The video camera, gear pack and tripod weighed about 80 lbs. The temperature was a balmy 112 degrees. I stood there in the middle the street with the soles of my shoes slowly sinking into the hot asphalt, the sun beating down on my fair skin.
A block away a man had barricaded himself inside his house. The SWAT team was on the scene and after three hours neither had made a move.
It was the perfect time for me to reflect on my decision to become a TV news cameraman. Is this what it’s going to be like for the next 30 years I wondered? Will I be camped out like this in front of yellow crime scene tape and drenched in sweat with a farmer’s tan until retirement?
I decided right then and there that if I was going to continue working this hard I needed to get paid a lot more money.
Inspired by the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki, and a year later by a couple of real estate investment gurus, I quit my job schlepping camera gear to invest in real estate full-time. Their books and tapes said it would be easy.
I suppose compared to digging ditches (or lugging around a heavy video camera) they were right. But I would quickly learn the truth – real estate investing is hard. It’s also complicated, stressful, time-consuming and frustrating.
With fixing and flipping:
- You can’t be certain what a buyer will pay for your fixed up house.
- You can’t be certain how much it will cost to fix up your house.
- You can’t be certain how long it will take to sell your house.
- You can’t be certain your trades will even show up to fix your house.
- You can’t be certain the house will appraise for the contract price.
With buying and holding:
- You can’t be certain the house will cash flow.
- You can’t be certain the tenant will pay their rent on time.
- You can’t be certain about maintenance costs.
- You can’t be certain the tenant will trash the house before they move out.
- You can’t be certain your property management company will have your best interests in mind.
These uncertainties make real estate investing hard. But that’s also what makes it so rewarding. I’d much rather work hard, on my terms, than have my shoes stuck in the pavement.