“You Won't Find Treasure on a Well Traveled Path” is a quote I heard many years ago that has always stuck with me and guided me and my style of real estate investing.
If you consistently go where everyone else is going, then you'll only be left to pick up the scraps and the bits and pieces that are left behind by all those who have gone before you.
If you want to really excel and find great fortunes, then you have to get off the easy beaten path, create a new path, and only there will you find the truly undiscovered hidden treasures.
Since early on, I have always been a problem solver and creative thinker when it comes to making money. Every time I would see lots of people going into one area of real estate investing, I would think “If everyone is going there, then were aren't they looking?“
I would work on figuring out what areas – what niches – of real estate investing weren't being touched, and how to profit from them.
The Beaten Real Estate Investing Path
For example, in the early 2000's, in Phoenix, Arizona I was working pre-foreclosures quite a bit. Things were going pretty well, then suddenly there was a slew of real estate investing seminars that began coming through town.
All of the top Real Estate Gurus suddenly were holding seminars in Phoenix on how to buy foreclosures. They were everywhere, at least 6 a month were coming through, and the competition heated up. Investors began coming out of the woodwork.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a little competition, but this was getting ridiculous.
You see, some of the people attending the free seminar didn't sign up for the course to really learn how to properly invest in real estate. They just got the free preview info and considered themselves an expert.
So they were out offering people in foreclosure near full price for their houses, not taking into account the holding cost, fix up, etc. So the offers I was normally making that benefited the sellers, were looking really low and people were turning them down right and left because of all the high offers being placed by these highly inexperienced investors who couldn't even close on them.
Business suffered…. So, let's take a look at this, what was going on?
Lots of investors were going into foreclosures. They were looking up on the internet using the public records, locating people, contacting them, and striking up a deal.
Paving New Real Estate Investing Paths
Ok, so, where “weren't” they going and what weren't they doing? Hummm….well, I began to notice a number of vacant houses around town that had no for sale signs on them, no ads were being run in the newspapers for them, and they apparently had been vacant for quite some time, so they weren't bank REO's, otherwise the banks would have them cleaned up and for sale with a Realtor.
Also, the only way to find these properties was to physically drive around looking for them, something many investors these days frown on doing. They would rather just sit at home and work everything from their computer.
Hummm, an opportunity? Absolutely! Treasure that was off the well traveled path.
Frank McKinney, the Maverick Daredevil Real Estate Artist – who I had the pleasure of interviewing for my podcast – went from fixing up little crack house HUD homes to building some of the most spectacular spec luxury homes (currently working on one for $125 Million), says in his early days, people talked about “Location, Location, Location”, he says, “I don't buy it … if you want to make money, you have to be willing to go where other investors won't”.
He would buy little crack houses that other investors were afraid of, and turn them into nice homes. He saw an opportunity, and went off the beaten path.
The Moral of This Story?
You can make a good living by following the crowds, doing what everyone else is doing, following the standard conventions and techniques taught by most real estate courses – but if you want to really make tremendous wealth, then you will find it were the majority is not going.
Explore where others are going and what they are doing. Then put on your thinking cap and brainstorm about where are they not going?
What area of real estate are the investors in your area not looking at and why?
Is it they don't know about it or see the opportunities, or is it they only know of one way of making that segment of the real estate market work. Then figure out ways you can make it work.
For every property there is someone willing to buy it, for whatever reason. If the price is right, they will buy. Find those, and create your own niche.
Be a trail blazer, and explore your own path to incredible Wealth!