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If I Were 22 Again… A Dad Explains Real Estate Investing to His Son
My twenty two year old son asked me a question last night. He said, “Dad, if you were just starting out, like me, and you wanted to get into real estate, what would you do?”
What a great question, and I really had to think about it before I answered him. What I told him is not original with me. These ideas have been much better expressed by other authors before now, but since the essence of creativity is selective borrowing, this is the advice I gave him.
I said the first thing I would do is become an expert in my target market.
“How long will that take?” he asked.
Ah, youth- always in such a hurry.
“Depends on how much time each week you can devote to it,” I replied, giving him another of the vague answers he was so used to.
Predictably, he groaned.
I went on to explain to him that if he really committed to following my advice, and if he committed at least 15 hours each week, he should become both competent and confident in about 3 months, which doesn’t seem like it. such a long time. The key is to look at tons of houses, and ask tons of questions of the right people.
I told him if I was just starting out I would also find the right Reality device to work with. The right realtor will be able to put you in touch with a lot of opportunities that you can’t find on your own, and provide you with a list of foreclosures and vacant properties to look at every day.”
“What would you do next?” he asked.
I said I would work on building a buyer’s list at the same time I was learning my market.
“How would you do that?”
“I would find and join my local REIA (Real Estate Investors Association) group, and attend every meeting. If my area didn’t have an REIA group, I would start one. This is the place to start finding, meeting and networking. with the people in your area who are investing in property. I would also read the newspaper ads for “Buy Houses” or “Buy Property” ads. These people are active buyers, and should be added to your buyer’s list. Your goal is to have as long a buyer’s list as possible, at least 50-100 names depending on the size of your area.”
“Why?” he asked me
“I’ll explain that in a minute.” I said
He rolled his eyes. Talking to your son is like chatting to a nuclear physicist – every time you try to impress them with your knowledge, they make you feel like they can’t believe how long it took you to come to your childish conclusions.
I continued, determined to give my son the advice he was looking for.
“Next,” I said, “Armed with an in-depth knowledge of my market area, and my active buyer’s list, I would begin making low offers on every foreclosure and vacant property I was looking at.”
“All of them?” I could see the doubt in his eyes.
“Well, close to all of them. Any house that your confidence level allows you to make an offer on.” I could see the next question coming.
“What do you mean by that?” he asked. So predictable.
“What I mean,” I continued, “is that the market knowledge you gather during your market research will give you a certain level of confidence. The more knowledge you have, the more your confidence will increase. When you first start making offers there will be many properties that appear to be beyond your skill set, and if they seem to be, they probably are. You just won’t have enough confidence to make offers on those properties.
“However, as time passes and your knowledge grows, so will your confidence. Then those traits that scared you at first will become less scary. Instead of seeing dangers, you will see opportunity. Don’t stress about it, because it’s. a natural progression. While you put in the time to learn your craft, the knowledge will come, and so will the confidence. One follows the other as summer follows spring.”
Later, my son asked, “But how do you determine how much to bid?”
I proceeded to explain to him my method of determining the correct amount to bid. See my article titled “Real Estate Investing- Is There One Magic Rule?”
“I see,” said my son, bobbing up and down consciously. “What’s next?”
“Okay,” I said. “What happens next is that most of your offers are rejected outright, a few may be countered, and one out of every twenty to fifty will be accepted.”
“Is that all?” he asked, perplexed.
“That’s all, but that’s okay,” I said. You can’t handle a whole bunch at once right at the beginning. One or two is enough to start. What you do next is very important.”
“What is that?” asked my son.
“Start marketing your stupid head.” I answered. “You know that list of buyers you’ve developed? You call each one of them and tell them about the great deal you have and see who’s interested. Put ads in the paper, signs on the property and signs somewhere whatever. in the neighborhood you can get away with. Create a flyer to pass out at your REIA meeting. Sell, sell, sell is the name of the game. Whatever it takes, find a buyer for that property BEFORE you close and take possession of it. .”
“What about the title deed and all the legal stuff you have to do when you buy a house?” he asked. He’s smarter than I give him credit for.
“That’s just mechanics, and I can teach you mechanics as you go through each deal. What we’re talking about here is strategy. If you get this strategy down, you can learn the mechanics.
“Okay,” he said, “how do I make money?” A very astute question.
“Simple- the same way you make money on any product you sell. You sell it for more than you paid for it. For example, let’s say you get a house under contract for $40,000 that you previously determined has an After Repair Value ( ARV). ) of $97,000 and needs repairs of about $12,000. If it were me, I’d try to find a buyer in the $48,000 to $53,000 range. That way your buyer would still have room to do their repairs and make a decent profit, and you’d walk away with somewhere around $5,000 to $8,000 after taxes and fees.”
“Fees and taxes?” asked my son. A rude awakening.
“Yes, paid to your attorney, the Realtor, the title company and the government. Of course you could do a simultaneous closing, and there are other ways to eliminate some or all of those fees, like making your offers in someone’s name. LLC and then selling the LLC instead of the property, but again we are talking about mechanics, and that is the topic for another discussion.” (And another article)
“How much would it be reasonable to earn doing this full time?” he asked. Light is made.
“There’s no reason a full-time wholesaler (wholesale is really what we’re talking about here) couldn’t make $5,000 to $10,000 a month, or more. Not at first, of course, but after a few months or a year of consistent effort, the sky is the limit.”
“Wow,” said my son, “I never thought of it that way before. I never understood so clearly what wholesale business was all about. I think I could do that.”
I think he might too. For that matter, you can too. In fact, what is stopping you?
Now, make more offers!
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