10 Things Successful Real Estate Investors Do Differently

What do you think separates the successful people from everyone else? First, start with your definition of success. Mine comes from John Wooden: "Success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to do the best of which you're capable."

I really like the below 10 reasons, especially these: successful people don't quit, they know their why, they ask for advice and they live outside their comfort zones.

"To succeed you need to think outside the box. To think outside the box, you have to get outside the box." Let me know what you think."

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From Ben Leybovich -

The following commentary is based on the premise that when asked all people will tell you that they want to be successful. This is no different in the world of real estate. However, you know as well as I that not all people are, which begs the question – if everyone wants to be successful, why aren’t they? Framed differently, the question is:

What do successful real estate investors do differently that helps them become successful?

This question has been asked and answered a billion times throughout history and in every language known to mankind. Today, I will respectfully add to posterity…

1. Successful RE Investors Don’t Quit

Success is not something that happens accidentally and without intent. We can conceive of success as the accomplishment of objective; or, we can conceive of success as the process which leads to accomplishment of that objective – both views are reasonable and can be argued. However, one thing can not be argued – success doesn’t just happen on accident! Success takes work! In fact, it takes more than work…

Many people start on the right path, but quit before achieving the objective. As the matter of fact, one of life’s tasty little ironies is the fact that most people quit inches away from the Promised Land.

Very early on in my career I experienced a big blow when I bought a house to fix and flip for $45,000, sold it for $110,000 and managed to lose $20,000. Even though it wasn’t cash out of pocket that I lost but equity which has since been absorbed by other property, this was a painful experience nonetheless. In hindsight, however, this outcome was really not surprising – I simply lacked the intellectual worth to do any better than what I did at that time.

I learned a ton on that deal and nothing even remotely like that has ever happened to me since. However, what I take pride in the most is that even though I considered quitting after that deal – I did not! In fact just the opposite – I committed myself right then and there to become a student of the craft and to become a success.

Thus, the most important trait of successful real estate investors is: Perseverance!!!

2. Successful RE Investors Know Their Why

Well – it is easy to say Don’t Give-up, but it’s anything but easy to follow through. Some days are better than others, for sure. But, there are definitely days when all of us want to throw-in the towel. After loosing that 20k I certainly considered it. So, why didn’t I, and why don’t others? Where does the strength to hang on come from ?

Don’t say money…

Understand – money is how we keep score; it’s how we track and evaluate our effectiveness in the business world. But, money is not and should not be the cause of our burning desire to achieve. There must be something else; something more; something that drives your soul and your mind…

What Is It?

I have a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, which means that quite likely eventually I won’t be able to move. Thus, my WHY has always been to ensure that my wife and kids are set up financially regardless of whether I can work or not…this is the reason I focus on Passive Income through real estate and why I do not feel like I have the luxury of giving up.

What is that thing for you – what’s your WHY? What is the thing that’ll make you hang on when crap hits the fan?

Figure out your WHY – Your success depends on it!

3. Successful RE Investors Believe in Themselves

And by that I don’t mean that successful RE Investors are never afraid – only fools are unafraid. However, we have faith in ourselves, our education, and our abilities enough to take action in spite of fear!

While there are many types of fears that people experience, the most debilitating and paralyzing is fear of failure…successful people feel it too, but they don’t let it stop them! They have an unqualified, pathological belief that they are smart, talented, and capable enough to be able to learn whatever it is that they need to learn in order to accomplish their goals. This in combination with perseverance and very strong motivation, which were discussed in sections 1 and 2, leads them toward success.

Do you believe in yourself?

4. Successful RE Investors Fake it Until They Make It

Many people are afraid to take the first step until they feel absolutely comfortable in having defined the entire process. This, of course, is impossible, more so in the world of real estate than many others. Human condition is perpetually in the state of flux; things change all the time and trying to “set things in stone” is futile.

This is precisely why successful RE Investors make their best effort to control as many facets of their business as they can, but ultimately they learn take action in the face of the unknown. We understand that even the best of plans go sideways – a reality which we can not control, and therefore must learn to work with. Trying to avoid this would simply render us to the sidelines forever. Thus, to a certain degree successful RE Investors are perpetually faking it ‘til they make it…

And if you are a new investor, you need to understand that there comes a point in the learning process when “doing” is the necessary next step. It is scary because it never feels like you know enough, but ironically in order to learn more you have to take action – you must fake it in order to make it!

5. Successful RE Investors are Experts in Their Field

As I write this in the summer of 2013, I have to tell you – I love this real estate market. Current market is not easy, just the opposite; current market is not abundant with opportunities on the MLS, just the opposite – it is quite hard to make good deals in this market. So why do I love it? Because I love excellence in all of its incarnations, and this marketplace illuminates who the real players are…

A Bit of Philosophy

I have many philosophies around real estate, and one of the biggies is this – it takes about as much intelligence to buy real estate as it does to fall out of a tree; anybody with some cash can do it. But to buy something that makes sense today and will withstand the test of time is the domain of highly educated and creative entrepreneurs.

In our world of instant gratification where everyone is after the quick fix and knowing just enough to make a buck, successful people commit themselves to their craft –they are students of their craft. They conceive of learning as a way of life and not merely something you do when you are burning with desire for this or that piece of knowledge.

Successful people understand that being alive is different from living life, and this difference manifests in learning! We never stop learning, which causes us to become experts in our field!

“Don’t just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade” ~ James Bennis

6. Successful RE Investors Know the Difference Between Goal and Dream

As I stated at the outset, it is reasonable to assume that when asked most people would tell you that they want to be successful. One of the chief reasons these words do not translate into reality in most cases is because most people aren’t able to draw the distinction between what is a dream and what is a goal…

Dream – Desire that is not meant to materialize because it is not coupled to an Actionable Plan, which makes it unachievable.

Goal – Desire which is coupled to a specific actionable and measurable plan, whereby following the plan necessarily results in a degree of success.

All of us dream of becoming this or that when we are kids, and we continue to romanticize as adults. Unfortunately, most of us never learn how to convert our dreams into goals and therefore make them real. What is required is an Actionable and Measurable plan which will hold us accountable.

7. Successful RE Investors Live Outside of Their Comfort Zone

Every time I succeed, it is because I extend myself to the point of instability and then find a way to hold ground until I achieve balance once more.

I am scared every time, because this process of success forces me out of my comfort zone...


Success Does Not Happen Inside Your Comfort Zone!

Get it?

8. Successful RE Investors Ask for Advice

Michael Dell is famously quoted offering the following piece of advice:

“Never be the smartest guy in the room.”

For as long as I can remember I’ve made it a point to seek out smart people – they excite me! Why? Because they represent the kind of person I want to be; their achievements represent the kind of things I want to achieve; the impact they have on those around them represents the impact I want to make…

I Have a Challenge For YOU:

I want you to take your Smartphone out of your pocket and scroll through your contacts. How many successful, accomplished people are in there? How many people are among your contacts whose knowledge bases represents the knowledge you need in order to achieve success?

If you do not have direct access to the people that know more than you and are more capable and successful than you, then you are hanging with the wrong crowd!

9. Successful RE Investors Choose Wisely Who They Listen To

Most people in your life will want you to fail!

That’s right, I said it – most people in your life will want you to fail. Did you know this? Successful RE Investors know this. This isn’t because people don’t wish you well. In fact, it has very little to do with you at all. It is them…

Your friends have known you for years. They are comfortable with you; the old you. The you that sits on the couch with them watching football, eating chips, drinking beer, and scratching yourself; the you that tells them how the money is tight at the end of the month; the you that complains to them about your boss being a prick. This is the you that they know and love, and the you they are comfortable with.

But, this is not who you are any more. You’ve made the choice to break the cycle; you’ve decided to be positive; you’ve decided to live your life in the world of abundance not scarcity; you’ve decided to create opportunity not wait for it; you’ve decided to pick-up the reigns and be proactive and accountable; you’ve made the choice to go after what you want! You’ve made a choice to be successful - GOOD FOR YOU!

Successful people realize that by moving forward you are necessarily making people in your life feel as though they are falling back; have you heard of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? Your friends are exactly where and what they’ve always been. But they “perceive” being left in the dust because you are moving forward…

Nobody likes this feeling, and basic human nature dictates that to save their perception of themselves they will try to hold you back. What makes this even more difficult and dangerous is that most of this happens subconsciously – most people will mean you well, but they will still try to hold you back, and they will instill doubt in you if you let them!

It is very important for this reason that you re-read section 8 – those are the people whose advice you will seek!

10. Successful RE Investors Treat People with Due Respect!

I am using a cliché, but it must be said – business is about people. Product is built by people, sold to people, fixed by people. Apartments and houses are built by people, sold and rented to people, and financed by people – you get the point. It’s all about people! How long do you think you are going to stay in business if you treat people badly?

Besides, successful people did not become successful on their own. They were helped along by teachers and mentors, colleagues and partners, clients and employees, and they treated each with due respect – the way they would want to be treated.

You can certainly get away with treating people in business badly for a while, but once word gets out, and it will, you’ll find it difficult to stay in business. The choice is yours…


There are many reasons why successful people become successful, but the above 10 seem to stand out as some of the most dominant that set them apart from the rest. Hopefully this gets you thinking...

If you are ready to get off the bench and start developing the ten traits I discussed above - come check out Cash Flow Freedom University and let me help you on your journey to freedom through real estate investing.