Am I Missing Something, or Is Real Estate Investing Really Not That Hard?

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Everybody has their reasons for investing. Some folks invest because they just want a little bit of side income. Others are investing to attain financial freedom early in life. Still others invest simply because they love it.

And then there are those folks who invest because they have to.

There’s a guy who writes for this blog named Ben Leybovich. He got started in real estate because he had to. He was unable to pursue his former trade (violinist) due to a medical condition and was forced to find another way to provide for his family in a hurry.

There’s a guy who writes for this blog named Brandon Turner. He got started in real estate because he had no money, a job in a retail bank, and way too much ambition to allow himself to stagnate in that set of circumstances.

There’s a guy that writes for this blog named Jered Sturm. He got started working on properties when he was a teenager and has never really known another way of earning income or building wealth.

These guys are really impressive. They are very smart. They are guys whose writing you should read. They are, unequivocally, entrepreneurs. Their stories are exciting. They are cool. They’ve made it.

These guys I just mentioned started with nothing — and in some cases, less than nothing. They have built incredible businesses for which they fought and scratched and clawed their way through to success. They found incredible deals, added value to their properties in creative new ways, and systematized their businesses to the point where they have all three become millionaires through real estate investing with tremendous monthly free cash flow.

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I’m No Entrepreneur

I, on the other hand, am not an entrepreneur. I have no desire to be an entrepreneur. In fact, I believe that I would be fairly foolish to want to become a real estate entrepreneur. I am a white-collared income earner sitting solidly in the upper-middle-class range. I work a job that I enjoy very much and am investing because I would like to steadily move towards financial freedom consistently and sustainably over a 5-7 year period.

While I have the utmost respect for the successes that the folks I mentioned above have achieved, their path makes no sense for me and millions of others like me. And the reason is simple:

Related: The Unsugar-Coated True Story of What it Takes to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

We already have good jobs.

Now, let me caveat this by stating a major assumption here. I assume that most people reading this have the goal of trying to accumulate enough real estate to cover their lifestyle expenses through their real estate cash flow alone so as to achieve financial freedom. Notice that I am not saying that folks need to necessarily “buy” real estate or “acquire” it for free. There are many viable ways to “accumulate” real estate. I am merely going to state the path that I think is highly efficient for full-time workers earning good wages.

If you can save a significant percentage of a high five-figure, low six-figure household income, then there is no reason that you shouldn’t be a financially independent millionaire or very close to one in about (or under) a decade. Of course, that’s assuming that you invest around half your income in real estate and other appreciable investments like stocks in index funds.

Yes, I understand that W2 income is, dollar for dollar, a relatively inefficient way to accumulate wealth. But if you can make $100,000 per year and bring home $70,000 of that after tax, that is still more efficient than bringing home $35,000 after tax if you are putting in huge hours to get your business off the ground. Make no mistake about it — if you are going to pursue real estate with the extreme leverage of no money down investing or are going to otherwise bring very little cash to the table, you are going to need to be willing put in immense efforts — like the folks above were willing to do.

And my question for you is, why on earth would you, as a high wage earner, want to throw out a well-paying job for entrepreneurship when financial freedom is going to be so nearly automatic for you to attain? Even if you kind of wanted to become an entrepreneur, you could do so with much lower risk AFTER achieving financial freedom. The only way that full-time real estate entrepreneurship would make sense for you is:

  • If you hated your job so desperately that quitting was your only option,
  • If you passionately wanted to pursue real estate, or
  • If you had no other choice because your ability to earn was eliminated.

If one has a good job, then no (and low) money down investing, wholesaling, and other “creative” financing approaches make little (and no) sense! Sure, there are exceptions — there are always exceptions — but as a rule, most middle and upper-middle class readers of this blog will NOT become overnight, wildly successful real estate entrepreneurs, and most won’t want to.

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An Argument for Buying Rentals the “Old Fashioned” Way

But, the flip side of that is that most of the readers of this blog WILL be able to purchase a decent cash flowing rental property within 100 miles of where they live the good, old fashioned way — by buying a first home that will make a ton of sense as a rental property when they upgrade or move on in a few years or by simply saving up 15-25% of the median American home price ($188,000) — that’s $28,000-$47,000 — in cash. They’ll be able to produce reasonable cash flow, which accelerates their savings and allows them to purchase another one a few years later. They’ll be able to repeat the process faster and faster over time, and within a decade, they’ll be sitting on close to a million dollars in real estate. Will it happen for everyone? Probably not, but for most people who would like to get into real estate without a crazy commitment, I believe that this isn’t an unrealistic result.

Here’s the thing — when I say this, people think that I’m suggesting something radical. Again, I’m suggesting that if you earn a middle to upper-middle class salary, that you should simply save enough of your salary such that you can purchase a median home every year or two. That, or move into an investment property with the intention of keeping it as a rental when you move in a few years if you want to put down less.

In fact, I’m telling you that this is the way that the vast majority of you will be purchasing your first or next rental property, assuming you have a solid job and no pressing need to quit it.

If you are in the $50,000-$100,000+ income range, employed W2 style, and not too keen on giving up the entirety of that income to go full-time into business on your own, then you had better start saving your pennies, or prepare to move into an investment property (or both). You likely aren’t getting started another way.

Creative finance and no (or low) money down is for people who NEED or WANT to succeed in real estate so badly that they are willing to take some big risks, borrow other people’s money to an extreme degree, and MAKE real estate investing work. This type of financing does not apply to me, and if your position is at all similar, it does not apply to you either. Creative financing is also NOT an appropriate strategy for the Johnny Spenders of the world. It’s not appropriate for guys like him who make $75,000+ but have less than $10,000 in lifetime savings outside of retirement accounts and home equity — and who kind of want to invest in real estate.

Creative finance is for Ben Leybovich. Ben had to make it work. He will put his entire week, his entire year, if needed, into finding an incredible deal, and if necessary, making the deal work. Nowadays, he’s experienced enough and well-networked enough to only select good deals that offer him a great shot at success, but in the beginning, he would make the deal work, if necessary.

Creative finance is for Brandon Turner, who began investing while working at a bank, and soon quit his job to pursue it full-time. Brandon Turner, even at 25 years old, working full-time on his own rental properties, is a guy that I would lend to and partner with.

Johnny Spender, at any age, is not someone I would lend to or partner with. Johnny Spender’s first priority is his job. He lacks the ambition and/or confidence to quit his job and pursue his venture full-time and lacks the discipline to accumulate savings so as to fund the project himself. If things don’t work out, Johnny Spender is not going to bust his hump, surviving on ramen noodles, and working from dawn ’til dusk to make sure that his investors don’t lose money. Why should he? He can continue plodding along at his real priority — his job — and there is almost no chance that his real estate project will surpass his W2 income in the next 2-3 years. Johnny Spender is a bad investment and is likely to lose money in real estate. Contrast that to Ben, Brandon, and Jered — those guys had to succeed. What else were they going to do?

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Related: The Part-Time Investor’s Guide to Truly Passive Rental Income

For Whom Is Real Estate Investing Difficult?

But, Johnny Spender, Brandon Turner, Ben Leybovich, and Jered Sturm DO have something in common:

These fellows are all likely to tell you that real estate investing is very difficult.

Real estate investing IS hard when you have to manage huge rehab projects for the first time yourself. It IS tough when you have to educate yourself on tenant management on the fly after buying a 30+ unit apartment complex with money borrowed from investors who will foreclose on you the moment they feel that you can’t repay them, and it IS tough when you have five units go vacant and no cash in the bank to cover your next mortgage payment. Ben, Brandon, and Jered, I’m sure, did have a tough time building their portfolios. Johnny will run into trouble.

I, on the other hand, keep pinching myself. Real estate investing seems very easy for me. Too easy. After putting in an initial (less than planned for) $8,000, I haven’t had major repairs — or ANY repairs over about $250 — since. I haven’t had tenant problems. I haven’t had a major disaster. I haven’t been sued. I haven’t had to evict. I’m sure that I will have these problems one day — every landlord runs that risk, especially if they are committed (as I am) to long-term real estate investing as part of their portfolio. But I bet that these problems will come one by one, instead of all at once. I bet that I will be reasonably prepared to solve them, and even if I’m not, I bet that I will have the cash, self-education, and flexibility to meet those problems without becoming overwhelmed.

Maybe the reason that real estate investing has been easy for me is because I started with a simple “house-hack” duplex. Maybe it’s because I only have four units and occupy one of them myself. Maybe it’s because I spend several months learning about property management and investing per property, carefully and patiently analyze my deals, and buy only when my life and financial picture are in advantageous positions. Maybe it’s because I have tens of thousands of dollars in cash, set aside exclusively to deal with any problems as they come up. Maybe it’s because I have a great job and professional skill set and could cover my mortgage even if the tenants weren’t there to pay the rent. Maybe it’s because I’m dead wrong, and real estate investing IS really hard, and I’m missing something huge. Maybe I’m forgetting that I’m investing in Denver, and Denver might be in a huge bubble, and rents are about to plunge 50%, putting me into negative cash flow territory.

But, I don’t think so.

I think that real estate investing just might be a little easier than some people make it out to be. I expect that to be controversial. I expect to see folks get angry at me and tell me that I am a young fool who has no idea what a market crash is like. That may be true. Real estate investing is certainly no picnic, but I find it hard to believe that this is a business where only 5% of folks can succeed. There are millions of landlords out there. And believe me, I’ve met some dummies in this business. Not everyone making money in real estate is some genius that knows something you don’t.

Frankly, I think that the reason people are succeeding in this business, even with full-time jobs, even without incredible analytical skill sets, and even without incredible hustle that some of the mythical investors on this platform possess is because they consistently follow a few basic principles that anyone can copy:

  • They run frugal lives and thrifty businesses relative to their incomes, with plenty of cash on hand.
  • They buy typical properties that will obviously produce cash flow after financing costs and expenses, with inspections that do not indicate a likelihood of expensive problems.
  • They buy in locations that a reasonable person would expect to become more desirable over time.
  • They are reasonable and predictable people who treat their tenants and those they do business with fairly and honestly.
  • They are consistent investors, buying regularly, with a long-term outlook.

I don’t love real estate investing because it’s rocket science or because my “proven formula” is the only one that works. I buy real estate because it’s a good “semi-passive” business that I can take care of almost entirely over the course of a few hours per month in my spare time. I buy real estate precisely because I do NOT have to be some sort of creative entrepreneurial genius to make it work!

Of course, I shop around for deals. Of course, I try to get a competitive advantage by studying the market and learning about areas that might produce outsized returns. But I buy properties with mortgages guaranteed by Scott Trench’s personal assets, and I buy properties that I would be willing to live in. As a result, I get incredible financing terms and am getting practice managing properties while staying very close to the tenants.

Unlike the guys above, I don’t necessarily get properties at $0.70 on the dollar, and I don’t have to. I have cash for the down payment, am willing to put in a modest amount of weekend and evening work to get them tenant-ready, and am willing to self-manage. In return, I simply expect a little cash flow (about 10-15% cash on cash, inflated because I manage my own properties) and hope for a little appreciation. Of course, I don’t get the same returns as someone that does this full-time! Again, I don’t have to. I am perfectly happy with about a 10% return on my cash invested, which I am willing to work for, the ability to pay down the mortgage using tenant rent, and the opportunity for appreciation.

Real estate entrepreneurs constantly talk about finding deals at significantly below market value. That’s because the strategies that they employ are highly risky if you are buying property at or around retail price.

As a long-term buy and hold investor with a good job, good credit, and limited free time, however, I much prefer buying property when I am in good position to do so. I am extremely choosy about exactly how much work I want to do, where my property is located specifically, and many other characteristics of my investments. I buy properties that I am totally comfortable with, that are synergistic with my lifestyle and career, and that I can pursue on my time, not when deals happen to present themselves. If I can get a great deal, that’s wonderful. But if I get a fair deal in a location that works for me and my lifestyle and financial position, that’s great too.

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Related: 10 Challenges to Seriously Consider BEFORE Quitting Your Day Job

Conclusion

I am not a real estate entrepreneur. I am an Operations Professional at a small company, with some on-the-side real estate investing. And that is totally OK. I believe that I will build wealth just as fast, if not faster, as many full-time investors (after accounting for market cycles), that I will love my job, and that my real estate investments are likely to give me far less trouble than others that pursue this business with more aggressiveness. And I believe that I will be left with a stable, cash flowing real estate portfolio after about 7 years of investing capable of supporting indefinite financial freedom — a similar timeframe for many full-time real estate entrepreneurs.

If you’re like me, I have good news for you. Real estate investing doesn’t have to be so hard. Real estate investing can be a hobby, especially at first, with small maintenance requirements that can easily be taken care of in a few hours per month. Real estate investing does require you to be able to reasonably predict cash flow and manage your money, to reasonably manage your property and the tenant relationships that come with it, and to be a responsible, informed adult. But don’t think what is necessary for a full-time investor to succeed is necessary for you. If you are working full-time, your first deal likely will not be a property that you get at 30% off retail, so don’t be scared off by folks that tell you otherwise.

Am I the only one that thinks real estate investing isn’t so hard? Or am I missing something?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Author

Scott Trench

A longtime fan of BiggerPockets and a Real Estate Investor managing his first property, Scott is the company’s Director of Operations. BiggerPockets is a BIG website, and Scott’s background in finance and big data analysis will be instrumental in the next phases of company growth and in helping to bring the resources of BiggerPockets to more investors worldwide. Scott is passionate about helping others build wealth and serving his community in whatever ways he can. In his spare time, Scott enjoys skiing, biking, and cooking, and he is a lifelong rugger.

103 Comments

  1. Gordon Cuffe

    New investors are lucky that there are sites like biggerpockets to learn from. When I purchased my first rental in the 90’s I only had my aunt to ask questions. I did not have many questions so my second tentant was a drug dealer ,my fifth tenant was a professional dead beat tenant who knew almost as much as my eviction attorney when it came to fighting off evictions. I did a minor remodel on a kitchen and hired a guy who left half way through the project with the money and never came back. If I had a site like this I bet I could have avoided many of the headaches I went through to make my real estate investing alot easier.

    • Bryan Reese

      I agree. This site, had it existed when I started my very small scale real-estate investing in 2003, would have cut about 3 years off my learning curve. I was fortunate to stumble into a deal that allowed me to learn while making mistakes, and fortunate to have a job that didn’t make success in real estate investing absolutely necessary.

      Over the years, my efforts with real estate and small business ownership and operation have made my profession/job irrelevant from a financial perspective.

  2. Scott, No, it is not hard, but it does take B….alls. What you did was take some money and put it at risk by starting a small business. That, my friend, means you are in fact an entrepreneur. You may not be comfortable with the title, but don’t sell yourself short. All of us who do this have certain qualities that set us apart from the herd (a whole other article in itself)… otherwise you would be happy with your 9-5, 401K, and Roth contributions.

    • Bryan Reese

      I agree. I believe most people are so risk-averse, they don’t look for opportunities when excess capital is available. In my experience, having capital/earning power beyond the lifestyle one considers “acceptable” creates so many opportunities to reduce the longer term risk that one may lose their job or ability to earn in their profession.

      The risk of the investment is offset by the current earning power of the professional. The risk of the future earning power of the professional is offset by the performance of the investment. There’s some symbiosis at work here.

      • Brent Germany

        Absolutely. I’m in a seller’s market, so it took me a while to find my first flip which I did this year. I kept looking for that “sure thing” until I finally just had to throw caution to the wind and go for it. We had a few hiccups along the way, but we cleared $40k profit in less than 120 days. It was nice.

  3. Ann Bellamy

    There is another reason, Scott. Some people simply want to work for themselves and depend on themselves, and not assume that their job will always be around. There is no job security anymore, just ask the techies who went through the dot com boom and bust in 2000 and the underemployed who are still out there and have never recovered. Some recover by reinventing themselves.

    Just because you’ve got a nice comfy job doesn’t mean it will always be there. Entrepreneurs can succeed at something else if their first business goes belly up. Some employees never recover from being let go at the wrong time.

    This comment is not about you losing your job at BP, far from it. It’s a generalization that some people have other reasons for not staying in their nice comfy job and buying real estate occasionally on the side. Just because they want to be independent of the boss’s decisions. They want to make their own.

    And let’s hope you don’t get the professional tenant, or don’t lose a bunch of tenants all at once. I have little turnover and have learned to screen very well, and simply by coincidence, I am now turning 30% of my units almost all at once over a 2 1/2 month period. Some bought houses, one simply needed a larger unit that I didn’t have, one got transferred, etc. It happens. Hopefully it doesn’t happen all at once. Hopefully Murphy is not reading your post ready to prove you wrong. But he might be. 🙂

    • James Free

      It is true that many skillsets are in low demand and only result in tenuous work opportunities. It is also true that other skillsets are in huge demand, and the failure of one employer just means three people lining up to hire you within a week.

      And Scott was pretty clear that he has a large cash cushion.

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks for the comment Ann – I think that I would argue just one thing here –

      I’m living as frugally as possible and investing in real estate to create passive cash flow so as to achieve a state of financial independence and perhaps become a millionsaire well before 30. I think that almost everyone else with a good job should try to achieve that state as early as possible as well. So I certainly don’t advise folks to depend on the job, just to use it to hasten financial freedom and make their investing a little easier.

  4. Christopher Neeson

    I can very much agree that real estate investing is easy. I can very much agree that when you make a 6 figure income it is easier to invest, but my wife has shown me that even with a Gross $20,000 a year income a person can easily invest in the right market. They can also be successful.

    If you think real estate investing is hard work, you might be doing it wrong. In less then 3 years I have 23 units. Looking to obtain another 8 to 20 units in 2017. It’s not hard, I see decent prices in many locations across the United States. I see rental rates in areas that have better return on investment over balloon or high markets. I can find 4 unit to 200 unit properties for $10,000 to $20,000 a unit all day long at the moment.

    This is what I see and do, along with major gravel construction and ice road construction in the northern oilfields. I do real estate on the side, and it’s easier then anything I’ve ever done before. It takes time though to get started. But after your second and third property you start realizing how easy it is if you did it correctly.

    I only debate one thing, that to make it to millions you have to make it work and fully dive in. Let me just say that’s not so true, yes it might take me 10 years to create that style of profit ,income, cashflow. I can currently say creating $40,000 a year gross cashflow is easy, and from what I’ve seen and done doubling my gross cashflow every 6 months to a year is becoming easier and easier.

    I still have to research and do my due diligence, but that becomes easier as contacts grow.

    I’m almost positive outside of using my working income at first to invest, making up my bed was a bigger chore then sound real estate investing.

    I do agree with you that’s it’s easy, and yes I have a great job. Someday I would like to be home more. Right now my wife understands though so it makes my life easy.

    #realestateinvestingiseasy

    • Palmira Angelova

      Hey Christopher,

      I’d love to hear more about the markets you’re referring to. I’m currently in the bay area so cash flowing properties as cheap as this seem hard to even imagine O.o

      For the moment, I’ve invested in more expensive areas (than what you describe) that I believe have great appreciation potential. But in another year or so, when I’ve had the chance to save up for some more down payments, I’d be looking to invest in cheap, cash-flow producing properties. Would love to know more if you’re willing to share!

  5. Tyler Wade

    I love this article, so many great points brought up for investors that have good full time jobs and are looking to start building a real estate portfolio. Would love to connect about a few ideas. Looking forward to more posts from you hopefully in the future!

  6. It is a very thought-provoking article, Scott. I would agree that one can build wealth as a high-wage earner outside of real estate, but it does require (in my humble opinion) much more expertise and intestinal fortitude to grow wealth through traditional means (e.g., stock market, retirement funds, etc.…) than it does in REI. This is not to suggest that real estate investing is easy, because it’s not. It requires certain personality traits along with a strong desire to learn, but the base of knowledge built in real estate tends to pay huge dividends with more control over your future.

    A high-wage earner may wake up one morning and say, “oh crap, I hate my job!” Then what? The point is that people working for any wage should find something to secure their financial future 25-years down the road. It’s a matter of doing something today that “your future self with thank you for.”

  7. John C.

    How many hours a week do you spend at the office or on the road? How many dollars in liquid assets did you start investing with? How did you find this day job that you love?

    Scott, I contend that your “relaxed” approach to real estate investing is predicated on many factors that are not the same (different) for each reader on BiggerPockets.com.

    Perhaps the market you are investing in is an important differentiating factor. What about the level of personal ambition or needing to support a family? The highest paid jobs tend to be accompanied with burn out.

    I would agree that real estate investing is easy when you begin with significant capital (typically, that capital is accumulated over time) or when the entry point in your market is low. You mentioned “only buying properties you’d be willing to live in,” but the down payments you outlined and the correlated price points don’t seem to align with your proclaimed “not hard” approach (at least not where I live).

    I live in San Diego, California where medium home prices are at $550,000. A single bedroom condo is at or above $200k in a decent area around the city (off the MLS). When you look at the down payment, renovation costs, taxes, etc. associated with this market a “hmm, let me save some on the side and invest it” is something I argue (from experience) takes significantly longer then perhaps where you live.

    Assuming you weren’t born with a trust fund waiting for you..

    Let us evaluate the validity of your approach with simple math. First, I make the argument that most high paying jobs that provide the extra capital that you describe are not 9 to 5 occupations. In my field, most people work 60 to 80 hours each week to earn $100k+. Let’s be conservative and use 60 hours. Now, there are 168 in a week. 168 – 60 “day job hours” = 108 remaining hours each week. If you sleep (and it sounds like you sleep well) then that’s an additional 7 hours off the top each day. That leaves gives us 108 – 49 “sleep hours” which is only 59 hours left in the week!

    Now you could be sitting there saying, “59 hours? I could totally invest with that!” Let’s explore.. do you eat and go to the bathroom? If the answer is yes, meals (1.5 hours daily) and bathroom (0.50 hours daily) deprive us of another 14 hours each week. 59 – 14 (food and bath hours) = 45 hours remaining in the week.

    Do you avoid human interaction? If you have a social life outside of work (I argue 2.5 hours a day) that leaves us with 27.5 hours in the week. Exercise? Because who wants to amass a real estate empire to die from a heart attack at 40? 1 hour per day (includes time getting ready and showering). Scratch off another 7 hours per week and now we’re at 20.5 hours.

    So how is that remaining 20.5 hours spent? There are a myriad of things that could occupy that time including grocery shopping, cooking, spirituality, education, hobbies, transit to and from work (I know people who spend 14 hours a week doing this), etc. Oh – and what about family?

    So where and when does the time to invest come in? When do you go and pick up the supplies from Home Depot or make the calls to coordinate with the plumber? When do you meet with your agent to look at new prospective acquisitions?

    I’ll tell you.. the time comes from cannibalizing these aforementioned hours that I just outlined for you. Tim Ferris said it well – time is our only non-renewable resource.

    So there you have it: To be a real estate investor, you must be a robot with no friends or family. A robot that neither eats nor sleeps. A robot that wears diapers because there is simply no time to use the bathroom.

    OK, maybe that is a bit exaggerated, but my point is that creating a real estate empire is not easy and involves sacrifice.

    I’ll admit that I was very ambitious which cost many hours leading to tremendous results in a relatively short period of time.

    That being said, I don’t think that real estate investing is “easy” for anybody without capital to outsource the majority of what the average real estate investor will be obligated to do themselves. Please note that I intentionally ignored the cyclical nature of real estate market crashes and the implications for us as investors.

    Scott, I truly hope you pick my reply apart and tell me all the things I’m doing wrong. A viable strategy on a spending “only a few hours per month” to achieve a 6-figure passive income in 7 years would be most welcomed.

    • Fay Chen

      I have friends who have to support a growing family while investing in real estate; and I have friends who work hours a week while investing in real estate. But I have yet to come across anyone who has to deal with both challenges and invests in real estate AND says it’s easy. So I think you got a very valid point.

      Also it’s a lot easier for ppl who have interests in real estate. For example, a REA enthusiast attends REA meetups instead of sleeping in or going to the clubs. Such enthusiast listens to real estate podcasts/audiobooks during his/her 4 hr/day commute. Such enthusiast checks the latest redfin listings instead of gadget/fashion trends. It may seem like a lot of sacrifices to most. But to the enthusiast, he/she is doing things he/she enjoys, which makes investing in real estate a lot easier.

      • Scott Trench

        Fay – I think that your second paragraph here has a lot of things applicable to me in it. I enjoy REI, and I make sure to connect with lots of folks both professionally and with my spare time. That is highly likely to give me an advantage in this business over time.

        -Scott

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks John – to address some of the points you make here:

      – Median home prices here in Denver are about $300K. My first place was a duplex bought with an FHA loan ($12,000 or 5% down – I moved in). Same deal with the second, purchased 15 months later. Next property is going to be a choice – I’ll either repeat again with an FHA loan, or put down 20-25%. Yes, I simply saved up the cash (I’m going 50/50 with a partner if we put down the full amount) to be in position to buy with that kind of down payment.

      – I started with about $1,000 after college. Much better than many people that start with large amounts of debt. No trust fund for me, unfortunately.

      My strategy of achieving that kind of 6-figure passive income in 7 years? House-hack nearly continuously, work hard at my job, save as much as possible. And I’ll invest everything I accumulate into real estate in well-researched areas at times where that kind of ivnestment is opportune for me. Will it work for everyone? Of course not. But it seems from the other comments that a good chunk of readers believe that this is a reasonable approach. You are free to disagree of course, however.

      • John C.

        Thanks for the reply Scott.

        I’m taking the time to respond to your article because I think it could be misleading (and potentially harmful) to beginners. It is not meant to offend.

        I too love real estate (that doesn’t make the extra hours and sacrifice “easy” as the article describes). By your definition in the article, I land more in the “entrepreneurs” bucket. However, I still work a full-time+ corporate job.

        The two things with your approach that don’t add up for me (and won’t add up for others who follow the “easy” path):

        1) Returns vs Timeline

        You said you are achieving a 10-15% cash on cash return with your approach. You mentioned using FHA financing (which would require PMI) to acquire properties being sold at a market cost. That cash on cash return (with PMI on market cost properties) would be very unlikely in the my market. Ignoring this, a 15% return (to be generous) on your first property is: 15% * $12,000 (down payment) = $1,800 NOI annually (for a duplex that is low and assumes no other closing costs, etc.).

        If the prescribed goal is to move towards financial freedom in 5-7 years. That may mean something different for everybody on BiggerPockets.

        To achieve a six figure passive income solely with these types of acquisitions you’d have to do this 56 times. It was 18 months between your 1st and 2nd acquisition.. at this rate, it would be 83 years (not 7).

        For $50,000 annually, divide these numbers by two and it’d be 41.5 years before you are able to substitute your corporate income. Yes, at that rate this would be easy.

        In my experience, the way this timeline is accelerated is through sacrifice and “hard” work (not easy).

        2) Time Spent

        You claim that you’re only spending “a few hours a month.” To the new real estate investor this could be misleading. I assume that comment was solely in regards to managing 2 properties. That doesn’t represent the time you invested in identifying, buying, closing, renting, accounting, etc. for these acquisitions. Also, as your portfolio will grow so will the burden of management continue to grow.

        This all assumes a perfect world where no bubbles or crashes occur to jeopardize your 10%-15% cash on cash.

        My reply is in no way meant to discourage new investors. Real estate has been very lucrative for me, but to achieve that (in lieu of the “deferred life plan”) doesn’t come easy or without sacrifice. Nor does it come without taking calculated risks.

        Anybody who tells you different probably has something else coming.

        • Scott Trench

          Thanks John – I appreciate your input here. In response to your two points:

          1) I’d expect to generate a 10-15% CoC return, inflated through self-management with about 20-25% down on a 450-550K property in today’s market in Denver. It’s silly (IMO) to list my CoC return on my first rental property as I put down only $12K, plus another $8K in rehab costs, and generate over $1200 per month here a few years later. That’s like a 70% CoC return in a year (like this one) with no major CapEx. I believe I have a reasonable chance that the laws of compounding (as I save more from my investment cash flow, become better connected, and earn more at work) to help me out in my acquisition targets. I could be wrong, and if so, I may be a little delayed in my goals there. Predicting the future is impossible of course.

          2) You are absolutely right. I spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time listening to podcasts, reading books, and learning about REI. I also enjoy meeting with local investors. While I believe that has only been marginally impactful on my returns in terms of getting great deals, it has definitely helped me become more comfortable with investing in general. All investors should (IMO) spend at least a few months becoming familiar with a broad range of experiences by networking and self-educating before getting started.

    • Bryan Reese

      I empathize with your struggles in California. Personally, as a non-Californian, I think you’re working to hard just to live there. California is a nice place, but I don’t understand why people choose to work so hard just to put a roof over their head…there’s little capital or time left over to invest in improving one’s financial position.

      I’d love to live in the San Diego area, it’s beautiful…and one of my favorite cities. I value financial independence much more than living in a prime location though. I understand that is a personal choice each of us makes for ourselves, and that there are many reasons beyond financial security people choose to live where they do.

      I sincerely share my best wishes finding some balance out there.

      • John C.

        Hi Bryan,

        You misinterpreted – I’m already successful and not struggling. The road to get here is another story..

        My point in replying was to protect new investors from the fallacy of thinking real estate success is easy (it is not). After learning that Scott owns two properties, I understand why he wrote this article as he is still a beginner.

        As somebody who has already succeeded at this, I do not believe Scott’s approach will yield him the results he is seeking in 5-7 years (at least not through real estate). See my 2nd reply and the math above.

        The reality is that it will take calculated risks (leverage through equity extraction), hard work (the more deals you have going or properties you manage), market timing, and sacrifice (limited number of hours in a day) to achieve the results he seeks.

  8. Lee Carrell

    Nice article, Scott!

    My experience is that when you are just starting out in real estate investing WITHOUT the knowledge that BP affords or a hefty bank account, your biggest foe is the learning curve of real estate investing and management. You are constantly reinventing the wheel, just to find out what works and what doesn’t. Finding good mentors, contacts, knowledge and resources is a full-time job by itself!

    After you have gained a fair amount of knowledge, from education and experience, then you can start seeing some efficiencies of time management, planning, acquisition, fix-up, rental, and maintenance. Then it does become easy… no easier. Then you can begin putting systems in place to make investing less stressful and time consuming!

    Every person on this earth has different skills, abilities, resources, knowledge, issues, and attitudes. These differences make each person’s situation different from someone else’s, even if the “facts” of the situation are equal. What is considered “easy” for one may be “hard” for another. Basketball was “easy” to Michael Jordan, but he still worked hard at it! Golf was “easy” to Gary Player, but he said “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Equity investing seems “easy” to Warren Buffett, but he has spent the last 40 years working hard at being the best at his chosen occupation.

    I am at a point now where I do not spend all my time finding, purchasing, rehabbing, and managing properties. It was that way in the beginning though! BP definitely shortens the learning curve and allows access to resources that a person may have never found on their own. If a new investor makes use of the wealth of knowledge on the BP website, books, and seminars, then that will go a long way toward making real estate investing seem “easy”!

    • Scott Trench

      Lee – thanks for the great comment here. I certainly work hard at my job and on my investments at first, and then yes, opportunities and situations present themselves that go a long way towards making my job easier.

      -Scott

  9. Keith Knobloch

    Scott – good article, and good words of encouragement to those that might be sitting on the fence on this. I think fears are the biggest thing stopping many from getting into REI, and your words should help to dispel a few of them. I think I’ll send a link to this article to a friend of mine that I think is well-positioned to step over the fence and finally jump in!

  10. After reading through your article, I have one big question: where do you get the money to buy these houses? I’m assuming you’re not buying each of them outright on 100k income, so what bank is willing to give you loans to buy and hold a house every 2-3 years with only a 100k income? Even when we are able to prove positive cash flow from a potential property, we can’t get a bank to even consider giving us a traditional mortgage (great credit, 200k+/yr, DC market). I would love to hear how you’re making this work for you.

    • Scott Trench

      Sandra – this is a mystery to many people – the answer is very secret, but I’ll share it with you 😉

      I simply save up the money to buy these properties. Month after month, year after year. I’m currently saving a little over $5,000 per month, and hope to increase that to $10,000 per month (yes, in after-tax, CASH) by continuing to work hard, and stabilize another real estate investment or two.

      To answer your financing question, I get conventional mortgages. The good news is that after two years of rental history, most conventional lenders will consider rental income to count towards my ability to qualify for the loan. They also (and this is a big point for many new investors) consider rent on a property that I am ABOUT TO PURCHASE (projected rent) to count towards my income in consideration of the loan. So, that’s how I qualify for multiple large mortgages on my salary.

      • Thanks for your reply. As most things around here in DC start at 200k for even a condo, saving even 5k a month puts buying something outright several years out. Even if it could eventually get rolled into a conventional loan, this method won’t work for us for several years at best. Maybe in an area where the cost of housing to income is a better ratio this would work better; but thanks!

        • Will Brown

          Hey Sandra,
          I’m in the DC area, too, so I feel your pain!
          My plan is to, like Scott, save as much cash as possible beginning in January. I’m actually thinking about buying multi-family homes on the outskirts of Baltimore or Richmond where the housing costs are more manageable for our $100K+ income.

  11. Frank B.

    It seems that your article can be boiled down to:
    It is harder to find good deals and easier to find less good deals.

    In which case….I guess you’re right but that doesn’t seem like much of an insight.

    From your article:
    “Unlike the guys above, I don’t necessarily get properties at $0.70 on the dollar, and I don’t have to.”

    Anyone can go buy a house for mkt price with a 20% down payment. Better returns take more work. Just because you aren’t willing to put in that work doesn’t mean that those better returns don’t exist.

    Thanks for writing, and best of luck with your journey.

    • Scott Trench

      Frank – I meant this article to be a little inspiration to folks that are looking to invest more passively and on the side while working a full-time job. To that point, hitting singles and doing so consistently seems to be working very well for me, as it does for several other of the commenters on this post. No, I’m not willing to put in the work to source deals year round and eek out a little extra return on my properties. I’m already achieving excellent returns, and my investments take little time on my part. I’ll work hard instead on building BiggerPockets – a job about which I am passionate. Other folks that enjoy their work or value their free time might like my approach, while those determined to do even better might want to work harder. I’m certainly not saying better returns don’t exist. They do, and guys like Ben, Jered, and Brandon are probably realizing them.

      You are certainly welcome to take it or leave it when it comes to my writing. Best of luck on your journey as well.

  12. Jon Tudor

    Scott – I generally agree with you and your approach and this is exactly what my wife and I are looking to do/are doing. We’ve been educating ourselves for about 1.5 years and have greatly changed over that time. I remember the first article we read on BP. It was one you wrote and I remember commenting that we hoped to buy a vacation property to rent. As we continued to learn we changed our plans multiple times and are now very focused on particular neighborhoods, markets, and house types in our local market. My wife has also gotten her real estate agent license since then and has switched to being a property manager for her day job.

    I feel we are so close to executing our strategy but we just can’t seem to land a property. We’ve made five offers so far and have lost the bid on all five, most times to other investors (seeing the properties go up on Craigslist a couple months later). Based on our experience so far it seems the biggest challenge to this strategy is stiff competition for properties and properly estimating capital expenditures as they have a huge impact on cash-on-cash return. Do you run into these problems as you follow your strategy? How do you solve them?

    • Scott Trench

      Hi Jon – Awesome to hear that you’ve been around for the last year and half and have read some of my other stuff! Very flattering. As far as the competition goes, I’m just patient and willing to buy property only when a large number of criteria are working in my favor and the property is convenient to me and requires the amount of work I’m willing to put in.

      As far as capital expenditures go, you need to get a good inspection so that you are aware of any expenses that are looming, and then I think it’s good to set aside a large chunk of cash (I set aside over $20K for this purpose) to help you fund those projects if they come up.

  13. Joe Scaparra

    Scott, great article! I am in a similar situation. Your article serve the people who have doubts and encourages those that it can be done. To the few that have doubts and especially John from San Diego, I say this: If you are looking for 150 reasons not to invest in real estate they are out there. Two men sit on your shoulders, one on each side. One is Mr. Doubt and the other is Mr. Opportunity. At the beginning Mr. Doubt is very tall and intimidating, while Mr. Opportunity is excited but his enthusiam is easily squashed by Mr. Doubt. Mr. Doubt has the 150 reasons why you should not step out and try something new. Most people will not overcome Mr. Doubt. However, those that do usually are blessed with increase opportunity leading to financial freedom. I have overcome Mr. Doubt, he is tiny compared to Mr. Opportunity. It can work for you too. People are making money in Real Estate all over the country. Some areas are more challenging than others no doubt! San Diego has its issues but maybe you have to be more creative and invest outside the city? I don’t know, but I am confident someone in San Diego is making it work. I’m lucky, I live in Texas and in this market it is EASY to run a small investment real estate business with little effort.

  14. Andrea P.

    Great article. While I admire those with the make it or break it hustle to get 100 properties in a few years, I personally prefer investing at a slower pace. I like my day job, it has decent pay and no overtime. I don’t have the vacation time needed, nor the background knowledge needed, nor the desire for taking on a big fixer uppers just so I can buy at a better price. But I can certainly handle moving every couple years and managing a few properties, already in decent condition, by myself. And I feel much more comfortable investing with safety nets in place so that I know that even in worse case scenarios I would still weather the storm. In the meantime, I’ll just keep saving, learning, and networking until the moment is right for the next property.

  15. Paulus Anglada

    Great article Scott! Resonated with me. I’m in a very similar situation. I like my day job, as it gives me plenty of challenge and excitement. But I also like the cash-flow from REI, and the idea of having financial freedom. I would probably continue working even I didn’t have to, but maybe a few less hours, and some more vacation time. I have been flipping 1 house a year, and buying a small rental cash with the flip’s profit + some savings from my day-job income.
    Buying the first flip was hard. After that, everything became a lot easier. I follow what get’s in the market everyday, and I can always find at least 1 deal every 2 months or so. Not in a rush, so it works well.
    Looking forward to see Ben, Brandon and Jared chiming in. 🙂

  16. Remy Lattin

    Thanks Scott, I’m in a very similar situation as you and sometimes feel like I’m doing something wrong or not doing enough when I read about all the things other people are doing such as rehabbing, wholesaling, driving for dollars, etc. While I’d love to have time to do that and still will consider doing that in the future it’s nice to hear someone say that keeping it simple is sometimes better.

    I currently spend about an hour a month managing my 3 rentals (all condos and townhomes) and really enjoy the job I have, plus the peace of mind that comes from having a bundle of money in the bank should anything go wrong. My biggest challenge right now is expanding my portfolio, as deals are certainly harder to come by now a days in my area, so my focus is on meeting more people that can help me expand, albeit a slower pace than others are shooting for.

  17. Clayton Sneider

    Great article this describes a lot of people, including me. Real estate investing is easy. Real estate investing is hard. Real estate investing is low risk. It is risky. Real estate investing takes a lot of money. Real estate investing does not take a lot of money. All of those statements can be true depending on the investor, their knowledge, their market, and their strategy. This is one of the reasons I love real estate, it can be whatever you make it.

  18. Justin R.

    @Scott Trench It sounds from your article like you’re early-career and don’t (yet?) have a family. The details of life change as the years tick by, and the way I treat my (part-time, on the side, as a way to invest my own money) rental business is very different in my 30’s than when I started in my 20’s. I expect my 40’s and 50’s will be different in unknown ways.

    That said, there’s some percent of real estate investors who simply have their own capital and want to view REI as a way to invest their capital instead of a way to make a living. I appreciate your giving voice to those people. It’s not as sexy as the lives of full-time, aggressive real estate folks, but I suspect that group is large … and largely silent here on BP.

  19. Aurel Crisan

    Great perspective and well written, I love this article. Two thoughts:

    1. The Short Game is hard. Flipping, wholesaling, multifamily, and investing with other people’s money is hard and time consuming. Great contacts (trustworthy contractors, connected realtors, bankers) and experience is generally required.

    2. The Long Game is easier. Finding new, cash flowing property, in and out of state, on 30 year mortgages, that can be managed by a professional is not hard. However, it may require a few/several SFH’s and 10 years before that investment starts to feel like wealth.

    • Scott Trench

      Aurel – thanks for this comment. I think that you have a lot of truth there, especially in point number two. Yes, I do not expect my financial position to be seriously impacted by my real estate investments (to the point where I can feel very secure from my passive cash flow) until at least five, and maybe as many as ten years into my investing.

  20. Michael Mourey

    Awesome article Scott.
    Totally agree that investing is easy as long as you put in your due diligence and educate yourself on the market before jumping in based on hype and emotions
    .
    I think the biggest challenge that we all face as investors, with some areas more challenging than others (LA, OC, SJ etc) is finding the right properties at the right price and waiting out the down cycles.

  21. Robert Whitelaw

    I think you make a good point. I have been involved – in one way or another – in the real estate investing world since 1988. In my view, real estate investing has never been “hard”. For the most part, the process is simple – although with lots of steps. Good math can pretty much help you make the decision. None of those things are truly at the heart of what stops folks from investing. When you boil it all down, what stops people from investing is fear. Some might argue that being creative and thinking outside the box is important, but I would argue that this creativity can be a force multiplier for you, but it is overcoming personal fear that makes the difference. I know far to many successful real estate investors who could not creatively think themselves out of a paper bag to believe that this “out of the box” thinking is a critical component.

  22. Timothy Hamilton

    Great article Scott. I agree that often times people make investing in real estate sound more challenge than it is. My four rental properties run on autopilot and create passive income for my wife and I. I am an entrepreneur with my day job running a tech startup, so I know about hard work, high risk, and going ‘all in’. But I see my rentals as low risk and more stable investments than even my retirement account: which is in stocks. It doesn’t need to be that difficult, especially for the passive investor.

  23. Scott Trench

    Thanks Timothy – I always think that real estate is the best way to lay the entrepreneurial foundation. It can help supplement or even totally fund the money necessary to fund one’s lifestyle, giving the entrepreneur a much longer (or even infinite) runway.

  24. Scott,

    Your article!!! So calm and sensible. Love it. Just what I needed to read. Converting my home to a rental has been a thought of mine for awhile.

    Could you explain the tax implications of converting from owner occupied to rental?

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks Loreen – I’m no accountant so you may want to ask for advice from a professional. My understanding of the major factors in my personal situation were these:

      1) As an owner-occupant in a duplex, part of the duplex was my “home” and the corresponding portion of my mortgage interest was tax deductible. The other part of the duplex was an investment property and that portion was depreciated. Expenses were either split, or all personal or all business depending on if they were a repair to the rental unit

      2) When I moved out (after living there less than two years) I forfeited my ability to claim part of the capital gains tax free. I believe I still retain the option to 1031 exchange the property in a few years if I so choose.

  25. Ryan Eifler

    I consume a lot of content on this website Scott. This article spoke to me in a way no other has. It has helped my outlook on the real estate game which I’m so eager to continue to develop. Some have used “calming”, which is probably the best way to describe it’s impact on me. The points about the different writers and backgrounds helps put this website’s content into perspective. Thank you very much.

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks Mike! I believe that an approach like mine can also be compared to the concept of “dollar cost averaging” as I hope to continue buying steadily in the event of a market crash, right through the bottom and on the way back up again after that. So I’d hope that over time I can still make it through market cycles by running a mostly passive real estate business, operating as a fair landlord, and remaining willing to solve problems myself.

  26. Victor S.

    $5k after-tax, even on $100k+ salary, seems quite high in Denver, but you did say you have 4 units, so more power to you. Just like somebody else mentioned on top, job security does not exist nowadays. Make what you can with what you have now (be it saving or investing). Your situation is much more unique vs. this Millennial generation that is drowning in debt (i.e., renters’ nation).
    Mortgage rates are going up even without Fed doing anything at this time. Their Dec. meeting is slated to raise the rates at least a 1/4 %, so it’ll be quite a bit more expensive to get a mortgage after that. Renting might be the way to go for the foreseeable future. Besides location, location, location, there are other factors at play here (broad economics, if you will).
    Good job, tho, OP, and best of luck to you.

  27. Jed hayward

    You are right you can do it the way you describe. I worked with a guy who was a bodyman at a bodyshop not making a six figure income and would buy a home to live in for a few years put down the least amount he could and they would move into a new home and rent the old one out. He also had a wife and 4 kids and did it on a single income. So yes it is doable.

  28. Lauren Bishop

    What about those of us who live in markets where median home price is not $188k? I live 2 hours north of San Francisco. A 2 bedroom SFR is going to run at least $300k, often well into the mid $300s. My landlords just paid $315k for the house that I rent for $1400/month. Maybe I don’t understand the numbers, but that doesn’t seem like great CoC. There is a chance for appreciation, sure, but it depends on market timing (where you can win bigger, you can also lose bigger). It doesn’t feel like a great time to buy in CA. I’m not an experienced investor, but I definitely follow the market and am waiting for when the time is right to enter it….

    Would definitely welcome your thoughts on this type of scenario.

  29. Christopher Smith

    Good to read an article that stakes out a position at variance from what you normally read in these forums.

    I’m in a similar position. I have a relatively modest 6 figure salary job with very good benefits and I work 95% flex at home so I could never see giving it up even though I have a rental operation on the side. If the question is has the rental business been easy, I’d say yes and no.

    As you, I had a reasonable amount of funds available, for me they came from a number of years of investing outside of real estate. When the financial crises hit real estate in my area (east bay SF) took an incredible nose dive and nearly new (< 5yrs) very desirable homes in great neighborhoods became available at less than 40 cents on the dollar at the height of the panic (2011/12). I took a huge chunk of my life investment savings and started buying homes.

    Now I have a small portfolio of rental properties that have appreciated on average about 125% from their purchase price over about a 5 year average holding period, and each cash flows very nicely. The current rental yield is a little low because of all the substantial underlying appreciation (i.e., rents have increased nicely, but nothing like the underlying price appreciation), but I still easily clear on the rentals at least 50% of my current annual salary at the job.

    So with regard to the easy or hard part I'd say currently incredibly easy, but that does not count the years of investing that gave me the funds and the opportunity to buy in at a great time. It also does not count the nerve it took to invest a huge chunk of my entire life savings at a time when nearly everyone else was screaming that the world was coming to an end, and you would have to be a total idiot to invest now. But I did it anyways and I kept my regular job as well.

    So now things are pretty good. My regular job just keeps chugging along. I will never likely make much more at it than I am currently, but its incredibly secure and working at home can't be beat. Plus I doubt I could really be totally financially secure with just the rentals (although it would be close), but I don't need to worry about that anyways since doing both is not a problem.

    I'll never be a full time flipper icon, or own a 1,000 properties in Indianapolis, but that's OK I don't need to do that. I guess I'm that odd duck that managed to do reasonably well just being a passive rental property owner of a few really nice homes in really nice neighborhoods.

  30. Greg Brake

    Scott, kudos to you and your approach. I’ve recently just closed on my first deal and signed a tenant. The info gained through bigger pockets has been invaluable. The thing about your post that drove me to comment is something I’ve come to see about my own situation. I’m a handy guy and can do quite a bit on my own, but what I don’t have is time. With three small kids, it’s hard to find the time to “hustle”. “Hustle” as I’ve heard Josh and Brandon describe it, is that extra something that you can do to make your deal happen, or get your place rented, or get work done.

    While my time is limited, I’ve been a lifelong fan of living below my means and saving 20-25% of my bring home pay. I’ve never really had a clear goal about why I’m saving, but I just knew I had to do it. As I’ve come to see it now, that lifestyle choice is my “hustle”. If I have the time to do something myself, I do. However, if I don’t, ive learned to find the right people to call to get it done and I’ve stopped sweating it, thinking that I have to do it all myself just because I’m starting out.

  31. Eric Christians

    Great article Scott, a person can make it hard work if they have lofty goals or they can take the “easy” slow & steady route. The turtle did beat the hare. Your article covers this well. I have forwarded this to some people thinking of making the plunge into the confusing, scary, intimidating world of real estate in hopes they realize it’s not so scary.
    Nice job!

  32. Alan Mackenthun

    1st, a nit pick. Neither Ben, Brandon or anyone else with any brains on this site would say anyone could “become overnight, wildly successful real estate entrepreneurs”. REI is a get rich slow business. It requires time diligence and level-headedness, but it’s not rocket science. The basic gist of your article is spot on. Investors with decent jobs willing to commit a decent percentage into REI have a lot of advantages over someone starting out in REI without a pot of gold or source downpayments and cushion.

  33. Jerry Kisasonak

    Great article Scott. But personally, I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit. You have many qualities that are contributing to your “easy” success, qualities that you’re taking for granted. It’s a long list, but a few are the habit of self-denial/delayed gratification, industriousness, goal setting, discipline, constancy of purpose, courage, etc.

    Have you ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show? I can’t help but think of people who call in to his show who make 100K or more a year and are stressing over how they are going to come up with the money to pay the electric company in response to the shut-off notice that they just received. Simple things like balancing a checkbook is challenging to them. They have high credit card balances, student loans, and tons of other consumer debt and are scarcely able to eek out a living in spite of having respectable jobs and income. Their credit is trashed, and they feel there seems to be some strange, elusive secret that must be found if success is to ever be enjoyed. (enter the gurus 30K coaching program). And most of them think money – or lack of it – is the problem. They don’t realize that more ingredients won’t fix a bad recipe (research lottery winner statistics). Some of them (likely more than most realize) have other larger problem also – depression, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling poroblem, relationship/martial problem, and so on. Real estate to them will not come “easy.” In fact, it success came too quick a windfall could, in the end, be a downfall.

    These reasons are why I value education and personal development. You seem to have these under wrap, and I’m certain your future will be outstanding. But yes, I do think you need to give yourself more credit. Success breeds success!

  34. Jared Miller

    Scott – this was a great article. I have a six-figure job that I am not crazy about, but I understand that I can invest my money using that income and slowly make it. Even though flipping properties sounds cooler to me than office work (IMO), I would be a fool to give up that income and possibly end up homeless trying to flip properties. I am new to the game, so I just bought a turn-key property last month and am hoping to get another during the second quarter of next year. Anyways, thanks for the article and good luck to you.

  35. Todd Michaels

    Thanks for the article Scott. My wife and I own 4 units, rent 3 and live in a 4th, and we both work solid W2 jobs. We view the rentals as just another avenue to store money to go along with our 401k and Roth investments / increase our financial outlook both short and long term. We plan to get one more 2 – 4 unit building in a next couple of years and that will be plenty for us to supplement our W2 jobs and retirement goals, but neither of us are looking to buy up 50+ units and make REI our full time jobs.

  36. Benjamin M.

    Wow thanks for this article. It was very refreshing. I just wrote out a very similar plan self financing down payments and buying every couple of years for the next ten years. I just bought my first duplex (close tomorrow!) and am starting off as a young architect. Love my well paying job but want several properties in my back pocket that allow me to be more choosy with the jobs I decide to take in the future.

  37. Jered Sturm

    Scott, I am humbled that you even know my story let alone willing to add me in your article and the list of people above. Although I am used as the example as the investor at the other end of the spectrum I agree with you and this articles points and always have. I have always said my way was very hard but it doesn’t have to be it was simply all I knew. I strongly agree with you that there is no right way and it comes down to what fits each individual investor. I think every full-time real estate investor has had those days where they envy the W-2 employee. This is a fantastic article that I believe will relate to the masses. Keep up the great work on the articles and at BP!

  38. Steve Vaughan

    Another nice article, Scott. I enjoy your story and your point of view.
    RE is simple. But simple isn’t always easy.
    If we buy low, sell high and cover our expenses + in between, we’ll be fine.
    Thanks for reminding us that you can choose RE. It doesn’t have to be your path.
    We can also choose to have it just as a complement to our profession or retirement. It’s ok to just have it on the side. Some of us just choose to go all out or make it what we do. We’re all different in our journey and why we’re here. Cheers!

  39. Vanessa Vandervalk

    Scott, thank you for this refreshing article that finally articulates so well the position I’m in! I have self-educated through BP and other resources for the past 18+ months, and I am currently under contract with my 2nd and 3rd properties that I’ve purchased in 2016, which will bring me to 4 properties including my residence. I have a great-paying job at a really awesome company, so I would not leave unless I could see a path that somehow surpasses it, in terms of return on my time. Since I’m in southern California, and don’t have tons of capital or any family money to get me started, I decided to invest out of state in turnkey properties, like Ali Boone. So far, I am very happy with my returns. When I network, people are often surprised at some of my logic and expectations, and tell me things like “you’re very smart for saying that/having those goals/etc.” But the truth is, I have my real estate education to thank for it. Time will tell for ALL of us on our real estate journey, and I am so grateful for BP and the multiple perspectives here. We are all on a constant learning path as our circumstances and the markets change. Thanks again!!

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