Where Do I Start?

New investors often want to know where to start their investing career.  Or, after weeks (or sometimes months) of reading, attending webinars, classes and any other training material a new investor can get his/her hands on, a new investor may find him/herself in "analysis paralysis".  While educating yourself about the investments you are about to make is important, no amount of reading will take the place of what you will learn during the real estate investing process.  Remember: The key to making money in real estate is to actually invest in real estate.   Becoming a "theoretical" expert on the topic might make for good dinner conversation, but it won't change your financial reality. 

Another note: New investors are often nervous at the thought of diving into their first real estate deal.  This is normal, and is true with most new endeavors.  I still remember my first deal, and it was intimidating, to say the least.  But, I covered my due diligence, surrounded myself with a good team and have never looked back.  I hope the same for you.  Whatever you do, don't let your fears determine your future! 

Things To Consider

I often pose the following questions to new investors to encourage them to create a more solid picture of their expectations and abilities in real estate investing:

FIRST What are your goals? (short term and long term)  A few options are listed below:

  • Create passive income that can grow into an avenue for early retirement .  (Don't forget to quantify it by determining a realistic monthly or annual $ amount for this goal).
  • Replace a primary income so that you can transition out of your current job (Quantify)
  • Create tax shelters/deductions to balance out your primary income tax burden (Quantify)
  • Create another opportunity to invest funds that are losing value in the stock market
  • Etc...

I tend to prefer the SMART goals system which says that goals should be written so that they are  S-specific  M-measurable  A-attainable  R-realistic  T-timeboundYou may have a method that works better for you, but feel free to use this as a guide.

Also, I find that the "Specific" and "Realistic" factors of real estate goal-setting seem to be the 2 items that need the most tweaking with new investors.  Being specific will help you to remain focused.  Spend time on this one.  When starting out, there will be so many options that will seem like the best route for you.  But, starting out as a jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none is a recipe for disaster in real estate.  Try to become proficient in 1 or 2 areas and grow from there.  You'll have plenty of time to get to other investing options.  In my case, the past few years have provided opportunities for wholesaling, rehabbing, condo conversions, landlording, historic restoration, private lending, new construction, general contracting, brokerage and a few others that I'm probably forgetting at present.  But, I started with wholesaling and branched out from there once I was proficient.

Also keep in mind that what you see on real estate reality television shows may not reflect the realities in your market.  Learn from the lessons in these shows, but set monetary goals based on the market realities in your area.

SECOND  What do you have to offer to your investing goals (time, credit, cash, or all of the above). Be honest because this step will highlight your strengths/weaknesses, and will dictate your financing options.  With this information you will be better able to identify a realistic starting point for your investing activities.

THIRD  Paint a picture of your ideal first deal. Describe EVERYTHING about it, including location, price, financing, property condition, timeline, your cash investment, your cash earned on the project, and any other factors that you can envision. Write it down and describe it in detail.  This gives a baseline from which to work.  It will also help quite a bit if you are caught in analysis paralysis, because it will force you to start to put your reading/learning into a more tangible form. Also, without this information, no mentor or broker can effectively assist you, as s/he won't know what your expectations are.

Take some time to work through these questions.  At the end of the process you should feel even better about your decision to invest in real estate.  Be sure to contact our office for assistance.  We look forward to working with you!


Tiffany Elder - Broker, Realtor

6409 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 120-367
Durham, NC 27713