What Should I be Doing as a 17-year old?

138 Replies

@Cameron Dye

Dude, so proud of this thread. Go for it!! I can't say anything that hasn't already been said or will be said soon, so here's my two cents.

1.) You are in a great position, regardless of whether or not you go to school, to start getting experience and offer sweat to potential mentors. I serve part-time at a church and if some of the younger guys there came to me and said teach me, my first thing would be to come sweat with me in a flip house. These hours learning how to use sweat equity could potentially be invaluable on your first few deals because thats straight labor cost you are saving if you know how to do some of those things. Don't be afraid to get in and get your hands dirty. 

2.) Another option would be to intern with a property management company once you turn 18. Get paid to learn the ins and outs of property management and probably learn some great trade skills along the way.

3.) 99% of the people here got to where they are due in large part to a compilation of the support of mentors, peers, and partners. We are all building on what someone else took the time to invest in our lives and therefore recognize how important it is to share that with others. You shouldn't have any issues finding a mentor simply because you are young, hungry, and learning based. Stay hungry. Stay learning based. And you won't have to look far for some guidance.

- on that note, PM me and I'll give you my number and you are welcome to call me any time my friend.

Play your guitar.

Run around and chase women and have all sorts of good.

Times. :beer:

Or better yet, do what everyone else says. It will likely end better.

@Cameron Dye I disagree with the people trying to talk you out of college. College is awesome. I met my wife during that time, but no need to be in a hurry for that. Do some dating and hook up with a few randos first. :) Anyway, I needed college first before investing. Investing involves risk. In college you might not learn about investing but you will have a safety net under you so you can work if anything goes wrong. I went on to grad school later even, I love learning, investing in your mind will serve you well. I’m on property 5 now and about to the 1/3 to halfway point to financial freedom, I still work in a corporate job to fund my real estate business (a job I would not have without a degree). Grad school was paid for through tuition reimbursement from my job.

Find a way to sell something to your fellow college students (legally of course). Be creative and think of something, your brain will work in similar ways later.

Good luck, yep stay out of consumer debt. Work during the summers or when you can. Find a hot girl with wealthy parents.

@Cameron Dye I am currently 19 and I was doing the same thing two years ago. I will admit that I was lucky enough to have a grandmother finance a deal for me as a co-signer. This allowed me to get my first property at 18 and actually start the process of owning a tangible asset. However, to get to that I talked with realtors and found out information about the community I’d be purchasing property in. Having a knowledge of what property is worth in your area is a huge bonus to have. Also, if you’re going to jump into buying property early make sure you find some reliable contractors that are affordable. This can be a huge undertaking in itself and there are many people out there that won’t hesitate to scam you. However, there are plenty of honest people just find them! My tips on getting started without owning a property would be trying to shadow an agent or (if possible) another investor. The later would be the best of course. Find out about the ins and outs and take action BUT DO RESEARCH! Best of luck to you sir.

@Cameron Dye

If you find your selected major to be interesting I would say stick with it. It'll provide very solid income upon graduation.

A few things that you should probably do.

- First 2.5 years at a community college and live at home with your parents. Save all the money you can and work as many hours as possible in something real estate related. This at the very least will reduce your education cost in half.

- Use saved money to buy a small MFR near your college (when you go to the big university after you finish your gen eds). This will be your house hack. You can start looking at that market now to get familiar so you know how much you need to save and where you want to buy.

- Get 3 credit cards. Probably have to get the first one as a secured card. After a year or two you will qualify for unsecured cards. I like to travel so I have 2 travel credit cards in addition to my original secured card that is now just a standard card. It will only take a few years but you will build credit pretty fast. Your student loan will help diversify your debt (increasing your credit score).

- Minimize your student debt.

- Don't spend money on stupid stuff. Set a budget.. on paper... stick to it.

The additional potential benefit of the house hack is that if you buy right and depending on your remaining student debt, you could sell the property and clear your student debt. Or use the residual cash flow to pay down your loans. I've paid my way through college (last semester this summer) and will leave debt free and +40k in the bank to use toward REI. HARD work, but so worth it.

Good luck man. If you ever need anything shoot me a message.

@Jonathan R.

Thanks man. As for your advice about selling stuff, I already do e-commerce. I also do some swing-trading. Looking to trade more aggressively and extensively whenever I can open my own private account at 18. As for the college thing, I agree with you. My income from my day job will give me capital to invest with for my first several years. Hoping to scale quickly so I can start real estate investing full time as relatively quickly as possible while being smart about it and managing my risk.

@Brian Wilson

That’s some great advice I’ll definitely take into account. I’ll also keep your offer to message you in mind, thanks for being open and available if I have any questions. I really appreciate it!

 Im sure you have heard it before, but build your credit, build your credit, build your credit.  Make sure your debt to income ratio is below 25-30%. and never miss a payment! cant stress to you how important those 3 points are. I wish I had someone tell me that at your age. spend your money wisely, learn the difference between liabilities and assets. Invest your money into anything that will potentially make you money back. Don't get 20K and use that as a down payment on a benz, or a watch, etc,  unless you'r in a position to do so. understand how to use debit to your advantage. Im sure you heard that not all debit is bad debit. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. money can buy you a education, but learning from a mistake can teach you what money cant buy. This has helped me get to were i am in life. Im only  26, in escrow on a 4 unit mfh as we speak.  The sooner you can master all of this, the better off you will be.

good luck my friend,


Originally posted by @Andrew Flora :

Dont date until you are 25. By then you will know what you truly need as a partner, find someone with the same drive and frugal discipline. If you marry someone that wants a big fancy house and always needs a brand new car you will forever be trying to make up for those debts.

If you do all this and stay focused you will be financially free no later than 30.

 Bit of a sidebar off topic Andrew.  My dad sat my 3 younger brothers and I down one day many years ago and offered each of us $5000 cash if we waited until we were 25 years old to get married.  I did wait, and found the perfect wife whom I would have missed if I hadn't followed dad's advice.  Thankfuly, she entirely satisfied with nothing big or fancy and she's supported our portfolio growth from the inception.  Great advice!

There are so many great people on BP, but what I've discovered is only a handfull really know what they're talking about.  I mean really.  They speak in a language that's different than others and they're steadfast and tenacious in their advice.  Find those people by reading hundreds if not thousands of posts and pay attention to what they're saying.  Don't worry, you'll figure out who they are because their advice is much deeper and refined than most. They stand out.  Those guys will clarify and refine your RE strategy.  Hint; one guy's name is Jay and another is Joe.  Now watch all the Jays and Joes hit the "vote" button :)

@Cameron Dye

Great responses here so far, go through these and take note on the ones you see reoccurring.

I’m going to take a slightly different approach here and say to do most of the things people have mentioned like building credit and working as much as you can to pay down debt obligations. However, don’t forget to enjoy yourself in college. I just graduated from college in 2018 and can tell you that I connected with many of my mentors (and even my boss who hired me) through unconventional ways and having a quality social life was the reason for that. If you haven’t read ‘the alchemist’ I would recommend it. If real estate investing is your personal “legend” then you should be relentless and you will get there. Just don’t misinterpret that path as being a straight line. Feel free to connect with me on this if you’d like to talk more on the subject. Best of luck.

@Cameron Dye

So many posts not sure if this was covered. If you are going to college I would highly look into house hacking. Renting a place of your own can be expensive and you can make money or get an amazing rental using house hacking and having your friends pay the rent. This usually makes sense for your parents as well as the cost of rent is much more expensive than if they get you your first rental or help you with your first rental.

Obviously, there are a ton of mazing books on BiggerPockets to read and learn the ins-and-outs. I think one of the good books starting out is by Mitch Stephens and my life and 1000 houses. He really watch through a lot of the small intricacies of starting in the business. Also, if you're looking to build great work habits to really streamlined what you're doing I would recommend the miracle morning, the 4-Hour Work week, and essentialism.

@Cameron Dye Enjoy your life.

But if you want to do some things now, start learning and saving money. No need to rush into these things.

At 17 I'd focus on college so that you can be prepared for a career. If you take on a part-time work while in college then I would choose construction work so that you are prepared to own real estate in the future.

@Cameron Dye looks like you have gotten tons of great advice already! I agree with all of it!

1. Get a job in real estate - this will build your capital, knowledge, experience, and network

2. Build your credit

3. Buy a multi family and house hack.

Then you will be off to the races! Good luck out there.


I would advise that while many folks make a lot of money quickly in this industry, my experience has shown me that it is a marathon and not a sprint. Your early start will reward you. I would read, Set For Life, by Scott Trench. Focus on building a solid foundation, and getting your personal finances in order. Your friends are going to start buying cool stuff like cars and unreasonable houses; do not follow this path - save and invest. 

Also, focus on your relationships. Your family and friends are your biggest motivators, and your success is shared with them. They will start to look up to you, and seek your guidance. This will translate directly into invaluable leadership skills that will last a lifetime. Remember, whether it is a hobby or a job, real estate is just something you do, it is not who you are. Focus on your mental/physical/spiritual self - read/stretch/learn to calm yourself. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. You're a boss brotha keep pluggin' away, and by the time you are 30 you will be light years ahead of your peers.

As a father of twin 17 year-olds, I have been trying like heck to instill this in them.  I'm jealous that you are able to start this early!  If I were you I would do whatever type of real estate work that you can do in Fayetteville during the school year and work for a contractor over the summers in Fort Smith.  This way, IMO, you will gain knowledge of how to look at a future property and know not only the market value, but the cost of repair.  You will be able to avoid a lot of mistakes and gain so much knowledge.  Also, I echo the "Don't date until you are 25."  DO NOT DO IT until you take care of you first.  When you are financially stable, it takes away so much unneeded stress that impacts your interactions with a person that you are supposed to be completely relaxed around.   

@Ian Holtson

Appreciate the advice Ian! I’ll definitely look into your book recommendation too, sounds like something I’d be interested in reading.

@Thomas Moore

It makes me feel good that most of the things you advised I’ve already been doing. Grant Cardone is a big inspiration to me both from the real estate and sales perspective. Thanks for the reply!

@Brent B.

Agreed. However I don’t feel as though I’m rushing. I enjoy this and it gives me a purpose day in and day out. It’s what I like doing.

@Matthew McNeil

Thanks for the advice Matthew. Really hoping to come across some “Jays” and “Joes” as I’m more active on this site!

@Kyle Stevie

That’s exactly what I was planning on doing Kyle! There are some summer internship opportunities I planning on taking advantage of and I’m really looking forward to getting some hands on experience. Thanks for the reply my man

I would house hack a small multi-family. Live in one and rent the others out. with and FHA loan you would only need 3.5% down. Do that over and over. Once you have a wife and family it can get harder to do that.

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