Real Estate Deal Regrets: How to Get Over It

Many real estate investors end up feeling tremendous guilt. They've made bad deals. They've lost money. Perhaps they've even lost years as they struggled to overcome those regrets--and in some cases, those regrets can become downright crippling.

  • Monday, January 6, 2020

  Matt Angerer

  Real Estate Psychology   

Many real estate investors end up feeling tremendous guilt. They've made bad deals. They've lost money. Perhaps they've even lost years as they struggled to overcome those regrets--and in some cases, those regrets can become downright crippling.

Here's the reality: most investors will, at some point or another, make a mistake. You're not going to do everything perfectly, even if you have the best blueprint and the best mentors in the world. In fact, even those great mentors made mistakes along the way, and they can still make them. The difference is that, instead of allowing those things to crush them, they're able to use those failures to catapult themselves toward greater success.

"All those 'wasted years' aren't wasted...The knowledge you learned about those things is fuel to make sure that it never happens again," notes Jocko in the video below. What does that mean for you? It means that you have more opportunities than you think to accomplish your dreams and make the most of your real estate investing strategies--even if you've made mistakes along the way. Ready to start getting over those regrets? Try some of these important strategies. 

1. Embrace what you learned.

As Jocko notes in his motivational call to overcoming regrets, those past experiences aren't wasted. Instead, they're a lesson: a critical part of your experiences that can help propel you to make better decisions in the future. While you don't want to dwell on those mistakes, you do want to take the time to learn from them.

Thanks to your mistakes, you know what failure feels like. You know how it feels to stand in front of a property that just isn't meeting up to your expectations: perhaps one that required more repairs than you initially thought, or one that you can't seem to rent out for the rates you need. 

What did you learn from that experience? You might, for example, have learned several important lessons:

Not to buy a house you haven't had a chance to walk through. Even the most trusted realtor can make a mistake, and you may not know for certain that a house is a good fit for your needs and your capabilities until you can walk through it yourself.

To check out the neighborhood carefully before purchasing a new rental property. If the neighborhood is filled with empty homes or properties for sale, there may well be a very good reason for it. After failing to do your research, you may learn important lessons about what you really need to know about a property and its location later.

What you can really handle when it comes to DIY repairs. When you purchase a property to rent out, you may try to cut costs as much as possible, including taking care of your own repairs. Unfortunately, DIY isn't always as easy as you had hoped it would be. You may, through your mistakes, learn the full range of your personal capabilities and how to stay within them--which can help prevent you from taking on too much in the future. 

What inspectors you need to take a look at your property. After making an error in your property choice, you may want to have inspectors come in to look over future properties--not to mention building better relationships with trusted individuals who can help you take care of those tasks. 

Carefully evaluate those lessons, then put them into practice in the future. Mistakes aren't just setbacks. They're also lessons learned that can help you experience significantly greater success in the future. 

2. Move confidently forward to correct your past errors.

Okay: you made a mistake. You might have purchased a property that you just can't seem to get into decent condition for a renter, or you might discover that it's harder than you anticipated to rent out a property.

Instead of dwelling on that mistake, living in it, and convincing yourself that it's a career-ending error, move forward and correct that mistake.

Have a property that you can't keep rented out? Sell it. There's no reason for it to sit there, not generating the income that you need and expect it to generate. 

Have a property that needed considerably more repairs than you anticipated? Has a particularly property turned into a money pit, either because of repairs you didn't anticipate ahead of time or because of the quality of renters who seem to be attracted to that area? Don't continue to pour more money into that property; instead, sell it, remove it from your portfolio, and choose a property that better fits your needs.

When it comes to real estate investing--or, for that matter, to life in general--you aren't stuck with your mistakes. Sure, you may have to live with some of the consequences of those mistakes, but that doesn't mean that they have to remain a weight around your neck, preventing you from achieving the rest of your goals. Instead, take steps to move past those mistakes. Write off the past mistakes and past consequences, but don't mire yourself down and keep making those mistakes long-term. Instead, go ahead and ditch those properties that aren't working for you or create a better investment plan. It will free you up to invest more effectively in the future--and help you get past those regrets. 

3. Develop a plan for the future.

You made mistakes that kept you from reaching your goals.

Now what?

Take a look at your real estate investing goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your property investments? Are you using those investments to pay for college--either for you or for your kids? Do those properties represent your retirement plan? Do you want to use real estate investing as an ongoing source of additional income? 

Take a hard look at exactly what you'd like to accomplish through real estate investing. Whether you're "just dabbling" or you're trying to use your investments as a solid income stream, you need a plan. Your investment plan should include:

  • The types of properties you want to rent out
  • Who you want to handle basic property management tasks
  • The professionals you'll bring in to take care of inspections and repairs
  • Your ultimate goal for your real estate investing efforts--including a look at how many properties you'll need to accomplish those goals
  • What you want to avoid as you make your investments: specific types of properties or geographic areas that just don't work for you, for example
  • Milestones you'd like to meet at each step along the way 
  • Backup plans, in case your initial strategies don't work out as well as you'd hoped

When you have a plan in place, you have a blueprint to follow: a guide that will help prevent you from making similar mistakes in the future. You'll also find that an effective plan can help catapult you to higher levels of future success, often far faster than you believed possible. 

4. Use your past mistakes to teach others.

You've been there and done that. You've made errors--and through those errors, learned a lot about the "right" way to accomplish things. Some lessons, you had to learn the hard way--and that's okay, because you're still learning. Other lessons, you might have learned thanks to the influence of other trusted individuals. Regardless of how you learned those lessons, however, you now have a broader knowledge base than you anticipated.

Now, you can pass that knowledge on to others.

Take those mistakes that you made in the past and turn them into lessons, not just for yourself, but for others who might want to follow in your footsteps. You can share that knowledge with friends and family members who are interested in your journey, whether you have a dear friend who sees how real estate investing has impacted your finances or a child who wants to follow directly in your footsteps. Equally importantly, you can share knowledge beyond your immediate circle by sharing information through a blog, a vlog, or social media. Those lessons you've learned along the way aren't just important for you. They can also help other individuals avoid those mistakes and increase their own successes.

Not only can your teaching tools help bring in their own source of income as you work with advertisers to build your presence, they can help you  more clearly quantify those lessons in your own mind--and ultimately, that increased knowledge can help pave the way to a more effective real estate investing strategy.

Investing in real estate is not without its dangers, including errors that could prevent you from meeting all of your financial goals along the way. The important thing, however, is to realize that you are not stuck with those errors forever--and they shouldn't prevent you from moving forward. Want to learn more about how we can help with property management, making it easier than ever for you to manage your rental properties even as your portfolio grows? Contact us today. 

About the author

Matt Angerer is the Founder and President of VerticalRent. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics that help Landlords, Property Managers, and Renters across America. He is particularly interested in helping renters understand their local marketplace, pick the best places to live, and find an awesome roommate. Since 2011, VerticalRent has grown to service over 100,000 landlords and renters across America. 

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