3/31/13: The Value of Changing Scenery and the Seasons You Go Through as an Investor

Profitable opportunities and valuable lessons are all around us…sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

In our recent travels, we found ourselves in disparate places with distinctly different, yet highly notable and successful people.

The common denominator is that we find great lessons to be learned from both – and we want to share them with you.

Behind the microphones for this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show:

  • Your always on host, Robert Helms
  • Your on and off co-host, Russell Gray
  • Special guest, the top real estate broker in Grand Cayman, James Bovell
  • Special guest, world renowned drummer and now budding artist, Carl Palmer

Now right out of the gate, you may be wondering how we always manage to get face to face with all of these amazing guests.

Here’s a hint: they don’t come to us.  We boldly go where most talk show hosts don’t.  Sometimes a change of scenery can do you good!

We got to know James Bovell during our educational real estate shore excursion on our 2013 Investor Summit at Sea.

James runs the RE/MAX franchise on the Caribbean island known as Grand Cayman.  In fact, as we discovered on our trip, he’s the dominant broker on the island.  It’s always fun to get shown around by the top guy in a market.  It’s why we hang out with John Turley in Belize.

And there’s another lesson:  if you’re going to form associations or build a team, always go for the best.  You might have to wait a little longer, work a little harder or pay a little more, but (as Brian Tracy would say), the pain of low quality always outlasts the pleasure of low price.  Who wants the discount brain surgeon?

As we toured Grand Cayman with James, we found it to be a fairly mature market.  That means it’s already pretty built out. And because land is limited on the island and the demand is high, pricing is pretty high too.  The lesson here is that the best time to buy real estate was 20 years ago.  Of course, 20 years from now, it will be 20 years from now, which might make now a pretty good time to buy also!

Now James has been in Grand Cayman for quite some time.  So he could tell us what it was like many years ago.  If we were only looking at Grand Cayman, that might make us feel like we missed some opportunity.  But since we’re also active in other markets, it helps us see their potential before it’s been fully developed.

Of course, mature markets (like mature people) also have their advantages when compared to their less developed counterparts.  Mature markets have many more amenities, proven track records, less unknowns.  So what you see is what you get, as compared to a developing market where you need more vision and faith.

So there isn’t a right or wrong.  It’s purely a matter of personal preference and where you’re at as an investor.  The people who attend our field trips to Belize find an emerging market with lots of potential.  It’s more affordable, but far less developed. Most really like that.  Some want something more here and now.  For that, Grand Cayman is great.

Our next guest on this episode is Carl Palmer.  If you’re a classic rock enthusiast, you probably know the band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  This is the band Carl came to fame with.  Today, he performs with his new band, The Carl Palmer Band.  In addition, he and some partners have found a way to take Carl’s drumming and create a highly unique and beautiful form of art.

Robert Helms with drummer Carl Palmer and Carl's new art. Click in the picture to see more.

But what does any of this have to do with real estate investing?

A lot more than you might think.  Remember, our thesis is that there are often great lessons to be learned in some of the most unlikely places or from the most unlikely people.

In the case of Carl Palmer, he found his initial success being part of a team of talented individuals.  He talks about the importance of aligning yourself with the best people you can find.  Obviously, this applies directly to real estate – or anything really.

But there’s so much more!

Music has changed quite a bit in the 40+ years that Carl has been performing.  Many aging rock stars are making tons of money reprising their classics.  Nothing wrong with that.  In fact, we love to go to those concerts where we know every chord and lyric.

But to drum up new fans (ba dum chhhh…sorry, we couldn’t help it), Carl know you need to keep things fresh.  And once you’ve made all the money you need, your work can become boring unless you find a way to keep yourself engaged at a high level.  Again, lots of parallels with real estate investing.  Managing your own seasons of life and career is an important part of successful investing.

Carl’s art also has some interesting lessons.  The art is only available now because the technology which creates it wasn’t available many years ago.  But instead of staying stuck in the past as many older guys do, Carl embraced the technology and the opportunity to express himself artistically in a completely new way.

Today, there are all kinds of technology tools available to real estate investors to enhance your research, due diligence, operations and organization.  Of course, Carl knows nothing about all that (that we know of), but the question is: are YOU embracing technology in your real estate investing?  As Carl explains, it’s important to keep things fresh.

We could go on and on (can you tell?), but we’ll let you listen for yourself.  This was a really fun episode to create.  We hope you enjoy it!

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