3 Key Ways to Become a Better Real Estate Investor While Quarantined
Nearly a year ago, for health reasons, I moved my family from Metro Atlanta (population 6 million) to Clovis, New Mexico (population 39,000). I’ve been an active, full-time real estate investor since 1999 and am very grateful to be able to continue to earn income as an investor while living in New Mexico.
I do all my business remotely. In the last few months, I’ve worked deals involving a triplex in South Carolina, a ranch in Texas, and a beautiful mansion in Georgia. In all my time since arriving here, I have never once worked a single deal involving a property here in Clovis.
There’s no airport here—not even a Costco. Albuquerque, the “big city,” is a four-hour drive away. I’m two whole time zones away from my colleagues in Atlanta.
So, feeling isolated from the larger world is not an entirely new thing for me.
The recent threat of COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to double down on the very strategies that have already been working exceptionally well for me. I believe they can help you become a better investor, as well.
How to Become a Better Investor While Quarantined
How, you say? Here are three essential ways:
- Grow your network
- Expand your deal geography
- Unleash your creativity
No doubt, you’ve seen these recommendations before. So, rather than simply telling you how powerful they are, I want to show exactly how I put these three principles into action.
Below I’ve captured some of the highlights of my time spent sheltered in place.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
11:35 a.m.: I’m currently on a Zoom conference call with real estate investors from around the world, all seeking creative ideas for thriving in a COVID-19 (and post-COVID-19) world.
The issue on the table right now is getting tenants to pay rent when they can’t go to work and earn money and can’t be evicted during the crisis. Someone has suggested finding ways to help tenants earn money by allowing them to offer digital services, such as graphic design, video editing, bookkeeping, and copywriting.
Perhaps a deal can be struck with an online temp agency, such that a portion of the income earned by the tenants we refer gets applied to rent.
Monday, March 23, 2020
11:30 a.m.: I just got off the phone with the owner of a general contracting company in Atlanta who’s looking to get into real estate investing. He’d responded to a BiggerPockets Forum post I made last week.
We connected via direct message (DM) and exchanged phone numbers. On the call, I shared my perspective on the magic of structuring seller financing deals.
I suggested he brush up on creative financing techniques using the BiggerPockets search feature. We agree to talk again in a week or so.
1:15 p.m.: Spoke to a short-term rental (STR) operator in St. Louis with two Airbnbs. She’s seen bookings fall off a cliff in the past two weeks—I know she’s not alone.
I’ll set aside time in the coming days to research the St. Louis market to see what opportunities might present themselves.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
10:00 a.m.: I spoke with a new investor recently who relocated from Los Angeles to Atlanta and is looking for solid contacts and resources. She’d posted on the BiggerPockets Forum asking for referrals for great FHA lenders in Atlanta.
During our conversation, I put her in touch with my superstar real estate broker and my million-dollar mortgage banker to help her get started. We’ll reconnect soon to see how else we might be able to help each other.
12:00 p.m.: Sent the following email with the subject line “Are You Safe?” to all our constituents who make payments to us, including tenants, investors, and owner-financed owners:
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During this time of uncertainty, I wanted to check in on you and your family. Are you OK? Do you have everything you need? Are you being safe?
Now is not the time to panic. Please be watchful and keep your family safe. Reach out to us to talk if you need someone to listen. We are here to help.
Please let me know.
2:15 p.m.: I read a post on the BiggerPockets Forum from a New York investor looking for a great Atlanta insurance broker. I then sent him a colleague request containing the name and phone number of the excellent State Farm office we’ve worked with for 20 years.
While I’ll make zero dollars in referral fees from this, it feels satisfying to connect good people and create value, especially these days.
4:20 p.m.: Had a conversation with a colleague out of Las Vegas. She shared that the Strip is dark for the first time probably ever.
Now is a perfect time to hop on BiggerPockets to seek out local investors to better understand where the Vegas market might be heading.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
10:27 a.m.: Sent out an email inviting all the Georgia-based, out-of-state, and overseas investors I serve to the third “COVID-19 Strategies” Zoom call set for later today.
A good friend of mine is hosting, and so far some creative and valuable ideas have emerged from previous calls. I also created an event notification on BiggerPockets.
1:23 p.m.: Just received an emergency alert on my cell phone instructing all New Mexico residents to remain at home and requiring that “all non-essential businesses immediately must cease in-person operations.”
2:00 p.m.: Just hopped on the third “COVID-19 Strategies” Zoom call. It was insanely creative! Questions we discussed included:
- Why is now the perfect time to approach owners of rental properties with owner financing offers?
- How can lease options be used as an acquisition strategy, as well as a disposition strategy?
- What are some out-of-the box ideas for advocating on behalf of landlords and tenants with regard to home loans, car loans, credit cards, etc.?
8:46 p.m.: I sent an email to the CEO of a nationally known virtual staffing and recruiting firm that we had worked with previously.
I’m looking to explore their interest in offering qualified tenants around the country the opportunity to create income on the side, an idea I got from the Zoom call on March 21. We’ll see how things develop!
Tomorrow and Beyond
I believe I’m making huge progress on growing my business and better serving the tenants, buyers, investors, private lenders, and other stakeholders in my world, and the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t stopped me from doing any of this.
It’s also worth pointing out that none of these actions I took above required one single penny in extra costs, which means there’s no excuse not to put these tools to work in your life right now.
This scary episode will eventually end, and when it does, you will either be closer to your goals or you won’t.
The choice, as always, is yours—use your time wisely!
How are you adapting your real estate business during the COVID-19 crisis?
Join the conversation in the comments below.