12-10-14 - blundersDo you ever feel like a failure?

The reason I ask is because like you I have felt like a big failure in all sorts of aspects of my life from time to time. Ideally we should raise ourselves to a very high standard, way above the standards that others hold us to. Each of us has so much potential power and energy that can be used for good and to build something great:

  • To improve your community.
  • To improve your life.
  • To improve your family’s well being.
  • To improve our customers’ (buyers and seller) lives.

Yet, why is it that we feel like failures occasionally when everything we do and go through help shape us to be the person we are right now?!

While I don’t have the schooling or answers to these questions I do have a little secret that helps me get through the tough times I’ve made mistakes in my real estate investing past (watch video). Some of the past real estate mistakes that sting and come to mind are:

  1. Paying too much for a property.
  2. Not acting quickly when a seller is ready to sell.
  3. Placing a higher priority on my real estate investing business than on my loved ones.
  4. Being too greedy when buying.
  5. Over improving a property and losing money on the resale.
  6. Following my heart when reselling.
  7. Selling or renting to someone who is not qualified and therefore a much high-risk.

While these mistakes may have cost me time, money, energy, headaches, and potential profits – each one has been valuable in teaching me to never make the same mistakes twice. These mistakes and how to avoid them is something I love instilling into everyone I help investing in manufactured housing through this free real estate investing blog and private training.

Pro Tip: Never make the same mistake twice. Seems obvious right…

When you know an error has been made, here are some simple steps to follow to help insure the lesson is not repeated.

  1. Spot a mistake.
  2. Acknowledge the error and take blame for it. (Feel the pain for a brief while of making the mistake, however do not become depressed about any single mistake for more than a few minutes.)
  3. Identify where you went wrong and how to correct the mistake, if correctable.
  4. Consider the different paths you could have taken to prevent this mistake from happening.
  5. Phone or email a trusted mentor to confirm your findings and ask for additional feedback.
  6. Never make the same mistake again.


1. Andre-Francois Raffray

In 1975, at the age of 90, Jeanne Calment signed an agreement with young, suave attorney named Andre-Francois Raffray. The agreement read that Raffray would pay 2,500 francs ($500) per month to Calment for the rest of her life, with the condition that he would purchase her apartment home when she passed away, paying only what he had already given her.

The obvious benefit to Raffray is that he would purchase this elderly woman’s home for pennies on the dollar when she inevitably passed away in a number of months or years. However, time rolled by. Months turned to years, and years turned to decades. After 30 years of waiting for his apartment home, Raffray died himself, leaving his wife obligated to pay this $500 per month debt.

Jeanne Calment went on to do the improbable. Calment lived to be the oldest living person in recorded history, passing away at the age of 122 in 1997. The Raffrays eventually paid over $180,000 for the home, twice what the apartment was worth at the time.

2. Ponte City Apartments

In 1975, the tallest building in Africa was built. This pinnacle of luxury, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, stands an impressive 54 stories high. In addition to being the tallest building around, the property also boasts a cylindrical shape with a massive atrium area in the middle, known as “the Core,” to let added light in for the luxury residence.

However, while the luxury was evident, the higher-end residents never came. Soon after the construction ended, gangs moved into the building, and the crime rate soared. More and more lower income households moved in, and during the 1990’s, the building was even considered a “high-rise penitentiary.”

In 2007, new owners purchased the building with plans to revitalize the area and remove the gangs. Plans were underway until the sub-prime collapse of the real estate market withdrew the needed funds to complete the project. The building was given back to the prior owners and currently sits in disrepair, a reminder of a once-great dream turned into an epic failure.

3. George C. Parker

George C. Parker was an ambition business man and real estate mogul in the early 1900’s living in New York City. Parker’s prestigious rel estate company sold many landmark properties, such as the original Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grant’s Tomb, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn bridge. Parker was certainly doing well for himself.

Many of Parker’s customers were other immigrants just arriving to the country and eager to invest. The only problem with what Parker was doing was that he did not own or represent any of these properties. Parker is still one of the most brazen con-men to have lived, oftentimes placing no more than a “For Sale” sign on the Brooklyn Bridge and waiting for his victims to come to him. He once sold the Brooklyn Bridge for $50,000.

Parker was sentenced to life in prison after his third arrest and conviction for fraud.


A takeaway from these tales is that it is important to remember that we as real estate investors are here to help others, both buyers and sellers. Oftentimes, humans can be too money hungry to see past the harm we may knowingly or unknowingly cause others. For most of us reading this article, we have never made a deal that killed anyone, displaced a section of the population, or destroyed anyone’s life.

Stay busy everyday and know where you are headed.

And as always… love what you do daily.
John Fedro

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