Whether you are new to real estate, or have reached a “plateau,” the following will help “jump-start” your real estate investing career.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
“Creative” real estate is non-traditional, which means that most people don’t do it this way. Thus, most people you speak with will tell you it won’t work. If you tell them you heard it in a seminar or a course you bought from a late-night television “guru,” they will laugh and call you “gullible.” Attorneys and other professionals will denounce it, because it sounds unusual. Keep in mind that these people are either threatened by their own lack of success or are looking to protect their own butts.
The first thing you should do its join a local real estate association. A complete list can be found here. These associations will help you keep your thoughts in the right place and prove to your subconscious that it really does work, despite the opinions of the 20/20’s, Datelines, 60 Minutes and other self-proclaimed “consumer watchdogs.” If you cannot find a group, form a “mastermind” group that meets for breakfast once a week. If you don’t know what a mastermind group is, you should read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. If you already read it, read it again, again and again.
Have a Team
Don’t wait until you have a deal brewing to find the players. You need to find the following players on your team:
- Attorney - preferably one that does real estate deals for himself as well as others
- Title or Escrow Co - stay away from the big name companies; find one that caters to investors. Make sure they understand double closings, land contracts etc.
- Insurance Agent - find one that understands land contracts, landlords, etc.
- CPA - find one that is aggressive and owns real estate.
- Contractor - one that will give you free estimates and knows how to “cut corners” in the right places.
- Mortgage Broker - one that is savvy, creative and experienced with investors.
- Partner - in case you need it for money or experience.
- Mentor - someone you can call to smooth out the rough spots.
Don’t Talk to Unmotivated Sellers
This is the biggest mistake I see beginning investors make. They waste time talking to sellers who are marginally motivated. Even worse, they drive by the house and look for comps without even talking to the seller first! Never visit a house before speaking with the seller over the phone. I love Ray Como’s Mastermind Script Book. It has hundreds of questions designed to extract the seller’s motivation over the phone. Heck, the course will save you enough gas money to pay for itself!
Anyone who has ever been in sales will tell you that few deals are ever made on the first try. In fact, most deals are made after contacting a prospect for the fourth or fifth time.
Let me give you an example. I contacted a person in May 1998 who had a junker house he was thinking of selling. I met with him once and made him an offer. He didn’t like it. Did I stop there? No way! I called him twice a month for the last year. I mailed him two more offers he rejected. We finally came to an accord and closed this month.
Have a follow up system like a salesman. I use Symantec ACT! 4.0. I allows me to schedule follow ups and keep a running history of calls and conversations.
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” I am not sure who first said it, but I give him credit. You can lose more money with a mistake than you can learning how to avoid one. Even if you have been at this business for years, you need to keep up with current trends and laws. As an attorney, I have to go to seminars every year. Some are boring, but I always learn something that either makes me more income or prevents a lawsuit.
Have a Plan
Don’t just wander around looking for deals. Have a plan. Make X number of phone calls a week. Spend $X a month on advertising. Make X number of offers per week. Pass out X number of business cards each day. Eventually, you start to get “lucky.” I mean that facetiously, because luck always happens to those who are at the right place at the right time. If you plan and persist, you get lucky.
Treat This as A Business
People are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. I would guess that 90% of the people who take a seminar quit after three months. This is a business like any other. It takes months, even years to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat it like any other business. Give it time, effort, attention and professionalism, and it will flourish before you know it.