Real life of a NEWBIE investor

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Real life of a newbie investor

I've been inspired by @Wendell De Guzman  post, "real life of a real estate investor". With that being said, I believe there's value in sharing my journey with other newbies. I will begin giving weekly updates on my journey to hopefully inspire and garnish the insight of thought leaders in the BiggerPockets community. I'll start this first week off by giving a brief synopsis of what I've done so far.

I've completed four wholesale deals up to this point (I started in January 2014). I found those deals through direct mail. The list I targeted was the counties tax delinquencies. I sent about 200 initially and gradually added on every month until I got to 500 mail pieces. I experimented with typed letters in different envelopes. Handwritten

envelopes has worked well. The past two mailings I experimented with postcards as a less expensive alternative. My response rate for postcards are about .08%. I realize I will need to increase my mailings in order to see real progress. I have a great website and I've hired an Seo company to help with my online marketing due to the competitiveness of the Atlanta market. Recently I've partnered with a college buddy of mine to go into business with. We are both on the same level and I believe we both have something to bring to the table. With our new partnership, we've decided to focus on the desirable areas of Fulton county.

Our goal is to complete at least 2 wholesale deals per month and to locate our first fix and flip property. In order to achieve this goal, we will be driving for dollars weekly, amp our direct mailings up to 2k per month which will be narrowed down to specific zip codes (something I was previously not doing), online Google ad words campaign, and last but not least, we will begin networking every week with professionals in our community such as realtors, other investors, attorneys, insurance agents, and the list goes on. If successful, these tactics should provide constant and consistent lead flow which will increase offers made, which will increase offers accepted.

Things I've learned along the way

- Take ACTION. Taking action is of major importance, all of the studying in the world will not prepare you for real life experience and the navigation that will be required on your part. Listening and learning from other investors is great, but ultimately you will have to find your own path. I am beginning to understand this and it is a tremendous help in finding clarity of my real estate goals.

-Consistency is the glue that keeps it all together. Whatever you do, be consistent. The last man standing always wins. Be consistent with your direct mail, be consistent with networking with other professionals, be consistent on every level possible and it will pay off.

-Be as targeted as possible with direct mail. Narrow your list down by zip codes, equity, and anything else that will make your list targeted. This will ensure that the leads you have coming in are leads that you are definitely going to be interested in.

-Get a website as soon as possible. I've spoken to numerous people who ask for more information about our company and our reputation. Next to a direct referral, a website is the best thing. It educates your prospects and shows that you are serious.

-Partner with someone. After speaking with numerous investors and experiencing the brainstorming powers of two like minded individuals with the same goal. By partnering you will accomplish so much more. Two heads are always better than one.

-Create value for others. When you create value or bring something to the table, people are much more prone to want to work with you. In order to receive, you have to give. The more you give the more you receive. Give give give (do not be taken advantage of).

Next week I will give an actual update on our week as newbies and the progress we made during the week. Stay tuned. Please leave comments with any questions or advice. Thanks!

P.S this was composed on an iPhone so excuse any errors.

This was a great insight @Ve'Ron Hall

Looking forward to watching your journey. Thanks for the reminder to Take Action!

Great post, very helpful and encouraging!

I'm a fairly new investor (I have a rental and just completed a flip) but am looking to start wholesaling.

Where did you get your property addresses for direct mailing (listsource.com, agentpro247.com, other?)?

Also, sounds like you've got a partner now but how much of your business do you do personally vs hiring out? Ex. Do you package direct mailing, answer all the calls, inspect the properties, make offers, build the website, build a buyers list, etc all yourself or have (paid) folks that help you with some of that?

Any tips on starting out a buyers list?

Sorry, I got lots of questions! Any advice from yourself or others is much appreciated.

Congrat's on your plan! While my plans always seem to be changing and evolving it is important to start somewhere :).

I must say that this is an encouraging post and it is very informative. Please share your post in future also. 

Just a reminder we all gotta start from somewhere. Awesome post!

@Ted Faust Thanks for inquiring. I purchased my tax delinquent list directly from the county and sorted it myself until I got smart enough to get a VA to do it for me. In the beginning I did all of my mailings myself. I began to outsource as I learned that my time is valuable. I have a voicemail system that instructs leads to leave their information and I normally call them back pretty quickly. As far as my website, I paid to have my website built. I believe in doing what you do best, no point in learning how to do everything, it can be very time consuming. I make all of my own offers which is pretty simple because I have my offer templates already set up. As far as a buyers list, I have a few buyers, most of which comes from craigslist, but I believe partnering with investors who already have a solid buyers list is just as important. I hope I answered everything.

@Kathy Mohr  Thanks Kathy, Im glad you received a take away from my post already. Stay tuned for future post!

Elizabeth Colegrove Thanks Elizabeth, my plans are constantly evolving as well lol. It'll be exciting to see how they evolve over the next couple to a few months. 

@Scott Hearne Thanks Scott, I will definitely continue to do this and my goal is to make it more informative each time. 

@Christina Phillips  Yes I agree and furthermore, I think its important that other new investors see it happen in real time so as little detail as possible is left out about the actual journey. 

Ve'Ron Hall thanks for the reply, it is very helpful and much appreciated!

Best of luck to you and hope to hear more about your future progress!

@Fitzgerald Hall  Documenting your journey through investment real estate is something that new investors on here love to see! Hopefully it will inspire more people in Atlanta to invest in our city!

Thank you for the inspirational post. I especially like the reminders - taking action, being consistent, partnering with others, etc.

It doesn't seem like the title of the post, "Real Life of a Newbie Investor" matches the post entry. You don't sound like a newbie. On the contrary, you sound legit!

I was expecting a post that is similar to my experience as a "newbie" - daily trips to home depot, stalking craigslist to get an idea of rent in the neighborhood, showing up to work (my corporate 9to5) with paint in my hair, asking my husband every night, "is it worth it?" Yes, it's worth it!

Nice work fellow Newbie! :)

Thank you for the post!  I look forward to your updates!  I'm in a similar situation so this is great!

Week 2

So I told you guys I would start updating this post weekly on my life as newbie. Hopefully my trials and tribulations will help motivate and inspire you guys as well as keep me going. Thank you all for supporting this thread so far and I hope you enjoy what’s to come. So here’s what went down this week.

This week mainly consisted of networking (very important). Aside from that we prepared to expand our marketing and followed up with a few leads. Heres a round down: 

Purchased More Leads - This week my partner and I purchased 1500 new leads. Our leads are divorcees and absentees mixed. The 1500 will compliment the tax delinquent leads that we already have. We will mail 200 hand-addressed envelopes every day for 8 days.

Driving For Dollars - We drove our farm area to gain better knowledge of our market and what is going on. This made for a great driving for dollars session. Collectively we have about 100 addresses this week from driving from dollars. We will begin to locate the owners’ addresses and add these to our direct mail campaign.

Received 1st lead on our website – We received our very first lead from our new website this week. Turns out it wasn't really a deal for us, but very exciting all the same (this means we are making progress). The lead was in a great location, which is why the owner was asking ARV on a property that wasn't nearly worth full ARV in its current state. Owner was not willing to negotiate.

Responded to leads from prior mail campaigns and subscription sites – We received a few leads this week from a couple of different sources. We followed up with the leads and one looked promising. The property is located in a transitioning area of Atlanta with a bit of fire damage. I contacted a local contractor to visit the property with me. He helped me to understand the process of repair cost and estimates. He estimated 35k in repair. From research the ARV is about 112k. The owner is currently asking for 65k while under the impression that the property will be worth 235k after repairs. THIS IS REALLY FAR OFF! We will begin negotiating with her hopefully in person this upcoming Monday. My goal is to get her down to 45k. If not, I have no problem moving on. I have confidence that our marketing will continue to produce.

Built Relationships-

Relationship 1 (the contractor) - I built a relationship with the contractor by being personable, knowledgeable on real estate, and also by hiring him to do some work on my personal home. After our walk through of the house with the fire damage, we talked for about 30 minutes. Ultimately he ended up saying he comes across possible deals on a consistent basis and would start calling me when he notices any possible deals from now on (this is huge for me).

Relationship 2 (the professor) - I started working on a relationship with a college professor who instructs at Clark Atlanta University who owns a four-plex with 2 beds 1 bath in each unit around the college campus. He purchased it 8 years ago and put roughly 100k into it. He left for a few months and tenants ruined the property. He evicted all of the tenants and it has been vacant for about 8 months now. He says he would like to sell in December for about 45k. We will do a walk through to assess repairs next week. If all goes well, I plan to partner with a fraternity brother of mine to acquire a hard money loan that automatically transforms into a 30-year mortgage 30 days after the completion of a rehab.

Relationship 3 (the investor)- I was referred to an investor in Texas as someone I should reach out to. He is only 26, a few years older than me and he already owns a multifamily in Atlanta, multiple rentals in Atlanta, and is currently completing two new builds, a rehab, and a wholesale deal right now in Houston, TX. I reached out to him and found him to be very helpful and forthcoming about what he is doing and how he is accomplishing his goals. He invited me to shadow him and his partner this upcoming week in Houston, TX. I will visit this upcoming week for a couple of days. I look forward to the experience.

My goal is to build relationships and network on a consistent basis.

Touched basis with our SEO company- Our SEO company is currently managing all of our social media platforms. I touched basis with them to make sure everything is on track and that we are making some type of progress. I have faith in them and believe that they will solidify our Internet presence in about 6 months.

What we learned:

  • -Network, network, network. Networking, in my opinion, is so overlooked by newbie investors. By networking I found a potential deal that could be very good for cash flow, an investor who will potentially be a private lender of mine, and a contractor who wants to eventually build a house with me.
  • -Major things to look out for when evaluating a rehab. According to the contractor, water or leaks in the basement and the roof are two key factors. Not nearly enough to evaluate a property but these are major things to access first.
  • -Address our own direct mail. We realized that being in such a competitve market we would have to use our disadvantage (size) to our advantage. This will allow us to give our mail a unique look and establish a brand amongst the community.

What we are looking for:

Wholesalers- We are currently looking for wholesalers to assist us in locating our first fix and flip. We would also like to work together to find and assign more deals per month than we can do on our own.

Partners- We are looking for money partners to help expand our marketing more as well as funding our rehab. We are very flexible and would come up with something that works great for all parties involved.

Mentors- Unfortunately it has proven to be a tad bit difficult to find a mentor in our area who really wants to genuinely help and help us to succeed. We are very hard working and dedicated, but consistent guidance is something we are definitely lacking. Mentors welcome (we come with deals!).

I hope this helps or encourages someone. Please leave comments on anything you would like to know so that I can start to include them in the weekly post or answer your questions below. 

Ve'Ron - I thought I would give you some tips on the website and I think it's great that you're already getting leads.

Website tips

1 - Social icons at the bottom should point to the social page.  Your links are incorrect.

2 - Your content is a little thin on your sell your house fast page.  Google likes to see 500+ words.  Put some more content on the page even if it's below the fold

3 - Your slugs could be better.  Example www.yoursite.com/sell-house is weak.  It should be www.yoursite.com/sell-my-atlanta-house-fast (see how I added the GEO location and your keyword)  This will help the page rank better.

4 - Leverage your FAQ page for low volume, long tail keywords.  For example we buy decatur houses.  Make this a question on your FAQ.  Then point a link to an internal page that ranks for we buy decatur houses.  You can do this for all of the smaller cities in Atlanta.  These are very easy to rank for.

5 - From my experience sellers don't like to see a buyer/investor page.

Hope this helps

J

@Jerred Morris  Thanks a lot for taking the time to do a  quick assessment. I forwarded your comment to my seo company who has recently taken over for me. I will update you on my progress as far as my website goes. Thanks 

That sounds awesome. Best of luck on your endeavors. Keep us posted. :)

Hope you keep these coming, I'm loving these posts!

Great post Ve'Ron! I am a new investor in Houston who plans on purchasing 10-12 rentals/mth roughly one per month starting next year and thought about giving monthly updates of progress, You have inspired me :) I think it keeps us accountable, essential in this business. Looking forward to hearing more....

@Rosalynn Rice  Thanks Rosalynn. I was actually in Houston this week up until yesterday. Met with some fellow investors who are doing pretty well out there. He doesn't have a bigger pockets yet, but if you like I may be able to connect you guys. 

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