What is Driving You to Invest in Real Estate? Understanding your “Big Why”

by | BiggerPockets.com

If you work full time and have decided to become a buy-and-hold real estate investor, you have chosen a path that is long, paved with many obstacles, and full of chances to make mistakes. That said, it is also a tremendous way to establish retirement income, secure financial stability, and eventually live financially free without the need to work for someone else.

As a 10+ year veteran of buy-and-hold real estate investing while holding a demanding full time job, I can tell you the thing that kept me going was my “Big Why.” Why had I chosen to add buy-and-hold real estate investing to my life, as I didn’t have a lot of free time or extra money lying around?

My big why, of course, was: I wanted was financial freedom.

For me, financial freedom was the ability to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and with whom I wanted.  This meant I needed to establish a significant cash flow of real spending money every month. My “big why” drove me to sacrifice nice vacations, new cars, expensive toys, and all the extras that come with earning more money.  I chose to drive every extra penny into real estate.

It also meant I had to stay on top of my game, as the market has changed multiple times over the last 10 years and I could have easily made mistakes that forced me to start over.

I have only stayed on the path to long-term success because my “big why” hasn’t changed and it still drives me every day, even though my life today is very different than it was 10+ years ago.

I recommend your “big why” be something that can stand the test of time as investing in buy-and-hold real estate while holding a full time job will take time.  If your “big why” changes with the seasons, you haven’t found it yet. I know the importance of focus, as my reason has never wavered.  Whether I was looking at my 20th property for the weekend, talking to yet another agent, or reviewing monthly expense numbers, I was focused on the “big why.”

So what is your Big Why?

Why do you want to sacrifice vacations, toys, and time with family to invest in buy-and-hold real estate?

Can your reason drive you for 10+ years like mine did, or would you give up the first time a negative surprise happens and you have to pay mortgages out of your personal account because of a big unplanned expense?

Does your “big why” also drive your significant other? Or does he/she have different ideas?  Maybe they are happy with a 9-5 life.  Maybe they want to start a family or grow the family.  Maybe they have their heart set on a bigger house or nicer cars.

If you and your significant other can’t share the same “big why” your paths with eventually cross and you will be forced to have uncomfortable conversations.  For example, if your significant other wants a bigger house with a back yard and you’re still focused on finding financial security, you will have a problem.

One of you will have to give in.  Either you tweak the numbers behind financial security to take on this additional expense, or they have to give up on their dream home.  You don’t want to have these discussions – trust me.

In the end insure you and your significant other are on the same page when it comes to your “big why.”  Also, I recommend revisiting your “big why” with your significant other every year to insure nothing changes, as you need to tackle this together.

Buy-and-hold real estate Investing can be a great path to financial security, assuming your “big why” is large enough to drive you through all the challenges and time it takes to secure it.

Good Investing

Photo: Keoni Cabral

About Author

Michael Zuber is an active buy-and-hold real estate investor who still has a full-time job. Michael is not an agent or broker, and simply uses the internet and agent relationships to drive his business. He currently averages at least one deal a month and has developed laser focus on his 5 step process.


  1. Yesterday we had to kick a tenant out of one of our properties. After reviewing all the mess they are leaving behind, we have to dump about $2K in repairs. It’s moments like that were your “why” is tested. This business is not for the faint at heart.

    That being said – I love that I am closer to obtaining my financial freedom than i was 3 years ago when I started. With each house, we get one step closer and it is really exciting to see the progress.

    Thanks for sharing!


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