Since I started sharing our real estate journey, I’ve gotten several messages on how to get started in real estate and the answer to this question is simple, by actually doing it. This is the answer to almost anything in life. However, I know it’s easier said than done.
I wish I could say that it was that simple for me. I obsessed with becoming a real estate investor for 7 years before taking any action. In 2015, I even incorporated Moonstone Realty Group LLC because I wanted to ensure that I would remain committed to that goal. However, it wasn’t until 2019 that I decided to take the leap. I even had a logo, business cards, a credit card and everything.
I had this 10 year plan on all the steps that I needed to take before I could get started. I had to take an infinite number of courses, get more hands on experience, read books, watch educational videos, get a master’s degree in real estate, you name it! I danced to this song for 7 years until I finally did it. Mind you, I already had 3 years of experience working as a property manager.
The irony of it all is that the reason I finally decided to take action was to prove a point. My boss at the time, a real estate investor, sat me down to discuss the future of the company and he told me that I could either grow with him as he built his real estate empire or stay small to pursuit my Moonstone Realty dream. You can imagine how I felt. He was just beginning to build his real estate portfolio when he hired me. This was my chance to get the hands on experience I wanted, so I quit my job in public accounting and jumped on this opportunity. I was with him from the beginning helping him turn around and grow his portfolio. When I got on board, his delinquency was to the roof, had lots of vacancies and the management was a complete mess. We turned his business around within 6 months. He was able to refinance and double his income within that timeframe. I was on the front line handling everything from the accounting, operations, renovation, financing, the team, everything! I busted my ass working crazy hours to get the job done and for what? I was fulfilling someone else’s dream instead of my own and clearly I already had the tools I needed to get started, but was too scared to do it. I know my boss had no malicious intent when he said that to me and I hold no grudge. Working with him gave me the skills I now utilize as a real estate investor. While it hurt, I am grateful that he said it to me. Maybe he was just trying to give me a little nudge.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and do it all over again. If I hadn’t been so scared, I would probably be a full time investor by now. However, I do recognize that I wasn’t ready then, but not because I didn’t have the knowledge, but because I wasn’t in the right mindset and… I was a financial wreck as well.
I told myself that I couldn’t do it then because I needed to do XYZ before getting started. I didn’t believe that I could do it then, so I didn’t even bother doing the simple things like getting my financial situation sorted out. Why would I? I still had 5 more years.
Oh well, like my mom said to me the other day “You live and you learn”.
So I am sharing this because I see a lot of you getting stuck in finding the right time, in getting everything sorted it out before jumping in and letting fear stop you from getting started.
I get it, it’s scary! Investing in real estate is a big commitment. It’s not like you can buy or sell with a click of a button. The financial commitment is a lot more than any other investment type. The thing is that if you have been circling around the idea of doing this, then you should at least give it a try.
I still recommend that you do a little bit of homework before getting started to build a foundation. However, don’t get hung up on knowing it all before getting started. BiggerPockets is a really nice platform for real estate investors. They have a forum, podcasts, books, blogs, etc. This has been my primary source for knowledge. They recently launched the Real Estate Rookie podcast which is good for everyone new to investing.
Here is the thing, you will never know it all. Even now, Ryan and I are learning new things every single day. The fear factor will never go away either. It gets less scary as you become more experienced. However, still scary. I mean, you are buying based on the assumption that things today will either remain the same or get better. Even if you factor in some contingencies, it could all go wrong. For example, do you think anybody anticipated COVID? No.
Even with all the setbacks, uncertainties and potential risk of loss, I still believe real estate investing is worth it. The reason I prefer real estate over other investment vehicles is because I have some control over its performance. I can renovate and exponentially increase my income and the value of the property. You can’t do that with stocks. Plus I get some comfort on the fact that I can touch it and I can see it. However, it’s not for everyone and plenty of people have done it, decided it’s not for them and moved on.
I should also point out that investing in real estate doesn’t mean you can’t also invest else where. While, I am currently focused on the real estate portion, I also have investments in stocks through my retirement accounts and recently began investing in notes via Groundfloor.com. You can also elect to invest in real estate in a more passive way like buying REIT stocks or participating in real estate syndications. There are so many options and there is no right way.
The point here is, don’t get stuck in the details and start taking the steps necessary to get started. This might mean getting your financial situation sorted out, saving money, increasing your credit score, get a realtor, start looking at properties, getting an educational foundation of real estate investing and so on. Three really good books to get you started are “Invest in Real Estate” by Brandon Turner and Joshua Dorkin, “Rental Property Investing” by Brandon Turner and/or “Retire Early with Real Estate” by Chad Carson.
Don’t wait like I did. You might regret it later! You can do this. Start with baby steps, but just get started.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help.