Invest in Real Estate Like Sherlock Holmes

Invest Like Sherlock

Investing Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Fictional Detective.

‘There is nothing like first-hand evidence.’
– A Study in Scarlet.

Harvey Schachter of the Globe and Mail wrote a great article, “Hunting For Success? Make like Sherlock.” He draws his inspiration from blogger Matt Herron, who has suggested that we can figure out what it takes to be successful in life by imitating the legendary sleuth from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings. Guess what—Sherlock would’ve made a great real estate investor! In this blog post, I follow the pattern of Schachter and Herron to imagine how Sherlock would have approached investing in property.


Here’s how I think Mr. Holmes would go at real estate problems.

  1. Details matter

We all know Mr. Holmes has a great eye for detail. When someone walks into a room, Holmes can tell where they work, what they had for lunch, and what their plans are. Successful real estate investors gather up all the details they can about any piece of property—and the seller. Integrate all the details into buying, management, and selling decisions.

  1. Some mysteries are never solved

Sometimes you just can’t get the information you need to answer a diligence question. No worries. If it’s an important enough question, you don’t buy the property. You file away the issue for future reference and treat it as a puzzle. Puzzles help with problem solving and creativity.

  1. Partners are indispensable

This is classic joint venture wisdom. Most of us have enough money to buy two or three properties. You want to buy 50 properties. Don’t worry about lack of funds. Treat the money you spend on those first two or three properties as your tuition and entry fee to the larger world of joint ventures. Get good at one strategy using your own money, and joint venture partners will beat a path to your door.

  1. There is more than one way to approach a problem

Sherlock Holmes used not only observation and deduction, but also surveillance in disguise, quiet contemplation, and bouncing ideas off Dr. Watson. If your current approach doesn’t work, try something different.

  1. Your reputation precedes you

Another bit of classic joint venture wisdom. If you are bad at real estate, potential joint venture partners will avoid you. If you are good at real estate, joint venture partners will beat a path to your door.

As Holmes said, “it’s elementary, my dear Watson.”



If you’re looking to invest in Alberta real estate, get an Edmonton lawyer who thinks like Sherlock Holmes. Contact Barry today!

“Sherlock” image by HebiPics, used under a Public Domain Dedication, has been combined with the “money i’ll never spend” image by under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0.