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The Parallels Between Baseball and Real Estate

What America’s Pastime Taught a Real Estate Entrepreneur About Property Markets

Ryan Tevepaugh has not lived an idle or predictable life. Born and raised alongside two athletic brothers in Cleveland, he fell in love with sports, and was eventually awarded a baseball scholarship to Trinity Christian College. After graduating, Ryan found himself managing fitness facilities, but thinking himself capable of more, he began to learn all he could about property markets. When he moved back to Cleveland to embark upon his new career in real estate, he took with him some valuable lessons derived from his time playing baseball in college. “It’s really quite elegant how well the same general principles at play in a successful batter’s approach align with those at play in a successful real estate entrepreneur’s approach,” he states. “Forgive the word choice, but it’s striking.” Here are five broad guidelines rooted in baseball that will serve anyone well when navigating the real estate market, courtesy of Ryan Tevepaugh:

Learn to Identify Balls and Strikes

“It sounds elementary, I know,” says Tevepaugh, “but you have to be able to tell the difference between a fixer-upper and a hopeless property. You have to be able to identify balls and strikes.” He explains his philosophy in evaluating properties as akin to a batter sizing up a pitch. “I think of it this way; there is a strike zone in dealing with real estate. Is a house or apartment building in a decent neighbourhood? Is the building’s structural integrity in good condition? Is the price right? If all those boxes are checked, that’s a fastball right down the middle and it’s time to swing the bat. By which I mean, it’s time to make an offer.” In short, don’t let a good pitch to hit sail by, and don’t swing at anything outside of the strike zone.

Anticipate the Next Pitch

“So, you swing. Not everyone is going to hit a home run right away,” he elaborates. “Not every offer will be accepted — swing and a miss. You may find yourself in a bidding war, or prolonged negotiation with the current owner — fouling off some balls, doing battle with the pitcher. Some properties will end up costing you more in restoration and upkeep, and may not be as profitable as you’d originally hoped — bunt single, infield hit. The parallels are endless. But the point is, each pitch from each at-bat gives you more information.” Tevepaugh goes on to underscore how accruing information, spotting patterns, and learning-through-doing is a crucial part of any real estate entrepreneur’s ability to assess potential opportunities. “After a few years, I had developed this sixth sense about what to offer on, and what not to. I was able to successfully anticipate the next pitch.”

Don’t Strike Out Looking

“If you see a decent property for a fair price, be careful, sure, but don’t be so indecisive and tentative as to allow somebody else to snap it up,” he emphasizes. “Maybe these pitches aren’t ideal to hit, but they’re within in the strike zone. You have to make the best out of what the pitcher gives you.” Tevepaugh goes on to explain how he finds it interesting that the phrase don’t strike out looking has been applied to so many non-baseball, general life situations. “No ballplayer wants to strike out looking. That’s the worst outcome of an at-bat. To put it another way, you miss one hundred percent of the chances you don’t take. If you never take a swing, you’ll never get a hit.”

Take Each At-Bat In Stride

“All this being said, there will always be more opportunities. The real estate market isn’t going anywhere. If there’s one thing I learned from my baseball days at Trinity Christian College, it’s that there’s always another game, always another at-bat. If you have a bad day at the plate, shake it off, learn from your mistakes, and hustle back on to the field the next day ready to try again.”

Ryan Tevepaugh is a real estate entrepreneur and a graduate of Trinity Christian College, which he attended on a baseball scholarship. He currently resides in Cleveland where he manages an extensive property portfolio.

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