So you want to be an active real estate investor but you feel limited or constrained by your full time job and your busy family life. You feel prepared to jump in because you found time to read a few real estate investment books, attended a seminar or two and read everything on the internet.
However are you really ready to be an active real estate investor?
Maybe – Maybe Not
As an Active Real Estate Investor who happens to enjoy his full time job I can tell you it is not as easy as it looks.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to discourage anyone from their destiny of becoming the next great land baron but I would like to provide some advice to ensure your journey is as smooth as possible.
Are you ready for some heart felt honesty? I hope so.
First you need to ensure your significant other is on board with your plans! You might have the greatest passion in the world for this business but if you don’t get your partner on-board, out of the gate, you are destined to struggle. This business has lots of surprises, both good and bad. If your partner is not on-board you can bet which surprise you will hear about time and time again.
Second, when you start this business it will consume a lot of time during your evenings and weekends (assuming your day job is 9-5). You simply can’t learn your market from your computer screen. You can’t learn your market by only talking to people on the phone and you certainly can’t rely only on outsiders to learn your market. You must take an active role and get on the road and look at lots of properties in your market. Consider this required homework. If you don’t or can’t make the time to put in the initial work this business may not be for you.
Lastly this business will absolutely consume capital in the beginning. I wish I could tell you that no money down deals are plentiful. I wish I could tell you that surprise and expensive maintenance items don’t spring up, and I wish I could tell you that cash flow starts immediately and never stops. The facts are, while these concepts sell lots of books and tapes, they are not reality and I don‘t want you to plan for them!
Please keep in mind, I tried to be as politically correct as possible while still communicating the honest truth about investing while holding a full time job.
Remember before you commit to real estate investing while holding a full time job, you need to do the following:
Ensure that your partner is absolutely behind you 100%, as this business will consume both capital and lots of hours on the weekends and evenings. Also don’t fall for the hype of easy zero down deals, unbreakable properties and immediate cash flow. These are fairy tales created to sell books and should not be counted on while starting this business.
Now keep in mind Real Estate Investing doesn’t have to be an active pursuit. If you hold a full time job and can’t find the time to perform the initial homework then you could look to become a passive investor in real estate deals. Passive investors secure defined terms and holding periods while holding downside protection. If you don’t have the time, the support, or perhaps if you live in a market that doesn’t offer decent returns, you can find an investor with a proven track record and see if you can become a passive investor in their deals.