Running and real estate:
I spent most of my childhood growing up in a little town called Hull located in Madison County Georgia — that’s right next to Athens where the UGA main campus is located. I went to Colbert Elementary and then on to Madison County Middle School.
During those years I was involved in sports playing baseball and soccer at the county rec department. In seventh grade, I was able to join the middle school teams where I was a starting goalie for our soccer team and starting offensive and defensive lineman for our football team.
Actually, our school and teams were so small I was on all the special teams like kickoff and kickoff return as well.
The fact that I was a starter had a lot to do with two things. No.1, like I mentioned above, we had a small school. No. 2, my family members tend to hit their adult height right around seventh grade. Now I wasn’t six feet at this point, but I was every bit of 5 foott 10 inches tall. And what I lacked in ability on the football field was compensated for by my size.
In the middle of eighth grade, we moved down to Saint Simons Island. It was culture shock, to say the least. I went from a small farming town in Northeast Georgia to the Coast where people actually surfed. It was a great change, but it took some getting used to.
One big change was the fact that I was no longer a starter. The athletic programs — actually every extracurricular program — were better funded than where I had come from. The kids had better training, better equipment, and better coaching. This fact landed me a third-string goalie and second-string lineman, which was a pretty big blow to my ego.
On the last week of that year, we had a field day. Not feeling very athletic anymore, I didn’t sign up for any of the sports. But at the last minute, our class needed someone to represent them in the mile run and I agreed to do it.
Now, I was not a runner. I was a sprinter. I was pretty quick for 20 or 30 yards. Past that, I’d never been tried.
I remember seeing the first guy finish before I started my last lap and thinking “that’s not good.”
On the final stretch, I was alone on the track. But I didn’t quit. Because of that, the entire school cheered me on and I huffed and puffed my way to the finish line. Once I finally crossed it, I was so out of breath I nearly fell over and passed out.
I chuckled while reliving this story as I completed the fifth mile of my morning run the other day. As I started to jog for my cool down lap, it hit me that real estate investing is a lot like running.
You see, running takes some strategy. You have to put a certain amount of effort in to make sure you get up a hill without gassing yourself and slowing your pace. Once you get to the top of the hill, your heart is pounding, and you are breathing heavily.
Going down the hill, you have to allow gravity to assist you. And with minimal effort, you can speed yourself up while gaining some of the time you lost going up the hill. You also need to regain control of your breathing. You can accomplish this with an intentional breathing pattern. This gets you back in control and ready for the smooth pace of the straightaways.
Real estate investing takes very similar strategies. There are times it feels like you are pushing uphill with all you have to get a house finished and on market. This often happens when you have a house you need to get on the market you get out of peak buying season.
Other times, gravity, i.e. plentiful deal flow, is assisting you, and you have to make sure you are in control of it. Other times, you are just going at a smooth, even pace where all the deals are moving liking clockwork.
And finally, there’s a time to sprint — like right now with a downturn looming. Be selective with what deals you take down. And go hard at them once you do. I think quick deals, with easy rehabs, will be the safest until things even out.
You should take this idea and run with it. Yep … I went there.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.