I think a lot of us had some pretty big challenges or disappointments in the past year. I know I did, both personally and in the larger world. It’s easy to get discouraged when the hits just keep on coming, isn’t it? And it’s not surprising that a lot of us are apprehensive about how this next year will go. It’s only human.
A lot of the training we get as real estate redevelopment professionals concentrates on taking our mistakes, disappointments, or missed opportunities and re-framing them as “learning opportunities.” At the end of the calendar year, that’s a good exercise! For example, here are a few things I and my team members have learned in the past year in our business:
- Weather will always kick you in the rear. Be prepared for weather delays in projects. Oy, just thinking about that Villa Park property!
- Contractors have expiration dates. Someone can have great references and have wonderful past projects, but if you try them right when they are having outside issues, they might totally flake on you, or say, delay finishing your project because they are secretly living at your house. Not that it happened to us. Sure.
- Also, just because you’ve used a service more than once in the past and you’ve been pleased, it doesn’t mean the next time you use it will be great. Always have a backup vendor.
- You can’t count on logic to convince a seller that your offer is good or that you are sincere. People with distressed homes are often dealing with strong emotions. You need to find out what is going on there and address their emotional needs.
- Before spending months fixing up a house to sell it, find out if there’s someone who wants it as-is so they can do what THEY want to do with it. To prove I’ve learned that lesson…does anyone want to buy a really nice house with ancient green carpet and a couple of “interesting” room colors, before I replace that carpet and repaint the walls in an extremely neutral color?
- If you don’t act on a lead promptly, it’s not going to become a prospective deal.
I think it’s really important to evaluate things that go wrong, figure out the lessons learned, but then to move on. And that’s my invitation to all of you who read our blogs and our Facebook posts: always look forward. Goal setting helps with that. Russell is always reminding us to revisit our goals daily to keep our focus. He has also suggested the technique of brainstorming daily to think of ways to get to our goals, even if they are a bit wacky. You might come up with something that actually will propel you forward.
While looking forward, I also recommend being consistent. One of my goals is to refrain from trying new thing after new thing, but to also be consistent with your current efforts. For example, one of my goals is to have at least three blog posts a week. We’ve been pretty good about posting at least weekly, but with so many great writers on our team, I’m hoping for more. If you see us slip up, remind us to keep writing!
Consistent marketing efforts, letter writing, phone calling, and researching new properties will get us toward our ultimate goals for deals and profits. And these are all things within our control. Sure, our team can’t control outside forces, political change, or economic hiccups, but we can control our own efforts and most important, our relationships with others. All our contacts, partners, and clients are worth our sincere interest and of keeping in contact for the future.
What are your goals? How are you looking forward to making the coming year a good one, despite your fears and apprehensions? The New Year holiday is a great time to reflect and plan. It’s good for you, no matter what your vocation or avocation!
(Thanks to Anita for helping me think of more lessons.)