22 June 2017

Real estate investing guide: Lessons from a State of Origin victory

Image: Johnathon Thurston kicking the winning goal in the State of Origin
Real estate investing

This may come as a complete surprise to some people and you might even ask what does real estate have to do with the State of Origin? It is rugby league for goodness sake, a sport nothing like the business of real estate or property investing you might say. Well, you would be mistaken.

Understanding State of Origin rugby league as a game with its significant challenges and enormous success presents an excellent case study with direct parallels to real estate investing.

As a team sport, with goals, boundaries and high stacks on the line, it fits well as an opportunity for learning and guiding people in the values, skills and attitudes needed to be successful in the real estate game.

The excitement of the Queensland State of Origin victory last night against the NSW Blues revealed how many Townsville and North Queensland heroes turned up to win game 2 to level the 3 game series one all.

Local leaders

Names such as:

  • Tim Glasby (Townsville born),
  • Gavin Cooper (NQ Cowboys),
  • Valentine Holmes (Townsville born),
  • Billy Slater (Innisfail Junior),
  • Dane Gagai (Mackay born),
  • Michael Morgan (Townsville born),
  • Coen Hess (NQ Cowboys) and 
  • Jonathan Thurston (NQ Cowboys)

All of these leaders in the game of rugby league played their part in yesterday's victory by Queensland, some engaging their time and skills more than others, but they all played an important role in the game.

How do these great players relate to real estate? Well, most of these professional players own a home or are in fact real estate investors. As significant as this information might be, knowing the Townsville players and the seemingly trivial fact they share similar interests doesn't really mean a thing unless you are a North Queensland rugby league fan.

Parallels with rugby league

There is a more poignant reason to discuss these players apart from the fact they all play or come from North Queensland. They are also State of Origin heroes teaching us the secrets to success in real estate investing and if we pay attention, they could help you forge a victory in as a player in the arena of State of Origin of real estate.

Have you ever been to watch a State of Origin match? It's electrifying and a real gripping encounter. The noise and atmosphere is overwhelming.

If you haven't been to a game of rugby league, maybe you have watched it on television. Then you would have heard the words "great yards JT" or "great yards taken by Queensland Fatty" or "Great hit up Coops".

These are footy terms meaning the player is gaining better field position or acquired land while carrying the ball in play. The player has effectively purchased land to use a real estate term, applying their energy, skill and effective decision making to gain the advantage yard by yard.

Making a break, showing the dummy, showing speed, breaking the defensive line or scoring tries are all terms expressed to represent positive ground or advantage is being gained.

Location, location location

Field position and gaining ground on the football field is like location, location, location in real estate investment terms.

It is the decisions being made by players, their physical effort and the process of the game that make the player look dazzling and entertaining on the field. They make the game look effortless.

It is the decision making and action of the player that causes what ground is gained, or lost for that matter as the standard of play or luck of the bounce turns the game against us or for us. It's an observation of advantage or disadvantage, favourable or unfavourable events impacting the game or real estate market.

Skills, judgment, and decisions

Jonathan Thurston, playing five-eighth for the Maroons and half back for the North Queensland Cowboys, is a master investor on the rugby league field in every aspect of the game.

JT’s capabilities kicking the ball, running and passing, planning and programming the plays and communicating with the team are all great strengths of a legendary player. His individual brilliance is mesmerizing and it comes from years of practice, persistence and experience.

When defending his goal line or resisting the opposing team competing for yards, JT is masterful at tackling, reading the play and constantly checking for weaknesses and strengths in his teammates and observing the same aspects in the opposing players in the context of the overall game.
The playmaker is constantly processing data and information, applying judgment and making decisions faster than a lightning strike.

In other words, he thinks about what land to purchase, location, advantage, results, and victory off the field. Let's call this the whys and what’s of the game. On the field in the heat of the moment, he is thinking where, how and who, whilst dealing with any issues resourcing, referring and coaching concerns. He already knows what is the best real estate is on the field.

He is never thinking how much he is tired, or how much his game fee is, or how much he could lose if he gets injured. He just plays hard with purpose and skill.

Secret to success

Rugby league and the Jonathan Thurston game on the football field is an excellent way to learn and understand the rules, skills, and strategy of property investing.

It's a matter of perspective and mindset and making the best decisions based on the landscape presented to you within the blink of an eye. It happens fast and it's tough. It’s not for the faint hearted, at least not a professional level.

We must focus and think away not of "how much" pain in the next tackle, or the difficulty of winning against all odds, or admiring the strength of the opposing player and being intimidated.

Video: Channel 9's Phil Gauld describing the
greatness of Johnathon Thurston

Instead, we should focus 100 percent of our attention on field position (where is the location), strategy (planning how to action) with masterful skills (who has the expertise), and the results of winning and victory will come step by step, yard by yard, location by location.

This type of leadership motivates team mates, demonstrates a culture and tradition of risk taking, decisive execution and winning with a humble strength and respect of the opposition. It inspires an extraordinary spirit of gratitude, gracious in celebration and integrity of management for nurturing the next generation of younger players.

These characteristics are what have become of the Queensland way. A never say die spirit, that when the chips are down and the game is seemingly unwinnable, the Queensland heart and soul keeps the ship straight, cool, calm and collected under pressure.

This is the secret to Queensland’s success.

Focus and work hard

Great players do the work off the field (why, what, how much) and take action (how, where, when, who) on the field. The talent of the players to master these disciplines is a key pathway to professional attainment.

Queensland's secret to success over the past decade of State of Origin has been its spirit of winning while the key to the opportunities they have created is the focus and hard work of players and the team.

They have avoided all of the distractions, controversies, and the drama around the sport to stay focused and true to their talent and their dreams.

Understanding boundaries

A rugby league field is 122 m long and 68 m wide. The in-goal areas on each end of the field are 11 metres long. The playing field is measured and marked from the goal line in 10 metre lots until the distance reaches the half way line which is 50 metres from the goal line.

Each ten metres is counted down from the goal line, 40, 30, 20 and 10 metres to the centre line or kick off point. The same markers are used on the opposition side of the half way line creating a separate territory for each team. These lines are marked with white chalk and adjudicated by referees.

Although not always marked with chalk on the grass, invisible lines run length ways up and down the field. The most important of which are the sidelines, and the 10 metre lines inside the side line (also touch line). The centre line is where the ball is kicked from to start a game. In the mind of a player like JT, the field is mapped like a grid pattern in his mind just like the streets define the location of real estate in the suburbs in which we play the real estate game.

The most valuable location on the field is the 11 metres from the try line to the dead ball line (in-goal) and 10 metres from each goal line in the field of play at each end of the field. In real estate terms, these are prime locations.

Does your why make you cry

Let's assume you have already decided why you are interested in real estate. This is the most important of all decisions. If you are doing it for the wrong reasons, like making lots of money, you are less likely to avoid the traps of thinking about the wrong things when you are on the field of play and taking action.

If you are investing in real estate for the wrong reasons, you are more likely to make the wrong decision too.

However, if you are playing for the love of the sport, love of the community, or love of your identity, heritage or culture, and it makes you cry, then you are already on the money and born with greatness within you.

Being in the right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunities is not enough. You must know you are actually there when the opportunity is presented.

There is no "I" in Team

As a committed aspiring professional player in real estate investing, the first point to understand is that it is a team game.

To play the game professionally you must understand the rules and mission (what), understand what is your best fit for a position (who to become) and who's capable of what in your fellow players.

Make the profession or industry about you; losing value in the team, then you have already lost. Doing it for your mates, doing it for your team is a great motivator but it’s when your spirit or pride is hurt, or you are injured or suffer loss, that you need the support of the team to recover and get back on course.

In real estate terms, your team is your advisors, experts, partners and service providers. Respect them and treat them honourably.

Avoid dream stealers

Just like children we all must start somewhere. As inexperienced players in real estate, and just like rugby league players, we start putting on a jersey and running like numbnuts around a grassy paddock with no idea why what and how it works.

You choose to play rugby league, or cricket, or table tennis or greco-roman wrestling. It doesn’t matter which one. But your mates like to play a sport, or your parents have a preference, so a decision made and you get started. We just go with the flow. More often than not, we don't know why we started and have not a clue what to do.

It is quite cute, funny and even distressing sometimes watching an 8-year-old kid running the football in the wrong direction, gifting the ball to their best friend on the opposite team, or even urinating on the field.

This is raw, but the fact is we generally learn how and who before we learn why, what and how much it costs to the play the game.

Practice, persistence, and experience

Not everybody can be Jonathan Thurston, but if you want to earn a living playing real estate you must become a professional player, and that means going to practice (education), persistence (don’t give up) and (learning and wisdom) experience are the keys.

You must go to school and study, enroll in training courses, attend seminars and find the right coach or mentor.

Learn about every aspect of the real estate game such as finance, money and lending, budgeting, building design and architecture, legal, accounting and taxation, real estate and property, etc.

Research, attend events, and engage with community groups and build relationships with people who already have what you want. Do not associate with people who have not walked the talk. A JT does not follow a C grade player.

Make a start and buy your first property.

Conclusion

Loving your kid is not the same as loving children generally. Buying a dream home to live in is not the same as buying an investment property from which you make a living. One is a financial asset and the other financial liability.

Winning a State of Origin of real estate is a dream come true but not everyone can achieve this level of success unless they are prepared to become the professionals that have made the entire North Queensland community proud last Wednesday night.

Further reading:




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