As a new real estate investor, when you begin researching information on real estate investing for beginners, you’ll find that there are a lot of gurus and mentors out there looking to sell you high priced information. You’ll also find plenty of chatter-boxes at local real estate investing forums and other watering holes that will share (brag?) all day long about their investing trials and tribulations, especially if they have tenants or rehabs. (Those types of projects tend to be fraught with problems, something that can scare beginner real estate investors off – when maybe it should be attracting them!) You can also find some excellent offline resources at the library, bookstore and your local investor club. Maybe you’ll even find someone who’s out in the trenches on a regular basis and is willing to take you out on the streets to show you some of his properties.
What you won’t find as often, especially for free, is a coherent, executable business plan detailing what it takes to get going with real estate investing as a beginner.
What you really need is a handbook entitled: Real Estate Investing For Beginners that lays everything out for you A to Z, with what to do at every step along the way.
Unfortunately, putting together a super and useful reference like that is time consuming and you have to consider that a) If someone is already making money investing in real estate, her time is valuable, and b) if she’s going to invest her valuable time in putting together a real estate investing guide for beginners, she’s got to have an angle.
That’s an excellent thing to keep in mind – everyone in the real estate investing education industry seems to have an angle. They are directly incentivized to make you feel that real estate investing is easy, you can do it, and if you just part with some money, they will give you the handbook with all the answers.
BEWARE: If you can’t figure out how they’re getting paid, you’re missing something… Everyone wants to get paid in this business.
Well, I hate to tell you… I don’t have that comprehensive handbook for you either.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that I can give you some very important words of wisdom that helped me when I was getting started in real estate investing as a beginner. (And I started right out of college without a good job or anything, so don’t think it can’t be done.)
Real Estate Investing Observations – What Every Real Estate Investing Beginner Needs To Know:
1) You will have to trade time or money to get what you want in real estate. You can’t get something for nothing, so even if you buy an expensive course to get someone else’s experience and shave years off your learning curve, you’ll still HAVE a learning curve. Plus, you’ll need to find leads, and that type of marketing takes (you guessed it) time and/or money.
2) Leverage cuts both ways. When the market is going up, leverage can be a great ally in helping you acquire more property with less of your own money. However, when the market is soft or declining, as also happens with real estate market cycles, having a lot of leverage can put you “upside down” on your equity and cash flow – a very risky situation. Protect yourself by “making your money when you buy” and passing up those “skinny” deals.
3) It’s all about NEGOTIATING with the motivated sellers. A lot of courses make you believe that if you find the motivated sellers, you can just pluck up the deals like daisies in the orchard. That’s almost true. Whether you’re working in commercial or residential real estate, you’ll get much better deals when you negotiate with a motivated seller. However, the key is that you must NEGOTIATE. You have to make offers that will work for you and engage the sellers in conversation. Very rarely will the buildings be lying these listed for 50 cents on the dollar (if they are, they’ll be snapped up by other investors). You have to find sellers that you think may be motivated and offer them your low cash offer or terms offer in order to see if they’re willing to work with you. Engage them in the conversation by making lots of offers, and NEGOTIATING with the ones that are motivated.
4) Figure out your rate of return. Sometimes, when you don’t have a deal, it’s easy to think “any” deal would be good. However, sometimes the best deals are the ones you PASS on – you “make” your money by saving yourself from some expensive mistakes. Don’t waste time on property that doesn’t make sense when you run the numbers. Don’t get emotionally attached just because someone says they’re motivated or willing to work out terms with you. Run the numbers. Always focus on the numbers.
5) You get paid for solving problems. This is a business with a lot of problems. Sellers can get very emotional, or have a lot of financial trouble, at the time that you’ll be working with them. That’s stressful for anyone, especially when the transfer of a large asset like a house, apartment building or office/retail center is involved. Realize that you may go through some challenging emotions of your own. That’s natural. If you can hold it together and survive the up-and-down roller coaster, you should do okay.
No one says real estate is easy unless they have a course to sell you. It can offer some great returns, but there’s a reason not everyone goes after them. Not every property is a winner and finding and acquiring the winners can be a challenge. However, if you are committed to making your real estate investments work for you, then focus on getting yourself educated and staying in for the long run.
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