7 Habits of Highly Profitable Real Estate Investors

Written on October 28, 2015 by , updated on April 1, 2016

7 Habits of Highly Profitable Real Estate InvestorsOne time I had a boss who was obsessed with the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

He’s not alone. The book has 3,176 reviews on Amazon – with 72% being a 5-star rating!

As part of a performance improvement program, my boss make me read the book. As such, I went through a personal coaching session where every week we went over a chapter and how it applied to my job. The meetings started at 6:00 a.m. and I actually looked forward to them because I got so much out of this book!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle

Hopefully this guide will help you become more profitable in your real estate business.

Let’s get started!

Habit 1: Be Proactive

I want you to be completely realistic when you read this article. How much of your workday yesterday was “reactive” versus “proactive”?

How can you grow and get what you want accomplished if you are spending most of your day in “reactive” mode?

To change this, most would assume that I am going to recommend to set a schedule and stick to it. However, that’s the second part.

The first part is that you need to create a vision statement.

What ultimate goal are you trying to reach?

My vision is this:

To build enough recurring cash-flow and paid-off real estate to travel more, spend more time with friends and family, and to give more to organization that support orphans.

Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind

To truly change you need to rescript how you think and act. Additionally, you need to change how you portray yourself to others. You have a vision now, but let’s also put together a mission statement.

One major thing I am working on is a personal mission statement.

This is Rolfe Kerr’s personal mission statement:

  • Succeed at home first.
  • Seek and merit divine help.
  • Never compromise with honesty.
  • Remember the people involved.
  • Hear both sides before judging
  • Obtain counsel of others.
  • Defend those who are absent.
  • Be sincere yet decisive.
  • Develop on new proficiency a year.
  • Plan tomorrow’s work today.
  • Hustle while you wait.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Be orderly in person and in work.
  • Do not fear mistakes – fear only the absence of creative, constructive, and corrective responses to those mistakes.
  • Facilitate the success of subordinates.
  • Listen twice as much as you speak.
  • Concentrate all abilities and efforts on the task at hand, not worrying about the next job or promotion.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Things which matter most must next be at the mercy of things which matter least. – Goethe

Habit three is the personal fruit, the practical fulfillment of Habit one and Habit two. The truly devout 7 Habits Cultist use a time management matrix.

Time Management Matrix

 UrgentNot Urgent
ImportantQuadrant 1

  • Crisis

  • Pressing problems

  • Deadline driven projects

Quadrant 2

  • Relationship building

  • Finding new opportunities

  • Long-term planning

  • Preventive activities

  • Personal growth

  • Recreation

Not ImportantQuadrant 3

  • Interruptions

  • Emails, calls, meetings

  • Popular activities

  • Proximate, pressing matters

Quadrant 4

  • Trivial, busy work

  • Time wasters

  • Some calls and emails

  • Pleasant activities

I have seen several of my superiors use it effectively.

Be incredibly self-aware of your most valuable asset: your time.

Importantly, remember that it is daily habits that will help you accomplish your ultimate vision.

You are going to have to really focus on this habit if you are a real estate investor on the side, while managing a full-time job and a family. This is not easy at all. Be incredibly self-aware of your most valuable asset: your time.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Admittedly, I am extremely bad at this habit.

I’m an analytical type and extremely brief and to the point. However, in real estate you have to communicate with various types of people. Specifically, you have to communicate with several different types of communicators than yourselves:

  • Realtors
  • Sellers
  • Buyers
  • Loan Officers
  • Title Companies
  • Tenants

All of these people represent not only different professions, but different values and different communication styles. Even though I am short and to the point, most people prefer and long explanation of why you want something done a certain way.

Think about an upcoming interaction. How are you going to keep a high courage balanced with a high consideration?

Win Win

Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

This is yet another habit that I am not naturally good at. I am a fast action-taker. As such, I sometime react prematurely to events. It would be a lot better if I had learned to completely understand the other persons point of view first.

My parents constantly repeated the old adage, attributed to Mark Twain:

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you area fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

When attending meetings, I’m amazed at the miscommunication simply how people use words differently.

A lot of people react prematurely and sometimes cause an unnecessary fight.

Always Seek First To Understand.

Instead of reacting to something that immediately tips you off, say:

“Let me make sure I understand, what I’m hearing you say is [ repeat back your version of what you heard ]”

This does 2 things:

  1. It obviously makes sure you understand their point of view
  2. It gives you a couple of seconds to calm down – if you were about to blow your lid

If you are presenting something, base this off empathy. Make the presentation about not only your audience, but your point of view.

Habit 6: Synergize

It’s virtually impossible to do anything in real estate by yourself.

In transactions I’m involved in as a real estate investor it is typical that the borrower and seller have opposing views. However, it doesn’t have to be like this.

For example,I’m currently trying to purchase some land for both timber and recreational use. This land has been for sale for 3 years and the seller hasn’t had a single offer. It’s already priced well below market. My first offer was to lease the land for a year then purchase it. My goal was to see if I wanted use of the land.

The seller simply responded to my offer with a “no” – he has no interest in leasing the land.

Instead of getting my feelings hurt and forgetting about the deal, I dig-in and question what is the best outcome. I ultimately find out that after 3 years, he just wants to be “done with the property.”

I emphatically ask:

How valuable would it be then if I paid in cash and could close in 7 days?

This forced him to not just view me as an adversary but a helpful business partner.

How are you trying to synergize with people who are currently viewing you as an adversary?

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

This chapter starts with a story about someone who is too busy sawing a tree down, to stop and sharpen it.

Habit seven is really all about yourself. After all, how can you take care of others if you yourself are not ok?

A group of young entrepreneurs gathered on Necker Island and asked Richard Branson,”how do you become more productive?”

How do you become more productive?

He leaned back and thought for a second. Then he said, “Work Out.”

It’s not what you would immediately think of when becoming more productive. However, have you ever regretted taking 30 minutes off of your day to workout? I know I haven’t. I come back a lot more energized and ready to work some more.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself everyday and sharpen the saw!



I highly encourage all of you to read it with someone older than you, to help mentor you through the principles.

In the summary of the book it has a diagram of: The Upward Spiral

Where you Learn, Commit and Do

You have not learned several habits of the most effective people.

What are you going to commit to?

What are you going to do?

Further Reading: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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