JD hosts today’s episode of the FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show to discuss what it takes to find success in real estate. Over the last 19 years, JD and the team at CT Homes have developed and fine-tuned their goal setting and meeting systems to help them consistently reach their goals and find success in their real estate market. On today’s show, JD shares these systems to help you be more consistent, accountable, and improve your ability to reach your real estate goals.
Listen to the Podcast Here:
How to Find Success in Real Estate
Hello, everyone, this is JD Esajian. And welcome to the FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show in case you forget the title. It’s right here on the screen. For those of you that aren’t watching. Well, shame on you. But it is the FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show and you got your old pal JD uncle JD, as my nephews and nieces call me Jada as my friends from high school call me. You can call me whatever you want as your host for the next 45 minutes. We’re actually on episode 33 of the podcast. 33 of many, many more. And I’m excited to get into an important topic today, which is success. Specifically, I’m going to focus on success in real estate.
Word of the Week
Before we get into that, the word of the week. So good. So good. The word of the week, this week is success. Now, I’m pretty sure that everyone watching and listening understands the definition of that word in the Webster Dictionary sense. It means different things to different people. We were talking before we went live here on the show, and a quote was shared by Dale Carnegie: “Success is getting what you want. And happiness is wanting what you get”. It’s a pretty good quote. Success is different things. It’s happiness, it’s getting what you want, not necessarily when you want it. You’re gonna hear more about that as we get into the show, because success takes time: understanding what you want, setting benchmarks. When you get there, balance health. There are a lot of things that go into the definition of success. And I’m going to help define some things in our career now coming up on our 20th year here very soon. We’re in our 19th year now. That has made us successful in real estate and we’ve learned some lessons. Let’s get into it.
Create a Meeting Rhythm
Ever since we started at the end of 2003 (our first full year in business was 2004) we’ve had a meeting rhythm. Every single Monday since we started. Now, the way we meet has changed. I’m going to break it down for you very specifically, if you’re at a place you can take notes, you should take notes here and you should implement this. If you’re driving and you can’t take notes, then you’re going to want to come back to this and review it and implement this.
Every single Monday since we started our companies. This has been one of the big reasons that we’ve continued to grow, get better, learn, have success, and get to where we ultimately wanted to go. When we started out, there were six of us sitting around the coffee table in the condo that we lived in New Haven, Connecticut. Now, it’s very different. It’s a Zoom or go to webinar because we have people in different locations. But that consistency is something that is discipline. It’s accountability. It’s your sphere of influence, it’s execution. It’s all the things I mentioned after that first topic.
So let’s break down what I do every single week with the CT Homes LLC team, which is a residential redevelopment company, the first company we founded. We do 100 transactions every single year. I don’t want to say like clockwork because it takes work, but this is how we meet as a team.
So every Monday all of our company’s managers get together at 8:15. Now, you can pick your different times but Monday morning works really well for a variety of reasons. The week sets the tone, you get the idea. So at 8:15, we managers meet on a go to webinar (before Zoom became much more popular a number of years ago). We’ve continued to do that go to webinar, and all the managers of the different departments of the different companies get together on that. Not everyone shares, but key people, key managers share around topics that everyone else needs to know about: marketing, I share on the residential real estate side, Paul, my brother shares updates from HR, or he also ends the call with shares of the mastery community or our coaching community. We talk about upcoming events, the things that everyone on that call needs to know about.
Now, after that happens, and I’ll break down my specific meeting rhythm with the real estate team at CT homes, we break up into our department meetings. What we do at CT homes is we have a team of managers and then people that work under the managers. Before 9 am, every Monday morning, and I’ve done this a long time I don’t even have how long I’ve been doing this because it’s been that long. I send out a weekly word email, which is a Thought of the Week quote, maybe a chapter of the book we’re reading, something that we want to highlight. I share a win of the team from the previous week.
It sets the tone for the meetings that are about to come. Prior to 9 am I send that email then at 9 am we start our meeting rhythm. Now, we do a huddle five days a week, except for Monday, because Monday we do a longer team meeting and I’ll talk about those in a second. So our meeting rhythm gets broken down at CT Homes LLC into huddles daily. We use Google Docs to keep track of these things that we go over in the meeting. So there’s accountability, right? We have your sphere of influence that helps with that execution. It’s setting goals, right? It’s consistency.
In our team meeting on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we don’t meet on Saturday and Sunday, but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we huddle every morning. But let’s start with the weekly team meeting on Monday and what we go over first off when we start our meetings at CT Homes Monday morning, 9 am. Everyone shares a win. We’ve done this every Monday now since we started. Team members change as people come and go, but everyone shares a win. Sometimes it’s a win from the weekend, a great weekend hung out with my aunt or I saw a cool movie or we sold Grimm last week, we bought Raid last week. Those kinds of things people share to set the tone for the meeting.
Then I share a couple of key messages, maybe some news or announcements from our previous 8:15 company-wide manager meeting, maybe an event that’s coming up that people need to know about (Ignite at the end of the year, we got Founders club coming up, which is our mastermind. That’s actually next weekend, High-Level Mastermind, Paul, Konrad, myself facilitating with about 60 business owners within our community across the country). Those kinds of things.
From there, we look at market stats. This is at about 9:15. We start at 9 am. At about 9:15, we’re looking at market stats here in San Diego County. We’re looking at pendings. We’re looking at new actives. We’re looking at the median price point. We’re looking at the things that drive the business that we do. And then we break down properties. We start with acquisitions, and we look at what we have on the board that either needs to be approved to buy or is already approved to buy and when we’re buying it.
Then we get into rehab. We look at all the properties and we discuss any changes to the scope of work, and any changes to the budget. We go over the timing of when those properties are going to be completed. Then we get into sales. That’s where we look at what’s coming up that’s going to be active soon. Any offers that we got, what’s pending a sale when it’s selling- those kinds of things. Then when that wraps up, we celebrate that. We crush it on three. This is what we do and we’re out of that meeting prior to probably 10 am. It takes us about 45 minutes to maybe 55 minutes.
What happens after that is the managers myself, Dan (who was on the case study last week with me who manages acquisitions), Michelle (who manages the renovation department), and Mary (who manages the transaction team). We stay back in that meeting. Some people are there live, some people are zooming, depending on what they have going on in their schedules that morning.
Again, this is Monday morning, about 10 am. The managers do a follow-up meeting where we go over our goals for that week, each manager shares the big three that they need to work on now. These are things that are related to our business and what other people need to hear about. If one of my big threes is date night with my wife this week, the reality is no one in that meeting needs to hear that because it doesn’t affect them. Those aren’t the things we’re sharing. A big three is “I got to get the Felton property permits package back up and we gotta get him resubmitted to the city”. Those kinds of things that I want to be held accountable for. We do those two meetings there on Monday morning and we’re done by approximately 10:30 and usually never later than 11 am.
The number two thing I want to talk about here today is setting goals. If you don’t have a target, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to know when you hit it. So that’s really what goal setting is. That’s not an “aha” moment for anyone watching or listening. But I’m going to share a couple of things that hopefully will refine that idea. We just got past the New Year and usually, that’s a time of year when people set goals.
Usually, this time of year is when you start to realize if you’re on track or not but are you going to do something about it if you’re not. Setting goals is one thing but looking at them frequently, and putting them in front of other people that help you accomplish them is a whole nother thing. So if you’re setting goals now that’s fantastic. If you’re not, you should. And if you’re not writing them down, you should absolutely be writing them down as well as sharing them with other people.
That is one of the things that makes goal setting productive and effective. Some things that we’ve done over the years in terms of goal setting that have helped us be successful in real estate are setting clearly defined key performance indicators that we want to work towards. We do that weekly. We do it monthly. We do it quarterly. We do it yearly. We project out five years, and maybe sometimes that five-year or that end of the year KPI (key performance indicators) way out there. Not sure how we’re going to get there. But then we back into that by setting quarterly goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals.
We break them down into daily action items. If you have someplace you want to get to by the end of the year, that defines success for you. You wrote down that goal or just know the goal, whether you wrote it down or not. If you’re not doing something every day, chances are it’s going to be much harder. If not, I shouldn’t say it’s impossible, but definitely harder to get to where you want to go. Your goal setting in real estate’s important KPIs is a big part of that.
For example, some KPIs you can set since we’re talking about real estate, of course, here on this podcast is on the buy side, the acquisition side, how many offers are you going to write this week? How many offers do you need to write to buy a property? Well, that’s a metric that you determine over time. If you’re not writing offers every day or every week, you’re not going to buy homes. If you’re not buying homes, you’re not hitting your real estate goals.
Set a goal of writing a number of offers every week. Maybe right now, you don’t know how many offers it takes for you to buy one home. But if you’re tracking it, and you write offers every day, and every week and every month, and then you’re buying homes, you can start to determine that metric.
On average, it takes me 20 offers to buy one home five offers 10, whatever that number is. So a great KPI on the acquisition side for real estate is offers. Write offers every day, certainly every week, and if you have a goal weekly, you want to break it down into some daily activity on the renovation side of the business. If you’re renovating homes, a good KPI to look at over time and set is how much money are you spending on a project per given time period. I think it’s most productive to look at it weekly.
There are a lot of other KPIs you can look at on the website. Obviously, your timeline and your budget, of course, your price per square foot you’re spending on construction for different types of properties. The velocity of the money that you spend on the rehab side per given week helps to tell you the effectiveness of your construction team, the contractors that you’re hiring, your ability to manage them, your scope of work, and permitting in your area. It really backs you into a lot of important metrics. So that’s a good one to look at on the sales side.
KPIs to set, of course, or look at how you’re doing in relation to what you thought the home would sell for versus what you sold it for. How many days on the market? Are you comparing those two market stats in your local market? Those kinds of KPIs are good, or good to look at.
Now, again, I’m talking about real estate goals here because that’s really the overall flavor of the podcasts that we discuss different things that are related to real estate, but you do the same thing with your personal goals. You want to look or feel a certain way by the end of 2022. If you’re not doing something every day, or very often to get to that goal, then it’s going to be harder. You can apply that same thing for us at CT Homes or FortuneBuilders or Equity Street Capital or Mind Protein or any of the other companies that we operate.
We set very clear to find key performance indicators for those teams and those companies and then we look at them very frequently. We’re consistent with that. Alright, so goal-setting, no secret as to why that’s important. But again, the devil is in the details, and actually doing it writing them down looking at them frequently is what gets you to where you want to go. And that’s where the consistency comes in.
Next, we talk about accountability. Whether you’re working by yourself or with a group of people, you will accomplish more by having accountability, whether it’s from a co-worker, whether it’s from a spouse or significant other, whether it’s from a coach or a mentor, having someone help hold you accountable is one of the most important things that an individual can do to help them accomplish their goals because it helps with consistency can help you set the goals.
It can help with your sphere of influence, which I’m going to talk about next. That accountability is key. That morning you wake up and you tell yourself you’re going to get to the gym, or get on the treadmill or go for a walk and it’s cold outside or the bed is warmer than where you’re headed. If you don’t have accountability and someone that you’re reporting to that day as to doing something or not doing something, it’s probably more likely that you’re going to hit snooze a couple of times and turn over and get another 30 or 40 minutes of sleep and miss that workout.
That’s not everyone, I understand that many, many people have a high level of discipline, and they are accountable to themselves. Even for that person, there are times when accountability is needed. Wherever you’re on that spectrum, it’s a big thing that you get a coach. Seek out people that you can report to or update. Whether it’s someone in your immediate family, a good friend, or you look to us for some other show to get an education and plug into some of the other things that we’re doing there.
Sphere of influence
Next is who you surround yourself with. Number four: sphere of influence. Speaking of my grandfather, Grappa Dec, who again immigrated from Armenia and went through Ellis Island. He used to say,
“if you hang around with dogs, you get fleas”
He’s right, but the opposite of that’s true as well. When you hang around with dogs, you can get fleas and probably will. If you’re hanging around with a certain kind of person, that’s where you want to be or is doing what you want to do, you have a higher likelihood of getting to that end result. Getting to that target. Getting to that goal. You can read different things. Hear different things. Watch. You’ve probably heard something like this, that you’re an aggregate, whether it’s financially or otherwise, of the five people that you spend the most time with. I don’t know if that’s exactly true.
But there’s definitely truth to that statement. Who you spend time with (your sphere of influence) will directly affect your goals. They will directly affect your accountability and will directly affect your consistency. When you make a change to hang around with different people that are pointing you in the direction you want to go or doing what you’ve done or have done what you want to do, you’re increasing your likelihood of getting there. At its very simplistic level, one of the reasons we started teaching is that we like and we’re good at what we’re doing, and we want to help other people get to where they want to go.
Because of that passion, we’ve developed a pretty strong community and sphere of influence and that’s never changed. One of the things that we’ve always done is, when we get to a certain level that we wanted to get to, then we push ourselves even further. When I say “we” it’s us as owners, the employees on our team. Surround yourself with a certain group of people and you can accomplish things that you want to accomplish. If you’re not being pushed anymore, then I suggest you find rooms and find groups and find masterminds that help push you outside of your comfort zone. So that’s that sphere of influence. That comfort zone feels comfortable but good things happen outside of that comfort zone.
Hey, hope you love this show. We were concise today. We were efficient. But nevertheless, important things that you can implement right away. Write your goals down, number one, number two, and get your meeting rhythm up and running. We shared a quote at the beginning of this show, and I’ll share it again because it’s good. Dale Carnegie: “success is getting what you want, and happiness is wanting what you get”. I’ll leave you with one more quote before we sign off on this episode. And this is a Zig Ziglar quote, I’m paraphrasing it: “When you help enough other people get what they want. You get what you want”. Within what you’re doing, if you’re focusing on helping other people and you do that consistently, something you’ve already talked about, you will and can get what you want. That’s Zig Ziglar, the great late great Zig Ziglar quote. So get out there, write your goals down, start your meeting rhythm or adjust your meeting rhythm. If you currently have one, it’s not as productive. That’s going to help point you towards your success in real estate however you define that. Alright, hope you enjoy the show. I’m excited about next week. We’re going to get into another case study in a few weeks and bring that into a regular rhythm. As I mentioned last week, I’m happy I’m here. I appreciate everyone watching and listening, and we’ll catch you on the next podcast.