What was your biggest mistake?

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When I was first starting out in real estate, one question I loved to ask other SUCCESSFUL people is "What was your biggest mistake?" In the world of investors common answers were, I didn't buy enough houses, or, I didn't use my money wisely, or I misjudged repairs, or I sold too many houses and wished I would have held onto them, and the most common was, "I wish I would have started in real estate sooner". Amen to that. I like that question as I like to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible and I still aim to learn something new every single day. Not too long ago, someone turned the tables on me, and asked me that question. I had to think about that long and hard but my answer was that I was not flexible enough when I was starting out. As I was focusing on rental properties, if they hit my numbers, I would buy, and if it didn't, I would pass and move onto the next possible deal. I was aggressive with buying so I cannot regret not buying more, BUT, I left a lot of money on the table on deals I did not buy, but other investors did buy, that I could have profited from. Back then I had no idea the concept of wholesaling real estate, which is getting a property under an assignable contract and sellnig your rights to the contract. I estimate, by the rate and number at which I looked at houses, that I probably left between 75 and 100,000 on the table! It is not always does the deal make sense to you, but, is there a way to make money on it? You have to be a swiss army knife when looking at opportunities (real estate or not) to determine if there is money to be made! So, you succesful people out there, what was your biggest mistake?

Ray Higdon


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Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

My biggest mistake:  Back in the real estate crash of the early 90s, I walked away from a property that had become "upside down".  I let it go to foreclosure.  Financially, I didn't have much choice at the time. 

My credit has recovered, thank you.  But that nice little two-on-a-lot property was home to many memories for me, and it didn't deserve what it got: 

The two houses were cute little 1920s bungalows. The current owners have stuccoed over the wood siding and installed some really garish iron fencing.  It looks hideous.

If they ever wanted to sell, I'd buy it back in a New York minute, just to make it look like what it should look like again.

Oct 18, 2006 12:50 AM #1
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

Always has been always will be... I speak before I think.

It is one of those things I was told as a child and to this day I do the same. Sometimes it now "works" for me.. because SOME people find my candor "refreshing" while others think I am just a big mouth.

Blogging has become my happy medium... I try to "craft" my message so readers get what I am saying, while not being crafty.

Oh and I can be a bit of a wise guy... but I think people get the fun of me.

Oct 18, 2006 01:08 AM #2
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA
My biggest mistake was (and sometimes still is) becoming too involved in my files.  Delegation is key to doing large numbers.
Oct 18, 2006 01:26 AM #3
Jeffrey J. Rabedeau
Treeline Realty - Cape Coral, FL

I think my biggest mistake (thus far) is that I sometime slide back into that "old mind-set."  You know.....the one that most of oour parents grew up with....the same one that they taught us to think with.  The one that says, "Oh real estate investing....you'll never be successful at that....you need lots & lots of $$$ and perfect credit to dable in that!"

When I call on FSBO's or when they call me.....9 out of 10 Sellers will say "No, that offer is way too low."  Although I go into that phone with a winning attitude, this still happends.  But what keeps me going.....and most importantly, what keeps me away from that "old mind-set," is I tell myself that real estate investing is a #'s game.  It's Law of Averages.  The more Sellers I call (or that call me), the better chance that I'll get more "yes's!"

And I love YES's!  :)

Oct 18, 2006 01:34 AM #4
Bob Pavey
RE/MAX Hometown - Aventura, FL
Ray I think my biggest mistake was that I didn't buy enough investmentproperties I could have stopped working by now
Oct 18, 2006 02:17 AM #5
Ray Higdon
Forever Wealth Club - Fort Myers, FL

Cheryl - I take it you had some good memories? Well, ya just never know how things could have been

Craig - LOL, you sound like my partner, sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not so good, but, he is always fnu to be around!

Brian - I hear ya on that, I may have the opposite problem, sometimes I drop something as soon as I think it is not a deal and it's possible it could have been turned into a deal

Jeff - Not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get back up!

Bob - This is one I hear a lot of, I hope to not have to say that too much!

Oct 23, 2006 01:40 PM #6
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