“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us...We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.” – Marianne Williamson
There came a point in my career that I began to review the closing statements of my clients differently. Instead of just verifying that the numbers were correct, I was looking at the bottom line. I was also starting to ask more extensive questions about my clients’ reasons for buying and reasons for selling. I was scrutinizing physical inspection reports and ordering extra estimates to find out what after escrow costs would add up to. I was reviewing the numbers with the critical eye of an owner instead of a market specialist. I wasn’t “just a broker” anymore … I was becoming an investor.
In 2003, the market was incredibly competitive. Properties were often sold before they hit the market or a few short days later. In order to get the jump on the other 9 million buyers searching for their dream homes, I spent lunches in my car with El Pollo Loco driving to the newest residential listings and calling agents. I must have visited 50 houses before I found it … my first home. It was modest, needed about 572 miscellaneous repairs, but I saw potential. I saw a safe neighborhood, a pool for my daughter to learn to swim in, and central air conditioning … something that I hadn’t had the luxury of in my previous apartment. After one walk-through, I knew I wanted the house. I sent an offer in immediately.
Escrow was set to close in 30 days and the clock was ticking. I was working diligently on my loan, picking out paint colors, and fighting with the listing agent on a near daily basis. Experiencing escrow as a buyer was quite a different experience. Everyday after work (and without fail), I would drive to my future home after I picked up my daughter “just to pass by” the house. It was unbelievable to me that I was about to OWN something.
As I started to make plans for my new home, business picked up. My future mortgage was going to be twice as much as my rent and I was going to have to step up my closings. One of my clients asked me to evaluate a four-unit property for sale. I didn’t typically sell four units but I wasn’t going to turn away any business at this point. When I pulled up to the front of the units, there was something a little different about this property. The same feeling that I had when I walked through my house began to arise again. Before I knew it, I blurted out my desire to personally buy the property from my client. He promptly agreed as long as we could mutually agree on a price. As I drove away from the property, the broker side of me started calculating values and the investor side of me started to smile.
“Two purchases in a month??” “Can you afford that??” “Are you crazy!?” There were many nay-sayers in my inner circle that didn’t believe the audacity of buying two properties in a month. Even my loan broker questioned my moxy and told me she had never done a loan for a first-time home buyer and an investment property at the same time. Much to my surprise, there were brokers that insisted that it wasn’t a good time to buy one property let alone two because the market was too high. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments of doubt in those 30 days. Of course, there was. But it was time for me to make my move and nothing was going to change my mind. In a whirlwind of a few weeks and mounds of paperwork, I became a home-owner and a landlord and I hadn’t even reached my 30th birthday.
The purchases of my home and first investment property were ultimately the vehicles that allowed me to buy and sell multiple apartment buildings as an investor in the years that followed. While there was a point that it was unbelievable to me that I would own anything, it is now unbelievable to me that I own nearly 50 units. Becoming an investor also greatly improved my ability to broker transactions for my clients, to mentor agents, and catapulted my commissions. I left my firm after 5 years and now run a top ranked team of commercial agents at KW Commercial.
There are many stories of tragedy and triumph. I share my story with you for no other reason except to serve as an example of, “If I can do it, so can you.” There is no need for pity or praise but instead a call to action. Find the confidence to pursue a seemingly unattainable goal. Uncover the moxy it takes to remain steadfastly fixated on your goal and boldly shout it to whoever will listen. Do not entertain attempts to question your audacity. In fact, when it is being questioned, rest assured that you are doing the right thing. Revel in the feeling of bravely taking charge of your career and your life and your future will reap the rewards.