Where to start

14 Replies

Hello everyone! My name is Matt and I'm looking to make my start in RE. I'm 21 years old and currently have around 20k that I can work with. My question is what would be the best move to make starting off? I see myself in multi-unit buildings and things like that. My dream is to own my own property management company but I have no clue where or how to start! Any information anyone can give me in regards to my first investment or starting a PM company would be really appreciated!

Just so you know my demographics I live on the northshore of Massachusetts just north of Boston. Ideally this is where I'd like to invest and start a business.

@Matthew Catanzariti  

Welcome to BP!!  Though you don't seem to be a true rookie.

I like the concept of starting off with a 2-4 unit property.  It will let you know how much, or how little, you like dealing with tenants.  I'd stick with dealing with your own tenants before moving on to other peoples'.  

20k is a good start as long as you have a job. Look into Homepath and FHA 203k loans that will costs less than 300k to start your house hunt.

If you think you've found a deal, bring it to the BP community.  We'll break it down and tell you what we think of it.  Don't get discouraged here in the Boston area, it is a tough market, no question about it.

Welcome and you are far ahead of your peers in wanting to start now. Good for you, I did not get involved with RE until my 50's. If only I had a wayback machine...

Welcome to the game.  My advice just get busy learning many aspects of investing a see what fits you.  I would reach out to some PM's and set up some meetings or even spend some time at there place of business.  You might want to connect with Josh Lawrence. He is one of my connections and is a young guy like yourself. He is running a PM company in Michigan.


Starting by house hacking can be a good way to buildup your inventory and gain experience.  I feel like I recommend it to just about everyone that is starting out.  Quick run down on the concept, buy a 4-plex, live in one, rent the rest out.  That way you will at least be living for free.  Hold it for a few years and repeat.  Since you will be buying the properties as owner occupied you will have an easier time with the bank.

Welcome & Good Luck.

Hi Matthew, welcome to BP.

This is a great place to learn. Make sure to listen to all the BP podcasts, read the articles on the main blog and be active in these forums to learn a ton very quickly about any topic in real estate you want to know more about.

This is also a great place to meet people that can be assets to your business. Lots of great connections all over but we also have a very strong and active contingent here in MA on here so make sure to find them (Set up some keyword alerts to find out about local topics) and get connected.

Besides doing that on here make sure to get out to some of the many local investor events we have.  Probably too late now but in an hour there is a presentation on buying and financing your 1st multifamily in MA at the NEREIA in Chelmsford.  This is a good meeting and you should look into it in the future.  There are a few meeting on the North Shore that @Mike Hurney  has and a good meetup quarterly by @Justin Silverio and you can check out the Boston Area REIA in Medford. I'd also highly recommend getting down to Waltham for the Black Diamond meetings (2nd location in Worcester). Lots of other things south of the city as well.

@Matthew Catanzariti  

Welcome. Fill in the foundation below.

Check out the Start Here page http://www.biggerpockets.com/starthere

Check out BiggerPockets Ultimate Beginner's Guide - A fantastic free book that walks through many of the key topics of real estate investing.

Check out the free BiggerPockets Podcast - A weekly podcast with interviews and a ton of great advice. And you get the benefit of having over 80 past ones to catch up on.

Locate and attend 3 different local REIA club meetings great place to meet people gather resources and info. Here you will meet wholesalers who provide deals and rehabbers.

Two Great reads, I bought both J. Scott The Book on Flipping Houses, The Book on Estimating ReHab Costs http://www.biggerpockets.com/flippingbook

Consider checking out HUD homes for small multi's owner occupied gets first crack.

You might consider Niche or Specialized Housing like student housing. Rents can be 2-4 times more. Remember you don't have to own a property to control it.

Download BP’s newest book here some good due diligence in Chapter 10. Real Estate Rewind Starting over


Good Luck


Welcome to BP @Matthew Catanzariti . Similar to you, I am also a twenty-something looking to get into REI starting with a small multifamily. There are a ton to learn from this site. Hope to see you around!

@Matthew Catanzariti  

Welcome to BP and kudos to you for getting involved early and already thinking through future vision and goals.

Really solid advise from all these great posters.

What I will add - I got started in real estate earlier on as well.  And at that time a lot of people were talking about real estate, researching, thinking about different gurus.  What I decided to do is take action (which I think is the first step to the path of real estate and the one most miss).  My logic was I could keep researching, I could pay money for seminars, or I could take a small amount of dollars and buy my first property.  I looked for some on the smaller scale that seemed to make sense and told myself that even with that, it would be the worst property I will ever buy - but that I will learn so much from it and that would be the best education I could get.  Just buying a property and learning from experience as long as I kept the property exposure, risks, manageable for me.  As I was right, it turned out to be a decent property, but I learned so much by living it, and it made me far more educated and ready to go.  Almost 15 years later, I continue to think of that as my turning point.

So I think get your feet wet on a first property that you can learn a bit by fire (do all the analysis, leverage the great wisdom on this board to buy right, but don't be afraid to jump  in).  Duplexes sometimes can be a little tricky for your first property.  Sure you will probably get a higher yield, but you may experience more transient tenants and more turnover, tenants not liking each other, etc.  I think mulit-families are great and there are investors that prefer every different format, but SFHs I do find are good starters as you get to learn about landlording sometimes at a more manageable pace for a new investor.  If you want to start your own PM, the best way to get there is to be an investor first, start learning the ins and outs of property, typcial challenges, etc.  As you become an investor and start to have your own expectations and perceptions that wiill serve you well as a PM to understand how investors think.  PM is a tough business, snall margins, and you really need to have a solid system, process, and peopel to make it work.  But great PMs are in such need that if you can become one, the sky is the limit.  Understanding the investor mindset gives you a good start.

best of luck,


Welcome to BP Matt!  You can never start to early. 

Welcome @Matthew Catanzariti! Sounds like you already have a good nest egg going for your first property. I would house hack your first deal. Look for a good 3-4 family property that you can live in and rent out the other units. That's the best way to get into the market and should provide free housing for you as well so you can save more money and buy more properties. 

Hello, I am also from MA and Just starting out in REI. I made my first post about an hour ago in the new members section. I am more then ready then to start this up and get going. I wish you the best of luck and maybe one day we will cross paths!

Welcome Matt. Best time to start is when one is in early twenty. Make most of your early start.

@Matthew Catanzariti Welcome.

If you'd like to get into Property Management an Agent or Brokers license would be helpful.

I gentleman I know got his start by asking for a very small percentage per year for managing property in lieu of the ca$h fee.

Get your license. You're going to need it if you want to be a real estate professional.

Then start learning. It doesn't really matter which practice area you start in - brokerage, management, rehabbing, investing, appraising, etc. Whichever area you are most interested in. The biggest challenge will probably be burning out before you start making enough money, so you want to enjoy what you're doing while you're experiencing the growing pains.

Eventually you should have enough knowledge, capital, and connections to venture out on your own. You'll know when the time is right.

That's the way I did it. Certainly not the only way, but one way.

Best of luck!

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