6 Ways Newbies Can “Dress Up” as Seasoned Investors for Halloween

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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.”

Related: The Real Estate Investing Strategy I’d Recommend to Newbies (As a Seasoned Investor)

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.

Related: 3 Fundamental Tips for Real Estate Investing Newbies

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. 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.

About Author

Matt Faircloth

In 2005, Matt founded The DeRosa Group along with his wife, Elizabeth. At the time, the two person company owned and managed two assets – a single family home and a duplex. Over the last nine years, they have grown the company to a 12 person team owning and managing over five million dollars in residential and commercial assets throughout the central NJ and Philadelphia area. One of DeRosa’s mantras is “to make money while making a difference.”

28 Comments

  1. Kevin Izquierdo

    Its definitely true that investors need to “dress up” when they are trying to get things done. I believe this is also called “wearing many hats” and its always beneficial to be well versed in many different areas of REI. I love when blogs include what programs they use. its definitely a big help funneling out the google search when looking for new tools to use. Great Article!

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Kevin,

      I agree on wearing many hats. I do think that we as investors need to understand what we are great at, what we can get by doing, and what we need to delegate. I am a great salesperson and a good financial analyst so I do both of those in my business. I delegate the detail stuff like rent collection because it’s not a “hat” I am good at wearing.

      On another note I think it’s important for the bloggers to be specific on the tools they use. There are so many options out there, it really helps to hear what specifically is working for others.

      Matt

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey John,

      This is a tactic I have used since the very beginning. I got called out on it sometimes – “How many employees do you have”? I would sometimes reply with “I have 10 people on my team” and count my realtor, my cpa, my attorney, my spouse, etc… as team members. There is a line between painting things in a certain light and BS-ing people strait out so be careful.

      Take care,

      Matt

  2. Terrence Arth

    Hi Matt, great stuff. The “We” reference I picked up when I lived in North Carolina years ago and watched Nascar, drivers always talk about “we came out of that corner…” The other thing you mentioned is the name, pictures, t-shirts etc. A long time will go by before you ever hear of any concrete results but then, all of sudden, contacts, referrals, clients will seem to pop up every other week!

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hi Terrence,

      I’m glad you learned the lesson early. I actually learned the “We” tactic from watching sports also. Wins are rarely from one persons efforts, even in sports where there is one person on the field like auto racing. It takes a team standing behind the winner at the finish line, just like in this business.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Matt

      • What are some ideas for someone who has no budget for marketing? Is it a good idea to do bird dogging and use someone else’s credentials until you are ready to step out on your own?

        • Matt Faircloth

          Hey Ty,

          It depends on what type of investing you are looking to do. Figure that one out first – wholesaling, landlording and flipping all have different types of marketing you can do. Any way you slice it you can do lots of free marketing for your business. Here are some ideas –
          – Get a Constant Contact account, they let you house up to 2000 contacts for free. Then do newsletters every other week to keep yourself on people’s radars.
          – setup a facebook page for your business
          – You can setup a free website on Webly, and maybe some other web building platforms
          – get a YouTube page and post a video every other day to build content. Post the videos on your business facebook page and also send your best ones out in your newsletters
          – put a craigslist ad out as an interested real estate buyer. They have a section for that.
          – Call a new realtor every day and tell them what type of property you are interested in and what you are looking to do

          I hope that helps!!

          Matt

  3. Ayodeji Kuponiyi

    Great tips Matt! I’m currently working on building my brand with 1 duplex under my belt. As you mentioned, I was going to use my name for my business but now you have me thinking twice before I do that. We don’t mind though, “we” are just working on a name for my business that hasn’t been taken yet lol. The concept of telling people “let me run that by my boss” is great too. We use this for our tenants. Thanks for sharing Landlord Locks. I checked their website and this is something I needed 2 weeks ago. Thanks for sharing your tips and knowledge. Much appreciated.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Ayodeji,

      Good to hear from you. It’s never too early for Landlord Locks, I put it on my very first rental! If you plan on expanding into more properties it’s easier and cheaper to add it now. Same with a brand and website. Good luck!
      Matt

  4. This above 6 ways are really out standing really. I am also a businessman of a Real state company.. I am trying to gather knowledge from my seniors experience. And I think I have got one from this post. All the deals,you have mentioned in the post is good enough. when I saw this post, I pressed CTRL+C and CTRL+V. after that I stated to read the whole post carefully. My brain is felling good to read it.. Thanks a lot for sure,,keep posting this types of tips..

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