Mistake number seven – They listen to people who probably know less than them!
I heard Anthony Robbins once ask his audience “If you wanted to get rich would you study poor people?” “No” came the resounding reply. “That’s right” he retorted “If you want to get rich, you need to study rich people”.
That makes a lot of sense. In a property context, if you want to be successful in property you need to study successful property investors. If you want to be successful in a particular area of property, you need to study investors who are already successful in that area; how they did it and what they do.
If you want to be successful in property, you need to take advice from people who know more than you do about property investing. If you want advice, you need to take advice from other property investors, not the numerous “armchair” experts who have never even put a pound of their cash on the line.
But again it’s human nature, and so we listen to the wrong people. Often it’s because they tell us what we want to hear. If we are nervous and looking for a reason not to act, we are easily persuaded by someone else’s fears even if they have no experience in what they are trying to “mentor” us in. We listen even if, and let’s be blunt about it, they haven’t a clue what they are talking about.
I guess it can happen that we listen to someone who knows nothing and that encourages us to take rash action. In property that is rare. It’s almost always the other way round and we end up giving credence to all sorts of negative advice.
I did this the other day. It was polite chit chat at a party. Someone asked me what I do for a living and so I told him, including some rather guarded details of my property activities. As the conversation progressed I let him into a little secret; where I was thinking of investing next.
“Oh no” they gasped “you don’t want to do that”. “Why not?” I asked somewhat surprised. After all, I have done my research, and thoroughly. I have a strategy, and an exit strategy, and based on the information available I’m sure I have a workable and profitable plan.
“Well” came the reply “I have friends who have thought of that and they are very cautious about it”.
Fair enough. There is no answer to that. I immediately shelved all my plans. Not quite, but I went away and worried. For about two days I ran this comment through my mind again and again. And then I rejected it. Here was someone who had only the slightest inkling of my business and my aptitude as an investor, anecdotally quoting the prejudices of his acquaintances, who may or may not be successful property investors, as if this were hard fact.
The truth dawned. I started this article by alluding to the fact that most would be property investors do nothing because of fear.
Actually, the sad thing is that in many cases they do nothing because of the fears of others. And when you think about it (and apparently someone has because this isn’t my statistic) around 95% of those fears are totally groundless.
So there you are. Seven reasons why many property investors don’t make a decent attempt at it and seven ways you can learn from their mistakes and make sure you are successful.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, Author & Property Investor