My Secret Weapon for Real Estate

I’m in D.C. for some leadership training.  I’m glad my organization gives us two weeks to focus on leadership before we take on a supervisory job.  It’s a great time for personal reflection.

In this training, we do stuff like take personality tests, find out what our leadership style is, and discuss how to deal with common personnel challenges.

We also examine what our values are.

I was surprised how different my core values were from many of my military peers.  The typical military member has values that center around the following things:

  • Honor
  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Teamwork

All the things above are clearly important, but they weren’t values that drove me.  They don’t define who I am.

Our deepest values often manifest themselves during significant events in our lives.  I mapped out the significant events in my life and was surprised at what trait stood out.

I believe the trait that is most important to me has been key to my successes in life.

It’s clearly been the key to my success in real estate.

Let me share two significant events with you.


When I was 12 years old, I was playing field hockey at P.E..  I ended up pissing off some guy on the other team who was about twice my size.  He picked me up and threw me probably fifteen feet across the field.

I splatted onto the ground. Ouch.

I noticed my knee hurt a lot after that.  It was clicking.

Surprisingly, it didn’t heal after resting it for several weeks.

Doctor didn’t know what was wrong, and I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon.

The specialist took an x-ray.  He told me and my parents that I had a rare bone condition.  They said it affected a large area of my knee, and would most likely require surgery.

They told me it was likely I would limp for the rest of my life.  At the time I was a runner, and had a strong desire to continue this passion.

I told them I didn’t want surgery and planned on running in high school.

They told me I shouldn’t count on that and to prepare myself for not being able to play sports in the future.

Even though this condition is rare, as fate would have it, the person who put my cast on had the same condition in his ankle, and he said it ruined his cycling career.

They put my entire leg in a cast on the first day of summer and told me they would operate in a few months.

What a shitty summer!

I told the doctors and my parents I would not need surgery and would go back to running soon.

I refused to believe that I would not walk normal again.

Every day, I did workouts up and down the street on crutches.  Gave me nasty rashes on my armpits!

I told my coach as soon as the cast was off, I’d be back at practice.  I totally believed that I would be fine.  Knew it for a fact.

After one month in a cast, I went back to the doctor and they took an x-ray with the cast still on.  They told me they couldn’t see the bone condition anymore, but it was probably due to the cast being in the way.

I told them I was healed.  I urged them to take the cast off and do another x-ray.  They obliged.

The doctor told me it was a miracle.  The knee was healthy.  No trace of the bone condition.

A surprise to everyone but me.

I still enjoying running to this day.  I also enjoy snowboarding, and now surfing.

And now story #2


When I started college at the University of Utah, I decided I should get a part-time job.  Since I wanted to be a doctor, working in a hospital seemed like a good idea.

I walked around the University Hospital and was not optimistic.  It was old, dreary, and smelled gross.  What did I expect?

Maybe I shouldn’t be a doctor!

I saw a sign that said tunnel to children’s hospital.  O ok, a separate children’s hospital.  Cool.

As soon as I got into the tunnel, I made up my mind I would work at the children’s hospital.  It was bright, colorful, and there was children’s painting and drawings on the walls.

While it was still a hospital, people were happier here.

At the end of the tunnel was a sign that listed the different  departments.  I noticed there was an emergency room.

Emergency room at a children’s hospital?  That seemed like an exciting place to work.

I decided I would work there.

I walked up to the entrance of the ER and realized I couldn’t get in, so I knocked on the double doors.

They opened, and I asked for a job.  The doctor laughed at me and directed me to human resources.  I told him I didn’t want to go through HR, I wanted to talk directly with someone in the ER about getting a job.  He referred me to Alice, the manager of the ER.

She told me there were no jobs available, but to check with HR periodically to see if anything opens up.

I told her I was ready to start now.  She laughed and said she’s not ready to hire anyone yet.

I asked for her card, and she gave it to me.

I told her I would be back every week in person to see if she was ready to hire me yet.

She didn’t laugh this time.  She just said “Please don’t do that.”

I came back every week for five weeks.  She realized I was serious about working there.

And on the fifth Friday I was hired.

That’s how you get a fuckin’ job.


These stories define who I am as a person.

I believe I’m going to succeed.

I don’t let things happen to me, I make things happen.

I find a way.

I don’t take no for an answer.

I don’t give up.

How does this apply to real estate?

You need to have a certain level of knowledge before you should go out and and buy real estate.

But that doesn’t take long.

You can get it from a few good books and blogs.  Maybe a mentor if you’re lucky.

What you really need is the balls to actually do it.  Pull the trigger.  Buy that first property.

Then you need the creativity, tenacity, courage, and perseverance to overcome all the unforeseen obstacles that will pop up no matter how well-prepared you are.

My first real estate property was a disaster.  I wasn’t ready.  I endured many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to keep this property from bankrupting me.

So did I give up on real estate investing after that?

My wife thought I would.


I bought two more houses a month later, and four more in the coming months.

This type of perseverance has served me well in real estate and my professional career.

It even works for dating!

Are you waiting to buy that first property?  Afraid it might not turn out perfect?

It won’t.

Just do it already.


Rich on Money

I’ve bought twenty single family homes.  All paid off.  Here’s how.

The Complete Guide to Real Estate Investing

2 thoughts on “My Secret Weapon for Real Estate”

  1. “That’s how you get a fuckin’ job.”

    Loved the post. Glad to see you back and writing more frequently.

    Since we last spoke…we ended up getting the 2 doubles. While I understand that they were not GREAT deals…I am still pleased that we pulled the trigger and entered the game. The hardest part is getting started. I’ve read about it for years and never took the leap. Meeting all the great people in Ecuador really gave me the confidence to quit reading and get going.

    • Kevin!

      Great to hear from you. You are so right. The key is just buying something. My first house was a disaster, but I figured some things out, and then went on to buy 5 more over the next year. I do plan on meeting up with you again in the future. Saw that Jim stopped by. That was a great group we had in Ecuador. Love seeing everyone progress.

      I’m in Korea now. Trying to keep safe. Take care.


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