Five Steps to Getting Started in Real Estate

Being full-time real estate investors and also running MAREI we get asked all the time, where do I get started in real estate?  Can I really make money in real estate?  What should I do?

Well there are a lot of things that you need to do, and we want to take a look at them here on the Blog.

Getting started as a Real Estate Investor you need to first do a few things.

1.  Join an Association.  As a person starting in a brand new field, whether you have some related experience or not, you need to be around people in the business and you need to learn a few things.  A Real Estate Investor Association is the best place to meet people in the business so that you can talk to people and ask questions.  The local association is also going to offer training in-house as well as bring in outside trainers.  We highly recommend getting your training through the association, or if you are going to branch out on your own to find your own training, ask a lot of questions about your chosen trainer at the local association.

Many association see new members who got taken in by a traveling education circus who wanted tens of $1000 for their training, only to refer them back to the local association that can be joined for $100 to $200 and who offers the same training or better training for less.  Not to say the expensive training is bad, but think about it.  If you are going to spend $30,000 to $40,000 on a college education, don’t you check out the college, the instructors and reviews before you spend it.  Do the same with training, don’t spent the money on a high pressured sales pitch, that it is only available at this price today!  Before you go see any speaker or trainer on real estate investing, take the time to research before you go, so you can spend or not spend with confidence .

2.  Pick a Niche.  So how do you go about this?  Well, education is the start.  This time you might go for some free education to learn about all the fields out there.  Your local association may have a ton of free training in their library.  The association here in has a massive digital online library.  You will also find a great resource (it’s just getting started and growing) in National REIA University .  As well as the wealth of free information out there online.

There are a bunch of online associations that you can join, typically for free that offer articles, teleseminars and webinars.  You are not really looking for an in-depth training course, but a broad overview of the types of investing and the basics of what is needed for this type of investing.  This will assist you in picking a niche.

3.  Set Up Your Business.  Here we are not talking about renting an office and setting up a corporation, but rather getting your basic business system set up.  You need a dedicated phone number, which can be as easy as a free Google Voice number redirected to your cell phone.  You need a web page that talks about what you do.  There are many services out there that can help you with a basic done for you website, heck as a member of MAREI you get a free basic investor website.  Keep in simple and add pages as you grow your business.  And don’t worry, you can always change your business name, it’s not too hard if you have not been in business for years and years.

Now that you have a website you can spend a few dollars to get your first business cards to hand out at association meetings and to clients.  You also have something to work with if you need to do a direct mail piece or make a sign.  And last it is very important in this day and age to have a  few business pages on the top social media like Facebook and LinkedIn.

4.  Get Out There.  You need to go out and learn your market and learn the product.  So that means go out and look at houses, have meetings with Realtors and Lenders and Title Companies.  Learn everything you can from everyone you meet.  Learn houses.  Learn values.  Collect Business Cards from everyone and get information from them on what services they offer, what types of properties they might buy and what types of properties they might sell.  There are gurus who will tell you that you can do all of this online, and you can.  But you can do so much more with face to face.

Example here:  We do a lot online ourselves.  But we recently added a few of the local associations sub group meetings.  We try to attend 4 networking events a month.  At an event this year we met an investor who buys at that time 2 or 3 rentals a month.  We recently found a house through a Craigslist Ad that we were able to sell to him and he told us he would consistently need 4 or 5 houses a month.  Two weeks ago at another networking we met a man who had a house to sell.  We bought that single house and sold it to the investor.  After that transaction was all put together, the man revealed he had 12 more houses, and we have a large package wholesale deal in the works.  If we had never attended these networking events, we would never have met the investor or the man with 12 houses and missed out on all that profit.

5.  Database.  Last we are going to say that you need a database that will track buyers, sellers, and service providers.  Yes you might stumble into the deal like the one above.  But if your memory is not a steel trap, you might want a database to keep track of who buys what it will put those people together for you.

Now it will depend on the type of investing you want to do, but if it involves the buying and selling of real estate or real estate notes, you will need a good database system.  If you are going to go with something less intensive like buy and hold rentals or being a private lender, you can probably get by with a contact system that is as easy as your basic Gmail account.

So for those of you who will be buying and selling a lot, then let’s look at tracking your contacts.  You can keep track of contacts in an old-fashioned way, but you have to know their name to look them up.  Or you can go with an online database that keeps track of the information for you.  You might start with something simple online in an excel spreadsheet form or we really liked Microsoft Outlook that came with our computer.  But when we started to have more than 1000 contacts or wanted to send an email to more than 100 people, we really needed something more advanced.

Here at  our office we use Realeflow and we are looking long and hard at Podio or Zoho.  What all three do is allow you to input the contact and buying criteria of all buyers.  Then when you have a seller, you input their deal. They system will check the criteria of all the buyers in your system and tell you who are a match. So then you only have to contact the 20 people looking for that deal, not 200 or in our case 8000.

Arcticle provided by Kim Tucker from KCInvest.