Real Estate Investing Basics

The One Question You Need To Answer FIRST In Order To Be Successful In Real Estate

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
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The One Question You Need To Answer FIRST In Order To Be Successful In Real Estate

People often ask me what they should do to get started.

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My response is that they need to answer one question first, and if they can't answer that question sufficiently, there's no point in getting started with anything else.

The question that we all have to answer first is “why?”. Why do we want to invest in real estate? Why do we want to learn something new, step outside our comfort zone, take a bunch of risk, and work hard at something that may or not pay off several years down the road?

Sure, we want to invest in real estate to make money. But money is only a means to an end. We need to dig deeper. If we could achieve our financial goals with real estate, what would that enable us to do? What would it look like? What would it feel like?

OK, I’ll Go First.

For me, my financial goal with investing specifically in apartment buildings is to generate enough income to replace the income from the pizza restaurants I own that I’ll eventually need to get out of.

But I can’t do that until I can replace the income. So I feel a sense of urgency because I know this will take time.

I also really enjoy the "art of the deal", i.e. finding deals, negotiating them, raising the money, hiring a property manager, and orchestrating the whole thing.

I LOVE that, and syndicating apartment buildings are a perfect outlet for me. I also see commercial real estate as a financial PLATFORM, meaning with enough time and persistence I can build long-term wealth that I can pass on to my children and use to make a difference in the world.

If I’m available to achieve those financial goals, what would that allow me to do that I currently can’t do? In my case, the pizza restaurants take up an enormous amount of time and the activity is more of an operational nature.

Of course I’d like to work less and I don’t enjoy the activity that much. Less work and more flexibility would allow me to spend  3 months in Mexico with my family to learn Spanish. I would also like to write and teach more because I really enjoy that. And I’d like to be able to support my non-profit causes with more time and money.

What I Desire with Real Estate is FREEDOM!

Freedom to do whatever I’m called to do and being able to do it without having to worry about money.

Once you can articulate WHY you want to invest in real estate, you have to ask yourself “how badly do you want it?”.

Related: Using Real Estate to Escape the “9 to 5? and Find True Freedom

You may want a million dollars and all these things, but if you don’t want it really badly you’re not going to get up early in the morning to put out your WE BUY HOUSES signs, stuff your envelopes, call a bunch of potential investors, or do any of those things that are hard to do. If you don’t want it badly enough, and you can’t remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’re not going to make it through the delays, setbacks, and challenges that you’re inevitably face.

Let's say you want to quit your job and you feel like real estate investing is the answer. That's fine. I then ask you what you've done so far and you say that you've read a few books and blogs so far this year and want to get started with wholesaling.

I then ask if you’ve started marketing and looking for deals, and you say “not yet” because you’ve been too busy with your job blah blah blah. I then start to question your “WHY” because you don’t seem that motivated to make a change in your life. You say you want to quit your job but the truth is, you actually don’t mind your job that much, and keeping it is a very acceptable option to you. When you think about it, there’s really no compelling reason to change anything.

At Least That’s an Honest Answer!

That answer might save you thousands of dollars you’d otherwise waste on a course or seminar.

Or it might cause you to reflect deeper and come up with a more compelling answer to the question that might propel you into action.

It’s critical to answer the question “WHY?” honestly and with much reflection. Only when we can answer this question in a meaningful and convicted way will we be able to affect change and live into our purpose rather than just drifting through life.

Related: 4 Difficult Questions Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Ask Themselves

OK, now it’s your turn: Why do you invest or want to get started with real estate investing?

Be as specific as you can be. Put it out there in the universe.

Be sure to leave your comments below!

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment buildi...
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    Cierra Seay
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Hi Michael, The answer to your question for me is: 1.) FINANCIAL FREEDOM – I would like to be able to do what I want when I want without worrying about the cost. I also am on a mission to give my kids a better life than I had and be able to give them opportunities that I did not have. 2.) WORKING FOR MYSELF – For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Working for someone else is not ideal for me. What I’ve done to accomplish this: – I’m starting my first direct mail campaign next week to absentee owners – I also have been driving around looking for FSBO signs and calling these owners, my plan is to drop handwritten letters in their mail boxes twice a month since most are in my neighborhood. Hopefully this gets my phone ringing. I’ve been actively on this path for about 3 weeks but I’ve been reading and doing research for a while like most people who get into investing. I recently also obtained my real estate license here in Michigan so it’s kind of like running two business at once. I want to work directly with investors as an agent since my long term goal is to be a full-time investor. I know I want this to work because although I’ve been working 15-16 hour days combined I’m enjoying the real estate part of EVERY day no matter how tired I may be. Real Estate for me is the only option in order for me to live the life I want me and my children to have.
    Mikel Smalls
    Replied about 6 years ago
    I can become more flexible with my Ultimate goals and faster time.
    Brooks Rembert Rental Property Investor from Woodbridge, VA
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    For me, it all comes down to freedom. I’ve been a piece of Uncle Sam’s property for over 13 years (military) and want to have the freedom of working for myself and to be able to take my kids to school or pick them up everyday if I feel like it. It may sound simplistic, but that’s my idea of freedom; to take my kids to school in the morning and chart my own financial course.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Freedom requires money, but many people are solely focused on money as an end in itself when it should be the means to the end. And what is that end? You did a nice job answering that!