Real Estate Investing Basics

3 Things Newbie (& Wannabe) Real Estate Investors Should Be Doing Every Single Day

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
21 Articles Written
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When I talk to a new real estate investor or someone who wants to be a real estate investor, they tend to be completely overwhelmed by all the resources that are out there. There are dozens and dozens of podcasts, thousands of books, and a lot of people who want to give you advice. It’s not easy to navigate at first.

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Then, you start to learn. But sometimes it feels like the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know!

No wonder so many people never make it past this phase! They get stuck (some call this analysis paralysis) and have no one to help them move forward.

It’s critical that you have a purposeful path to pursue when you are first starting out. I think that learning the true power of real estate and understanding that there are various strategies that you can pursue is a great place to start.

At that point, newbie and wannabe investors need to get really honest about what an ideal future looks like and what goals to make to get there. Take some time to figure out where it is that you are trying to go. Be purposeful and strategic—otherwise, you will just be busy but not productive.

Don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis like most would-be new investors. They’re afraid to take action, they don’t know where to start, and then they quit for one reason or another.

I do not want that to happen to you. So, here are three things that I think you should do as a newbie or wannabe to ensure you’re on the path toward success.

Related: Hesitant to Invest? Hack Your Way Out of Analysis Paralysis

Step 1: Build your contact list.

Every single day you need to be networking and building your contact list. There are so many people who you want on your team.

It’s important that you have a CPA who understands real estate investments. It’s also important that you have access to an attorney who can help you with landlord laws, contract drafting, and protecting yourself and your investments.

You want to make sure that you connect with a banker or conventional lender, hard money lender, private money lender, and maybe even someone who can help you with creative financing. (Yes, this is a thing!) The more money sources you can have, the better.

Group of friends talking and having fun at dinner party.

You're going to need an insurance agent. You might need—or at least want—a real estate agent (or more than one) on your team, too.

You could use a wholesaler. You're going to need contractors, specialists, handymen. You might need a pest control company. You're going to need a cleaner or cleaning company. You might want a property manager or someone who can teach you how to self-manage.

I also encourage you to have somebody on your team who will hold you accountable. It can be a mentor, or a coach, or a group of friends, or another successful investor. Share your goals with this person (or these people), and ask them to hold you to them. Knowing that someone is checking up on you can provide a great source of motivation!

Network! Network! Network!

The key to having deals constantly and consistently flowing to you is having the right group of people who can provide you with leads and deals.  This happens over time as you network and get your name out there as a serious investor. So, be patient, but don’t put it off!

Step 2: Analyze properties.

You need to be analyzing properties every single day. In order to analyze properties, though, you need to nail down a market. Pick one and know exactly why you’re choosing that market.

Just because somebody says it’s hot does not mean that you should pursue it. You need to do your research. Once you’re confident that you’re in the right market, you can start analyzing properties within that market.

Related: 8 Ways to Identify the Best Places to Buy Rental Property

You need to know what your return on investment threshold is, so you can find out whether or not you're looking at a good property. This can be hard in the beginning, because you don't have the experience. You will likely make a mistake (or a few!).

So, this is where a good mentor, coach, or accountability partner comes in. These people can also serve as another set of eyes and reiterate whether or not you should make an offer.

Young Couple Lying On Carpet Invoice With Calculator

Step 3: Talk to anyone who will listen.

Tell anyone and everyone what your goals are. Tell them what you’re pursuing; make sure that they know what you’re doing. And if they’re at all interested, make sure that you have their contact information, because you might be able to ask them for money down the road.

Encourage your friends and family to follow your journey. Once they can trust that you know what you are doing and are building a foundation to be successful, they might be a private money source for you. Or they might want to partner on something with you. Or they might know someone who is crushing it in real estate and connect you with that person.

There are a lot of things that real estate investors can be doing to start out, but an intentionally directed path is absolutely critical.

If you read this post and feel that you have yet to complete some or all of these steps, pull out a piece of paper (seriously, right now). Make a list of the team members you’re missing, and get out there and start interviewing and building relationships.

Nail down your market, start analyzing properties, and make offers. And just to add a little more pressure, make sure someone is holding your feet to the fire!

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Have you started your journey? What are your goals? Or if you haven’t, what’s holding you back? 

Share below in a comment!

Erin Helle is an Army veteran turned entrepreneur specializing in flipping houses, turnkey renovation products, and real estate investor coaching...
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    Derek Magdziak Rental Property Investor from Boston, MA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Communicate, communicate, then communicate some more. Always key.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Agreed!
    Leonard Calvin Rental Property Investor from WI, GA
    Replied 8 months ago
    That's an outstanding post.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thanks!
    Brian Besser Real Estate Agent from Branson, MO
    Replied 8 months ago
    Appreciate the article! I have the inner FIND THE DEAL ability and also have analyzed about 30 properties doing the numbers of CASH FLOW and ROI and have found some deals that produce. But then I get stuck when it comes to financing with traditional methods. I have a self-employed portfolio and am currently stuck paying Higher Side rent. I've been wanting to own a Duplex. living in one side and renting out the other side, but again it is the financing part that I get stuck on. It appears that I must find Owners and have them be willing to do SELLER Financing? or Find an Investor? Not sure how to approach this? Is there any podcasts that go into detail about the financing side of the deal? I am assuming you must have some sort of cash flow to begin to buy? I also just got my Realtor License and am hoping for more Liquid money to help with financing..
    Shahmeran Gilani from Edmonton, Alberta
    Replied 8 months ago
    Hey Brian, i am curious to know how you are analyzing these properties. Are you using the BP Calculators or other methods of analysis? I just closed on my first duplex , living up and renting down, and will be in the market again for another rental property later this year, so it'd be nice to know what metrics you are using to analyze these deals
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    I’m going to send you a message so we can discuss this in more detail
    Kevin Zolea New to Real Estate from Parlin, NJ
    Replied 8 months ago
    Awesome article! Thanks for writing this. I'm working on step 1 now by going to different meet ups in my area.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thanks great, Kevin! Soak it in and add value wherever you can!
    Barbara Teresa Wholesaler from Seattle, WA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Great Article!
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thanks, Barbara!
    Raine Garrett Real Estate Consultant from Memphis, TN
    Replied 8 months ago
    Superlady Raine here Hello Erin, That was a phenomenal article It was fantastic.. I love it... Thank you for giving back...God blessings continuously.....
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thank YOU! So sweet!
    Jennifer Sarmiento New to Real Estate from San Diego
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thank you for these steps! I’m new and eager, and your article made me realize I need to balance my own training. I have been talking to everyone, but it was a kick in the butt to get organized with who I’ve already met through my networking & seek out who I have yet to include on my list/team. I’ve met awesome realtors, wholesalers, contractors, and brokers at meetups & REIA, but no attorney or CPA. I’m wondering if there’s a referral section on BP to find them in my city, in San Diego?
    Katie Lepore Attorney and CPA from San Diego, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    @Jennifer Sarmiento. Welcome to SD real estate! What kind of services are you looking for from attorneys and CPAs? I know a bunch in San Diego. As you can probably imagine, "real estate attorney" covers a broad area of topics and most attorneys specialize in a certain area, i.e, eviction, leases, estate planning, tax planning, liability protection, etc. *This post does not create an attorney-client or CPA-client relationship. Readers are advised to seek professional advice.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    So cool that you two could connect! Good luck!
    Deone Doctors
    Replied 8 months ago
    I'm very early on. I have one investment that I picked up in 2018. It could cash flowing a bit more, but I'm basically breaking even in it now (I do have 30% equity though). I recently decided to get serious (for the full, rambling, incoherent story, see my introductory post). Something I've found that has upped my productivity, overall direction, and forward progress massively is keeping a log of what I do each day. Not a long-winded, parentheses and hyphenated word filled (like my comments) step by step journal, but more like a bullet journal or meeting minutes. Lenders I've contacted, houses I've quick screened or (if they passed the quick screen) analyzed, agents I've spoke to, investors I've had lunch with, etc. I write a brief sentence or two about major takeaways from that action, and the next action steps to take if applicable. I'm feeling really disheartened today because I still haven't found that first property, and I've been going hard. But today was actually a victory. I got pre-approved for a (traditional mortgage) investment loan, was offered a $5000 loan check on my business account and credit, and also received a 20k interest only for 5 years personal line of credit (for a future rehab). I'm trying to not let what I don't know stop me, but also not sink myself early on. The challenges never end: Finding an agent who is as responsive as I want them to be (and at what point does that become unreasonable of me), estimating rehab costs without line item-ing everything and researching the labor and material one line at a time, figuring out how to make offers, avoiding the faux pas that make me look like a complete neophyte/idiot (unavoidable as that is), and balancing these plates while working 12+ hours a day in a hard sloppy job (luckily with some down time built in at this point in the project; hence the loans today); are all my current challenges. Then you get advice from smart and successful people that may not jibe with your plan (ie telling you to flip to build capital when you want to cash out, hold, and build a passive income portfolio) that makes you question everything you've learned about and built toward for 10+ years. The major reason I see all these challenges and recent victories so clearly is because of that log. So that helps. Thank you for this article! It has shown me I'm on the right track, but has also pointed out some holes I have in my contact list.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    Awesome, thanks for the feedback and advice! One thing you should focus on for your daily to do’s, are things that YOU can control! You can’t control whether or not you will find the right deal on any given day, but you can control how many properties you analyze. You can’t control how many potential team members you interview, but you can control how many you reach out to. This will help your feel way more productive. Does that make sense?
    Olufemi Oyedele
    Replied 8 months ago
    I think you also need appraiser in your contact list. An appraiser will avail you with the trending càpital and rental values of properties. With these two values you can calculate the yield, which is the ratio of capital value over rental value. You need the list of property brokers and rental agents in the area uou are buying or developing properties.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    That’s awesome, thanks!
    Elena Shrode
    Replied 8 months ago
    Erin, thank you for another great article! I am currently on step 2: analyzing deals. So far every property I’ve run numbers on is negative cash flow. Rent to price ratios that I’m seeing are 0.7 to 0.9% is there something that I’m missing?
    Michael Opolski
    Replied 8 months ago
    What about actually understanding the rules of the search engine you rely on? I don't see a single topic on Bigger Pockets that explains how Google has changed how the search engine now works and with their new BERT update, its already effecting 1 out of 10 search results. Real estate people need to first understand the platforms they are marketing on before they can expect their branded content to perform for them. Without that knowledge, they are nor marketing, they are guessing.
    Yu Liu New to Real Estate from San Jose, CA
    Replied 7 months ago
    As a newbie, this is a great article. Thank you for sharing and providing links to hot topics (finding mentors, ways to identify a market, deal analysis)
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 7 months ago
    Glad you liked it!