Many self-acclaimed real estate gurus state that everyone should quit their jobs and immediately jump into full time real estate investing. They often claim incredible results from students with little experience. We would like to caution that life-changing decisions are not usually simple and that full time investing is not for everyone. Let’s discuss some pros and cons of full-time versus part-time investing.The Full-Time InvestorEntering into the real estate profession on a full-time basis offers several advantages over a part-time commitment. Being successful requires you to develop knowledge in many aspects of real estate, and more time focused on real estate leads to greater knowledge. The more your learn, the more you earn, since you do not need to rely on as many professional services or partners for help. You also learn to recognize a deal (or a dud) faster, which gives you more time to do more business or spend with your family.As a full-time investor, you work your own hours. When we say “full-time,” that may mean as little as twenty hours per week if you are good at finding deals. The rest of your time can be spent pursuing other vocations or hobbies. Or, if you are so inspired, you can work forty or more hours and use the extra cash flow to buy rental properties or diversify your holdings in the stock market. The point is that you need to satisfy your cash flow needs before you can start “investing” your money.One final point you should consider is whether you want to be “self-employed.” If you have always worked for someone else, being your own boss sounds very attractive. In some, respects, this isn’t quite the truth. Being your own boss means being an accountant, bookkeeper, stock clerk, receptionist and office manager all-in-one. You have to do deal with tax returns, payroll, office supplies, customer service, bills and all the other hassles that come with a business. You don’t have friends to chat with at the water cooler. You don’t have paid health insurance, a company car and a 401(k). You take your problems home with you every night. Sound like fun? It is, once you learn how to master your time and run your business. Being the master of your own life and career is well worth the other hassles of dealing with your own business.The Part-Time InvestorThe part-time investor holds a “regular job.” This may be by choice or for the time being until his real estate ventures are bringing in enough cash to quit his job. If it is the latter reason, don’t quit your job because the real estate “guru” told you so. Quit your job when it is not worth the income that it brings you. In other words, if you are making more money per hour flipping properties on the side, you are at the point that where your regular job is costing you money. Only then, is it time to quit!One of the advantages of starting out part-time is that you can maintain cash flow while learning the business. It may take weeks or possibly months to find your first deal. That same deal may take several months to turn around, especially if you decide to fix it and sell it retail. Think twice before telling your boss you’re leaving; you will have plenty of time to make the career switch once you have real estate experience. You may, on the other hand, like your occupation. If so, continue to work at it, and invest in real estate on the side.The best case scenario, if you are married, is to have one spouse work a regular job. The other spouse work the real estate business for creating wealth, retirement income and a nice college fund for the children. Of course, in today’s market, you could be laid off due to unforeseen circumstances. If you earn additional income flipping houses and invest the proceeds into rental properties, you will be covered if your main income is lost. This is especially the case for married women that often forego a career and raise a family, only to find themselves divorced with no means of making a living. We don’t want to sound cynical about marriage, but with a fifty-percent divorce rate in America, it never hurts to have a system for making money.Someone with a full time job tends to have little free time to focus on real estate. A part-timer should learn most of the same skills as a full timer. Thus, the key disadvantage to flipping properties on a part-time basis is that it takes sacrifice to learn the business. Something has to give; television, lazy weekends, meaningless hobbies and even some family activities must be compromised. As with any education, time spent learning about real estate will bring its own rewards, especially if the people in your life understand your goals and your plan to achieve those goals. If you are married, make sure your spouse reads this material with you and participates in the fun process of making money.Treat Real Estate as a BusinessPeople 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. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat it like any other business.
Are You Ready To Become A Real Estate Investor?Here’s the truth: Get-rich-quick schemes never work. There is no shortcut to financial success, no matter what infomercials tell you. Newbie investors often fall into this trap, but don’t be fooled. Please, don’t be one of them.Five Crucial Tips For Real Estate InvestorsThe real estate picture currently appears bleak. Given time to rebound, things will start looking up and property investment will again become more attractive to more people. Real estate works great as either a side job or a career. Nevertheless, as with any kind of business dealing, there are right and wrong ways to approach it. Below are tips to successful real estate investing.* Plan it! – Winging it is not the answer. If you’re a new investor, it would be a huge mistake to go about everything without a sound plan. Say you bought a house because it seemed like a good idea at the time, then what? Obviously you didn’t think ahead far enough to find out what to do with the place after buying it. The end-result: instead of working forward, you’re now headed backwards.First comes the plan, then follows hunting for the house that fits the said plan. Choose one investment model and locate property matching it – IN THAT ORDER. Keep in mind that real estate is not simply a transaction, there are investment strategies that go with it.* Put in the time – To make it big in the property business, you have to get all those earn-money-fast tricks out of your head. Real estate requires time and a lot of effort if you want long-term business survival. It takes smarts, willingness to work and a personal grasp of one’s ability to take risks.* Get help – Going solo rarely ends on a happy note. Build a team of qualified professionals. If this is not yet possible, establishing solid relationships with appraisers, property agents, closing attorneys, lenders and home inspectors will do. Forging such connections will prove beneficial for you in deals you go into and for potential buyers who’ll require assistance with regard to financing.For the maintenance and remodeling portion of the real estate business, your team must include these guys: roofer, air conditioning and heating contractor, plumber, painter, electrician, floor installer, odd-job man, and cleaning service and lawn maintenance crews. These people will take care of the fixes and repairs so you have plenty of time to devote to building the business.* Excessive spending – Most investors wind up not making any money because they paid too much on a particular property or two. Once investors purchase the real estate, the profit gets locked in right away. Blame mistakes or inaccuracies in the analysis for the expensive price tags investors are stuck with. By the time investors realize this, it’s already too late and profit is virtually nonexistent.* Research, research – Never go into something without doing a background check first, especially if it has to do with real estate. Learn about the business before you start exposing the financial security of the family to risk.Consult books and articles, and see if there is a local National Real Estate Investors Association chapter. Topics from tenant screening to foreclosure buying are covered by speakers at regular group meetings. You can also talk with owners of multiple rental properties within the area to get info. Give them a call and see if they’re open to talking to you for a few hours in exchange for a fee to determine if you are suited to this career path.Today, home builders are shifting their focus on the baby boomer population. This has led them to become more creative, putting in features like elevators that previously were only available to the extremely wealthy. As the real estate business continues to try to overcome many economic obstacles, a growing number of people are expressing interest in investing. What about you?