Wednesday, June 18, 2008

5 Tips Learning A Language vs. Purchasing Investment Real Estate

Living in a country where English is not the first language enforces a learning curve that you don`t get when you can communicate in your native tongue. When I came to Japan 6 years ago my Japanese extended to Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto courtesy of STYX's hit in the 80`s. I had to assimilate to live. Now that I can speak Japanese I look back on those days cringing at what passed for "speaking Japanese".

The same holds true for investing in Real Estate. I started investing 5 years ago, I read all the books, joined Cashflow circles and ventured boldly ready to make "deals". With all the information and opportunity available on the web it seemed mere months until I held my dream portfolio.

Boiling down my experiences to the purest essence. I have come up with 5 tips for Learning Another Language and corresponding tips for Purchasing Investment Real Estate. They surprisingly overlap!

5 Tips For Learning Another Language vs. 5 Tips for Purchasing Investment Real Estate

1. Never ever repeat words until you know the meaning - I once had a catchy tune that a few little boys were singing stuck in my head. They roared with joy when I repeated the song and sang along with them for the remainder of our time together. For the next few days I would alternately hum and sing the easily pronounced words feeling quite pleased that I had picked up the language. It wasn't until days later a concerned co-worker actually explained the meaning of the dirty ditty did I learn this valuable lesson.


1. Do your own homework - It doesn't matter if the property you are looking at is in a great area and really cheap. You are responsible for your financial future. You must never take anything at face value. My mentor Don Campbell always says "What's behind the Curtain?" Research your property, the area where you are, go there at different times of the day. Research other houses on the block or in the area, How much did they sell for? Ask impartial realtors, lawyers and people in the know for their input then sift the results. In the end only you will be paying for your real estate negligence or reap the benefits of your diligence.

2. Mimic the language of people around you- A direct contradiction to my first tip! However you can be sure that if I had emulated my successful 60 year old business lady friend I would have been singing a different tune. In Japan especially, age and sex are very important in determining the type of speech you use. If you hang around 50 year old business men your Japanese will reflect that. So choose with care whose speech you emulate.


2. Mimic successful people around you - Research the people in your area who are doing what you want to do. Find the multi-plex buyer and take him to lunch that meal could make you a millionaire or at least help you on your next deal. The best way to succeed at anything is to copy the people who are already successful at it. Most people who are successful want to give back and help people who are starting out.

3. Supplement a formal education- You CAN learn new languages by yourself. In fact I spent my first two years in Japan watching Japanese T.V. with a dictionary and notebook so that I could learn the colloquial Japanese. Speak what the real people speak. It paid off I have excellent listening comprehension and can converse readily on many t.v. celebrities and programs- a useful ice breaker. However, my spoken Japanese didn't really take off until I attended a formal language school. The teachers guided me around pitfalls and I could practice with people that spoke that language rather than talking to my T.V.


3. Join an investment group and take seminars - Sure it costs money, sure there are scams out there. Some gurus only hold seminars to sell their products or courses. That is a chance you have to take but when you find the right group you will be connected to a wealth of experience, information and like minded people. I am a member of REIN- Real Estate Investing Network in Alberta. That allegiance has propelled my business like nitro in those cars in the Triple X movie series. My sphere of influence now includes best selling authors, people who hold millions of dollars in real estate and some of the best tax specialists, lawyers and Realtors in Canadian Real Estate. I have avoided some mistakes because someone in my group already made them and that resource was readily available to me.

4. Making mistakes makes you a better speaker - This only works if someone corrects you! If you don' t say anything then your speaking ability won't improve at all. In my first baby steps in learning the language I know I said some pretty far out things. Times when I wanted to say "This meal is delicious!" I came out with " I am delicious" or my favorite pointing to a little girl and saying "scary" when I meant to say "cute" actually it could have gone either way with that one. It happens but luckily I had friends who took me aside and pointed out the grammatical, pronunciation or syntax errors of my ways. Now I only say "I am delicious" when I want to.


4. Making mistakes makes you a better investor - You cannot learn until you make a mistake. Granted you can have a mentor who helps you and guides you around the mines of investing. What you are getting there is the benefit of him or her making mistakes in the past. Babies don't walk without falling, bicycles aren't mastered without scraped knees and investors aren't made without those "Holy #&("! " deals. Be thankful for them. They are what separate the Trumps from the chumps.

5. Speak Speak Speak- Just do it. Talk to the grocer, the mailman, the neighbour and anyone who will humour you. It is learning by action. Immerse yourself in your new language. I listen to the NHK National Japanese Radio whenever my iPod's batteries die while I am driving. I watch Japanese T.V. and study in my free moments. And you know what? Sometimes I can speak Japanese pretty darn well.


5. Just do it- Don't be a perpetual student. Go out there and invest. If you don't have the finances just look at properties on the MLS. It is free and you can quickly get a feel of the market and what is available. Using a city map you can compare market values for properties in the same neighbourhood, street or complex. If funds are low then partner with friends or other people who want to invest in the same area. You can always Joint Venture with a professional so that your first deal isn't so daunting.

With time you will be surprised at how far you have progressed in becoming a polyglot or an investor.

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