Since I get over 1,000 real estate investors coming to my various real estate investor websites and registering with me each week, as you might expect, I get quite a few people asking me how to get started investing in real estate.
When my business was smaller and I was just running my own real estate investing business and our local real estate investor group meetings, I used to sit down and meet with investors that asked me this question individually. We’d go to lunch at my favorite burrito place and I’d ask them many questions.
I’d want to know about why they wanted to invest in real estate, what they expected to get from it, how they thought they’d be making money as a real estate investor, how much time and money they planned to invest in themselves and their real estate investing business, what their business and investing experiences had been so far, and so on and so forth. After a couple dozen of these meetings though, I noticed a pattern in what I suggested to each of them (and yes, it really took that many meetings for me to notice this pattern): I suggested that each one of them get started wholesaling real estate.
After I told them that they should wholesale real estate first, I’d then run down–very haphazardly–a list of the things they needed to do to get started in their real estate investing business. A few years have passed since those first meetings and the first time that I made a quick list of how to get set up investing in real estate. Over the years, I’ve had quite a few people get started in the business based on those meetings with me. So, in this article, I’d like to share with you my Business Setup Checklist for Real Estate Investors.
In the Business Setup Checklist, I am not going to have you spend tons of money at first to lease an office, purchase expensive computer equipment and otherwise commit to lots of expenses with no proven income from your business. Instead, I will share with you what I believe to be the most important things to do and to purchase to get started in your own real estate investing business.
First, I believe you need to take time to sit down and decide where you are going. Stephen Covey says, and I agree, that you should “Begin With The End In Mind.” It is much easier to accomplish a goal if you know what you are trying to accomplish. Please, do yourself a favor, and don’t skip this critically important step.
Second, setup, or at least figure out, the minimum telephone communication system you will be using. Many times, it will be using your cell phone (and changing the message from something unprofessional to something more business-like). Of course, there is a wide range of telephone services you can setup. Start very basic, spend very little and expand as revenue increases.
Next, I am a big believer in using 24 hour recorded information lines in my marketing and so I do recommend paying the money to get this set up. With these, you can spend less on marketing and then have people call in to get more information about buying, selling, renting or private money before talking directly to you. You’ll be tempted to bypass this step and use regular voice mail (remember I’ve helped lots of other people get started investing in real estate) and that would be a mistake.
The next step is the MOST IMPORTANT step of all: get your marketing and get it out. Nothing happens until you start talking to motivated sellers in this business, so you need to get them to call you (or start calling them). So, take some time to figure out your basic marketing. Depending on your budget, you may also consider getting a website and bandit signs at this point as well. If you are on a tight budget, use the free website route and skip the bandit signs until later.
Once you have your marketing and are starting to get it out, you should then be getting organized and ready for seller calls. Make your Seller Presentation and Credibility Pack. Setup your office files to track income and expenses, marketing files and property files. Also, make sure you have the files and forms you need stored in your car. You never know when you might need to write up a contract and better to have them with you in your car at all times, then to miss out on a deal.
And finally, set up your business entity. The reason I recommend this last is because most people will stall on this step and unless you have assets to protect, it is a mistake to get hung up on it to begin with. If you have significant assets to protect, you should meet with your personal attorney at the start of any new business to get personalized, professional advice relating to your unique situation.