But good news. You...yes you...can get "rich" in real estate all on your own without any books, DVD's or expensive seminars. All you need are mentors and there are plenty in every town in this country. I have had many real estate mentors in my life. You might be thinking...why would someone want to help me learn how to invest in real estate so I can grow my wealth. Because most people are good. Most people who have achieved a level of success want to help others do the same. No one can buy all the real estate themselves so why not help someone else understand how it all works? Pay it forward.
You only need to add the following two or three people to your life:
1. A mortgage broker who owns rental property.
2. A real estate agent who owns rental property.
3. A third person who owns rental property and is willing to be your mentor.
The first two are easy to find. Just ask around town for referrals for a good real estate agent and mortgage person who own rental property. If you don't get any names call various real estate and mortgage offices and speak to the managers and ask them to refer you to an agent who owns property. This is who you want to work with. Ask to meet with them so they can help you get your plan together. Tell them you are interested in getting started but also want to keep your monthly expenses down. Ask about starting with a 2-4 unit property that you will live in...they will help you qualify for the loan and find that property.
1. The mortgage broker is your first stop. They will tell you what you need to do to qualify to buy your first property. They will have you gather your income information, run your credit and crunch the numbers. Do not assume anything about your credit or income. Meet with this person and let them tell you if you can buy now or what you will need to do to get ready to buy in the future.
I have been in the mortgage business for over 30 years and it pains me when people are afraid to talk with me. They'll say "I have to fix my credit issues first" or "I have to pay off some bills first" You do not know if you need to fix or pay off anything. The mortgage rules are so vast and complicated you must meet with a professional so they can tell you if you qualify. You cannot know from hearsay or a few articles online if you would or would not qualify to buy a house. Meeting with a mortgage person is free...it doesn't cost a dime. We qualify people all day long - it's part of the job. If the one you meet with first isn't super helpful...find another one.
2. The real estate agent is your next stop. After you have been pre qualified by your mortgage broker, you then find the right real estate agent to help you find the right house. I would never try to look for a house on my own and I have been a licensed real estate agent for years... but I do not sell real estate full time so I always use a full time, professional agent. Using a real estate agent is FREE when you are buying a house. The agent earns a commission paid by the seller after you buy. The agent will look out for you. They will help you choose a good neighborhood, explain the rental market, which properties are in the best school districts, etc. You need guidance.
Try to find an agent that owns rental property so they can offer you help on owning a rental property - working with tenants, rent control, specific laws, etc. Meet with prospective agents, tell them what you want to do...own a few properties over time. Make sure they know the 2-4 unit market well, not just the single family market. Meet with as many as you want so you can build your team....BUT once you have selected an agent use that person. Do not run around town with multiple agents having all of them show you property. This is a commission business so if someone is going to spend their time showing you property respect that and use one person.
3. Find a mentor who owns rental property.
This is not a must before you buy your first property but a seasoned mentor who has years of experience is a great asset to have at some point on your journey. I have learned A LOT from mentors and still do. Your agent and or mortgage person can also be your mentors if they own property. You will find your mentors over time organically. Once you are in the business of owning property you will naturally meet others who also own property.
You will find your own system over time. You will learn the style of property that works best for you - that is the most comfortable for you to own given the amount of time you have. Owning real estate does make you wealthy over time but it takes time and some attention. Put your portfolio together slowly as you have the time and money. The last thing you want to do is create a second full time job with some crazy system that costs thousands of dollars!