by Mark Elliot
I’ve always been a frustrated entrepreneur. I have frequent creative invention ideas, product ideas, new business ideas and book ideas. As a fulltime pastor for the past thirty years, I felt handcuffed in the ministry. That began to change in 2005 when my wife and I began to “secretly” invest in rental real estate.
It felt so liberating to begin to exercise my entrepreneurial spirit. It was done under the radar so to speak because entrepreneurs are often misunderstood, criticized and even envied. Especially as a pastor, perceived by many to have taken a vow of poverty.
We stumbled into our first two property deals when an investor acquaintance in town who was downsizing toward retirement sold us two houses and even financed the deals. Since September 2005 we have grown our portfolio to 60 properties in seven states. Here are 7 ACTION STEPS I took and so can you to start your real estate investing future…
Get into agreement with God, yourself and your family that real estate investing is the right direction for you to pursue. You’ll need their support many times along the way.
Educate yourself in ALL aspects of real estate investing. I read 75 books on real estate investing, watched dozens of real estate TV shows, talked to real estate experts, viewed many real estate related websites, drove around many local neighborhoods and attended seminars taught by several of those real estate gurus on infomercials.
Find your real estate niche. We started out buying 2 bedroom, 1 bath homes with middle-aged single men as our target renters. Later on we expanded into a broader range of properties (duplexes, multi-family, other states, etc.). Get to know your community well. Do your research. Pick the neighborhoods you want to buy in AND those you don’t. Find out what sells best and what rents best in your city.
Spend time rubbing shoulders with professional real estate people like real estate agents, commercial lenders, other real estate investors, investor clubs, property managers, etc. Learn from their successes and failures. Find mentors and coaches. Ask lots of questions, be teachable and listen a lot.
Find money to commit to your real estate dreams – make wise choices – start small and work your way up. Take steps, learn from them, then you will be prepared to manage more.
Find the property deals out there through websites, agents, bankers, networking or other means. We have specialized in REO bank-owned foreclosures. We purchase these homes for around half their current value, fix them up to rent or resell. By doing so, we increase their after-repair value significantly.
You make your money in real estate in 5 ways: 1) when you buy it at a discounted price, 2) when you increase its value through repairs, 3) when you rent it for a monthly cash flow profit over your expenses, 4) when the property appreciates over time, and 5) when your renters pay down your mortgage for you each month.
Just like any other business you will have some bad days, disappointments and unexpected surprises. Persevere! Make another call, submit another offer, interview another subcontractor, view another property, research another website, and drive another neighborhood. Don’t quit doing what you love to do and what invigorates your entrepreneurial spirit. Overcome any fears, tiredness, ignorance, blockades, criticisms, and excuses.
It’s time your entrepreneurial frustration ended. Like me in 2005, this is your year of living your dreams, starting that new real estate business, developing that entrepreneurial idea, unlocking that new product idea, writing your first book, or patenting that invention. There’s not a better time in U.S. history than today to release the entrepreneur INSIDE you. If I can do it, so can you. It’s time to live YOUR dream!
Dr. Mark Elliot is an author, husband, father, entrepreneur.
Follow him on Twitter: @docmarkelliott