For an investor starting out, with limited income and debt trying to pay down, is wholesaling a truly viable option for someone to get started?
It really depends on what your personal and financial goals are.
Can you make money in wholesaling? Sure. Many people do. Is it a hella lot of work? It can be.
Wholesaling and Flipping are "transactional" one time money makers. They do not build long term wealth and are not taxes as favorably as buy&hold rental real estate.
As @Paul Beets mentioned, it depends on your motivation.
If you want to do some deals to generate some quick income, then wholesaling is a great place to start.
However, if you want to build a scalable wholesale business, doing 100s of transactions per year, you will need systems. These systems will need to be tweaked to deliver large quantities of leads, daily. This business is about finding opportunities, quickly. Unfortunately, we can't just visit the MLS or Zillow, and start buying houses.
To really capitalize on those leads, you need a reliable list of buyers, not just a list of email addresses. You need to understand exactly what your buyers are looking for, individually. You need to be adept at many strategies, not just the typical rental units or flip units. As you grow, you will be contacted by a variety of investors with different strategies, if you want them to become a client, you better know the process of that strategy. This will help you broaden your horizons, and tap into those investors that don't take the traditional roads of investing.
You need to identify and bring value to an investor, beyond simply a great deal. The more valuable you appear to them, the more business and referrals they bring. This can especially be true, if you can be creative and structure financing or even favorable cash positions into the deals.
Whether you want to do a dozen deals a year, or 200, it takes a lot of work. I will say this, it takes substantially more work to do a dozen deals, than it does 200. If you're only doing a dozen deals, you don't need a sophisticated system in place, simply drive some streets weekly, and you will have plenty of opportunities. You will most likely being doing the all the leg work, manually. This means a lot of spent hours, looking up information. However, when you have automated systems in place, all the leg work is done for you. You just have to figure out what method of contacting the owners, works for you.
Thank you for the feedback. I’ve been doing a lot research and trying to cut through the bull being promoted by “gurus” and just getting honest feedback. I was considering wholesaling as a steppingstone to buy and hold. I didn’t want wholesaling to be my sole revenue stream or the crux of my business.
Honestly - that is the way to do it. Get started wholesaling ... and start "cherry picking" the really great deals to buy&hold. And then whatever doesn't strictly meet your criteria ... wholesale them and re-invest.
It would be pretty good hustle for a few years ... but if you are buying & holding more and more properties ... the cashflow from those properties will take over what you are doing in wholesaling. Then you just sit back and retire.
Sounds simple enough ... lol