Thinking outside the box is a saying which has been around for some time now. It gets tossed out at board meetings and is written about by many authors. Today I’m throwing my hat into the mix to give one thought on real estate’s box and how as real estate investors or professionals we can move beyond the box.
In real estate the box is the standardized approach towards conducting business. An investor will search the market looking for a property via Internet or enlist the services of a real estate professional. The search is narrowed down to the type and size of property, amenities, location and price. Databases filter this information and a list of possible properties is produced. Investor and agent sit down and review the information to determine which properties should receive a physical inspection. Appointments are made and kept with mixed results. In some cases the investor finds the property they are looking for but in most cases there is just something wrong with the property that won’t make it acceptable to the investor. The search either goes on or the investor decides to hold off, hoping that a suitable property will come on the market at a later date. Both the investor and the agent have stayed comfortably within the box.
The best time to move outside the box is prior to narrowing down what the investor is looking for. During the initial meeting between the investor and the agent the conversation should be more about what the investor’s goals are than what they want. By determining the goals of the investor an agent will than be able to provide input into multiple property types and alternatives that will help the investor with their property search. Instead of looking for a property that has everything the investor wants the agent is now looking for a property that can or does meet the investor’s goals. This approach widens the number of properties since the agent is now looking for properties that are zoned to meet the investor’s needs and can be re-purposed for the investor. Being outside the box opens up possibilities.