The class was called Foreclosures and Short Sales 101. The room was filled with Realtors, likely there for the six hours of continuing education credits. I attended because I wanted to learn about foreclosures and short sales, and more importantly, meet a local real estate investor. It was 2003 and I’d been struggling for two years trying to figure out how to fix and flip houses. I’d spent over $5,000 on guru seminars, books and CDS. None of it was working. I’d been advised by a real estate attorney to stop wasting my money on boot camps. He said I should to learn from a real estate investor here in Phoenix.
I sat down in the back of the room next to a man with a large stack of papers in front of him. The papers included a list of homes in foreclosure. It turns out this guy worked for an investor that purchased homes at the courthouse steps. They also bought homes directly from distressed sellers prior to the auction.
To make a long story short, after the class was over I convinced this guy and his investor boss to bring me on board as a “bird dog”. They gave me a list of homeowners in foreclosure and I’d go knock on their doors. I did this every weekend for over a year, 60-80 houses at a time. They taught me the business and I brought them deals. It was a win-win.
The 20 Best Books for Aspiring Real Estate Investors!
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How to Become A Successful Investor in 6 Steps
These days I’m often contacted by aspiring real estate investors about coaching and/or mentoring. For those that live in the Phoenix market, here’s what I advise them to do:
- Sign up for real estate school, take all the classes and pass the exam.
- Hang your license with a broker and become a Realtor.
- Come meet with me to learn how to search the Arizona Regional multiple listing service, download foreclosures from their database and write offers.
- Scour the MLS everyday and door knock on pre-foreclosures.
- Set up a website and voicemail to capture leads.
- Bring all prospective deals you find to me and get paid a commission or assignment fee for the contract.
Sadly, no one has made it past step 2. For those Realtors I meet that want to invest in real estate, none has made it past step 4.
Maybe I’m a lousy mentor.
Why is it that after instructing more than 20 people to follow these six simple steps not one person has succeeded? The reality is most aspiring real estate investors are unwilling to put in the effort required to become successful real estate investors. It’s hard work. Like most professional careers it requires dedication and a burning desire to succeed.
I made $24,000 my first year investing in real estate full-time, $70,000 my second. The six-digit paydays didn’t come until after year 3. There were days when I wanted to quit. But in the end I decided the alternative (going back to work) was not an option. I had to succeed.
What are you willing to do to become a real estate investor? Are you up for working nights and weekends? Can you knock on a stranger’s door and talk to them about their looming foreclosure? How about just taking 90 hours of real estate classes? Will you do exactly what a successful real estate investor in your home market says to do or dismiss their advice?
In the end you have a choice – pay a guru thousands of dollars to tell you real state investing is easy OR find a successful local real estate investor that will show you it’s difficult, for free.