Success takes hard work and, of course, some risk taking. But those who truly excel operate according to certain general principles that help in any career field:

  1. Focus

Being focused in property requires a solid business plan, Gray says.

“It’s like the old cliché: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to know if you’ve arrived.’ Set out your goals clearly in writing. I try to force people to do this because you can mull things over, but once you put a pen to paper and start framing it out, it has far more graphic impact. It’s a great motivator.”

Gray advises you first think about what you want to do and then why you want to do it. Do you want to buy-to-hold or flip houses? If you prefer quick flips, ask yourself why?

You should then set out what property type and market you want to invest in, as well as the price range you’re comfortable with. This will create a firm business model.

  1. Thoroughness

“Do your due diligence,” Gray says. “Don’t make any decisions, any commitments whatsoever, unless you have done your research very assiduously.”

One step to always take is analysing the plethora of research available through property research institutions. Once you’re on the ground, speak to at least three real estate agents to get a sense of the market and whether the property you’re interested in really is a good deal, Gray says. 

  1. Pragmatism

Gray advises having a defined but flexible investment strategy.

“Sometimes people get very rigid about their thinking, even though all of the peripheral indices and factors could cause a reasonable person to rethink the road they’re going down. Remember to be flexible. Don’t be wedded to a particular goal or concept if the warning signs would indicate that you should think a deal through.”

  1. Prudence

This means protecting your investments through proper risk management, Gray says. This strategy includes having a “street smart” real estate agent, property inspector, lawyer and tax accountant.

Many investors who go it alone don’t know how to handle the market ahead of them and fall into a series of problems. The right team can save you time, money and your sanity.

  1. Determination

Being determined means more than staying motivated in tough times, Gray says. It also means keeping the bigger picture in mind.  

“The reason why a lot of people make emotional decisions when it comes to real estate or even the stock market is because they’re inexperienced, naïve… They have a very short-term perspective and they’re being affected by all of the negativity and all of the fear mongering out there.

“If you look at the bigger picture, you’re not going to make short-range, impulsive decisions. You’re going to apply the fundamentals that the many millions of people who have made millions of dollars in real estate have.”