Real Estate Investing Basics

5 Achievable Tasks for Real Estate Newbies Feeling Lost & Overwhelmed

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
233 Articles Written
game board with dice and game piece at start

Feeling lost and don’t know where to start in real estate?

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Real estate is rewarding on so many levels. It’s a shame to witness those who don’t get to experience those results in their own lives. Sadly, it is often not due to a lack of being aware of the advantages real estate can offer, but failing to get started. It can be a little bewildering in the beginning, speaking from experience. There is so much information out there, a whole new lingo to learn, and many options to choose from. Here are some ways to overcome these challenges—strategies I personally used to get started.

5 Achievable Tasks for Real Estate Newbies Feeling Lost & Overwhelmed

1. Peruse

I wish I had found this website even earlier in my career. Still, I managed to stumble across it. There’s so much free information on how to do anything real estate-related on this site. You can also find investors who can fund your deals or even rehab them on here. Jump onto the forums and see what others are talking about and how they did it. Get your own questions answered, but do not forget to give back. It can’t be all take, take, take.

Related: How to Overcome 4 Common Newbie Errors When Mobile Home Investing

2. Try out an apprenticeship.

Jump into an apprenticeship. This can give you all the instruction and clarity you need. You’ll get hands on learning while you earn. This is how I got started. I actually began working for a mentor for free. Some may think that is crazy, but I learned so much and didn’t have to go thousands of dollars in debt for it. It gave me a practical step-by-step path, and I was able to hack into years of experience and education in  a very short period of time.

3. Network, network, network.

I would not have found my mentor if I did not put myself out there to meet people. Finding the right person to potentially partner with or work with can take some time. Still, while you are out networking, you’ll build up your contacts for later and may even generate some live deals. It can be fun, too. The more you are out there networking, the more you will learn and the more comfortable you will feel in the business.

4. Take inventory.

Take stock of your skills, talents, and passions. What is it that you are good at? What do you like doing? How can you apply that in real estate? No matter what the answers are, there are ways to find a match. Getting clarity on this early will also help you choose a real estate strategy that you’ll enjoy and can stick with. Being self aware helps tremendously. I knew, for example, that I was not a number cruncher, though I excelled in other skills (like marketing, branding, etc.). So I found a business partner to complement my skills and round out those areas I struggled with.


Related: What Newbies Should Know About Financing Investment Properties (Versus Homes)

5. Set goals.

Set some goals and make an action plan. Set yourself some timelines. This will help you keep on track, consistently making forward progress. You don’t have to know it all. You can always tweak things later. Just get started. Some of those first things may simply be getting to a networking function once a week and spending 15 minutes a day on Then it may be a goal of finding a mentor within 30 days.


It’s easy to get lost when starting in real estate. But there are easy ways to get going so you can find your focus. Start with these ideas and keep building on them.

Anything you’d add to this list?

Let me know with a comment!

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 w...
Read more
    Tim Boehm Investor from Tillamook, Oregon
    Replied over 3 years ago
    That was a great article Sterling. Fear is what most people have to overcome, and being an apprentice is the best way to do it. I recently me a guy in Seaside Oregon who has over 400 doors and 15 guys working for him, he said to me “everyone of my employees knows how to lay carpet” these men are all young and are learning from a real professional the business of being a landlord. Wish I could have met a guy like that in my early 20’s, what a boost that would have given me!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Glad to hear it’s working out for you. Did you meet that individual at a networking event, Tim?
    Replied over 3 years ago
    That’s a great list of ideas sterling. It will be a great inspiration for the newbies who are feeling lost and don’t know where and when to start in real estate. I think setting goals and acting according to it is very important in everyone’s life. Thanks for the valuable post..
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thank you for reading. Glad you found value in the content. What was the biggest takeaway for you, Nida?
    Josh Wing from South Bend, Indiana
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I’ve been reading real estate books everyday now for about 8 months now. I will admit it is a little overwhelming. Not knowing what books I should read. So I just read every real estate book I get my hands on. As for goals I always hear you have to have goals to succeed. But for some reason I have trouble knowing how to start writing them down.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thank you for commenting. Are you acting on what you’ve learned from the reading, Josh?
    Daniel Pollock Real Estate Investor from Brooklyn, New York
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Fantastic one Sterling!
    Susan Pickard from Atascadero, California
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Newbie Susan here. So glad i found this site. I have been wanting to get going for some time now and have been to a couple three day events. Even though it seems i would be on the step by step , fast track, its just hard to fork out thousands of dollars that i don’t have. My mom is getting ready to put two nice houses on the market and i wonder, without being an agent myself is there any way that i could make a few bucks by intercepting.
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hey Susan, sorry, just read your post. I am just starting out as well. I went to a 3 day seminar, and ended up signing on with a real estate venture program. I have been studying and learning as much as I can. Wherever I can get information, I read it and am trying to put it to use. I am in the same boat with the money situation. I have found a private money lender that will help me out by using the equity in my home. As far and you being able to make some money from the homes that your mother will be putting on the market; in my experience so far, if she is not in some sort of financial crisis and just needs to get rid of them, it may be hard to get a wholesale deal, or a buy and hold deal. The only thing you could really do is refer it to a realtor, and get a finders fee…if the realtor is willing to give it to you. This would really only happen I think if you have a realtor to be on your team once you get going. I have one, and thank goodness I have one that pretty much helps me out wherever needed. He tells me how the market is doing, nationally and in our local market. He gives me properties that I could possibly do for a deal. He goes over the MLS with me as well. I wish I had a better answer, but it would be a hard sale to be able to make money off of a family member, unless they are willing to help you out and get you started and make money off of them. Most though, will want to get as much money as possible. But, it would be worth a try to see if you could land a wholesale deal. You never know until you try. Good luck with it. I would be interested to see what she says.