Among the most frequent questions asked in creative real estate forums is the timeless classic “How do I get started?” It has become almost comical how often this question is repeated in the forums. You could nearly set your watch by it.Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to ridicule the people who post these messages. Rather, to point out how many of them there really are and how much demand there is for this information. In this article, I’m going to give you some idea of ways you can get started in the creative real estate business without using much (if any) of your own money.
Step #1: Develop A Plan
There is an old saying which goes, “if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” While this may seem a bit clich?, truer words have never been spoken, especially with regard to real estate investing. It is crucial to have some idea of what you want to do before you begin doing it. Since this article is geared toward getting started with as little money as possible, let’s develop a plan for wholesaling. If you’re not familiar with the term, have a look at my article “Creative Real Estate Glossary” for more information.
When I’m putting together a plan, I like to start with the goal in mind. For instance, we can set a goal of making $20,000.00 in the next 30 days. An ambitious goal? You bet! An attainable goal? Absolutely! With the goal in mind, we can work our way back to the present by asking ourselves a series of questions. A typical set of questions may be:
What steps do I have to take to achieve my desired outcome (make $20,000 in 30 days)?
I have to find and assign 4-5 wholesale deals.
How do I do that?
1. Line up 4-5 buyers for my deals 2. Negotiate acceptable deals with 4-5 sellers
How do I line up buyers?
1. Call handyman services and small construction companies. Ask if they’d be interested in buying rehabs in my target neighborhood. 2. Place small ads in the “shopper” newspapers. The ad needn’t be fancy. I’ve seen great success with “Handyman Special. Cheap. Cash.”
How do I negotiate deals with sellers?
1. Get some basic business cards – OfficeMax sells 1,000 for $11. There are also places online which offer a small number of cards for free. Hand these cards out to everyone. The more people who know what you do, the better chance you have of meeting people who need your help. 2. Flyers – these are fairly inexpensive to copy and people tend to hold onto them for quite a while. Leave one at each house in your target area every couple weeks. 3. Word of mouth – Tell people you’re interested in buying real estate! You’ll be surprised how many people are either selling a home or know someone who needs to sell theirs.
Just keep asking yourself this sort of questions until every step in your plan is clearly spelled out. Once you’ve got it all figured out, move on to…
Step #2: Take ACTION!
Would you believe more than 90% of the people who buy creative real estate courses never take any action on them? That’s insane! Once you’re armed with the information necessary to achieve your goals, take the action you know you need to take! Folks, this is absolutely the most important thing any new investor has to do! Without action, you’re going to be stuck in “analysis paralysis” mode forever! Please don’t let that happen to you. Your plan says to hand out business cards and flyers, right? Do it now! Don’t wait another second! Take it from someone who has wasted more than his share of time dragging his feet. You don’t want to look back on this day 10 years from now and say “If I had take action then, I’d be a millionaire now.” Nothing is more expensive than regret!
Step #3: Measure Your Results
Did you know that a commercial airliner is off course 99% of the time? It’s absolutely true. Crosswinds and other forces acting upon the aircraft’s flight surfaces causes it to be off course to a small degree almost the entire time that aircraft is in flight. So how the heck to the pilots get it where it is supposed to go? They recognize when it’s off course and they make small corrections.
Sometimes things are going to go perfectly. You’re going to execute every part of your plan like clockwork and the big payoff will be waiting for you at the end of the journey. Maybe once in a lifetime….
In real life, things go wrong. Sometimes they go horribly wrong. When that happens, you have to be able to recognize it quickly so you can make “course corrections” and carry on. If you can develop this one precious skill, you’ll learn that there is no such thing as failure. If you recognize what isn’t working and change it, you’re going to achieve your goal sooner or later.
So don’t get all bent out of shape when things go wrong. In truth, things will go badly more often than they’ll go right, but with the right mindset, you’ll barely even notice. Notice when you’re off course, make small course corrections and fly on to your destination
What If I Don’t Succeed Right Away?
Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb on his first try. He didn’t invent the light bulb on try #2, either. In fact, he didn’t even invent the light bulb on try #2,000! It took Mr. Edison over 2,000 attempts to get the light bulb just right. When asked about this laborious process, Edison didn’t lament the 2,000 “failures” he had endured. Rather, he remarked that he had “learned 2,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.”
If you don’t succeed right away, allow me to congratulate you. You’ve just learned one way not to do a real estate deal. I bet you won’t do it that way again, will you? You learned a lesson or two and now you’re ready to try again. Good for you! As long as you get back out there and take that action, you’ll do Mr. Edison proud.
We’ve taken a look at 3 steps you can take right now to get started in creative real estate. I didn’t go into detail regarding seller negotiation, flyer copy or any number of other things, but not because I want to withhold that information from you. I just don’t want to overload your brain in one article. You’ve also read about Thomas Edison and the 2,000 lessons which brought him to inventing the light bulb and how you can employ the same mindset to achieve results just as profound as Edison’s.
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