I am very new to the world of real estate and I am about 8 months out from being able to jump in (Finishing up College). My question is about sweat equity and using my own physical time to get ahead as I am starting out.
If you could go back and give yourself any piece of advice, what would it be?
I have heard many people talk about working on their business instead of in it, but what if you lacked the resources to pull that off? Where would you focus the majority of your time in order to grow and scale effectively? What skills would you teach yourself and what type of people would you surround yourself with in order to learn the game?
Your biggest advantage just out of college is that you're probably still flexible enough with your own living arrangements that you can utilize some HUGE financing advantages for owner occupants that the rest of us older investors with families can't really do (known on BP as "househacking") not occupying the property.
For example, there are mortgages available to owner occupants for as little as 5% down in many cases, whereas non-owner-occupant investors need 20-25% down. The cool part for you is that as long as you live there for the bank's minimum period of time (usually 1-3 years), when you move out and into another property you get to keep your original low money down mortgage even though it "becomes" an investment property and not your residence when you move out, but you can still go get another low money down mortgage as an owner occupant for your next property.
It's a fabulous banking loophole that I wish I took greater advantage of in my 20's for amassing more properties with little money out of pocket. You'll find as you grow your biggest limitation is finding the 20-25% down payments for investment properties, so using "owner occupant" status gives you a huge leg up.
You also get the option of utilizing 203k rehab loans as an owner occupant, which is yet another big advantage.
I'd highly recommend reading @Brandon Turner's book "The book on buying houses with no or low money down", I think it was chapter 5 that's all about househacking.