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What Game Are You NOT Playing?

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You may be involved in real estate investing because you love real estate, or because you’re actively building wealth. So it’s easy to think “I’m playing the real estate investing game.” But if we dig a little deeper, what specific game are you REALLY playing? Once you have tremendous clarity on what game you’re really playing, you also have tremendous clarity on something else: what games you are NOT playing. In this episode, Jeff discusses the critical importance of knowing exactly what game—within real estate investing—you are playing, so that you can focus on it, become the best in the world at it, and avoid playing all the other games you shouldn’t be playing that distract your focus and dilute your efforts.

Episode Transcript

Let me ask you a question. What game are you playing? Right now? As you listen to this podcast as you go out into the world and work on your real estate investing dreams, what game are you playing? It seems like the answer is like well playing the real estate investing game. Or maybe you zoom out a little bit and Sam playing the wealth building game. But I actually want to zoom in a little bit more today. And I want to get more specific, because it’s really, really important for us each individually to know what game we are playing and what game we are not playing. So with that in mind, let’s jump right in and cue the theme song we’ll talk about it.

Welcome to racking up rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital, or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans, nor are we posting “We Buy Houses” signs are just looking for quote, motivated sellers to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people-oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out Win-Win deals without agents or any other obstacles and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from a Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media. This show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio.

Thanks for joining me for another episode of Racking up Rentals. Show Notes for this episode can be found at ww.thoughtfulre.com/e129. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button on your podcast app, it really helps you make sure you don’t miss any shows and it helps other fellow Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneurs to find us onward with today’s episode.

So as I mentioned in the intro, it’s really easy for us to just think about the idea that we’re doing real estate investing. And it’s like, well, we do real estate investing the way real estate investing is done. And that’s the game we’re playing. Or you might zoom out and say- well, we’re playing the wealth building game. And maybe even that game for you is got multiple facets to it. Perhaps real estate investing is just one of those multiple facets. I don’t know, maybe that’s unique to you. But we feel like that’s the game that we are playing. And a lot of times we focus on why we are playing this game, right? We focus on that a lot. Even in this podcast, I think that’s a really, really good thing. But I want to take today’s episode, and keep talking about what and I want to zoom in. Rather than zoom out, I want to focus on zooming in on what game you are playing, because within the overall scope of real estate investing. There’s a lot of stuff, right? And so within real estate investing, what are you actually doing? So what the key question to this episode really is this: What game do you want to play and become the very best in the world at and thus, what game do you not want to be playing as well.

So let’s just take a second and sort of break down really broadly, some of the components of real estate investing, right? Because we could take real estate investing and just already break it down into a few big chunks, right, you could say, well, there’s you know, part of the process is searching for opportunities. Some of it is negotiating those opportunities, some of it is financing, those opportunities, some of it is doing construction on properties that we own, or repairs, even things like that. Some of it is management of the properties we owe. So that’s five kind of broad, big components within the category of real estate investing. And you might say, Well, I have to do all of those things. It’s not like I’m just playing the construction game, I have to also play the management game and the negotiation game, etc. But let’s take a second and let’s drill down even further and this is where the list could get insanely, insanely long. And don’t worry, we won’t go through every one. But to make the point. The first category I mentioned was searching for opportunities. So even within that category, there’s how do you find leads? How do you generate those leads? There’s a lot of different ways to do that. You know how we do it here, but there’s a lot of different ways a person could What if within searching, it’s identifying opportunity, being able to look at something and say, oh, yeah, you know what, those rents are at 1200 a month, but they could easily be at $1,900 A month or I know the zoning here and I see this could be more than it currently is. So you’re identifying opportunity, maybe that’s a sub game within searching that you play.

How about within negotiation of lives, lots and lots of sub games there. How about part of your negotiation is how you actually position yourself and how you make your sellers perceive you, that could be a one of the nuances within negotiation. Maybe one of your nuances is making people like you developing rapport with them, making them feel comfortable and trust you, within finance, you know, maybe you are focused a lot on creative deal structures, maybe you focus on cultivating financial partners. So you’ve always got lots of money at the ready in various different structures that you can put into your deals. Under the banner of construction, maybe it’s your skill is, is getting work done cheaply, maybe you have the physical skills to do some of the work yourself, maybe you have great relationships with people, you can get work done at 25% less than what most other people could get it done. Maybe you’re an expert at fast tracking the permits, you need to push them through the City Planning Division and get them in a week instead of three weeks, or four weeks, or five weeks, or whatever that might be. Within the case of management, the category of management, maybe you’re an expert at leasing up vacant units really, really quickly. Maybe you’re expert at knowing which improvements to make that will generate a lot more rent for the least amount of improvement dollar yourself. Maybe you are really an expert. Like our recent podcast guests, Dr. McNeely was on buying a property with existing tenants and very successfully getting the rents up with those existing tenants. So we could go on and on and on. And as much as I’m sure you’d love that, I think we’ve made the point, which is when we even start to break down real estate investing, we can look at five broad categories that we can look at lots and lots and lots of categories within those five months. And that means there’s lots of different things that we could put our focus and our emphasis on. So let me just ask you this question. What do you feel like you are best at as you really break it down and get granular and thinking about every little component of real estate investing? What is it you feel like you were actually best at? And then secondly, what do you feel like is the key to having a competitive advantage? Maybe in your market, maybe in your type of property in your type of business? You know, you might look at that. And you might say, Well, the thing I feel like I’m the best at is creative deal structure. But in my market, the thing that is the key to having a competitive advantage is speed to find the leads, because there’s a lot of competition. And if I wait around and go too slow, I, you know, I run into too much competition. So you need to understand both of those things. What do you feel like you are absolutely the best at? And of all those things, if you took everything involved in a real estate investment portfolio, ranked it and you said, here’s what I’m best at what would the number one thing be? And then secondly, what do you feel like it’s actually most important to be good at in order to have a competitive advantage as a real estate investor?

So let me just give you myself as an example. Okay. Now, as I look at all these things; Am I any better at getting construction work done than anybody else? No. I do have one really amazing partner, who is a contractor who I can trust and who does work in an incredibly reliable manner affordably. We have an incredible working relationship that I know is not easy to replicate. So that’s definitely one advantage I have. But in his construction, my overall area where I have the best advantage where I’m best, no, not at all. How about management? Well, I think we’re pretty good with management. But all this stuff within management, no, I don’t think so. When I look at the place in this whole sequence of all the different stuff that has to be done, that I am the best at it is when I’m sitting in the living room of the seller, developing rapport with them, and learning about what they want to accomplish. That’s where I am best. Sitting on their couch in their living room. Now, let me ask myself the second question, what do I feel like is the key to having a competitive advantage in my market and I would say that for me, it is my ability to find seller conversations with sellers who are not talking to anybody else. That to me is what is the most important thing I need to be good at in order to have a competitive advantage in my market. So, when I pair those two things together, I look at that and I say okay, the core of my strategy is finding people who nobody else knows are willing to sell their property and sitting in their living room and making them feel comfortable with me. That is what I do. That is my single focused game. That’s the game I am really playing now. Do I have to later play the game of, you know, tenant conversations and financial structuring and things like that? Yeah, absolutely. I absolutely do, of course. But I know that my focus the crux, the linchpin, in my whole process is my ability to find people that nobody else knows our sellers, and have a conversation with them sitting in their living room that makes them feel very comfortable with me. So now I ask you, what, as you think about these two things, you know what you’re best at, we’re getting down to it on a granular level. And what you feel like is the key to a competitive advantage in your situation in your market and your property type. What is your single focus game that you are really playing? I would say that that’s the answer to the question. What game are you playing? You’re not playing the real estate investing game, you’re playing the game of answering this question. In my case, the game I play is not real estate investing. It’s connecting with off market sellers that nobody else knows about and making them feel comfortable sitting in their couch or in their living room. Now, this means that once you have an answer to this question, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. There’s just clarity or lack of clarity and what I want for you is just to have clarity on what your single focus game is. When you have that clarity, then you just really focus on being the best in the world at that right now. Do you need to be competent at writing a lease? Yes. Do you need to be competent at communicating with a contractor? Yes, you do. But that’s not the thing, that you’re hanging your hat on that you say, I’m going to be the very best in the world, at knowing what securities paperwork to fill out when I go syndicate a deal. That’s not what your focus is going to be. If you say your focus is something else. Like I’ve said, my focus is connecting with sellers and making them feel comfortable with me.

So now that you have that level of clarity about what game you are really playing, and what you can really work on an ongoing basis have been the very best in the world that you can now design everything else in your business in service of that, right like now, for instance, in my case, as I look at my whole business, everything that’s involved. There are certain things I’m personally really involved in, there are certain things I’m not as involved in. I’m not writing leases myself, at this point. Why is that? Well, I have a team member who does that? Why do I have a team member who does that? Because my magic, the thing I am best in the world at the game I’m playing is connecting with sellers, and getting them to feel comfortable with me. I am not playing the game of writing leases, I can outsource the stuff that is not my area of focus. I can design the rest of my business around enabling me to focus more and more and more on just doing that one thing that I am best at. So when you know what your number one focus is the game that you are really playing that’s unique to you, you know, your answer is going to be different than mine and different than the next person listening to this. When you know what game you are really playing this creates two massive advantages for you. The first one is it gives you focus so you can work on honing that skill, right? I don’t spend a lot of time working on honing my skills of sending letters, I don’t spend a lot of time of honing my skills of looking at construction contracts, because those are not the games I play. My game is what happens when the phone rings all the way to when I make a proposal that is my area of focus. And there’s all the skills that are involved in that those are the books I read. Those are the podcasts I listened to. Those are the things I focus on is how do I show up when I’m playing the game that I’m really playing the other stuff I need to be competent in. But that’s okay, I don’t need to throw all my energy of being better and better at writing leases, I need to throw my energy of being better and better doing the thing that that is the game that I actually play. But secondly, and this is a huge deal. When you know what game you are playing. that acts as a filter that filters out everything else that you don’t need to be doing. It tells you what game you’re not playing. When you know what game you are playing. You also know what games you are not playing. And that is so important because it really helps to eliminate tons and tons of wasted energy and spinning your wheels. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this expression decision fatigue. But when we have to approach every situation with a blank canvas and just say what am I going to decide to do here today? Overall, that’s kind of exhausting and It spends a lot of our energy making decisions that we don’t necessarily have to make.

A famous, totally different context type of example, is Steve Jobs, he was known for wearing the same thing every day. And the idea behind that was they were eliminating decision fatigue. He’s like, I don’t need to think about this. Every day, there are certain things I really do need to think about every day, I want to burn my brain power, trying to figure out what color I should wear today, or which pair pants let me just make that easy and eliminate the decision fatigue? Well, the same thing happens as real estate investors, right? If we don’t have a high level of focus on what game we are playing, and thus, a high level of focus on what games we are not playing. Every time an opportunity comes to us, we have to think about it, we have to look at it, we have to walk around it, we have to decide if and how we’re going to pursue it, if and how it fits with our plan, because everything is a possibility. And on one hand, that might sound good like, Well, gosh, I’m looking at everything, there’s possibility everywhere. But on the other hand, it’s very wasteful in terms of your energy. So I’ll tell you this, in my case, I know that if I am, the game I’m playing, the thing I want to be best in the world at is connecting with an off market seller nobody else knows is for sale and sitting in that person’s living room and developing rapport with them. There is no sense in me looking at listed properties, zero sense, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the market, doesn’t matter if it’s an insanely good price, it doesn’t make any difference because I’m not going to get to sit in that seller’s living room. And I’m not going to be the only person who knows that properties for sale, quite the opposite. Everybody’s going to know that property is for sale, and I’m not going to have a chance to have that person as my audience, I’m going to have to talk to an agent is going to have to talk to another agent who’s going to have to talk to that seller. So if the game I’m playing is connecting with people and sitting in their living rooms to develop rapport. I can’t do any of that with listed properties. So the great news is, I don’t have to look at listed properties at all. I literally don’t look at any of them, ever, it doesn’t matter how good they might be. I know that that’s not the game that I play. And so I don’t have to decide a new every morning. Like I wonder if I should look at the listed listings today. No, I don’t need to decide that. Someone sends me an email and says, Hey, you should look at this list of property. I don’t need to decide if I’m going to because my principles say I only do what I am best at and I only play the game I play. And I don’t play games that I don’t play. And that means I don’t need to look at these properties. Now. Would I miss out on opportunity sometimes by doing this? Yeah, maybe, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what else I’m missing out on is hours and hours of screening listings every day or every week that even if they were good would not put me in my sweet spot of sitting in the sellers living room developing rapport with them, etc. So I only do what I am best at at that level of focus creates incredible efficiency. So here is what I leave you with.

To summarize this, I want you to take a look at everything involved in your real estate investing endeavors, but figure out what do you feel like you’re the best at what do you feel like creates the most competitive advantage and decide for yourself right now? What game are you playing? What game are you playing within the greater scope of building wealth through real estate investing? What game are you playing? And thus What games are you not playing? And sit in and enjoy that focus that that gives you knowing that you’ve defined the game you’re playing and now you can double down triple down quadruple down on being the best in the world at that and not worrying about everything else? That is it for today’s episode of Racking up Rentals.

That’s it for today’s episode of Racking up Rentals. Again, show notes for today’s episode our thoughtfulre.com/e129. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in the podcast app and rate and review the show. Did you know we have a Facebook group for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs too? It’s called Rental Portfolio Wealth Builders. We’d love to have you join us over there. Just go to group.thoughtfulre.com and the magic of the internet will take you right to that page and you can hit the Join button. If you liked this episode, please take a screenshot and post that to Instagram and tag us we are @thoughtfulrealestate.

I will see you in the next episode. Until then. This is Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur signing off.

Thanks for listening to Racking Up Rentals where we build long term wealth by being a win-win deal makers. Remember solve the person to unlock the deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits.

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