I am a huge believer in setting goals to help myself achieve more in life and in business. I love to make big goals that are tough to achieve, because I know they will help me accomplish more. Because I set really big goals, I do not always accomplish everything I set out too, but that is okay. I know I am still farther ahead not accomplishing big goals, than I would be accomplishing small and easy goals. 2015 was a good year, but not as good as I hoped. I ran into many roadblocks (some of the same as 2014), but I also had many successes. Even though things did not go exactly as I planned, I had a great year, I have big plans for the future and I am going to challenge myself even more in 2016.
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Why do I like big goals?
Before I get into exactly what happened and did not happen in 2015, I want to discuss goals. I overlooked goals when I was younger and it was a huge mistake. I thought goals were a waste of time and I never even tried to set any meaningful goals. When my career and life really started to turn around was when I accidentally set some goals as a real estate agent. I wrote out a very detailed plan on how many houses I would have to sell to make what I thought was decent money back in 2005. I gave that plan to my dad, who I was working with at the time to show him how unfair my commission split was. He didn’t change the split I was getting, but I did end up selling that many houses a couple of years later. When I wrote that plan, I thought it was an incredibly ridiculous number (100 houses a year). I know I would not have sold that many houses as a real estate agent if I had not written out that plan, even if it was by accident.
I started to make good money and I realized I wanted to make even more. So I started reading every book I could on goal setting, self-improvement and even “how to get rich”. I even took Jack Canfield coaching, which helped my career tremendously. Along the way I learned a lot about myself, about habits I needed to have to be successful and how to continuously improve. Many people with life would get easier and are looking forward to a time when they can relax. I learned that challenges are fun, and solving problems is fun. Being bored with no challenges and an easy ride is not fun. I love Jim Rohn’s quote:
“Don’t wish life were easier, wish you were better.”
I started to realize I was in control of my life. It things weren’t going how I wanted them to go, I could change things by changing the way I did things. That may remind you of the saying:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Honestly, this saying is one of my biggest pet peeves. First off, many people attribute this saying to Albert Einstein, but there is no record of him ever saying it. Second if this were true, 95 percent of the population would be insane. Sometimes doing the same thing over and over does change the results, if you do the same thing better and better every time you do it. While I think the saying sends a good message about trying new things if something is not working, it still bugs me that it is used so much and wrongly quoted to Eisenstein.
Making big goals is one reason I have accomplished so much. One of my biggest goals is to buy 100 rental properties by 2023. When I first starting buying rental properties I thought a good goal would be to by 30 properties. I based this goal on my trend of buying 3 properties a year and thought I could continue that trend for ten years. After learning about goals and how to best use them, I knew I had to make my goal bigger. If I knew I could achieve my goal without changing much, I knew my goal was too small. I changed my goal to purchase 100 properties in the next ten years. That goal would challenge me to make more money, find new ways to buy properties or discover other ways to get more properties than I thought I could. While I am a little behind on my plan to reach 100 rentals, I am much farther ahead than my original goal to buy 30 houses.
What were my rental property, fix and flips, team and blog goals for 2015?
What were my 2015 rental property goals?
At the end of 2014, I wrote a goal article about what I had accomplished in 2014 and my goals for 2015. Below you will find the goals I set for 2015 and in red I have written some comments on how I did.
- I want to get back on track buying as many rental properties as I can. I am going to flip fewer homes, which will give me more capital to buy rentals. I am also refining my direct marketing campaign, which should bring me more deals (I will have an upcoming article discuss my direct marketing). I want to buy at least seven rentals in 2015 and that should put me closer to my goals of 100 rentals by 2023.
I only bought five rentals in 2015, which was less than my goal, but more than I bought in 2014. However, I am thinking about turning a couple of my flips into rentals, which would put me at my goal. I have one flip that I intended to sell quickly, unless the tenants wanted to stay. The home was rented for $1,100 a month and I bought it for about $100,000. The tenants wanted to stay and we just upped their rent to $1,300 a month and they still want to stay. I have not done any work to the property and I think I may try to sell it as is for $150,000 as with the tenants in place or I might keep it as a rental. My hesitation about keeping it as a rental is the location is a little different from most of my rentals.
I have another flip that I may turn into a rental as well, because it is in a great location and could have a basement apartment. If I decide to make those properties rentals I would have met my 2015 goals. In fact I may have surpassed them if you look at units, because both of the new rentals would be 2 unit properties and one of the five other rentals I bought in 2015 was a 2 unit property as well.
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What were my 2015 fix and flip goals?
- For 2015 I am not going to be as ambitious on my flipping goals. My goal for 2015 is to flip 10 houses and wholesale 5 to 10 more. I have 8 flips right now so reaching ten should not be a problem, but I might sell a couple I have now as wholesale deals. If anyone is interested in some Northern Colorado deals, let me know! There are a number of reasons I don’t want to flip 15 houses in 2015.
- It takes too much babysitting of contractors and I would need to add at least a couple more.
- It takes a lot of capital to fund all those flips and the repairs. I think all the flipping made it harder to buy rentals.
- I can still buy as many properties, but instead of flip them myself, I could wholesale the properties.
In 2015 I will flip 9 houses. This is less than the ten I wanted to flip and I should have flipped many more. The biggest problem was I could not get houses fixed fast enough. I even hired a project manager full-time to get things done faster and it has not changed anything. I love flipping houses and I have realized that I am addicted to buying houses. I did wholesale two properties in 2015, which was nice. On both deals I made close to $20,000 without doing any work at all. I would still be open to wholesaling more properties if the opportunity arises, but those were unique properties. One was in a very small town that was perfect to wholesale, because it was 45 minutes away from me and the other was a college rental that needed a ton of work.
What were my 2015 real estate team goals?
- For 2015 I want my team to sell 200 houses, which is a big pull back from my previous goal. REOs and HUDs are even harder to find in 2015 than 2014, which will decrease our sales. However the new team members and training we implement should increase the number of sales from the other agents. I also want to add a couple more agents and my goal is to have every agent on my team make $100,000 a year.
In 2015 we did add two new agents and almost added a couple more to our team. They have just gotten started, but are doing awesome so far. One of my agents that was hired in 2014 made well over $100,000 in his first year, which was awesome. We did not sell 200 houses, we sold 127. That is way below my goal, but our market keeps going crazy. Prices have increased and even though we sold fewer homes, the value of the homes was much higher. HUD homes and REO properties have decreased even more and the sales have shifted from me to my team, which is exactly what I wanted.
What were my 2015 goals for Invest Four More?
- For Invest Four More I want to increase traffic, increase my relationships with other investors and blogs and continue to improve my investing strategies by learning as much as possible. Here are some specific goals:
- 300,000 views a month by the end of 2015
- Implement a new real estate agent success system
- Borrow private money through the blog in 2015
- Improve or create a new forum for Invest Four More
Invest Four More has done awesome and I have the most fun working on it, than I do anything else. I did not hit 300,000 views, but I am very close! I did implement a new program for real estate agents you can find here. The training system has helped many agents and I love hearing the success stories. I have a new source for private money, that was from the blog. I knew the investor before I started the blog, but he approached me about lending money after reading about my business on the site. I created the new forum and it has been a success as well. I also created a new Facebook Group, which has been very successful and you are all welcome to join. I did many more things with the blog, including starting a high-level mentor program (email me if interested: Mark@investfourmore.com).
What were my 2015 personal goals for 2015?
- I don’t have any big goals for 2015 as far as car buying. I would love to buy an Aston Martin V8 or Lamborghini Countach at some point, but I don’t plan on doing it in 2015. I have personal income goals and a few more that I will keep private. I can’t share everything!
The year was a good one personally and I did not buy anymore cars. I did meet a lot of great people and I started a new blog about cars: Howdidyouaffordthatcar.com. I have not had time to do too much with the site yet, but I plan to work on it little by little. I didn’t reach many of my personal goals for income, but I achieved many others I did set.
What are my new goals for 2016?
As you can see, I did not achieve many of my goals for 2016. That may seem like a disappointment, but it is actually a good thing. If I had achieved everything, that would mean I set my goals too low and did not challenge myself enough. I also know there is a lot of room for improvement! Below are my new goals and some things I plan to do to achieve them.
What are my 2016 rental property goals?
For 2016 I want to buy 10 more rentals! Yes, that is a huge number, but I think I can do it. Here are a couple of things I am going to change to reach that goal:
- I am working on refinancing 8 of my rentals into long-term 30 year fixed rate loans. I am using some national portfolio lenders. I will pay a little higher rate, but have my loans locked in and get $300,000 in cash back. My properties will still cash flow and I will be able to buy many more rentals with that money that cash flow as well.
- I am thinking about investing in other markets. I bought a turn-key property in Ohio in 2015, but for future rental property purchases I want to buy below market value. In order to do that in another market it will take a lot of work. My reason for switching markets is the huge appreciation we have seen here. It is getting harder and harder to find great cash flow.
- I am looking for a new local portfolio lender. My portfolio lender is getting tougher and tougher to work with now that I have hit a certain dollar amount of loans with them. That is one reason I am considering refinancing 8 of my properties with another lender. I would also love to find a lender who does not have a seasoning period, which would allow me to refinance properties faster and get some of my investment back.
What are my fix and flip goals for 2016?
For 2016 I want to flip 20 houses! Yes, this is another huge goal for the new year. This will double the amount of homes I flipped in 2015, but I think it is possible as well. It will be tougher if I decide to keep two of my current flips as rentals. Here is why I think I can make this happen:
- I have ten flips going right now. I will get these ten flips sold in the first half of the year. I have two more flips under contract, which would leave me with 12 flips. I only have to buy 8 more, get them repaired and sold before 2016 is over.
- I think I can buy and repair that many homes in the next year, because I am changing my repair process again. I had a vision in place for 2015, which has not happened. However, I am going to make it happen in 2016 and that may take some big changes in the way repairs are handled.
- I may look into more financing options with my flips. I already have a new private money lender who has made the process much easier. While he charges more than my portfolio lender does on my flips, I can close in a couple of days. I may look into adding more private money lenders as well.
What are my real estate team goals for 2016?
For 2016 I want to hire another really good agent. I do not want to hire too many agents, because we don’t have space for many more! I also want to focus on getting leads for our team through our website FergusonGreeley.com. I think we have some great agents in place, we need to get them trained and performing as well as possible, before adding more. Again I want to sell 200 houses in 2016, this goal may seem too high, but one of these years I will get there! How will I meet these goals?
- Focus on organic leads through our website, utilizing everything I have learned from Invest Four More.
- Use Facebook to generate leads and sales for our team (we already do this and have had great results).
- Weekly training meetings and great support for out agents (we already do this as well).
- Flipping more houses will generate more leads and opportunities for our agents.
What are my blog goals for 2016?
For 2016 I want to keep increasing traffic and the amount of people I help buy investment properties or make more money as an agent. Here are some goals:
- 500,000 views a month by the end of 2016. As a site gets bigger and bigger the traffic increase slow down. I still want to grow the site, but I also want to focus on helping people more than getting the biggest audience possible.
- Focus on a few core things. With a blog or website you can get sucked into 1,000 different activities that take a ton of time. I started a podcast in 2015, which has been awesome and should be a core activity, I think my coaching products should be a core activity and writing articles.
- I want to write a really awesome book. I have written five eBooks that can be downloaded as a PDF or read as a Kindle eBook. I think the books are good, but I want to write an awesome book. I have already started writing an extremely in-depth book on rental properties that will be available as an eBook and a physical book that can be ordered and delivered to your door. I want this book to be the best rental property book available. I am also working on a book that I am co-writing with J Scott.
What are my personal goals for 2016?
I don’t disclose what I make or how much I want to make on the blog, because I try to keep at least a few things private! I do have personal income goals, business goals and many other personal goals. Here are some long-term goals I added to my bucket list. I don’t have dates yet for when I want to accomplish these, but I am working on that.
- Buy an old plantation and fix it up. I love old houses and old mansions. At some point in my life I would love to buy an old plantation houses and fix it up.
- Start a used car dealership. I have already looked into starting a car dealership so that I can buy more exotic cars. I love cars and my dream job would be to buy awesome cars all day long, selling them is tougher for me. I met some really cool people this last year, including some guys who started a car dealership.
- I want to buy a 1980’s Aston Martin V-8 in 2016. Prices on these cars are going up and I want to buy one before they skyrocket like my Diablo has.
Over the last year I have learned a lot, changed the ways I do business and had a lot of fun. I think I can improve things immensely in 2016. One reason I think I can improve things is because of my personal habits and routines. I learned many things over the years about success and once you reach some level of success it is easy to slack off. I did slack off on my daily routines, goal reviews and personal improvement over the last year. I have made a huge effort to get those habits back on track in the last three months. I am really excited to get things started in 2016 and see what happens!
To start of 2016 right I am doing a webinar on rental properties on January 6th. You can sign up here and if you cannot make it, there will be a replay available to those that register.