Real Estate Investing Basics

3 Pillars of Success in Real Estate Investing

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Business Management, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice
186 Articles Written
success in real estate investing

It seems that more and more people are leaving their day jobs to go into real estate investing fulltime. I had a good friend call me up today to set up a lunch meeting to discuss this very thing. Having done the same thing myself in 2005, I can appreciate the apprehension and anxiety associated with leaving the security of a 9 to 5 to chase the greener pastures of real estate investing.

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Back then, I did my best to develop a business plan, but didn’t really know what to expect until I just dove in head first.  Looking back over the last 8 years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be successful (and unsuccessful) in this business. I’ve tried a lot of different approaches and have interacted with a number of other investors who have done the same.

Having gleaned some amount of perspective over this period of time,  I believe there are 3 key pillars of focus that enable a real estate investor to be successful.

The Three Pilars of Success in Real Estate Investing

1.) Develop a Niche –

One of the great things about real estate investing is the fact that there are a number of different strategies and angles from which to approach this business. I believe that one of the reasons certain investors do really well is because of their ability to hone in on a specific strategy, market area, property type, etc. and become the go-to person for that particular niche.  The more you focus on one specific thing, the better and more knowledgeable you become at it. In addition, you can develop a reputation over time for being the expert or top provider for that particular niche which can create a network of potential vendors, buyers, customers, etc.

2.) Marketing –

Regardless of what aspect of real estate investing you choose to focus on, you will always need to be an expert marketer. Too many investors have the “build it and they will come” mentality when it comes to real estate. Any successful real estate investor will tell you that marketing is absolutely one of the most important components of this business. Whether it be online marketing, email newsletters, social media, direct mail, radio, print, signs, etc., putting together the right marketing program and allocating the necessary amount of resources towards this is absolutely crucial to the success of any real estate investing business.

3.) Systems –

Once you've figured out your approach to real estate as well as a marketing strategy, it's important to have systems in place to handle the business that is generated as a result of these efforts. As I mentioned, I've been at this fulltime for 7 years and this is going to be the first year that I've bought and sold over 100 houses in a single year.I believe our business has been able to scale up because of our implementation of systems. There is no way that we could be doing this volume without very clear roles, programs, databases, etc. executed throughout the office and team.

Finding Success in Real Estate Isn’t Easy

For any new investor looking to create a business in real estate investing, I think these 3 pillars are an excellent place to start. Yes, it will take some amount of experience and education to fine tune your ability to effectively implement a game plan around these 3 areas, but I believe they should always be a primary focus.  And know that you will probably always be on a path of improvement in these areas as you gain experience and as your business grows.

Ken Corsini is a seasoned real estate investor and business owner based in Woodstock, Georgia. Ken is best known for his role on HGTV’s hit show “Flip or Flop Atlanta,” and has flipped over 800 hou...
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    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Hey Ken – nice summary of the real estate game! I appreciate your thoughts. I really like your point about having “Systems.” That is key in being able to scale and not be overwhelmed. Thanks for the post!
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Hi Ken, Great post! I just left my 9-5 three months ago and headed into REI full-time. Everything (still) thinks I’m nuts. The apprehension and anxiety about the switch started even before I quit my 9-5, but every day that I can work from anywhere and in my pajamas is worth it! The challenge is way more than I ever experienced in corporate, but what a welcomed challenge. The only thing I would tack on to the part about finding your niche, which is so true, is find your niche while you are still with your 9-5 job. If you dive in head first to REI, your niche will find you. Let that all happen while you still have a paycheck coming in. Then once your niche hits you, expand on that, and pretty soon you will have to leave your 9-5 job because you have so much REI business tying you up. Where are you in Atlanta? I’m in Atlanta for a couple months now working with investors, I’m from here also, and I work mostly with turnkeys myself. Would love to connect with you! Ali
    Ken Corsini
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Ali – Congrats on “unplugging” from the 9-5 grind! I agree – thoroughly researching what niche you want to capitalize on is probably a good thing to do before you dive in head first. Although be prepared to adapt and change course if you find that there are other niche’s you are more suited for. Feel free to reach out to me through biggerpockets or through the link to my website!
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Good insights. I would add “discipline.” I never even tried to have a business plan when I started 8 years ago (too) and still don’t, but I have around sixty paying tenants and tenant-buyers, and am up to a net worth of about $3.5m. I am a distracted investor. Like many, I waste a lot of time online. I understand the value of systems and hired an assistant last year, but he mostly helps with paperwork, data entry, and tax prep. It’s hard to have systems–or find people to run them–when every deal is structured differently, and my head is full full full of all this knowledge I’d be hard-pressed to codify into a system. I don’t know how (and kinda don’t want) to scale up higher and grow it bigger, partly cos I like to know my tenants and properties, and don’t want to pay $$ to a mgmt company (or more than one) for a bunch of SFH and duplexes scattered from MN to TX. I’m not a model investor, and have done pretty much every kind of deal from Realtor buys to tax liens to no-down subject to’s. I know more about RE law and evictions than ANY attorney I’ve ever met. But I know for a fact that when I am disciplined I am most productive. And you know what? I know I could grow, be bigger, hire more people. But I don’t, I guess cos I feel happy with what’s on my plate. Just seems like there are too many pieces of too many puzzles in my world to systemize, so I don’t. But I do welcome any innovations that help free up my time. Even as I’m online, working, and typing this post at 5:45 on a Saturday morning, I know that this is fun for me.
    Ken Corsini
    Replied over 7 years ago
    Thanks for the comments. To your point, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “model investor.” Everybody has their own opinions and preferences as to how they want to run a business. If you are content the way things are – by all means, keep at it!
    Catharine Bower
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Nice post Ken! I think before you enter into any real estate deal, ask yourself what your goals are. It’s important to get complete information about real estate or any business first. Also it’s essential to know real estate property in which cities will bring more profit.