Why Real Estate Investing Is For Skeptics

by : Alex Anderson

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a skeptic can be defined as, "one who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions."

People generally use a derisive tone to call someone who questions things a skeptic, because it is easier for them to bully someone out of having a scientific approach to things, than to back up their own assertions. However, being a skeptic is not a bad thing, especially when it comes to money.

Skeptics make exceptionally good real estate investors. Why? Because skeptics like to investigate things. They don't make assumptions, and they don't let other people's assumptions steer them. Real estate investing requires plenty of investigation.

For one thing, a skeptic doesn't want to just nod and take everything his accountant or lawyer says, hands down. Therefore, he will learn a little bit about real estate law and about reading financial documents. A skeptic doesn't like to be completely dependent on his team of experts, even though he knows it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to carry on without them. But his skepticism makes it easier for him to ask intelligent questions of his team, and they appreciate them for it if they are worth their salt.

The skeptic will do more than a cursory examination of a particular real estate market. He will begin with questions. He will find answers. Answers will lead to more questions, and so on, until he thinks he might have a pretty good idea of what a given area is like, real estate-wise.

The skeptic, however, doesn't trust this idea he has developed. He wants to make sure. And so he will visit the city he is considering purchasing in. He will interview the local experts. He will interview local businessmen and politicians. He will, of course, have them back up their glowing reviews of their city. He takes nothing on face value. He digs.

When it is time to talk to actual property owners, he will use these same tactics to ferret out every possible scrap of information about a property that he can. He will annoy people who want him to simply believe what they have to say and go away. He will not believe, and he will not go away. In the end, he will have the information he came for, or he will walk away. Chances are, he will walk away anyway. A skeptic knows that most deals are not worth having.

Ken McElroy, author of "The ABCs of Real Estate Investing," applauds the skeptic. In fact, he approaches investing in just that manner, with levels upon levels of research, and by insisting that assertions are backed up. So far, it has worked for him.