6 Investment Rules Necessary to Build a Real Estate Empire

by | BiggerPockets.com

A prudent real estate investment can turn anyone into a millionaire.

As opposed to investing in stocks and bonds, where marginal increases in value only mean a little added income, minor increases in the value of real estate can attract hundreds of thousands in returns.

While investors on stocks can only make money through appreciated value of their stocks and through dividends, the real estate industry allows for several creative ways of making money. In the real estate industry, you can make money through value appreciation, house rent, the selling of advertising space, renting out a garage space, or the addition of vending machines and laundry facilities into your property, among other ways.

Moreover, real estate is tangible, less complex to handle and allows investors to have supreme control over their investments.

Related: The Simple Action No One Does That Will Make You A Millionaire

So what rules should you follow in the hopes of becoming a millionaire through real estate investments?

How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job

Many investors think that they need to quit their job to get started in real estate. Not true! Many investors successfully build large portfolios over the years while enjoying the stability of their full-time job. If that’s something you are interested in, then this investor’s story of how he built a real estate business while keeping his 9-5 might be helpful.

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6 Rules Necessary to Build a Real Estate Empire

Rule 1: Stop Preparing, Invest Now

Many people have what is called the “getting-ready-to-get-ready” syndrome.

They can take several years studying the market and consulting experts, waiting for the conditions to be better. This kind of strategy can make you lose out on exceptional opportunities. Potential real estate investors should know that there is no better time to invest in real estate property than now.

You must get started in order to learn the ropes better and to handle the prevailing conditions and challenges effectively. It is easier to eventually become a millionaire by investing now than it is to sit still and wait for the best time. Just get started.

Rule 2: Stop Timing the Market

There is no magic information you will get by your efforts to time the market. Nobody can predict with certainty what the market trends will be any time in the future.

Besides, market shocks affect even the most knowledgeable investors. Timing the market is like gambling, and you cannot be a millionaire real estate investor through gambling. Therefore, it is not prudent to keep your cash in the bank as you brood and wait for the best time to buy real estate property. Instead, just buy the property now and enjoy the cash that comes from it as you wait for any better opportunities to come by.

Rule 3: Do Not Follow the Crowd

There are no millionaires in the crowd. If you want to join a better class than that of the crowd, you must go the extra mile.

Prudent real estate investors will usually analyze their resources (money, knowledge and time), conduct market research to find places where they can easily invest and design investment strategies that best fit their needs. You must also remember that there is no silver bullet in real estate investing. Only your hard work, passion, persistence and commitment will turn your meager investments into multi-million dollar estates.

Therefore, you should get up to a start as soon as possible, generate leads, evaluate deals, submit offers, close deals and manage your exit strategy. With these steps, you will easily be on the road to the coveted millionaire’s class.

Related: How to Build a Real Estate Empire From the Ground Up

Rule 4: You Must Recognize That Debt Can Be Good

Except for those who are entering the real estate industry when they already have extreme wealth, all real estate investors should turn to lenders to take up money for investing and expanding their property portfolios. While consumer debt is usually bad and detestable, business debt is good because the borrowed money will be earning more returns than the rate at which the amount is borrowed.

Real estate investors become millionaires when they learn to take and use borrowed money repeatedly and responsibly.

Rule 5: Flee From the Desire for Immediate Gratification

Selling a home at a dream price can come with immense excitement and self-satisfaction.

Some investors are tempted to celebrate those glorious moments so lavishly, with expensive trips, luncheons, toys and other things they could never ordinarily afford. As a real estate investor, you must know that money is a vital tool that can turn around your fortunes quickly when used properly. Therefore, you should learn to spend wisely and to prioritize on re-investing your profits into real estate property as you keep your eyes fixed on being a millionaire.

Ignore all the temptations to spend on consumer items. Invest as much as you earn.

Rule 6: Stand on the Shoulders of Experts

Millionaires tap into the wisdom, experiences, time, skills and the efforts of professionals, agents and other real estate investors in order to make prudent decisions and steady gains. Therefore, you will need to hire the best minds to help you build your real estate empire.

As a real estate investor, learn to work with other people who can advise you, connect you with reliable contractors and property sellers and direct you to the best markets and opportunities.

What has stopped you from moving ahead in your real estate investing career? Which rules would you add to this list?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

About Author

Gerald Harris

Gerald Harris is the Founder of Save Houses which offers real estate news, resources, articles and tools for users to make informed real estate-related decisions. The site also provides resources for like-minded real estate buyers, sellers, agents, investors and enthusiasts.


  1. Agree most of it except Rule#1 or 2. Flip side is that people who invested during bubble got their life “shattered”. They were hearing all these people flipping and making money instantly.
    Also, w/o knowledge of local rental laws, contract, how to screen renters etc. nobody should start to invest. They need to have basic knowledge. Just seeing $ signs is not the right approach at the beginning.

    • Hey Austin

      You are correct. There are many people who look at real estate as a way to get debt free quickly. But just like most things there is a learning curve to it. I was 1 of those people who just jumped in initially. Saw a Carlton Sheets commercial and went crazy doing all kids of things that got me no where. As time went on I started learning, bought my first piece of rental property in 1998 and learned from that experience that needed to learn, I needed a team. Best place for many newbies to start is on Biggerpockets. Its loaded with great information.

      Have a good 1

  2. Nice article! Item #3 do not follow the crowd resonated with me the most. Especially the comment: “Only your hard work, passion, persistence and commitment will turn your meager investments into multi-million dollar estates.”

    I look forward to reading more encouraging articles from you.

    • Thanks Larry

      I always tell people the approach i strive to live by

      “Be consistent and take massive action”

      If you do this, with the help of guidance and mentorship you are going to go far in this business. Deals happen every day. Its a mindset. Stay on this site and feed yourself this great food called real estate knowledge. It will help you to grow to become the success you, your family and your community needs to see. Take care!

  3. Very simple, wise and informative article Gerald!!!

    Keep them coming, please.

    Information is key. One needs to have knowledge about the tasks at hand, but also have the courage to “pull the trigger” at some point and continue learning “hand on”. Otherwise, all is just a dream…..

    • Good Point Vania

      At some point in everyone’s real estate investing career the “Action” aspect of the business needs to take place. Its not just a real estate problem, many people have this issue when it comes to life period. Its great to obtain knowlege, but at some point it needs to turn into action. Mistake are ok to make, they help you learn and grow. Stay on this site. It its the best help site i have seen when it comes to real estate investing.

      Thanks for commenting, have a great day!

  4. I’m struggle with the “immediate gratification” syndrome. The more successful I become, the more I want to go out and “celebrate”. I’m especially bad with taking mini vacations. I need to reel this in fast! Great article!

    • Frankie

      That’s great that you can self analyze like that. Many people who have “immediate gratification” deny that they have that problem in the first place. Unit they hit a plateau in their life and reality kicks in. Thanks for the comment

  5. I would add a 7th rule, don’t be afraid to fail. Not every deal
    will be as profitable as you anticipate. Do your homework, consult with your team of experts and stay in the game.

  6. Good article. Ton’s of common sense. A comment from an Old Guy whose been in the biz more than 40 years. First – Milliionaire build ‘skills’. They use (1) Time and (2) Skills to make money. Knowledge won’t make you a dime, Skills do that. Opportunity abounds! What a great time to be alive and ‘doing’ real estate. Keep up the good work.

  7. I started investing in residential, commercial and multifamily real estate as a hobby, but I soon realized it had turned into an enjoyable and rewarding career. My movements were slow and methodical in terms of investing, which is why the feeling of a “rewarding career” came slowly. Real estate, for me at least, has been a get-rich-slow proposition. You never stop learning; your tombstone will be your diploma.

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