Nothing is more coveted by today’s greatest investors than a fundamentally sound real estate education. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a better way to know for sure that you are starting off on the right foot, or that you are prepared for what’s next. It’s worth noting, however, that a proper real estate education doesn’t commence once you are already investing in the industry, but rather before your first deal gets underway. While many people may not even realize it, there is plenty to be learned before you even dip your toe in the waters of real estate investing. All things considered, your real estate education starts way before you even think.
And, as it turns out, there are three specific things I wish I knew before I started investing more than a decade ago. In no particular order, here are the three things I wish I knew before I got what I consider to be a real estate education.
Real Estate Education 101
1. No Matter What, There’s A System
We have all heard it before: there are never enough hours in the day. There isn’t a single investor that couldn’t benefit from adding an hour or two to the end of each and every day. Think about how much more you could get done if days were twenty-six hours long, or even twenty-seven. It’s worth noting, however, that there are no exceptions — there is no secret that will somehow grant savvy investors more hours in a day. We are each given twenty-four hours, but I digress. Realizing success as an investor has less to do with working more hours and more to do with maximizing the hours you spend actually working. Having said that, I maintain that today’s most prolific investors are the direct result of working smarter, not harder. And while I can’t promise you an additional hour at the end of every day, I am confident I can help you become more efficient with your time.
As a new investor, there is one, single concept that should enable you to become more efficient and optimize the time you are given on a daily basis: systemization. As its name suggests, systemization is the act of creating a step-by-step process for each individual task in your business. Small business systems, as they are often referred to, are entirely capable of breaking down complex processes into a more structured course of action; they are essentially blueprints for how things should be done in order to achieve the most optimal results. Perhaps even more importantly, systems allow investors to remove themselves from the more menial tasks and put someone else in charge without impacting the results. A good system can be implemented by just about anyone and still produce the same results, and therein lies the true benefits of systemization.
Not only will a good system optimize every task businesses are confronted with, but it will also allow for you (the investor) to free yourself from menial tasks and focus on more important activities — those that produce money. What’s more, there isn’t a task I have found that can’t be systemized. Whether it’s ordering office supplies or making an offer on your next deal, it’s entirely possible to create a system that can replicate successful results. The investors that realize this concept can translate to every task in their business are the ones that will find themselves with “more” hours in the day. After all, if you aren’t stuck ordering office supplies every Monday, you will ultimately have more time to allocate elsewhere.
2. Nothing Trumps Habitual Learning
There isn’t an investor out there that would advise against furthering your education — not a successful one, at least. In fact, I am convinced that one’s propensity towards educational endeavors is critical to realizing success on a higher level. At the very least, an inherent knowledge of the industry you work in is your greatest asset. At its pinnacle, however, knowledge is absolute power. Nothing, as far as I am concerned, can give you a greater advantage over the competition than a sound real estate education. But simply retaining the knowledge you have managed to build up to a certain point is nowhere near enough to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced real estate landscape; you have to strive to continue learning.
It’s no longer enough to be content with the knowledge you have — no matter how competent you are. Instead of resting on your laurels, and settling for what you already know, strive to learn something new everyday. In fact, go as far as scheduling time in your already busy schedule to educate yourself on something new. I maintain that the hours right before you go to bed and right after you wake up are great for fitting in some learning time. Perhaps you could commit to reading a book or even listening to a lecture. No matter which education platform you choose, commit to it on a regular basis. For it’s not only the knowledge you will gain from continuing your education that will benefit your investing endeavors, but the habits you pick up along the way, too.
The best investors, at least that I am aware of, aren’t forged by the mere concept of learning, but rather by the continued pursuit of knowledge. I maintain that the secret to investing success lies in an unbridled thirst for information.
3. Real Estate Is A People Business
I am confident in saying the most important tool an investor can exercise on a daily basis is their own real estate education. However, the real estate investing landscape, as I am sure you have heard before, is one that was forged on the backs of relationships. So while I do maintain that your education is the most important tool in your arsenal, the ability to establish a working rapport with others is a very close second. It’s not like you haven’t heard it before: real estate is, and will always be, a people business. The relationships you establish in the real estate industry, and even the ones you neglect, could have overwhelming ramifications on the way your business develops. The sooner you learn that, the better.
Just about everyone you meet is a viable contact. And whether or not their immediate impact remains to be seen, that’s not to say they couldn’t be of assistance to you somewhere down the road. So I implore you; place an emphasis on building relationships early and often in your career. Few things will prove more valuable to the forward mobility of your business than a functioning relationship with someone that has the means to do what you aren’t able to.
Getting Ready For Tomorrow, Yesterday
A proper real estate education begins well before you even step into the role of an investor. In fact, the responsibilities of an investor are so wide and varied that just about everything you learn can be applied to this particular field. However, there are some things that have proven to be more valuable to investors over the course of their entire career. Those principles I touched on above are essentially invaluable in today’s market, and there is no reason you couldn’t benefit from them as well. So if you are looking to continue your real estate education, be sure to include what I discussed here.