Should You Do Real Estate Full-Time?

Many self-acclaimed real estate gurus state that everyone should quit their jobs and immediately jump into full time real estate investing. They often claim incredible results from students with little experience. We would like to caution that life-changing decisions are not usually simple and that full time investing is not for everyone. Let’s discuss some pros and cons of full-time versus part-time investing.The Full-Time InvestorEntering into the real estate profession on a full-time basis offers several advantages over a part-time commitment. Being successful requires you to develop knowledge in many aspects of real estate, and more time focused on real estate leads to greater knowledge. The more your learn, the more you earn, since you do not need to rely on as many professional services or partners for help. You also learn to recognize a deal (or a dud) faster, which gives you more time to do more business or spend with your family.As a full-time investor, you work your own hours. When we say “full-time,” that may mean as little as twenty hours per week if you are good at finding deals. The rest of your time can be spent pursuing other vocations or hobbies. Or, if you are so inspired, you can work forty or more hours and use the extra cash flow to buy rental properties or diversify your holdings in the stock market. The point is that you need to satisfy your cash flow needs before you can start “investing” your money.One final point you should consider is whether you want to be “self-employed.” If you have always worked for someone else, being your own boss sounds very attractive. In some, respects, this isn’t quite the truth. Being your own boss means being an accountant, bookkeeper, stock clerk, receptionist and office manager all-in-one. You have to do deal with tax returns, payroll, office supplies, customer service, bills and all the other hassles that come with a business. You don’t have friends to chat with at the water cooler. You don’t have paid health insurance, a company car and a 401(k). You take your problems home with you every night. Sound like fun? It is, once you learn how to master your time and run your business. Being the master of your own life and career is well worth the other hassles of dealing with your own business.The Part-Time InvestorThe part-time investor holds a “regular job.” This may be by choice or for the time being until his real estate ventures are bringing in enough cash to quit his job. If it is the latter reason, don’t quit your job because the real estate “guru” told you so. Quit your job when it is not worth the income that it brings you. In other words, if you are making more money per hour flipping properties on the side, you are at the point that where your regular job is costing you money. Only then, is it time to quit!One of the advantages of starting out part-time is that you can maintain cash flow while learning the business. It may take weeks or possibly months to find your first deal. That same deal may take several months to turn around, especially if you decide to fix it and sell it retail. Think twice before telling your boss you’re leaving; you will have plenty of time to make the career switch once you have real estate experience. You may, on the other hand, like your occupation. If so, continue to work at it, and invest in real estate on the side.The best case scenario, if you are married, is to have one spouse work a regular job. The other spouse work the real estate business for creating wealth, retirement income and a nice college fund for the children. Of course, in today’s market, you could be laid off due to unforeseen circumstances. If you earn additional income flipping houses and invest the proceeds into rental properties, you will be covered if your main income is lost. This is especially the case for married women that often forego a career and raise a family, only to find themselves divorced with no means of making a living. We don’t want to sound cynical about marriage, but with a fifty-percent divorce rate in America, it never hurts to have a system for making money.Someone with a full time job tends to have little free time to focus on real estate. A part-timer should learn most of the same skills as a full timer. Thus, the key disadvantage to flipping properties on a part-time basis is that it takes sacrifice to learn the business. Something has to give; television, lazy weekends, meaningless hobbies and even some family activities must be compromised. As with any education, time spent learning about real estate will bring its own rewards, especially if the people in your life understand your goals and your plan to achieve those goals. If you are married, make sure your spouse reads this material with you and participates in the fun process of making money.Treat Real Estate as a BusinessPeople are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat it like any other business.

Tips for Setting Up a Home Office for Your Real Estate Business

You may have wondered what’s so great about real estate. Well, real estate provides a genuine opportunity to make huge profits. It also enables you to work with many fantastic people, and to have a career that involves neither office cubicles nor the nine to five grind.If you’re starting out in the real estate business on your own, and you’re a shrewd investor, it’s possible that you can avoid working in an office altogether. Instead, make the most of your home by setting up a workspace there.That’s the new American dream, isn’t it? The chance to make money while sitting at home in your PJs, sipping orange soda and eating apple pie at three o’clock in the afternoon? To work from a park bench on a beautiful summer’s day. Or take your business with you while you travel across the country?These ideas do sound great. But not working in a conventional office has its drawbacks. Here are a few tips to assist you in making working from home work for you.1) Dedicate an area in your home as your workspace. It’s a very sensible idea to establish a home office space if you are going to work from your house. You really don’t want your business calls, conferences and meetings to be continually interrupted by noisy kids and neighbors who have just dropped by to see you. So avoid working from a corner of your living room if you can.2) Buy a filing cabinet. Paperwork is still a necessary evil. Since there’s no chance you’re going to be dealing exclusively in digital files, make sure you have someplace to keep all of the documents you really don’t want to lose. Because otherwise, they’re going to be gone.3) Keep regular work hours. There are obvious exceptions, but for the most part you’re going to want to try and keep regular work hours. Why? Because far too many people miss that first vital key word in “working from home”. (That would be the working part.) Neighbors, friends, and family think your time at home is free time in which you’re available to them. This means they’re going to come knocking. Don’t answer the house door or the house phone from (x) to (x) unless it’s an emergency. Sooner or later, people will get the message.4) Decorate your workspace in a way that suits you. You’re going to be spending a great deal of time in your home office, as well as possibly meeting clients there. So, it’s a great idea to make your home office space streamlined and professional, as well as adding your own personal touches to it. My own preference is for warm colors and wood. When winter comes around, I like to be in a bright room.5) Make sure you attach an Ethernet cable to your computer. When you’re on the move, the best idea is to work on a laptop. When you’ve picked up the kids from school, however, you don’t want to be competing for bandwidth. It’s a frustrating experience to find you’re halfway through responding to an inquiry, only to lose your information and have to start over.6) Enjoy the experience! It can be a lot of fun working from home, but not if you’re fretting about all the household chores that have to be done. Try to put the laundry and dishes aside for the time being and take comfort in the fact that you have a really great job.