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The AROV Organiation
Become Your Dreams

The Universe Has Led You Here

Written By Stephen Edwards
   Other times they remain movies because, as we grow as people and build our lives, our ambitions evolve. Maybe being a quarterback loses much of its appeal when compared to the life you’ve actually built. Maybe you’re happier now than you ever would have been if you had followed through on your goal to spend ten years traversing every desert in the world. Sometimes dreams remain dreams because life turns out better than we could’ve imagined. After all, getting to look across at my beautiful wife each night; going to a job where I spend half the day laughing with co-workers; and getting to spend my free time playing X-Box or experimenting with my culinary skills seems infinitely better than the life I’d lead living as a pirate, despite that being a goal I had in my youth. Not to say that swashbuckling and chasing treasure wouldn’t be a cool experience, but not cool enough to match what I already have going on.

   But often times our ambitions remain movies in our minds because we just simply give up on making them come to fruition. We just resigned ourselves to the idea that it just wasn’t meant to be. And this mentality- the one of defeated resignation, is not one that has to define your experience. Because your dreams can very much come to fruition, but it will require effort and a few changes in perspective.

   First off, you have to take a step back and evaluate exactly what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. What is your goal exactly? Define it in its most basic terms.

   Once you do that, you can move forward with figuring out how exactly you can achieve the goal. Don’t focus on why you can’t accomplish it, focus on how you can accomplish it. How can it manifest itself? In what ways can you create this experience for yourself? Figure out every way possible where you can achieve your ambition, as you’ve defined it in basic terms. Work backwards. How do you get to where you want to be from where you are. For example, if my ambition is to buy a house, then I have to figure out everything I need to do to buy that house, and then figure out how I can do each of them.

   Granted, if your goal is to be the game-winning goalie for the New York Rangers in the last game of a Stanley Cup championship game, this is far more difficult to narrow down, and thus you must spend more time focusing on step one- evaluating exactly what it is that you're trying to accomplish.

   After I have my true ambitions defined, and an end goal in mind, it's time for the hardest part of the whole plan: following through on it. Pro-activity is the fuel that springs you towards actualizing what you want. Yes, it is easy to get bogged down with time commitments, lack of energy, and the frustration that comes along with the inevitable hurdles that tend to pop up when you’re trying to accomplish something difficult. But that’s why so many people allow themselves to get bogged down. Because it’s easy. Giving up is the easiest choice- and that’s not a knock on anyone, because sometimes its more comfortable to give up. Sometimes you enjoy life more by giving up a dream than you would have spent an entire life working hard to accomplish it, and there’s nothing wrong with consciously making that choice, because doing so means you’ve found something even better than the goal you were dreaming about. Thus, you’re not giving up at all, you’re simply moving on.

   However, if moving on makes you uncomfortable and its not something you want to do, then it does mean that you’re flirting with the idea of giving up. But you still have the ambition, its still a dream that has importance to you, thus, you might be better served to figure out how to not give up.
These moments of self reflection are where you break your dream down into its barest essentials, build a plan of action that will bring you from where you are to where you wanna go, and start on the path to following that plan ASAP. Don't do it irresponsibly. Don't go in to work and tell your boss to 'suck it' because you've decided to be a cowboy. Be smart, for goodness-sakes. Take your time and work within the framework of your life. Life is a chess game, not a game of blackjack. Its okay if life is busy, that’s fine. Move at the pace that your schedule allows. Its okay to move slowly, if you must. As long as you’re moving forward. Don’t quit, persevere. Don’t doubt, adapt. Don’t fall back, push forward. And if you do so, at some point, you are bound to achieve whatever your dream is in its truest form.

   After all, as Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t- you’re right.”​​


   Life has a myriad of roads down which we can all wonder. We all have a destination in mind.  A person we want to be. A career we want to have. A love we want to meet. A lifestyle we want to lead. A story we want to live.

   But, as statistics show, many of us never get there. We get sidetracked. We never get around to buckling down and utilizing our talents, pursuing our interests, actualizing our lives. Even smaller goals like changing our diets, learning new skills, or taking on new hobbies are often put off. This is usually because we take a passive approach to our own existence. We let life happen to us, instead of making it happen for us. In other words, we allow ourselves to operate at the mercy of circumstance. We think of ourselves as A+ players but live C+ lives.

   In our youth, many of us think beyond limitations. But the deeper into adulthood we get, the less input or control we feel we have; thus, we act contrary to how our younger selves thought. We learn to see limitations. Ones that confine us, and ultimately begin to define us.

   But the truth is that we have tremendous input and control in our lives, and if we are willing to work smart and take calculated risks, then we will improve our standings in life, and move towards actualizing whatever dreams we may have. Yes, it is easy to dismiss such optimism as unrealistic, hippi-esque drivel. But dismissing it becomes one of those confining limitations we burden ourselves with. It’s an excuse not try. It’s a reason to remain comfortable, even if the comfort is one of convenience more than one of satisfaction.

   Self-actualization is not a quick or easy process. Do not be fooled. It is hard work; sometimes it is long and unsatisfying work, but you must be willing to put in the effort. You need to be flexible. Embrace strategy, And never stop believing in yourself, even when its easy to do just that. But you also have to be unshakeable. Perseverant. You must maintain your desire for change, victory, achievement and, if necessary, trailblazing.

   Consider this: how would you describe yourself in relation to who and where you’ve always wanted to be? In other words, when you envision your perfect life, how does it compare and contrast to where you are now? Have you achieved everything you’ve wanted to achieve? Many people haven’t, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But if it's something you still wish to achieve, but you still haven’t, why not?

   By no means do you have to interpret that question as one that demands large inconsistencies between who you are and who you want to be. It is quite likely that you are very content with who you are. You may have a lovely family, a comfortable home, and a career you find both personally and financially rewarding… but perhaps there are some dreams you still have that you haven’t yet accomplished. Maybe you wanted to be in a rock band when you were a kid. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to dance. Maybe you want to visit Italy. Maybe you want to organize your socks better. Whatever they may be, you may find it worthwhile to revisit them and ask yourself if they're still something you want, and if they are, you have to ask yourself what is prohibiting you from achieving them.

       Lack of importance?
       Lack of priority?
       Lack of opportunity?
       Lack of resources?
       Lack of direction?
       Lack of initiative?

   If you could achieve these goals today, would you? How important are they to you? The funny thing about dreams, or goals, or ambitions- however you’d like to define these objectives we envision for ourselves- is that at some point, in our mind, they seemed like rewarding experiences. They have, or at some point had, an appeal to us. Yet for some reason, we never actualized them They remained little movies in our mind. Our own little Hollywood production where we’ve been cast as the star.
Sometimes they remain movies simply because the costs are too great to turn them into a reality. It takes too much work. The appeal isn’t strong enough to keep us focused or motivated.

Rental Properties:
Stay Local or Venture Afar?
Written By Eddie Sage

One of the first considerations a real estate investor must make is whether or not they are willing to buy a property in locations they are unfamiliar with. If an investor, for example, is from Sarasota, Florida, they may be reluctant to buy a place in Detroit, Michigan, regardless of how good a deal it seems to be, simply because they may feel like they're diving deep into unknown waters.

However, purchasing properties outside your comfort zone can have tremendous upsides, so for new investors who are figuring out the trajectory of their investment strategies, this can become a rather daunting decision to make. Thus, we wanted to take a quick look at the pros and cons that may accompany such a decision, and ideally help potential real estate buyers understand both sides of the coin.

The biggest benefit of not limiting yourself to buying in your neighborhood is simple- you have more options. When you choose not to adhere to borders, there is no longer any limitation, which means that every and any awesome deal available – regardless of where it may be- is open to your consideration. You dictate the price range, the size of the home, the area… you can specify exactly what you want and how you want it, as opposed to sticking only within the areas within your home-base, in which the area itself pretty much dictates what’s available. Once you choose the size of your canvas, whether it be a square mile or entire continent, you can then narrow down the options based upon your preferences.

Options: Think about going out to eat in a big city. You have access to any and every type of restaurant you can imagine. You can design exactly what you want in your mind, and nowadays, you can probably find a spot that offers something nearly identical to what you envision. If you're on a health kick and want a place that serves fresh vegetable, all-natural ingredients, whole grain bread and butter substitute. Ok awesome, you can go here, here, here and here. If you decide you're in the mood for sushi but you also have a craving for garlic bread, that's fine too. Check out Vincent Sato's Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant, where you can get raw fish on your deep-dish pizza and garlic bread comes complimentary. The point being- the more freedom you allow yourself, the more opportunities you'll have to choose from.

Now re-imagine that same scenario, only you don’t have access to any restaurant you can imagine. You can only pick from what’s available locally to a rural, sparsely populated town with limited options. You’ve got KFC, Papa Johns and Bill's Burgers. Suddenly, you must look at what those three places offer and instead of thinking about what you want and then finding the appropriate restaurant, instead you shouldlook at the restaurants and appropriately decide what you want based upon what's offered. This analogy can be applied to looking for good real estate opportunities. Buying local means you have to take the best of what you can find. Sometimes you still find exactly what you want, but not always. Meanwhile, buying wherever you can find a good deal opens your options up exponentially.

Practicality: Another benefit to buying long distance is that you can buy a house in a place you’d like to move one day, or even retire in, should that be something you're interested in. You can rent the property out from the moment you own it and have your tenant's essentially pay your mortgage until you're ready to move there. Even if you aren't looking for an eventual retirement location or residence, maybe you'd like something that you could use when you're in town. Perhaps you could purchase a multi-family home in a place with beautiful summers, keep one apartment vacant for yourself so you have somewhere to go during the warmer months, and rent out the rest of the home so, once again, tenants are paying your mortgage. To simplify, if you've ever thought about getting another home somewhere, then you can buy it now rather than waiting and simply have tenants start paying it off.

Mystery Meet: Of course, the biggest con to buying outside of your comfort zone- the area in which you live- is that you lack familiarity with the areas you don't live in. You may not truly grasp what locations are best to buy in, what a good deal is, who the good realtors, plumbers and electricians are- all because there are certain insights that come with living in an area that can be difficult to tap into merely through research alone. Let's go back to the restaurant analogy. Sure, buying local may mean that your options are limited. You have no choice but to pick KFC, Pizza Hut or Bill's Burgers.
However, you know those three restaurants quite well. You know what they do well and what you should avoid under any and all circumstances short of a food shortage. 
​Because you have this unique insight- knowing the menu far better than anyone else who is simply coming through town would- it is quite plausible that you could pick a tastier, more satisfying meal than you would if you were ordering off the fanciest menu in the world. You know what you like, and you know how to find the best match within your local options without much surprise.

Forget Me Not: Another big issue is that it can be difficult to take care of any problems and collect rent if you’re not nearby. It's much easier for someone to “forget” that rent is due when they know the landlord is hundreds of miles away. That sort of thing seems to trigger amnesia is certain tenants, which can result in an unwanted hassle for owners. Therefore, you might want to have your tenants set up automated rent payments so that you don’t have to deal with late or forgotten payments.

Problem Solvers For Hire: As an absentee landlord, you can't show up to fix things yourself. When you buy something local, you can save a lot of money by just knowing some fundamental handiwork. However, as a landlord living far away, jumping in the car and driving for who-knows-how-long every time a tenant has an issue might be problematic. Therefore, you might want to establish a relationship with a local plumber, electrician and handyman so that, if your tenants alert you to a problem, you already have trusted companies you can call upon to solve the issue. Of course, you should do your homework and get to know which companies offer the best service; speak to the owners, see if there are any reviews available, check with the Better

Business Bureau to review any complaints against the company that may exists- do whatever it takes to make sure you pick companies that you trust. After all, in your absence, although they won't be your eyes and ears, they will certainly be your hands. Think of them like partners, because in some ways, they are. You need to rely on them when things go haywire.

Of course, if all this sounds like too much work with too much room for error, then you can take the easier, more foolproof method of hiring a property manager. Property Managers take on all the landlord duties for you- they manage repairs, they collect payments, they find tenants… and to do all that they usually charge between 10-12% the monthly rent. This may not be a bad option if you're more interested in simply being a worry-free owner.

However, you would want to do your research here too. It is important to find out if a property manager's clients are happy with them. Ask the company for referrals; check for online ratings; confer with the BBB. If you're going to pay for property management, you want to make sure you're getting the best service for your money.

Furthermore, if you decide to use a management company, you may want to find one that only charges you when your property is actually being rented. This may be a less common option in some locations, but finding one that adheres to this as company policy ensures that the company has an incentive to constantly have the place rented. If they are getting paid regardless of whether the spot is rented out or not, then there may be less urgency to find a tenant, which hurts your pocket, not theirs.
Additionally, you may also want to maintain control of setting the rental fee.

Hypothetically, the management company will likely know better about what your property’s market value is in that area, and you could allow them carte blanche in setting your rental price. Theoretically, they’ll know what you can get for your home and what you should ask. But, if a company is only getting a percentage when the place is rented, then they may have motivator to set lower than average rents as a means of getting tenants faster. Now, as a landlord, you may be okay with that, since a $500 rent you’re getting is better than a $700 rent you’re not, but if you want to make sure you get market value regardless of how long it takes to find a tenant, then you want to make sure you set the rates. This way, nobody can discount your rent but you. That does not make you a control freak. It just makes you business minded.

Overall, it is each individual investor's prerogative to choose what they are comfortable with. However, weighing both options is important for effective decision making when it comes to investing smart; no decisions should be made simply because someone "has never considered the other option". Always consider ​every​ option. Then, when you make your decision, whatever it may be, you'll know you made the best decision for you, not the easy one.

“Purchasing properties outside your comfort zone can have tremendous upsides...”