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Inner Game

The Secret to Being in Business Longer Than a Year

 integrityHint: Establish Key Relationships With Bribes
By Preston Ely (Rated PG)

Ever have one of those annoyingly defining moments in business where you have the opportunity to make a little money and keep your integrity or make a LOT of money and lose it?

Life is testing you right in those moments. And whether you pass or fail will ultimately determine how long you stay in business, how much money you make in the long term, and whether you have any peace and joy in the process.

Sucks. I know. It's soooooo tempting to grab the money now and act like no one is watching (Someone always is).

Last month we closed on a total piece of crap house in the hood.  Paid cash for it.  And we did it because we had a buyer lined up. But alas ... Mr. Buyer bailed. I hate when they do that.  Actually no, I'm trying not to use the word "hate." Bad kharma and what not.  I am strongly disinclined to immediately appreciating the value of the learning lessons derived from such experiences.

So Mr. Bastard, I mean Buyer, bailed and we were stuck with a total dud of a deal that no wholesaler in his right mind would ever really want, when along comes Mr. Bailout Buyer!

Phone:  "rrrrrrrriiinnnnnggggg"

Us:  "what"

Mr. Bailout Buyer:  "I'll take the property on 10th."

Us:  "how much"

Bailout:  $17.  I have a bunch of outrageous conditions to attach though. And I can't close for a year.

Us:  "Done."

We really wanted to get rid of this property. So we verbally agreed to the deal over the phone. 

Note the words "verbally agreed." As in, "told him the deal was his." And of course it was for more than $17 and closing in less than a year. Look if you want these things to be boring I'll be happy to oblige. You get my point. The deal sucked for us. I think we lost money.

But Someone was watching all this. And this Someone decided it would be really fun to immediately send in ANOTHER buyer with a better offer, just to see what we'd do. "He moves in mysterious ways" may be the understatement of human history. "He moves is MASOCHISTIC ways" seems closer to reality.

And that's exactly what happened.

Phone:  "rrrriiiiiiinnng"

Us:  "what" (that's how our new receptionist answers the phone by the way. She's ... interesting.)

Tester Of My integrity:  "I'll take the house on 10th."

Us:  "How much"  (we let our rude receptionist negotiate our deals in case you're wondering)

Tester:  "A million dollars. No contingencies. I can wire you the money right now if you like. I trust you."

Us:  "Done."

Us:  "I mean ... wait a minute ... ahhhhh damn. You've gotta be kidding me. Let me ask Preston and see if I can get something besides his standard answer for everything out of him."

Phone: "rrrrriiiiiiiiinnngggg"

Me:  "No."

Us:  - sigh -

Me:  "Just kidding. What do you want."

Us:  "We have a better offer for 10th than the one I just told you about a minute ago."

Me:  "So what? We already promised it to someone else for $17."

Us:  "I know, but this new dude is offering to wire us a million dollars.  And we never contracted with the first buyer. We merely 'told' him he could have it."


Us:  "Hello"


Us:  "hellLLOOOOoooo???"

Me:  "I was praying.  Can't do it. Sorry.  Stick with the first dude. God (a.k.a. "The Universe" as some fools like to refer to Him) will repay us in the long run times a thousand."

And that's what we did. No lie. We're closing with Mr. Bailout Buyer tomorrow as a matter of fact.

We could have made more. But that would have required us to break our word to someone. And we don't do that.

And neither should you.

Listen to me carefully ... you ever heard the saying "if a man ain't got his word he aint got nothin?" It's true.  If your word means nothing, YOU mean nothing. You barely exist. You're just a big ball of nothingness floating around confusing the world at large and making the earth a more miserable place to be on.  Your very identity is a vague concept.

You don't want to do that, do you?  Don't be a big ball of nothingness. That is not how you want to go down on the record books. And it's not how you want to run your real estate business.

If nothing else, operating with no integrity is just plain ol bad business. Word gets out about you. You're a conniver. A sleeze. Out for a quick buck. Low down. Dirty.

integrity armTrust me on this; Write it down, tattoo it on your arm, I don't give a frick ... sacrifice in the short term in the name of integrity ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, means a payoff equal to but normally much greater than the original loss.

It was interesting to see the reaction from buyer #2 when we told him we would LOVE to take his offer, but had verbally committed it to someone else who sucked and we were ethically obligated even though we had no contract with him.

"Shock with a measure of respect" about sums up his reaction. He is now following us daily looking for more deals of ours to buy.

We naturally let the first buyer know what we had done. This further cemented our relationship with him as well.

It's ALL about relationships, in case you didn't know that.  REO agents give exclusive leads to certain favored investors because of ... CORRUPTION. But they ALSO do it because of RELATIONSHIPS ... within the framework of that corruption.

12-12 corruption

You get my point.

When it comes down to it, do the right thing, whether it makes you more money, less money or no money. There's more at stake than money.

And take care of people and you will stick around flipping houses for more than a year.

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