There are more real estate investing programs on TV than ever before. Almost every program shows your favorite investor established in their market with a solid team around them. They have dozens, if not hundreds, of deals under their belt and capital to carry out their vision. What you don’t see is the backstory of how they got there. Very few, if any, investors started at any early age or right out of college. They had other careers, hobbies and professions prior to getting to where they are today. Some invested part time for years before committing full time to real estate. In fact, unless you are turning business away you would be wise to keep your full-time job while building your pipeline. Investing while working full or part time does present some obstacles, but it is far from impossible. Here are five tips to help you invest while keeping your day job.
- Talk to your employer. The whole point of staying employed while investing is to keep your income, benefits and insurance for as long as possible. The last thing you want to do is get fired for working on real estate without authorization. Depending on the type of job you have there is a good chance that your employer will find out about it at some point. You are better off talking to your superior just to make sure there are no conflicts. In most cases, your employer will let you do what you want in your free time as long as it doesn’t impact your primary employee. You can sneak around on your phone or on a laptop but at some point, they will see what you are doing and may not be accepting. Instead of waiting to get spoken to, beat your employer to the punch and just give them a heads up of what you are doing in your free or down time.
- Know your obstacles. Increased technology has made real estate investing literally as easy as it has ever been. In the past if you wanted to research a property you would have to either drive to town hall or wait for your real estate agent if you wanted to see a property. Today, your agent can simply facetime you and do a quick video tour. You can scan and email most of the necessary documents and find almost any information online. That being said, there are still some hurdles you need to get past. For starters, you may not be available to drop whatever you are doing and research a new listing the minute it comes available. You also may not be able to talk freely on your cell phone from your office and can only take a few breaks a day. Whatever your obstacles are you should understand and embrace them upfront. You can usually find a way around these but unless you know your weaknesses they are impossible to address.
- Build a quality team. Since you can’t be in two places at once it is essential to build a solid team around you. The first piece to your team should be a quality real estate agent. Start by talking to as many agents as possible until you are confident that you have a good fit. Explain your situation to them, lay out your goals and tell them exactly what you are looking for. Not every real estate agent wants to work with a part time investor. There will be a lot of work they have to do just for the potential of a return. After speaking with a handful of agents you will know if you have a good fit. You should also find a contractor, handyperson, hard money lender, mortgage broker and attorney to round out your team. Don’t settle for the first available option that comes your way. You will lean on your team more than you think. Without a strong team around you your job will be much more difficult.
- Embrace your situation. You will not get around the fact that people in the office will fill you with opinions. Partly because of the popularity of real estate investing more people think they know what they are doing. Most of these are baseless but you still need to be ready for the onslaught of opinions. The best solution is to listen to everything but act only on what you feel is best. You should take every moment to learn something new about the business. You never know when you will be presented with an offer or a situation to use something you learned.
- Sacrifice nights and weekends. Trying to find new deals while working full time doesn’t leave a lot of personal time. However, if you want to make it in real estate you need to be ready to make sacrifices. This is especially the case if you are working full time. You need to embrace the fact that you are going to have to work some nights and weekend to find deals or research properties. Instead of watching your favorite TV show or going to dinner you need to dig in and do some work. In theory you love real estate and this won’t feel like work, but it is still a necessary part of the business. There are many benefits of keeping your full-time job but there are also some sacrifices made if you want to be successful.
You should never give up your employment until you have an established business and a steady flow of deals coming in. Wearing two hats at once isn’t easy but you can do it with a little focus and commitment.