LOOK PAST DISTRACTIONS TO WHAT REALLY MATTERS

December 17, 2021

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For quite a while now, national politics has sucked up most of the oxygen in the news. Stories of conflict and intrigue naturally draw our attention, but how important are they?

It’s true that the president has a lot of power. But the actions of a president are generally pretty far removed from everyday American life. Even in this pandemic, vaccine distribution hinges on state and local governments coordinating effectively with industry. We may be paying too much attention to the headlines.

At the same time we voted for president, Americans also elected town councils, sheriffs, district attorneys, judges, school boards, various local commissioners and more. These officials set the policies and run the local offices that govern our lives every day. They have a big impact, and yet people are hardly aware of them.

We naturally pay attention to flashy stories, and those headlines can often distract us from what is really going on.

In real estate, some investors are drawn to flashy properties. Buildings that are sleek, modern, and expertly marketed get a lot of attention. They are also not always good deals. While the “sizzle” factor draws people in, there are a lot of more mundane details that actually make an investment worthwhile.

Demographic trends, infrastructure quality, and local tax and regulatory policy are all central to making a good real estate investment. But these details aren’t fun the way a beautiful building is. It takes discipline to look past the flash to accurately see the underlying value.

There is a pattern here that applies in politics, investing, and life. The things that draw our attention often aren’t the things that can give us the best returns. There is great value to be found in down ballot races, supporting players, and older buildings. We just have to pay attention to the details behind the headlines.

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