Do you need training to be a doctor? A teacher? A computer programmer? Have you ever started a job where someone didn’t show you what to do, even if its flipping burgers?
Of course you need training. I’m always amazed at the number of people who decide to make money buying real estate and insist they don’t need training. I guess its because you can buy any house that has a for sale sign in the yard and to sell it, all you need to do is put a for-sale-by-owner sign in the yard. But will you really make money that way? Consistently? Safely?
Real estate is a very expensive and very risky business. Even if you inherit a property and owe nothing on it, you still have costs like taxes, insurance, maintenance. If you decide to put in a tenant, you’d better be familiar with landlord-tenant laws which vary from state to state. And, you’ll need to know something about contract law. Its far better to learn ahead of time than to learn with a lawyer standing beside you and a judge seated in front of you.
How do you begin to learn this business? Well, there’s a lot of free information and free is always good. I started by reading the real estate classified section of Sunday’s paper every week and always found free classes. Realtors offer free classes on home buying and selling. Mortgage companies offer free classes on getting mortgages and credit repair. And, of course, online information. Where would we be without Google?
A fun thing to do is to go to advertised auction sales and just hang out and listen. Ask questions. You’ll learn something new at every auction.
One source of information will be to find your local REIA group – Real Estate Investor Association. Most areas have at least one. Here in Greensboro, NC, our group is called the Triad REIA. In Charlotte, its the Metrolina REIA, in Raleigh, its the Triangle REIA.
Don’t know how to find your local REIA? Go to the National REIA website. If your local REIA is affiliated with the National REIA, they’ll be listed on that site. Most REIA’s meet at least once a month and discuss a different topic each meeting. Many times the speaker of the month is selling their program but you don’t have to buy anything. Go, take great notes and use what you learn. Every tidbit of information has the potential to make you thousands of dollars over and over for the life of your investing career.
And, when you really get into the business, pay for good training and, if available, good coaching. I’ve spent well over six figures on training and, was it worth it? You bet. When you don’t know what you’re doing in real estate, it can bring you to your knees. When you’re well trained and equipped for whatever the market may bring, the income and wealth building potential of real estate is unlimited.
Is the real estate market constantly changing? Do you watch CNN? Whatever you do in real estate, don’t stop learning.