Embrace challenges and learn from failures. No one likes to fail, but the truth is setbacks are unavoidable. The key is to view those failures as valuable teaching moments. For example, early in my investing career, I had mismanaged a renovation project that ended up costing much more than expected. Instead of getting discouraged, I took it as an opportunity to learn about proper project management and cost estimation

Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Warner Quiroga.

Warner is a Real Estate Investor and Licensed Realtor. He is the Owner and CEO of Prestige Homebuyers located in Long Island New York. He buys houses for cash to fix and flip and also owns several rental properties.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

Growing up, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school, I was the kid selling candy, chips, video games, and shoes — always looking for ways to hustle and make some extra cash. After finishing high school, I enrolled in college and eventually discovered Amazon as a platform to sell various items, such as books, video games, and electronics.

After a successful two to three years on Amazon, I ventured into the car industry, selling cars for a friend who owned a private dealership. I would purchase cars from him and resell them for a profit. However, my entrepreneurial journey didn’t end there.

When a friend was getting his real estate license, he suggested I should consider real estate as a potential avenue. Intrigued by the idea of dealing in houses, I decided to get my license as well, mainly aiming to invest rather than be an agent.

Around the same time, I found out my aunt was looking to buy her first house. We joined forces, and I helped her find the perfect investment property. She rewarded me with a generous sum, marking the beginning of my exciting journey in real estate.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

A rather funny story from my time as a real estate investor still makes me chuckle.

I’d gone to meet a homeowner on a notably hot day. After briefly chatting about the property, the homeowner kindly offered me a bottle of cold water. Without a second thought, I thanked them and took a big sip as we continued to talk.

However, shortly after, I found myself feeling a bit odd and lightheaded. I brushed it off, blaming the hot weather. Yet, the dizziness stuck with me for the rest of the day, turning what started as a routine visit into a rather unforgettable experience.

Upon some investigation, I found out that the bottled water I drank had been in the fridge for quite some time. This, I figured, could’ve been what gave me that uneasy feeling. Maybe it was the “fridge taste,” or possibly the plastic started leaching chemicals into the water. Who knows? I’m far from being a scientist.

Reflecting on this, I realized an important life lesson:

In every aspect of our lives, our actions have consequences. If you think about it, real estate investing is no different.

In my case, the simple act of drinking an old bottle of water led to an unexpected, uncomfortable reaction. In real estate, even what may seem insignificant choices can later result in significant impacts.

That’s why attention to detail, careful thought, and remaining informed about every decision are essential, no matter how small. Be it property valuation, signing contracts, or merely drinking a glass of water at a client’s house, every action can trigger an unanticipated chain of events. Stay aware, and you’re likely to avoid any unwelcome surprises and boost your chance of success!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

As a real estate investor managing a company that buys homes “as is” for cash, our distinct approach sets us apart from the rest.

Our commitment to transparent communication and prompt action makes us unique in the industry. We realize that many people who want to sell their homes quickly and “as is” often face challenging life situations, such as divorce, a family loss, or a looming foreclosure. We empathize with their situations, provide quick solutions, and strive to make a complicated process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With our “as is” cash offers, we eliminate the need for any repairs or even cleaning the house. We handle everything, allowing sellers to transition to a more comfortable living arrangement.

This ethos captures the essence of our business: making the process of selling a home as effortless and hassle-free as possible.

I believe it’s our empathy towards sellers, understanding of their needs, unwavering speed, and “no-obligation” approach that truly distinguishes us in the real estate industry.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m forever thankful to my family, especially my mother, for their unwavering support. My mother has always stood by my side and championed my dreams, enabling me to grow both personally and professionally. In particular, I am thankful to my aunt, who instilled in me the confidence to thrive in real estate. By allowing me to assist her in finding her first home, she catapulted me into this industry and fortified my confidence to navigate through it successfully.

Furthermore, I owe a huge gratitude to the numerous friends and mentors who generously offered their wisdom, support, and guidance. Their advice has been invaluable to me, aiding in shaping my journey and cultivating my success in real estate investment.

Moreover, I cannot omit my devoted team, who work tirelessly alongside me. Their enduring commitment and shared passion for our work greatly contribute to our combined success. Each day, they put their best foot forward, managing every task with utmost diligence.

Every milestone I’ve achieved is inextricably linked to these indispensable individuals in my life. I earnestly acknowledge their contributions and express my deep sense of gratitude to them for shaping and molding me into the successful professional I am today. I genuinely owe them a great deal for where I stand currently.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now, let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Resilience is all about being able to bounce back from setbacks and keep moving forward, no matter how tough things get. It’s about standing back up after being knocked down repeatedly and maintaining an optimistic outlook. As a real estate investor, this means facing market downturns, challenging negotiations, or unexpected property issues and still pushing on, learning from each struggle.

As for traits seen in resilient people, there are a few that stand out:

Persistence: Resilient people are masters at weathering storms; for them, giving up is never an option. They keep pushing forward until they reach their goals.

Optimism: They have a positive mindset and believe that good things will eventually come despite the bumps along the road.

Flexibility: Life doesn’t always go as planned, and resilient individuals are adaptable and adjust their strategies according to the situation.

Problem-solving: Resilient people tackle their problems head-on, looking for creative solutions rather than sticking their heads in the sand.

Learning from failure: They see every setback as an opportunity to learn and grow. They don’t fear failure but rather embrace it as part of their journey to success.

In the world of real estate investing, resilience is not just a nice-to-have attribute; it’s an absolute must!

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion, how is courage both similar and different from resilience?

I can see why courage and resilience are often compared. They’re two sides of the same coin, each complementing and reinforcing the other.

Courage, as I see it, is about taking action in the face of fear or uncertainty. It’s the bold step you take to buy that first property, negotiate a challenging deal, or venture into unfamiliar markets. It’s similar to resilience in the sense that both involve facing adversity head-on and not backing down when things get tough.

However, while courage is the act of taking on a challenge despite fear, resilience is more about your response to setbacks. It’s what keeps you going when things don’t work out as expected. It’s getting back up when that courageous step doesn’t lead to immediate success and having the tenacity to learn from the experience and keep striving toward your goals.

So, while courage might lead you to take risks and make tough decisions in your real estate investing journey, resilience is what ensures you stick with it and continue to grow, even when those decisions don’t pan out as you’d hoped.

In other words, courage is the spark that starts the fire, and resilience is what keeps it burning even in the face of the strongest winds. Both are vital for succeeding in the often unpredictable world of real estate investing.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

I will go with this gentleman named Ed Mylett, Agency Chairman of World Financial Group. I watch him, I listen to him, I read his books, I listen to his podcast. He talks about what his upbringing was like and how he basically lost it all at one point.

Based on his story, the things that he’s been through, the things that he has accomplished, how inspirational he is, the way that he connects with people when he speaks to them on his podcast. It’s like no other interviewer that I’ve ever seen connects with them on a level so deep that it almost always makes the person he’s interviewing cry because they start to get into like personal stuff even if they didn’t mean to because of how genuine he is and how good his questions are and how he shows that he cares about what the other person is saying and it really gets them going and just talking about things.

And a lot of times these interviewees say that, look, I’ve never even spoken about this before in front of anyone, but here I am opening up. Much less a podcast, but you just somehow you just open that up out of me and, and I was, you know, able to, to say that even if I didn’t want to. And so he’s so genuine, so smart, he’s, he’s just a great human being. I look up to him big time.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

I’d say there some like negative friends. I could probably think of a neighbor who mentioned to me once he’s like, hey, look, man, like we’re going to be on the street probably for the rest of our lives.

We were friends because at the time I was having some beef with one of the neighbors and that always stuck with me. I always thought about that and was probably 16 or 17 at the time.

Like, that could be the case for some people. And where I lived, it wasn’t necessarily a bad area, but it wasn’t great. And just the idea of him making that statement that I would just live there. He made it seem so like normal.

And I just thought like, really, I don’t think so. And then as I got older or during high school, like a year or two older, I actually always had this in me but I started to notice more that I was very entrepreneurial. And years after, I would say that I’m in a place that I’m still working on improving.

I’m still nowhere where I need to be. But that was just, he didn’t necessarily tell me it was impossible to leave the town. But he made it seem as if that was the norm and that’s how it always would be. And that was just something that kind of stuck with me. And I was like, nah, there’s gotta be more to it than that, and I will strive to be a better version of myself.

Did you have a time in your life when you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

Yes, I absolutely faced such a moment early in my real estate career.

You see, I once bought what appeared to be this really great mobile home. It was at a reasonable price, a seemingly perfect fix-and-flip opportunity. It would be an easy win, a quick upgrade, and then sell for a decent profit. Well, my optimism was pretty short-lived.

The mobile home turned out to have numerous issues hidden beneath its seemingly decent surface. Major plumbing nightmares, structural damage, and even some pesky mold growth. And it seemed the more I tried to fix things, the more issues I uncovered. It was like peeling an onion of endless problems.

Efforts to sell were futile. Potential buyers would run away as soon as the inspection reports hit their hands. It was a setback that went beyond finances. It caused me to question my abilities as a real estate investor.

But something stirred inside me. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Using this humbling experience, I chose to learn. I spent time understanding the ins and outs of mobile home investments, property inspections, rehab management, and more. I became determined not to make the same mistake.

Moving forward, I exercised greater caution and diligence when buying properties. I also developed a reliable network of experts for advice and assistance. This setback made me a savvier investor, less likely to make impulsive decisions or underestimate the complexity of a deal.

Today, I can confidently say that setback was one of the best things to happen in my journey as a real estate investor. It was painful in the moment, yes, but it was also the slap in the face I needed to grow and improve. The lessons I learned from that mobile home ordeal still guide me in my investments and have helped me bounce back stronger than ever.

How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

Looking back, the seeds of resilience in my life were sown during my early years.

Growing up, I belonged to a working-class family where money was always tight. Luxuries were few and far between. To contribute to the household and have some pocket money, I ventured into buying and selling various items at a very young age.

I started with candy and chips, then shoes and video games — things that appealed to kids my age. By buying low and selling high, I learned valuable lessons about supply and demand, negotiation, and, yes, dealing with failures and setbacks.

One particular incident comes to mind. As I entered college, I wanted to have a regular job because what I earned from buying and selling wasn’t enough for me, and I wasn’t satisfied with it. So, I somehow found my way into Amazon and learned how to sell things on it. So I did for a while, where I sold books, video games, and some electronics. It went well at first, but it was very time-consuming having to package and then send it out.

To my disappointment, I wasn’t able to sell them as I had hoped. It was a setback that left me feeling defeated and, honestly, a bit embarrassed. But I didn’t let that instance deter me. I took it as a learning experience to build character and resilience.

Fast forward to my journey as a real estate investor, these early experiences of setbacks and recovery that seemed catastrophic at the time have contributed a lot. The ability to navigate through failed deals, tough negotiations, market downturns, and more — it all goes back to the resilience I cultivated during my early hustle selling baseball cards and comic books.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

Resilience is like a muscle that we can strengthen. In my experience as a real estate investor, here are five steps that I believe can help anyone become more resilient:

1. Embrace challenges and learn from failures

No one likes to fail, but the truth is setbacks are unavoidable. The key is to view those failures as valuable teaching moments. For example, early in my investing career, I had mismanaged a renovation project that ended up costing much more than expected. Instead of getting discouraged, I took it as an opportunity to learn about proper project management and cost estimation.

2. Stay positive and maintain perspective

Keeping a positive mindset can make a world of difference in challenging situations. For instance, during a market downturn, properties were hard to sell. Instead of panicking, I remained optimistic and used the time to hone my skills in marketing and negotiation. That way, when the market improved, I was better prepared to sell properties.

3. Develop a strong support system

Having a reliable network of people to rely on for advice, encouragement, and resources is crucial for fostering resilience. When I first started in real estate, I made it a point to connect with successful investors who guided me through challenging situations, like navigating a tough negotiation or bouncing back from a bad deal.

4. Set SMART goals and stay adaptable

Setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART) goals helps to build resilience. For example, creating a plan to acquire a set number of properties within a specific time frame means clarifying your objectives. If things go south, like not being able to secure a property, you can adapt your strategy and still remain focused on achieving your goals.

5. Practice self-care and stay healthy

Resilience isn’t just about mental fortitude; it’s also about physically, emotionally, and spiritually caring for yourself. During a particularly stressful period of handling multiple real estate deals, I realized the importance of exercise, relaxation, and investing time in my well-being to ensure I was fully ready to tackle any challenges that might come my way.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Great question! I really love the idea of bringing people together for a good reason.

If I could kick off a movement, it would be to start “Making Communities Better Projects.” This won’t just fix old houses, but give a complete makeover to entire neighborhoods.

Just think about this, we could turn around neglected neighborhoods that have a lot of potential. We could do more than just fix up houses. We could also spruce up parks, help local schools, boost small businesses, and build a feeling of togetherness among residents. This can make the neighborhood a better place to live in, bumping up house prices, which is a good thing for everyone.

Doing this would need us all — people in real estate, the local government, schools, businesses, and most importantly, the people living there, to join hands.

I think the best way to make a neighborhood flourish is by upliftment of its residents. When everyone chips in, real improvement happens. This is about more than just investing in property. It’s about investing in people, their dreams, and their future. This is the kind of movement I’d love to lead!

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

If I had to pick a couple of people I’d love to have a private meal with, I’d definitely choose Elon Musk and Warren Buffett.

Elon Musk simply amazes me. It’s incredible how someone can have such grand ideas and bring them to life from scratch. I’d really enjoy a conversation with him.

Then there’s Warren Buffett. I’m truly curious about his thought process. I’d also ask them about the advice they’d give to someone in their 20s or 30s.

I’d be interested to know about the hurdles they faced, times when it seemed like they were losing everything. How did they cope? Because I believe situations like these reveal a lot about a person’s character and their ability to bounce back. These tough times are a reality for all of us, so I think their insights would be invaluable. So those two, Musk and Buffett, would be my top choices.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can visit our website, prestigehomebuyer.co and our socials, Facebook and Twitter, search for Prestige Homebuyers and prestigehomebuyersny for Instagram.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.