If You Are a Real Estate Investor You Must Continue Your Real Estate Education

With all things that are done intentionally as a real estate investor your education comes first. A real estate investing education is primary to your success in business, and in all circumstances there is an identifiable pattern of learning that leads from thought to action. When experiencing something new, first you hear about it or learn of its existence. Next you learn what it is. Then you learn how it works. And finally, you practice it, which is where experiential learning begins.

This article is intended to discuss education, separate from experiential learning (but a little more on that below). Your real estate education should not be looked at as a phase you go through, but rather as an ongoing process. This is a requirement to stay in the real estate business and to excel. There are at least three very good reasons why your real estate investing education should be continuous and ongoing. One is that having new information can allow you to improve the process of what you’re already doing, so that you can do it better. Another is that having new information can allow you to do new things that you’re not already doing, such as implementing new profit centers in your real estate business. A third is that the world is always changing so that knowledge needs to be continually updated to be useful.

The fastest way to develop yourself educationally is to actively seek out as many sources of education as possible on a continuing basis. There are three common modes of education to be aware of that can help inform your search. One is private education that you digest on your own, which can include books, audio recordings, video recordings, websites, and online and offline real estate investing newsletters. Another is participatory education, which involves some sort of interaction with an educator, and can include seminars or boot camps, conference calls, and webcasts.

Yet one more is hands on education, which can be gotten by working with others already in the business. This could take the form of a mentorship or an apprenticeship with another investor. You could also take advantages of all the resources of a local real estate club, either online or offline, which is dedicated to helping investors further their education in all sorts of ways. As an ongoing business activity, your real estate education deserves management and balancing against the other ongoing activities of your business as well as all of the other demands on your time.

You should work it out however is best so as to ensure that a dedicated portion of your time and resources on a regular basis go to furthering your real estate and business education. A final word on education from experience, or experiential learning, comes last. Education can be overrated by beginning real estate investors. While it does have a large role to play in your overall progress and success, the amount you actually learn from studying educational materials is negligible compared to the amount you learn from actually performing an action or having an experience.

Keep this in perspective if you feel paralyzed by an insufficient real estate investing education.

Breaking Into the Real Estate Industry: Real Estate Careers for You

The housing industry plays an important role in the quality of our lives. The industry weaves the tapestry of our lifestyles and maps the blueprint of our cities. Thus, it only makes sense to populate the industry with smart, aggressive and creative people who are concerned and responsible not just because their contracts require them so but because they are of service to the general public as well.

The market industry is not just composed of real estate agents who you think do no more than bug you with untimely phone calls or hand you leaflets. The problem lies in the fact that people are misinformed about the profession and the whole industry in general. Unbeknownst to them, there’s more to the industry than making a sales pitch. In fact, the real estate industry provides a wide range of opportunities for all sorts of individuals.

Thinking of getting into the housing market? Here are some careers to choose from after completing your online real estate courses:

1. Salesperson/Broker

Forbes.com has recently ranked the job of a real estate agent as the number one happiest job in America. Scoring 4.19 percent on CareerBliss’s rankings, survey participants deemed the job as very rewarding due to the amount of control they had over their work, flexibility and everyday tasks.

Being an agent largely involves helping people buy and sell homes. Agents or brokers are adept in carrying out the process of purchasing and selling properties, loan documentation and the policies governing the processes, saving clients their precious time and money. Through training and education, agents become knowledgeable on RE laws, fair housing law and contracts as well as various financing options available to consumers.

Different types of brokers exist in the field:

  1. Commercial Brokers
    Commercial brokers specialize in finding a market for revenue-generating properties like apartments and spaces found in malls, shopping centers, office buildings and warehouses. To qualify as a commercial broker should have a keen understanding of the investment value of properties in terms of location, taxes, and market activities.
  2. Industrial or Office Brokers
    Industrial and office brokers are in charge of developing, selling or renting out properties for office headquarters and manufacturing. Industrial or office brokers should be keen of zoning laws, tax regulations, and even property management to be able to relate valuable information on the property they’re marketing to buyers.
  3. Land Brokers
    Land brokers specialize in brokering land deals for farm, residential, commercial and industrial lots. This kind of broker has a knack for looking for lands that have a potential to be developed or to generate revenues. Land brokers have to be knowledgeable about agriculture and local market economics as well to be able to successful in closing land deals.

2. Land Developer

Land developers are very important in the said industry since without them, there’s no money to be made on real estate. They conceptualize the blueprint for projects and offer a keen insight on whether a property (residential, commercial or industrial) is worthy of being developed for profit or not. Basically, they conduct site selection and cost analysis. Land developers also coordinate with construction companies and oversee the property construction. Sometimes, land developers are also involved in financing the project.

3. Office Manager

The job of a real estate office manager involves meeting with prospective clients, managing a realty or real estate business, marketing, financial management and brokerage. They are also involved in hiring real estate agents to work for a firm. Real estate managers can be self-employed or work full-time for a real estate firm.

4. Property Manager

A property manager plays an important role in-well, you guessed it right-managing and maintaining the structural integrity and usefulness of a property-whether residential (e.g. apartments, houses and condominiums); commercial (e.g. shopping centers, retail stores, offices) or industrial (e.g. factories, manufacturing plants). Their end goal is to ensure a positive cash flow for property investors and make sure they’re making most of their investments. Often times, property managers are on-call 24/7 to attend to emergencies and problems arising from the properties they handle.

5. Appraiser

Appraisers essentially evaluate property values. Their job involves assessing the profitability of properties as well as tax values, rental, insurance and accounting values. Someone who is good with numbers, has a keen knowledge of accounting and economics principles, real estate education and insight of local housing market activities are a good fit for this type of work.

6. Mortgage Specialist

Mortgage specialists help potential owners choose the right kind of loan for them. They also help businesses collect loans they’ve provided to customers. They can work for a firm or independently.

7. Copywriter/Technical Writer/Researcher

Researchers are usually part of the business development department of a real estate firm. They are either technical writers or journalists who have ventured into real estate. Brokers, developers and other types of real estate professionals depend on the data provided by researchers.

Researchers create two types of report on a prospective property: physical, which concerns the building makeup and structures; and economic, which provides forecasts or insight on industry trends, market behavior and financing.

Technical writers are involved in documenting project developments. They have to be adept with construction and planning terminology and concepts.

Copywriters are employed usually by the corporate communications department or business development department of a real estate company.

8. Urban Planner

An urban planner is someone who plans urban development with civic groups, nonprofits and state agencies to improve on the lives of the general public. They design new pathways, buildings and transportation terminals to ease the lives of the city’s inhabitants and to increase tourist receipts in the area.

9. RE Counselor

An RE counselor is not necessarily considered as a career but it is a specialty as well. Counselors are involved mostly in research and analysis and creating economic, fiscal and feasibility studies, but they also perform brokerage, management and appraisal duties. Consultants come in handy for foreigners who wish to invest locally.

10. Real Estate Educator

Real estate educators are crucial in producing the nation’s top real estate agents. They are cogs in the seemingly vast system of the housing industry, keeping it running. Without educators, the industry will be lost, don’t you think?

Like other realtor professionals, educators have would need a real estate license as well. Generally, educators are required to meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational provider
  2. Must be licensed as a real estate broker
  3. Have been licensed as a broker and practicing for three consecutive years
  4. Was able to meet the credit hour requirement for real estate education

Educators find work in career training providers, institutions and colleges. Seasoned ones can land a job as a subject-matter expert or even author a book on practice.

9 Mistakes Made by Novice Real Estate Investors

As a real estate investor and advisor, I often see novice investors make the same exact mistakes. As a result, I decided to create the following list to help novices understand what these common mistakes are and how to avoid them. The good news is that all of these mistakes can be easily corrected. The bad news is that any one of these mistakes will seriously limit your potential for success. In my experience, these are the 9 most common mistakes I see novice real estate investors make:

1) Not getting an education

Getting an education is a critical part of becoming a successful real estate investor. It’s much easier and less costly to educate yourself than to make mistakes in the real world. We are lucky to live in a country full of educational opportunities for whichever endeavor we want to pursue. Surprisingly though, not everyone takes the initiative to learn before they take action. This exposes these people to costly (and sometimes career-ending) mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Some misguided people even complain that the books, courses, or seminars promoted by real estate experts are too expensive. I guess that depends on where you stand. To me, they seem cheap compared to what I know can be earned in this business. Perhaps to a novice though, they may seem expensive. But as the saying goes, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Think about it. Is a $500 course worth it if what you learn only makes you $5,000 on a single wholesale deal? What if it could save you a mere $5,000 on a single rehab? Or what if it helped you create an extra $200 per month cash flow on a single property for just one year? Would it be worth it to you? The value of an education often doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve stepped up to the plate and put yourself in the game.

2) Not getting an education from the right people

The internet is a great tool. But it’s also saturated with too much information – good and bad. Oftentimes, from less than credible sources. So don’t confuse the information you find on the internet as necessarily being quality information. For example, there are a number of real estate investing newsgroups and blogs that have proliferated the internet. Many so called experts on these sites are more than willing to share enough information to get you into trouble. Do you really want to get your information from “rei-man-TX” or “investor-guy75?” Carefully consider whether these are truly reputable sources to be obtaining information from. I can’t believe some of the misinformation I’ve seen posted on these sites. Remember, anyone can post on a newsgroup and anyone can create a blog. But just because someone has a blog, doesn’t mean they necessarily know what they’re talking about. The misinformation you get may be costly…in either lost profits or reputation.

Novice investors may also get misinformation from friends or family members. Perhaps they dabbled in real estate at one point. Now they feel entitled to tell you what little they may know about real estate investing. Be extremely wary of people who have “dabbled” in anything. Dabblers are rarely experts in anything. As the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of nothing.”

3) Not taking action

If you’ve managed to get a good education from a good source, the next step is to take some action. Knowledge is only power once you begin to apply it properly. Merely buying a wide array of real estate investing products or attending bootcamps isn’t going to make you any money. Some novices neglect to take action because they’re still searching for that magical secret that is going to make it start raining deals. The real secret is hard work! Others are paralyzed by fear of what might happen if they get one of their offers accepted. Or, they may give up making offers if they don’t experience instant success. Whatever the reason, not taking consistent action is a sure way to fail at anything. Personally, I believe that initial failure is the universe’s way of forcing us to make sure we truly want what we’re pursuing. In the end, persistence is what leads to success. And the more we persist, the closer we get to success.

Many novices regularly attend their local real estate clubs. Clubs and associations are excellent way to network with other like-mided people, learn techniques and strategies, and have fun. Unfortunately, I’ve met countless club goers who have never done a deal before. Instead of using the club as a spring board into taking action, they tend to use the club as a warm blanket because they fear being out on their own. When I meet these people, my advice to them is to stop sitting around with the other novices talking about all the deals they would like to be doing. My advice is simple, go out there and get some deals done. We all need a good education. But that is only one step in the process. There is no substitute for hard work.

4) Not having realistic expectations

Most novice real estate investors have unrealistic expectations. It may be about the amount of repairs a property needs, the time it takes to complete a project, or the profit they should get from a deal. They’re expectations are either too high or too low. If they’re wholesaling properties, they may get too greedy and try to charge the rehabber too much. If they’re rehabbing properties, they may underestimate the repairs required. If they’re landlording, they may underestimate the amount of maintenance a property will require or forget to factor in vacancies. While getting an education plays a large role in these mistakes, another reason is that they did not leave enough room for error. They assumed everything would go as planned. Real estate deals rarely go exactly as planned. Experienced investors understand the importance of planning for the unexpected. This way, when things don’t go as planned it’s not the end of the world.

5) Not treating real estate investing as a business

Contrary to popular belief, real estate investing is not like the stock market. It is not a passive investment. It is an active investment. Whether a novice investor’s intentions are to flip or to own rentals, they sometimes think owning real estate is going to be a lot easier than it is. While the profit potential in real estate is usually much greater than owning a stock, it inherently requires more effort than most passive types of investments. Whether you’re wholesaling, rehabbing, or landlording, real estate requires your time and constant attention. In this way, it’s more like a business than an investment. For example, you must be disciplined about your business. You need to set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. You need to set policies and procedures and adhere to them. You need to set goals and do whatever you can to achieve them. Not everyone has that level of discipline without a boss telling them what to do. When you run your own business, you are the boss. You must be willing to make sacrifices to succeed. For you this might mean that you need to turn off the television and read your home-study courses. It might mean that instead of spending money on new clothes, you invest that money in your business. Or it might mean that instead of going to the park on Saturday you search the MLS, look at properties, and familiarize yourself with your target neighborhoods.

6) Not being patient

It can take awhile for novice investors to see positive results when starting out. You can’t expect to immediately find deals and make money. It may take several months to get your first deal. As a comparison, new real estate agents are often told by their brokers that it may take up to six months to close their first transaction. Similarly, real estate investors should expect to wait a few months to close their first transaction. Furthermore, it can take years for your real estate investing business to become a thriving venture. There aren’t too many businesses that become profitable immediately – no matter the type of business. It often takes several years for most businesses to get to a point where they make steady and reliable profits. Running your own business can be fun and extremely rewarding. But rest assured, the early years can be unpredictable. As a result, you need to have a lot of patience for things to take off.

7) Not concentrating on quality deals

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see novice investors make, especially after they have done a few deals. After they have some success, they begin to focus too much on quantity instead of doing quality deals. This mindset leads them to do less profitable deals. And once an investor begins to do thinner deals for the sake of doing more deals and outdoing their competition, they eventually find themselves in trouble. For example, I know many wholesalers and rehabbers who became too confident before the housing downturn of 2006 and loaded up on properties. When the market went south, these investors were left holding a lot of worthless inventory. Most of these investors went bankrupt and lost all of their properties. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that most investors learn the hard way. For some reason, avoiding the temptation to focus on quantity is a principle that most investors have a hard time accepting. Their natural inclination is to do more. They might feel the pressure to tell their friends what new project they’re working on. They might feel bored unless they’re working on something new. Or they might feel guilty about not “staying busy.” Whatever the reason, novices must learn that investing is an activity in which “staying busy” is not always smart. Sometimes, the best deals are the ones you don’t do. When an investor learns to concentrate on a small number of quality deals, they enjoy not only better profits, but also a better lifestyle since they’re not running around managing a huge portfolio of properties. For most people, the whole point of getting into real estate investing in the first place is to live a better quality of life, not to work longer and harder.

8) Not moving on from bad deals fast enough

Since novice real investors usually don’t have a steady stream of leads coming in and don’t know what a truly profitable deal looks like, they tend to overanalyze bad deals far too long. They get anxious and want to get deals done. And even when they put the numbers of the deal into their spreadsheet and see the deal clearly doesn’t work, they still find a reason to justify it. They logically know that a deal should be avoided, but they try to justify it anyway. While I believe everyone needs to start somewhere, the ideal place for a novice real estate investor to start is in a good deal not a bad one. What novices eventually learn is that not too long after taking on a marginal deal, a greatdeal is not far behind. But because they’ve tied up their resources with the marginal deal, they can’t pursue the great deal.

9) Not writing down goals

Don’t try to run your business without a clear plan. Clarify your goals by committing them to writing. Then, revisit them once a week until they become reality. Something magical happens when you write down your goals on paper. They begin to take root. When you focus on them repeatedly, you nurture them and they begin to grow. It’s important to write down your purpose, strategies, and goals. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What strategy am I pursuing?
  • What will I do with the properties I will buy?
  • How many deals per year will I do?
  • How much profit will I earn per deal?
  • How many offers do I make to make this happen?
  • What kind of life do I want to live outside of the office?

When you’re clear about your goals, you have a much easier time accomplishing them. And if your goals are unrealistic you should change them as necessary. Don’t get stuck in an unrealistic set of goals that will only produce frustration. At the same time, you shouldn’t change your goals too often either. It’s hard to hit a moving target. You want to strike a good balance between having reasonable, achieveable goals and also setting goals that will force you to get outside your comfort zone.