14 Things Every Real Estate Investor Should Do Every Single Day

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Every morning I’m awaken by a slobbery Yorkie tongue licking my face; after that, it doesn’t get much better.

I stand in the freezing cold for twenty three minutes while my puppy Charlie leaves his signature on seven different tree trunks followed by a rousing game of “I Wonder How Loud I Can Bark at The Cats To Get The Cops Called.”   It may not be the most pleasant routine to engage in each day, but it’s the path I chose when I decided to get a puppy for Christmas.

The same way a new puppy will change your daily routine, becoming a real estate investor will also change your daily regiment – if you want to succeed. Below I’ve outlined 14 (plus one bonus) items that I try to do each and every day to improve my skills as a real estate investor.

Whether you are just getting started or have been investing for decades, it’s my hope that these daily “to-do” tasks will help you find the success you are longing for. Let’s get started:

1.) Review Your Big Goals

What is it that you are trying to achieve?

  • $10,000 per month in passive cash flow?
  • To quit your job?
  • To flip 24 houses per year?
  • Wholesale 10 houses per month?

Like a GPS in your car dashboard guiding you toward your destination, write your goals down and hang them on your wall so you’ll be continually reminded of where you are headed and you’ll be sure to stay on the right track.

2.) Define Your “Why”

Real estate is not easy, especially when you are in the midst of a stressful or confusing time.  It’s easy to get disheartened and forget why we are working so hard and why we have those big goals we defined above in #1. For example, I’m going through an eviction right now with a rather nasty tenant.  It’s a bit stressful and extremely expensive and I can’t help but think to myself,  “Brandon… is it really worth it?”

You see, those big goals I have are bound to get diluted when emotion enters the picture and I forget why I have those goals. For example, if my goal is to make $10,000 per month in passive cash flow, that’s great BUT I will care a whole lot less about that money when tough times come. However, if I focus on why I want $10,000 per month in cash flow (so I can spend my time with my family and I’ll be able to watch my kids grow up firsthand) there is little chance of that goal becoming diluted. So take a moment each and every day to “define your why.”

3.) Review Your Action Steps

While big goals are great, it can also make you feel overwhelmed. If your goal is to flip 50 houses each year, where do you even start? Therefore, it’s important to break those big goals down into actionable steps. Rather than thinking only about the 50 houses, let’s make a plan for getting the first house flip complete.  First, you need to get your financing lined up. That might mean making 10 phone calls to various hard money lenders this afternoon. Now THAT is an actionable step.

4.) Ask Yourself “Am I Moving the Needle?”

Take a moment each day to ask yourself, “is what I’m doing right now moving me toward my goal, or am I just doing busy work?”  So much of what we do each day makes us feel productive, but fails to “move the needle” and make any dent in your true plans or goals.

I’m reminded of the famed “80/20 rule” popularized by Tim Ferriss in The Four Hour Workweek, which states 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. Are you working on the 20%, or are you keeping busy with the 80%?

For example, you may have a goal to wholesale 10 homes this month, but are you spending all your time choosing the perfect logo for your website? Sending out 1000 direct mail letters will probably move the needle, but choosing red instead of blue is not going to do a thing for your business other than make you feel productive.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Using Direct Mail Advertising to Grow Your Real Estate Business

5.) Evaluate Deals

Evaluating deals doesn’t come naturally to most people, so I think it’s important to spend a few minutes every day analyzing deals.

No, this doesn’t mean you need to sit down with the BiggerPockets Rental Property Calculator and discover every possible nook and cranny of a deal (though, when you are pursuing a deal, you better.) Instead, just learn to do quick math in your head. When you are driving to the grocery store and see that ugly house on main street, ask yourself “How much would I pay for that thing?”

This is when the 50% rule, the 70% rule, the 2% rule, and all those other rules of thumb come in handy. You don’t need to get it perfect, but the more practice you get, the faster you get and the more deals you will get. So make it habit to run the numbers on at least one property each day.

6.) Spend Time With Your Family

It’s easy to get consumed with real estate and forget the ones that all of our efforts are for: our family. Be sure to carve out time every day, no matter how busy you think you are, to put down the cell phone, shut the laptop, and enjoy time with your family.  Don’t worry, there will still be real estate deals when you get back.

7.) Network

Many people think of networking as a formal event where professionals in oversized suits exchange business cards, but this is just one manifestation of it. In reality:

Networking is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. (Tweet This!)

This doesn’t mean being obnoxious and passing out your business card to every stranger you lock eyes with, but allow your passion for real estate to shine forth in your conversations. The most popular question in most conversations tends to be “so, what do you do for a living?”  Use this moment to shine!  You never know when you are going to find your next private lender, motivated seller, tenant, cash buyer, or whoever else you need to take your business to the next level.  Make networking a lifestyle and do it every day!

8.)  Learn One New Thing

“They” say you learn one new thing every day. (I don’t know who “they” refers to, but “they” say a lot of stuff.)

However, I want to take that common saying to a whole new level and encourage you to learn one new thing about real estate investing every day. There are a lot of easy ways to do this, but here are a few of my favorites:

The point is, spend a few minutes each day learning new tricks and strategies and watch your business grow.

9.) Diet and Exercise

Let me ask you a question… have you ever seen a hearse followed by a U-haul?  Probably not – because the truth is: when you die, you can’t take it with you. 

As much fun as wealth, financial freedom, and security is – it’s all temporary. Making $10,000 per month in passive cash flow does you no good if you are dead. Therefore, I’ve included “diet and exercise” on this list because it makes the other items possible by extending your life and helping you live a more fulfilled existence.

People spend thousands of dollars on courses, programs, and classes to help them make more money, but freak out over spending an extra $50 eating organic or $30 for a gym membership. Something is clearly wrong here. So, take at least 20 minutes every single day to get your heart pumping and watch what you eat or you might not be here in 20 years to enjoy the financial future you are working so hard to build.

That said… I’m starting P90x 3 next week. Who’s with me?

10.) Help Someone Else

There are a lot of people out there trapped in a life of mundane, 9-5 monotony – and you hold the key to escape. Why not spend a minute or two helping others get on the same path you are? This is the true spirit of BiggerPockets: real estate education through community.

There are a lot of ways you can do this, like going out to lunch or attending your local real estate clubs, but perhaps the easiest is to simply hop onto the BiggerPockets Forums once a day for ten minutes and answer a question or two. There are a lot of unanswered questions every day, and chances are – you know the answer to some of them.

Keep in mind, you do not need to be an expert to help others. Even if you are just starting out, you can always help others by teaching what you’ve learned so far, sharing your experiences, or simply pointing them to the educational sources that you’ve found helpful in your life.

As an added benefit, not only does teaching someone else benefit them, it also benefits YOU. Teaching is perhaps the greatest way to cement a new topic into your head.

11.) Evaluate Your Systems

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from being a host on The BiggerPockets Podcast is the necessity of systems in business. (After all, nearly every guest has mentioned this aspect as key to their success.) A system is a process or order to the tasks in your business that help you maintain stability and control through a variety of changing circumstances.  For example, having a step by step guide for screening tenants that you follow for every tenant helps to take the guesswork out of running your own business. (In case you are interested in that, I wrote up every single detail of my tenant screening system here for you to use or adopt!)

When just starting out, having well-oiled systems may not seem important, but it’s those very systems which allow you to scale your business without losing your mind. By creating those systems you are able to eventually hand those systems off to other people so you can focus on the activities that only you can do that move the needle for your business.  So take a few minutes every day to evaluate your systems and find ways to improve them.

For two excellent books on this subject, see:

Ultimately, the point is: spend time each day to work ON your business, not just in it. Systems are how you do this.

12.) Read Something Motivational

I find it helpful to spend a few moments each day reading something motivational. As Zig Ziglar says, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”  It doesn’t need to be long, but reading a quick blog post from Seth Godin or Gary Vaynerchuk can get you pumped and motivated for the work you have to do.

13.) Relax

Finally, after all these things you “should do each day” I want to give you the easiest one: take a few minutes every day to relax and have fun. Do something completely unrelated to real estate investing. Watch an episode of Law and Order. Read a bit Game of Thrones. Take a walk around your neighborhood.  By relaxing from “work” you’ll be able to focus more intently when you are working and grow your real estate business even stronger.

14.) Plan Your Tomorrow

One of the last things you should be doing each night before heading to sleep is to plan your tomorrow. By taking five minutes to write down the items you want to accomplish tomorrow, you will accomplish two things:

  1. Empty your mind so you’ll sleep more stress-free
  2. Be able to start working on the most important thing right away in the morning.

Most people wake up, lazily get ready, then spend a while trying to figure out what to do first. By writing down your to-do list the night before, you’ll be able to jump right into your tasks immediately and get far more accomplished than others.

BONUS: #15.) Help Me Out

Finally, (and this is 99% self serving) I hope you’ll do me the honor of leaving me a comment below and sharing this post on your Facebook.  Let me know which item on this list rings most true for you – OR let me know if I forgot something!

Thank you for reading – now go out and get started on your daily to-do list!  I need to go walk my dog…

 

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About Author

Brandon Turner (G+) is the BiggerPockets.com Senior Editor and Community Director. He is also an Active Real Estate Investor (Flips, Apartments, and Buy-and-Hold), Entrepreneur, World Traveler, Third-Person Speaker, and Husband. Come hang out with him on Twitter!

81 Comments

  1. @Brandon – Agree with every single point that you have made here, all 14 of them, #15 requires an action! and that is exactly what I’m doing. Just to stress upon #3, everyone has big goals but it is very important to break it down into the actionable steps and follow through.

    Cheers!

    -Sid

  2. BT very well done, I’m blessed to have my kids 50% of the time thanks to Real Estate!! Is Ben L doing the p90x as well?

  3. Fernando Serrano on

    Another great article. Happy to say I do most of those things… Great validation that I’m not the only one. Every morning in my workout… I’m always listening to bigger pockets podcast.

    You guys are awesome!! Keep doing what you do and helping other investors like me.

  4. Alexander S. Lloyd on

    I agree with all of this and I can’t stress #9 enough! If you can’t work, you can’t eat! It can be difficult to enjoy life with an ailment (if it’s preventive!)

  5. Mohammad Asaduddin(Asad) on

    Well done Brandon. Keeping in mind all the 14 things every day is not easy. My greatest challenge is #11. I think you mean that systems are developed gradually. Can you elaborate please. In #14 another benefit I read somewhere is that once you write down tomorrow’s plan, your subconscious works on it while you sleep.

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Mohammad,

      Yes, systems are developed slowly, but I think the important thing is: always ask yourself, how can I make this work more smoothly and with less stress? And I’d HIGHLY recommend reading those two books mentioned in #11. Thanks!

  6. chris carollo on

    #8 is key for me. I know less and less everyday, the more I can learn everyday the better off I am.

    Thanks for this post!

  7. James Pratt on

    As you pointed out, write YOUR goals down and how to achieve them. Make sure their doable, where lacking educate yourself. Knowledge equals power, power equals control which equals wealth.

    I read my goals every night before going to bed and every morning when I woke up. Keep that up until I mastered each one. When you achieve your goals, raise the bar, stay motivated and excited. Without action and a doable plan all one has is a pipe dream.

  8. Recently overheard:

    Guy #1: “I’m going to really start applying that 80/20 rule in my life.”
    Brandon: “Oh yeah that principle from Tim Ferris.”
    Vilfredo Pareto: “Dude WTF!?”

    :)

  9. Joking aside great post Brandon.
    Lots of good tips and advice that people should take to heart.
    Happy to say that I do several of these things already, others I know I should be doing but have been slacking on and a few I hadn’t thought of but are good ideas that I think I will try to incorporate as well.

    BTW really like the networking tweetable, but there isn’t an actual tweet link.

  10. All great tips. When I was actively looking for more rentals, I analyzed plenty of properties every day. I came up with offer prices that never got submitted, just for practice.

  11. Great information!! Will definitely be keeping this post around for the many times I’m going to need it. Thanks so much!

  12. Great post. We often times come across a lot of blogs that have great content, but are not actionable. You broke it down into plain, simple and daily actions to take. I’d say most successful investors probably do at least half of these. It is hard not to be successful if someone does all of these and is persistent with it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Steve Kozlowski on

    “Move the needle” vs. Feeling Productive. Focus on the important tasks.

    Thanks for a great read!

  14. Chris Gilnack on

    B – Great post. Agree with every one of them. Thanks for taking the time to remind us of what’s important.

    Thanks again!!!

  15. Writing down my goals and reviewing them every day has made a huge impact on my business. I have them written on a white board above my desk and I also copied them on to an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper. I made multiple copies of that sheet and have one beside my bed and another in the john. I review them before I go to sleep and when I’m stinkin’, I’m thinkin’!

  16. I agreed with absolutely everything, including walking the dawg…will be taking lucky number 7 to the bank starting immediately!

    Thank you ALL so much for all of the knowledge and insights that you so generously share.

    Brand spankin’ newbie,

    Annie J

  17. Nice post Brandon, while reading it I made my own version of the 14 items and added my own words to solidify the thoughts in my mind. I am going to go and work on actionable items right now with a call to line up some financing.

    Thanks for the post.

  18. Rod Pittman on

    That was a great reminder. Thanks for sharing. I have been in my new home for 2 1/2 years now and still haven’t put my white board up in my office. Going to do that right now so I can work on my list.

  19. Great article.
    I specially love the idea of putting health in the middle of it as like you stated ” any kind of wealth would stay here and we all would leave this world empty handed.
    Brandon, keep up the good work. I have learned so much from you and biggerpockets.com.

    Good luck.

  20. Jay Masikat on

    Great write-up Brandon….good stuff actually saved it to my Evernote as a shortcut to use everyday to keep me on track!

    Jay

  21. I really need this. Thanks. My “to-do” list was all over the place and nonproductive. I will give this list a try.

  22. Thanks for the list Brandon. It’s a good combination of Gary Keller’s Big Goals philosophy and Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”. One of my leaders shared some great wisdom with me once … “Don’t let your career out-live your family” and it has stuck with me for years. Gotta focus on the family – ain’t that what it’s all about anyway? — Later, ScubaSteve

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Steve,

      I just got “Start with Why” and am loving it so far! Great stuff! And yes, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the biz and forget what it’s all about! Thanks for the comment!

  23. Michael Jobe on

    I really needed this Brandon. As a rookie investor, I’ve been struggling with the things I should be doing everyday but you just provided the blueprint. This list is getting a permanent spot somewhere within my office immediately!

  24. John Elmenhe on

    Brandon- I agree 1000% with what you and “they” (whoever they are :) ) on everything you said. This may sound kind of strange, but your “14 Things Every Real Estate Investor Should Do” reminds me of Wilson’s 14 Points during WW1 (hopefully you were awake in history class :).

    All 14 are definitely worthy steps to take in achieving your ideal lifestyle as Wilson’s were worthy steps to achieving an ideal world.

    Thanks~ I really needed that today!

  25. Awesome post Brandon! Since you listed #5 as evaluate deals everyday, I also think making offers everyday should be in the list as well. If you’re evaluating them; you may as we’ll make the offer too. I need to do that myself and know that I’ll get more deals by making more offers.

    Secondly, I know networking is important to our business but we never hear any how to articles,posts, or podcasts on the subject. While I think I’m an OK networker I’m always looking for new techniques to improve.

  26. This aticle is so spot on, every single point. I don’t know you, but I feel like we could be best friends based on this article – in a totally non-creepy way. Great article!

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Cliff,

      Great question (and something I’ll probably write on soon!)

      1.) Interact on the BiggerPockets Forums daily. Even for 2 minutes.
      2.) Use BiggerPockets.com/meet to find active investors in your area, within 50 miles or so.
      3.) Take a local investor, agent, or property manager out to lunch at least once a week.
      4.) Look for local meetups, at least once a month.

      Hope that helps!

  27. Daniel Sanchez on

    Eating right and exercising is all too important. It’s a great stress reliever when hitting the real estate roadblocks and is a good reset button for the mind…awesome post, Brandon!

  28. Good ideas here Brandon! I’m a pretty new REI. I want to have short work weeks, but also be productive. I have been doing many of these things already. You had some new ideas for me too. Which I will be working on this week.

  29. Toni Ricketts on

    Hi Brandon, as fresh meat to the real estate industry, the one thing that stood out to me was “Define your Why”. Most people around me like the idea of a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks and I also liked that idea until I got bored. I’m changing courses in my life and defining WHY, not just for my parents, but for myself is a very important starting point. Thank you for this list!!

  30. As always, great article! It’s not always easy to do #13 because of the million and one things a lot of us need to cram into a mere 24 hours but thanks for reminding us of the importance to just take time to relax and breathe….

  31. stephanie willoughby on

    Great post, as always, Brandon. Will you post for me all the parts of your business for which you have systems? You mentioned tenant screening, but what else do you have ‘automated’? Thanks! Love the podcast, btw!

  32. Wonderful article!! Thanks Brandon! As someone just trying to get started in real estate this is very encouraging because it isn’t overwhelming and I can start tackling these to do’s each day. Once again thank you for motivating me!

  33. Jeri O'Mahoney on

    This is great practical advice for staying on track. Thanks! Kudos for including diet and exercise. In addition to protecting your health, I find it helps me with focus and endurance on those long, difficult days. I also think that adequate sleep is huge. As I get older, I find I just can’t muddle through on a few hours of sleep each night.

  34. Very good list – I would add and maybe it is part of the the systems point: build your team. Many of the steps we do can be leveraged to others. This ties into the point about helping others. It is also important because we all need to have help with those things we generally don’t like to do or are not the best at. One of my coaching clients is an absolute gem at developing relationships. We are focused on that skill for finding deals and funding partners. I come when she has found properties that meet our criteria and help convert interested funding sources to commitments.

  35. Brandon,
    Great ideas as usual! I liked #4 in particular, as it’s easy to get caught up in ‘busy work’ and feel productive, when you really haven’t done anything today to move your business forward.
    I may have come to this thread late, but it’s exactly what I needed to read today to get back on course. Thanks
    P.S. How is P90X3 so far?

  36. @Brandon Turner thank you for this. I needed this TODAY. Planning my tomorrow and reminding myself that a day isn’t productive unless movement towards my goals is happening (not organizing the office) are key points for me. So glad I found Bigger Pockets.

    thanks again!

    Recia

  37. @brandon #9 is so important. How can you enjoy your success if you’re not in healthy shape? Keeping your mind, body & soul healthy is key. Meditation before bed helps me clear my mind.

    Thanks,
    Paula

  38. Cheryl Griffin on

    These are great…thanks Brandon! A twist on #8 that’s also important is to do 1 thing that stretches you.

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