Friday, April 23, 2010

Markets and Marathons

This posting is a little delayed, since I ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. The relief of having it over, plus the exhaustion, kept me from writing sooner! Every time I run a marathon, I think about how much it is like the real estate business. The basic foundation is the preparation. You have to put in the hours. Some naturally talented people seem exempt, and can run or sell without spending a lot of time getting ready, but the general rule is that you reap what you sow. The long 20-mile runs, or the late nights at the computer, pay off in the future. You can't just wing it.

There's also some amount of luck involved. Performance in a marathon depends greatly on the conditions of the day and the course--temperature, elevation changes, wind, and congestion on the course. It also matters how you feel on a given day, and you won't really know how you will do until you get to 20 miles or even beyond. Success in real estate depends on market conditions--we don't control interest rates, bank policies, political postions, or consumer confidence. Local economic factors, such as unemployment rates or business expansions, are also variables we can't change.

However, in both marathons and real estate markets, we can do the best with what we have. We have the same conditions as everyone else on the course, and we can outperform others with training and perseverance. We can be mentally tougher, and we can dig deeper. As the marathon really starts at 20 miles, salesmanship starts when the client says no.

Finding a way to succeed is crucial in both endeavors, but there's at least one difference: It doesn't hurt to walk when you finish selling a piece of real estate!