I had someone ask me a question recently about getting started in real estate.
She was losing her job and wanted to know which course to buy so she could replace her income quickly.
Getting another job just wasn’t something she wanted to do. She was definitely looking for the “Easy Button”.
This particular question and her personal dilemma just opened up a whole bunch concerns for me most of which she was completely unaware of.
The Traveling Seminar Gurus
I had to tell her that there was no course that she could buy and study from beginning to end, that would prepare her to replace her current income immediately. This gal was so disillusioned. And if the truth be told, she really wasn’t so sure I was correct in what I was telling her.
After all, everyone says you can make a lot of money with real estate investing with no previous experience, and little or none of your own money down. She then went on to tell me about how easy it looked on all of the shows on TV.
And … she had just attended one of the events in her city that the “traveling seminar folks” put on. The problem was that she just didn’t have the 5 figure investment required to make her dream a reality. If only she had the cash or big credit card …..
I told her that making that big investment with absolutely zero experience was a terrible mistake.
You Have to Invest in Yourself
I am a big believer in investing in yourself. Most successful real estate investors I know personally have spent a great deal of time and money on their education. Sure you can skip this part; and years from now you will be exactly where you are today or close to it.
But there is a time to shell out your money on for this education and spending well up into 5 figures when you have absolutely no experience is insane.
I asked this woman if she belonged to her local REIA. She admitted that she wasn’t a member and had not attended a single meeting. She just didn’t see the point in joining. After all, she hadn’t bought any property yet.
Then I asked her if she had read any books, blogs or visited any sites like BiggerPockets which are all free resources. You can guess what the answer was. I guess she wasn’t much of a reader. She was just looking for the “Easy Button”.
You Have to Start at the Beginning
The simple fact of the matter is that there is a path you need to follow for success with real estate investing. You have start at the beginning and do the things that constitute “Learning real estate investing 101”.
I am talking about things like:
- Joining your local REIA, there is always value in these groups.
- Reading books, blogs and sites like BiggerPockets
- Attend a few no cost or low cost weekend seminars
- Quit watching TV every night and listen to one of the many free webinars
- Sign up for one of the many free live Q&A calls like the one I’m having this week
Take advantage of all of the basic things that are available to you at no cost or at a low cost. These things are part of your initial learning process. Then you can move on to more advanced programs.
Take a Field Trip.
The next thing is to actually get out of the house and do some “research”. Here are 3 things you can do:
- Visit open houses. Spend some time on Sunday afternoons and go look at houses in your target areas. You will get to know the neighborhoods, learn what houses are selling for in those areas, and you will make some contacts with real estate agents or even possibly real estate investors in the process.
- Do some “driving for dollars”. If your marketing budget is next to zero, put some gas in the car and take a spin. Pay special attention to your target neighborhoods and be on the lookout for vacant or abandoned properties. Jot down those addresses and send those folks a simple postcard. You can pick up blank cards at any office supply place.
- Look for houses being rehabbed. See a dumpster? While you are driving, stop by any houses that are being rehabbed and introduce yourself. You never know what opportunities you may find to network with other investors.
When you are just getting started, the biggest investment you should be making is with your time. Spend your time wisely in the right places, and you will reap huge rewards down the road.
Photo Credit: josémaría