22 Pieces of Advice to Change Your Financial Future…

by | BiggerPockets.com

This post contains 22 pieces of advice, broken up into two categories: your financial life and real estate. If you have any other pieces of advice to add – please do so in the comments below!

How I Bought, Rehabbed, Rented, Refinanced, and Repeated for 14 Rental Properties

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Vital to Your Financial Success:

  1. Save more than you spend.
  2. Don’t expect the good times to last forever.
  3. Watch for emerging opportunities that will work if the market changes.
  4. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket.
  5. Be flexible and ready to change direction.
  6. Have more than one exit strategy in your business.
  7. History tends to repeat itself – watch for trends that have happened before.
  8. Be aware of areas you can improve.
  9. You have a lot of competition. Be better than your competition in something.
  10. Do what you do best even better.

Related:BP Podcast 002: Starting Out with Karen Rittenhouse – Subject To, Direct Mail, and Investing from a Woman’s Perspective

Real Estate

  1. Never bet on the future. Buy only when it’s profitable from day one, (Have equity when you buy so downturns won’t hurt as soon or as much.)
  2. Have multiple streams of income: rentals, flips, owner financed deals, bank financed properties, partnerships. (And be networked with others who buy.)
  3. Always be reading and studying the market as well as mortgage and regulatory changes. (Stay on BiggerPockets!)
  4. Housing markets are highly localized. Don’t make investing decisions in your area based on information from CNN.
  5. Have many ways to sell: retail, owner finance, lease-to-own, rental. (With multiple exit strategies, you severely limit your risk).
  6. Pay attention to history – real estate markets are cyclical.
  7. How are you, or can you be, better than your competition? Copy, exploit (their fees are higher, we can close in 5 days, they don’t offer online payments, etc.), improve.
  8. Marketing. Never EVER stop.
  9. Branding. Is it necessary? How do you stand out from the crowd?
  10. Great customer service. An easy way to stand out, an absolute must, and something fewer and fewer businesses are offering.
  11. There aren’t many spendable dollars today. Why will people spend theirs with you?
  12. Offer training and information that the public needs. Find a need. Fill it.

What do you have to work with? What can you add?

About Author

karen rittenhouse

Karen Rittenhouse has been investing in real estate full time since January 2005. In that time, she has purchased hundreds of single family properties, opened a full-service real estate company, a property management company, a coaching/training business, and written three books on real estate.


  1. Jason Brooks on

    Although I am new to the game, I may have another piece of advice…If you feel comfortable, do something to push the limit. Get out of your comfort zone, and get out of your own way.

    Advice I wish I had 6 months ago!

  2. #8 marketing never never stop but here in boston we say neva neva stop. LOL.
    So true Karen – I here people say I stopped because I am too busy and say don’t because it will catch up to you and you will be wondering why you have no business.
    Great list.

    • Absolutely, Michael. We teach our students to never, ever, ever stop marketing. It takes so long to get the machine rolling and deals into the pipeline. Once you stop, for any reason, you have to start the machine again and it can take months to get the phone calls back up to the volume you need to find good deals.

      Marketing is VITAL!

      Thanks for commenting.

      • You are so right Karen. A business owner can never stop marketing. However, marketing today is so different than in the past. Notwithstanding all the different marketing routes a business owner can take, I have found that it comes down to one word – relationships. People want to do business with people that they know, like and trust. The better your relationships, the better your referral sources and that is the key to business longevity, assuming the business still stays relevant that is!

        • Right, Ira.
          Which is one reason I believe so much in investing in your own backyard. Many people look far away for deals, but you can often get the best deals from your own neighborhood. “People want to do business with people they know, like and trust!”

          We started out with an 800 number thinking it would help us to look like a large, national company. The phone barely rang. After a few months, we changed to a local number and our calls skyrocketed.

          Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Hi Karen,

    Again another great article.

    I like BP, however, I feel the thread I read on the forum offers a bit information here and there, sometimes may not even be correct.

    What do you think would be the best systematic way to learn about the exit streagies you mentioned above?

    Would you mind elaborate a little more on customer service part? If I am focus on wholesaling, what kind of customer service should I provide to my buyer?


    • To learn the exit strategies, start by typing in a search here on BiggerPockets and reading all the information you find. For questions, you can ask specific individuals or ask on the forum.

      You really need to hook up with a good coach who is using the strategies you want to learn. No need to reinvent the wheel and learning from a coach will save years of time and tons of costly mistakes. Find a coach who is successful and has others who have successfully used what the coach teaches.

      Customer service is the easy part. Just give your customer exactly what you would want if you were in their position, plus more. To begin with, answer the phone or, if you miss a call, be sure to let them know in your voice mail what time you return calls so they know when to expect you – then return the calls as you promised! It’s amazing how consistently we hear, “You’re the only ones who called me back.”

      Answer their questions and, if you don’t know the answer, say so, then promise to find out the answer and get back to them. Then do it! It will not only impress them but you learn another answer that you didn’t know before.

      Customer service is easy – give the customer what they need and be happy to do it.

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