Colton Lindsay on Becoming a Real Estate Business Owner
Colton Lindsay is the president of real estate training company The WGR and an internationally recognized real estate sales speaker and coach. He launched The WGR over 15 years ago to become one of Utah’s top real estate brands. Colton has also trained thousands of agents to become six-figure income earners, with his top clients generating over $300,000 a month in revenue.
He built the foundation of his business from proven sales techniques learned early in his career, when he sold 75 homes a year as a single agent, becoming a top 1% agent by the age of 28.
We asked Colton a few questions about what it took for him to become a successful real estate entrepreneur and what advice he would give to other real estate investors:
What’s your backstory? How did you get into this field of work?
I got into real estate in October 2005, when I was 21 years old. I saw a guy in real estate driving a red hummer and I thought real estate meant I could get rich. I bought my first properties in 2006, back in the days when you could buy with stated income loans. Growing up, my mom was the office manager for a residential real estate company, and that exposed me to see an opportunity in the real estate space.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
Early on, it was to build a seven-figure business, but today, it's about the level of contribution I am able to bring to the marketplace. Now that I have built multiple seven-figure businesses, I enjoy making a difference in other people’s lives in my WGR Academy by teaching them how to go from being a business operator to a real business owner and create business freedom.
What is a common myth about your job or industry?
That the secret to success is hard work. The real secret is your willingness to do what you don’t feel like doing.
What do you wish you had known when you started?
I wish I would have known stated income loans wouldn’t last forever — I would have bought way more properties, haha! But seriously, don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait!
What is the most crucial trait independent landlords need to have?
That your money is made on the buy and make sure the cash flow makes sense.
What are some of the mistakes landlords make? How can they correct them?
Too often, when getting started, investors don’t think about the cost of property management (even if you do it yourself), the cost of vacancy, the cost of maintenance, etc.
The other mistake is when they are desperate to get someone in their property and get as much out of it as quickly as possible. So they increase the rent high and settle for an unqualified tenant. I have learned to price properties aggressively and make sure to get a high-quality tenant. Unqualified tenants settle for whatever property they can get and over-commit [to what they can afford]. On the other hand, highly qualified tenants want a good deal and a quality property.
What do you think the real estate industry will look like in five years?
Given the current low-supply, high-price, and high-interest-rate world we live in, I think rents will continue to push up. I think fewer people will actually be able to buy real estate, and more real estate will be bought by the few who are buying. Lastly, sooner than later, real estate prices will correct and I think unfortunately many people will go out of business when they do.
What advice would you give first-time landlords?
Find people doing what you want to do and learn from them, either byworking for them, or paying them to learn from them. Proximity is power and will compress time [spent getting your business ramped up]. Stop assuming that you will figure it out yourself. Don’t just learn from your own mistakes — learn from successful people’s mistakes.
Can you share your top three book recommendations for our audience?
Where can our audience find you online?
Is there anything else you want to share?
Focus on creating a cash-generating machine through your business, and move the cash that is generated into the investor quadrant. I love real estate, but only crazy people go all-in on one asset class. Make sure you set standards and rules for your investing, including both cash flow management and asset allocation management.
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