New real estate investors quickly learn that investing in real estate is far from easy. Success is possible, but it is almost totally dependent upon the ability of the investor being able to acquire a strong work ethic. The term “work ethic” is commonly described as having a belief that hard work and diligence have a moral benefit and demonstrate a high value in strengthening character.
Your ability in developing a great work ethic will ultimately determine the degree of success you obtain in real estate investing. Regardless of whether you decide to invest in rental properties or determine to find good fix up properties and flip them for a profit, the work ethic you demonstrate to buyers, sellers, or other investors can be paramount in reaching your real estate goals. This being the case, let’s examine 7 specific elements of a great work ethic and apply these elements to real estate investing in the economy of today.
Element #1 – Taking Responsibility for the Work from Start to Finish
Once you determine which specific strategy you are going to follow in your real estate investment endeavor, you must assume the role of principal leader. Yes, you may have partners and investors that are part of your team, but you are responsible for your actions and for the work of your team. You may hire competent individuals to assist you in finding properties, performing fix up and repairs, appraising, doing inspections and a myriad of other tasks, but it is still your responsibility to ensure that the work is done and done correctly. You can’t assume that other individuals are doing what you asked them to do unless you check on them and review what they do.
As the responsible party, you must always be aware of what the other members of your investment team are doing. When we talk about being responsible from start to finish, we are indicating that we won’t blame others when something doesn’t go as planned. If you have hired a contractor to repair a sidewalk and you don’t give exact instructions on how the work is completed, and then you aren’t satisfied with the end result, don’t blame the contractor. You must be involved and give specific instructions if you want specific results. When you blame others when you haven’t given adequate and detailed previous instructions, you are showing the world that you have the exact opposite of a good work ethic.
Responsibility is often referred to as the state or fact of having the duty to deal with something or having control over someone. This control doesn’t imply that you are mean or belligerent to others, but rather, that you are the final decision maker and the one who bears the blame or the rewards for the results that occur. When you fully assume the role of responsible party, you are accepting the consequences of your actions and decisions. However, with responsibility comes the ability to take action and direct changes when circumstances dictate.
In order to make changes, you must learn all you can about the real estate strategy you are going to follow. The more you know, the better equipped you will be in directing others toward joint real estate goals. As you develop the ability to assume the mantle of responsible leader, your real estate success can and should also increase.
Element #2 – Demonstrating Honesty in all Areas of Your Investment Strategy
Honesty means much more than just returning borrowed tools from your neighbor. A truly honest person is recognized as being honest in all areas of his or her life. If you aspire to be an honest person, you must first understand what honesty is in business, and specifically in real estate investing. Honesty is basically defined as the straightforwardness of conduct along with the absence of lying, deceit, cheating, theft and the list can go on indefinitely.
A truly honest individual will always be trustworthy, loyal, sincere, and fair. When you apply these traits in investing in real estate you quickly realize that you aren’t going to deceive another party. When you are selling a property, you are not going to hide obvious defects in the property, nor are you going to say things that are not true. Your ability to state the facts as you know and understand them will help you acquire properties that pay both short and long-term dividends.
Some new real estate investors may be tempted to overstate figures and facts, and when this happens, failure is soon right around the corner. Always be truthful in your disclosures and in your goals and objectives. When you do this, you will find that people trust you and will behave as you would want them to.
It’s been said that honest people don’t hide their deeds. In real estate you can expect people to trust you if you do what you say you are going to do. This level of trust then becomes reciprocal. James Altucher once said, “Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake into a failure.” Almost all real estate investors make some kind of mistakes. When it happens, own up to your mistakes and be honest with other people who may be involved. When you do this, you are almost always rewarded in the future with respect from others who cherish your ability to be honest and straightforward. If you make appointments and are running late, be honest and let the other people involved know of your delays. The more honest you are with others, the greater respect you will receive, and this respect will directly affect your ability to achieve success.
Element #3 – Displaying Self-Discipline in Your Investment Strategy
Naturally, you must have learned and adopted a specific investment strategy before you can begin the process of being disciplined in following it. If you are interested in finding great rental properties, you must spend the time learning what are the attributes of such properties. There is a difference between short and long-term rentals, and you must first understand what these differences are. Some rental properties are geared toward young families, while other properties are much more suited towards larger families.
Disciple means that you are willing to spend the time and effort in following through with your goals and aspirations. Applying this to finding the right rental properties means that you will spend your time and efforts becoming more knowledgeable about market conditions and properties. Being disciplined means that you have the strength to withstand hardships and setbacks as they occur. And they will occur at one time or another in your real estate investment career. Perhaps you will have a deal that doesn’t go happen as planned. When this unfortunate event occurs, what will you do? Will you give up or will you evaluate your mistakes and move forward? You must have the fortitude to overcome setbacks and see them as stepping stones.
SEE ARTICLE: “How to Convert Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones.”
This ability to master self-discipline is best achieved by adopting clear goals and following simple steps. In other words, develop an execution plan. Know in advance what you will do in unexpected circumstances. Planning for the unexpected prevents unexpected results. The more time you take in following pre-planned strategies, the better your short and long-term results will be.
Self-discipline has been defined as “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses, or the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.” In real estate investing this temptation to abandon a strategy is far too common. Oftentimes investors become tempted to give up because of the amount of time and effort required to achieve tangible results. When you are discouraged because you haven’t found the right property for the right price, hang in there and put in the extra effort required to achieve the results you are looking for. As you learn to control your feelings and move forward when discouragement happens, you will develop more and more self-discipline. When this happens, you will become more successful in your investment strategies.
Element #4 – Being Respectful to all Your Associates
Respect is something earned and not given, and when you learn to show respect to others, you will earn respect in return. This is especially true when you are developing a real estate investment team. How you deal with the people you come in contact with will directly impact how successful you will become in real estate. These one-on-one contacts include interactions with real estate agents, property owners, buyers, and real estate professionals. As you interact with these individuals, you should always show them respect through your words and actions. This respect is demonstrated by the regard you give to others’ feelings, wishes, and beliefs. The first time you show disrespect by disregarding the feelings and beliefs of others, will be the first real estate failure you encounter.
Some of the simplest ways of showing respect to others are through easily learned skills. Start by learning to listen to what is being said. This is more than just staying quiet while words come out. True listening implies empathy towards the other individual. The words “silent” and “listen” have the same letters, but have totally different meanings. When you truly listen to another individual you are trying to understand what the person is feeling and implying, not just the words. As you develop this skill, you will develop the ability to receive and interpret messages.
Consider meeting with a seller and asking him why he is selling the property. You may be tempted to just listen for the price, but there should be much more. You need to understand the reasons for the sale. When you do this, you will make a better deal and will also show respect to the seller by listening to the reasons for the sale of the property. You could also encourage the other person to reveal more and more information.
The more encouragement you offer someone else in revealing information, the more respect you are showing. As you learn to do this, you will also develop better one-on-one relationships. Encouragement implies giving support, confidence, and hope. Once the other individual feels this level of support, the better he or she will feel about you as a person and a potential partner of some kind.
Element #5 – Showing Professionalism in Your Actions
Professionalism is a word used far too often and far too often misunderstood. By definition the word implies confidence and skill. And, yes, you do want to be a professional in your real estate investment endeavors. How then do you develop and demonstrate confidence and skill as a “NEW” real estate investor? Since you are new in the real estate investing world, confidence may still be lacking. However, you still have certain skills. Perhaps you have developed the ability to speak clearly. If this is the case, demonstrate it. Do a self-analysis and determine areas where you have skills and demonstrate and use these skills. How you dress can also demonstrate professionalism. If you are looking for investment partners, dress appropriately. It’s often been said that how you dress impacts what you achieve, and this can certainly be true in real estate.
Professionals do what they say they are going to do. If you want to be perceived as a professional, you must do the same thing. If you set an appointment for a certain time, then keep it. If you say you are going to show the seller of a property financial information that explains how you are going to pay for the property, then do it. If you tell a potential buyer of a property that you will show where there was a leak in the roof, then show it. Simply stated, do what you say you are going to do.
Element #6 – Exhibiting Teamwork when Developing a Real Estate Team
It is extremely doubtful that you will achieve success in real estate all by yourself. You will undoubtedly need a team of some kind. You may involve friends and family as investors. These could be silent or public partners. Maybe you will include real estate agents and attorneys as part of the team. Additionally, you may want to have a good financial partner as part of the team. In a short period of time, your team could include many individual people who have different skills and talents. How you develop that team will be crucial to the success of your real estate adventure.
Having the team is important, but how you operate the team is much more critical. This is what we call teamwork. The definition of teamwork is the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient. Your real estate team must be both effective and efficient. The failure of the team to exhibit this quality is the best definition of ineffective teamwork.
Teamwork implies a common goal achieved by collective efforts. It is imperative that your team work together. The only way this happens is when you lead it effectively. This starts when you make teamwork a priority and reward the efforts of both the individuals and the team. Your goals and the team goals must be one and the same. When you are working together, you will achieve success.
Two qualities that are very important are trust and communication between team members. If you are searching for the right rental property and are using a buyers agent, then you must communicate with the agent exactly what type of property you are searching for, and then trust the agent to locate potential properties that fit your criteria. Ken Blanchard once said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” This is certainly true when developing a team that works together in real estate. When you rely solely on your own decisions, you are eliminating the power of teamwork.
Element #7 – Taking Pride in the Quality of Work
Work is the foundation of success in real estate. Work is what fuels the engine that drives you toward your goals and aspirations. As you complete goals, you should take pride in your accomplishments. Others will see what you accomplish and value your efforts. When you take pride in doing good work and accomplishing your goals, you are exhibiting the benefits of a great work ethic. It’s only when you value what you do that you’ll be able to do what you dream of doing. Learn to enjoy every facet of your real estate journey. When your work becomes joy, your work ethic will increase. Pride in the quality of your work is the deep pleasure or satisfaction that comes from accomplishing goals and achievements. The key is the word “quality”. Only when we meet our expectations can we truly say that we have achieved quality.
A great work ethic is something every real estate entrepreneur should desire. When you develop these seven elements, the goal of a truly great work ethic is now attainable.