Raise your hand if you are reluctant to move beyond your comfort zone. If you raised your hand, you are not alone. People like being in their comfort zone because it is familiar. We know what to expect. Amazingly, people will stay in their comfort zone even if it isn’t comfortable. Why? The fear of the unknown is even scarier than staying in a bad place.
At first glance, a comfort zone is like a protective bubble that keeps us safe and happy. However, upon closer inspection, a comfort zone can actually prevent you from growing and changing, which can leave us feeling less than positive about the future, as well as a bit claustrophobic.
When it comes to real estate investing, it is very easy for investors to get in a comfort zone and stop looking for new horizons and better deals. You might hear a comfort-zone investor say “I don’t do multi-family units. I only know how to do single-family deals.” Although this may be true, broadening your horizons can be beneficial. If you are willing to move beyond what you know, you can gain a better understanding of who you are as an investor, what you want from investing, and expose yourself to a wider variety of investing experiences that can produce even more income.
Are You in a Comfort Zone?
According to REI professionals, you might be locked into a comfort zone that is limiting your income potential if you:
- Are feeling bored with real estate investing
- Feel restless and are considering moving your money to something else entirely
- Spend time imagining your life taking a different course but don’t know what steps to take, so you do nothing new
- Refuse to look at new opportunities or ways to invest regardless of the deal
- Haven’t learned anything new about real estate investing in the last six months
If this describes you, then you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and find a new way of doing things.
Be Who You Want to Be
After high school, I started as a car salesman where I had the opportunity to meet thousands of people. I was most impressed with those who were well-off and could do what they wanted because they had money coming in on a monthly basis. All of these people held real estate.
If I had stayed in my comfort zone, I would have continued selling cars and wishing I could have residual income and quit my day job. But I knew I had the ability to recreate myself and be who I wanted to be.
I was 23 when I purchased my first home and 24 when I worked with a real estate mentor to buy rental properties. In my early 30’s, I went into the wholesale lending business while doing real estate investing on the side. Rather than stay comfortable, I kept plugging away until I was buying in a variety of different areas of the country. Then, I moved from rental homes to condos and from condos to flips and from flips to commercial properties. Eventually, I quit my day job because real estate had given me the freedom I had been seeking for years.
I recreated myself to be a wealthy property owner. You can do the same thing but it will take getting out of your comfort zone.
Steps to Take
Most people hesitate to get out of their comfort zone because they don’t know where to start or what to do. Here are a few things to consider as you move beyond what you know:
- Find what is making money in real estate, look forward and stay in front of it. Real estate investing is constantly changing. What worked ten years ago is no longer working today. So, go to REI clubs and network with those making the big bucks. Find out what is working and what is not. Look for trends and stay ahead of those trends as you put a plan into place.
- Be a contrarian. Although it is good to see what others are doing, another way to break out of your comfort zone is to see what everyone else is doing and then do just the opposite. In order to be a true contrarian, you will need to have patience and not get caught up in herd mentality. Find your investment philosophy and stick to it, even if, or maybe especially, if everyone else is going the other way.
- Learn more. If you’re not pushing yourself to learn more and do more, it’s hard to expect different results. When it comes to learning, you should definitely learn about real estate investing but don’t stop there. Be sure to read books and articles outside the real estate space. In this way, you can learn how things are done in other areas and apply them to your own real estate investing business.
- Push yourself to the next level. If you are just wholesaling, push yourself to fix-and-flip. If you are doing fix-and-flips, then consider doing a fix-and-hold. If you are doing residential, try commercial. No matter where you are as an investor, there is always a new avenue to try.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve purchased hundreds of properties across the U.S., consisting of single family, mixed use, multi-family, office, retail, warehouse, and new construction. I’ve learned to look at any property as long as it makes financial sense. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone until stepping out feels like the only thing to do. As you step beyond, you, too, will find your real estate business growing bigger, better and faster, thus providing you with a more substantial income.
About the Author
John Trautman is founder and CEO of the Real Estate Knowledge Institute (REKI). An author, entrepreneur and longtime real estate investor, he is committed to inspiring and helping other aspiring real estate investors who have an interest in everything from home flipping to buying and selling rental properties to earning passive income through various real estate investments. REKI is the fulfillment of Trautman’s ambition to act as a credible and responsive expert who is available to mentor and counsel individuals about the fundamental rules of real estate investing in an intelligent and straight-forward manner.