How to Invest in Real Estate with Just 5 Spare Hours Per Week

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Here’s something not a lot of people know about me:

I work on my real estate business less than five hours per week, and I’ve done so for years.

Yes, there was a time when I put in 100-hour workweeks, but ironically, I buy a lot more real estate NOW than I did back then.

So what changed?

I shifted my thinking.

I stopped living reactively and started living proactively — and that’s exactly what I hope this post will help you do as well.

I want to share four life-changing tips that can help you build your real estate empire while working on your real estate business less than five hours per week.

But before I get to the four, let me invite you to something special that’s related to this:

Single Family Rental House***Hey you! If you work a full-time job, you NEED to attend this week’s BiggerPockets Webinar! This week we’ll be covering the topic of “How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job,” where we’ll be talking about numerous strategies, tips, and tactics you can use to invest — even if you currently work a day-job. Click here to sign up.***

OK, let’s get on with my top four tips for investing in real estate in under five hours per week!

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1. Set Your Goal — Carefully

What do you want real estate investing to do for you? What’s your goal with this game?

Financial freedom?

Not good enough!

You see, a vague goal is going to leave you wandering in the wilderness, looking for the next opportunity that’s going to get you there.

But for those who have just a few hours per week to work on their real estate investing, you don’t have time to wander in the wilderness.

Related: 4 Side Income Streams to Sustain You As You Pursue Real Estate Full Time

Therefore, the first step in building a real estate empire while still working your full-time job is to specifically identify your goal — and it must be laser-focused!

For example, instead of the vague goal of “financial freedom” you might say, “I want to acquire 15 rental houses that each provide $200 per month in passive cash flow by April 2019.”

Now, with that laser-focus, you can avoid wandering the wilderness and focus on what really matters.

2. Make a Roadmap

Imagine for a moment that you are driving through a dense fog to get to a party out in the woods. You’ve never traveled on this road before, and you aren’t sure exactly how to get there.

And you forgot a map. No problem! You’ll just use the GPS on your iPhone. Nope — your phone is dead.

Uh oh.

This situation might sound silly, but it’s exactly what many people who are trying to achieve a real estate goal go through on a daily basis!

They might have a laser-focused goal (see step #1), but they lack the directions to get there through the fog.

So, the second step to investing in real estate when you have just five hours per week to dedicate to it is to have a clearly defined plan for how you will get there. Turn by turn directions!

This will help keep you on track, avoid time-wasting actives that don’t bring you closer to your goal, and ultimately get you there faster.

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You might want to ask:

  • How many deals will you buy per month to make that happen?
  • How will you finance those deals?
  • How many offers will you need to make in order to get those deals closed?
  • How many properties will you need to analyze in order to offer on that many?
  • How many leads need to come across your desk in order to have enough to analyze?
  • How will you get those leads?

If that sounds confusing, go back and read it a couple times. We’re simply working backwards through the real estate sales funnel.

For example, it’s not enough to simply want 15 rental houses by October 2019.

Instead, you might say:

I will buy five houses per year for the next three years, using 20% down payments that I’ll save from my job. This means I need to close on one house every other month. To do this, I’ll likely need to make offers on at least five properties every month, and I’ll get roughly 10% of my offers accepted. In order to make five offers per month, I’ll want to analyze three deals every day and make offers on the best 5% of those analyzed deals. Finally, to get those leads, I will set up automatic email alerts for all properties that match my criteria within a 30-mile radius and analyze any that look like a potential deal.

This is a plan that will keep you on track.

3. Set Aside a Few Minutes a Day to Work Your System

Next, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of trying to invest when you have just a few hours per week!

You’ve already made a goal, and you have your roadmap.

Now it’s time to follow it.

To do so, you’ll need to schedule time each and every day to work on your system. It doesn’t need to be huge chunks of time, but it needs to be regular.

For example, can you wake up 30 minutes earlier, five days per week, to work on your business? Can you dedicate ninety minutes every other day?

Then, put that time in your calendar and stick to it! This is the most important appointment you have all week — so keep it like you’d keep an appointment with Bill Gates.

So often, people think that the key to success is superb intelligence, unnatural luck, excessive time to devote to the task, or knowing the right people. In reality, success is the reward given to those who take small steps, daily, toward their goal.

(Hey, that’s a good paragraph. I think I’ll Instagram that baby!)

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So each and every day, dedicate a few minutes to work your plan.

Maybe that means analyzing three deals.

Maybe it means meeting with your real estate agent for coffee once a week.

Maybe it means writing up your offers on your lunch break at work.

Whatever your plan is, break it down into daily tasks and do what’s necessary to complete those tasks.

4. Outsource to the Right People

If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in real estate, don’t worry! There are a number of people who are PAID to do the heavy-lifting for you.

You just need to find and manage them correctly.

For example:

  • Your real estate agent can help you get leads to analyze.
  • The title company can help research the title.
  • The loan officer can help get your loans through to closing.
  • A property manager can look after the deals.
  • Experienced investors on the BiggerPockets Forums can help you make tough decisions.
  • You could even hire a friend (on commission, perhaps) to answer phone calls for you if you are doing marketing for real estate leads.

The point is you must learn to utilize other people because you don’t have time to do it all.

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Related: 5 Life-Changing Tips for Growing a Business While Working a Full-Time Job

Conclusion

If you want to flip dozens of homes per year, buy hundreds of rental units, and be the “real estate king” (or queen) of your town, you probably won’t if you have just five hours to spare each week.

However…

If you want to pick up a few more rental properties a year, fix and flip a house or two, or maybe just do enough real estate investing in order to quit your full-time job, you CAN with just a few hours a week.

It’s not enough to work hard. In real estate, you have to work smart.

And you can work smart with just five hours per week.

(Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for this week’s BiggerPockets Webinar!)

What are the biggest goals you’re pursuing right now to help you grow your real estate business? How many hours do you strive to spend on those goals per week — and how do you ensure you allocate the time?

Leave your comments below.

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner (G+ | Twitter) spends a lot of time on BiggerPockets.com. Like... seriously... a lot. Oh, and he is also an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, traveler, third-person speaker, husband, and author of "The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down", and "The Book on Rental Property Investing" which you should probably read if you want to do more deals.

18 Comments

  1. David Reyes

    Hey Brandon

    What a nice content I find always in your blogs

    It is always very helpful and encourage to those who are working to get on the RE world

    Thank you for share your system and be sure that many of us will follow on this steps !!

    One day I will be able to ask out for a coffe and a chat about RE that is for sure 😉

    Hope you the best and wish you blessing to you and your family especially the new little member you are waiting !!

  2. Steve Shewmake

    Brandon,
    Great post, as I have heard you there are a million ways to invest in Real Estate . Another way to invest with such a limited amount of time would be to invest in notes. by finding a reputable private lender who has a mortgage pool . Some of pools don’t require a huge minimum , and you could reap the benefit of networking with other investors who can provide funds for future deals.

  3. Saks Oudoms

    How would I acquire properties , if I don’t have a lot of money saved up . I know there’s owner finance but those are hard to find .. Most lenders want 20%. Down , I have a mortgage & do have equity in my house .. Still find it challenging to get a loan for a rental property .

  4. Linda Collins

    Hi Brandon…looking forward to what I’m sure is another great webinar! Just so you know there are people out there that tell you the steps ….and then there are people like you who walk you though it by giving you examples that make sense…your simply Awsome?

  5. Jim Hart

    My main goal is to get out of the “Rat Race” which means pay off all consumer and medical bills and be able to retire from my job before I die (replace $55,000 pay and $800 -$1000 per month health insurance}
    How:
    Prioritize and consecrate my business to Heavenly Father to care for my family .
    I listen to podcasts or mp3 books 1-3 hours /day in the car to and from job.
    Read books downloaded to my phone when I have spare minutes.
    Follow my very thorough budget:
    Tithe to God and myself, pay every thing on time. Get credit scores to 660 to qualify for 203b loan.
    Cut what I can to make it work. I am married and have to make the decisions that I can without alienating my wife.(who wants to be investor with me but has a hard time sacrificing to build a position of power).
    Beginning now: Look at 5 properties/day (online) to find some to run the numbers on for wholesaling, buy and hold and rehab. I understand now that wholesaling is not the slam dunk that the expensive weekend implied. I will have to find some properties to visit to get experience working out repair costs.
    When I find properties that seem to fit I will post on Bigger Pockets for feed back.
    When I have deals that are realistic I will get them under contract and move to other investors. I will be looking for properties that I can finance using Brandon (and Carleton Sheets )ideas of creative finance.
    Every transaction that pays I will tithe and add to Self directed IRA. I understand that money earned from IRA money goes back to IRA. I will alternate deals to fund IRA and deals to feed us.
    I will work hard. I will develop relationships and trust. I will screw up but I will not quit.
    I will persevere.
    Thank you to Brandon, Josh and so many writers and speakers on Bigger Pockets. I appreciate the insight and the support.

  6. Lou Milard

    Great article! The one thing I would add to stay focused on one specific strategy especially, when first getting started. There are lot’s of different ways to work a real estate transaction. Some people get lost trying learn all of them at once causing them to get overwhelmed.

  7. Michael Lee

    Hey Brandon. I can’t agree more with the first few. Thank you very much for your good work. Beleiver it or not I am 59 years old and I have a daughter in her 2nd year at the University of Arknsas. I wish you the best.

  8. Rodney Weary on

    Hi Brandon,

    Great read…What advice can you give to buy my first property. Unfortunately I don’t have discretionary income to put down the 20 to 30% that’s required.

    There has to be ways to enter the business with little or no money but I just don’t know how. What do you recommend?

    Thanks

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