Real Estate Investing Basics

What It Feels Like to Be a Real Estate Investor (& Why You Need to Get Started!)

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When it comes to rational and logical arguments for investing in real estate, it's a no-brainer. If you're reading this, you're almost assuredly aware of the financial benefits real estate provides in terms of loan paydown by tenants, market appreciation of the property, cash flow from rent, and tax strategies designed to help the real estate investor.

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Yet despite all of the rational and logical arguments in the world, maybe you still haven’t pulled the trigger. If that’s the case, one more success story or another look at the numbers probably isn’t going to move the needle.

This is where you can find a synergy between logic and emotion in decision-making.

There is a lot written and shared about the importance of having a firm understanding of your “why” and committing to it, which can also have an important emotional appeal. I’m not going to get into that here, but what I do want to share is the other side of things.

Related: How Finding Your “Why” Will Jumpstart Your Real Estate Career

What are you going to think and how are you going to feel once you dive in and start taking action?

When That Investor Feeling Hits

There’s a unique feeling that hits you when those two sides—the logical and emotional—come together for the first time. It’s when you realize you’re truly an investor.

It may come at different times for everyone—maybe when you close on the first property or maybe when you call the first contractor, paint the first wall, or receive the first rent check.

For me, it happened as I was laying flooring in the bedroom of a duplex I had closed on a week prior. I was listening to the BiggerPockets Podcast at the time.

home-diy

It wasn’t like that property was the start of my investing career. The duplex marked units 11 and 12 in my portfolio. My real estate journey started four months prior in September 2019, and I had already spent a few weekends out at another property painting and laying flooring. It was exciting and fun, but this one was different.

After spending 12-plus hours working on the rehab and realizing I wasn’t going to make it home to my bed, it hit me. I was listening to at least my tenth episode of Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner bickering for the day, when I had the “aha!” moment during the famous four.

Over the previous year, I had listened to hundreds of podcasts and heard Brandon ask this question so many times, I can hear his voice as I type it: “What do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?”

I always thought it was a great question. The answer was always thought provoking, but this time was different. It was the question itself that got me thinking, not the answer.

Related: The Easiest Way to Get Started in Real Estate (Gain Experience and Get Paid, Too!)

The brilliance of that question is that it leaves the aspiring investor with four options:

  1. Never get started

I would never again fit into this category. By no means was I an expert, but I owned four duplexes and a fourplex, started a local community of 85-plus fellow investors, started a local monthly meetup, and had another four units under contract. I had certainly started.

  1. Fail

I will certainly experience failure. (Just look at the garbage bin I filled up with miscut flooring my first time around.) I don’t think there’s a single successful investor out there who hasn’t!

But it’s what you do in the face of those failures, which only leaves the next two options.

  1. Give up

This is simply not an option. Aside from giving up piano lessons as a kid (how do you use that many keys?), giving up isn’t something I understand how to do. And I’m certainly not going to start now.

  1. Achieve success

This is the only remaining option. In episode 225 of the BiggerPockets Podcast, Kathy Fettke describes how she had her moment on New Year’s Eve. She said she would be wealthy and that there was no chance of failure.

She wouldn’t allow it. She had made up her mind that success was the only option, and it is for me, too.

I always knew I would be successful. It may have been overconfidence, a little ignorant hopefulness, or just great parenting, but I knew it would happen somehow. That night at almost midnight, as I laid my flooring and listened to the last question of the famous four yet again, I finally realized that I was truly on my way to that success I had always dreamed of.

man looking out over river at cityscape and sunset

Don’t Just Take My Word for It

I share this story to show you that the payout from pursuing your goals in real estate investing is not purely financial. The feeling I got when I realized I had taken steps to accomplish my goals created an emotional appeal I never previously thought about. Yet it was enough to stop me in my tracks that night, as I stuck together another piece of flooring. (Luxury vinyl is amazing by the way.)

You need to have a “why.” You need to know that investing is a good financial decision. But you also need to know how it feels to start to succeed.

It’s not just numbers on paper or in a spreadsheet. It’s not just large-scale Monopoly. It’s taking hold of your future, and shaping it to be exactly how you want it. When you finally fully realize that’s happening and you’re on your way, the feeling is incredible.

I encourage you to find out for yourself.

What’s your “why”?

Share below!

Patrick Menefee is a six-year Army veteran turned management consultant, now working full-time for one of the "Big Four" in the payments industry. He began investing in real estate part-time in the...
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    Wenda Kennedy JD from Nikiski, Alaska
    Replied 8 months ago
    I started in real estate as an agent in 1976 -- 44 years ago. My "why" was because I made less with my college degree than my less-educated husband (at that time) made as a common laborer. In real estate, I was paid just like the men. They had to pay me my cut of each of the commissions I earned -- even though I was a mire female. So, I made it my mission in life to list and sell a lot of properties. That success resulted in higher commission splits for me. Then I started investing my earnings in properties. Sometimes it felt wonderful. Other times I was grinding my teeth all night from the property problems. I've been in real estate for the long-haul. Overall, I've done OK and I'm glad that I made that fateful decision so long ago...
    Patrick Menefee Rental Property Investor from Charlotte, NC
    Replied 8 months ago
    I love this. And ultimately, if it weren't for the nights you spent cutting your teeth to keep things going the success today wouldn't be as sweet. I look forward to looking back in 44 years like you are now and being thrilled with my decision to get started!
    Julian Gonda Rental Property Investor from San Francisco, CA
    Replied 8 months ago
    I couldn't help but LOL after reading, "I was listening to at least my tenth episode of Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner bickering for the day". But this article was a great read, even for someone like me who is starting out. I'm all for logical and emotional aligning, and for the first time, I strongly feel that with this venture (not even with the college degree in Finance I had received). My why is simply being able to wake up in the morning knowing my future family and I are financial well, and putting my parents in a home they can comfortably call their own.
    Patrick Menefee Rental Property Investor from Charlotte, NC
    Replied 8 months ago
    I'm glad you liked it! What fun is all of this if you don't enjoy yourself and inject a little humor and personality to it? IMO it's part of what makes the podcasts so beneficial. Love the why you have though, its so important to have one that's bigger than yourself. Taking care of your family is a fantastic goal, and real estate is a fantastic vehicle to get you there
    Angel Dejesus Property Manager from Boston, Massachusetts
    Replied 8 months ago
    Great read. Keep up the flooring. Luxury vinyl is great
    Patrick Menefee Rental Property Investor from Charlotte, NC
    Replied 8 months ago
    It's so good. I installed some hard laminate plank last weekend and quickly came to miss my LVP. Thanks for reading and commenting!