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#1) Get in the market. There is no perfect time to get in, just get in.
#2) Regulation Changes Everything. The window of opportunity opens and shuts all the time. When I started 13 years ago we had 100% financing for rentals and 105% financing for home buyers. Those days are long gone and the mortgage “rules” have drastically changed. It’s not often we get regulation to make things easier. Things don’t get better the longer you wait in real estate.
#3) Buy and Hold to get Rich. I’ve had the pleasure to meet some very wealthy people who tell a similar story. They came to the country with literally nothing, learned the language, found a job, sacrificed heavily to obtain a home and used that home to leverage their life and grow their wealth.
#4) 4 Green Homes = 1 Red Hotel. If you remember the game of monopoly you know this rule. Why this is important, read the next point.
#5) Leverage 1 home to buy the 2nd, the 3rd, and so forth. I always wanted to know how someone can build great wealth in Real Estate. I think that's why I became a Realtor. The secret? Next point.
#6) Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. It might sound silly for real estate but the truth is most investors don’t make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from their job. They bought real estate, found a tenant to cover the costs and let time do its thing. Typically, they have investments that come up for renewal just like your home (5-year terms) and at that point they leverage the equity from house 1 to buy house 2, and 3, and 4, and so forth.
#7) Learn and play by the rules. I know for a fact there are people out there who own tons of real estate and never made a mortgage payment in their life. What’s the secret? They use leverage and O.P.M. (Other people's money, usually a bank)
#8) Leverage Real Estate with OPM. Using your property as a tool to help you get to where you're going is critical. The banks will loan you 95% of the money to buy a home provided you meet their criteria. 95% of the risk and the reward is all yours. You don’t have to give the bank 95% of your profits when you sell. What other investment vehicle lets you do that? Even if it’s an investment with 20% or 25% down. You keep the profits.
#9) Generate Income. If you entered real estate when you were young (I was in my early 20’s) living with room-mates was great. I had a 3 bedroom town-home and rented 2 rooms to cover most of my operating costs. I was able to save money and build equity at the same time. We all have to live somewhere, why not be a live in landlord? If your an older home owner (that's okay too) you can use the equity in your home to buy another. You have hundreds of thousands just sitting there… why not use it or at least explore the idea?
#10) Don’t Fear Tenants. This is the #1 reason I hear from those who know real estate is great, but never took the leap to buy that investment. I can tell you from experience that 99 times out of 100 you’ll get a good tenant who will care for your home. Do you have friends who rent? You can find a family just like them.
#11) Ask for Help. I’ll be the first to say I don’t know everything but I do know the right people to ask for help. There is a wealth of information available to you from Google. You have millions of articles, videos and audio recordings right at your fingertips. There are seminars and workshops going on around you everyday. Connect with the right “help” to help you get to your goals.
#12) What goes up, must come down. In the last 18-24 months, real estate has been a hot topic. When you compare Real Estate in 12 month intervals you will see big ups and big downs. Real Estate has never been a short term game. It’s possible to make a lot of money buying and selling homes but only on TV. There is no short term, little money down, huge reward at the end system that you can do over and over. Sure there is deals here and there but generally speaking real estate is a long term system. If you look at Amazon, Apple or Google you will see a steady growth chart of the value over the years (yearly view). If you look at it in only 12 month spans you’ll see drastic ups and downs in price, and not a steady flat predictable increase. You can lose a lot of money buying/selling in the short term but it’s hard to make a mistake if you keep it for 5+ years.
#13) Do it. Don't get stuck with analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis. It’s state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. One of the worst things (to me) in my line of work is meeting lovely people who “wish” they can go back in time and buy more real estate. It’s hard for me because I’ve been very lucky to be around very intelligent real estate people (not agents, but people) and I took the advice. I bought very young, I learned how to leverage OPM, I learned how to attract the right tenant, I learned how to deal with the banks and so much more.