Being a landlord can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. Landlords can earn a lot of money, or they can spend a ton of money on legal fees and lose more than they make. You can self-manage your rentals or be hands-off if you hire the right team and outsource it.
Either way, doing it right, and doing it well, will save you money and heartache, probably legal fees, and can attract quality tenants who will take care of your asset.
No matter what strategy you pursue as a landlord, here are a few things you should do no matter what.
Open business bank accounts, keep track of your receipts, cut unnecessary expenses. Legitimize and protect your asset with appropriate entities and insurance.
Build quality, lasting systems.
This is the next step to treating your business like a business. If you build systems and you’re able to do routine things routinely, you’ll be able to respond to issues that come up with your tenants or issues that come up with the property. This will allow you to be a great landlord over a long period of time and make a lot of money while owning a particular asset.
Know the laws.
Make sure that you’re using all the right leases and documentation based on the requirements of your state. Hold deposits in the right type of bank account. Check out American Apartments Owner’s Association’s Website for a breakdown of requirements by state.
Take care of your tenants.
Your tenants may come into some hard times, or may have some financial or personal difficulties. After all, they are human, and they deserve empathy and to be heard. Ensure that they know that the lines of communications are open and that you’re going to take care of them.
I do not suggest posting an eviction notice on the door of a great tenant that always pays on time if they are one day late. If they’re communicating with you and telling you that they are going to bring you the rent payment, hold them to that and come up with a payment plan.
Build trust with them and let them perform. If they don’t, then you need to hold on to what that lease says and take further action, but a good tenant deserves the benefit of the doubt, at least once.
Do exactly what the lease says.
Stick to your word and do exactly what the lease says, no matter what. Anytime that you agree to a lease with a tenant, you need to stick to that lease. If you break that lease even one time, you’re telling your tenant that that lease is not important, and giving them the freedom and flexibility to do the same. If you uphold the lease, your tenant will respect you and will understand that the boundaries are written right in black and white within the lease, and any violation on that will not be tolerated.
Treat your venders well.
Pay them on time, pay them appropriately, and treat them fairly. But also hold them accountable. If you asked them to do a job, make sure that they do it well, and then compensate them in a timely manner.
These are just a few of the things good landlords do. It is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are plenty of additional things you can do as a landlord.
Being an awesome landlord is not only fulfilling, but can also be very lucrative. You need the right tenants to preserve your asset and build your wealth, so it is imperative that you do your best to be the best landlord that you can be! This will allow you to find and keep great tenants!
The decision to invest out of state should not be taken lightly—you need to do your research, practice due diligence, and weigh the pros and cons to ultimately decide whether it’s right for you. The right out-of-state investing strategy can prove to be highly lucrative and allow you to scale your investing, but there are also many factors you should consider before diving in headfirst.
Out-of-state investing can be costly, time-consuming, and nerve-wracking. It’s important to keep these and other factors below in mind as you explore this strategy, and ultimately make the decision that’s right for you.
The Challenges of Out-of-State Investing
Investing Out of State Can Be Nerve-wracking
When investing out of state, you may be buying properties that you’ve never seen. You’ll have to rely on contractors you’ve never met, and pay for work that you’ve not personally inspected.
This can make anyone nervous—you need to be prepared to give up a level of control you’d usually have when investing locally.
It can take time to invest out of state
It takes time to establish any team, but can take even longer if you’re not on the ground. It also takes time to choose the right market, and really learn the ins and outs of that market.
You’ll need to dig around for information on the best rental areas, what kind of returns you can expect, where you should flip, and what areas you should stay away from. You won’t have a high level of familiarity with the area, which means you’ll need to put in more time to even begin investing out of state.
Investing out of state can be more expensive.
You no longer have the option of managing your own rental property or renovation. This means higher management and contractor fees. Fortunately, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
The Good News: All of These Things Can Be Overcome
Just look around—there are plenty of people successfully investing out of state. With the right team in place and boots on the ground you can trust, investing out of state will open up a world of new opportunities for you to explore.
And with the right systems in place, you can greatly reduce your risk.
The Possibilities Are Limitless With Out-of-State Investing
You can live anywhere and invest anywhere. If you find a hot market somewhere, you can jump in and take advantage, regardless of your physical location or current situation.
You can pursue markets with less competition and scale more quickly. If you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find the right market and property for your budget, and can very likely also find the returns that you’re looking for that might not be available where you live.
Investing Out of State Provides Freedom
Once you’ve built your team and hire contractors, the large majority of your time will be spent receiving reports and paying the bills. You no longer actively manage the property or the renovation. Instead, you’re sitting back, watching it get done, and getting paid.
Once you remove yourself from the management role, you will have much more bandwidth and freedom to pursue other things, or more investment projects.
Out-of-State Investing Allows You to Diversify Your Portfolio
Having properties in multiple cities and multiple states can help protect you against a recession or a large employer going out of business in any one area. Also, fluctuating markets or new restrictions will not affect you as much if your portfolio is spread across multiple cities and states.
Just like anything worth pursuing, you have to put in the work, but with the right mindset and a solid understanding of the pros and cons, out-of-state investing may be worth considering.
Things were going great. You were in a groove, crushing goals, buying properties, or making progress on your first deal. Borrowing money was easy and people were turning great profits.
Then the unthinkable happened. A black swan event. Coronavirus came and wrecked your plans!
The investing world changed overnight. Hard money lending dried up almost completely. Governors told their residents they didn’t have to pay rent. Forbearance became the buzzword. The government offered low interest and forgivable loans to landlords. You thought “Wow, this is bad. I better pump the brakes.”
So many investors are sitting back, watching this all unfold and completely sidelining themselves. They are taking a break and assessing the market.
But I have one goal here: to steer you away from this strategy. Or complete lack of a strategy. I want to encourage you to not lose your momentum.
Don’t sideline yourself!
If you sideline yourself any time the market isn’t expanding, you’re going to be out of the game for the majority of the time, and will most certainly miss many opportunities.
Market cycles are normal, and we will come out of this. Realize that and don’t let it mess with your confidence, or derail your plans. Remain cautiously optimistic and posture yourself to take advantage of the opportunities that will come from this event and subsequent market downturn.
Those that are fearful will let go of their assets, probably for a lot less than they are worth, providing an incredible opportunity for you!
And as other investors take a step back, there will be further opportunities for you to make offers unopposed and without competition.
And I have every reason to step back!
Back in September, I bought a very high risk property, planned to flip and sell it quickly in a very affluent area of Nashville. I was freaking out, but stoked about the potential. I could make $100,000 on this property and it would give me the reserves I needed to take my business to the next level.
Things went downhill from there. My contractors got in way over their heads, lied repeatedly, did crappy work and hid a lot of issues, then walked off the job site. By the time I corrected (most of) the damage they created, my hard money loan term was running out and I went to refinance since I didn’t yet have a buyer. While waiting for the appraiser to get out to the property, coronavirus stopped the market in it’s tracks and the appraised value dropped $92,000.
I finally got a decent offer on the property and ended up losing $45,000 on the property. $45,000 is a lot of money for me…a solopreneur who is experiencing an economic downturn for the first time as an investor. A year ago, I was a stay-at-home mom, dabbling in real estate as not much more than a hobby.
This experience made me want to sell every property in my portfolio, close down my coaching business, and move on to another industry. But then I realized, this experience is not going to break me, it’s not going to define me, but it sure is going to make me stronger, better, wiser.
It is an expensive lesson to learn, but the most important lesson I learned is that I will overcome that loss. And bounce back. What other choice do I have?
Millionaires will come out of this. Those best postured to take advantage of opportunities will snatch up market share and build portfolios they might not have been able to during the expansion phase of the market cycle.
Don’t lose your momentum!
Keep exploring markets. Figure out where you want to invest and start looking hard at opportunities within those markets.
Continue analyzing properties. Find out what return you are comfortable with and make offers on anything and everything that fits that criteria.
Build your contact list every single day! Generate productive relationships, add value, and build a network that will elevate your game and catapult you to the next level.
Refine your KPIs. Focus on being productive and making progress toward your goals.
Create good habits now, and ride them into the boom! Cut expenses and excess spending, get focused, and develop discipline. All of these things that will benefit you during any phase of the market cycle.
As a parting thought, I leave you with a challenge:
Stop thinking about surviving this, and instead think about thriving!
I know I don’t want to come out of this three months, or five years, from now and think “I’m glad that’s over!” I don’t have time for that! My goals can’t wait five years! I want to look back and say “Wow! I am really proud of myself and the way I overcame those hard times.” And know that I can and will get through whatever gets thrown my way!
You’ve likely heard the term “KPI,” which stands for key performance indicator, thrown around the business world. It seems like every successful investor is using KPIs and has nothing but great things to say about them. If successful investors are using them, we know they must be good for us, too, but actually putting KPIs into practice is a different story. So, let’s start from the beginning.
What Are KPIs?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a key performance indicator, or KPI, is “a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc. in meeting objectives for performance.”
Simply put, KPIs allow you to measure how productive you and your team are in achieving your goals.
Why Are KPIs Important?
In any business, if you’re not meeting your objectives, your work can be largely (or wholly) useless—it is imperative to know whether the things you’re doing are effective and, therefore, a good use of your time and effort. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels, making it only a matter of time before you burn out, quit, or get fired.
How to Create KPIs That Drive Success
A simple Google search can provide various examples of KPIs, but you, your team, and/or your business leaders will need to develop those specific to your objectives. Every organization is unique—your KPIs will be, too.
As a real estate investor, begin by laying out each stage of your strategy—from deal acquisition through closing—whether you’re wholesaling, building, or purchasing a dwelling.
Each of these has quantifiable outcomes, and these outcomes can be optimized with appropriate KPIs. KPIs allow you to track these quantifiable outcomes, so you can determine where you currently stand and what issues your organization may have.
Before you begin actually creating KPIs, you need to wrap your head around the two broad types of indicators: lead indicators and lag indicators.
What Are Lead Indicators and Lag Indicators?
A lead indicator is something you can control and something that can create change. A lag indicator is essentially the result of your actions.
As a real estate investor, whether for commercial real estate or residential properties, finding a deal is often the first stage of our strategy. Let’s look at a scenario that starts there.
In this case, the lead indicator is making an offer, while the lag indicator is an offer being accepted.
You can completely control when, how, and how often you make offers, but you cannot control whether those offers are accepted. Furthermore, if you do not make offers, you will not gain accepted offers.
This is important to note because your leading KPIs need to be achievable and actionable. If your KPI is to have three offers accepted per week, you could offer 10, 100, or 1,000 times and not get a single accepted offer.
On the flip side, you could make three offers and achieve three accepted offers. The point is, the lag indicator, or accepted offers in our example, is the result or the goal, and not an action or activity.
Five Basic Steps to Develop KPIs
Step 1: Clearly Define the Problem
What is it that you and your organization are trying to solve? What issues are you having? What obstacle do you need to overcome to achieve your goals?
Scenario: You have a hard time finding properties to analyze. You are spending hours each day searching for properties to analyze.
Problem: You are not generating enough property or seller leads to achieve your goals.
Step 2: Lay Out Exactly How the Solution to the Problem Will Be Measured
How will the solution be measured?
Scenario: Your ultimate goal is to close on four deals per month, or one deal per week.
Measurement: One accepted offer per week.
Step 3: Figure Out How to Achieve These Results
What needs to happen in order to get to the solution you are measuring?
Scenario: To get to one accepted offer (and ultimately one closed deal) every week, you first need to know how many deals you will have to analyze, as well as how many offers you will have to make to achieve one being accepted.
You know from experience that you have to analyze seven properties in your market before you find one that could work and is worth offering on. Of those, one out of every three offers is accepted. Therefore, you have to analyze 21 properties for every accepted offer.
Since you’d like to close on one deal per week, you have to analyze 21 properties every week, or three properties every day.
Action: Analyze three properties every day.
Step 4: Determine Exactly How Success Is Measured
Now that we know what needs to happen to drive results, it’s time to get to the root of the problem. In this case, we aren’t getting enough leads each day. To put it more simply—we don’t have enough deals to analyze.
In order to impact results, you have to nail down the exact solution. You already know that you need more leads, but “find more leads” is not exactly measurable.
Scenario: How will you get to your baseline of three deals per day?
If you need to get three deals to analyze every day, you need to find the source of these deals. Deals can be found in a variety of ways—agents and wholesalers, driving for dollars, direct mail marketing, cold calling, auctions, etc.
Action: Your network of wholesalers and agents will send at least one deal to your inbox every day. You will find the third deal, or however many you still need, by driving for dollars every afternoon.
Step 5: Refine and Adjust
Once you’ve developed your KPIs, schedule time to refine them regularly and routinely, understanding that KPIs are a baseline. They are the bare minimum that you need to do and achieve every day to be successful and to stay on track for your goals.
Keep this in mind when preparing KPIs—you need to be able to accomplish these on even your worst, busiest days. On days that you have more free time, you can double or even triple your KPIs to more quickly reach your goals.
Scenario: You originally had to analyze seven properties before you found one that worked. As you get better at analyzing and figuring out what you’re looking for and where to find it, this number will go down.
Furthermore, you will get better at writing offers and negotiating deals. Your track record for accepted offers will improve, as well.
Adjustment: Eventually, you’ll only need to analyze five properties before finding one worth making an offer on. And one of every two that you offer on may results in an accepted offer. Now you have to analyze 10 properties for every accepted offer rather than 21.
You’ve become twice as efficient simply by practicing your KPIs every day. You can now double your goal, or enjoy the extra free time.
If you’re still struggling, check out KPI templates online. And remember, this practice isn’t something you will do once and be done with forever. It is an ongoing process that also needs to be optimized for maximum results, leading to greater success over time.
We’ve all heard that it all starts with Why. We need to know what we are working for and working toward in order to be most productive. I agree wholeheartedly with this.
Even as I sit here at my desk, locked in a tiny closet in military housing, listening my girls giggling their little heads off, all I want to do is get out of this hole and go hang out with them. But, right above my computer screen sits my Why, and I am grounded. I know what I am working toward. I know why I am spending time in here, while they are out there, living their best lives. It’s for them, their future.
But it’s also for me, right now.
Working on my real estate portfolio, and building my legacy, drives me every day. We will all move on from this life someday. I am faced with a potentially fatal heart condition that could make today that day.
And that is terrifying. Debilitating, even.
And sometimes all I want to do is bury myself in my bed and cry.
But it is also liberating, and incredibly motivating.
I sleep better at night knowing that I am working on something I can physically hand down to my girls. This big goal is what keeps me moving forward. I know that when I am gone, I will have taught them the value of hard work and how to commit to something and see it through. And as a bonus, I get to hand them a tangible and valuable asset: my portfolio.
What I do everyday centers around my Why, and I am grounded in the future that I am working toward. If you haven’t already developed your Why, here is a great place to start.
Your why is basically your overarching purpose. Your belief that motivates and pushes you every day. This is what drives you!
We are constantly told to make this big and commit to it. The bigger the better, right? The higher we reach now, the more we will achieve. Makes sense, until it doesn’t. When this completely overtakes you, it is almost impossible to be in the present and enjoy the journey. Which can be a huge problem, and potentially make you want to quit.
Your Why tends to be very future-oriented, and sometimes you can totally miss the present. The present can become nothing more than collateral.
But, you do not need to sacrifice the now for your future. What you do need is discipline, and you need consistency. But you also need to give yourself some room to do and live out the things that you are hoping for in the future.
If you give yourself some spending money to buy the nice things that you want in your future, or to travel, or to just enjoy some of the luxuries that you see yourself enjoying down the road, you can have a real reminder of what you are working toward. And this can drive you further, faster and harder.
This very true and tangible thing can become a huge motivator, and can allow to truly live here right now while also driving you to reach your future.
So, right now, when you are stuck at home, and motivation is tough to harness, cut yourself a little slack. Give yourself a chance to truly take in what you are working for. Allow this to recharge you and keep you moving forward.
Right now, it seems that everyone is focused on the future of our economy, the stock market, and real estate. We know we are on the cusp of something big, but we just aren’t quite sure how (and how much) we will be affected.
We are in unprecedented times, and our leaders don’t have a lot of quality data or information to truly combat the situation. Plans are being made in hopes of achieving intended outcomes.
People are scared. So scared, they can’t make a decision and instead sit inactive.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past few weeks I’ve heard investors, lenders, and contractors tell me they “are waiting it out.” They are taking a pause before figuring out what to do.
I am not doing that. I am pushing forward, putting deals together, and hustling toward my goals.
It’s true that there are a lot of unknowns, and the associated risk higher, but we can hedge against that risk. We can build in contingencies, buffers, and reserves. We can tighten up our criteria. We can shift our focus. We can get creative.
But what we should not do, is take a break and see how the market plays out. Because anytime we decide to put our goals and dreams on hold, there is a very real chance we are missing out on opportunity.
There are still deals out there. There is still money to be made.
And I am still choosing to focus on real estate.
Real Estate is the Real Deal
So many millionaires made their money in real estate. Many of them after the market crashed in 2007-2008. These individuals have been waiting for this downturn for years, and they are prepared.
I’d like to join their ranks. I know it’s not all about the money, but money is the tool. The tool I can use to leverage the life I want to live, the financial freedom I am seeking.
I want to provide quality housing to Americans. I am working to set myself up so I can take care of my tenants when they are laid off, or facing tough times. This drives me and keeps me moving forward, even in the face of so much uncertainty.
Anyone can do Real Estate
Real estate does not discriminate.
You don’t need a ton of money to get started. You don’t need to be in a particular age, or from a certain demographic, or even have any skill set. You don’t even need to live anywhere near a good market.
It’s about the hustle and the systems. There’s a lot of room in real estate to add value and a lot of ways that you can get into it without a ton of money upfront or even without experience.
The difference between those that make it in real estate and those that don’t comes down to nothing more than action.
Real estate has the ability to generate passive income, and this income can scale over time.
Real estate also allows you to make cash now. You can attain monthly cash flow through each of your rentals, and also get a tax break each year. Real estate also allows you to build long-term wealth. Over time, a good investment will appreciate in value. This, on top of amortization, or having your tenants pay down your mortgage principal balance, can lead to significant returns and long term wealth, especially when scaled appropriately.
Real Estate is a Tangible Asset
You have control over this asset. You get to decide, in some part, how much it’s worth by how well you maintain it and update it. You’re in the driver seat, and you can market it appropriately. And you choose exactly where, when, and how to buy real estate.
For me, it’s still all about the real estate. I am not slowing down. I am actively looking for problems to solve.
These times have put homeowners and landlords in precarious situations. There are plenty of property owners who are (figuratively) stuck under a property, and looking for ways to be free from the burden. We can work together to put together a solution that works for everyone.
Opportunities are waiting for investors who are ready to take action.
A potential recession can be really scary. There are so many unknowns, any person can easily become overwhelmed. Add to that the threat to your physical health and the implications to your mental health, this is a lot to deal with. But deal with it we must. Otherwise, we could be overseeing a great opportunity. Or missing out on something huge. Or even making shortsighted, or uninformed decisions.
For me, sticking to a to-do list during times like this helps me to feel productive and keeps me moving forward.
Follow these seven steps and at least know that you are being proactive and productive no matter what the future holds.
Step 1: Gather all the relevant data.
The first thing you need to do is learn as much as you possibly can about what we’re dealing with. The best way to do this is to learn from those who have experience dealing with something similar. Find the experts, read their books and articles, and listen to their podcasts.
Remember, though, that this is speculation, and you should always consider multiple points on view. Nobody can predict the future. But, we sure can figure out the likely scenarios. The most important thing here is to stick to the facts and take advice from those who actually have an idea of what they are talking about.
Step 2: Come up with a plan.
Now that you have a better idea of what we are dealing with and the possible scenarios that could play out, determine what you are going to do about it. Will your strategy change? Will you put things on hold? Will you pursue something new or different? All of these are likely scenarios and are at least worth considering. It is also reasonable, and probably wise, to have a plan B and even plan C.
Step 3: Strengthen your foundation and get your reserves in order.
Whatever reserves you had for the sunny days may need to be doubled or tripled when you are preparing for a recession. You may need to consider additional vacancies or rental rate reductions. You may also be faced with the possibility that tenants cannot pay rent at all.
Building up your reserves will require discipline but it will be worth it. Furthermore, ensure that you are taking full advantage of the stimulus package. Do your research and know what assistance is available to you and how to take advantage of the different strategies.
Step 4: Cut all unnecessary expenses.
Go through your expenses with a fine tooth comb and cut out all the excess. If you’re paying for a subscription you’re no longer using, get rid of it. If you subscribe to a TV channel that isn’t bringing you joy, cancel it. There are many ways to go about this, but the first step is figuring out where your money is going. So schedule some time, print out your credit card statements, and get to cutting! A few steak dinners replaced with a home cooked spaghetti meal is an easy sacrifice, and your bank account will thank you for it.
Step 5: Revise your strategic plan.
All of the above will likely require that you reassess and possibly realign your strategic plan. If you haven’t already developed a strategic plan, check out this post for a quick and easy way to get on your way.
Please note that I am not advising you to let go of your goals! I am simply recommending that you reprioritize and potentially move things around. You may have to push some things off, but you can replace them with other things.
Step 6: Stay Positive
We’ve all heard the saying “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” and this is truly the best thing you can do during uncertain times. Realizing that there are things within your control and things outside of your control can be really helpful. Do what you can, and don’t stress about what you have no control over. Our economy cycles; it is normal and to be expected. You can’t change that, but you can decide how you will handle this downturn and what you learn from it.
Step 7: Take care of yourself.
Uncertain times can be very stressful, and can make you doubt the path you’re on. None of this is healthy or productive! Come up with a plan and stick to it. Create some routine and normalcy in your life, and cut yourself some slack!
Working from home can be a huge blessing and opportunity, but it requires much more focus and discipline. There tend to be more distractions in your house, and adding kids and a spouse who is also working from home can make a challenging situation even more so.
Eliminating the daily commute can be a great time saver, and can really simplify things. On the other hand, it can also be hard to transition from work to home mode at the end of the day, and can compromise a healthy work-life balance. But, this is the current reality for millions of Americans, and there are plenty of things you can do to get through this time without getting completely derailed.
Just like anything else in life that you want to do well, you should start with goal setting.
Set Your Goals.
Figure out what the ideal situation looks like right now. Whether you are working from home temporarily or permanently, it is important to define that and reassess your goals to accommodate.
It is okay to reprioritize, and actually probably pretty wise. Working from home may provide some amazing opportunities, but can also pose some significant challenges. Figure out how it will affect you and adjust your goals to overcome.
Figure out with your daily baseline is. You likely won’t be as productive during this time given everything else that you’re trying to balance but that’s okay, and to be expected. Determine what you have to do every day to keep in line with your goals. These are called Key Performance Indicators, and if they are are in line with your goals, and you accomplish them every day, you will achieve your objectives.
Accept and embrace your new normal.
No matter how much you hate the current virus situation, you cannot change it. Even though it’s hard, we just have to get through it. The sooner you realize this fact and accept it, the better off you’ll be.
If you can take it even father and embrace the current situation, and find the silver lining, and see the bright side, you will be unwavering.
Come up with a routine.
Schedule your day. This starts first thing in the morning, the minute that you wake up. To perform at your peak, you need to wake up with purpose, ready to get things done and ready to take on the day. If you wake up overwhelmed and without a plan, you likely won’t achieve a lot. You’ll spend much of your day figuring out what you should be doing and floundering without purpose. It’s important to start your day off with right and the momentum you build can carry you through the rest of the day.
Not a morning person? It’s not as hard to become an early riser as you might think, and with the right motivation, you could quickly become a morning person. Also, study after study has shown that people who wake up early and have a successful morning routine are not only more productive, but also less likely to suffer depression and obesity.
If you need some help with this, check out what some of the most successful people are doing for their morning routines. Once you’ve come up with your plan, you need to stick to it and be very disciplined.
Commit and be disciplined.
Stick to the plan! Focus on your morning routine and the things you can control. If you start the day off right, the momentum will carry you throughout the rest of the day. Don’t let your day, your to do list, and your KPIs get derailed by Netflix, or the temptations in the kitchen.
Give yourself some grace.
Lastly, give yourself some grace, especially during this time. It is absolutely imperative that you take care of yourself. These are unprecedented times and there’s a lot of pressure on us whether we realize it or not.
Other tips for success:
Dress the part. I don’t mean that you need to get up and put on your uniform that you would normally wear to the office or that you need to put on a three-piece suit, but you should brush your teeth, comb your hair, and dress functionally and appropriately so you can take on the day. Feeling the part can be just as important as anything else and can help you get into the right mindset.
I went to an all-girls high school and was the first in the history of my school to be accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. This acceptance would lead to four years of military school and five years of service in the Army following graduation.
Many of my classmates, teachers, and especially my guidance counselor, were shocked at my decision. People told me that I was throwing my life away. Other people told me that I was wasting my time.
It didn’t bother me, because it was a path I truly wanted to take. I knew that it was different, but I was okay with that.
This is me when I was serving in the Army.
I knew that I would be the minority. I knew that there were less than 20 percent women at the United States Military Academy. And I knew that in the Army, I would probably find myself the minority in most, if not all, situations.
I expected all of these things, and my experience was right in line with my expectations.
When I got into real estate, though, my experience did not quite line up with my expectations.
1. I did not expect to be the minority as a real estate investor.
I was certainly uninformed and didn’t really know what I was getting into when I first became an investor. I had no idea that there were so few women investors. But what I really don’t understand is: why?
Women tend to live longer than men. Women typically make less money than men. And women usually spend less time in the workforce. For all of these reasons, women need to turn less into more.
It can feel like we are expected to fail—or even encouraged to.
When you dig further, though, the stats show that women are actually better investors. While many say that we’re softer and that our investing strategies are weaker because we tend to be more cautious, the fact is that our decisions and willingness to ride out investment cycles have made us better investors.
Our willingness to take less risk has had greater results when compared to the more aggressive approach typically taken by men.
3. I did not expect to have to work so hard to build my network.
This just goes back to the sheer number of women in the field. I have always flocked to strong women. Building a network of powerful women who can support each other in a field with a limited number of women can take time. But it is absolutely available in the real estate world; you just have to look a little bit harder.
4. I did not expect to be treated differently than the men.
I’ve found that when I deal with contractors or negotiate deals, many of the men expect me to be softer. They expect me to be easier to deal with.
Well, I can tell you right now, that is not me. I am direct. I am demanding. I have very high standards. And I hold people accountable.
Some men have a really hard time dealing with this, but that is who I am. And that is why I’ve been a successful real estate investor so far.
5. I did not expect to find my place in the world.
I thought the Army was my calling, and I did not think I’d be lucky enough to find a fulfilling second career. But I was wrong! This is where I was meant to be.
My experience as a woman real estate investor has been different than I expected, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Real estate investing has changed my life.
It has given me so much time freedom. It has given me control of my finances and my future. It has allowed me to build something that I can be proud of and that I can hand down to my daughters.
I’m proud to be a woman investor and am eager to encourage other women to invest, as well!
Women investors: Don’t be afraid to buck the status quo! We need to invest our money wisely to prepare for our future! And we need to stake our claim on this industry!
Are you a woman interested in investing but have yet to start? How can I help?
When I talk to a new real estate investor or someone who wants to be a real estate investor, they tend to be completely overwhelmed by all the resources that are out there. There are dozens and dozens of podcasts, thousands of books, and a lot of people who want to give you advice. It’s not easy to navigate at first.
Then, you start to learn. But sometimes it feels like the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know!
No wonder so many people never make it past this phase! They get stuck (some call this analysis paralysis) and have no one to help them move forward.
It’s critical that you have a purposeful path to pursue when you are first starting out. I think that learning the true power of real estate and understanding that there are various strategies that you can pursue is a great place to start.
At that point, newbie and wannabe investors need to get really honest about what an ideal future looks like and what goals to make to get there. Take some time to figure out where it is that you are trying to go. Be purposeful and strategic—otherwise, you will just be busy but not productive.
Don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis like most would-be new investors. They’re afraid to take action, they don’t know where to start, and then they quit for one reason or another.
I do not want that to happen to you. So, here are three things that I think you should do as a newbie or wannabe to ensure you’re on the path toward success.
Every single day you need to be networking and building your contact list. There are so many people who you want on your team.
It’s important that you have a CPA who understands real estate investments. It’s also important that you have access to an attorney who can help you with landlord laws, contract drafting, and protecting yourself and your investments.
You want to make sure that you connect with a banker or conventional lender, hard money lender, private money lender, and maybe even someone who can help you with creative financing. (Yes, this is a thing!) The more money sources you can have, the better.
You’re going to need an insurance agent. You might needâor at least wantâa real estate agent (or more than one) on your team, too.
You could use a wholesaler. You’re going to need contractors, specialists, handymen. You might need a pest control company. You’re going to need a cleaner or cleaning company. You might want a property manager or someone who can teach you how to self-manage.
I also encourage you to have somebody on your team who will hold you accountable. It can be a mentor, or a coach, or a group of friends, or another successful investor. Share your goals with this person (or these people), and ask them to hold you to them. Knowing that someone is checking up on you can provide a great source of motivation!
Network! Network! Network!
The key to having deals constantly and consistently flowing to you is having the right group of people who can provide you with leads and deals. This happens over time as you network and get your name out there as a serious investor. So, be patient, but don’t put it off!
Step 2: Analyze properties.
You need to be analyzing properties every single day. In order to analyze properties, though, you need to nail down a market. Pick one and know exactly why you’re choosing that market.
Just because somebody says it’s hot does not mean that you should pursue it. You need to do your research. Once you’re confident that you’re in the right market, you can start analyzing properties within that market.
You need to know what your return on investment threshold is, so you can find out whether or not you’re looking at a good property. This can be hard in the beginning, because you don’t have the experience. You will likely make a mistake (or a few!).
So, this is where a good mentor, coach, or accountability partner comes in. These people can also serve as another set of eyes and reiterate whether or not you should make an offer.
Step 3: Talk to anyone who will listen.
Tell anyone and everyone what your goals are. Tell them what you’re pursuing; make sure that they know what you’re doing. And if they’re at all interested, make sure that you have their contact information, because you might be able to ask them for money down the road.
Encourage your friends and family to follow your journey. Once they can trust that you know what you are doing and are building a foundation to be successful, they might be a private money source for you. Or they might want to partner on something with you. Or they might know someone who is crushing it in real estate and connect you with that person.
There are a lot of things that real estate investors can be doing to start out, but an intentionally directed path is absolutely critical.
If you read this post and feel that you have yet to complete some or all of these steps, pull out a piece of paper (seriously, right now). Make a list of the team members you’re missing, and get out there and start interviewing and building relationships.
Nail down your market, start analyzing properties, and make offers. And just to add a little more pressure, make sure someone is holding your feet to the fire!