Having clear short and long-term goals for your investment portfolio is an often overlooked element of building a plan for success, but it is absolutely vital if you want your portfolio to grow. Without clear goals, you’re just putting money into properties and hoping for a profit without a clear set of plans for what profits you need to see and how you expect to reach an income that supports further investment without compromising the returns you plan on adding to your personal income. Goals also help you define the best tactics for the current marketplace, because they let you see which short-term opportunities are to your advantage by giving you a method of evaluating their benefits beyond the immediate cash return. To work, though, your goals need to be concrete, and that means following a few ground rules.
If you can’t measure whether you are getting closer to your goal or further away, then it isn’t working as a guidepost in your strategic decision-making. That means you are just as adrift as someone who approaches commercial real estate investing with no clear goals at all. Making a profit isn’t a goal on its own, but making a profit that lets you focus on your investments full-time is a goal with a clear dollar value you can strive to achieve, for example. Measurable goals allow you to compare different investment tactics to see which ones work better for your portfolio, too, so they help you figure out which methods are best for you.
You’re probably not going to turn a house flipping operation into a major real estate development company overnight. It’s just not realistic unless you have a deep well of working capital to pour in, and most investors don’t. You might have a five-year plan to start working on new construction for commercial developments, but that’s not the same thing as putting up large-scale downtown development projects. Moving from new construction to those large-scale projects requires a lot of money and a lot of experience with projects building up to that size, learning the logistics of that sector of the field.
You should have multiple goals at once. There should be short-term goals that govern your purpose for choosing an individual piece of commercial real estate and your plan for monetizing it. There should also be medium-term goals like raising your portfolio value until you can move up to larger or more expensive properties. Lastly, there are long-term goals that govern your investment choices across the years, like reaching a certain portfolio value and income level before retiring from your day job. All these goals need to be congruent with each other to work, otherwise you will find yourself needing to abandon some in favor of the others.