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Five Simple Mistakes Many Newbie Real Estate Investors Make – and How to Avoid Them

Sharon Vornholt
4 min read
Five Simple Mistakes Many Newbie Real Estate Investors Make – and How to Avoid Them

Does this sound familiar?

You have scheduled your very first appointment to look at a property, and you are trying so hard not to look like you are a newbie real estate investor. You’ve done your homework; attended every local REIA meeting for the past 6 months, read numerous books (like these, the top 21 best books for real estate investors!), listened to tapes and CD’s and you have attended every seminar in your area. You spend most of your evenings here on BiggerPockets as well as on other forums and websites trying to soak up as much information as you can.

But on the day of your very first appointment all you can think about is that you are sure they will figure out you are a fraud; that you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

All I can say is “welcome to the club”. This has been just about every new real estate investor’s experience.

Today Is the Day You Look At Your Very First Property

The day has finally come to look at your first property. You get in the car and drive to the house to meet with the seller. You’re not sure this is even a motivated seller, but you need the practice so you set up the appointment anyway.

Pulling up to the house you start to feel pretty good about this meeting. You get out of the car, walk up to the door and shake hands with the seller. After a while you settle into an easy conversation asking questions about the property along the way. You walk all through the house taking notes and snapping pictures with your camera. Finally it’s time to go. You shake hands again; thank the seller for their time and leave.

What the Heck Just Happened?

Once you’re back in the car you are actually feeling pretty good about the meeting. You’ve just met with your very first motivated seller. You’re over the hump … or are you? That’s when it hits you like a ton of bricks that you’ve really messed up.

You didn’t try to close the deal or even tell the seller what to expect from you next.

When you’re a newbie real estate investor, you will almost always go back to your office and call the seller back with an offer. Not only is that OK, but it is the best thing for you and your seller. It would be much worse to throw out an offer without doing your homework, than to simply tell them that you will call the next day with an offer on the property after you have looked at the numbers.

But you didn’t do that. You were nervous and you just shook hands and left. Now you have to call them back and have what is sure to be an awkward conversation.

The Cure for Sidestepping Newbie Mistakes

There are some tried and true “remedies” for avoiding some of the most common mistakes while curing yourself of the newbie blues. Here are just a few you can try:

Avoiding Newbie Mistake #1

Always let the seller know what comes next. They need to be told exactly what to expect. You also want to be sure to send the seller a thank you note after the appointment for giving you the opportunity to look at their house and make an offer. Remember that they didn’t have to choose you.

4 Other Common Newbie Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Newbie Mistake #2; Showing Up With Cheap Business Cards.

Everything is about “perception” in business and the image you portray sets the tone right from the beginning. So get a proper business card. Don’t show up with one of those cheap perforated business cards you buy at the local big box office supplies store and print yourself. They scream, “I’m a newbie”. Spend a few dollars with a company like VistaPrint and get some professional business cards. They look great and are very affordable. Also don’t be tempted to settle with the free cards they offer. They have their company name printed on the back of them, and everyone will think you are so new you can’t afford business cards.

Newbie Mistake #3; Sending Out Sloppy Direct Mail Pieces.

This one is simple; don’t send out sloppy direct mail pieces. They don’t have to be fancy, but they do need to portray your business in a professional manner. Be sure all of your contact information is correct, double-check for spelling errors and just make sure your mail pieces accurately covey the image you want to portray.

Newbie Mistake #4; Not Having a Website.

I know I have just about beaten this topic to death, but get a basic business website. One of the first opinions potential motivated sellers will form about you and your company will come from your website. Everyone looks up the company they plan to do business with. I am partial to Wordpress sites, because they have the ability to grow with you as your business grows. But whatever you choose be sure that it has a simple contact form so that’s it’s easy for sellers to contact you. Just a reminder; you can get this done for $5 on fiverr.com.

Newbie Mistake #5; Not Portraying Yourself as a Seasoned Real Estate Investor

It’s actually pretty easy to look like a seasoned real estate investor by making just a few changes to your business and by acting confident (even if you aren’t feeling it at that moment). As they say, “fake it until you make it”. It’s not about fooling anyone, but rather just not announcing to the world that you are a newbie. Simple things like looking the seller in the eyes while extending a firm handshake will go a long way toward accomplishing this.

Do you have some more tips to share for not looking like a newbie real estate investor?

Photo Credit: striatic

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.