The One Trait Every Real Estate Investor Needs

Notebook and Fundamentals

Is it a bottomless reserve of cash? No, considering sudden influxes in cash tend to result in undisciplined spending, as many bankrupt lottery winners could tell you.

The one personality trait every investor needs is … curiosity. Not just any curiosity, though. It needs to be the proactive, can’t-sleep-until-you-get-an-answer kind of curiosity. Think of it as one giant loop of question-answer-action. Action creates new questions which leads to new ways of running your real estate investment business.

What does it mean to be proactively curious? Take this quote into consideration:


Sink or swim. Friction creates fire. Fight or flight. Take your pick of quotes, metaphors, and cliches, but the fact remains you need to put yourself in new situations and then not be okay with not knowing. (My apologies for the double negative.)

Reverse engineer any investor’s career and chances are they all started with the goal of financial freedom. It won’t take long to discover they all took a different path to end up where they are now. Clearly, the goal wasn’t everything. If it was, investors would have taken the same path, with the same portfolio of single-family rentals, flips, duplexes, and 24-unit apartments. They didn’t.

Where those investors are now is largely a function of what questions they asked, what answers they found, and what they did after finding the information.

  • Their curiosity led them to new connections.
  • New connections led them to new deals.
  • Their new deals necessitated new systems.

Real estate investing can be daunting. “Can be” is the part to keep in mind. The thrill of satisfying both your curiosity and achieving your goal needs to outweigh the fear of not knowing.

Here are 5 ways to become a learning machine:

  1. Read or listen to a book every week. Turn off the TV.
  2. Make the most of your drive time with audibooks and podcasts.
  3. Get out there and network. Find a local real estate investment or landlord association. Show up early. Stay late.
  4. Define your niche and what you’re looking for and then tell people. No one can help you if they don’t know how. (Everyone knows a real estate investor, after all.)
  5. As you think of questions, record them in Evernote or another note-taking application. Use these questions to guide your learning, and refer to them often to track your progress.

As you learn, make these words your motto: