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.
Some people who doubt that there is a right time to get started in real estate investing worry that there are too many people buying houses to find a deal. Competition is everywhere. If you can’t understand – that in business, competition is normal – then real estate investing is not for you. Just take a look at the marketplace in companies such as Coke and Pepsi, Nike and Reebok, McDonalds and Burger King, and a million other services and products out in the marketplace. So if you see a lot of investors competing against you then know that it’s a rewarding business to be in because you are not the only one that sees the potential for profit. Plus, there are more than enough deals to make everyone rich, in due time. At any given time there are hundreds of properties for sale in your own local market niches, enough for each investor looking for them.Some investors know that events such as the September 11th tragedy, the huge number of job layoffs and the decline in the stock market will kill the economy, and anything they buy will go down in value. But, once again, this need not be the time to fold-up your tent and quit before you get started. In order to be successful in investing, learn how to make money in “up” and “down” markets. Have strategies to utilize in both “up” and “down” markets to survive when the economy is bad or thrive when the economy is booming. And if everyone else is forecasting “doom & gloom” it only clears out the competition as you have more market share to profit from, as this is a good thing!Ask yourself: “When do I want to make money?” And the answer is usually right now!Thus, go out and get your investing business going, right now! And not base your actions on what others are saying because the majority of the population is not rich, only those few who dare to take the right risks and take the necessary steps to be successful.Stay in ‘the Game,’ and stay ‘the Course’ (persist)One of the major disappointments of the conventional, ‘rental real estate’ approach is there’s just no money in it NOW, only after a long period of ownership. There’s not enough spread between the income realized from rent – versus – the expenses of mortgage payments and repairs for the investor to make any money today. You barely get by in the early years of your property’s ownership. You’ve got to have other income to support your lifestyle. You can’t just count on the rentals to support you.Most likely, in the beginning you’ll be supporting your properties with your other income if you bought via the traditional way. That’s not too attractive. A lot of investors don’t have the stomach to endure the rough and tough financial stresses of the rental business. Even more so – people just don’t have the desire to hang in there to make it work, in due time. Thus, if you persist you will outpace your competition because they will no longer be in the business, and you will have “no competition”. This business is a long-term commitment and over 80% of real estate investors – who have been in the business for that long, go on to become millionaires. What I’m saying to you is this: Stay the course, and you will beat most all of your competitors because you can ride the ups and downs of the market in the Real Estate Game, in due time.Opportunity is everywhereThis is ‘NOT’ a common statement I hear from new investors. True, it may work differently in some markets than in others, but there are investors making money in every city (large or small, metro-area or the rural-areas), every day of the week. You have to learn your market: the rents, the trends, the local customs, the lenders, the title companies, etc.Then, learn the techniques and adapt them to your market. One thing is for sure, everyone needs a roof to live under, either renting or owning. People need to live somewhere. So study your market carefully, because there are tons of opportunities in every marketplace. You just have to learn your market and be able to service your market accordingly. If you don’t believe this, simply read the ‘Success Stories’ of all my students achieving financial independence and earning big profits using my field-tested and perfected real estate investing system.Typically, the main argument of real estate “Nay-Sayers” is by associating real estate with toilets, bad tenants, property damages, tenant evictions, etc. – all the bad tasting things that may happen to an investor getting ready to jump into the real estate game.For somebody who believes the only thing to real estate is getting a loan and buying a run-down duplex, in a bad part of town, entering the real estate game most certainly could turn into a major nightmare very quickly. However, an individual open to possibilities and who is willing to learn various techniques and strategies – will very quickly discover that’s this methodology is not the most profitable way to be transacting real estate deals.A True Wealth BuilderWell, if you shudder at the very thought of spending your nights and weekends unstopping troubled toilets, painting scarred up walls, and pacifying angry/upset tenants, you are in good company. I have no interest in dealing with ill-affecting and time consuming renter-problems or their negative attitudes. When you follow a systematic approach to investing, you won’t have to deal with negative outcomes!! There are other creative ways to manage properties that involve no hassles and no headaches whatsoever, such programs exist in our “Automated Management System” which take away those ownership nightmares.Much more profitable strategies exist if you are open to ‘non-traditional’ ways of investing in real estate. For example, in our System approach, there are “Rent Credits” used to maximize your time, while minimizing your overall risks, while creating positive cash flow versus, living with negative cash flow and tenant-troubles. There is a better way!! Your properties will be beautifully managed and maintained. Your Tenant-Buyers will be happy, you will pocket plenty of positive cash flow and you’ll be able to spend your free time locating additional real estate investments, doing the things you love and have passion for doing, which is the very point of becoming a professional real estate investor in the first place!!If you really are serious about real estate investing and do extensive research into the real estate business, constantly learning and improving your knowledge level you will realize that your risks are minimal when compared to other business models.If you talk to any knowledgeable real estate investor and compare the cost of starting a real estate investing company versus some other type of business, you’ll see that a real estate business has far less risks. I like to be upfront with you that you will need some marketing dollars at the least to launch your real estate business. You also need to have a long term vision of this venture and at least give it at least a good 6-12 months to make it work. Otherwise, your money (marketing budget) and time will be a waste.I know this but most people don’t know that it takes at least some money initially to make money as a real estate investor. I don’t mean to scare anyone away but let’s compare a real estate investing business to a restaurant/carryout business. I know these types of businesses very well because relatives of mine own restaurants/carryouts, so even though I never owned a restaurant, my relatives have taught me the inner workings of that business and what it takes to sustain it to be profitable.First, for a regular restaurant it takes $30K in gross sales just to break even each month. And this does not include the 15 hour days, and six days per week, and the initial investment of $120K down payment with great credit for a bank to even lend you the money needed to open it. You also have to have years of knowledge and experience before you invest your life savings to start a restaurant business. Then, it usually takes about 1-3 years until the profits really come in, thus, this is only if you can survive to stay in business that long. My father-in-law is currently running a carryout and he has had over seventeen years experience and he tells me how fed up he is with the restaurant business. That is why he’s also getting started as a real estate investor and he’s asked me to invest some of his money into our rehab properties. He sees the huge rewards and minimal risk involved in real estate compared to his restaurant business or other businesses he has been in. And he is seriously considering selling his business to do real estate investing full-time.When you compare risks in real estate investing versus investing in other business avenues and/or endeavors, as you can come to your own conclusion: real estate investing is the ‘Best Game’ in town, when it comes to generating great wealth, while achieving your American Dream for financial independence.Real estate investing has cycles just like any other businessThe stock market has it’s cycles. We experienced that after the September 11th Tragedy. Only less than two years prior, we saw a peak in the stock market with high tech stocks soaring and making stock market investors ‘paper rich.’ The stock market has it’s ‘ups’ and it’s ‘downs.’Modern real estate thrives on doing things smarter, wiser, strategically – not harder, more time consuming, with profit-eating outcomes. At the end of the day, the key to success is to focus on being a ‘great entrepreneur.’ I asked an experience investor (he owned about a quarter of Blacksburg, Virginia) what his specialty was in real estate investing and his response was not that he was good at Lease Options, Wholesaling, Short Sales, REOs, Rehabs, Notes, Residential, Land Developments, or Commercial real estate. But he said he was an ‘expert at making money.’ We both laughed at that but I will never forget that conversation. You need to know about the marketplace and technical factors involved in a deal, but your main duty whenever you are investing is always to make money. Thus, at the end of the day, your job is to make money in ‘up’ as well as ‘down’ markets. And if you focus on being a ‘great entrepreneur,’ you’ll be able to make money with many techniques, strategies, and skill sets to be successful in any market.