There are, for the most part, no shortcuts to a successful career in the field of real estate investing. From the moment you start, you are inundated with everything from real estate jargon to laws upheld by local municipalities. Everyone you talk to will most likely have their own take on every matter you are confronted with. It is easier than ever to get overwhelmed. However, while there are likely a million ways to do things, there are a few things – four in particular – that remain constant throughout your career as an investor. Focus your attention on these four areas, and your real estate business will be rewarded accordingly:
Real estate is a relatively simple business that can be very complex at times. Having said that, anybody can make an offer on a property listed for sale. Just because you can make an offer, however, doesn’t mean you will be successful. Like any other business, you need to know everything about your craft. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in all areas, but you do need to have a minimum base of knowledge. A lack of education about the business, or a specific market, can cause you to take giant steps backwards. If you are limited on capital or resources, your business could be set back for months, or even years. The bright side is that it is easier than ever to find information about the real estate business. Between the increased technology, websites and literature available you can quickly accelerate your learning curve. The minute you think you know it all is when you will get yourself in trouble. Before you make a single offer, you need to feel confident that you know what you are doing. A proper real estate education will make this happen.
Buying a property for investment purposes is much more different than buying a property to live in. Many new investors tend to look for houses instead of deals. In doing so, they may end up with a great property, but not be able to do anything with it. Focusing on deals means you need to get out there and find leads to work on. One of the biggest mistakes new investors make is thinking that deals will just fall on their lap. You should do something every day to get new leads. This can be done either through your personal marketing efforts, or by looking for motivated sellers. Motivated sellers are not only much easier to work with, but the deals that you get are much stronger. You can either spend all of your time looking at houses that you have no realistic chance in buying, or you could spend half the time focusing on deals. The real estate business is made up of deals, and not just property transactions.
Every action you take in the real estate business should be done with a purpose. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions along the way. Why are you interested in a certain area? What will you do with the property if you get it? Who do you plan on using to do any work? When are you expecting to see a return on your investment? Things won’t always go your way on a deal or on a project. The best investors are those that have planned for every possible contingency. Not only do you need to go in with a plan, but many times you will end up using your back up plan. Diving in with two feet and trying to figure things out as you go oftentimes does not work in real estate. You need to have a plan for everything you do.
All the planning in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t take action on it. Taking action doesn’t mean that you are recklessly making offers on every new listing you see. Only after you do your homework and are educated enough to feel confident should you take action. One of the things you will learn is that there will never be a perfect time to get started. You will most likely have doubts until you get a few deals under your belt. There are investors who have been on waiting on the sidelines for years for the perfect deal to come along. The reason they are waiting is because there is no such thing. You create your fortune by the action you take.
If you are looking for a place to get started, focus on these four areas. With so many different areas of the business to learn, it is impossible to master all of them. Alone, these four areas will not bring you immediate success, but together they will get you on the right path.