Along with plain old hard work, Frank also read a lot and taught himself many valuable lessons. In fact, one of his two epiphanies came in the form of two books he read.
One of them said that land doesn't lose value, and the other said that people basically desire two things: a living space and entertainment. These were books about philosophers and prophets, with names like Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ, respectively.
Simply put, people need a home. I can't stress how important it is for someone to have a safe place for shelter, warmth, and peace and quiet. Offering this for people is a privilege as well as an investment, and ultimately a rewarding opportunity. Not everyone gets this unique chance in life.
Also, land and property will always be needed. An investment in real estate takes its hits now and again, but it never loses value in the long run. (Property Value Always Goes Up) Think about it. There's a limited supply of land that we humans can populate, unless of course, we start colonizing the moon. Or Mars!
The other epiphany that Latin Dad had was this: You make money for the service you offer rather than from working for the man. That's right” a key incentive to owning property is to get out of the rat race that so many people get stuck in.
This revelation came to Frank when one day, after an especially lucrative sale, he realized: "I'm working as a painter, electrician, plumber, re-doing these houses and watching them sell for an enormous profit after I've done a good amount of work to make the place sellable." Maybe at that point, he started to wonder why he wasn't taking a bigger share of the profit, and that he might be better off being his own boss. What an awe-inspiring realization that must have been!
As successful as Latin Dad may be, he could never have become that way by himself. He had a team, part of which was his wife who has expert skills in management, accounting, and sales. She taught him that rather than sell his properties, he should refinance and take money out as appreciation increased. It's not always necessary to sell. Teamwork pays off, eh?
If you're not lucky enough to have a spouse who can double as a business partner, maybe you have a friend who owns a construction or consulting company. He/she might make a great partner (Bringing in Partners). Next time you're having coffee together, bring it up. Who knows what could happen?
Latin Dad also could not have become successful without good people skills, because in order to own property, you must enjoy interacting with people. There's no way around it. Remember, Latin Dad is providing a service, and that is the ticket out of the rat race. But tenants can sometimes be difficult. In these situations, just maintain a positive attitude because these people are usually in the minority. Besides, there are other tenants who can be interesting and can even make good friends. This could potentially lead to the rewarding experience of seeing families grow up and watching kids mature into adults, both of which outweigh the few difficult tenants that you might have to deal with here and there.
As our conversation rolled along gracefully, as they always do, I learned these other important lessons from Latin Dad:
- Anybody can spend money but few can save
- Work hard
- Enjoy what you do
- Let the seller propose numbers
- Know your talents
- Have a strong team or marry someone smarter than you
We had been talking for quite some time, and while we were wrapping things up, two tenants passed by at different times. Frank had a chat with each of them, discussing their children and where they were headed. There was nothing disingenuous about the interactions, but instead, I witnessed pure curiosity and interest for both tenant and property owner. But, of course, because this is Latin Dad, his tone and dialogue were genuinely kind: "Where are you headed? Give me a card. I'd love to check out the restaurant."
To another tenant, this time in Spanish: "Did your daughter get married yet? Not yet, oh good, that's my girl!"
Instead of just calling him Latin Dad, maybe we should call him Charming-Crazy-Jovial-Hardworking-Smart-Latin Dad.
Read Latin Dad Part II