083: My Goals and Plans for 2017

2016 was an exciting and fun year. I did not reach all of my goals, but that was okay because my goals still pushed me to do more and work hard. In 2017 I have even bigger goals and more exciting plans! I want to buy rental properties, although they may be much different from the rentals I have bought in the past. I want to complete 30 flips, which I think is doable since we completed 18 in 2016. I want to expand my real estate team with more great agents. I have two new books planned for 2017 as well! I talk about how 2016 went and what I want to do in 2017 on this episode of the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast.

How did my 2016 real estate goals go?

I won’t write too much about my goals on this write-up, because I wrote an entire post about it last week: my real estate goals for 2017 and a recap of 2016. Here are the basics of what I did in 2016:

  • I wanted to flip 20 houses and sold 18.
  • I wanted to sell 200 houses on my real estate team, but only sold around 100.
  • I wanted to buy 10 rentals, but did not buy any!
  • I wanted to write an awesome book on rentals, which I did and it is even an audio book now.

What are my goals for 2017?

Here are the quick basics on my goals for 2017:

  • I want to flip 30 houses.
  • I want to sell 200 houses again (I will reach this goal at some point).
  • I want to buy a large commercial building.
  • I want to publish two new books in 2017.

I talk about all of these in much more detail on the podcast.

Why are goals important?

My life changed when I started making goals. It actually all started with an accidental goal and plan I created to show why my compensation when I was working with my dad was not fair. After creating an accidental plan, my real estate career took off. The more I focused on goals and worked on myself more than my business, the more successful I became. I also learned that making money and working as hard as I could was not the most important thing in life. I could make money, and have time for myself and my family. While I have a lot of successful businesses, I do not work more than 40 hours a week. I have also made the work fun for the hours I do. I try to delegate any tasks I do not like doing to others on my team and focus on the tasks I like doing. I love to buy houses, and write which is what I spend the most time on.


[0:00:58.9] MF: Hey everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with InvestFourMore. Welcome to another podcast. In episode of the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast today, I’m going to talk about my goals for last year and what I want to do this year. I wrote an article on this last week, but I just want to talk more about it, do a podcast on it and let you know what my thoughts are.


Before I get started, I just want to remind everyone, I did write a book on goal setting, mindset success. Kind of everything I’m going to talk about today, I’ve put into a book on my habits. What I do to really become successful. That’s, How to Change Your Mindset and Attitude. You can find it on Amazon. I’ll have a link in the show notes for this podcast to get to it.


I’ve been an agent for a while since 2001, flipping houses that whole time. I did okay in the beginning of my career, but I did not do great. It wasn’t [inaudible] know what I was doing or I wasn’t working hard. So much if it was my attitude, my mindset, my goals, or lack thereof. Once I figured that all out and what it takes to be successful, not only did my career change, but my entire life changed, personally, my happiness, stress levels. Everything improved.


Check out that book if you’re interested in how I’ve used different trainings. I’ve been to personal coaches, how they’ve helped me. I’m a huge believer in self-help, listening to audio CDs. Anything you can to really improve your life and improve the way you do things.


Speaking of that, before I get too much farther, Build a Rental Property Empire is out as an audiobook now. I’ve done a post on that. Shout that out on Facebook. In case you didn’t hear, it’s an audiobook. If you prefer that format. It is available on Amazon. All right. Cool.


Let’s get started on my goals. Every year, I make some pretty aggressive goals. I try to post most of them online. That really helps me be accountable for what I’m doing. If I’ve posted out there and all, you can see it, then I can’t really run away from it and pretend I didn’t make those calls. It gives me more motivation to get things done and, hopefully, be more successful.


When I set goals, I can’t be afraid not to reach them. I think that’s one reason why so many people do not set goals and why so many people kinda set weaker, easy goals. Your success and failure is not judged on if you reached a goal or not. Your success is based on how well you do in business, personal life. Goals are just a means to make you more successful.


If you don’t reach a goal, but it makes you more successful than not having a goal, it was a good thing to set that goal. If you make a huge goal and you don’t quite reach it, you’re probably going to get more done and be more successful than making an easy goal that you do reach. A lot of people give up or slack off once they reach a goal. Even if you don’t mean to, even if you keep working just mentally, we think, “Oh! We’ve reached our goal [inaudible] we’re supposed to do. I don’t have to work as hard the rest of the year.”


If you have to keep working the whole year, it can push you, make you more successful and you’re not a failure if you don’t reach that goal. That goal did its job. It got you farther than you would have been without it. That’s really what goals are for. Don’t be afraid to set them. Don’t be afraid to make them big. That’s always been my thought.


Now, around 2006, I was not doing well in my real estate career. I wasn’t selling many houses. I decided to do all the work myself on a flip. Really bad mistake. That’s a huge mistake doing that. I was really frustrated with my career, my job. I was working with my dad. I accidentally set some goals. I wrote this letter to my dad saying how fair everything was, because I wasn’t making enough money. I didn’t get enough commission splits and how I’d have to sell so many houses to make the money that I thought I deserved.


He didn’t really pay much attention to that letter. He didn’t say much at all. What I did is I accidentally set some goals. By writing out that letter, I’ve put this ridiculous amount of houses I thought at that time I would have to sell. I think about two or three years later, I sold more than that number. Just writing out that number, writing out that plan kind of put my mind and motion in — I started thinking, “Well, maybe I should just do this myself. Maybe I don’t need to complain about it and have other people fix my problems. Maybe I should just figure out how to do it on my own,” and I did.


When I say on my own, I don’t mean with no help from anybody, I just mean I need to be the motivating factor. I need to take action, change things in my life to make things work better. That’s one thing I did before as well, is I thought I could do everything on my own as far as selling houses. I just thought I didn’t need help. I didn’t need to read books. I didn’t need a mentor. I could figure it all out myself. I was smart. Why would I need help? That was just a huge mistake.


Learning from people who’ve done things before is just one of the best resources available. So many people have done things, tried them, they didn’t work, or they did work, and they learned from them. That’s the best learning tool. Why not learn from those people who’ve already tried and failed or tried and succeeded to learn what worked for them? You don’t have to do exactly what they do. You don’t have to follow their every move, but you can get an idea of what worked. What may work for you? What may not.


It’s just such a big advantage to learn from other people how to do things better. Shortens the learning curve, will make you successful much quicker and just change your whole life. That’s when I started to introduce myself to self-help books, just learning from people who are successful, learning how to have the right attitude. Learning how to structure my day, how to schedule. There’s just so many things you can do to change in your life that will make you more successful. It’s not all about working as hard as you can nonstop.


A lot of times, taking time off can be one of the best things you do, because you get better ideas. You can see your business from the outside-in instead of working side of it. There are just a lot of things. Being confident with your money, with rental properties are awesome thing to invest in because of the passive income they bring. That can reduce stress in your life. There’s just so many things you can do mentally.


The way you handle your business, the way you handle yourself. Don’t just focus on working in the business. Focus on yourself first. That’s the first lesson I’ve learned a long time ago, and part of doing goals every year, keeping track of those goals during the year and revealing them is one of those things that’s really helped me out personally and professionally.


Getting back to my actual goals, I set some pretty big goals for 2016. Honestly, I didn’t reach most of them. I may have reached one, but that’s okay, because things change too. I can’t predict what the market will do. I can’t predict what’s going to happen outside of what I’m doing. If things drastically change in one aspect of my business, I can’t be upset that I don’t reach my goal because of something I can’t control. I can change my goal or work on something else, but you just have to be flexible with these too.


For my rental property goal, we’ll start with the biggest failure I had out of anything. I wanted to buy 10 rentals in 2016. That was my goal. I bought five in 2015, so I thought I would double that. I bought zero in 2016. Am I upset? No. Things change around here so drastically that I think it would have been a bad investment for me to buy rental properties here in Colorado.


Last year I talked about buying in Florida, and I did look at that, changing my investment strategy. I even went to Florida and checked out some markets. Found some really good markets. I probably found some places I could invest. I still didn’t buy any rentals there, just ‘cause it is a lot of work to buy out of state. A lot of things to look at, and I really ramped up my flipping business in Colorado which kept me busy, kept my money working. I just changed my focus from one goal to another, really.


I think — I’m not upset about that. I still have a goal to buy a hundred properties. I’m way behind on it now, but I know I can still get there. Changing strategies is part of how you accomplish those big goals if you run into some obstacles.


2016, I did not buy any rentals. A little disappointing that I haven’t bought more. Again, the market is so crazy in Colorado with prices so high and rents not going up nearly as much as prices, that it’s not a very good market for cash flow. I’ve always believed in cash flow from my rentals. That’s the biggest reason I haven’t bought any here. We will see what happens in 2017. The year is going forward. I definitely want to keep buying rentals, keep building that passive income.


For my fix and flip goals in 2016, I want to flip 20 houses, which was a huge goal. That was doubling what I bought in 2015, which I think was a record year for me. I ended up flipping 18. I got really, really close, didn’t quite get there.


To me, that’s kinda like the perfect outcome for a goal, is where you almost get there but not quite. It keeps pushing you. You keep working hard till the end of the year. You stay focused. It’s okay that I didn’t get to 20. It’s cool I got to 18 and got so close, because I know it was really close. It wasn’t outrageous cool, but it’s just enough to push me and keep me going the whole year. I really, really improved on my business for fix and flipping in 2016.


Nikki, who’s my project manager for flipping set an awesome job working with contractors. She found a house on her own this year that we bought. That was really cool. Done a really good job. I hired a project manager in 2015, who worked out not so well. Really set my business back. It was really cool to have someone help out my business and become an awesome project manager and help me on that front.


We’ve also improved the way we work with contractors. We hired a fulltime handyman this year. Done a lot of things, and we’ve been buying a lot of properties. I’ve invested a lot of money. We spent on rentals into the flipping business. I found more private money lenders. Found more banks to lend to me. Been a really good year for flipping, and I’ve got some big plans for next year as well.


On the real estate team side, I was hoping to sell 200 houses in 2016. That did not happen either. I think we got to about half that. Again, I can’t be upset about that, because things change drastically on that front too. I sold 200 houses one year myself as an REO and HUD listing broker. It was very busy. It’s a very crazy time, so it didn’t seem outrageous to me that we could do that as a team.


However, HUD and REO has basically disappeared in Colorado. I sold very, very few listings myself in 2016. Almost all of our sales were from other agents on our team, which is actually perfect for me, because it gives me time to work on the blog, to work on my flipping business. Other things I love doing. I am perfectly happy to see all the sales shift to our team, but that also makes it difficult to sell as many houses as I have in the past.


However, we still did really well, added a new agent who’s done really well. Had another agent we hired who did not do quite as well. He wasn’t very keen on listening to our training and what we had to offer him, so we parted ways. We have some more new exciting people joining our team here soon too. We’ll talk about that here in a little bit.


We’ve really worked on generating more leads for agents, which we’ve done well too through Facebook, through our website, through Zillow, has done really well. That’s been nice too to see the leads come in for agents.


For 2016, I had some big blog goals. I really wanted to increase my traffic a lot. That didn’t happen as much as I wanted to. Again, Google has changed things. There’s all types of things I can’t control, but I’m still happy where the side is at, and I wanted to publish a new book in 2016, which I did, the Build a Rental Property Empire book. It’s done awesome. For a long time, it’s in the top 10 of all real estate book on Amazon, right around where Trump was. Trump had a little more publicity than me, so I was pretty proud about that.


It’s done really well. Like I said, it’s on audiobook now. I really like writing books, ‘cause I can reach so many people and help a lot more people than some of my more expensive coaching programs.


All right. For some of my personal goals, I wanted to buy a new car, an Aston Martin, and had some other longer term goals that weren’t really for 2016. Those were tough to make happen, because I didn’t have specific time frames on them. I also had some personal goals I didn’t published, ‘cause I don’t tell you guys everything. I have a few things I keep to myself.


On the personal front, I’m still happy. Really happy with things are with the business — With where things are, and I do have to get some more space before I can buy any more cars. That’s a problem.


Let’s have the rundown of my goals for 2016. Things went very well for me, very happy, pretty exciting. A lot of things changed and were different than I thought, but at the same time, worked out well. Can’t be too unhappy with that.


For 2017, I have some new goals. A couple of them way outside of what my comfort zone is, what I’ve been used to. That makes it exciting. That makes it new. A lot of times we get bogged down and doing the same things over and over again, which can be good, can be good to focus on things that really make you money, or your core business. At the same time, it’s fun to do new and exciting things as well.


One exciting thing I’m doing for 2017 — I haven’t done it yet, but I’m hoping to, is to buy a big commercial building. I want to buy a building that’s at least 50,000 square feet. I’ve been looking at buildings. I’ve been searching. I have some in mind, and that would substitute as rental properties in 2017, ‘cause I could split into multiple units. It’d kinda be the same as buying 10 or 20 rental properties, would produce the same amount of income and it would be a value add proposition as well, where I’m buying it below market value, improving it either through physical improvements or leasing it better, and then really increasing the value on it. That’s something I’m really looking at, getting close to putting something together.


Of course, I’ll let everybody know if I get anything under contract or end up buying something, I’ll post all the details on it. That’s something I’m looking at. There’s also some other really cool things that may go along with buying that building that I can’t discuss right now, but they’ll be exciting as well. I’ll be sure to talk about that when I can.


All right. My fix and flip goals. Like I said, that business has been going really well. It’s fun for me to focus on it, because it’s fun for me to work on the fix and flips. I don’t do any manual labor myself, but I love finding deals. My team, my wife like to joke about me being addicted to buying houses, and I’m pretty sure that’s true. I haven’t got any houses under contract for the last two or three weeks and I feel like I’m missing something here. I don’t know what’s going on.


My goal for 2017 is just complete 30 flips. That means I want to sell 30 flips in 2017, which is a big number. I have 16 in progress right now. If I sell those, I’m more than halfway there. I plan to get those all sold by July. I should be able to buy 14 more hopefully soon enough to get them fixed up, sold before the end of 2017. That would be awesome if I could do that.


Over the years, I’ve averaged about 30 to $35,000 in profit on each flip I do, and that includes financing cost, selling cost, carrying cost, repairs, all of that. It’s not the HGTV numbers where you forget about financing, you forget about insurance, you forget about taxes, you forget about paying real estate agents. That’s actual profit.


That would be huge. If could do 30, have a lot of money for investing in rentals or bigger building. Be really fun to do. We have our systems set up now where I can handle 16 flips once, or maybe even more, where we have a lot of contractors. We have the people there in place to help the systems. That’s been really nice. I’m struggling to do 8 or 10 at once a couple of years ago. It’s really nice to have things flowing so nice.


For my real estate goals, I’m not going to give up. I’m still going to make a goal of selling 200 houses this year. That could be almost all for my team. I think we can do it. It’s going to be tough, but I have really good agents in my team right now, really good, they’re doing awesome, and we’re adding at least one, maybe two more agents at the start of the year who I think are going to be really good as well.


By adding those agents, improving on the agents we have now — All of the agents in my team are fairly new to the business and learning every year. They’re selling more and more houses and they go through it.


I think with their improvements, with new agents, we can reach that goal. We do a lot to support them. We offer weekly training. We give them a lot of leads from Zillow, from Facebook, from our websites. It’s not like we just put them on our team and send them off to sell houses on their own. We provide a lot of support, a lot of leads.


We have John on our team who writes contracts for them, helps them with MLS listings. Does a lot of the work for them so they can focus on selling, not the paperwork, not the busy work. That’s really helped out our team as well.


All right. For the blog goals. I definitely want to increase my traffic. That’s always fun for me. I’m a numbers guy, so seeing charts go up. I also want to remember I can’t control all of that. That’s so much out of my control with how Google rates sites and different things. I’ve figured out I really love writing the books. It’s a lot of work. Takes a lot of time to put them together, a lot of time to edit them, have other people editing them, but I still love doing it.


I have one book in progress which will be out, hopefully, in the next couple of months on the basics of buying and selling houses. I wanted to write this book, because as real estate agents, we see so many people buying — Not just investors, but anybody, buying or selling a house and they don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re relying on real estate agents. They’re relying on lenders to tell them what to do.


If your lender or your agent is not good, it can be a very bad situation for the home buyer, home seller. There’s such an advantage to buying below market value even if you’re not investor, but you’re buying your own personal house, can make such a difference financially in your life.


I want to write a book that will help people learn the basics, what it means for title insurance, for loans, how they work. Realizing you can get a great deal on a house, and still get a loan. The best loan options. There’s just so many things out there that people don’t know about. My goals to write that book, help educate people, help improve their lives by helping them make a smart decision when they buy or sell their house. That will be fun.


I do have another book I’m partnering on with somebody who should be out this year as well. We’re hoping it would be out in 2016. We didn’t quite get it done, but it should definitely be out in 2017. That’s going to be a really good book. A really cool book I think a lot of you will enjoy.


All right. Personal goals. I love cars. I still want to buy so many cars, but there’s only so much room and so much money for them. I can’t really buy [inaudible] like I said, because I don’t have a lot of space. That’s where the buying the big building come in too. I would have my own space for some cars, space for building supplies, for our flipping business. It’d just be really cool to have my own personal space and shop space, as well as being able to rent it out and lease it out.


That’s really where my big personal goal is too, is kind of wrapped into the business goal as well this year. Again, I’m going to tell you a lot more about what’s going on with that hopefully soon. But there are some reasons why I can’t say much right now.


Those are pretty much my goals for 2017. 2016 was fun. Never goes exactly as you plan. That’s what makes life exciting. 2017 should be even more exciting, I hope. Learn a lot more about commercial business, commercial real estate. Learning a lot more about writing books. It’s really fun and exciting.


I’m hoping it’s a really cool year. My biggest challenge for me, I think, is going to be staying patient, because when I buy fix and flips, when I buy residential properties, one of the keys to getting such good deals is acting fast. Seeing properties that same day, writing offers really quickly, I want to get houses done as fast as I can, get them sold so I can buy. Just quick, quick, quick, quick is how I’ve always worked. I get impatient and anxious if things don’t go quickly.


Buying this really big project is going to take some time. It’s going to take time to buy it. It’s going to take time to repair, time to lease it. My biggest challenge are going to be staying patient, keeping focus on the big picture and the whole plan and not getting frustrated if things don’t go fast enough. Really, what I have to focus on is patience, not getting stressed out, and keeping track of the big plan and the long term rewards that will come with this project.


That is what I’ve got to talk about today. Not a super long podcast, but I think it’s just so important that if you’re not making goals now, you have some goals — Specific goals are great. Keep track of your goals during the year. If you make goals in the start of the year, never think about it on the rest of the year, they don’t do you much good. Try to review them weekly, if possible, at least weekly. If you can review them more often, that’s great. Keep them in your head was important.

Make sure business isn’t everything. You take some free time for yourself and your family as well. Yes, I hope everybody has an awesome 2017.




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