide that’s lifting the boats, but my masterful daily performance. There was this satisfying warmth I felt, every time a transaction closed. I made it. I am an expert. And then, when the sales started misfiring with alarming consistency I began to get worried. One of the best ways of avoiding the anxiety of a declining market is constant micro-adjustments to you do even day and learning the concept of starting every day at zero. When you are awash in transactions and the closes happen every day, it is hard to remember the beginners motivation. The mindset of starting from zero every day is going to pull you through regardless of the market conditions. How do you create and maintain it? It is impossible to remember the pain you have never experienced. If you are lucky, you will go through a mild market downturn in the beginning of your career. Being pressured by it will vaccinate you and stop the devastation of a massive market adjustment. The lesson of what you have to avoid will be etched in your mind and will always be able to go to that memory when you need extra motivation or a pang of fear. I was not so lucky with mild market downturns and what worked for me was reminding myself of the time when I was just starting out and how that felt. Complacency is the enemy of fulfilment and since my goal is to have a thriving, long term business I have to work on eliminating it every single day. And so should you.

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