Real Estate Investing Basics

The Notorious 9-5 Job: Should You Kick It to the Curb or Reinvent It?

Expertise: Commercial Real Estate, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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Real estate is often chosen as a cure for the hated 9-5 grind. But what is the best way for you to participate in real estate and leverage it to get more of what you really want in life?

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Escaping the drudgery of the 9-5 job is a hugely popular topic. We spend hours talking about it, bookstores are full of bestselling works on how to do it, the internet spouts out ideas on how to get out, and there are even multiple industries surrounding it, each with million dollar companies selling the dream of freedom.

The truth is that real estate can be the best way for many individuals to kick their old 9-5 jobs to the curb. It can be the most reliable and rewarding path — IF tackled correctly. But in reality, there are many different ways to participate in real estate and its rewards. This includes everything from being a real estate agent to a mortgage lender, to fixing and flipping houses, to simply investing.


What is it You REALLY Want?

What most of these new ways of generating income share is the additional scheduling freedom. Yet it is important that each individual takes time to understand their options and what they really mean and offer, and then matches them with what they really want deep down. Should you kick the whole concept of a 9-5 to the curb, or do you just reinvent what you do with your time?

Related: Should You Quit Your Current 9-5 to Get a Full-Time Real Estate Gig? Consider THIS First.

The biggest myth that shocks the system for many who get into real estate is that it can be very time consuming. You can start out with a few hours a week if you still have a regular job. But full-time investing — flipping houses for a living, running a real estate company, having self-managed rental properties, or even being a real estate agent — is a real job. Much of that work may need to be done during business hours. And if you aren’t careful and proactive, real estate can become a 80 to 90 hour work week (speaking from experience). It may pay an awesome salary and be a ton of fun, but if real estate is all you are doing, it can be consuming.

Realize What You’ll Get From Real Estate

If this is the path you are going down, then recognize this in advance. Decide how many hours you will work and when. You don’t want to wake up one day realizing you’ve let the last six years slip by in a frenzied fog while juggling multiple mobile phones through your daughter’s birthday parties and son’s soccer games. A disciplined 9-5 can actually be efficient in this respect.

Just consider what exactly it is you hate: the hours, the job, or the pay.

Many others just want the financial results real estate can provide. They want the security and peace of mind of the passive income and solid asset. Maybe they even want the prestige of being a property owner. But they actually love their job. Maybe they aren’t handy with property maintenance or construction at all. Maybe they would be totally lost without someone else setting their schedule and giving direction. That’s OK.


Related: 10 Tips For Leaving Your 9-5 and Adjusting to Life as an Entrepreneur


We are all different, and that’s what makes us awesome and better working together. Maybe you absolutely love the career you have, the corporate path you are on, your coworkers, the small business you created, etc. That’s great. Don’t give it up.

If this is you, then you can find ways to invest in and profit from real estate without any major changes. You can profit from real estate in an hour or less a week with hands-free investing options, such as REITs, real estate stocks, partnerships, private lending, professionally managed rental properties, and crowdfunding. Maybe you’ll invest in them all. Just do your homework to see which really fits your individual goals and needs best.

Is your ultimate plan to quit your job and invest full time — or would you rather keep real estate as a side gig to your 9-5? Why?

Let’s talk in the comments section below!

Sterling is an multifamily investor specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.
    John L. Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you for pointing out that real estate is not always the cure for escaping your job. It can become a job itself. I continue to work at my 9-5 because frankly, it’s difficult to replace the income reliably. Further, I judge it as the lowest risk option to increase my income even more. On the other hand I sacrifice a lot of time and perhaps potential. I’m investing real estate on the side to establish a base income…something that can cover basic expenses in the event I lose my job. If it gets big enough however, my ultimate goal is to replace my desired income so I can get my time back!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I wish you the best of luck in getting to your ultimate goal. I believe you will get there in no time!
    Kim Martin Rental Property Investor from Wenatchee, WA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I love my 9 – 5 job and will be retiring in 4 years. My real estate will supplement my retirement income and provide me with part time work (if I want). I discovered my Freedom Number – Thanks Clayton Morris! That is the beauty of real estate. It can be anything we want it to be.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Glad to hear the 9-5 is working for you! Thank you for sharing your story, Kim.
    Marcus Auerbach Real Estate Agent from Milwaukee - Mequon, WI
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Why quit if you can do somthing you like? As I was getting closer to my freedom number I realized that I did not want to sit at home and watch Dancing with the Stars, like Brandon referrs to it. So I quit my six figure job with lots of international travel and became a RE Agent instead. My Milwaukee rentals and rehabs are humming along on the side like they always did and I just added another one to the portfolio. I work now quite a bit more hours and of course on the weekend, but my time is more flexible and I have scheduled a vacation every three months. The best thing is that as a buyers agent I have a huge exposure to the market, which really helps me with my flips. The best thing is: I dont need a dreaded alrm clock in the morning, I just wake up and can’t wait to get going!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you for sharing your story. Great to hear the transition worked out well for you!
    Michael McCafferty from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Marcus A – Definitely sounds like you’ve found your passion. I’m looking to get into investing, also here in the Milwaukee market; any suggestions?
    Chris Falk Investor from Yakima, Washington
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Another thing to consider……’s easier to to get cost efficient, conforming, loans when you still have a W2 salary to show the bank. Asset based and hard $ is avail as well but at higher rates that don’t always allow the deal to cash flow (on a buy and hold). I’ve learned that healthy liquidity, great credit, no debt and some cash flow from other sources does not mean a heck of a lot in the traditional lending world these days. Also, all cash purchases don’t pencil that well either in some cases, let alone they limit ones’ ability to scale up as avail capital gets committed to fewer deals (which speaks to your point in the Dave Ramsey and debt post, Sterling).
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks so much for your input! Having the 9-5 w-2 does have it’s benefits as you stated. Are you full-time now as an investor, Chris?
    Jeff Deleon
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Like any other job, shadowing can be one of the best experiences. Talking to those in the real estate industry and getting a feel of what takes place from A-Z can be a reality check of what to experience in real estate. Some transactions are a stroll down EZ street while others can have title issues that seem to become your worst nightmares.