It has been almost a decade since I started actively investing in real estate. I can’t believe how the time has flown by. I was looking at pictures of my wife and I road tripping all over Southern Ontario checking out properties. It made me feel a deep sense of gratitude for how far we have come – but also made me remember all the hard times we had gone through on the way.
A few weeks ago I had a chance to catch up with an uncle of mine, one whom I haven’t seen in over 7 years. We do keep in touch, but live on opposite sides of the world – so it was an enjoyable reunion.
He is a successful Doctor, and we had a chance to speak about his life (he is now on the verge of retirement). He talked to me about all the obstacles he faced, in building a renowned hospital, and taking some big risks to do it.
I have always looked up to him, and his entrepreneurial spirit has definitely rubbed off on me. The road to success is definitely not easy (however you define success) – ask any successful person. Instead of speaking about their accomplishments, they will usually spend lots of time talking to you about all the trials and tribulations that they encountered on their journey to the top.
The way I like to look at it – if you have setbacks, at least you are working toward your goals.
I know I always take it back to real estate, but the same philosophy applies. You buy a single family home, good neighbourhood, good condition. You get good tenants, and you start collecting rent. This is awesome you think to yourself – I am on my way.
And then you get a call, on a cold winter day. The furnace has stopped working – it needs repair, or even worse, replacing.
This is the reality of being an investor. No, it doesn’t happen all the time – but it happens. The path is not a straight line from A to B. There are bumps and twists in the road – unexpected expenses and developments happen all the time.
But back to PERSPECTIVE. You may have to pay $3,000 to replace your furnace. But the tenants are still paying down my mortgage, and my property continues to appreciate. So guess what, my glass is definitely half full! I know it is not that simple, but nothing worth doing is ever easy!
Most investors I know have a few of these stories in their back pocket, and we love to talk about them (most of them are funny in retrospect).
But seriously, you have to be well equipped and prepared for it. In the first year after my wife and I started investing, we had a ROUGH year (probably one of the hardest years we have had). Granted we were novice investors and made some mistakes (we bought cheap properties in rough areas, had difficult tenants and the list goes on).
We even had a contractor disappear with $12,000 in deposits we had given him. The same year we had a major fire in a property for which we were under-insured.
It was a big loss to swallow. But it didn’t stop us from moving forward.
And today, when we look back on it, we realize that if we made it through all of that, well, we can face anything that comes our way now. It was the best hands on education we could have asked for. And so I continue to believe that the glass is half full!
The rewards of fighting your way through are truly worth it. When you want something really badly and you have to work really hard to get it, you appreciate it all more.
Now that I have been through it, I try to help my clients make informed investing decisions so that they are well positioned to have less surprises and are educated and aware of what they are getting themselves into.
Renowned businessman Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”
But it’s common for us to underestimate the importance of the company we keep. Bottom line: The people around you matter.
This is exactly why, as a real estate investor I attend networking groups like REIN (Real Estate Investing Network) and Rock Star Real Estate Inner Circle Meetings (RSIC). The perspectives I get from being around other positive people who are working hard to achieve big things is immeasurable to my success.
When I am in these rooms, I feel inspired and uplifted. I believe that I too, can achieve anything and that my setbacks can be conquered.
My whole point from all this – is one simple thing. Work on your mindset. Your perspective. If you can do that, the rest is easy.
The fundamentals of real estate – well there are people out there who can help and guide you. Overcoming obstacles and sticking it out – that comes down to your mindset.
So until next time, happy Canadian Real Estate Investing.
Jose Jafferji, REIA