5 Must Have Characteristics For Successful Real Estate Investing

Pick up any two real estate investing books and chances are you will get slightly similar, yet still differing opinions on what steps an investor should take if they want to be successful. One of the benefits of having served on the boards of two different real estate investor associations and had inter-action with hundreds of investors, I can tell you that there is no definitive list of characteristics, no magic list of steps to take and there certainly are no “pillars” or “magic bullets” to use to achieve success. What I can tell you is that the same characteristics that make anyone successful in their endeavors also apply to real estate investors.

However, there are a few characteristics that seem to apply almost universally to real estate investors who have been able to find success. More importantly, when investors fail (for various reasons) they almost always were missing one of these characteristics. If someone wants to be successful in real estate investing these are 5 characteristics that all must exhibit on some level.

The 5 C’s of Successful Real Estate Investing

Competence of Subject

It would seem to be a given that someone striving for success in any business or investment strategy would take the time to become competent in the inner workings before starting out. At a minimum, becoming competent in the basics would be a must. Joining a local association or group of real estate investors would be a great beginning followed by absorbing as much education material as possible. There are dozens of books on the real estate shelves at your local book store that would be a great place to start. Become a sponge and take in as much information as you can to become competent in the specific terms, ideas and concepts of investing in real estate.

Control of Emotions

Have you ever heard the saying that “…in the end, Emotions control the day!” When you are investing in real estate. that can never be the case. You must be in control of your emotions with every decision you make as an investor. If you are investing with a strategy of fix n flip, you must never allow your emotions to influence a decision on whether to buy in a particular neighborhood, a particular property or settle for a price point higher than your cut off point. the same thing goes for investors buying for long-term hold. Never allow emotion to influence a decision such as lowering your monthly income desired because you really like the property. Developing solid financial goals and the path to them is a must for an investor and you can never allow emotion to enter your decisions and alter those goals.

Comprehension of Market

One of the dangers of becoming more competent on the strategies of real estate investing in general is the possibility that all the concepts you are reading about and learning may not apply to your particular market. This is where surrounding your self with like minded individuals and joining an investment group or association is so important. Follow those who have been successful in a particular market before you. Research your market, drive the neighborhoods you want to invest in and ask questions of those who are having success in your market. You absolutely must know how the investment strategy that you plan to employ interacts in your particular market. Comprehension of your market and developing a plan based on what works instead of what you want to do, will be a key to success.

Consistency of Action

This is an absolute killer for many beginning investors as well as investors who get a taste of success and strive for more, more, more. Early on as an investor, you must develop a strategy for investing. Are you going to buy & hold a property for long-term return or are you looking for a property that you can fix and flip. Your strategy can always be modified but not your basic actions for success. Most entrepreneurs will tell you that they achieved success by doing the basics consistently and developing the best habits early on. As an investor, whichever strategy you choose, there will always be actions and steps that you must do every day, every week or every month. Being consistent in your actions will be the single biggest obstacle you will face. Overcome it and success will almost surely follow.


I would not think that this characteristic needs much explanation. There are always short cuts and there will always be someone, somewhere offering the “magic formula” for success. Do not buy! Do not take the easy road, do not take the short cuts. I never said to take the road less traveled for the experience either. Just stay true to your inner principles and always treat a business deal as well as all of your relationships the way you would like to be treated. If a particular deal looks too good to be true, walk away. There are no actions that you can take that can ever repair character damaged from within. The great thing about deciding to invest in real estate, is that there are always other opportunities waiting to be found. You do not have to sacrifice your character for any deal!

After having dealt with so many investors, those that have succeeded and those that have failed, I can tell you that this is a good starting point. Success comes to those who are willing to put the work in and be the best. At my company, I have dealt with investors on all levels and I can assure you, the investors who found the most success all exhibited these characteristics.

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