You know, it’s so easy in this industry to forget why we are all here. OK, maybe the main reason we are all here is to make money, but hopefully we’re not doing that without having at least a little bit of fun along the way. I guess technically the returns can still be worth it even if you aren’t having fun earning them, but come on… there’s no reason not to be having some fun.
A lot of the things that are fun about real estate investing, at least as far as I can tell, are also the things I consider to be some of the major benefits of real estate investing (over a lot of other types of investing). So keep that in mind as you read this article—a lot of these things are reasons that real estate investing is actually an amazing investment strategy.
Also, we are nearing the holidays. I know a lot of people are probably starting to get swamped with last-minute or end-of-year deadlines, and it’s easy to slip into a busy frenzy finishing up all that. At the same time, your family starts to invade your house and life. But remember, it is the holidays! The holidays should be a time of joy, happiness, and fun! So hopefully this post will remind you of what you should be having this month, regardless of the chaos that may surround it—fun!
I have come up with eight things about real estate investing that I think are some of the most fun aspects of it. I don’t expect everyone to think everything in this list is fun, but there should be at least a couple of things that you would consider to be smile-inducing during your investing.
In no particular order, here we go.
8 Reasons Real Estate Investing Is Fun
1. Making Money
This one is totally obvious. But I wanted to add it in here to remind everyone that while making money is great for financial security and other things, it is also just flat out fun to make money. I can’t imagine anyone contesting me on this one!
2. Creative Problem Solving
Unlike making money, problem solving may not top everyone’s fun list. I get it. Problems in general aren’t super fun, but if you have an interest in (or a knack for) creative problem solving, real estate investing will be fantastic for you.
Not only are there a million different ways to be involved with real estate investing, but we weren’t taught any of them in school. We are forced to figure so much out our own. This may sound like torture to some, but for others it can mean the world is at our fingertips! A lot of jobs don’t allow you to expand to your full potential when it comes to brain power or ability. Real estate investing is just the opposite. Because you aren’t working for anyone but yourself (see below), you can expand as big and as wide as you want to with your brain power, creativity, and problem-solving.
Problem solving in REI can come in two places. The first is getting started. The “problem” there is figuring out not only what you want to do, or what strategy you want to try, but then figuring out how to do it. It’s like being at the starting line. You are there, your shoes are laced up tight, and you’re in your best running gear. Sure, you’re all suited up, but then you have to figure out which way you want to go, and how you want to run the course.
The second opportunity you’ll have to work your problem-solving skills is once you are established. In whichever strategy you’ve decided to focus on, once you’ve started doing some deals, things will not always go as planned.
Maybe it won’t be a particular challenge or problem you are hitting, but maybe it will behoove you to optimize what you are doing. How are you going to tackle the challenge or make what you’re doing better? Creative problem solving. I have an engineering background, so creative problem solving for me is like cake to a toddler. But like I said, not everyone craves creative problem solving, or even problem solving in general, so don’t stress too much if this one doesn’t make your list.
Maybe you’re more of the shopping type than the problem-solving type. I’m actually not usually the type to enjoy shopping myself, but I have always loved shopping for properties! Even if I’m not the one buying and I’m just showing properties to other investors, I absolutely love checking out houses and going through them. But when I am the buyer, it is especially fun to truck through random houses. I may truck through them in person or on the computer, but picking out which one I want is great fun if you ask me!
It’s exciting. I admit, I get doubly excited if the property I’m picking is cute. The thought of adding it to my portfolio and earning returns on it is super fun for me. I can’t say I have an emotional attachment to all of the properties I’ve bought, but I felt fantastic every time I picked one of them out. Even when I think of each one now, it makes me smile a little.
I think shopping should be one of the most fun parts of the whole process. You’ve educated yourself, you’ve researched, you know what you’re looking for, and you’ve really done a lot of the grunt work in preparation. Now you get to go shopping. Some markets may have more options than others, so you may get to be pickier about what you buy in those markets. Either way, the property searches and shopping should be a blast! (Unless you’re shopping for your 47th property because your first 46 offers got turned down… then you may not be having as much fun.)
4. Being Your Own Boss
This may also not be for everybody, but being a real estate investor is the absolute most swanky opportunity to be your own boss. You actually kind of have to be your own boss as a real estate investor. Maybe you’re your own boss in your real-life career already. Maybe you aren’t and you’ve always wanted to be in charge. Now’s your chance!
There are very few positions in real estate investing where you don’t have full dominion over your own fate. Being your own boss means you get to maximize your own creativity and ideas as much or as little as you want. You can set your own hours. You can decide what you do and don’t do.
If things go haywire, you aren’t at risk for getting reprimanded! Well, if you’re like me, maybe you reprimand yourself, but you definitely don’t have to worry about getting fired. The only way you will get kicked out of real estate investing is if you kick yourself out.
I know for me, being my own boss is 1,000 times more fun than answering to someone else. It can certainly be stressful, but in my experience, the stress is worth every bit of the freedom. The REI world is your playground, and you get to play with any piece of it you want. Boom. Now that is fun.
It may be a bit of a stretch to put this one into the “fun” category, but having control does have its merits. And maybe somewhat sadistically, it can be a bit fun too. Just kidding. While control can have a lot of negative connotations, it can be good to have control over things. Note that I didn’t say “over-control.” I just said control. Over-controlling anything never does anyone any good. But in something like investing, it can go a really long way to have control over what you do (unlike stocks, where you just put your money in and then you have no choice but to ride the wave of whatever happens)!
It’s like when I invested in silver years ago at a price I thought was incredibly advantageous, only to ride the wave while the value of silver plummeted to record lows. Whoops. But I had no control over that. With my rental properties, however, I’ve had a ton of control. I’ve had control over who lives in them. I’ve had control over who manages them. I’ve had control over the financing and even the returns in a lot of ways. I control what I do with them. In that light, control is incredibly fun!
Shoot, if I’m not having fun with any of my properties, I have control over what I do about that! It’s part of being your own boss, and even part of the problem-solving aspect—you run the show, i.e. you control your show. You may not control the show, but you can control your show.
There isn’t just one way to do real estate investing—there’s about a million! So you can bend that and flex that in quite a number of ways to make it work for you. Just having those options is fun. Or, I think it is at least. You can bend in any number of directions. You can bend toward what works better for you—or what you like better—or you can bend away from anything you don’t like. This is a very fluid industry!
7. People Watching
Speaking of flexibility, this one may be a stretch. But if you are really evolved and can understand not taking things personally, just sitting back and watching people in this industry can be notable entertainment. There are no prerequisites to be a real estate investor. You can be the biggest jerk on the planet or the dumbest jerk on the planet. Because there are no prerequisites to get started, you’re bound to witness quite a number of characters along the way.
Since I’ve been in REI, I’ve seen all sorts of different types of people. What’s even more entertaining, I’ve seen all sorts of different types of things people do. Sometimes I can do nothing else but sit back and just shake my head and laugh. It feels like it’s just constant sometimes.
Admittedly, if it’s craziness involving any of my work or deals, it can be frustrating and challenging. But when I’m able to separate myself from it, it can be quite comical to watch!
I know some people might think I’m nuts for thinking that people watching can be fun, but why not laugh at anything we can laugh at in this world? If we can’t sit back and watch the entertainment, we are probably just stressing over it or being annoyed by it. I choose the former and I find I lose way less sleep at night.
On a more serious note about the people in REI, it really is an industry where networking is extremely beneficial. Where the fun comes in with the networking, I think, is that it’s one of the few places you get to network with people of all different industries, locations, pay grades, mindsets, life situations, etc. REI, in my experience, tends to attract very interesting people. And I don’t just mean interesting in the people-watching type of way, but people with extraordinary backgrounds, vast life experiences, and a lot of intellect to offer.
I may never do a deal with most of the people I meet through networking, but it’s rare that I don’t either learn something from them or enjoy the experience of meeting them. I’ve seen even the shyest people come out of their shells in the REI scene. You can talk to as many people as you want. You can talk to anyone you want. And you can meet people that you wouldn’t likely have met otherwise.
When I first started in real estate, I was working deals in Nicaragua (yes, Nicaragua) and while normal networking can be fun, try networking poolside with a pina colada in your hand after a day of trekking volcanoes! It really is an amazingly fun industry full of people to meet.
There you have it: Eight reasons real estate investing really can be fun. At the end of the day, the financial returns alone may be worth it, but there’s no reason not to make the most out of your investing experience.
What’s your favorite thing about real estate investing? What have you found is the most fun?
Tell me in the comments below!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.