You can have all of the desire in the world, but unless you have an idea of what you are doing, it will be difficult to get anywhere in the real estate industry. There is a tendency to want to jump right into the business with two feet and get going as soon as possible. However, such actions may be little more than blind ambition. While the effort is admirable, it is often a recipe for disaster. Instead of jumping right in, it is far better to take some additional time and learn about what it is you intend to do. If you know what you are doing and how you intend to do it, the chances of you being successful will be far greater than if you just blindly got started. A solid real estate education doesn’t always guarantee success, but it certainly gives you the best opportunity.
There is a large segment of new investors that think they know the business because of what they saw on TV. Watching home flip and repair shows may be a good way to familiarize yourself with the business, but it is far from a dependable source. You don’t need to be an expert in every area, but you should have a good idea of what it is you are looking to do and how you will achieve it. Start by identifying how you plan to invest and which market you will focus on. Between wholesaling, rehabbing, buy-and-hold rentals and more, there are quite a few areas to cover. Throw in specific markets, property types and price ranges and you can lose your mind trying to be an expert on every nuance of the business. If you really want to educate yourself, you should start with figuring out your goals and then acquire education on how you can close deals that fit its criteria.
As you educate yourself, it is important to know why something is as it is rather than what is being done. The same concept can be applied to every step of your education. Regardless if you are coming from a real estate background or have never bought an investment property before, you should be open to learning as much as you can. You should be like a little kid and constantly ask “why” in every scenario. If you don’t ask questions, you can still be successful. However, you won’t know the process that separates good investors from great ones.
There is a lot that goes into learning about the investing business. Instead of trying to learn everything, focus on what is really important to you. Tax lien and foreclosure auctions may be interesting, but unless you plan on attending one in the near future you should bypass learning about it for now. If short sales are your niche, find out everything about the process. Start with why a homeowner would do a short sale and work through every step of the transaction on their end. When you have down time you can try to absorb as many other areas as possible, but stick to what is pertinent in your current business.
As you start to close more deals and talk to more people, you will become interested in different areas of the business. You may never have thought you would like some of them. The best way to really educate yourself is by doing. You can read as much as possible online or hear about experiences from others at investment meetings, but unless you get involved you won’t truly know what to do. Once you feel you know what you are doing, get started on a deal that carries low risk. You should have a good team of realtors, attorneys and lenders around you to quickly cover any errors you make. Oftentimes you will learn more from these errors than the successes you have. Education is only worthwhile if you put it to use.
The real estate business is constantly changing. Many investors had no idea of what a short sale was ten years ago. However, they made them a focal point of their business when the market collapsed. It was essentially conform or succumb to the market. You need to stay on top of the market and always strive to learn something new. If you rest on your laurels and think you know everything, you will be in for a rude awakening when the market changes. Instead of wasting 20 minutes on your favorite social media site, you can use this time to catch up on what is new in the business. You never know when you are going to meet someone who wants to talk real estate and can change the way you do business. A simple reference to something you read online or in a newspaper could make all the difference. Your education should be continuous and something you look to build on every day.
The more you know, the more confident you will be. Learning the business may not seem glamorous, but it is the backbone of your success.