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Since we are right around the corner from Halloween, I thought we should talk about “dressing up” this week! As real estate investors, we dress up all the time. Some wholesalers dress up as a buyer to get a great deal on a property and then sell that contract to someone else. Sometimes a landlord will dress up as a salesperson to sell that vacant unit or as a CFO when running their numbers. Even a flipper dresses up as everything from a project manager in one moment to a purchasing agent in the next. We all have to switch roles and sometimes take on characteristics that are not our strongest to get things done. Today I am calling that “dressing up” for Halloween!
Our newbie investors out there need to dress up, too. That way, they get the same treatment as seasoned vets receive. I want to take care of the newbies out there this week with some ways that they can level the playing field.
To say it shortly, you have to “fake it until you make it.” This phrase gets thrown around a lot in business, so let me be clear. I am not saying that you start lying to people about your track record or your capacity. That being said, you can give people comfort by showing some things that will give the feel of an established company. Here are a few tips you can implement to come off like a seasoned vet when you meet new contacts.
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6 Ways Newbies Can “Dress Up” as Seasoned Investors for Halloween
Build a Brand
There is nothing that screams “newbie” like a cheaply made business card with a Gmail address on it. You can do better for not that much money. A logo, decent website, and email address will cost you less than $1,000 all-in these days, and it will give you the credentials of an established business.
Then put that logo and website out on yard signs for all your projects. Get tee shirts and pens with your stuff on them and give lots of them away. Use social media, email marketing, and whatever you can use to get your word out. And repeat. I did this for years, and then reaped my first reward when I told a new contact the name of my company, and they said “Oh, I’ve heard of you guys.”
Post Lots of Pics
As soon as you do a deal, put pictures of it on your website. Whether you are a flipper, landlord, or wholesaler, you can post pictures of your work. It won’t be much at first, but before you know it, you will have a large database for everyone from prospective tenants to lenders to check out what you’ve done. If you are so inclined, shoot videos too. Do video tours of your units for sale or rent, and post them on your company’s website and your company’s YouTube page.
Don’t Use Your Name
So when it’s just you getting started, it can be tempting to call your company something like [Your Last Name] Investments. Unless you are building high rises in NYC and flying around with a helicopter with your name on the side of it, people will see right through that. So put your ego on the side and pick a business name without your name in it. That way people may assume that you are a larger company, and when you grow your team, your people can easily feel a part of it.
Say “We” Not “I”
Whenever you speak of your business, say “we.” It’s really not just you anyway. Your real estate agents, lenders, mentors, spouse — maybe even your friends and family — are all your impromptu advisors. It’s never just you. The sooner you realize that you are not the only one rooting for and taking action on behalf of your business, the better.
Use the Line: “Let Me Run That By My Boss”
You don’t have to make decisions right up front or let on that you are the only decision maker. This one works with tenants and contractors especially. You can make someone else the “bad guy” who wants a better deal or won’t give any leniency on the rent. I know other landlords who still tell their tenants that they are just the property manager and that the owner is the one making the decisions.
Use the Tools
So there are some great tools out there that larger landlords use to manage their deals. You don’t have to be big landlords to use some of them, as they are affordable. You just have to know about them. Here are a few that I put in place as soon as we got started.
- Rent Manager: This is an accounting software for managing rentals. Another good one is Buildium (to learn more about Buildium, click here). Don’t get caught running your business using Excel.
- Landlord Locks: We saw this system demonstrated before we bought our first rental. It’s an affordable lock system that uses one master key to open all the locks and makes changing the locks extremely simple. It’s fairly affordable to implement if you start at the beginning. I know many landlords that have a bunch of units and are carrying around a softball of keys. They also have a more work to do every time a tenant moves out.
- vFlyer (Postlets works, too): We post all our rentals on Craigslist but develop nice flyers with pictures and everything integrated into them using vFlyer. At first get the free account, which lets you post a few listings, but don’t be cheap and avoid the paid account when you end up getting more units in your portfolio. We keep an archived listing there for all our properties. All we have to do is go in and activate it when we want to list a property.
There are so many other tools that are affordable and useful out there. I am hoping we can get some chatter going in the comment section on this!
So what do you dress up as in your business? Anything jump out at you that you want to take on for yourself here?
And let me hear from my seasoned vets — jump in with some more ways that our new investors can “dress up” and kick things into high gear for themselves.