My Real Estate Dreams Got Shattered…

March 5, 2011


By Doug Fath

My real estate dreams got shattered … in a single conversation.

Unfortunately, it also happened to be my first deal.  I had spent the last few months finding the property and the last 4 weeks doing my due diligence and getting my financing together.

It’s September 2004 and I am super excited because tomorrow I close on my first real estate deal and finally become a real estate investor!

I’m on the phone talking with the Title Company to confirm closing tomorrow and I find out that I need what is called a “City Cert” in order to close on the property I am purchasing.

So I call up the City of Philadelphia to get the “City Cert” and they tell me it takes 30 days.  “S$*%&”,  I think to myself.

I explain that I am supposed to close tomorrow and need to expedite the process.

They explain that if  I pay more money I can have it in two weeks.

“Two weeks doesn’t help me.  I need to have it by tomorrow”, practically begging her on the phone.

And then comes the first no,  “NO we can’t do that”.

I ask to speak to someone else and get the same response.

I decide to hang up the phone and call back, hoping I will have better luck with the next person.  No dice.

After three hours of waiting on hold and getting told NO, I hang up the phone frustrated, annoyed and pissed off.

Thirty minutes later, I decide to call my mentor, fill him in on the situation, and I’ll never forget his words, “Doug, are you going to let a piece of paper stand in the way of you closing on your first deal?  Get on the phone with the higher ups there and explain to them the full situation and the difference you are making there in Philadelphia.  Explain to them this is a win-win situation and only they have the power to make it happen”

Feeling re-inspired, I get back on the phone with city and finally get one of the supervisors on the phone.  I say, “Hello my name is Doug Fath and I am closing on a piece of real estate tomorrow and unfortunately the City Cert was never ordered.  I know the City of Philadelphia is spending millions of dollars with the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative to improve blight and improve property conditions.   Well this is one of those properties that I am looking to improve and help you, achieve your goals, while also achieving mine.  I need the City Cert by tomorrow or this deal is not going to happen and then we will have another run down property sitting vacant in the city.”


“No problem you’ll have it today,” he says.

I almost fell of my chair.  I had the City Cert less than an hour later and was able to close on my very first real estate deal the next day.

To this day, this remains one of the most important lessons I have learned as a real estate investor.  Life doesn’t usually go as planned, breakdowns occur but there is always a way to make it happen!

It is your job as a successful real estate investor to find a way to make it happen.  Even when the situation looks impossible, even when you’ve heard “no” five times.

When things go smoothly and everyone says yes, anyone can be a real estate investor.

But when you run into obstacles and hear the word no again and again, these are the moments that define you as a real
estate investor.

It’s in these moments, you must demand of yourself to go beyond where you normally go.

It’s in these moments, you have to be unreasonable and think outside the box.

It’s in these moments, you get an extraordinary opportunity to make what appears as impossible, become possible.

Seek out these moments.

You can do it.

With Love and Gratitude,


PO Box 2424
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004
United States
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6 Responses to “My Real Estate Dreams Got Shattered…”

  1. Jolyn Thongdy Says:

    Too cool giving us these useful ideas. All good points worth looking into. Many thanks – Coming back soon

  2. Michael Brandt Says:

    I would like to provide my little contribition on real estate by asking people to continue participating in this great discussions, they have helped me a lot and I hope others can also benefit from it. Thanks for posting about this, I would love to read more about this topic. I appreciate you sharing this with the rest of us Angella.

  3. John Glover Says:

    Great article and thanks for sharing. Many people within real estate can totally identify with your story even though their details may be different.

    I personally like you attitude to get it done plus I’m going to use “It is your job as a successful real estate investor to find a way to make it happen. Even when the situation looks impossible, even when you’ve heard “no” five times.” as a slogan for myself.


  4. Steve Says:

    Inspiring story. Never give up!

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