Don't fall for real estate shortcuts

Mood of the Market

I recently read a blog post offering the writer’s take on the "Four Fundamentals of Financial Success." Now that’s bold, I thought — with all the complexities involved in the massive field of personal finance, to claim that you’ve narrowed "success" at this endeavor down to four little ol’ points. And it was a great effort, although one comprised of high-level philosophical tenets rather than nuts-and-bolts tips or how-to instructions.

Of course, as soon as I read it, I had to wonder: Could "success" at buying, selling, owning — even renting — real estate be boiled down to four points? I usually spend 5,000-10,000 words a week trying to help people achieve success in their real estate strategies, plans, actions and transactions.

But I want to believe that a short list of universal principles is possible, and I do generally believe that the rigor required in reducing complex subjects to pithy points forces you to trim the conceptual fat, so to speak, and get to their essence.

So, I decided to give it the old college try, and put together four fundamentals of real estate success — I’ll brief you on one each week, for the next several weeks. Just to be clear, these tips are not about running a profitable real estate business; they are principles for consumers to apply in their real estate dealings to achieve the ultimate objective of real estate: enhancing and improving our lives.