Fear can be a great motivator. Fear of having little control over your financial future can drive you to succeed. Over all the years of being in the real estate business we have guided many people through the fears of real estate investing. Fear can show up in many different areas of an investor’s thinking and, if you allow it to become pervasive, it can become paralyzing.

Fear of virtually anything in life usually arises from feeling a lack control. One reason for never investing in real estate is a lack of understanding of the concepts involved in real estate investing. Many fears are reasonable and often justified. Successful investors must attempt to understand and identify the source of their fears. What if the value of real estate goes down or rent prices dip? What if the water heater goes out or the tenants ruin the carpets? What if I cannot rent the property and I have to make the payment? The list of possible fears is almost endless.

We all worry at times, but once the source of our fears is recognized we must make decisive and constructive plans to overcome them. Those who never take action will never acquire the almost unlimited wealth and financial freedom that real estate investing has to offer.

What truly successful real estate investors understand is that no matter how much knowledge you have or how carefully you have researched an investment property, problems or mistakes can and do occur; however, not nearly as often as you might think. Terrace has been in the business of owning and renting properties for over 60 years. We’ve experienced almost everything that can go wrong and share that experience with our clients. The key is to minimize, not avoid, your mistakes by learning from the mistakes and successes of others.

Surround yourself with motivated, informed, and successful people. With knowledge comes confidence, and with confidence comes successful investing. Understanding that real estate has cycles, and though you cannot always accurately time the market you can prepare for it. Work out your strategies and work toward your goal of property ownership one step at a time.

Always plan a “back door” or exit strategy if you encounter obstacles. Be willing to make mistakes. Successful investors always have a plan for things not going perfectly.

Gaining confidence, knowledge, and motivation to move forward is the key to successful real estate investing. 
Eric Ruxton and Larry Aikins are the owners of Terrace Realty Inc. and Terrace Associates Inc., in Redwood City. Terrace has been in business for over 60 years and in addition to being an independent Brokerage Company, also owns and operates rental properties.