Goal Setting Journey: Part 4

Real estate broker Mark Ferguson finds that even unaccomplished goals can be a positive force in business planning.

December 30, 2015

As I reflect back on 2015, I see this year has been eventful and full of change for my real estate business.

I’ve publicly tracked my 2015 goals in this four-part Broker-to-Broker series, and along the way I’ve experienced successes and setbacks. But having closely measured my progress, I’m positive I learned a great deal and that next year will be even better. Above all, I have been reminded that when things don’t go as planned, I have the opportunity to learn and progress from those experiences.

To recap, I manage a small real estate team, run a home-flipping business, own several rental properties, and write a real estate investment blog. At the beginning of 2015, I set goals in all of these areas. The year started out strong in some aspects and way off track in others.

1. Team goal: Sell 200 or more houses. My team has sold more than 200 houses in previous years, but most of those sales were REO or HUD homes. In 2015, we transitioned to traditional sales with our average sales price increasing from $195,000 to $225,000 as of April. While the average price was up $30,000, my team of seven agents only sold 49 by the end of the second quarter this year. We managed to improve in the second half of the year with 117 units sold as of mid-December. The numbers shifted in another significant way as well: Because I’m spending less time selling than I have in the past, my real estate sales numbers went down, but my team sales numbers are way up as my agents increased their production this year. That’s why I think we are in a great position to sell 200 homes next year.

2. Add at least three agents to our team. I hired an agent earlier this year, which brought our total to seven, and I just added another new agent to our team this quarter. An agent at a competing office referred him to my team, which was flattering. Despite not reaching the goal of recruiting three agents, I feel it’s more important to be selective in whom we choose to bring on board. I’ll continue to look for good talent in the year ahead.

3. Fix and flip 10 houses. I thought I would breeze past my goal of selling 10 flip houses, but I ran into a few problems. During the second quarter I hired a full-time contractor to manage my rehab projects, but that has not turned out as well as I hoped. Our budgets and timelines for completing work have been off track and getting worse. Thus I’ve decided to make a big change next year and bring the rehab process back in-house and handle it myself with help from members of my team. Still, I’m rounding out 2015 having sold nine flips (I currently have 10 in my inventory). I don’t like having a high inventory of flips, so I’m planning to focus more of my time on turning around the rehabs I purchase. On a positive note, I bought a $500,000 flip earlier this month, which I anticipate will net more than $100,000 in profit. In 2016, I plan to flip 20 houses.

4. Buy six new rental properties. This goal is related to my long-term plan to buy 100 rental properties by 2023. I’m finishing 2015 having purchased five new rental properties. Not being able to turn around my home flips as quickly as anticipated tied up my investment dollars, which affected my ability to purchase rentals.  Also, our market has been hot with low inventory and rising prices, making great deals harder to come by. I want to buy at least 10 rentals in 2016 and I’ve already started brainstorming some great ideas on how to do that.

5. Fulfill four major goals for my website, InvestFourMore.com: I can sum up my blog progress this year in one word: awesome. I accomplished nearly everything I set out to do. I have more e-mail subscribers (17,000) than I hoped for, and more revenue coming in than I dreamed of. During the first quarter I introduced my sales system for real estate agents and it has been doing very well. I also reached the goal of launching a discussion forum in the first quester with fantastic results. Most recently, I added a new coaching mentorship program in the last quarter for rental properties, which has also been going well. While I didn’t reach my goal of 300,000 monthly page views, I’m happy having topped out in the high 200,000s. I have not set any specific blog goals for 2016 yet, but doubling my traffic would be a good start.

You might have noticed that my performance on a few of the above goals sometimes left a little to be desired, but I know I would not have done as well in 2015 if I had not set aggressive goals. Not reaching a goal does not equate to failure. Goals are meant to keep us on track and accountable, and help us accomplish more in our business. And I’m not surprised that my successes seem to follow where I spend most of my time and effort, even with a team in place.

If you want to keep tabs on me in 2016, I write about almost everything I do on investfourmore.com. You can always e-mail me: mark@investfourmore.com. Happy New Year!

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