is what happens when you can do those things that are commonly held up as “suc- cess in real estate” and then you use that ability in a bigger, broader way. What you do with that time, that wealth, that passion (as Think Realty likes to say, that purpose), is the real success. Your real success is your legacy, and I guarantee you it’s far broad- er-reaching than you might imagine. “Your real success is your legacy, and I guarantee you it’s far broader-reaching than you might imagine.” – Sonia Booker When we talk about success in real estate, we usually talk about returns, profits, CAP rates, and time on market. Maybe we talk about our students and mentees, or even about funding other people’s deals to help other investors experience success as well. But real estate wealth leads to so much more, and an investor who is aware of this can better influence their reach and their legacy. Let’s talk about legacy for a minute. What is it? By my definition, your lega- cy is defined by: • The things you do for others •  What the world will remember you for •  The things you leave behind (can be non-material) This might sound pretty grandiose, but let’s break it down a little bit. When we talk about things you do for others, they can be really simple things and still have really far-reaching effects. For example, say you start funding those deals for other investors (and by the way, this is still your legacy even if you make money on those deals! If you didn’t fund them, they might ARE YOU BUILDINGWEALTH, LEGACY, OR BOTH?

not happen). The investors turn around a blighted neighborhood and revitalize a community because you had faith in their vision. Homes that were sitting stagnant and empty are now inhabited by people who maybe previously were not living where they wanted to be. You’re having an impact, even if no one knows your name. Speaking of your name, let’s talk about what the world will remember you for. I include this in my definition of legacy because it is part of the conventional definition, and it’s also very important to a lot of people. Let’s be clear, though: Your legacy does not have to include being famous for something, although a lot of people seem to enjoy that aspect! I notice that for a lot of investors, what they want the world to remember them for is that they brought other investors into the industry. In fact, I feel the same way. I wrote my first book because I had been teaching people how to invest in real estate in my living room, and I could reach more people with a book than I could sitting on my couch. That book eventually became an Essence bestseller and took me all over the world in terms of speaking, being invited to conferences, and encountering an incredible world of new investment opportunities. At the end of the day, though, if people remem- ber me it will be because I helped them enter this industry, not for the hundreds of deals I did, and that’s okay with me. Finally, legacy involves what you leave behind. As you probably are expecting, I’m going to point out that you are leav- ing behind every deal you ever did (even if no one remembers you flipped that house or structured that creative loan). However, what you really leave behind is your impact. That means that if you were able to teach your kids the business or even just make it to a few extra soccer games because real estate gave you time flexibility, the impact on your family is unmeasurable. If you were able to support causes or lift up people in need because real estate gave you financial

flexibility, the impact on your communi- ty is astronomical. If you had the mental capacity to dedicate time and energy to improving the industry or come up with creative new ways to invest and solve real problems like affordability, inventory shortages, and homelessness because real estate allowed you flexibility of purpose, the impact on your country and even your world is greater than you will ever know or imagine. MAKE AMINDFUL IMPACT I started out by telling you that I was about to make a presentation on my favorite topic: real estate investing and legacy. What I didn’t tell you was that my presentation was preceded by a group bringing awareness to the hous- ing and recovery needs in Haiti. The gentleman speaking started by pointing out that as investors, it is not particular- ly uncommon to make $30,000 on a sin- gle transaction, yet $3,000 is all that is needed to build a cylinder block house for a family in Haiti. As I listened, it re- ally sunk in for me the amount of need that is in our world, a lot of times in our own backyard. All you need is the per- spective on yourself as a person, as an investor, with the wherewithal to leave a legacy, to make a big difference. MAKE NO MISTAKE: YOUARE LEAVING A LEGACY Take a moment to absorb that and be mindful of its nature. In the end, if you care and not just act but also invest accordingly, you will leave a legacy for your family and your community, and you will make a difference. •


by Sonia Booker


flipping, stopped trying to fit themselves into other investors’ cookie cutter molds, and both quit their jobs to invest full-time shortly thereafter. The list of successes in real estate goes on and on, but to me, the real success is not leaving your 9-to-5 job or having more time to spend on your passions, real es- tate-related or otherwise. The real success

At this point, I cannot even count the number of people who have told me their life-changing real estate stories, from the Atlanta woman who sent all of her kids to college using rental income (even though she never went to college or even finished high school herself) to the Baltimore cou- ple who went from “zero to 60” after they realized that they were best-suited for

ecently, I made a presentation at a local real estate investor associa-

tion titled, “Leaving a Legacy Through Real Estate.” Anyone who knows me also knows that this is just about my favorite topic, so I was pretty excited to talk about how real estate can be a true game-changer for every investor who truly gets active in the industry.

Sonia Booker is a Think Realty coach, managing partner at RSG Capital Group, a bestselling author and popular television and radio personality. View her Think Real-

ty coaching programs at es or learn more about her at

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