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5 Steps That Took Me From Scared Newbie to Accomplished Investor

John Fedro
4 min read
5 Steps That Took Me From Scared Newbie to Accomplished Investor

If you suffer from the rare genetic disorder known as Urbach–Wiethe, you may likely experience no fear in your life. For the rest of us, we may feel fear and anxiety on a regular basis. As a full-time mobile home investor for over a decade, I would like to share my initial fears and story of overcoming with you.

5 Steps That Took Me From Scared Newbie to Accomplished Investor

1. Make the Decision

After finding and reading through three binders’ worth of real estate investing information featuring a popular infomercial, I was hooked. I learned the very general concepts of wholesaling real estate, fast-turning properties, and lease options. My head was swimming with the possibilities of what the future would hold.

The real estate investing binders I was reading made very clear the hard work and daily effort real estate investing was to take. I promised my future self then and there I would make no excuses and do what it took to get through my first few deals successfully.

Pro Tip: Make the committed decision to get through your first few deals. When you have made this decision one time you will never have to make it again. Moving forward you will do what it takes to become a successful investor without complaining.


2. Get Educated/Ask Questions

My education grew rapidly. Within weeks, I was a part of three local real estate investor clubs. One of the local real estate clubs was hosted by a 20-year real estate investor veteran who offered his services to coach newer investors. I gathered what little money I had in my possession and paid for his investing course and daily phone access.

Pro Tip: Although I made the right decision with this old-timey investor coach, a prudent investor like yourself will not rush into any investment or training programs until you understand which real estate niche(s) you would most like to pursue.

3. Set a Date

You cannot learn forever. I remember asking myself, “When do I stop learning about different investing strategies and start advertising and making offers?” The solution was to pick a date in the future and begin taking immediate and massive action starting then. I decided on a date 30 days into the future.

Related: The Top 10 Reasons Newbies Say They’re Stuck (Per the BiggerPockets Forums)

In the meantime, I soaked up as much real estate knowledge and free information I could. Please keep in mind, I was still living at my mother’s home and did not know the definition of a deed. How was real estate owned? What is an appraisal? I knew nothing. I chuckle to this day that my mentor must have gotten annoyed occasionally at my daily questions that always led to more and more questions.

4. Take Action & Stay Persistent

My start date came, and I was eager to begin. While my finances were limited, I took massive action immediately. Over my first 90 days, I knocked on hundreds of doors, mailed hundreds of letters, made offers with real estate agents — and had no deals to show for it.

My first property, a mobile home in a park, came from a motivated seller who saw my bandit sign in her neighbor’s trashcan. The seller began to tell me about her 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home on the side of a small lake. The home was in good condition with one small pipe leak somewhere in the home. She was asking $8,000 and was negotiable! Before long, I quickly told her I would be right over and hung up the phone.

Without the knowledge to ask if this property was a mobile home, I was in the car and minutes from the property (Google Earth was not a thing yet). It was not until I drove past the park gates that I figured the home must be a mobile home. As I rounded the last turn, my stomach butterflies turned into a punch to the gut. I pulled over and vomited on the side of the street. After wiping my mouth and looking at myself in the mirror, I had a crucial decision to make — run home or push through to try and help someone three times my age. I made the appointment.

After a few hours of talking and soft negotiations, we were at a price of $3,000, payable as $300 today and nine additional monthly payments of $300. The reason for the payment terms was my lack of any capital at the time. With only a call to the local plumber and a general cleaning, this home resold with payments for over 10 times the purchase price paid.

Pro Tip: Have an experienced investor or group of seasoned investors to ask your real estate questions and get real-time answers. Without my mentors and friends along the way, I would have failed many more times.


5. Improve

It took me far too long to begin outsourcing the daily activities that did not have to be performed by me personally. These activities included certain marketing, advertising, making repairs, selling homes, collecting payments, and managing properties.

Related: The #1 Reason Newbies Go Broke in Real Estate (& How to Avoid It!)

The education and friendship-making should never stop as well. None of us knows everything about real estate, and we are all in need of more experienced investors. Along the way, my attitude was/is to “test” different strategies and methods to see what works best and what fails. A real estate mentor of mine once said, “Real estate investing is a smorgasbord. Take what you like and leave what you don’t.”

Pro Tip: Aim to review your daily activities at the end of every week. Aim to recognize what produces results and what sucks up your time and energy. Make appropriate changes.

In conclusion, everyone’s journey is a bit different. However, almost all of the long-term and successful real estate investors you interact with were all scared, yet continually pushed through their fears. Focus on providing value to others and letting local sellers and buyers know who you are and how you can help.

Can you related to these fears? Where are you in your journey of taking investing action?

Let me know your questions and comments below!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.