The Market Roller Coaster
I just returned from an amazing eXp Realty conference in Orlando, Florida. Orlando is known for theme parks and exhibits like Disney World, Epcot, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Kennedy Space Center, but Orlando is also known for hosting huge conferences. While our conference was large with 5,000 realtors attending, Orlando Conference Center hosted an amateur volleyball tournament with more than 50,000 players and 400,000 attendees! That is what I call huge!
We flew out of Vancouver mid-June—although the weather felt like April at only 15˚C—we were greeted in Florida with 36˚C weather, plus the humidex pushing the “feels like” temperature north of 40˚C. After being shocked with the crazy weather change, there was the difficulty of summoning an Uber with 400,000 people using the Uber app. Between the extreme weather, masses of people, and the craziness of theme parks, I was reminded of so many real estate market lessons while on our trip.
Lesson number one: go the opposite direction of the herd. I was reminded of this lesson while being surrounded by 400,000+ volleyball players and enthusiasts at the different theme parks. When all of the tall athletic people in short shorts (aka the volleyball players) were going one direction, we found it best to go the opposite direction. The ride lineups were much shorter, and in the end, we covered significantly more ground than if we were to have stayed with the herd. So, how does this apply to real estate? Do not always go with the flow; invest when others are not.
Lesson number two: be a student of the game, and put a plan together. Investing in real estate can be a calculated approach or a speculative approach. Another word for speculative is risk. Understanding the drivers and influencers of a market can make real estate investing a calculated opportunity versus a speculative opportunity. Before we hit Universal Studios, we downloaded the park app and studied the park maps. Then, we put a plan together, much like investing. While we did not plan for GDP, job growth, employment numbers, immigration forecasts and such, we did plan for an early start at the theme park so that we could hit the most popular thrill rides first, all while going against the flow of the crowds (lesson number one).
Timing, planning, and the coveted express pass, paid dividends for us. By 11:00 AM, we conquered many of the top-rated rides and attractions. While the tall people in the short shorts were just getting to their second or third ride of the day, we were enjoying a reprieve from the 40˚C heat in an empty upscale airconditioned restaurant. Our server remarked that we were the “smart ones” with our theme park approach—I think he was just pumping my tires for a fat tip! Either way, it was so great to rest our feet, hydrate, fuel our bodies, and review our plan for the next few hours.
Timing and planning are a given in real estate investing, but what about that coveted express pass? Is there something like that in real estate investing? The express pass in investing is really a mentorship or a fast track in education. Having others sharing, collaborating, and encouraging each other is the express pass to investing. Making a bad investment, especially if it is your first investment, can ruin or discourage any future investments. Real estate express passes can be purchased and gifted, and I would suggest doing both. Purchasing an express pass is as easy as paying for the education. REIN Canada (Real Estate Investment Network OR https://reincanada.com/ ) is an excellent organization that teaches the fundamentals of being a savvy investor versus a speculator. The gifting side of the express pass is connecting and using an investor minded realtor. This seems easy on the surface, but not all realtors are investor specialists. Do not be afraid to ask if they are an investor specialist, and more importantly, ask if they own any investment properties. The knowledge and education that you will receive with the paid portion of your express pass will also flush out a wannabe investor realtor in short order.
Lesson number three: play the long game, not the short game. As our day played out at Universal Studios in the blistering heat of 40˚C, we saw the enthusiasm and energy fading from many of the thrill riders. Many were not prepared for the heat combined with the 18 to 24 kilometers of walking (average distance a guest walks per visit) throughout the day. Real estate done well is a long game, not a short game; much like a day spent at the theme park. The right plan, timing, clothing, footwear, express pass, and crew that can run with you, makes for an awesome and memorable day at the park. Memorable investing is a long game; however, at times, one can make it big on a short-term speculative deal. This was the case for us at Universal Studios with a surprise attraction that we were going to skip: the Jimmy Fallon ride. Turned out to be a real surprise and win for us. Ultimately though, the true investors are always in it for the long game.
Lesson number four (and the best lesson of all): generational wealth. The theme parks were full of generational wealth. Often, there were families of three generations wandering throughout the park, and we even saw a few four generation families! It was amazing to wonder about each family’s history and wealth as they walked through the park, often times sporting matching family t-shirts and apparel. This kind of wealth does not happen by chance; it takes a dedicated effort to do family and to create leaders that will not allow the family to fail.
As I rode many of the rides, I noticed a safety feature, much like the safety feature of these family units: leaders providing leadership to the next generation. Safety is of the utmost importance for the maintenance crew of the rides, especially for the big roller coasters. They would use an indicator paste that provided a convenient visual method for identifying any loosening of nuts, bolts, fasteners, and assemblies.
Marks will be easily broken if any parts become loose. This helps provide a quick visual for the maintenance crew, but also provides confidence for riders like me as I picked up on these indicator lines matching each other. Safety first! Investing wisely, keeping the indicator lines matched up, thinking of the long game, and allowing time to work in your favour, will create wealth beyond your expectations.
My days spent in Orlando, Florida were filled with fun in the sun. It was so great to visit these incredible theme parks and feel like a little kid again; but it was also so great to reflect on the parallels between theme parks and real estate investing. Life lessons—and in this case, real estate lessons—can spark in the most unusual of places. Who knew that theme parks and real estate investment had so much in common?
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