Years of abuse flipping houses.  This lockbox caused me to become very impatient.

Patience Is The Greatest Virtue

Danny Johnson / 37 comments

Give life time.

Have you ever started exercising at the beginning of the year with grandiose thoughts of being completely ripped by summer? Have you given up early on because you didn’t see the results you wanted happen fast enough?

Here’s the real crappy part of the whole thing: Have you looked at yourself in the mirror when summer started and wished you had stuck with it? By now you would have likely been ripped. Ok…maybe not ripped, just a thinner, cooler version of your self.

The same exact thing happens to a lot of investors when getting started flipping houses.

This post is going to cover some of the places you are likely to struggle with impatience in the house flipping game.

One of the hardest things for all investors is having patience. It takes time for things to start to fall into place and for some of the work to produce results.

I’m very guilty of being just as impatient as the next guy. There are projects that I’ve worked on in the past that I eventually just left unfinished because I became too impatient. It just wasn’t happening fast enough.

Sometimes its because something shinier ended up getting my attention and I wanted instant gratification. I guess this is what they call being a squirrel.

Anyway, I was struggling a little with getting motivated this last week to work on some projects and it occurred to me that this impatience is the reason why a lot of new investors end up getting frustrated. And a lot of them get frustrated to the point of just quitting.

Most of us know that flipping houses is not usually a get rich quick (and easy) business. But, I think a lot of us fail to realize the amount of work involved in getting it started. Once you push through the ‘getting started’ phase, it becomes much, much easier.

That’s good news. That’s exactly why I wanted to talk about patience this week. If we can just be patient and not force things when they don’t happen fast enough, everything will start to fall into place.

Here’s where I’ve experienced impatience that affected the growth of my business.

1. When Getting Started Flipping Houses

There are a lot of times that impatience causes tragic mistakes when new investors are just getting started flipping. The biggest one being jumping in and buying a house that is the furthest thing from being a good deal.

There is a learning curve and it can be tempting to learn some of the techniques and just go out and start looking for that first deal so that you can ‘get it under your belt’.

Don’t let your emotions affect your decisions.

You might find a house that needs a lot of repairs that appears to be for sale for a good price. This desire to do the deal may cause you to make excuses why you should buy the house regardless of whether the numbers fit the formulas you’ve learned for a successful house flip.

You may overlook some problems the house may have that aren’t apparent. Or, someone may be trying to pressure you to do the deal because they will benefit in some way.

Don’t let impatience tempt you into these traps.

2. When Marketing For Those First Flip Deals

There are a lot of people asking me about how to find their first deal. There are many places on the blog that discuss exactly that. Here are some in case you are wondering: Everything I did flipping houses for 34 weeks (all marketing, analysis, rehabs, etc. documented) and here: 57 Ways to Market to Motivated Sellers

I don’t mind people asking, but sometimes they tell me that they’ve heard about or tried several of the techniques already. The questions I always want to ask is, “Did you actually do it?” and “Did you do it enough?”

That’s usually where the problem lies.

Give your marketing a chance to work.

You’ve got to actually try the marketing. Do the marketing, give it enough time to start to produce results (at least several months), adjust it and try to produce better results.

Please don’t mail out 20 letters and give up because you didn’t get any calls. I’ve been discouraged many times after rolling out a good sized campaign that didn’t produce any results. Most of the time I didn’t give up. I changed things, but I didn’t give up.

Mailings depend a lot of the quality of your list. Your list being who you are mailing to. But, with any mailing, I feel you should be sending at least several hundred and mailing the same people with a series of postcards and letters (ideally 7). Now, I will admit that I have a hard time mailing people multiple times because I end up getting too busy…usually from working deals that were generated.

When using bandit signs, you should be putting up at least 25-50 at a time.

As with anything, the more the better.

3. When Negotiating A Deal

Don’t be so impatient when trying to make a deal with a seller that you lose the deal or lose out on saving thousands of dollars on the purchase.

You’ve got to be willing to walk away.

It’s best when you are absolutely willing to walk away. The person that feels he’s got to do the deal will likely lose the negotiation. This isn’t to say that you could still end up with a good deal, it’s just that it won’t be as a good a deal as it could have been.

When you find yourself in the middle of a negotiation to purchase a house to flip, and you are only several thousand apart, it will be very tempting to just give in and take it.

I remember very clearly this one time my wife, Melissa, saved me from paying too much. We were looking at a house that was only 4 or 5 years old. I think it only needed carpet cleaning and some painting. We could have this place ready for sale within a week of buying it. I love those.

I really wanted this house. The seller was from out of town and needed to get back to where she lived. We had been negotiating for about an hour (this is not typical for me – it’s usually 5-10 minutes, if at all) and were only about $5,000 apart (I can’t remember the exact details). It wouldn’t have been as good a deal at this price and wouldn’t have fit my buying criteria. But…I was quickly justifying it in my head by telling myself how new the house was and how little work was needed.

I was being impatient.

Melissa convinced me to let her think our offer over and get back to us. Even after we had driven a couple miles down the road, I pulled into a parking lot. I was starting to turn around and go back.

Melissa asked what I thought I was doing. 🙂

We went home. Several hours went by and the phone rang. Yep, she ended up taking our offer.
Guys, you need to listen to your wives.

4. When Looking For The Right [Insert Person Here]

People to insert: Contractor/Cash Buyer/Realtor/Tenant/Attorney/Accountant/Any other team member

When you are looking for people for your house flipping team, you should realize you are looking for a person that you are willing to have a long term, business relationship with.

Don’t make the mistakes a lot of us make when we are going down our to-do list everyday. You know, doing something half-assed just to mark it off your list. You’re marking it off your list but not really accomplishing what you should be.

The first contractor you talk to is not likely going to be the one you will end up working with for years, so don’t stop looking after you’ve talked to one. The same goes for everyone else that will be on your team.

Don’t let impatience lead to frustration and, ultimately, quitting.

Success in this business is not going to happen over night. A lot of hard work is necessary. A healthy dose of patience will go a long way in making sure that you stick with it so that you can look back a year or two from now and be able thank God that you didn’t give up.

Coincidentally, the lockbox in the picture for this post was on one of the houses we were working on. I had to take it off yesterday. It should have only taken a second…but it tried my patience. Our typical codes were not working and you can tell some of those buttons have been busted off completely. This thing has been through hell.

I was just about to break it open with a screwdriver and brick, when Melissa called me. She got the correct code for me and it opened right up.

As far as my initial comment regarding exercising and losing weight goes, I’m tempted to say that this business is far easier than exercising…

What do you think? What areas have you been impatient with that have caused you some grief? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, I like it when people thank me by clicking the ‘like’ button for this post. Thanks.

Danny
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37 awesome responses to “Patience Is The Greatest Virtue”

  1. Nate K. on

    Danny,

    You just hit the nail on the head for me. I never had plans to quit, but I am guilty of being impatient. Thank you. Getting those bandit signs up!

  2. Ralph on

    Danny,
    I too, get impatient on a regular basis and my wife sets me straight most of the time. I think instant gratification is more common these days (or at least it seems that way). You might have mentioned this before, but I wanted to know when you are about to purchase a property, how do you verify how much the owners actually owe (if anything) on the property? Do you simply ask them to show you their mortgage statement or the deed? I would think “taking their word for it” wouldn’t be acceptable.

  3. we buy denver homes on

    Great post! It took me a year to find my first deal…and even now the deals seem to ebb and flow. When they come, they all come at once. Then, at other times it’s slow going.

  4. Ralph on

    Hi Danny,
    As far as my previous question above, if they tell you they have tons of equity and you buy the property but then it turns out that they don’t have any equity at all, does that turn into problems? Sorry for the elementary questions, but just trying to be extremely prepared before I jump in…Thanks again for all the valuable info:)

  5. Gary on

    Great article. Impatience is tough one with marketing. I remember when I first started direct mail marketing going almost 3 months with nothing but “take me off your list” calls. Then out of nowhere 2 deals in 2 weeks. I couldn’t believe it. Now when ever I am in a marketing slump I look back on that experience to help me through.

    I really enjoy your articles Danny, I am doing rehabs but consider myself still new to this business. I can relate to what you write about, and I think it helps me stay focused and not get too full of myself. For me, success in this business is incredibly exciting.

  6. Kurt on

    Danny, talk about timing! I’m in the middle of two deals. The first one is my/our first flip. The second is a property that we closed on yesterday. I’ve spent most of the afternoon setting appointments to interview contractors for that project. Looks like there are a bunch to pick from, now to winnow the chaff. I really appreciate your insights and humor!

    SWMBO claims that she is the one with patience. Me thinks not so much.

  7. Eric on

    Hey good advice Danny. It took me 2 years to learn this lesson……(often the hard way). And you summarized the idea very well. And Ralph don’t believe what sellers or real estate agents tell you. “Trust but Verify”.

  8. Kaz on

    I’ve experienced that many times being impatient. At the same time it depends on who you are doing business with. Preparing before hand is priceless. In response to @Ralph, having no equity is a good thing as well.

  9. Lucky on

    The lock box part is funny and hits close to home. I was ready to go in a window and take off the door knob. Fortunately I remembered one more code we use. Now I write the current one down on the inside of the file so I don’t have to remember. ULTIMATE FRUSTRATION!!!

    P.S. Hacksaws don’t work either.

  10. Shane on

    Hey Danny,
    My wife sounds a lot like yours 🙂 She keeps me out of trouble when I start getting emotional about houses, and reminding me of little things. It works both ways though. It’s always fun to look back and poke fun of things each of us could have really SCREWED UP if the other hadn’t caught us 🙂

  11. Bailey on

    Wow, I can’t believe I’m current on all the reading! Yay…

    Patience: with yourself, for not taking action sooner. I sat on the fence for 7 years because I thought REI would be too risky, I didn’t want to bankrupt/hurt/etc. my family…(um, right)
    Too much analysis paralysis, too much self doubt, and too much co-dependence on the 9-5 steady paycheck illusion. Patience and forgiveness.

  12. Doug on

    Danny:
    great reminder. One think that impressed me the most on your 34 weeks of flipping houses was your persistence AND the number of contacts your regarded as not being a good deal. That showed me a terrific example of being patient waiting for the right deal and not wasting time and money on bad deals. I have been guilty of being impatient and spending time trying to force a deal to work and still coming up with nothing. Thanks for spending the time you do on your blog.

    Doug

  13. Mike W. on

    As always, Great Article Danny.
    I think exercising patience in life helps us all and with this business it is absolutely paramount. Thanks for motivating all us fence-liners to jump off and get busy.

    A little physical exercise only hurts a little.

  14. Christian on

    Hi Danny, I justwanted to thank you for truly helping people in your blog. It’s rare for a person to just help without incentive these days. If you have any products to sell on the topic, then I’d get them.

  15. Ralph on

    Hi Danny,
    It appears that you do most of the leg-work to find your properties on your own (mostly via web-site and bandit signs), but I wanted to know if you ever buy properties from wholesalers? Would you recommend that avenue to those just starting? I would think that the profit margin is smaller, but the time and energy saved from trying to find the deal, could possibly be worth it (maybe in the beginning). Thanks again..

  16. Kristin Ward on

    I agree completely. Too many people invest in property then bail out when it doesn’t start making money right away. Sometimes you just have to be patient.

  17. Ned Carey on

    I think your comment about patience and negotiating are key to new investors. Right now I see a lot of new investors coming into the market. It’s almost like 2005 again. They are impatient and willing to pay too much to get a deal.

    I’ve done many deals under $10K. Some needing very little work. They are not easy t find and they take work to negotiate but they are out there. You only find them by taking action, being patient and persistent.

  18. Ned Carey on

    “but they seem to get replaced very quickly.”

    That made me laugh 🙂

  19. Nate K. on

    Patience is still a major struggle for me. I am in the process of buying a rehab house right now (which im ‘presuming’ is the main source of income and cash cow for investors). On the side I am still working to wholesale. I have sent letters and put up 50 signs. The signs have only been up for a few days so its still too early to tell. But I have only received 1 (ONE!!!) phone call. And that was a contractor wanting to know if i had any work for him… Patience is surely a virtue but I’m hanging in there. Its just kind of a head scratcher how thousands of people drive by the signs everyday, and you only get one call. Is this normal??? I am hoping that I can make a deal happen with wholesaling to put a little money back in my pocket while waiting for the rehab to be fixed up and sold… Anyways, thanks for the reminder again. -Nate