3 Reasons Why Success in Real Estate Investing Doesn’t Happen Overnight

by | BiggerPockets.com

Real estate investing is hard! Wait, let me clarify. Real estate investing doesn’t require a college degree or a high IQ. Anyone can do it. Real estate investing is hard because there are so many options and components to it.

While it may look like some people become successful overnight, it’s just not the case. What people don’t see is the behind-the-scenes time and effort it takes for anyone to be a success. I’m sure you’ve heard the famous “10,000 Hour Rule” which suggests that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of a concerted effort to make any big feat work. Let’s talk real estate specifically and drill down as to why getting rich overnight as an investor just doesn’t happen. There may be people out there who were born into a wealthy family of investors and get rich overnight because it is handed to them, but ignore them for now because most of us aren’t them. Plus, the same efforts I’m about to point out had to be done by the family members who handed it to them at some point anyway.

The following are Three Essentials to be a Successful Real Estate Investor

  1. Education and Learning
  2. Building Teams
  3. Finding Your Vibe

Let’s look at those in closer detail:

Why These Essentials Don’t Happen Overnight for Real Estate Investors

    1. Education and Learning Let’s be honest. There is A LOT of learning required to be an investor. To make it worse, not a bit of that learning were we were taught in school. When I became interested in finding a way out of my corporate job (which was after only about 30 minutes into my first day), I started reading every book I could find.  I was constantly online researching things, I was going to seminars, watching webinars, networking and trying to talk to anyone I could find who might be able to teach me something, and thinking all the time about what may work for me. This went on for three years before anything even started coming out of it. Years. Yes, years. I consider myself to be pretty smart and quick on the uptake, so it’s not a matter of not understanding what I was studying, but there is just really that much to learn.

      To add to that initial time I invested into learning, now I am out of corporate and in the industry full-time but I am still constantly ordering new books and looking for new events to attend. As I continue to work, I am always finding a weakness or an area that I don’t understand as well as I should, so I immediately look for a source to teach me whatever that is. In addition, these weaknesses I find while I’m working could have only been found by doing the work. No book could tell me everything I would need to learn ahead of time. I laid some great groundwork when it came to building a knowledge foundation, but only experience can teach you everything you need to know.

      There is so much to learn and so much on-going training required to be a successful real estate investor, it just can’t happen overnight.

    2. Building TeamsUnless you’re lucky enough to meet one person who has teams in place already and you can piggyback off of those, it takes a long time to build your own teams. Even if you know someone who knows everyone, chances are his team won’t be your dream team. No two investors do everything identical, so how can his perfect team be your perfect team?

      Building teams requires you to develop trust. Trust is hard to find in life in general and real estate is no exception. Trust takes time to build. Even more discouraging, trust can be broken even after a lot of time building it. It’s an on-going requirement that must be maintained through the life of an investment.

      Trial and error is also an essential part of building the right teams. A big reason being that you don’t always know what it is you really need until you dive in. When I first started hiring property managers, I didn’t know yet what I liked and didn’t like in a manager, so it wasn’t until I hired my first manager that I realized what qualities I wasn’t okay with. I had to fire that first manager, then knowing what it was I wanted I had to interview countless other managers over the course of a year (yes, a year), before I found a manager I really liked and trusted.

      Acquiring teammates through trial and error and building trust takes time. There is no other way to build. Therefore, building your dream teams can’t happen overnight.

    3. Finding Your VibeTying the ideas of learning and team building together, a really big point needs to be made here.

      The investments that resonate with you are likely not to be the investments that resonate with other investors you meet.

      Yes, there are only so many ways to invest in real estate, but within those methods are infinite numbers of ways to accomplish them. The types of investments that resonate with you and how you actually go about succeeding in those investments is specific to you and only you. For example, it would make all the sense in the world to me to have first learned to flip properties rather than investing in rental properties because I would have earned the capital that would let me avoid the constant struggle to find new creative financing methods every time I wanted another rental property. However, it just didn’t happen that way. I didn’t seek out rental properties or rental property knowledge, but it found me instead. Not to get all hippy or transcendent on you but when I do the prep work and then something finds me, I have to think that thing is what resonates with me. I’ve done amazing with rental properties since then. Had I forced myself into flipping I believe it would have been a constant struggle, and possibly an unsuccessful struggle at that, just because it wasn’t what clicked with me at the time. Not to say I won’t ever flip, and I’m thinking about getting into it now, but I have to make sure it clicks before I do.

      Because no one knows what will click with you, no one can tell you how to be an instant success. Not only do they not know what fits you best, you may not either! Taking time to feel out what really meshes with you takes research and experience, and therefore can’t happen overnight.

Well Isn’t That Depressing?

Sounds like it, huh? No, it’s not depressing. If you are only in real estate to get rich quick, not only is it going to backfire but you are missing the whole point. The point of investing is to build long-term wealth and financial security. Nothing long-term can be built overnight. Even if you are lucky enough to score a huge return in a short amount of time, if you are lacking the education and experience in how to do something smart with that money, you are going to lose it anyway. So there goes that long-term wealth idea! Just ask past lottery winners.

Moral of the Story

Be patient and put a concerted effort into it. It will pan out, promise. Just don’t get frustrated and quit. The end goal of course is part of the experience, but it is really more about the journey. So live it up!

Any stories about pursuing an investment strategy that really wasn’t you? What happened? Can anyone actually tell a story about an overnight real estate investor success?

Photo: Joiseyshowaa

About Author

Ali Boone

Ali Boone is a lifestyle entrepreneur, business consultant, and real estate investor. Ali left her corporate job as an Aerospace Engineer to follow her passion for being her own boss and creating true lifestyle design. She did this through real estate investing, using primarily creative financing to purchase five properties in her first 18 months of investing. Ali’s real estate portfolio started with pre-construction investments in Nicaragua and then moved towards turnkey rental properties in various markets throughout the U.S. With this success, she went on to create her company Hipster Investments, which focuses on turnkey rental properties and offers hands-on support for new investors and those going through the investing process. She’s written nearly 200 articles for BiggerPockets and has been featured in Fox Business, The Motley Fool, and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. She still owns her first turnkey rental properties and is a co-owner and the landlord of property local to her in Venice Beach.


  1. Robert Watkins on

    Hi Ali,
    Thank you for sharing this story it comes at a great time for me. I have flipped houses and almost lost big on the last one I did, which made me to cautious and haven’t flipped since.
    Most of the absense is due to taking a step back and learning more about creative finance.
    I just recently finished my first “subject to” partnership with a lot of help from Shawn Watkins and Angel Brongest two very amazing people who are always willing to help answering questions and guiding the path of getting to the end result is priceless. I have a few friends who own lots of rental properties and it does take time, lots of time. With this said, I appreciate your story, as this business is a process of constant learning new ideas and ways to help people and create a win win postion.

    • Ali Boone

      Thanks, Robert! I appreciate the feedback and the insight into your experience. I will say, if you enjoy flipping, don’t let one flop get you down or steer you away. Those will inevitably happen. But it sounds like you are doing some great things learning about creative financing. I’d love to hear about some of the things you’re learning! Creative financing = ticket to success.

  2. Chris Clothier

    Ali –

    I always tell audiences when I am speaking that I started as a fix n flipper in Denver, CO. and what a mess I was. I confused being lucky with being good and lost a friend, partner and even my shirt over s nightmare house. The reality at the time is that I was a great business person who was making a living as an entrepreneur and business builder and fixing and flipping houses was not my specialty. I found my niche as an investor when I started to invest in long-term properties and assembled (with my family) a great team to find, renovate and manage those properties for me. It was turn-key and passive from the standpoint that I was not doing any of the heavy lifting. All I had to do was manage the process and the people. IT has paid off and was part of the inspiration in a whole new set of businesses to build!

    For some of us, that is the best way to invest. It simply suits our personalities and allows us to do what we do best and surround ourselves with others doing what they do best. Your point about being patient and learning what suits you best was spot on!

    Great article –


    • Ali Boone

      Chris, you’re so right! Truthfully I wish I were a flipper. I’d make a lot of money faster and could do smart things with that money. But so far, it just hasn’t been me. I’m like you, rental properties have always worked amazing for me. I’m currently on a conquest to figure out what my next ‘vibe’ is, since I feel pretty confident with my rental property knowledge. I’ll always be more rental properties than anything else, for sure, but no one should stick with only one thing. Have to expand! But expand smartly and not before it’s time.

    • Isn’t it funny Chris how things happen. I have always said that usually after some trial and error, “a strategy will choose you”. Your “desires” will finally have a meeting with your “strengths and weaknesses” and out of that a business that works will be born.


      • Hey Ali-

        I have been a buy and hold landlord, a rehabber and a wholesaler. I believe that everyone should wholesale even if it isn’t their primary strategy. The reason?

        -You can pay off your rental houses much faster. When you come across a property that doesn’t fit with your portfolio or your goals, just wholesale it to another investor and you have a chunk of cash.

        -Wholesaling a few houses here and there will give a rehabber a much needed “cushion” with extra money in the bank.

        You really should give it a try.


        • Ali Boone

          Thanks, Sharon, you make some great points! I’m definitely looking into wholesaling. Do you have any recommendations for me and other investors who may be interested for where the best place to learn how to do it correctly is? I’ve read a lot online and have a good grasp on the idea, but I haven’t met anyone in real life yet who does it. I find that the best way to knock something out is to study and research ahead of time, and then find someone willing to let you shadow them so they can teach you the real-life application.

      • Ali Boone

        Ooh Sharon I love it! That’s exactly what I was trying to say in the article, but I think your phrasing nails it better than mine. I’m going to remember that phrasing. It’s totally true! I can’t wait to see where my desires run into my strengths and weaknesses next. I’m ready.

  3. Jose Gonzalez on

    Hi Ali,
    I believe all of us had made mistakes into which businesses suit us or not. In my case I started several businesses but sucked 15 hours a day of work, driving and great stress (no joke). Then I came up with an entire new business which didnt require much time but was really hard to organize in order to leave it working without me beeing on the top. Well last year I found some good people and now the business is working. This was my first step to get into real estate, which for me is long term rentals and constantly build wealth that gives you cash flow. Has worked very nice so far!
    As for overnight investors that got rich too quick… The only example I could think of happened in the years 1986 and 1995 we had a enormous currency depreciation against the US dollar. Imagine people that had debt and those years the interest went to 150% overnight, most of the materials they used were in dollars and the economy was too bad… Well of course they got forclosed… too many people lost their entire businesses (It was one of the hardest times I have ever been aware of, it was no fun) but still, I watched some few people that had big reserves in cash or properties in the US… Well they sold out, refinanced or just brought the cash back and… They just bought most of the city at 10 cents per dollar.
    Other than that case.. nope, it takes a lot of effort of building the team, and more important, the trust you can have on each individual of the team!
    Great post!!
    Look foward to keep reading your posts, they remember me so much stuff!

    • Ali Boone


      I still love your story you told me over email about how you started doing what you are doing. It’s a great example of how things can certainly be done if you want them to be done, it’s just a matter of patience and being willing to barrel through the obstacles. The story you mention in this comment, it brings up a good point… just think, those guys who did something ‘smart’ with the chaos didn’t just come up with that idea overnight when it happened. Most likely, they had been studying and getting experience in related aspects, so when that opportunity came up unexpectedly, they were able to jump in and take advantage without a second thought. Waiting until the opportunity is available is *not* the time to start learning. Start learning ahead of time so when something does pop up, you can be the first on the scene and take advantage.

      Thanks for you constant support, Jose!

  4. Great article Ali,

    I’am still working on that 10,000th hr principle but I’m getting their fast. It’s easy when you know real estate is your passion and you spend every available minute working on it. I too have invested a lot of time and effort into my education and even after making initial success I still find myself browsing amazon and barnes and nobles for the latest and greatest books!

    Also, while I have been lucky to enjoy initial success, your article did remind me to SlOOOOWWW Down! I’ve been in this fix and flip vibe for a few months now and I have a lot of potential projects coming at me. Lately, I feel as if I’m doing too much, too fast. Thanks for reminding me that while it may seem that way in some cases, real estate success is not an overnight thing and you need a strong foundation to realize true wealth.



    • Ali Boone

      Glenn, what a cool comment! I can hear your passion for real estate and it’s very refreshing! A lot of people forget why they are in this some times… it’s not always because of the money or returns, but there can be a lot of passion there as well! Thanks for sharing your excitement. It reminds me to stay in tune with mine 🙂

  5. Rolanda Eldridge on

    Great article! I started with rentals 7 years ago which works well, but I want to start diversifying with small apartments and try my hand at a flip. However, I will continue with the bread and butter rentals..I continue networking and improving my business model daily..

  6. Great Article Ali! You make a lot of great points about the difficulties many have in investing in real estate. I have multiple investment properties and I have found for me the most effective use of my time is using a property management company to handle the business end of things. They have the burden of finding tenants and having to evict so I don’t have to carry that guilt of throwing people out on the streets. They also handle all of my maintenance and upkeep. It’s a much better use of my time than having me go over and fix a broken faucet for example.

  7. Great article Ali,

    Although I new I wanted to start out flipping as I had the desire to do so I could not have ever anticipated where and what I am doing now after 4 years into my 5 year business plan.
    I promise what I wrote 5 years ago is different than what I will be doing this year. Surrounding myself around other investor’s and networking some opportunities found me like you said in your article so I can totally relate. I will be purchasing many out of state properties this year for long term wealth and passive income. The flipping business is great & I will reinvest profits into acquiring more properties. It did not come easy & years 1,2,3 were a battle but years 4 & 5 look out. Feel free to reach out for anything you need on flipping.

    BTW – Love the finding your vibe section & thanks for the link.

    • Hey Mike! Thanks for commenting! Actually yes, I have on my to-do list to email you to talk about your flips. *puts a star next to that line item on to-do list*. And yes, I’m the same as you where I almost don’t even see a point in writing a plan that covers much more than 6 months or a year because I never know where the wind is going to take me. Great hearing from you!

    • Ali Boone

      Hi Daniel. Yes, absolutely! You are very right in that. Even more so, if you don’t go through the steps to advance as an investor, you may never be successful! People wish it was easier, and it can be easier I think than a lot of people suggest, but it still takes studying, learning from failures, and reevaluating strategies. There is always something new to learn in this industry. Thanks for the comment! So true.

  8. I have found that managing my own properties works well even if you don’t live in the same city. I manage my 5 rentals myself and live 1 1/2 hours away. Ali talks about building a good team and this has been key for me. I have built a team of handymen, plumbers, etc. who do all my work for me. My tenant calls and tells me the problem. I phone my handyman or appropriate worker and have him set up an appointment with the tenant and take care of the problem. Finding great reliable and trustworthy workers is key. I don’t even have to make the drive. Of course I make the drive when I need to move tenants in or out. When I’m between tenants and looking for a new tenant because I don’t live in the area I’ve hired my cleaning lady to show the property for me. She is reliable, trustworthy and is really great with people. I prefer to pay myself the management fee and have more control over costs by doing it this way.

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