6 Lessons A Real Estate Investor Can Take Away from Watching Disney’s Jungle Book
After watching the Jungle Book (an amazing movie if you ask me) it occurred to me that beyond the entertainment value and the good graphics, there are serious take outs that real estate investors may find noteworthy. Since, I hate spoilers, I won’t do spoilers here … just the basics in bullet points.
1. Being raised by wolves doesn’t make you a wolf:
In the course of your journey as a real estate investor, you will come across people you admire and can regard as mentors — their methods, investment portfolios, negotiation strategies are likely to be as widely varying as they come … and you will be tempted to ‘want to be like them’. While the ‘role play’ is an important part of your growth, self-discovery is the ultimate. Find your market, find your type of real estate vehicle, find your risk appetite, find yourself.
2. In dire times, you might need to leave your comfort zone:
While majority of us are used to the ‘diversify, diversify, diversify’ mantra, the reality is that most investors will fall into specific categories and markets where they find both fulfillment and feel that they have a sense of control. At times, unfortunate circumstances may require that you leave your safe harbor and venture into novel frontiers to keep your business afloat. I once heard of a fast food chain that survived a recession breeding crocodiles for the tourism market.
3. Whenever you are riding a bull run in a storm, look out for the mudslide:
A bullish market is every investor’s dream. While it isn’t as prominent in real estate as it is in stocks, a seller’s market is what every investor prays for. However, when there is an unusual trend in the bullish rampage, this might be an indication or a trigger for a drastic change coming up ahead. Over-optimism, over-confidence in the market and crowd mentality are just about a few of those things that can trigger a mudslide, don’t be caught up in the euphoria.
4. If you discover a huge snakeskin, its likely there is a huge snake lurking around:
Real investments always carry their red flags with then. As an investor, you must train your senses to look for these tell tale signs of impairment in both the real asset you are considering and the environment around it. When you find these things, try not to discountenance it or downplay it. At best, use them to improve your negotiation position if you are still bent on putting in your money
5. Never trust bears. They never tell the whole truth.
Agents will say anything to sell property. That is their job. So if you are looking into that acquisition or joint venture opportunity, do the digging yourself even after the agents have put their best ‘feet’ forward. Use a lawyer, ask the neighbours, go to the community centre, check for bad reviews online. The leaning is that the more dispassionate the observer, the more objective the observation. Find those in whose interest it is that the deal isn’t done and seek their opinions. Also, it may seem like dirty work doing the fact-check yourself but you are the best person to tell whether that real opportunity is worth it or not. FIND OUT BY YOURSELF.
6. Power trumps wealth ALWAYS:
As you aspire to build your real estate empire high up in the mountains and make your place in the sky on the 907th floor of your own Babel Towers, always remember that whenever Power and Wealth clash, Power wins. The ability to influence policy, to dictate the direction of development, to determine where the roads and rails and bridges will cut through, to determine whether or not the zoning ordinances should be reviewed or not matters more than the real wealth you are sitting on so for those investors who aspire to property investor heaven, LEARN TO PLAY THE POLITICS. Get involved. Curry influence. Use gratitude. Forge alliances. Learn to convince. Shape the future you are building up to and while at it, remember that in the short run ethics may appear flimsy but on the long haul, it always matters — so in your aspiration for power, retain your integrity.