How to Quit Your Job & Invest in Real Estate Full Time: Steps 1, 2, & 3!

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I became a full-time real estate entrepreneur right after graduating from college. I started from scratch with wholesaling, and then a partner and I progressed to flipping, rentals, notes, master leasing and other niches within real estate.

Today, our main focus is on regular monthly income (we own and manage 61 units), and we continue to buy and resell deals each year for income.

My start was unique. Not many people have the luxury (some see it as a handicap) of starting as a 23-year-old. If I failed, I had no family to worry about, and I would have been satisfied to sleep in the back of my free and clear Toyota Camry  — or in a tent. 🙂

So, in this article, I want to tell you a different story.

This story is about what I would have done if I had taken a totally different path, working in a regular, 9 to 5 type of job. I will assume that this imaginary job was paying me $100,000 per year — but after working there for 15 years, I become dissatisfied and want to leave and become a full-time real estate entrepreneur. To replace my income, I plan to build a business fixing and flipping houses.

My make believe story will have the benefit of my real world experience as a full-time entrepreneur and investor since 2003. The goal of my story will be to share how I would generate a new $100,000 per year career within the real estate business.

Related: 10 Surefire Ways to FAIL as a Beginner Real Estate Investor

I hope my “what-if” story will give you some helpful ideas for getting started or for taking your real estate business to the next level.

Here in Part One, I will share Steps 1-3. Next time, in Part Two, I will include Steps 4-7.

Step #1: Get My Mind Right

I know that my entire 7-step plan will fail if I don’t have the right mindset. So I focus on three strategies to get my mind right before I start.

First, I decide to make a strong commitment to myself to stay the course — no matter what. My path to success will likely be difficult (and even treacherous) at times, so I need every bone in my body to commit, or it will be too easy to simply quit or to stay comfortable.

To cement this commitment, I tell my supportive friends and family about the plan to quit my job in 12 months. This disclosure holds me accountable and puts pressure on me to get moving quickly. I also post the following quote by William Hutchinson Murray in a place I can see it daily:

“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too… Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Second, I think long and hard about my WHY (great YouTube Video on the Power of Why). A “why” is all about emotion, not logic. A strong “why” is a valuable inner resource that you can tap into daily for energy and inspiration.

My “why” is about frustration and fear with my current situation — and about excitement for future possibilities. I’m tired of having someone else control my schedule. I’m frustrated with the negative people and the broken system within which I work. I’m excited about the challenge and the pride of growing my very own business. I’m giddy about the freedom to create a lifestyle business that meets my current and long-term financial needs.

Third, I work on a clear vision of what the future will look like. In other words, I think about what this money-generating business will do for me and my family. As much as I love the idea of entrepreneurship for its own sake, the business is still a vehicle that supports ambitions much bigger than itself.

For me and my family, the vision for my new fix-flip business is to become a well-paying fun and flexible vehicle that I can run as long as needed. In the short-term (1 year), the most important result of this business is to replace my $100,000 per year income from my current job.

In the mid-term (2-3 years), the most important result is to grow my income while decreasing my required time working in the business. This will give me more money and time capital to reinvest in family goals, like long-term trips and in long-term investments, such as rental properties. Over the long-term, the knowledge that I could always create a business and support myself and my family will give me confidence to grow and take risks in other important areas.

With my my mind focused, I now proceed to educate myself about making money buying and selling real estate.

Step #2 – Low Budget, Blitz Education

Like any other career field, I know I must educate myself in real estate before getting started. But I reminded myself that I cannot not learn everything I needed to know from books. This first stage will be my foundation, but most of my learning will be on the job, in the field.

So, the goal is to learn the essentials quickly so that I can get started. I want an education period of no more than three months before I start taking massive action. My education goal is also not to burden myself with unnecessary educational expenses or debt. I’ll focus instead on inexpensive or free education in books, online content and from local resources.

My plan is to replace my job income with real estate income, so my initial niche will be to buy and resell houses for cash.

Here are my initial sources of education:

  • State Real Estate Licensing Course and Licensing Exam
    • Focus: To learn about legal basics, contracts, and transactions
    • Time: 30+ hours
    • Cost: $500
    • Bonus: Joining the right local broker will also give me extra resources, mentoring and potential income from referrals or commissions.
  • Join My Local Real Estate Group (~$150)
  • Local Market Crash Course
    • Study the big picture and local demographics of my target market (
      • Jobs growing? Incomes growing? Population growing?
      • Make a Google Map of my market; highlight best locations and commercial/job centers
    • Pay for time of successful, local Realtor ($500?)
      • Ride shotgun with him/her to explain best neighborhoods
      • Ask the Realtor about the most desirable house features that buyers want
      • Review his/her process for valuing a house
    • Pay for time of local flipper/rehabber ($500?)
      • Ride shotgun to see hot local rehab areas and to notice the style, layout, and finishes of his/her houses
      • Ask questions, especially regarding biggest mistakes to avoid
    • Visit (in-person) 50 houses for sale; take notes and learn
    • Visit (in-person) 50 sold houses; take notes and learn

When all is said and done, I spend under $2,000 during my 3-month crash education course. Most of that money goes to local professionals and to the real estate licensing course.

During and immediately after my education, I create a business plan.

Step #3 – Create a Customized Business Plan

For me, the business plan is like a blueprint created by an architect to build a house. I’m the business architect, as well as the builder/contractor. My blueprint work will guide my day to day actions as I got my work boots on and build my business.

It’s critical that education comes before this stage because I plan to use my mentors from online, book, and real-life sources as the models for my plan. Particularly J Scott’s The Book on Flipping Houses and his detailed posts will be my primary guide for the meat of the fix and flip business model, and then I plan to supplement and tweak this with information from other sources.

It’s also important to remind myself that this plan is doomed to be flawed — despite my best preparation and education. My situation and market will be unique, so at the front of my business plan, I’ll cut and paste this quote from former president and general Dwight D Eisenhower:

“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

My plan, then, should be my working, flexible blueprint. I’ll use it to take quick action and to get feedback from mentors and experts. I’ll continuously adapt and update it as I move forward.

Related: 12 Simple Tips For Beginner Real Estate Investors

My business plan attempts to answer each of the following key questions:

  1. What is the purpose and the model for my business?
  2. How will I raise capital for operations and for acquisitions?
  3. What is a good deal? What objective deal criteria will I stick to?
  4. Who is my target end user? What do they really want? Where do they live?
  5. How will I find prospective deals? How will I convert them to purchases?

Too many beginners, I notice, are always looking for answers before they even ask the right questions. So, I like phrasing the major cornerstones of my business plan as questions because naturally I will try to answer them. When I don’t have good answers, I go back to my education sources or local professionals to help me find good answers.

Preparations Complete and Ready For Action

After approximately three months of preparation, I’m ready to start taking some real steps forward in my business. In my next article, I will continue sharing the hypothetical steps I would take to leave my job and replace my $100,000 per year job income with a full-time real estate business.

The next steps I will cover are:

Step #4 – Build My Team & Network

Step #5 – Create a Profile For Good Deals

Step #6 – Create a Marketing Plan to Find Deals

Step #7 – Take MASSIVE Action, Get Feedback, Take Action Again

Would you take (or have you taken) any different steps? What did you like (or not like) about my first three steps?  

I’d love to read your comments below.

About Author

Chad Carson

Chad Carson is an entrepreneur, writer, and teacher who used real estate investing to reach financial independence before the age of 37. He wrote an Amazon best-selling book Retire Early With Real Estate, and his story has been a featured on Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider,, the BiggerPockets Podcast, How to Money, ChooseFI, and more. Chad and his business partner currently focus on long-term rental properties and private lending in and around the college town of Clemson, South Carolina. Their portfolio of 90+ units includes houses, small multi-unit apartments, and mobile homes. In 2003, Chad and his business partner began real estate investing from scratch. They started by wholesaling and fixing-and-flipping properties. They also learned to rely on non-conventional financing sources like private lending, seller financing, and lease options, which remains their expertise today. After surviving the 2007-2009 real estate downturn (with scars to prove it!), they transitioned to more of a focus on student rentals. You can find more of Chad's writing (as well as podcast episodes) at


  1. Great article. Get into real estate by getting a real estate license getting to know the area and other realtors. I would also recommend Keller Williams millionaire real estate agent and millionaire real estate investor. Flipping houses makes me nervous but I would save up for duplexes down payment or purchase homes in the 30k-50k cost range which is accomplished shopping the edges of the city. Or small-town further out.

    • Chad Carson

      Hey Ericka, I agree that getting your license and making money while you learn a market is a very underrated way to get into the real estate business. Particularly the market knowledge piece will be invaluable if you switch to flipping later (although I think the psychology of that switch can be the toughest part). Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like your article, also love your book choices. I agree with your idea however for me I needed to take immediate action and learn as I went along. I didn’t start with a business plan, just the idea that I needed to find a mentor who would align me to start off on the right foot. I was so scared to start out that I really needed to commit myself with immediate action.

    Fast forward 5 years and I currently have such a small amount of time available that I would have to stop taking actions for finding a property in order to plan my business. I want to quit my job within 10 months from now so I am focusing on generating enough leads to bring me enough deals to net me 60 to 100 grand. I feel as this course of action will get me to my short term goal of making 60 to 100 grand faster than taking the 3 months to do the actions that you proposed.

    • Chad Carson

      William, thanks for the comment. I am 100% with you that action first is a good rule of thumb. And mentors are key.

      But I think a happy medium with planning is just keeping the business plan simple and not over-thinking it. I like to give myself a creative time restraint of 2 hours for example. Whatever I come up with in that time, that’s my working business plan. Then I spend time each week or each day doing small tweaks and updates to my plan as I go through my weekly routines.

      The benefit of a plan for me is that I am forced to step back, even for 2 hours, and think about the direction of my action. It might be that I’m climbing, climbing, climbing … up the wrong ladder.

  3. I really like Step #2, especially the local market crash course. Very informative guide, I work with a lot of investors who are looking to quit their jobs and go full time, as well as the “sudden” ones I meet who quit very recently.

    I think people need to consider quitting their jobs heavily before making a huge decision to dive into investing full-time. It can be very hard to qualify for a loan without a W2 or some source of income to prove. Plus it can take a lot of time, several years for most people (depending on their investment strategies) to build up enough income to replace your current job.

    More than once have I had someone come to me who is “retired” without an IRA or 401K or…anything. Make sure you know this is the right decision for you, and it might be a good idea to start part-time.

    • Chad Carson

      Good point, Greg. I hope to show in these two articles that the steps to quit your job and take on full-time real estate are doable but certainly not easy. And they’re also not for everyone or not for everyone in certain periods of their lives. I am pretty conservative, especially now with a family, so a big cushion of money in savings and proof that I can generate income is a requisite before I would take a big leap into the entrepreneurial world. I also think multiple streams of income is necessary for flexibility and a back-up plan.

  4. I agree with Greg about just quitting your job. I went back to work just to be able to get a loan. If you don’t have a W-2 and steady work the banks wont even talk to you. Really have your money sources locked in, otherwise your dead in the water.
    Another thing to consider that no one talks about is health insurance. Its the 5000 pound gorilla on your back. The cost is great and goes up 10-15% every year. If your twenty you don’t worry about it as much, but if your fifty it will keep you up at night.

    • Chad Carson

      Yes, Greg made a good point. Get all the conventional mortgages you can before taking the leap. I have used nonconventional financing a lot because I never had a W-2 job, so there is still hope for those who have taken the leap.

      On the topic of insurance, I’ve always had private health insurance so I’m very familiar. Obamacare has actually helped my family because one member had a prexisting condition and only employer insurance would give coverage. Now we can get private health insurance even with the condition. So before if you wanted to be an entrepreneur but you had a health condition, forget it. You had to stick to a job. Now, at least on this one issue, it has become easier to leave the 9-5 world. Ironic, I know, given the typical business press about Obamacare.

  5. Currently, I am in Nashville, unemployed. I must find a job so I can become a REI…I will be 45 this year and chose a very high turnover career (collegiate track/field coach)…I can no longer subject myself to waiting for a university to hire me to work in the field I love…I am ready to take the plunge…reading this has only confirmed that I MUST “JUMP”!…but I am broke and scared…

    • Chad Carson

      Tara, thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I love collegiate athletics and I used to play college football, so I have a lot of respect for the turnover in sports positions. You have to love it, don’t you?

      I think it’s important to get “financial oxygen” before taking a plunge as a full-time entrepreneur. If you’ve never been an entrepreneur full time, it IS scary. If you are broke, it can give you a lot of motivation, but it can also cause you to make poor decisions. So by financial oxygen I mean just working any job to save up money, get a little reserve fund, and feel a little better about yourself. If that means bagging groceries, who cares. If you can find a way to make money in real estate, even better. I personally wouldn’t be afraid to do any real estate related job like filing papers or admin work for a realtor or investor, sweeping floors, cleaning toilets, etc. If I could earn some money and learn from someone already in real estate, I’d do it. So maybe you can find some of those opportunities.

      So keep the dream alive, keep scratching and clawing, but put that oxygen mask on first:) Just my 2-cents. Good luck!

  6. Enjoyed the article. But what about replacing your income with passive cashflow for rentals? Flipping is great for extra money, but deals are spuradic and come with huge tax burdens. Building a nice rental portfolio was the way for me… I had to make “x” to cover my living expenses – Each rental property puts $$ in my pocket every month; how many rental properties do I need to grow to in order to cover my requirment? Now, I have a baseline to support myself and flip, redevelope, and build new in order to increase that baseline.

    However, I have not given up the full-time job yet. I just cant seem to part ways with my salary and benefits. Call me a pig…

  7. Rusty Thompson on

    I like the article & I think it is a good path for a truly motivated person. The only problem I see in it is your assumption of 100k a year. That is the top 20% of people in the country. What about the family with a combined household income of ~50k which is the median. Your first three steps require very little money. Will the rest of the steps require leveraging the 100k or is that just a arbitrary number to use as a goal?

    • Chad Carson

      Good question Rusty. Thanks for asking.

      The $100,000 won’t be relevant in the success of my hypothetical person unless that person was able to save a lot more money before he/she took the leap to use as reserves and to invest in marketing (which I’ll talk about some in part 2). In some ways a $50,000 per year person might have an easier time because he/she would need to flip fewer houses to replace the income. I also bet that $50,000/year person has learned to live on less money, versus the normal $100,000/year earner who spends $90,000 or more per year. That high-earner has higher expectations and perhaps higher stress levels becoming an entrepreneur and replacing a larger income.

  8. Sheesh. Have you been following me? 😉 This article is like my life story thus far. I’m in that 9-5 job, tired of being stepped on while I try to work within broken systems for other people that are trying to push me off the ladder as I come up behind them. I find myself managing managers and re-inventing the wheel with each new effort and have reached the point where I’m done with doing that… it’s time to apply my skills to my own business. I’m right in the “first 3 months” phase of building my real estate investment business so this article is not only inspiring, but refreshing to think that I’m on the right track and I’m not alone in my quest. I can’t wait to see the next few steps. Thanks much for the guidance Chad.

    • Chad Carson

      Thanks Joshua! I’m excited to hear you’re taking your own steps. As I said in step #1, that commitment and frustration with the current situations is a big part of the equation. So you’ve obviously got that.

      What steps are you working on now for yourself? Any different ones we can share to add to the mix??

    • Joshua, just to provide a little encouragement – two very short years ago I was where you are….corporate world was sucking the life out of me! I left at the end of 2012 to go full time in real estate (we had been pursuing it part time for several years.) It hasn’t been easy, but my aversion to going back to an employer has provided plenty of strength to get through the scary times. Best of luck to you, there’s nothing better than making your own way in something you enjoy!

  9. Justin Simpkins on

    Excellent article. I am just starting out as well. I was doing some planning of my own and I see that our thoughts kind of align, which in turn has improved my comfort level. I noticed that a few people who left comments mentioned being afraid and I can definitely attest to that feeling. Luckily via BP I have been able to connect with a great mentor.

    “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”
    William James

    • Chad Carson

      Thanks Justin! Someone once told me “Fear is just excitement without the breath.” So just breathe;) It’s normal.

      Congrats on finding a mentor and using BP to get more confidence. What have been the first steps you’ve been taking? I’d love to add more ideas to what’s been already posted.

  10. Excellent article. I’m currently going through the motions of trying to figure out the most productive and feasible way of producing enough revenue to replace my 9-5 income. I started out strictly as a “buy & hold” investor and quickly realized it’s a tough road to $100k. Now I’m considering wholesaling and “fix & flip” to generate chunks of cash to help expedite the path to financial freedom. Your article is very timely as I piece together my approach to eliminate the 9-5 grind within the next two years. I’m looking forward to the challenge of growing my real estate business and very optimistic about creating a business that has the potential to exceed my current salary.

    • Amy Neal Braden on

      I really enjoyed this article and it really mirrors my career path too. I work an 8-5 job now in the real estate field but it is not my life ambition. I just (last week) got my real estate license and my husband and I are in the middle of our first flip. It is exciting to see things moving forward! I would also add to right down your goals and look at them often for motivation.

        • Amy Neal Braden on

          I think you are on the right tract with your outline. I would add is that in real estate is seems that things always take longer to accomplish. It is good to set goals, like your Step # 2 goal of three months initial education but keep learning. One other thing that I would add is to surround yourself with a good team. That is crucial. We have a great real estate broker, contractor and investor who also serves as our mentor. I have learned SO MUCH by listening to the podcasts and reading posts here on BP. Keep working your plan and you can do this.

    • Thanks Larry! I hope my articles show that it’s possible (although not easy) to replace your income. It takes a combination of planning and plain ole’ hard work and persistence. I wish you best of luck piecing together your own plan and getting started.

      • Thanks for the encouragement and I’m looking forward to reading part two. You’re definitely right, it takes dedication and commitment to become a successful real estate investor. My problem is over planning. Now I’m working on implementation and working my plan. Today I met with my realtor to discuss my strategy.

  11. Dave Defourneaux on

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Chad. Your plan mirrors my own in many ways. I have been on the crash education course for about six months now, and am about to start on my Real Estate license. I lack the “financial oxygen” you described earlier, which is why I still feel trapped in my job, but I am nearly desperate to quit my job and start on this path full time. I am also modeling a lot of my business plan from my own online mentor, J Scott (excellent books!) and feel that it will give me a solid foundation to grow my business. If successful, I plan to slowly add rental units into the equation and build that passive stream of income. Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to Part 2 of your plan!

    • I appreciate the comment Dave. I obviously don’t know exactly how you feel because I have not been there, but I wish you best of luck. I’d also say in preparation and to help with lack of financial oxygen: save your cash for reserves, cut your expenses to the bone, and do your best to generate multiple steams of income before making the plunge (flipping, realtor commissions, wholesaling, etc). Those will help give you more confidence.

  12. Hi Chad!

    Thanks for the great article! I’m in the process of finding my first flip. I already have two buy and holds. ( they weren’t scary) stepping into the flipping machine, looking for money.. That’s another story. I feel much more confidant that it’s not a pipe dream after all! It’s nice to see that I am on track after all.

    Thanks for reinforcing the inspiration…now on to the perspiration! ????

    Annie Jackson

  13. Chad – Excellent article, and it certainly has struck a chord based on the volume of comments. I’m in the same situation as Annie and several others here – I’ve got some buy and holds and am actively marketing for that first flip. The corporate grind got to me after many years, and I was always way more passionate about real estate than my day job.

    My path thus far has been very similar to your suggested approach – so it was very validating to read your article. Thanks again for the perspective!

    • Thanks Gary. Yeah, I think even people who like their job initially get frustrated or worn out by the grind eventually. What I LOVE about being my own boss isn’t that it’s always easier (it’s not) or more profitable (it is sometimes), but that it I have control over my schedule, my time, and my pace of growth. That autonomy is priceless to me.

      I think the strategy you mentioned about buying rentals first is a good variation. If it gives you confidence and on-the-job learning, buying a rental or two can really help. Plus as someone else said, getting those traditional mortgages while you still have a W-2 is a good strategy.

  14. Great article Chad! I will definitely keep these articles in mind because I am actually going to go on a leave of absence from college at 19 to pursue my real estate passion. I will start on the 9-5 job, then build up enough financial income to pay off loans/create a nestegg while reading books and keeping up with these blog posts. Then I will start your local market crash course which I have not seen before. I think that alone makes this article shine.


      • Chad,
        I was thinking of starting off with sales, because I believe one can make the the most money without a college education doing that. I cannot think of any job besides a property manager that you do not need a college education. I know a real estate agent would be an option but I do not think many people would trust in a 19 year old real estate agent.


        • Kyle,
          I agree sales is an awesome field to get into if you are willing to hustle. I think you should check that assumption about people not being willing to list houses with you at 19 years old. Confidence, enthusiasm. preparation, and knowledge can trump all sorts of supposed handicaps. I bought houses from 50,60, and 70 year olds when I was 23 and I was still living in my parents house! Seems kind of ridiculous, but it’s all about you. Being a realtor would be a good way to build some major income and also stay within the real estate field.

          I hope you do great. Best of luck.

  15. Inspirational post for me. I’ve spent a lot of money on RE courses but I’ve done very little in the business. I have been toying with the idea of getting my license and your article here has convinced me to do just that. It cost a lot less than spending money on gurus and this is one method of committing me to a business in real estate.
    Are there any negatives to having a license and would a broker be leery of someone who is mainly interested in being an investor? Also, what is the cost of MLS access as an agent?

    • Vince, congrats in the decision to move forward with your license. There are some disclosure procedures that you must do as a licensee but I have found they do not affect my investing at all. There can be conflict of interest issues if you are actively courting listing or buying clients and also trying to buy good deals yourself. I don’t use my license for the same type of properties I buy so I don’t deal with that. But there are plenty of good examples here on BP of investors doing just fine with a license while also actively practicing. You can find brokers who will be ok with your investing goals. Just ask around. Mls access depends upon you location. I think all fees for all related costs are 1,800/yr in my area.

  16. Ethan Province on

    Chad, thank you for taking the time to convey your experience. Recently, I have been really digging into my own business road map. It takes a lot of time parsing together different ideas, experiences and resources into a well-informed and usable plan. Your article definitely validated some points I have already put into my plan and I am definitely adding some of your suggestions.

    To add to your article, Chad, I would suggest as people work through these steps that they take meticulous notes on what they are doing, where/how they are finding the specific information, how they are approaching different people etc. Building off of the ideas within E-myth and 4-hour workweek I fully believe in the idea of working “on” your business as much as you are working “in” it. If you grow your business you will not be able to perform every task by yourself. These notes that you are taking can be used later in creating standard operating procedures that anyone can follow. I think this kind of thing could even be useful before you grow your business.

    As an example I am currently conducting a couple “Local Market Crash Courses” for some markets I am analyzing and I am documenting each and every website I visit, information I find relevant, and resources I use for finding and contacting helpful people. This is obviously very time consuming and after I complete these first couple market analyses I am seriously considering hiring a virtual assistant to perform this research while I sleep. In order to do this successfully I need to have procedures that even a second grader could follow. Anyways thanks again for the article, Chad!

    • Great point, Ethan! I love the idea of writing down your procedures as you go and building ghost into an operations manual as you hand off tasks to others. After reading the Emyth we did exactly that in our business, and we had a nice system if checklists when we began outsourcing to a bookkeeper, admin person, and in-house property manager.

      Thank you for sharing that idea. Best of luck in your own adventure.

  17. Best article I have read yet about getting started in flipping. Your scenario fit me to a tee so I definitely could relate to all your steps. I don’t have the time to get my real estate license right now (given the kids and other job responsibilities) so I am relying on realtors for now. Getting that license is on my list so I can run comps easier, see houses quicker, be more in control of my closing processes and keep the commissions for myself. Thanks for helping me realize my situation is not too unique. It tames those days I feel like I’m just crazy for doing this. :o)

    • Carrie, I appreciate your kind words. Yes, sometimes just knowing you’re not the only one going through all of this craziness can help:) I’ve got young kids, so I know how consuming (and wonderful) they can be. I have a whole new respect for people who juggle jobs – kids – new real estate business. Best of luck in your progress. Keep trucking along, even if it’s inch by inch.

  18. Gianni Laverde on

    Thanks Chad for this a great article full of inspiration and detailed step by step instructions to get started. Definitely, lack of motivation will be a show-stopper. You have to find a purpose, get into the right mind-set and take off. Looking forward to part 2 of your article. Gianni

    • I appreciate it Gianni. You’re right, it all starts with motivation. Can’t do any of the details without it. But then on the other side, we can have all of the motivation in the world and not achieve our because the details were glossed over. Guess we have to find a balance, right?

  19. Chad, Great article! It’s like you might as well put “Dear Rick” at the top of your article because it’s like you’re talking to me. I’ve been working the same 8-5 job for almost 20 years now. The income has been nice, but I am ready for a change. Office politics are getting to me and I’ve hit a ceiling to both my income potential and position. I am currently in the middle of taking the real estate license class at night and hope to be done with that by mid-December. My plan is to start out as a real estate agent and build my business listing homes, then buy investment properties after building up enough cash to do so. I like Keller Williams because of their “God first, Family second, Business third” motto. The only thing that I am struggling with is, can I do it part-time or will I need to just quit my job and dive in the deep end to make it work. I am a Dave Ramsey disciple, so my gut says that I should try to make it part time at first, get to the point that I am making about half of my normal income and then quit my job. I am ready to quit now, but not sure that is a wise move with a family to take care of. Your thoughts? God bless you Chad!

    • Chad Carson

      Hey Rick, it all starts with the frustration for a motivation to change, doesn’t it? I love entrepreneurship for a lot of reasons, but one of the best parts is that it has no ceiling and it has no set path. You can go as high or as low as you want, and you can do it in your own way. That’s fun!

      Keller-Williams seems like a good organization for you to learn and get started in. It may be a more difficult schedule at first, but if you can work two jobs for a short period of time until you get confidence that you can produce income, it will certainly be a safer route. Seems logical to me. It always takes time to build a clientele, to learn the basics, and to build momentum. Once it gets rolling, then you can jump ship.

      Best of luck, Rick! Keep me up to date.

  20. Frankie Woods

    Fantastic article! Absolutely loved it! Though I’ve started to get pretty serious about real estate, I still haven’t left my day job. This is making me feel that I need to reevaluate my situation and take the steps you outlined above. Deeep breath…1,2,3 go! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Chad Carson

      Ha, Ha. Love the deep breath. Yeah, it’s a little scary. It’s supposed to be. I love the quote “Fear is excitement without the breath.” My hope with these articles, Frankie, was to give you a road map to prepare for your ultimate transition from job-to-entrepreneur … whenever that might be. Preparation is the key, and hopefully this will tell you some things you need to prepare for. Best of luck!

  21. Lumi Ispas

    Great post Chad!
    I have only one comment, as I am a Real Estate Broker and an investor, I would like to point out one more thing that very few people realize. When licensed, you have to disclose you have a Real Estate licence on every piece of marketing you do, every yellow letter, every postcard, everything that has your name and phone number on, and when talking to every seller or buyer and even if you post on BiggerPockets, and most importantly, on every contract.
    Once in a while, the private sellers will look at you with distrust as you are considered the expert, and they are starting reconsidering the purchase price, as they think that you might have information that they don’t have, and it makes them negotiate harder or on the phone they might just hang up on you.
    Let’s make sure we have an understanding here, having the license will help you a lot in this business, as you can find deals in the MLS, you learn to analyze the deals faster by doing your own CMAs and you get to network with contractors, Real Estate attorneys and title companies and you can also get extra income if you sell any homes besides your deals.
    As an investor though, I plan that the moment I will do Real Estate Investing full time to give up the license. The cash flow I have now is not enough yet to give up the license, however it should be in less than 5 years.

    • Chad Carson

      Lumi, thank you for the comment. Good points … yes, most states require you to disclosure your status as licensee. Everyone is different, but the license has created absolutely zero problems in my investing business with marketing or negotiations.

      I already position myself as an expert who is there to help, and they know I know more than they do. I usually tell my sellers that I’m like a teacher and my goal is to teach them about their options. One option is to sell to me as an investor, and it has pluses and minuses. Another option is to sell with a real estate agent, and it also has pluses and minuses. When I lay the options out, they can then decide which route to go. If they want to sell as-is, quickly, without listing hassles, for cash … they sell to me. If the “cost” (my low cash price) is too much, they won’t sell to me. I’m happy to refer them to a good listing agent if they want help with that.

      Best of luck!

        • Chad Carson

          Hi Erick,
          Sure, I know some investors do take the exam without following through on the license. It is usually worth while education.

        • Daniel H Hauer

          I know this is old but the real estate course has next to nothing to do with the business of real estate and would be useless unless you took the exam. The course is more geared towards making sure you don’t get sued or end up in prison for doing something illegal as an agent. But yes you can take any course and then not get licensed from law school, mortgage to real estate. The problem is that the courses don’t teach you how to do those actual jobs.

  22. After reading this site it has become clear that those of us making below 50k, and even worse below 30k, have almost no hope. Best chance may be to try and flip a FHA loan. Not much else. Thanks for the information anyway.

    • Chad Carson

      David, I’m sorry the message came across that those who make below $50k or $30k have no hope. I can certainly see how that impression would be made when I talk about $100k a lot in this article.

      The truth is, and you probably know it, that the less money you make it certainly is harder. But it’s not impossible. It may take longer, but plenty of people here have started that way. I started out my first few years personally making less than $30,000. So I get it.

      The important thing with studying this information is adapting it to your situation. If you make less than $30,000 … 100% focus is on figuring out ways to earn more income and keep your overhead super low. That may also mean taking any decent real estate related job you can get so you can earn while you learn. I’d be willing to dig ditches until 11pm at night on someone’s job site if that meant I could move myself forward, earn some money, and learn from the right people.

      But it’s also imperative to work on your skill sets so that you can go out and earn more money in the marketplace. The most crucial skills in my mind are:
      1. Communication (try toastmasters, Dale Carnegie courses, etc)
      2. Personal organization (try books I recommended, Getting Things Done and 7 Habits)
      3. Ability to learn (get curious, believe that you can learn ANYTHING – check out where that learn anything message is loud and clear).

      So keep the dream alive, but I recommend looking one or two rungs up the ladder and just bust your tail to get there. Then look up a couple of more rungs. And again and again. Nothing can replace want to and hustle. It will take you anywhere if you’re willing to stick with it.

      Thanks for commenting and for reading, David.

  23. Marc A.

    Good article. However I find it a bit unrealistic for someone with a full time job and no real estate investing experience to be able to get to $100K income per year from flipping houses in just 12 months. Would like to see the numbers in the plan that can make it happen

  24. Very interesting notes on throwing the job and entering real-estate business.there are several pith falls as in any other business,but if one is investing then the funds being blocked due to various reasons is very dampening.
    In India we don’t have licensing system.thus any Tom Dick or Harry can become a Estate Agent.
    Lot of foreign agencies are setting up offices in India and are growing fast due to their investment
    In local manpower and technology .

  25. Thank you Chad very inspirational and filled with great information and action steps really love the comments also very helpful I’m a beginner and my first step in my action plan is to build an investment account to take care of my expenses for 6 to 10 month using wholesale investing as the vehicle to get there what do you think about that idea.

  26. Hi, you mention to get linked up with your “local real estate group” and that there’s a little cost to this. What exactly is this group? Are you meaning a local broker?

    • Chad Carson

      Hey Russell, I meant your local REIA (Real Estate Investment Association) group. Most cities have one, and their is a membership fee of about $150-200/year. You can search on BiggerPockets also has good meetups with local people. You can look on the local forums here on BP.

  27. William Kim


    I know this article is several years old, but as someone that wants to get into real estate investing, it was very informative. I have been following BP for about a year now (on and off) and certainly needed to read this plan before really considering getting into the business. I’ll be reading part 2 next!

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