The Real Estate Investing Dip

It’s ugly out there. And, I know a lot of real estate investors are feeling some serious pain. And we can relate to pain. We’ve had more than one conversation about giving up… just selling all of our properties and forgetting about our early retirement plans.

You see, several years ago, Dave was being fined by the City of Niagara Falls for fire code violations at the same time as his former property manager of the same building was on trial for second degree murder. We were dealing with this while discovering that our Toronto tri-plex property manager had been robbing rent money from us! We clearly were in over our heads with our real estate investments and as problem after problem arose we thought seriously about selling it all.

The DipWe didn’t. Somehow we found a way to just deal with all of the real estate investing problems we were having…but, then it got worse. We soon found ourselves with a $25,000 bill to rewire the Toronto tri-plex (the owner before us had used telephone wiring inside of the walls instead of electrical wiring and our wires were fried), and this came only a few months after spending $5,000 to fix the plumbing in the basement where tree roots had taken over and caused the sewer to back up into the suite.

So, just as we thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. We had gone head first into“The Dip”.

My coworker Jason recommended I read a short little book called The Dip by Seth Godin. He thought it would be a great one for me to read because I have just quit my job (that is a story for another day). Turns out, it was a great read, but I found myself relating this 80 page book to our real estate investing even more than I related it to my career.

The guts of the book is about “getting through the hard stuff and coming out on the other side. Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other“.p. 4

Real estate investing is not easy, but it is simple. Anyone can do it. But not everyone will succeed. And I think Seth has found the fundamental reasons why many people won’t succeed. It’s not because real estate is difficult to understand or hard to implement. It’s because sometimes the stress, the pain and the challenges are just so darn hard all you want to do is quit. And, according to Seth’s book, you’re quitting at the wrong time. “You can choose (in advance) to do whatever you need to do in order to get through the Dip, knowing it’s going to be difficult; or you can give up before you get there. Quitting in the Dip, though, isn’t worth the journey.“p.37

We pushed throughThe Dip, and it’s good we did. Had we sold out at that time we would have missed out on one of the largest upswings in the housing market in history.

I don’t want to spoil the entire book, because I think it’s a great read for anyone, real estate investor or not. But I’d like to share three tips fromThe Dip, as they apply to real estate investing in my mind:

  1. When you hit that moment where quitting seems like the best solution, push through. Strive to be the greatest real estate investor in your world. And remember, you define your world. This could mean in your family, in your town, or in your country. The point is to push through with the dream of being the best!
  2. Quit when you reach a Cul de Sac – sell any properties that are losing money or that are not going to make you more money tomorrow than they are making you today.
  3. Know when you’ll quit before you start anything. In real estate investing terms: before you even think about buying your first or your next property, think about when you will sell it. I wrote about this for Early to Rise. To me it’s the biggest real estate investing tip ever. Think about how you will sell your property when you buy it.

Published October 15, 2008

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