First, a sincere thank you to those who buy, sell, manage, invest and operate their businesses in real estate. That’s what helps me and my peers make a living. When sharing advice about commercial real estate, I never underestimate the value of a good quote — of a different kind. Here are some to consider.
Hey, it’s winter. Make the most of it. As poet Anne Bradstreet once wrote: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” In terms of real estate, think: “I thought we had a water leak, but it was a broken water supply line to one of the building’s evaporative coolers. The tenant will be excited when the ceiling is repaired and they can move in again.” That tenant reminded me of Lily Tomlin’s famous quote: “Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.”
When someone beats you in the race to purchase an incredible investment opportunity, remember what Yogi Berra said: “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” As Spike Milligan said: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”
Knowledge is power. That’s a fact when negotiating anything, but especially real estate investments. Michael Rosenbaum of Rosenbaum Advisors said: “Anytime someone else has superior knowledge about your property, they can hold you hostage.” Fortunately, knowledge can be gained from a person who’s spent years perfecting his or her trade. As Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur, author and speaker, once said: “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
What about creativity? If you’re not being creative in real estate ownership and development, how does society benefit? As Maya Angelou said: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Use those great ideas in 2019. Don’t give up, because your good idea could take some time to pay off. As Admiral Hyman Rickover said: “Good ideas and innovations must be driven into existence by courageous patience.”
Real estate investing takes capital. You can get started in real estate investment with as little as $5,000. Or you could figure out how to use other people’s money and profit on the margin between the landlord’s asking rent and the rent you’re able to get from a new tenant. There’s that creativity again. As James Truslow Adams, a writer and historian once said: “Capital is to the progress of society what gas is to a car.” Capital — in the form of available cash, a person’s special ability or equity in real estate — can be used to improve the lives of investors and the lives of others. Just remember to expect returns greater than inflation. According to Sam Ewing, “Inflation is when you pay $15 for the $10 haircut you used to get for $5 when you had hair.”
As we approach the end of another year, whether in life or in business, I’m reminded of two sayings I find true. Tom Brokaw once said: “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” H. Jackson Brown followed with the words, “Find a job you like and you add five days a week to every week.”
May you make a difference in someone’s life in the coming year, and may your work add time to your life like never before. Happy new year.