Great Real Estate investments are everywhere, but you need to look for them - and educate yourself - to see them. Especially when you're starting out, there's just no substitute for going out and looking at properties.
Along the way, keep in mind the cardinal 100-10-3-1 Rule:
For every single property you end up buying, you should expect to:
- Look at 100
- Make offers on 10
- Have 3 accepted
- Buy 1
In 6 Steps to Becoming a Successful Real Estate Investor, Robert and I share the most important things we've learned about investing in real estate:
I started with a 2-bedroom, 1-bath house in Portland, Oregon. It put $25 in my pocket each month. Then, I went on to other single-family homes, and then 6-plex, and 12-plex. My first deal laid the groundwork for my future success in real estate investing.
Start with a small property - a single family home, a duplex, or 3-plex. Invest a lot of time and a little money in your first deal. Mistakes are part of the process, and you should expect to make them. With each mistake, you become smarter and your next investment easier. So make your mistakes on small properties, learn from the mistakes, and then move on to larger properties. This is also why you want positive cash flow properties: The cash flow can buffer the mistakes you'll make along the way.
Stay close to home
Ideally, look for rental properties that are near where you live. That makes it easy to drive around the neighborhood and see what new properties are on the market, watch the selling prices and purchase prices, talk with the neighbors, and keep a pulse on your particular market. When a property comes on the market, you'll know very quickly whether it's a good deal or not, and you'll be able to move quickly.
Look for properties with problems
I love to find properties that are mismanaged! One of the best things to look for is a property that someone else has walked away from because of a problem. Figure out how to fix that problem, and you can instantly increase the value of that property.
Look at the numbers
Once you understand the area you've chosen to invest in and you know what it is you're looking for, be sure to look closely at the numbers on your chosen properties. The numbers will almost always tell you whether you've found a good deal.
Stay on top of the trends
Are there new or high-end stores opening in the area? Are there new office buildings being built or companies moving in? These could be signs that the neighborhood is improving or in demand, and you may be able to get in on the ground floor of a booming market. Educate yourself, network and stay on top of trends in the industry.
Establish cash flow as soon as possible
Your goal is positive cash flow, ideally from day one. Sometimes you'll need to take a few steps before the cash starts flowing, but make positive cash flow your top priority. The number one reason why you buy a property should be for its cash flow.
Hold on to the property as long as it produces a reasonable income stream or hold on until it appreciates and you can sell it, moving the gain to a larger property with an even stronger cash flow. The best investments are those that keep the cash flowing year after year.
Opportunity is always in front of you. If your mind is closed… so are your eyes.