How to Build Your Confidence
You have finally made the decision to invest in real estate. You have found inspiration from a podcast, book, friend, or recent meditation session. Whatever the source, you are probably now thinking “where the heck do I start?” or “how will I keep from looking stupid in front of other investors?”
You probably think everyone else is an expert just waiting to expose you as a novice. Truth be told, after doing this for several years, those thoughts creep into the edges of my mind some days. But here’s a secret for you…no one is an expert. If you find someone claiming to be an expert, turn around and walk away. You don’t need that kind of energy in your life. The world of real estate investing is so broad and expansive, that we are all trying to learn. All the time.
But the hesitation and anxiety you are feeling is real, so here are a few tips to get you started.
Learn some fundamentals: Before you spend a dime on real estate, you must learn some fundamentals. There is no shortage of places to build this knowledge, but two I suggest are “The ABCs of Real Estate Investing” by Ken McElroy and the BiggerPockets podcast. McElory’s book is an easy read and walks through the major components of real estate investing, including dispelling myths such as “Myth #5: You Need a Great Deal of Confidence”. Reading this book, or any real estate book really, will help you generate a long list for further research (see #2 below). The BiggerPockets podcast is also good to listen to while driving to work, putting on your makeup, or squeezing in a run during the kids’ soccer practice (see my blog Finding Hidden Time). There are nearly 300 (at the time of this writing) episodes to select from with great tips and subjects to get your feet under you.
Identify your “known unknowns”: As you are diving deep into the world of real estate investing, keep a list (in a notebook or note on your smartphone) of things to research. You will come across a plethora of new terms, phrases, concepts, and strategies that will make your head spin. You may feel like you know less at the end of the day than you did going in; however, this simple strategy will help you make note of the unfamiliar concepts and give you a punch down list for further research. Plus, this list will help you prepare for #3 below.
Seek professional help: Talking to people in the business is a great way to build your knowledge and build connections. Some of the first people I scheduled meetings with were real estate agents focused on investors (not agents for home buyers, there is a difference), property managers (even if you plan to manage the property yourself), mortgage professionals, and attorneys. It will take leg work, time on your calendar, and a little prep work, but you will walk out of these meetings with increased confidence and new contacts to build your network.
Key Take Aways:
Do your homework: I believe spending 12 months educating yourself before buying a property is time well spent. It will increase your knowledge and decrease your risk. Good deals will always be out there, don’t feel that you will miss out by studying first.
Build strategies to keep your head from spinning: You will never know it all, so start with a continuous-learner mindset and build strategies to keep your research list at your fingertips.
Reach out: Professionals love talking about their work, plus you are a potential client. Never feel that you are wasting their time. Just be sure you are prepared and have an objective for the meeting.