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The Five Habits Of Successful Real Estate Investors

By Donna S. Robinson | January 10, 2013

It's been my pleasure over the past 18 years to be in the company of thousands of real estate investors. As a result, I've noticed that there are some key habits that separate the typical investor from those who are successful at creating thriving business models.

© Africa Studio -

© Africa Studio -

Here are the five most important habits that real estate investors should pick up, in no particular order:

1. Successful real estate investors are bold, but not reckless.

You need a lot of courage to go out and take the risks that real estate investors are capable of taking. After all, everyone knows that reward follows the risk. The more risk, generally the higher the potential financial rewards tend to be. But that being said, there is a difference between being a risk taker and someone who takes risky chances.

Professional investors who are highly successful always understand the nature of the risk they are taking, and have a clear picture of the anticipated outcome.

For example, take the issue of "leverage". Leverage was once touted as one of the great tools for wealth as a real estate investor. The idea is to use leverage to maximize the return on capital from multiple investing opportunities. But as we all discovered in 2008, too much leverage can leave you broke if the market collapses.

Leverage, (or any investing plan), used in the context of clarity about the numbers and the anticipated outcome is a strategy. Leverage, (or any investing plan), used in the context of thinking you will get-rich-quick is a recipe for disaster.

2. Successful Real Estate Investors Keep It Legal

Yes, the real estate investing world is rife with fraud and scams. But these guys don't get away with it forever. Most end up in jail or out of business. Brokers and agents can lose licenses, and a reputation for shady activity will isolate you from the legitimate investors and private lenders who can easily recognize questionable investing tactics.

Avoid illegal activities and the people who encourage them.

3. Successful real estate investors form strategic alliances.

Whether the need is private money, rehab or legal services, the great real estate investors focus on building a team of trusted professionals who can bring special expertise that is needed for a given project or investing strategy.

The most successful investors have worked and networked, to build the team that fits their investing models. Whether it's cash for deals or construction professionals who can bring a rehab in on time, and on budget.

Building a team is often touted as the first step for new investors, but the truth is that it takes time to learn the ropes and find out what kind of support you will need for a specific project. Pursue relationships that will support your investing strategies, and seek to support the strategies of those who support you.

4. Successful real estate investors never stop learning.

For my generation, the big thing was cassette tapes that we could play in the car. Many of us learned about real estate investing in the car, on our way to work in the mornings. We listened to those tapes over and over, dreaming of the day we would no longer have to sit in rush hour traffic; the day we could officially leave the "rat race" behind.

Today there are thousands of recordings, videos and websites devoted to real estate investing and hundreds of training programs that teach various aspects of the business.

Real estate is a broad industry that involves dozens of potential investing strategies with a wide variety of property types and uses. The most successful investors will always spend some time learning and re-learning the investing techniques of their choice.

Just as with a musical instrument, it can take several years to master real estate investing and find out what your preferred "niche" is.

Some investors are into rental property, some prefer to do quick flips for cash, and some like to purchase notes, while others choose to rehab older houses and turn them into updated, modern homes. Still others prefer to try a little bit of everything.

Real estate investing is one of those industries that allows for a wide variety of choice of business model. Continuing to learn makes you a better investor and helps you identify and keep up with fundamental changes in the market place, which demand changes in your investing strategy.

5. Successful investors are creative thinkers who do not give up easily.

When trying to negotiate deals, it is often necessary to keep the lines of communication open while attempting to identify the real problems that need to be solved, then coming up with creative ways to solve them.

Once I was working with a seller who was getting married and needed to move out of state in just two weeks. After several hours of open, friendly communications, we identified the sellers actual needs, and brainstormed ways to construct a deal that would achieve the seller's goals as well as our own. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it's not so easy, but creative problem solving is often the key to a successful real estate deal.

Real estate investing is still one of the most reliable, practical ways for individuals to build wealth in an unpredictable economy. Regardless of what happens in the world, shelter will always be one of the most basic of human needs. Satisfying that need is what real estate investing is all about.


Donna S. Robinson is a real estate investor, author and investing coach in Atlanta, GA. Follow her on Twitter at donnaconsults. Her book "Basics Of Real Estate Investing" Is now available for Amazon Kindle.

Donna S. Robinson has been involved in the real estate industry since 1996. A licensed agent and real estate investor, she is a recognized expert on residential real estate investing. Her course, "Fundamentals & Strategies For Real Estate Investing" is approved for CE credit by the GA Real Estate Commission. She has authored several books on real estate investing, and consults with residential investment companies. She also offers coaching services to real estate investors.

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