Real Estate Investing Basics

QUIZ: Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor?

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

As I continue to teach real estate investors how to buy apartment buildings with a focus on raising money from others, I've noticed that some people are more likely to succeed than others.

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Why is that? And more importantly, what traits most contribute to someone’s success?

Wouldn’t that kind of information be helpful to a real estate investor before they spend good money on courses and coaches?

I’ve concluded that there are 5 factors that determine the success (or failure) of a new real estate investor:

  1. The strength of their “why.”
  2. The size and achievability of their goals.
  3. The amount of their own money or access to other people’s money in their network.
  4. How much time they dedicate to the strategy each week.
  5. How much of an action-taker they are.

There are probably other factors, but these are the ones I think make the biggest difference to whether they’ll be successful as real estate investors.

To find out where YOU live on the success/failure spectrum, take my quiz below.

But first, some disclaimers:

  • I’m not a certified statistician or other social scientist.
  • This survey is intended to give you a general idea of how successful you might be in real estate investing and to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Having said that, this is only for educational purposes. Don’t make any major life decisions based on the outcome of this survey. Don’t complain to me later that I “gave you bad advice.”
  • This quiz represents my current understanding of likely success or failure. It’s neither complete nor conclusive, and I’ll probably change my mind later.

With that out of the way, take this quiz and see how you do. For each question, choose the best answer for the question and write down the appropriate number of points in the column to the right. When you’re done, add up the numbers and see how you did below.


How Did you Score?

If You Scored Under 42 Points

Seriously examine if you have what it takes to succeed in the real estate business right now. I say “right now” because with some extra work (that I describe below), you can retake the survey later and maybe score higher. But you have some work to do before you buy that first course or hire a coach!

Related: The Best Way to Reach Your Real Estate Goals? Stop Focusing on Money & Ask Yourself THIS.

Your “Why”: You’re not clear about WHY you want to get into real estate investing in the first place. Take some time and think about what you don’t like in your life and what you want. Discuss it with a spouse or friend. Then write it down.

Goals: Regarding your goals, you don't have any. Or they aren't big enough. Or you're a dreamer. Sit down and really write down your goals. They should be measurable, specific, and have a deadline. You should dream big, yes, but your 12-month plan should be realistic. Don't tell me you want to own 1,000 units when you have no track record with multifamily investing. You're just lying to yourself and wasting my time.

Money: You don't have any of your own capital nor the network to raise any. How are you going to buy the course or coach you need to get the proper education? You'll have a hard time putting down a deposit on a property or paying for the due diligence costs. Which means you'll have to raise the money. If you don't know anyone with any money, you'll have to work harder and longer to build your network. It's not impossible; just realize that it will take more time.

Time: Speaking of time, you don’t appear to have any. That’s probably because you’re too busy watching news and sports every day. Normally, the lack of time isn’t really a lack of time. It’s a lack of priorities. Examine your priorities in life. If real estate investing is not a high priority (and watching TV is), then you spend your time accordingly. You’ll have to make some decisions about what’s really important in your life.

Action: And to top it all off, you’re not really a consistent action-taker. You talk a good game, maybe even read a book or two and attend real estate club meetings, but you really never do anything. You’re too careful. You’re easily overwhelmed. And you’re afraid.

My advice? Write down the next three things you know you should THIS week to get you closer to your goal and then do them. Find an accountability partner. If you can’t take consistent action, you will NEVER change your life.

If You Scored Between 43 and 95 Points

You have a great combination of traits and circumstances that will give you a high probability of success in the real estate business. But you have some challenges and weaknesses that you need to be aware of, and you’ll need to work to improve them or overcome them by partnering with others.

Your “Why”: You might need to examine WHY you want to get into real estate. Make it more about just money or about you. Go deeper. And write it down.

Goals: Take another look at your goals. Are they TOO big? Are your 12-month goals so big that there’s no possible way you can achieve them in your lifetime? Or maybe they’re too small. Maybe you need your stretch yourself a little. And are they written down?

Money: You have some of your own financial resources, and you know some people with money. That may be enough to do your first, smaller deal, but you’re going to have to hustle to do larger deals. Not a problem: Get to work. You’ll raise the money eventually if you stick with it.

Related: 5 Highly Actionable Steps to Make REAL Progress Towards Your Investing Goals

Time: You might be struggling with dedicating the hours to the venture. Maybe you have a demanding job (or spouse). 🙂 Not ideal. You’ll have to carefully set priorities and get the support from your family. Some things may have to be sacrificed. It’s imperative that you put the necessary time into this venture or it will not succeed.

Action: You’re pretty good with taking action initially, and you can quickly get excited about something and hit it hard and heavy. But after several weeks or months, when things take a little longer than expected or you’ve had some challenges or delays, you tend to lose your enthusiasm, and your initial excitement turns cold. This is why developing your “why” and your goals are so important. Review them now, and remind yourself why you started on this journey in the first place.

If You Scored More Than 96 Points

You have an ideal combination of factors that will make it very likely that you’ll be successful with real estate investing.

You know exactly why you need to be successful in real estate. That “why” is not just about money or about you. It’s deeper than that, and it’s normally for other people you care about.

You have big, hairy goals that scare the &*$#! out of you. But your 12-month plan is grounded in reality if you work hard enough and involve the right people on your team.

You have some of your own money to invest, and you know others who are willing to invest with you. This speeds up the money-raising part of your venture significantly.

You’re making this a priority, so you’re dedicating a significant amount of time, even though you have a full-time job and other commitments.

And you have a history of getting it done. Every day. For as long as it takes.

If this describes you, and you want to get started with apartment building investing, it looks like you’ve got what it takes. Now go out there and get it done!

Let me know how helpful you found this exercise. How did you score? What did you learn about yourself? What do you need to do next?

Let me know with a comment!

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...
Read more
    Darin Anderson Investor from Victoria, MN
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Michael, Your last 4 questions (2 on money, 1 on time and 1 on action) are worth 90 points. The previous 10 (on why and on goals) are worth 30 points. Should this be read to say that you think money, time and action are vastly more deterministic of your future success than your why and your goals? (that describes my situation fairly well 7 years ago when I started). When you read your breakdown of the 3 different point ranges how you answered your why and your goals is implied to be different in each region but if you you answer the last 4 questions with the strongest answer that means you can answer the other 10 with all 1’s and you still have 100 points putting you in the highest range which would make the why and the goals meaningless for someone who has money, puts in time and takes strong continuous action. Just curious if that is your intention. It’s kind of funny because as I mentioned I mostly follow that description. I didn’t then and I still don’t think in detail about my why or my goals. I have a vague concept and know the direction I want to go but don’t write down goals or have markers for where I will be in 5 years. I just know I will be further down the path than I am now. But I do have money, put in time, and take strong actions. I have 18 properties (mostly SF with some group homes and smaller senior housing facilities) in 7 years and am currently working with partners on moving into large senior housing facilities. I have done all this with a full time job so I need to manage my time well to pull that off. That dual responsibility will likely be ending soon but it has helped with the money along the way to get me to this point. So I have made a lot of progress. Perhaps I would have made more if I had a more concrete why or more specific goals, but the other categories have definitely kept me moving forward at a good pace without strong whys or goals. And strangely that does fit with how you scored your quiz. I just found it interesting that my situation makes the first 10 questions of this quiz not matter based on the scoring. I answered this quiz based on my situation when I started and scored 105 with mostly 1s and a few 2s on the goals and whys and a 3 on the realistic goals for the first 12 months. 90 points came from the last 4 questions obviously. Thoughts?
    Dustin Graham from Grass Valley, California
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I’d be interested to hear Michael’s thoughts. But, I think you answered it for yourself. I’ve got some strong why’s and goals. But, weak money, moderate action. I have no properties yet. You’ve got decent properties and you’re looking at some nice sized deals. Your time, money and taking action has helped you along.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Hi @DARIN ANDERSON, good pick up! I did put some thought into the weighting, but perhaps not as much as you think LOL! My goal was to roughly weigh equally the 4 categories (WHY/GOALS, MONEY, TIME, and ACTION). The Way I have it now, for the high points, each of these categories equally 30 points each. Your observation is interesting: you had a relatively weak WHY and GOALS yet you are so strong in the other 3, which is why you’re still getting stuff done. It’s the same for someone who has no money but is strong in the other 3 categories. It gets tough when you’re weak in 2 or more categories. This is great feedback … keep it coming -;)
    Roberto Escapita Jr from El Paso, Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great quiz for a beginner like myself. It’s not to the T specific, but it does highlight the overall, general direction of what I possess(traits, why) and what I do not have at the moment(experience, knowledge). Best five minutes investment quiz. Real swift reality check (drill sergeant scold!) for me to refine my vision. Thank you for your time. God Bless.