The 7 core traits of successful investors

by CRE on 20 Jan 2015
By Dustin Graham

Our personality and behavioural traits impact every aspect of our personal and business lives. For new investors, these traits can help predict future successes. Although our behaviour can be modified over time, our personality is relatively stable over the course of our lives from the age of 18, so changing our behaviour can often be a difficult task and requires determination.

From my own experience, here are some core traits every new investor should have or should work on developing:

1. Determination.

To be successful in any business, you must show a certain level of determination, and you must persevere during hardship and relish in success. Determination is not about bullying others to get what you want; it’s about knowing what to do, doing it well and setting out to reach your goals.

2. Results oriented.

People often think that determination leads to results, but that’s not always the case. How many times have you set out a path only to give up halfway through? It’s likely your initial determination wasn’t the issue; it’s your desire to obtain results that was the ultimate culprit. Keep your eye on the ball at all times by building out a plan and ingraining the big picture into your daily thinking.  

3. Flexibility.

Knowing when to change course is sometimes just as important as knowing when to stay the course. Times (and the economy) change, and local market activity is constantly influx. The one sure thing in life is that change is inevitable. Be comfortable with change and modify your course when necessary in order to reach your ultimate goals. But be careful; don’t change your course hastily. Know why a change of course is required and support the decision(s) with facts.

4. Decision making.

Have you ever met a CEO with an inability to make quick, thoughtful and impactful decisions? If you’re someone who “ho-hums” over trivial decisions, then be ready for a rude awakening. Real estate investing is about taking the bull by the horns and that sometimes means making quick decisions that can have a huge financial impact with associated risks. The best way to prepare for these types of decisions is to be educated and well versed in your niche market – finances and the like.

5. Integrity.

We don’t often equate investing with ethics, but most successful investors hold high standards for themselves and how they treat others. Bully tactics, lying and deceitful behaviour will ultimately lead to failure. Treat others with respect and respect will be earned. This goes a long way during negotiations, finding tenants and working with trusted professionals.  

6. Communication skills.

Knowing when and how to properly communicate with others is an important attribute to investing, and life in general. Everything you’ll do for real estate investing will involve communication one way or another. Master the art of reading others, effectively getting your point across and negotiation. And don’t forget: a person who knows how to communicate well also knows how to listen.

7. Desire to learn.

How can you invest in something you know nothing about? One of the most well-known investors of our time, Warren Buffett, refuses to invest in things he isn’t educated about. This rule should apply to you as well. Find your niche, learn and continually educate yourself. Read, read and read some more!

Dustin Graham is a sales representative with RE/MAX, the leader of The Graham Partners team located in the west Greater Toronto Area and a consultant on the TV show Income Property.

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