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Everything I’ve Learned About Real Estate Investing in 10 Powerful Sentences

Size doesn’t always matter — and I’m here to prove it.

I’m most-well known for my massive blog posts here on BiggerPockets, but today I want to do something different.

Today, I wanted to go short. 

I’ve been investing in real estate for a decade now, and these are 10 most impactful lessons I’ve learned, succinctly summed up in ten quick sentences (with a few semi-colons included because I’m a cheater).

Related: The One Thing All Experienced Investors Know to Be True (And All Newbies Will Learn!)

Enjoy. 

buy-home-investment-property

Everything I’ve Learned About Real Estate Investing in 10 Powerful Sentences

1. It’s never too early to start investing, but if you wait too long, you’ll look back and wonder, “Why didn’t I rise above the fear and start back then?”

2. A lack of money is not a reason to postpone your real estate investing career; it’s merely an excuse that allows your brain to shut off.

3. There are hundreds of different ways you could invest in real estate, but the truth is there is no “best” way, because they all work — so pick something that fits your personality, your location, your time-availability, and your passion, and run with it with every fiber of your being.

4. The 80/20 rule (Pareto’s Principle) applies perfectly to most real estate deals in that 20% of your deals will give you 80% of your profits; thus, focus on buying fewer but better deals.

5. Avoid the common pitfall of “hobby investing” by treating your real estate investing like the business that it is — with systems, processes, outsourcing, mentors, and math.

6. Don’t just buy real estate, buy incredible real estate deals — which takes a lot more work, patience, and a system for procuring those leads.

(Click to read on BiggerPockets…)

6 Easy-to-Acquire Habits That Will Help You Build Wealth

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,”Aristotle said. And that’s good advice. Yet some habits are hard to start or stop. Like, smoking, for one. Or . . . complaining about your boss.

Other habits, however, are fairly easy to adopt, if you are 100 percent committed to changing. Those are the habits I want to address here.

If you are looking to build wealth, you’ve got to begin with your habits. After all, your habits, like the rudder on a ship, will guide and direct your life with relative ease — once they are set in place. So, let’s look at six habits you can start implementing today to immediately begin acquiring greater wealth.

1. Wake up early.

Life is probably a bit crazy for you. However, it’s likely significantly less crazy before everyone else in your home wakes up! This is why it’s important to wake up early in your quest for greater success.

In my favorite business book, The One Thing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan use the analogy of a car running out of gas each day. Thus, the earlier you do your most important tasks, the easier it will be to move your business consistently forward.

As I have talked about in Entrepreneur, the secret to waking up early is not allowing your brain to make decisions. In other words, create morning routines and habits that force you to wake up! Then, get to work!

2. Define goals and benchmarks.

If you don’t know where you are headed, how do you know when you’ll get there? Or, how do you know you are on the right track? Defining goals and setting benchmarks is an easy habit to acquire, as you can make this part of your morning routing.

Related: 3 Habits of Incredibly Lucky People (For Better Fortune in Business & Life!)

Each morning, I sit down and review my goals and the progress I’ve made on them. This helps me keep the main thing the main thing and helps me make sure I don’t deviate too much toward the “shiny new things” that are all around.

3. Read more.

Reading may not seem like a habit, but ask any heavy reader, and he or she will tell you it is! When these people go a day without reading, it’s as if something is wrong. Reading is a powerful way to grow your wealth because it enables you to test-drive the mind of an author, learn what he or she knows and gain insight into how to improve your life.

Aim to make reading a habit in your life — both for business and pleasure. It doesn’t take hours a day, either. Just 15 minutes a day can help you burn through dozens of books a year, and it only takes one idea to turn you into a multimillionaire.

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

How (and Why) I Offer on Properties BEFORE I Ever Step Foot in the House

The other day I flabbergasted a friend of mine.

(I’ve always wanted to use that word in a blog post. Score!)

I explained to him my simple funnel for getting real estate deals:

As I walked him through this, my friend was befuddled! (Another word I’ve always wanted to use in a blog post!)

“Wait a minute,” he said to me, “you are telling me you make an offer BEFORE ever stepping foot in the house?”

“Of course!” I responded. “At least, if it’s a foreclosure. If it’s a motivated seller, I still make a verbal offer.”

“That’s crazy!” He laughed. “How would you know what to offer? And how do you know the condition?”

As I explained it to him, I thought it would probably interest others as well, hence this blog post!

So before I explain how I do it, let me tell you why I do it this way.

Why I Make Offers Before Looking at the Property

I realize that to newer investors, making offers sight-unseen probably seems crazy.

When I think back to my early days investing in real estate, I used to do exactly what my friend does:

  • Walk through the property
  • Walk through it again
  • Measure everything
  • Make a detailed spreadsheet
  • Panic
  • Walk through it again
  • Get scared and overthink everything
  • Then make an offer
  • And the offer gets rejected 80-90 percent of the time still.

Today, I make my offers before I step foot into the property.

Why?

Related: 8 Tips to Put Your Real Estate Offer in the Best Light — And Get it Accepted

Four reasons:

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

For years, I tried to do everything alone in my business. As a house flipper, I would find properties, arrange financing, tile bathrooms, clean old refrigerators, install carpet and do almost every other task needed to make a profit.

I struggled — a lot. But when I started hiring out more and more tasks, I began making more and more money.

Of course, you’ve heard that a million times. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Yes, hiring someone else is obvious. But being able to afford that someone is not so easy. After all, you’re probably thinking: “I can’t afford to hire my first employee! I hardly make any money!”

I was there, too. I get it. But here’s my simple answer to that: You can’t afford NOT to. Here’s why.

How an employee will change your business

What is your time worth? If I offered you $10 to stop what you are doing and sit in a dark room for an hour, would you do it? How about for $100? How about $1,000? At some point, I’m going to cross the threshold of what your time is worth, where you’d be making more money sitting in that room than you’d make outside of it.

Of course, that number is different for each person, but let me say something you may find shocking: Every single day, you are making that one-hour trade for just $10. Sometimes for far less.

“No way!” you might insist. But first answer these questions:

  • Do you check your own email?
  • Do you check your Facebook?
  • Do you schedule appointments and meetings?
  • Do you handle tech support?

If you are doing these tasks, you are essentially working for just a few dollars per hour, because this is what it would cost for someone else to do the task for you. Perhaps these tasks are not as bad as sitting in a dark room, but the results are the same: Your real work is not getting done. The real, life-changing work that’s going to propel your business forward is sitting there on the back burner.

Related: #AskBP 058: How Do You Decide Whether to Hire Someone or Do It Yourself?

That’s how an employee will change your life. By outsourcing those simple tasks, you’ll enable yourself to work on only the things that matter, the $1,000- and $10,000-per-hour tasks that you — and you alone — can do. You’ll have the same number of hours in a day as Dr. Oz, Bill Gates, Taylor Swift and Oprah. How do they accomplish so much more? They work only on their $10,000- (or $100,000)-per-hour tasks, while you’re working on your $10-per-hour ones.

Okay, so now you are convinced about needing that new employee. But you still can’t afford to hire one, right? Here are four steps to getting there.

1. Sacrifice for the moment.

How badly do you really want success? If hiring an employee can help turn your struggling/small business into something greater, you will need to sacrifice to make it happen — at least in the beginning.

When my business couldn’t afford an assistant for me, I paid for this addition out of my own pocket, trimming my monthly expenses to make it happen. You can do the same! Make a budget and stick to it. Stop eating out for a few months. Work extra hours to make more income. Hustle.

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

I’m not sure I had ever been that scared in my life…

…and it all started with a simple LLC!

Despite being a letter from the government, it was clear as could be: I was being charged a nearly $10,000 penalty from the IRS.

What was I going to do? I didn’t even have $10,000!?

And why was I being charged this?

After several panicked hours of research, I finally realized why I was being hit with this fee:

Because I was stupid.

OK, being stupid isn’t technically the reason why I was being charged $10,000.

Maybe “over zealous” is a better term — and it’s a simple mistake anyone could make.

Including you.

70-percent-rule-example

It Started With An LLC…

Here’s the deal:

When I first started investing in real estate, I heard a lot about LLCs.

I needed one, right? At least, that’s what I thought.

I had just purchased a triplex with some good friends of mine, so of course, we wanted to becool “official.”

So I went to my Secretary of State’s website and paid the $300 or so for an LLC. I printed out the documents, made a nice file folder for it, and put it in my file cabinet.

Related: 5 Reasons I Do NOT Invest in Real Estate Using An LLC

Now I was official, right?

(In reality, because I never transferred the property into the LLC, the LLC wasn’t doing anything. I assumed I would get the property transferred in soon, but never had the time. Besides, the “Due on Sale Clause” made it a little sticky if I wanted to transfer the property into an LLC anyway. More on that here.)

So the LLC was formed, and the LLC just sat there.

Maybe a mistake — but definitely not a $10,000 mistake. Sure, I wasted $300 on an LLC that I didn’t use.

But the real problem didn’t start until tax time.

The Fateful Mistake

A year later, I started working on my taxes.

Back then, I did all my own taxes using a popular online tax planning software, which was relatively cheap and easy to use.

Because my LLC had absolutely no activity (due to me never transferring the property into it), it didn’t make a profit. So, total taxes owed on that LLC would be $0, of course.

So I just ignored it.

I mean, the IRS wouldn’t care if I mentioned it on the taxes because it made no money, right?

WRONG.

Here’s the problem: The IRS requires that every non-single member LLC (in other words, any LLC that you have that is not you alone or you with your spouse) must file a business tax return (Form 1065) every year — even if the LLC makes no money.

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

Have you ever received a nice, handwritten letter from a friend or family member?

Of course you have!

My guess is that you DIDN’T throw it away without reading it.

Am I right?

People don’t throw away handwritten notes or letters without reading them first.

This is why when investors use direct mail marketing to get leads from motivated sellers, handwritten letters generally have a much higher response rate.

In other words, more people call you, wanting to sell you their house!

But I’m guessing you don’t have time to handwrite hundreds or even thousands of letters. You’d spend all your time writing and forget what your spouse looks like.

Bad idea.

Instead, many investors (myself included) turn to “handwritten font.”

What is Handwritten Font?

Handwritten font is exactly what it sounds like: computer font that looks just like handwriting.

I’m sure you’ve seen examples before, as your computer gives you a lot of options.

But let’s be honest: Most of them look terrible.

Just because the font is slanted a little doesn’t mean it looks handwritten.

Of course, you could find some good free fonts online through websites like FontSquirrel.com, but even those can look fake.

Instead, what I do is turn MY OWN HANDWRITING into a computerized font that I can use in Microsoft Word, Photoshop, or other programs on my computer.

Related: The Simple Reason Most Direct Mail Campaigns Fail to Produce Leads

Yes — that means you can TYPE, and it will look just like you wrote it by hand!

Pretty snazzy, huh?

So, how do you create handwritten font?

Here’s how.

How to Create Handwritten Font For Free

Step One: Head to www.MyScriptFont.com and download the template PDF.

(click to continue reading on BiggerPockets)

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