The Two Roads of Real Estate Investing, Part 1

Now that we've had the chance to get to know each other a little better, today I’m eager to start sharing something with you I only wish I could have really understood right from the start of my own real estate investing endeavors. If I had, I truly believe I could have achieved massive success in half the time or less than it actually took me.

Like the sound of that? Then let’s get cracking…

I’m sure we all remember the awesomeness of Mr. Robert Frost, right?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.... And be one traveler, long I stood.... I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

I snipped a good bit out of the middle there, but you get the point, right? It’s a timeless truism that applies to every one of us, all the time, over and over again.

In every aspect of life, including our real estate investing endeavors, we’re constantly facing forks in the road. Some are clearly paramount and weighty; others, seemingly insignificant, can often still make all the difference in where we end up, or who we are and how our world looks when we get there.

The Two Roads of Real Estate Investing

After a few years in this business now, I'm come to realize that from the 30,000 foot view of your real estate investing business, there are basically two roads you can travel…

The first road looks faster and easier, but actually ends up being much slower, harder, more confusing and often ends up going nowhere. Or at least taking you erratically all over the place before you finally end up where you really wanted to go.

The second road typically goes unnoticed by most investors at first, though it’s readily available from the get-go if you know where and what to look for. And it turns out, it’s also a much shorter path… for those who are lucky enough to discover it (or be told about it).

So let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Road #1 – “Jump In and Just Start Slinging Spaghetti”

We all get into real estate investing understanding that the end-game is ultimately to gain freedom – whatever that “freedom” looks like for you. And it’s no big secret we do this by making money, which comes from doing profitable deals of some sort, right?

So in road #1 you typically start right about there. And you jump in with both feet and start mixing it up.

Aimed as best you can towards the “real estate dream” you've hallucinated and fueled by heaps of excitement, you typically start soaking up everything you can, and throwing as much spaghetti up against the wall as you can, hoping as much of it will stick as possible.

Meet Average REI Joe

So based on a book you read about someone’s “Rich Dad” maybe you start off with a newfound burning desire to build some serious passive income with a big ole’ pile of rental properties. So you off you go!

Then you happen upon a book or three in Barnes and Noble all about how to make a killing buying, fixing and selling houses. Wow! Whoda’ thunk those flipping TV shows could actually work! So off you head in that direction.

Time to start looking for houses to flip while you’re pouring over the newspaper and internet for those cash flow rentals…

Then you discover your local REIA group, and in you very first meeting no less, you enjoy a ridiculously compelling message revealing how ripe the harvest is for lease options and owner financing in today’s market. Wow, you had no idea! Better add this one to the quiver ASAP. Besides they’re making a once in a lifetime offer that’s only good tonight! Boom.

Now you gotta start slotting some time to start calling landlords, and drop some of those fancy “yellow letters” you learned about.

Wait… what’s that in the Sunday paper? (Insert Famous Guru Here) is actually coming to your town! And wait, what??? It’s free??? Gotta hit that… and now you suddenly realize how much you've been leaving on the table.

Time to rush to the back of the room because you’re about to learn how to become a freakin’ real estate rock star and land any kind of deal imaginable!

You purchased the latest "get rich with no effort" investing course and now you feel like a mogul. You’re educated to the hilt, baby! Not only that, but you’re taking massive action. Like all over the place, all the time kind of action.

But…(tenderly I ask)…how come you’re not making any real money like you thought you would? And why do you seem so stinking overwhelmed all the time?

“What the what???”, you say. “This real estate investing thing must be a crock. $5,000 in books, CD's and seminars later, and here I’m limping along and working myself to death every day. This is NOT what I signed up for.”

“Ah heck...maybe I should just give up.”

Any of This Sound Painfully Familiar?

Maybe not blow by blow, but admit it…you know where I’m coming from all too well, don’t you?

Sadly this is the only road so many people are ever aware of. And in case you haven’t noticed, what you don’t have here is an actual proven plan/system you’re committed to following. Or somebody trustworthy showing you the path to actually closing deals, and keeping you accountable to that path.

This is the slow lane.

It may not feel slow at first, because you’re learning like a madman, and cramming as much real estate related activity into every waking moment as you possibly can.

Nevertheless it’s a painfully slow, erratic path that leads far too many to basically nowhere fast. It’s the lane of frustration and overwhelm, and frankly it’s where a whole heap of investors just flat out fail. They try to do it themselves, take in everything they can from whoever has the loudest voice at the moment, and wing it as best they can... only to end up limping along or even dead on the road side.

They have oodles of action, but no real direction, and are so often just plain clueless about exactly what they should really be doing every, single day.

Hey...I Get It

This is the lane I was on in the beginning.

I just winged it. Using mostly the web I researched about every aspect of every kind of investing you can imagine, And when you're doing this, you quickly realize that everybody’s got an opinion, and there are in fact a million zillion different ways to skin the REI cat. It’s very difficult to consume and digest all that information, then actually implement it without going in five or six directions at once – most of which are actually the wrong directions for you.

Whereas... if you have somebody in your life that kind of grabs you by the shirt collar and points you in a direction and says, look, right now focus on this...

  • Do these six things…
  • And when you’re done, let’s go ahead and give you the next six things to do…
  • And when you’re done with that, we’ll give you the next six things to do…

If you have someone who can force you to articulate the ball down the field, so you’re nearly guaranteed to score a touchdown... So that there’s no other direction that you’re going to go, because the path has already been laid before you.

Said another way, you know exactly where you’re trying to go and how to get there, because essentially you've seen the map, and you’re able to just mirror the exact path somebody else has already proven successful.

This is the second road. And since this post is already kind of long, I’ll pick back up there in my next post.

Hang tight, and we'll talk again soon,


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