I was 12 years old when I took off my face. Okay, maybe it wasn’t my whole face, but it was a good section of skin covering my nose, forehead, and chin. And if it hadn’t been for that rock getting in the way of the wheel on the scooter I was riding, I would have landed that jump just fine. Stupid rock. (Stupid kid.) But it’s okay. I got better. My skin healed. I learned. Besides… chicks dig scars. Now I watch for rocks before doing sweet jumps. Or I just don’t do sweet jumps anymore. But that’s the point of growing up: making choices and learning from those consequences. And in some ways, I’m still learning. Only today, those rocks are different. Today I’m not landing many sweet jumps, but I am landing sweet property investments, and most of the time I land them alright. Every once in a while, of course, I hit a rock. And it hurts. And I lose some of my face. But it’s okay. I get better. My skin heals. I learn. And chicks dig scars. That’s what I want to share with you today – some of the things I’ve learned; I want to point out the rocks so you can save some of your facial skin and stay pretty. But not too pretty. So the following are 5 and 1/2 tips for making your first (or next) property investment. Pay attention (or don’t. It’s all good.) 5 1/2 Tips for Making Your First (or Next) Property Investment 1.) Surround Yourself With People You Want to Become. Tonight I was watching Shark Tank and the guy pitching his company before the Sharks said “if you hang around four broke people, you are going to be the fifth.” Although his product was fairly worthless, his words were oh so true. If you want to succeed, surround yourself with those who are successful. (Tweet that quote, baby!) It’s not tough, either; You have a few options. You could handcuff yourself to a local real estate mogul and swallow the key. You could hide some cameras around a real estate guru’s house. Or you can hang out on BiggerPockets. Take your pick. 2.) Stop Thinking So Much About It People overthink the idea of a “property investment.” I’m not saying you should jump in unprepared, but come on – this isn’t rocket science. (Trust me – I’m friends with a rocket scientist named Jeromie and he also invests in real estate. He would know.) Yes, there are a lot of steps involved. But you know what: so does making pancakes but somehow we all manage to keep stuffing our faces with them on Saturday mornings. (Some more than others… ehem.) So stop looking at the staircase and focus on the step in front of you. (Yeah, you know it! Tweet that sucka!) 3.) Be Really Good at One Thing I know in the real world it’s super-great to be good at a lot of things – like swimming, hunting a cougar with your bare hands, and being able to solder a copper pipe. But this isn’t the real world – this is real estate. (Okay, well it’s kinda the real world. But this is my blog post so I can say what I want. Sue me.) The point is: you don’t need to be good at everything to get a good property investment. Pick a niche, pick a strategy, stick with it. Want to flip houses? Then stop trying to learn about rental properties. Want to buy notes? Stop watching Flipping Vegas. Focus. And while you are at it, why don’t you read a book or two on the subject you are interested in. Not sure what to read? Then check out my list of my top 21 real estate books. 4.) Do Your Math Homework When’s the last time you did your math homework? 12th grade? 10th grade? Shame on you. Go get a pencil and paper right now, because school is in session. If you want to succeed in real estate, you need to do your math homework. Often. (Yeah… you know the drill. Tweet it, bro.) Tell me: what is the cash on cash return on investment if you were to make $540 per month in cash flow on a $35,000 investment? (Yes, seriously, tell me below in the comments. This is part of your homework.) Now, if you want to put your big boy or big girl pants on and do these investments the right way, head on over to BiggerPockets.com/analysis and check out the BiggerPockets Property Analysis Calculators. They are frickin’ sweet. I can say this for two reasons: I made them (well, I was part of the team) I use them. Every day. Every deal. So go do your math homework. Find a duplex on Zillow, run it through the calculator, and let me know what kind of cash flow you’d be getting (or losing.) Report your findings below in the comments. This is also your homework. Stop your whining. No TV until you finish. I’m serious, young man (or woman.) Or old man or old woman. I don’t care. Just go do your homework. 5.) Go Solve Someone’s Problem Want to know the ultimate secret to success? Tough -I don’t know it. It probably has something to do with sleep. Or productivity. Or Vitameatavegamin. But if you want to know a helpful tip for success in real estate, I can give you one: go solve someone’s problems. Here’s the thing: problems are like pimples- everyone’s got ’em but no one wants to admit it. (yeah, I suppose you could tweet that but that would be weird.) If you want to find success, especially when it comes to finding a great real estate deal from a motivated seller, go out and help fix someone’s problem. This month I’m helping one of my best friend’s out by lease-optioning his house (technically, I’ll be doing a lease option sandwich on the house). He had a problem (needed to move quick, not enough equity to fix it and sell it) and I had a great solution. I wasn’t focused on getting the most money out of the deal. I wasn’t focused on impressing my friend with my fancy real estate business cards. I was focused on solving his problem. And a no-money-down deal for me will make it pretty awesome. 5 1/2.) Share the Wealth (I’m only giving this one 1/2 a tip, because it’s a little self serving.) I’m not much of a “thought leader.” Being one sounds exhausting. But today on Twitter I did manage to put together a few words that sounded intelligent. I said: @davecraige the way I see it – we are all students of each other, everyone with something to share and something to teach. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free — Brandon Turner (@BrandonAtBP) September 5, 2014 And I mean it. I think everyone has lessons they’ve learned, and it’s important to teach them. You’ve hit rocks – you’ve lost some skin – so get out there and talk about it. I tell you: I’ve learned more about real estate investing by writing blogs than I ever learned from reading blogs. But blogging isn’t the only way (but it kinda rocks.) There are a few good actionable ways to share your knowledge: Start a BiggerPockets Member Blog and talk about your journey. It’s free and anyone can start a blog. Answer questions and get involved in the BiggerPockets Forums. Meet with local real estate investors often. Whether you are brand new or have been investing for years: get together! As you progress on your journey, just remember to share the wealth of knowledge you’ve obtained. Property Investment Wrap Up Look, if you want to get a property investment – we both know you can. Stop doubting. You have the world’s greatest real estate resource sitting right in front of you (BiggerPockets, not me) and it contains more information than all the real estate books in history combined. So get out there, find that next property, stop making excuses for yourself, hustle until your pockets are bigger. And don’t forget you have some homework to do (see #4 above.) I expect your answers in the comments below. Class dismissed. P.S. 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