I Want to Be a Real Estate Investor: How Do I Get Started?
For years I thought about leaving my corporate job to start a business and, for a while, it didn’t really matter what kind of business. I was just sick and tired of sitting at a desk for hours on end, under fluorescent lights and the gaze of a boss who didn’t seem happy to be at his desk either. But, after an old college buddy of mine, Don, started buying, renovating, and selling houses—and supporting his family while doing it—I decided that I wanted to be a real estate investor too.
The idea made perfect sense and, surprisingly, I hadn’t seriously considered it before. I’d always kept up with local and national real estate market trends, renovated my own home, and helped some family members do the same. Don’t tell anyone, but I also use to obsessively watch those shows about flipping houses. In fact, if I were really being honest with myself, I’d have to admit that I’d been wondering whether house flipping was a good business for me even before I’d started thinking about quitting my corporate job.
Thinking “I Want to be a Real Estate Investor!” Too?
If my story sounds like yours, obviously you’re not alone. The corporate grind gets a lot of people down. For those of us with an entrepreneurial spirit, I think it’s even worse. We long to be our own bosses, to set our own schedules, to have control over our income, and to work wherever, and with whomever, we please. But, it can be hard to decide which new career direction to take and even harder, if you know what you want, to make the leap. Change is scary. And, if you’re thinking about becoming a real estate investor, figuring out how best to land on your feet and not on your you-know-what when you do jump can look like a big task to take on.
Still, if you’ve got a passion for real estate and have been obsessing about buying, renovating, and selling houses while sitting at your desk, like I once did, it’s time to think about moving on. While there are risks inherent to investing in residential real estate, the benefits—like having a say in your earning potential—can help to balance the fear of those risks, especially when you know how to make good investment property decisions. And, it’s not really that hard to get good at making smart choices. You’ll need determination, focus, a solid work ethic, and the courage to follow the steps below.
Enroll in Training
Though it may be tempting to use house-flipping TV shows as your guide or to rely on investing books and blogs to aid in your learning, it’s a whole lot smarter—and quite a bit safer—to get yourself into a comprehensive real estate investor training program. But, although most are good for a refresher or to expand your knowledge about a particular niche, once-weekly meetings and weekend workshops won’t be enough. To learn the ins-and-outs of investing, from recognizing a good deal to negotiating a sales contract, you need to be able to submerge yourself into the material with experienced teachers who are also active, successful investors. Otherwise, you risk picking up bad habits that can cost you much more than a couple of deals. Lose too much cash on a money pit, for example, and you could lose your career. In short, what you won’t see on TV is that, in the world of real estate investing, what you don’t know can hurt you. So, get to know your craft before you start crafting any deals.
Get a Mentor
When classes are done and it’s time to put your money where your training is, questions will pop up and so will the occasional problem. To get your concerns answered quickly and correctly, it’s helpful to have a mentor on speed-dial. One-on-one mentoring can be pricey, but so can trying to crawl out from under a bad deal. When you have a more experienced investor at the ready who’s as committed to your success as you are, handling surprise complications can seem far less daunting. But, buyer beware. There are plenty of self-proclaimed gurus posing as real estate investor mentors who will happily take your cash in exchange for a little cheerleading. To really play the game well, you’ll need more than the occasional “Ra! Ra! Ra!” You’ll need someone who’s invested in helping you score big.
Establish a Plan
All successful business endeavors start with some sort of plan in place. By setting your financial goals, detailing how you intend to achieve them, creating deadlines, and defining milestones, you increase your chances of staying on track with building a solid career. In a real estate investment plan, you’ll want to make sure you include things like the market niche you’re going to invest in, how you propose to fund your deals, and what you’ll do with any proceeds. Your plan might even include investigating real estate business franchise opportunities that can provide the necessary support and expertise to get you started on the right foot. The point is that life will throw a lot of distractions your way and the real estate market itself will often test your resolve. So, get specific about what your future looks like and develop a strategy for getting there. Trust me, a roadmap to success can drive you forward when the road starts to look like an uphill battle.
Connect With Peers
It’s critical to your short-term and long-term success that you connect with your fellow investors and create a network that includes the best-of-the-best of your peers. Whether you need rental property management tips in Chicago or renovation tips for an investment property in Atlanta, you’ll find that seeking advice from your network—especially when it’s made up of successful investors—is often a safer and faster way to get things done than going it alone. A network of peers can also help you understand an unfamiliar market you’re thinking about exploring, offer feedback on contractors and other rehab professionals, and give you the 101 on hard money when you need it. They can also hold you to the standards you set for yourself, ensuring you don’t fall through the cracks if the market shifts and the ground starts to get shaky. Combined with the guidance of a mentor, a supportive and influential network can help you put your best foot forward at all times so that, before you know it, you’re standing in the spotlight of success yourself.
Invest in Tools
Even before you buy that first investment property, it’s a good idea to have a set of tools handy to make each transaction—and every aspect of your business—run as smoothly as possible. You’ll need an effective lead generation strategy in place to drum up enough deals to keep your business humming along, as well as a way to manage all of your transactions. You’ve also got to have a real estate investment analysis and valuation method established so that you can correctly crunch the numbers fast. If the rental market is your niche, you’ll find that having maintenance and repair services in your back pocket will save you time and money. And, one of the best real estate investing tools you can obtain is one you, usually, have to create yourself: a well-respected and recognizable brand that separates you from the rest of the pack. Together, these tools can help you run your business efficiently without running you ragged.
Becoming a real estate investor isn’t hard when you know what steps to take to get you there. But, like many entrepreneurial endeavors, doing it well enough to earn a living does take a lot of hard work in addition to a significant investment of time. And, if you try to cut corners by skipping out on the proper training or working with inferior tools, the only thing you might fast track is your failure. There is one way, however, that you can increase your odds of hitting a successful stride fast without missing an important beat.
How to Hit Your Stride and Become the Best Investor You Can Be
It took me a while to pull the trigger and actually quit my corporate job. But, when I did, I never looked back. I have Don to thank for that. When I saw that he was able to turn his passion for real estate into a career that he loved, I knew that big changes were ahead for me—if I could find a way to follow in Don’s footsteps. Becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, like Don, allowed me to do just that.
As a HomeVestors® franchisee, I get access to top-notch investor training, my own Development Agent for one-on-one mentoring, and a network of regional franchisees who provide ongoing support at every stage of building my business. I also get access to some of the best tools in the industry, including HomeVestors® proprietary property valuation tool, ValueChek®, and the nationally-trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” brand. So, while I still have to work hard, I don’t have to travel the path alone. HomeVestors has helped me to hit my stride fast and leave my old corporate world in the dust.
Become the best investor you can be by setting off on the right foot from the beginning.Contact HomeVestors today if you want an exciting real estate investor opportunity, too.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.