Monthly Archives: September 2010

Not that Smart? Try Real Estate Investing.

A few weeks ago I walked into Starbucks and ordered a tall caramel macchiato.  The barista said “it’s Marty right?”  I told her that I was impressed she remembered me from my last visit.  She gave me a strange look and then started preparing my coffee.  As I walked out to my car I realized I had a name tag on.  I had come from a conference and had forgotten to take it off my shirt.

Then there’s the time I went to the grocery store looking for ham hocks.  My Mom has a delicious pinto bean recipe she was preparing that day so I got sent shopping.  I combed the meat department looking for ham hocks with no luck.  Finally, the butcher came out and asked if I needed help.  Yes, I said, “I’m looking for ham hocks.”  He pointed down and said “they are right here.”  I looked at the package and said “those aren’t ham hocks, those are pork hocks.”  Another strange look followed, this time from the butcher.

Encounters like these have me convinced that I’m not that smart. 

I’m typing this post from 30,000 feet.   My family and I are on our way to Austin to visit my brother-in-law.  I flipped open the in flight magazine and came across a book review for Warren Buffett and the Art of Stock Arbitrage.  Arbi-what?  I’m sure glad I’m not a stock investor.

So how does a guy who is not that smart become successful at real estate investing?  If can sum it up in one word it’s SYSTEM.  Have you ever eaten a cheeseburger at McDonald’s?  Was it the best cheeseburger you ever had?  Probably not.  So why does McDonald’s sell more cheeseburgers than anyone else?  You guessed it…their SYSTEM.

I have a system for investing in real estate.  I didn’t create it nor did I pay for it.  However, I was taught how to implement it.  I’ve been using the system for about 18 months and I’ve tweaked it a little, but for the most part it has remained the same.  A Phoenix real estate investor shared this system with me for free because I invested in my real estate education and was willing to help him with his business.

If you are considering real estate investing I recommend following the same path.  Get educated and then seek out an experienced real estate investor in your area that needs help.   Just beware that there are lots of gurus peddling their real estate investing systems.  Most of them are ineffective because real estate is a local business.  What works in one market may not work in another.

So you see you don’t have to be smart to invest in real estate if you have a proven system.  After I finished reading the Warren Buffett and the Art of Stock Arbitrage book review it occurred to me that real estate investing is a form of arbitrage.  I think I’ll start telling people I’m a real estate arbitrageur.  Maybe then I won’t sound so silly when I talk to the barista or the butcher.

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