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From Newbie to First Deal: What’s a Reasonable Timeline?

Sterling White
3 min read
From Newbie to First Deal: What’s a Reasonable Timeline?

Time is so incredibly valuable. The sooner you get started in real estate investing, the better in terms of how high you can go and how soon and long you’ll enjoy financial freedom.

The amount of time it takes to do a deal can make all the difference in turning a profit and determining how much you make.

Sadly, it seems like there are a lot of people out there waiting far too long between deals. Some are taking way too long renovating and selling deals. Others are taking too long to get started and do their first deal.

The thing is, once you cross that milestone, you can really start to scale things and you’ll never want to quit.

Time Is Money: 5 Tips to Be a More Efficient Real Estate Agent

Related: Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing!

Learning While Earning

It is important to know what you are doing and be aware of common blunders to avoid. Learn from others whenever you can as opposed to experiencing numerous personal failures.

Take time to do some homework and educate yourself—but don’t get stuck here. I recommend to limit your initial research down to less than a month. That may sound like a very limited amount of time, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll get lost in analysis paralysis and never get around to doing deals.

Don’t get me wrong, constant learning and improvement is vital. I still invest a lot in that, including traveling to events, reading books and articles, and listening to audiobooks.

However, there’s so much material, you can never learn it all. Even once you think you have, things will change. So you absolutely cannot wait until you think you know it all to get started, or it’ll never happen.

Spend 30 days learning the overarching concepts. Then jump in, and go fast. Learn throughout the process—while earning at the same time!

My First Real Estate Deal

How long it will take you to close your first real estate deal will depend a lot on the strategy you are using. If you are well prepared and set up, you may be able to turn a wholesale deal quickly. Or you might be able to do a fix and flip in 30 to 60 days.

Meanwhile, it might take months to a year to acquire, renovate, fill up, and exit a large apartment complex. Start where you can, with your income needs in mind, and then scale from there.

While I mostly focus on multifamily apartment buildings today, I started out wholesaling. Then I transitioned to buy and hold.

My first deal was a $25,000 house. It needed $25K in rehab. Eventually, it rented for $850 a month. The project started as a wholesale flip, but I wound up trading my fee for equity in the property instead.


Related: Procrastination: The Thief of Time and Accomplishment

The Secret to Time Hacking: Know Your Value

I’ve found the best way to get started quickly is to work with a mentor or partner up. This is especially true if you feel a little light on experience or are working with limited money or no money (just like myself when I started).

Fortunately, it’s possible to use someone else’s money and leverage their expertise—maybe even leverage their access to deal flow—to get started. The key is to know what value you bring to the table.

In my first deal, I brought my time and energy. I hustled to find the deal, manage the contractors doing the rehab, find a tenant, and manage the tenant. My partner brought all the cash.

In the reverse situation, you might have the cash but no time or expertise, or you could have the expertise but have no extra time.


How long does it take to learn the ropes and close your first deal in real estate? That will depend mostly on the strategy you use and how quickly you gain traction.

There is no reason you can’t be out there doing deals in the next 30 days! But the strategy you employ may require several more days, up to even a year, to actually put money back in your pocket. Just keep that in mind.

Set yourself a deadline to learn as much as you can and to start doing real deals. Then go fast!

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When were you first interested in real estate investing? How much time have you spent educating yourself? If you have yet to do a deal, what are you waiting for? 

I’d love to hear from you in a comment below. 


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