Real Estate Investing Basics

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

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
228 Articles Written
Man sitting in the office at the table making notes in a notebook

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.

Want more articles like this?

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

Sign up for free

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.

invest-while-work-full-time

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.

Summary

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!

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. 

 

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
    Charmonda Hatcher
    Replied 9 months ago
    Good insight. I have been learning for the past 2 months. Time to dive in!
    Memo Hernandez from Las Vegas, Nevada
    Replied 9 months ago
    That was really good Sterling . Took me 2 yrs to finally take action . Just bought my first duplex , not a bad deal , looking forward to my next deal . Thanks to you now I’ma time it . Lol
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    awesome! great to hear you eventually made the leap..now onto the next one 🙂
    Robert Ash
    Replied 9 months ago
    I became first interested in real estate in February. I have got on BP and read a lot of articles and watched a lot of podcasts on YouTube. I haven’t done a deal yet because I am young and feel like I should have a better paying profession before I start investing. I will have a CDL by October. Then, I plan to find a job and a large low priced home that I can buy with an FHA loan and turn into a 3 plex. I will then fill the other 2 units with tenants. All while reading books about how to be a good landlord. After that I plan to buy multifamily houses by the factories because I love living close to the foundry since I work there now. A lot of people also rent at the foundry and I am trying to build a pool of people I know that have income so if in the future they want to rent from me i will already know a bit about them. Thats my plan.
    Robert Collins Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, Ga
    Replied 8 months ago
    I’ve been study and Doing research for like 2 years , or since December 2017 till now may 2019. I was trying to wait and do thing the Dave Ramsey Way but it was moving to slow. I found another way and I’ve gotten a hold to some capital , and I’m ready to pull the trigger on a deal. I think I will be able to snatch a deal before the summer is over. I’m excited.
    Suri Lopez
    Replied 9 months ago
    but what about wholesaling ?? no money invested, its most hard
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    it’s achievable. i acquired my first deal with negative funds in my bank account. find someone else to fund the purchase price. that is the value exchange
    Luis Godinez
    Replied 9 months ago
    Were do i start looking for these people?
    Raushanah Morgan from Cordova, TN
    Replied 9 months ago
    I needed to read this! I’ve been researching for almost a year now and I’m long overdue to dive in . My financial advisor just told me I could take out a penalty free loan from my IRA for 60 days so I’m thinking that may be a good timeline for a fix & flip. I’m taking a low-interest loan just in case I need to cover the IRA amount if timing is not on my side. We shall see how it goes…
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    thanks for the comment. best wishes..if you need any insight from my side..i am happy to assist to mitigate your risk
    Jerry Maze Wholesaler from Portage, MI
    Replied 9 months ago
    Thanks! Makes sense. Congratulations on your successes!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    thanks. what was your biggest takeaway, Jerry?
    Elizabeth W Radigan
    Replied 9 months ago
    I just got started and gave myself a 90 day timeline but I like yours! the sooner I get started, the sooner I start making money!!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    love the timeline idea, Elizabeth! the sooner the better! of course want to properly educate yourself to an extent prior to jumping in.
    Goke Akingbade from Glen Burnie, Maryland
    Replied 9 months ago
    This is an amazing write up, i have been researching for a very long time and just decided to take a leap. I need to put a time line on it.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    Yes, indeed.
    Luis Godinez
    Replied 9 months ago
    Is it a good idea for me to take the equity out of my house that I’m currently living in to purchase my first multi family building or should I go about it a different way?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    That’s one route or sell the house entirely and use capital to purchase multi-family. That is just my opinion.
    Madelaine Au from Eugene, OR
    Replied 9 months ago
    My goal is to finish my researching period by the end of this month (May 2019). I loved the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide and I can’t wait to start building my Lead Funnel. The timeline you outline is a great timeline to follow. Thank you!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 9 months ago
    You’re welcome, Madelaine! Best wishes on that first deal.
    Adrienne Donner from Salt Lake City, UT
    Replied 8 months ago
    I am in the same place. I loved the Webinar about 90 days to your first or next deal. I have family living up near you in Eugene OR.
    Jeremiah Pangan from Los Angeles, California
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thank you for your great tips. I recently purchased a condo for my primary residence, but that’s due to the fact that rental condition in Los Angeles is so bad! Although most people are telling me that this was a bad decision and renting is better than owning, this was strictly a business move for me. The office that I am building for my practice is 10 minutes away (I have a 13 year lease). The rental around my area for something smaller than my unit costs more than my mortgage. I also see that there are so many luxury condo’s being built just around the corner of my place. Seems to be a great indicator that the value of my property may appreciate. I have built enough liquidity to get into another investment property, but I seem to be struggling with analysis paralysis. Also, everything is super expensive in LA that it is very difficult to get good returns if I am not house hacking.
    Adrienne Donner from Salt Lake City, UT
    Replied 8 months ago
    Seems like a smart move to me.
    Christopher Mcbride
    Replied 8 months ago
    thank you for this insight
    Cornelius Charles Investor from Oxnard, California
    Replied 8 months ago
    Hey Sterling. I would say that a lot also depends on the area you live, the market conditions, and housing prices. I think most would agree that the potential to find your first deal in the mid-west is a lot quicker than it would be in a lot of West Coast areas.