“Real Life” Monopoly

I bought another house last week. On my lunch break. An hour and 20 minutes out and back.

Yes – I’d like the Chicken Fillet with extra tomatoes and a large diet Pepsi. Make that to go. Oh – and throw in a 3 bedroom bungalow with appliances and a finished basement too.

I got home that evening and told my wife. She said “Cool!” Did I hit the jackpot with her or what?

I remember buying my first property. The stress. The indecision. The second guessing. The back and forth. I was scared to death because after almost 11 months of submitting absurdly low offers, a very desperate seller had actually, finally, said YES to one of them. And then I actually HAD to buy it and put my money on the line and I HAD to act. Each and every morning prior to closing I woke up convinced that I had to get out of that deal – because I couldn’t be absolutely sure that it would work. But I didn’t.

And do you know what? That deal still stands as flat out the best deal that I have ever negotiated.

Fast forward to now.

My wife wrote our Christmas letter this year that was to be included with our Christmas cards. All of that is a very long, drawn-out, and painful process, but the results always turn out great.

She wrote her section and the ones for the kids pretty easily, but she got stuck on how, with her space constraints, she could succinctly describe our real estate business.

It happened over Christmas break. We were at Starbucks playing a family game of monopoly (I’m 11-0 and the undefeated family champion, although my seven year old did come within $50 of beating me last time. No more free rides for HER! 🙂   )

We were talking about the business and it hit her – that our business, since we were buying and holding, collecting rents and looking at commercial property (not Hotels)  was all about playing “Real Life” Monopoly. And as I thought about it, that’s describes exactly what we’re doing. Buying as much as we can as fast as we can, developing / rehabbing and getting the properties rented, collecting rents and rolling the profit into other properties. And we’ve done it so much and gotten so good at that I can buy something on my lunch break.

And to think that only 18 months ago finding deals was the hard part. This market is so upside down now that I negotiate price FIRST before I even see the inside. And that this approach works for eight out of every 10 properties that I’m interested in. The kicker is that after I get my price and I do get inside, then I deduct everything that I find that’s unexpected.

I hope this market stays around for a while.