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Top 20 lessons learned in 2010

As 2010 comes to an end, I can’t help but look back and list down just some of the most significant and sometimes painful lessons I personally learned during the past year. I hope these lessons would help us all move forward in 2011.

Here are my top 20 lessons learned for 2010:

1. Real estate investing should be fun

If it ain’t, then there’s a problem somewhere. Find it, and correct it fast, before you lose interest or get burned out.

2. Real estate investing should be treated as a business.

The whole process of real estate investing should be defined, streamlined, and be made into a system, and then maybe it can become a business in the true sense as described in the book “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber. We tried to do this but someone told us top drop it and just focus on making money by doing more deals… never mind if it stresses you out and burns you out. Yeah right, words of wisdom indeed (If you don’t notice it, I’m being sarcastic)! A better approach would be to build a sustainable real estate business (that you will actually love to grow for the long term).

3. Always deal with the decision maker.

Yes, we already know this for buyers, but I learned how important this was with sellers as well.  Imagine how you would feel if you had a buyer for a property and the seller backs out just as your buyer is about to pay? Imagine how you would feel if this happened twice?! Ouch!

4. It is easier working with banks than with individual sellers

Unless the individual seller is really motivated, I would rather get my deals from banks. So I guess the key lies in finding really motivated sellers.

5. Don’t let “things” distract you from the goal.

Yes, real estate investing is a numbers game, but who cares if you always meet to discuss progress reports and some numbers but never close any deal? It’s like being efficient but ineffective.

6. A lot of things are better outsourced.

It is really better to outsource and delegate some things to people who can do it better than you, even if you need to pay a premium. The time that you free up for you to do more important things through outsourcing  is well worth it.

7. Focus on your strengths.

It would be pointless to exert too much time and effort to do something you are not good at. Learn to outsource or delegate, see #6 above! Focus not only on what you are good at, you also need to focus on the highest and best use of your time.

8. If it aint broke, don’t fix it. But if something is broken, then by all means, fix it!

If something does not work, or takes a heavy toll on you, your family, your health, (sounds like being back in the rat race), etc, do something to fix it!

9. Follow your instincts.

Remain to be optimistic and open minded but also learn to trust your gut feel, and read between the lines. I will listen more to my wife’s “women’s intuition”.

10. Always be humble…

And yet do things that you can be proud of. This is kinda hard to explain, but based on observations, I can assure you all that this is very true. Stay away from those self-proclaimed gurus! Consider yourself warned!

11. Be proactive!

We always have a choice, believe it or not! We are responsible!

12. Learn to say “No!”, or “Thanks, but no thanks!”

We always have a choice, see #11 above! It is up to us to make that choice, and if it does not feel right (among other things) then just say no!

13. Integrity is an all or nothing deal.

It is either you have it or you don’t. Act with it integrity at all times or lose it. Walk the talk because talk is cheap, and people will know.

14. When an opportunity comes, and it is the right one for you, grab it!

As long as it is neither illegal, nor immoral, nor unethical, go for it! It can snowball into a series of advantages and lead to even more opportunities.

15. Always do your due diligence, even with people.

Checking with the NBI might seem overkill, but at times it is necessary.

16. Ready-Fire-Aim can be confused with Fire-Aim.

Don’t ever forget  that you still need to get Ready before you Fire! Yes, Ready-Aim-Fire has become Ready-Fire-Aim for a lot of people, but in both cases, one still has to get “Ready”! “Think before you act”. “Look before you leap”.

17. The end does not justify the means.

This may sound like common sense but I have observed that common sense is not so common after all.

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud. – Sophocles

18. You cannot change people

Don’t ever believe that you can change people. You can try, but you can only do so much. However, you always have a choice (see # 11), and you can choose to avoid people who don’t want to change. In the end, what you can do is change yourself and what you do. One more thing, while the past does not necessarily define one’s future, what someone did to other people in the past is a good indication of what he/she will do to you if that is their true nature.

19. Don’t be too hard on yourself and others.

Believe it or not, most people did the best they could at that particular point in time. I was reminded of this during one of Bo Sanchez’ talks during The Feast at the PICC.

20. Always remember the Golden Rule.

After all, what goes around comes around.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ~ Matthew 7:2 New International Version

The Golden Rule
Now this is a different kind of Golden Rule…

Sigh, such a long list, and yet there are more. But this should do for now. I hope this helps other real estate investors out there to have an even more successful 2011.

Of course, there are also so many things to be thankful for in 2010, and these will be covered in another post. In the meantime…

I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

To our success and financial freedom!

Jay Castillo
Real Estate Investor

PRC Real Estate Broker License #: 003194
Blog: https://www.foreclosurephilippines.com
Follow me in Twitter: http://twitter.com/jay_castillo
Find us in Facebook: Foreclosure Investing Philippines facebook page

Text by Jay Castillo and Cherry Castillo. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

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About Jay Castillo
People encounter problems and make mistakes when buying foreclosed properties, and Jay wants to help people avoid those problems/ mistakes. Jay encountered a lot of those, which is why he started this blog in 2008 to serve as a guide where he shares lessons learned, and how to overcome challenges you may encounter when investing foreclosed properties in the Philippines … [Read more]
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17 thoughts on “Top 20 lessons learned in 2010”

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  8. Sir Jay:

    A year after i read this blog for the first time, here i am again, commenting. 🙂 I’m not sure if you’d still remember me, but it’s okay. haha.

    anyway, I might not have gone through the same route as you did (real estate), this blog has been very helpful to me. It has motivated me so much that for the past year, I have done so much more than I think I could.

    Life is just so full of surprises. I had a life threatening condition one day in the summer and suddenly, i have to have an emergency operation or else. (sorry if im storytelling)

    so i had to stop going to school, and all i could do was read helpful blogs. that is when my online business started.

    and so to cut the story short, i now have a business of my own, am back to school, i still am inspired and motivated as ever.

    thanks to people like you who keep me focused on my goals =)

    one day i’ll also make my real estate investing dream come true.


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  10. Here are some lessons to consider in investing real estate this 2011:
    -Real estate markets nationwide aren’t going to see substantial value growth until this supply of shadow inventory dissipates, and that will take several years, especially given the current long wait times for foreclosures caused by lender documentation issues.
    -The unemployment rate, and particularly private-sector jobs, can’t be overstated as the most critical predictor of recovery, both generally and for the real estate sector. Unemployment has the great effect in real estate business because of foreclosures.
    -Most real estate markets will continue to be soft through 2011. Exceptions will be cities with job growth.
    -Beware of rising bed bug infestations and litigation, and be pro-active in establishing a bed bugs policy.
    -Protect your cash cushion: stay liquid, as lease default rates are up and vacancies are prevalent, and selling properties for quick cash may not be an option.

    • @Philippine real estate- Sorry but I’d like to ask if this is applicable here in the phils? I think read this somewhere, from a yahoo article, pertaining to the US r.e. industry. sorry.

  11. Hi Jay,

    Thanks for the helpfup list in this blog post.Matagal na akong reader/lurker sa website mo.And I realpy want to be a part of the foreclosed real estate investors in the Philippines. Major thing that is holding me back is the fact that I am currently not in the Philippines.
    But for this year,it is a must for me to do this.Tumatanda na kse ako at I need another avenue to earn a living,something na pwede kong gawin s Pinas.

    Having said that,I have two questions to start with. I hope yiu can help me out.
    1. I am very interested in attending one of the seminars that you and trance tejano are conducting,is there any schedule for September/October? If there is,me and my sister would like to attend.

    2. If I will do foreclosed property buy & sell as a business, would you recommend that I take the real estate broker licensure exam?(ie,in order to buy and sell at least 3 to 4 properties?-I am trying to be optimistic about the number of closed deals here hehe)

    Salamat po at sana matugunan nyo ang aking mga katanungan.

    All the best and Happy new year!

    – Garry

    – sorry if these questions seems to be unrelated with the blog post.

  12. Always remember the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith–as you pursue your self interest, you are pursuing the interest of the society.

    Learn to love yourself and do good for your self not to be self-centered but to cascade and reflect what you did to your self to others around you.

    In the first place it’s all about you and anything/anyone related to you!


    START ASSET INVESTING with UNIONBANK visit http://www.unionbankph.com (click SHOP).

    Thank you!

  13. Hi Jay,

    A very helpful list to jumpstart the new decade. It’s always a good exercise to write down the lessons learned and remember them.

    I’d like to add my own top 20 but let me stick to my top 3. 🙂

    1. Always be marketing. Anyone serious in business should always be marketing and talking about his business.

    2. Manage your cash and cashflow. Painful lesson that I learned and still learning. Positive thinking should always be coupled with financial literacy and discipline.

    3. Serve with excellence. I noticed invariably if you put out a great product and service, and do your marketing, you will come out a winner in the end.

    These 3 are ongoing lessons for me. Hopefully, I learn them fully this year. 🙂

    Happy New Year, Jay!

    • Thanks a lot Ronald for sharing your top 3. Sorry for the late reply. With all the things happening around us, I just had to read this post again to see if there was anything I may have missed in terms of applying the lessons learned in 2011.

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