When we think of being a real estate investor these days we think of some celebrity status job where you make tons of money every day by yelling at some poor contractor and making an ugly house pretty. This is not real. This is not even real estate. That is fantasy just like Twilight or Harry Potter, which is extremely unfortunate because I would love to be a vampire wizard. #lifegoals
Almost 18 years ago, I was 21. Most of my friends were unsure what major they wanted to pursue or even if they wanted to take that extra shift slinging drinks on a Friday night. I, on the other hand, knew I did not want to go back to my telemarketing job but rather I was going to be a real estate investor. Mind you, there were no reality shows about flipping so this seemed very left field to my friends. I might as well have told them that I was in fact striving towards the goal of being an immortal, sparkly, wizard. It was an equally attainable goal in their eyes.
I was so broke that I had to borrow the $100 it took to register my business. This is the first time I thought about that in about 18 years so; Andy did I ever pay you back? I really hope so. Interest on that will be ridiculous at this point. #feelinglikeajerk
So Andy was my one friend who thought I had a shot, I think he was also my one friend with an extra hundred bucks at that time. I was determined to do this regardless of what others thought about it. I researched and tried and failed then researched some more. Failed some more. Sometimes I won and sometimes I lost. Each win fueled my passion. Each loss made me hungrier. Not just because I could not afford to eat; because I WILL NOT BE BEATEN!!!
Eventually my losses were fewer and fewer and my wins were more often with a greater return. It was not then that I knew I was born for this life. It was when I was messing up, losing money, and not listening to those who really knew how to play the game much better than I. Despite my mistakes and hubris I was always pulled back in to the thrill of the next deal. The rush of intellectual adrenaline that came from navigating a complicated deal kept me in the game even when I was losing. It still does and luckily losing doesn’t happen much anymore.
Are you cut out to be an investor? Not everyone is. I have seen many people play their hand and throw in their cards when they lose a few chips.
1. Do you value the opinion of your inner circle over your own? When I called my sister early on a Saturday morning to tell her I was going to be a real estate investor she literally laughed at me. I was young, broke, and completely void of any education that would assist me in this venture. My friends and family pointed this out to me again and again. Had I listened I have no idea what I would be doing.
You cannot lend your time to naysayers. Most people either out of ignorance or even a twinge of jealousy will tell you all the reasons why you CAN’T be an investor. “Remember when aunt Sally almost lost the house when her tenants stopped paying?” “Your dad and I lost money when we sold our last house and we fixed it up real nice.” In order to be successful you will need to be able to politely ignore the negative.
2. Are you afraid of failure? Failure is part of growth. You have a ton more resources than were available to me in 1999 so you have a better chance at less failure. You also might not be as stubborn as I and needn’t learn things the hard way. The bottom line is that flips will not always go the way you plan. Tenants will not pay you. Homes purchased with creative financing may end up with a few liens you weren’t expecting by the time you close. Hey that’s the way it goes.
Today I walked into a house that I have been flipping in one of the many historic areas of Richmond, VA and hear water running. First thought, “Great the contractors are here working!” I then notice that I am standing in a puddle of water that is cascading through the walls from three stories up. That throws a wrench in things. This is not a FAIL. It is a setback. This stuff happens and you have to be able to say “Ok, lets fix it.”
3. Do you have to have organization and order? I wake up each day thinking I am going to do A, B, and C and end up doing A, a little bit of B, M,Q, Z, and A again somehow. It usually starts out as planned but then I need to put an offer on this house that just came on the market RIGHT NOW. The contractor needs to know what granite to put in because they do not have enough of the one I want, RIGHT NOW. The tenant who bounced a check this month has called the city inspector and I need to meet them there, RIGHT NOW.
This is a right now business. The more you have going on, the more immediate attention items you will have in a day. This is how I love my days. When I worked in an office looking at the same walls, and doing everything at the same time each day I was bored. I am sure that I was an under-producer and not sure how I kept jobs as long as I did.
4. Do you hate getting large sums of money all at once? Yea. I didn’t think so.
The reality of investing does mean that you may not have a consistent pay schedule, especially at first. If you are planning to be a full time investor, you may not have any funds come in for months at a time. Sure, you made $40,000 this month but you have to know how to make that last until the next flip or Owner Financed down-payment comes in.
Basically, if you do not fit in the box of a person who is happy to trade time for money; if people saying that you CAN’T makes you NEED to prove you can, if a mistake is an opportunity….you might be a born real estate investor.
I absolutely adore my crazy, exciting, never the same thing twice, life and would not change it for the world.
Happy investing my real estate junkies!!!
I was born an entrepreneur. I am pretty certain that I was peddling passies in the hospital when the nurses left the room.All of the other kids in the neighborhood were riding bikes and playing with dolls I was selling jewelry out of a catalogue and creating a back yard consignment shop. At 21 I became a real estate investor and fell in love. This was/is/ and always will be my passion. I have been madly in love with flipping, holding, and writing offers on real estate that seem crazy for 18 years. Ladies and gents I am willing to share the love of my life with you. Maybe its polyamory maybe its jut because I can’t shut up about it. Either way I will be sharing every mistake I ever made and the lesson that came from it. I love questions. Please ask away!!!