Coronavirus Updates

Why I Choose Real Estate Investing in Challenging Times

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
21 Articles Written

Right now, it seems that everyone is focused on the future of our economy, the stock market, and real estate. We know we are on the cusp of something big, but we just aren't quite sure how (and how much) we will be affected.

Want more articles like this?

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

Sign up for free

We are in unprecedented times, and our leaders don’t have a lot of quality data or information to truly combat the situation. Plans are being made in hopes of achieving intended outcomes.

People are scared. So scared that they can’t make a decision and instead sit inactive.

Don’t Just Wait It Out

I can’t tell you how many times in the past few weeks I’ve heard investors, lenders, and contractors tell me they “are waiting it out.” They are taking a pause before figuring out what to do.

I am not doing that. I am pushing forward, putting deals together, and hustling toward my goals.

It’s true that there are a lot of unknowns, and the associated risks are higher, but we can hedge against those risks. We can build in contingencies, buffers, and reserves. We can tighten up our criteria. We can shift our focus. We can get creative.

But what we should not do is take a break and see how the market plays out. Because any time we decide to put our goals and dreams on hold, there is a very real chance we are missing out on opportunities.

There are still deals out there. There is still money to be made.

And I am still choosing to focus on real estate.


Why Real Estate?

So many millionaires made their money in real estate—many of them after the market crashed in 2007-2008. These individuals have been waiting for this downturn for years, and they are prepared.

I'd like to join their ranks. I know it's not all about the money, but money is the tool. The tool I can use to leverage the life I want to live, the financial freedom I am seeking.

I want to provide quality housing to Americans. I am working to set myself up so I can take care of my tenants when they are laid off or facing tough times. This drives me and keeps me moving forward, even in the face of so much uncertainty.

Anyone Can Participate

Real estate does not discriminate.

You don’t need a ton of money to get started. You don’t need to be in a particular age group, or from a certain demographic, or even have any specific skill set. You don’t even need to live anywhere near a good market.

It's about the hustle and the systems. There's a lot of room in real estate to add value and a lot of ways that you can get into it without a ton of money upfront, or even without experience.

The difference between those that make it in real estate and those that don’t comes down to nothing more than action.

Related: The 5 Best Methods to Start Learning About Real Estate Investing

Passive Income

Real estate has the ability to generate passive income, and this income can scale over time.

Real estate allows you to make cash now. You can attain monthly cash flow through each of your rentals, and also get a tax break each year.

Real estate also allows you to build long-term wealth. Over time, a good investment will appreciate in value. This, on top of amortization, or having your tenants pay down your mortgage principal balance, can lead to significant returns and long-term wealth, especially when scaled appropriately.

Related: A Slow, Boring, Incredibly Awesome Strategy for Building Wealth Through Passive Real Estate Investing

Tangible Assets

You have control over this asset. You get to decide, in some part, how much it’s worth by how well you maintain it and update it. You’re in the driver’s seat, and you can market it appropriately. And you choose exactly where, when, and how to buy real estate.


Looking Forward

For me, it’s still all about the real estate. I am not slowing down. I am actively looking for problems to solve.

These times have put homeowners and landlords in precarious situations. There are plenty of property owners who are (figuratively) stuck under a property and looking for ways to be free from the burden. We can work together to put together a solution that works for everyone.

Opportunities are waiting for investors who are ready to take action.

How do you feel about real estate investing right now? Charge forward or watch and wait?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Erin Helle is an Army veteran turned entrepreneur specializing in flipping houses, turnkey renovation products, and real estate investor coaching...
Read more
    Chester Lee from Richmond, California
    Replied about 1 month ago
    I applaud your desire to charge ahead. For me however, I am pausing a bit and pivoting to not plunge head first into known higher risk. I invest in several asset classes, from SFH to multifam to self storage to commercial non residential to student housing. In this mix of asset classes, some are performing better than others, which will always be the case. During good times of rising employment, Strong sand steady GDP, Multi-fam is great. Employment growth drives population increases, which drives demand and rents go up. With a high unemployment and huge uncertainty or jobs coming back, now is not the time for multifam investments given eviction control, renters unable to pay rent, and multifam sellers still pricing properties like Covid-19 will blow over in a few months. No vaccine will help the folks whose employers went bankrupted and their job is eliminated. The number of early retirees dwarfs the number of number of folks without a job because their employer shut down their business forever. Student housing - same deal and in many cases worst, as all universities have pivoted to on-line schooling. While students may desire to move out from mom and dad for off campus living, parties, sex, drugs and self reliant living on daddy's dime, demand for student housing will suffer for many years. I not forsaking real estate investments, but I'm also not hitting it harder in the face of obvious greater risk. I've pivoted to lending and debt investing for immediate cash flow (and lower returns) over equity with low to zero cash and potential capital calls. Sometimes slowing down to build a war chest and wait for an opportunity pays off far more than going full steam ahead. Good luck to you.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks for this! I appreciate your perspective! Good luck to you, too!
    Asia Bacus from Chuckey, TN
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Wow, this was a great post! And I really appreciated the opposing view by Chester Lee. It is smart to be cautious (not the same as frozen but just aware) during times of economic distress. But I do feel that there is a lot of opportunity that is being offered right now. I'm a new investor who's been a bigger pockets fan for a couple of years. Because of the great interest rates I've decided to finally start taking the steps to really make this happen. Also tired of paying off someone else's mortgage..Soo tired. I'm looking for my first house that I want to either live and flip or BRRR. Thank you for your fired up rhetoric, it is exactly what I needed to hear!
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    That’s wonderful! I’d love to help with this...send me a PM!
    Seth Sias Rental Property Investor from Grove City, OH
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Love this! Gives you that feeling deep in your stomach that what you're doing is the right thing
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Account Closed
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Fustar Real Estate investor From South Africa, Great post, this is the greatest opportunity ever. Have stated in real estate 3 years ago and already Iam enjoying it with my four apartments, firth one waiting to be registered. I keep on puying n letting.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Good for you, keep it up!
    Elena Shrode
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Erin, I agree: if a property meets all the criteria and you have sufficient reserves, there is no reason not to buy right now.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Yes! 😀 thanks, Elena!
    Timias Woods Rental Property Investor from Los Angeles, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Erin, I love your attitude and agree totally. I am putting in offers, making calls, doing what it takes to find solutions now and be ready when more opportunities come in the next few months. Thanks for helping me think I am not crazy for moving forward!
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    That’s awesome! Keep it up!
    Devan Williams
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hello Erin, thank you for the very encouraging article! I fell into real estate investing a few years ago when I realized I’d lose my shirt trying to sell my house in Clarksville after one of the brigades shut down. So far, I’ve continued to read and study up on strategies to buy and hold, scaling passive income to get my family where I want to be. Still just own the 1 rental home though, but it’s a start. I would love to hear more about how you scored 19 doors in your first year! Cheers Devan
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 22 days ago
    Devan, glad you reached out directly! I look forward to hearing back from you! :)
    Monique Bennett-Lowe
    Replied 24 days ago
    Hi Erin, thanks for this very encouraging article. Can you elaborate on "You don’t need a ton of money to get started"? Is there a particular book or article I can read to get a better understanding on how to pursue my first deal without a ton of money? Thanks!
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 22 days ago
    Yes! What Sean said! Get creative! If you find the right deal, you will find the money!
    Sean Rana New to Real Estate
    Replied 24 days ago
    The concept in this case is known as leverage or using OPM (other people's money). The best method that I suggest is to find a real estate partner who has the capital resources, and make sure you can offer something of value (your time, knowledge, care, etc). Then, engage in a partnership where you manage the properties, take care of the transaction, etc. while they fund the project. This is a topic that many cover over on BiggerPockets. Hope this helps!
    Sean Rana New to Real Estate
    Replied 24 days ago
    I definitely agree! The real estate market is only going to get stronger as people shift to a different style of living. The pandemic changes people, and one aspect that has changed is people's preference with housing. I believe that after the lockdown, many people appreciate the value of their homes a lot more, and many want to switch to a different lifestyle, with a more suburban home that includes features like a patio.
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 22 days ago
    Really great point! Perspectives have changed for sure! Thanks for your comment!
    John Murray from Portland, Oregon
    Replied 20 days ago
    Wealth building is the same old story. Sell when others are buying and buy when others are selling. Panic selling is the best way to lose your ass. Manic buying is another great way to lose. When the stock market hit 19K guess what I did?
    Erin Helle Investor from Monterey, CA
    Replied 19 days ago
    You're right, it is simple! Just have to stay calm, which is easier said than done sometimes! haha
    Nicholas Bolcon from Coventry, Rhode Island
    Replied 14 days ago
    At least in my market saying people have been waiting for this "downturn" assumes there is a downturn right now. The market is red red hot. Listing goes up, 10 offers in a day if it's worth anything. Waiting in open house lines with 60+ people. It's nuts. So I'm actively looking but I'm not going to jump into a bidding war and over-pay for something. The eviction moratorium makes it difficult as well. When you have a property with all unit's occupied making 50% less than market rents and you have no idea when you can get them to leave, it's a bit of a risk. I believe the deals are likely off-market with landlords that have been unable to collect rent and are becoming distressed. I just need to learn how to tap into the off-market deals.