My First Lesson in Commercial Real Estate – Walking and Talking

Cover of the book Walking and Talking - 57 Stories of Success and Humor in the Real Estate World of Business. Walking and talking was an early lesson I learned in commercial real estate.

I will never forget the day I learned my first lesson in commercial real estate. It came shortly after I joined a team of 25 brokers at Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate. They ultimately became a who’s who of Columbus real estate that included Richard Schuen, Ed JosephJohn Hall, Don Matsanoff, Greg SchenkChuck Manofsky, Doug Goddard, Ted Hobson, Bob MatiasBenton BenalcazarTom McGarity and several others.

Copyright 2014 Ballylongford Books, LLC

The Day I Learned About Walking and Talking

One of those brokers was Wayne Harer. Wayne played 10 years of minor league baseball for the Red Sox and Yankee organizations and actually won the

32 Questions To Ask When Buying Apartments

Image of a Multifamily investment property checklist for buyers of apartments

I was in my office one day, when a real estate investor called me on the phone. He said, “Garry, I just had one of my tenants move out – and they took the refrigerator with them! They said it was theirs.” Uh oh.

They took the refrigerator!

I immediately called the seller, who explained that those particular tenants had previously sold their home, and so they had brought their own refrigerator with them. He had simply forgotten, and there was no mention of it in the lease.

Download 32 Questions PDF

Every Story Has a Hero

Teenage Rock Climber

Any author, screenwriter, or playwright will tell you that every story has a hero. The hero is on a journey. Then, a crisis occurs; an enormous threat or challenge that the hero must defeat or overcome. Out of a cast of characters, emerges a guide; an ally that comes alongside to help the hero. There are always high stakes and a call to action resulting in a climatic outcome, which always ends in failure or success.

For a story to resonate with us, it must always have these elements. Because, well, that’s life!

  • A Hero
  • A Journey
  • A Crisis
  • A Guide
  • High Stakes
  • A Call to Action
  • A Climactic Outcome

In this true-life story, you are the hero.

You might not think you’re a hero, because heroes do not always feel particularly heroic during their high school years. They haven’t even identified all of their super-powers yet! But, they do have super-powers. You do too. The problem is, those powers don’t always apply to what is important to you right now.

Some of your greatest skills and abilities that will help you become a great novelist, or entrepreneur, or firefighter, or nurse, or teacher, or Army Ranger, or songwriter are usually unrelated to scoring touchdowns or starring in the school play. You probably don’t want anyone telling you, “Don’t worry about that. Your day will come.” But what William Shakespeare wrote is very true: “We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

The Hero: Regardless of any limitations or challenges you have, you are truly designed for greatness. It is your birthright to dream heroic dreams.

The Journey: You are on a crucial journey in high school, with a cast of characters that includes new friends, new teachers, and new coaches. You have to juggle a changing physiology, peer pressure, and the emotional swings that occur when you ace a big test one day and get cut from the soccer team the next.

The Crisis/Threat: A storm is coming. A storm that can leave behind a path of incredible destruction. The single biggest threat to you living a powerful life is you making a bad decision regarding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

The Guides: Your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are your guides! If you are Rocky Balboa, then they are your trusted fight-trainer, Mickey, who prepared him to survive all 15 rounds. Think about it. They are the ones who are truly in your corner, rooting for you to triumph all 4 years!

The High Stakes: At stake is a loss of respect, DWI’s/DUI’s/OWI’s, lawyer fees, suffering grades, loss of car privileges, addiction, and a risk that your siblings will follow suit.

The Call-to-Action: The Just Say No Promise Agreement that spells out the terms and conditions required for you to defeat the threat and receive some added incentives along the way!

This Story’s Climatic Outcome: Rewards begin immediately and victory comes at graduation when you, the hero, shake hands with your guides on a job well done. Like all heroes, you will fulfill the best version of yourself, and your greatest reward will the strong example you give your siblings to follow.

The stakes are high. We root for the hero. We root for you!

Are you up for the challenge?

You are unique! Plan Accordingly with a Single Page Life Plan

An example of a Single Page Life Plan

It has been said by many people, in a variety of ways that people who don’t care where they are going, don’t need a road map. The rest of us, however, recognize the value of adding direction to our lives. Of setting a course that aims us towards our  dreams and aspirations.You are unique! Plan accordingly!

  • CEO’s need a business plan,
  • Coaches need a game plan,
  • Builders need an architectural plan,
  • Pilots need a flight plan,
  • Leaders need a life plan!

You need a Single Page Life Plan!

A Single Page Life Page is fast, simple, and life-changing. It is personal to you.  Choose:

  • A Mission Statement that you want to achieve,
  • Life Categories that give focus,
  • Action Steps that keep you on track
  • Coins you can spend
  • Attitudes you want to maintain,
  • Potholes you need to avoid, and
  • Skills you want to promote.

Avoid the Clutter! Priorities have to earn their way to page one!

Peripheries are not priorities. Peripheries in your life have to earn their way to page one. Until then, they are just distractions; they are clutter.

Closing Checklist for Apartments

A closing checklist for apartments is essential for staying organized at a real estate closing for multifamily property. Attached is one I use when buying or selling apartments in Columbus, Ohio.

Closing checklist for Apartments

This list, that you can download here, does not include everything that you will need for your closing. That depends on your local area. For instance, if you are closing on multifamily investment property in Manhattan, you will be concerned with a host of other considerations at the time of the closing.

However, no matter where you buy property, it is essential that you make sure of at least one thing:

The Five Elements of a Single Page Life Plan

single page life plan

It has been said, in a lot of clever ways, that people who do not care where they are going, don’t need a map. But CEO’s need a business plan, coaches need a game plan, pilots need a flight plan, and leaders need a life plan. Here are 5 things to include in yours …

Single Page Life Plan™  2013 Ballylongford Books, LLC

The Five Elements of a Single Page Life Plan™:

1. Mission or Vision Statement:
This is the overarching vision you have for your life. All other parts of your plan synchronize with this.

2. Life Categories:
Your Life Categories are the six major highways that lead a path towards your Vision Statement. These Life Categories are the most vital aspects of your life.

To see an example of a Single Page Life Plan™ that has already been created, click here:

Dodging Meteors While Creating Your Mission Statement

If you knew 10 years from now that you’d be hit by a meteorite , how would you spend those 10 years? Building an anti-meteor device, of course!

Photo of the Hoba Meteorite
Hoba Meteorite (this 60 ton meteorite, in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia, is the largest meteorite in a single piece, known on the earth’s surface) Courtesy iStockphoto.com

Your Mission (or Vision) Statement

Pretending that we might not live forever can be a motivation for creating a Single Page Life Plan©; for adding some intentionality to our lives. A good question to ask ourselves is this: A decade from now, how would I want somebody to describe that period of my life?  What must I focus on for this to happen?

40 Words or Less! Some Examples:

You make all of the choices when creating your life plan. It is unique to you. Your Vision Statement is the overarching purpose you see for your life. There is no right or wrong answer as long as it resonates with where you want to go. But, to create a laser-like focus, keep your Vision Statement short! 40 words or less.

For some brainstorming help, here are some examples …

Pray Like a Champion


Pray Like a Champion

Excerpt from Lead Like Reagan – Principles of Dynamic Leadership

Pray Like a Champion

Photo Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library

“I’ve always believed that we were, each of us, put here for a reason, that there is a plan, somehow a divine plan for all of us. I know now that whatever days are left to me belong to Him.”

– Ronald Reagan at the National Day of Prayer BreakfastWashington, D.C., Feb. 4, 1982. 

I was reminded of my father when I came across this excerpt of Ronald Reagan’s radio address to the nation that he gave on Christmas Eve in 1983.

The image of George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow is one of the most famous in American history. He personified a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness; they must also seek help from God, their Father and Preserver.

 One of my earliest recollections of my father, James Scanlon, was when I woke up to find myself slung over his shoulder, halfway up the staircase. I had fallen asleep that night on the couch watching television and he was carrying me up to bed. I vividly remember that feeling of being very high up in the air. I then closed my eyes and fell back to sleep, knowing that I was in good hands.

“I Wish I Had Smoked More Cigarettes!”

When I speak to 7th and 8th graders, or to high school students, I make them this promise:

Cover of Seeing Past Friday Night

Nobody ever looks back on their high school years and says

“I wish I had smoked more cigarettes. I’d be up to a pack-a-day smoker by now!”

“I wish I had stayed out more often, drinking until  2:00 am in the morning.”

“I wish I had bought a bunch of drugs while in school.”

They don’t. And you won’t either.

Single Page Checklist for Buying Apartments

A checklist for Buying Apartments

My book, Single Page Life Plan explains how you can extend single page planning to all of your important projects and ventures. Single Page Checklists are a ‘catch-all’ for special projects that you can review regularly to stay focused.

Copyright 2013 Ballylongford Books, LLC

For example, the Single Page Checklist for Buying Apartments summarizes on a single page the 4-color, 6 page laminated flyer I created that explains:

What They All Have in Common

Image of the shoes of 3 different people, 1 of which is wearing clown shoes.

What they all have in common. This was what I wanted to know. In my first book, Walking and Talking – 57 Stories of Success and Humor in the Real Estate World of Business, I recounted stories from some of the top real estate professionals in the Midwest. After observing their careers and listening to their stories, I asked myself this: Other than their sheer success, what do all of these winners in real estate have in common? This is what I learned:

Photo courtesy of @iStockphoto.com

4 Characteristics of Top Real Estate Pros …

1. They create structure in an unstructured environment.

Real estate is not your typical 9 to 5 job, where opportunities are clearly identified and day-to-day responsibilities are well-defined. It is up to the real estate professional to identify the problems and opportunities; to set a plan of action that will bring success. They are not told how to allocate their time, or which deals to pursue or ignore.

The successful ones create a great framework for activity.