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Overcoming Fear
   by Matt Bowman   

   I was driving down the road the other day with a friend of mine putting up some "WE BUY HOUSES" signs. I mentioned to my friend that it was kind of funny that I often got e-mail or phone calls from students of mine who are actually afraid to put up these signs. They feel that people will stare at them or they will get into trouble.

   I have got into the habit of riding down the road and whenever I find a good spot for a sign, pulling over if I can or simply pulling over as far as I can to one side of the road, putting my flashers on, hopping out and jamming a sign in the ground, then hopping back in my van and continuing on down the road. (Yes, I'm the idiot you had to slow down and change lanes to get around! Don't hate me! I'm trying to run a business here!) I have even done this with a police officer behind me. As long as you are not violating any laws or local regulations, you have nothing to worry about. (Of course, you need to check with your local code enforcement to check on local regulations regarding the use of these signs, which I already had.)

   Now this is easy for me to do now, but when I started out doing real estate deals and using signs, I was nervous about going out and putting up signs, as well as a lot of other things. Why is this? I know that by just putting up a sign, I can make anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000! I have learned that the things that we are most afraid of are the things that we need to take a close look at and find out if the fear is keeping us from something good or something bad.

   Fear has its place in our lives. Fear keeps us from doing many things that would harm us. However, it also keeps us stuck in our "safe", secure little world, never to go out and try something new and unfamiliar that may be far better for us than anything we are currently doing to keep ourselves "safe and secure".

   When I was getting ready to do my very first deal years ago, I was looking at a house that needed to be rehabbed. It had been sitting empty and broken down for years. I did all the

"tough" work of inspecting the property, estimating repairs (I went so far as to go to home improvement stores with a list and price every item, then call all the local contractors and ask how much they would charge for each tiny little aspect of the rehab), finding the owner through tax records, figuring out what I could offer, etc.

   I then got the phone out, sat down on my bed, got out my notes on the property and stared at the phone. I rehearsed in my mind over and over what I was going to say and how I was going to pitch the deal. And I stared at the phone.

   I went back over my numbers and all the research I had done to confirm what my highest offer could be. I knew where I would start as an opening offer. Heck, I even knew some slick negotiating tactics that would get the owner to name a price first. And I stared at the phone.

   After 2 and a half hours, I set the phone aside and thought, "OK, I'll give it a little more thought and call tomorrow." My mind instantly relaxed and said to me, "Good boy. Now go watch some TV and have some potato chips." So I did. (Hey, who was I to argue with my brain?)

   The next day, against my brain's advice, I decided to get out my notes and phone again. To make a LONG story short, after about hour and a half of staring at the phone again, I thought to myself, "This is so stupid! What the worst that can happen? The guy says no?"

   I picked up the phone and dialed the number. After the first 2 rings my brain said, "Well, I guess he's not home. Hurry up and hang up before you annoy him if he really is there!" Just as I was about to set down the phone, someone answered!

   I fumbled around telling the man that I had noticed his vacant property and was wondering if he might be interested in selling. He excitedly answered that he would and had been wanting to get rid of it for some time! What the heck had I been afraid of???

   If you can overcome your fear of the unknown and simply take some steps towards getting a deal, I can guarantee you it will be a downhill slide once you get over that initial "hump" of fear! The rest of that deal went so easily for me! Even when I had trouble getting the deal to go through, it was fun because it was a learning experience! The hard part was just talking to the owner!

   Fear is good if it is protecting you. However, if it is keeping you from bigger and better things, it is time to squash that fear and move beyond it. It will be REALLY uncomfortable the first time, and maybe even the second time. However, if you can make it a habit to push through the fear, the other side is a lot better feeling than the mere "comfort" of inaction!

Matt Bowman, www.reitoolbox.com, is a full time investor who started investing in 1997. After several attempts to get started in creative real estate investing, he found his niche in sandwich lease options.
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