Editorial by Linda Pliagas, Publisher
The first quarter of every year is a time when most investors and entrepreneurs are making plans for the next 12 months.
Goal setting is essential for anyone and everyone who yearns for prosperity and abundance. And, usually, the greater the plans, the loftier the goals, the better.
This is a time that strong leaders and ambitious people always crave. Let’s get in the right mindset to conquer our market; visualize that 500-unit building we want; start planning to move into that ocean-front mansion; go, go, go…
Real estate investing, after is all is not for the weak nor faint at heart, right? One must deal with nightmare tenants, ruthless competition from buyers with unlimited capital and maintenance disasters that arrive at the worst possible moments.
Yes, real estate investing attracts the most ambitious of people. Individuals who are not afraid to work long hours, people who rise to the top of their professions. Strong, dynamic men and women who have that something special — aura, charisma or sparkle that makes them so magnetic.
Nobody understands the mindset of “a winner” more than I do. You see, for years, I yearned for success so much that I was consumed by it. Sadly, success-building often took priority over family and friends. For years, I studied what it took to be a winner: I read the books, took the bootcamps, and memorized the scripts.
While I applaud ambition, something happened recently that reinforced my existing belief that while striving for success is great, staying SAFE is key.
Only a few days ago, one of the numerous property managers we have texted what I would categorize as a frantic request for me to approve a $5,000 maintenance cost. It is needed URGENTLY. The pressure just didn’t seem right.
Did I approve it? No, I did not. Because of the high cost, I told them I was sending someone else immediately on my behalf.
Thank goodness I did. Because there was absolutely no need to replace the unit yet. I sent a third party to confirm that everything was working just fine; albeit it’s not optimal, but its functional.
I’m so glad that I took the extra time to check and that I developed a network to cut costs and stay safe. One that developed over time and with experience. You see, because my family and I own many properties already, I made a firm resolution a few years ago to put SAFETY above ambition.
Instead of venturing into new deals with leveraged capital, I focused on appreciating the equity that we had. My new goal was to improve our existing properties, find ways to trim monthly costs, and keep tenants long-term. I also promised myself to oversee things much more closely. Yes, micro-manage.
My newfound goal is humble in comparison to what is used to be when I first started Realty411 in 2007. Now, it’s simply to stay safe, plus keep our readers as safe as possible, too.
This is so because I made a similar decision to put SAFETY above ambition with our media business years ago, too. No longer is my desire to have the most sponsors, nor the largest events. Although, we actually do very well.
It is much more important for me to keep our readers safe and to develop long-term relationships with readers, investors and sponsors. We want to develop a network of trust. I’m proud that many of my investors from 15 years ago still invest with our providers today.
A few years ago, I was producing an event in Southern California. As a featured speaker, we were hosting a gentleman who was a known presenter at other industry events.
The day before the conference, I received a call and a fax from an attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission barring us from allowing him to speak on stage. Apparently, he had a criminal fraud conviction and was now using a different name to resume unlawful business.
I will never forget the fear I felt that day. I was just shocked to receive such a phone call. You simply cannot imagine how disappointed and scared I was. My first thought was: “My family is going to be so upset with me!”
Then there was a speaker I met a few times at other events who had a “real estate club” in Orange County, Calif., years ago which bilked many investors out of their savings with the promise of making them landlords. He is now in prison.
I’m also deeply pained when I recall the charismatic young man who operated a funding company in Southern California and was known amongst many REI circles. He committed suicide a few years ago because he was allegedly under criminal investigation for fraud.
Stressing safety is an important message, and one that needs to be heard over and over again in real estate investing. Unfortunately, the quest for ambition can consume some individuals to the point where they lose it all.
With this in mind, please start this new year with amazing goals, but do so knowing that buying one more property or doing one more deal will not define who you are.
We all know that in the end, the way we treated others will be what is remembered.
Invest with gusto and caution,
Linda Pliagas, Publisher
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