12 Replies

I'm nearing the end of my junior year in high school and it's the time to start thinking about college. Now, I've read all the blogs that I've been able to find and they seem to be divided on the subject of whether it is worth attending a four-year college if I want to be a real estate investor. I'm not from a wealthy family so I would have to pay for college on my own. I don't mind working a few jobs and I absolutely do not want to get into student debt, but I'm wondering if going to college and getting a degree in financing or the like is more beneficial than just getting out there and learning through experience. If anyone has some opinions I would love to hear them so I can make a wise decision.. Thanks

First of all, the fact that you are thinking about RE investing and taking you're future so seriously (as a junior in high school) is very admirable! Great stuff! Here's my opinion: why not do both? Go to college and start your REI career while in school. College is more valuable than what you learn in the classroom. It's not for everyone, and I do not think you need a degree to be successful. But there is more to it than that. It's the connections you make and learning to grow up and live on your own.

I know someone who put himself through college w/ a lawn care business. By the time he graduated, he had sold the business to another lawn care company. He also got started in real estate while in college. Bought his first home and rented out the extra bedrooms, then he rolled that house into another rental. Now he is owns a RE brokerage firm with several agents, as well owning many RE investments.

Best of luck!

@Lukas Briggs either way you chose you'll need money to get into real estate investing. How do you see yourself making this money? I am assuming it will be a job of some sort so you must ask yourself will a degree help me get the job I want or not. If you want to work at a gas station probably not but if you want to work as a CPA or any other professional type job the cost of tuition will be well worth it. Figure out yourself what it is you see yourself doing and then fill in the pieces after on how to get there.

An option is to do your homework now - learn how to analyse a property and put together a business case.

Then, when you identify the college / university you plan to attend, start looking for residential properties (houses, du-/tri-/quadraplexes) within walking distance of campus.  Also look at Craigs list, the off campus housing office, etc to determine the market rent in those areas.

Use this information to determine what would be a reasonable price range in which you could purchase one of these properties, perform any needed small renovations, live in it (and rent out the other spaces) though out your time at college and come out ahead in the end.

Once you have your analysis, it's time for the business case.   Lookup the costs of residing in college/university residence (dorms) per year and over a 3-5 year education {around here that would be 15 - 25K}.  This is your baseline.  Your property analysis above must demonstrate that the downpayment and renovation costs on a property would be no more than the cost of residing in residence.   It should also show the upside as being far greater ... potentially good enough that you could emerge from university having earned enough revenue and built-up equity in the property to offset the cost of your education.

Write up the business case and present it to the bank of Mom & Dad or Grandma & Grandpa.  You will also need to demonstrate to your potential funders that you have the capacity to complete your studies and manage the property - including evicting classmates and/or friends if necessary.   If Mom & Dad are not interested, post your deal here ... in fact, I would suggest posting your analysis here first to see if you really have a deal.  If you have a genuine opportunity, someone will fund it.

Go to college come hell or high water! Real estate is under the finance umbrella. Might consider the military and mature, then go to college and let them pay for it, you can take courses while serving. That's how I did it! :)


everyone has their own opinion! That being said my masters degree (MBA) and undergraduate degree in (finance/accounting). While many people on here have done very well with no degree. Having my degree and background was important to my success as I used them as my tools. My education allowed me to leverage my skills and get a great w2 income . From there I was able to leverage it by living frugally and have seed money.

While there is lots of information on how to invest with little or no money down. It is also important to have a basis so you can understand everything! I am happy I spend the years investing in my education. We got started at 23 and we have done amazing (in my opinion) . 

Read and look through this site! There are tons of greAt resources! We all have different opinions skill set and goals!

Good luck!


It is absolutely not necessary to go to college to get involved in RE.  Also, I think it would be very challenging to go and not get into at least a little debt unless you have a better college job lined-up than I did!  Work comes at the expense of grades and if you go, you gotta get good grades!

I spent 10 years going to college (some of it working full time, going part time) and got a MS in Biology.  I worked for 10 years in a conservation related field and then left.  In hind sight I'm not sure that I look at college as advantageous to least from a financial point of view.  But in many fields that diploma is the only way to even get in the game. 

I think the most important thing I learned from college was how to find the resources I needed to get x, y, or z done.  In our technology age, you don't need college to do that.   If you're very certain of what you want to do, go.  Especially if it will benefit your future RE investments (That desire is one thing that hasn't wavered for me since I was your age).  But if you're on the fence about what you want to do, you might look back and find college wasn't the best choice. 

If you are going to get involved in RE you need cash and smarts... Getting a degree in the right field WILL bolster that for sure. Especially if you get a degree in a field that will mesh with RE Investment. If you get a good job, you will be cash-flowing much better than a high school student!  That will be a tremendous asset.  Also, you may have more credibility with lenders, potential sellers, etc.

I hope that helps!

I found college to be sort of useful, but not worth the money. That being said, I enjoyed my time there and don't regret going. I think it depends on how set you are at jumping into real estate investment. Of course, if you try real estate and it doesn't go well, you can always go back. 

I have been looking into to colleges that offer real estate majors. I am interested in which colleges you have been looking at? Have you tried a college search app? & if you did which one do you like? 

Always invest in your education as long as it adds value to your long term goals. ie REI.

There's not many good paying jobs that don't require a 4-year degree.

I did 2 years of General Ed in community college then last 2 years at a 4 year university.

I also have a Masters in Real Estate Development and I found it extremely valuable in helping me secure a good position at a commercial real estate company.

Honestly I have the confidence that I would still be able to make it in Real Estate but would most likely be a residential agent as most commercial agencies now require a 4-year degree. Plus first 12 months would have been a struggle on commission only so would likely have been flipping burgers at McDonalds at night.

You do not go to college to get ahead you go to get what you want. If college provides a means to that end it is an option. 

Do not make the mistake of allowing day dreaming about real estate investing determine your path. You need to choose a career path first and it's not real estate investor. Your career path  provides you the money to invest in real estate.

@Lukas Briggs College is pretty expensive for what it offers unless you have a very clear goal and path to reach it laid out.  If you have a entrepreneurial spirit, you can probably do very well without it.  That being said, I went to college, and I don't regret it one bit.  It was a lot of fun, I didn't go way into debt, and there is a level of camaraderie that I get to enjoy with fellow alumni (let's all cheer for the Tar Heels tomorrow)!

If I were in your shoes - I would get as many credits as possible from a community college and then transfer to a four year school so you can graduate from the name brand.  Pick a STEM major if you are good at that kind of thing.  I was a psychology major, and that ended up being totally worthless to me.  I do very well now as a real estate agent, but the degree was not a necessity to get here.

Real estate is perfect for entrepreneurs like you. Getting a college degree would make a great impact if you want to enter into a real estate business. However, you can gain also from learning through experience, it depends on how eager and passionate are you to get successful in this field.

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