How Real Estate Investing is Like Running a Marathon

I hope you don’t mind my obligatory finish line photo

Hi everybody and welcome back from a long week’s absence. I ran the Heartland Marathon last week and took the week off from writing. I actually made it across the finish line and I’m very happy. You can’t tell it from the picture but I had the absolute best runner’s high after the finish.

For me, the work of the marathon was done in the 4 months of training I did. Get through that, and the race was a given (I also stuck with my 4:15 pacers and they were a huge help – thanks Anna and Rilie). It was my first one and a goal I had set back in my January yearly goal-setting session.

The training took a large chunk of time and without the goal, I certainly wouldn’t have done it. As a newbie, I humbly suggest that the training was more difficult on the mindset than the marathon itself. If you put in the work beforehand, the end result is almost a given.

During the race, our group came across Eddie, another runner, who was young and fit. He told us how his training consisted of running a few 8-mile runs, but he didn’t really train. He looked like he could make it, but he disappeared around mile 16. He spent all his energy on the early part of the race and lacked the stamina to finish (at least quickly – I’m not sure what was his final time).

On the same weekend, I viewed a 49-unit apartment building. It was interesting enough that I put in an offer on Tuesday. On Friday, we were under contract and we hope to close in a few short weeks. That’s my new finish line.

It’s a Get Rich Slow Game

When people start in real estate investing, they are often looking toward the goal of getting that first purchase. That’s the finish line. That’s a great goal, but they don’t think about all the work it takes to get there: Learning, evaluating deals, estimating repairs, making offers, inspecting, talking with bankers, accountants, and lawyers, raising money, and finally closing. Fail to put in the work and you wind up like Eddie. Do the work and getting a great investment is a near-certainty.

In case you were wondering: 4:12:57.

Dr. Equity