A real estate investor shares his advice with the new network of newbie investors
- Real estate investors agree that the key to success is networking with the right people.
- Find a network of real estate professionals in your area and ask other investors how they got started.
- Use new contacts to find a real estate agent and loan officer with an excellent reputation.
A family vacation in Savannah, Georgia prompted former police officer Mark, who prefers not to share his last name for privacy reasons, to invest in real estate.
“We stayed at an Airbnb and I really liked the layout of the house,” he told Insider. “I met the owner and told her that I myself would like to own an Airbnb like this. She asked me if I wanted to buy it. She gave me a breakdown of the price for which she was selling it and told me what her rental income was.”
Knowing very little about real estate investing at the time, Mark told her he would think about it. When he returned home to Virginia, he posted on a real estate forum on The Motley Fool website, explaining that he was considering investing in his first out-of-state property, 800 miles away. The general consensus was that he should buy closer to home.
He agreed, called a real estate agent he knew in the area and told him he wanted to invest in real estate.
They started looking for properties in Virginia in late 2016.
“At that time, I hadn’t read any real estate books, watched any YouTube videos, and really didn’t know anything about buying real estate,” said Mark, who now owns 25 rental units and lives in Florida with his wife. He spends time managing his investments but, in addition, he does not work.
Mark thinks that if he was able to build wealth investing in real estate on a salary that never exceeded $52,000 a year and without any financial help from his family, anyone can.
“If I can do it as a basic blue-collar worker raising a family, anyone can do it,” the father-of-two said. He also said it’s never too late to start investing. “I was 49 when I bought my first rental. I’ve heard people say, ‘I’m too old to invest.’ You are not.”
If you’re starting from scratch like him and don’t know anything about real estate, the key to success is to surround yourself with the right people.
“The average person who becomes a real estate investor may or may not have a lot of support – they may not have parents or spouses who know nothing about real estate investing and are not happy to do it” , did he declare. “The cops I was working with would find out I was doing this and they’d look at me like I was crazy. As a cop, you make arrests and walk into these houses that the tenants have destroyed. They’d be like, ‘You’re mad for doing that.'”
If you’re in a situation similar to what Mark was in, “you have to find your own support, and the best way to do that is to network,” he says. “The best way to network, no matter where you live, is to find a local real estate dating group.”
Do a quick Google search to find a real estate community in your area. If there is none, build one yourself. Chances are there is a Facebook or other online community of local investors that you can join as well. Mark also used YouTube to connect with other investors.
Networking with the right people will help you tremendously when it comes time to actually invest in real estate. For example, you’ll want to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent, a reputable loan officer, and a CPA who can help you maximize tax breaks. Local investors can help you connect with these types of people.
“Real estate investing is about making contacts and talking to people,” he said. “That’s how you find good deals.”
Mark isn’t the only real estate investor to speak to Insider about this strategy recently.
Seattle-based investor Ludomir Wanot, who owns 13 rental homes in central and western Washington and runs a successful wholesale business, offers similar advice.
“Surround yourself with people who know more than you, ask questions and build relationships with all types of people you meet, because you never know when you can work with them later,” he said. told Insider.
Like Mark, Wanot started from scratch: he had no experience in real estate, nor anyone in his family. He also did not inherit any money. He and his two brothers were raised by a single mother and all he saved came from the jobs he worked and the businesses he started throughout his teens and twenties.
For his crash course in real estate, he relied on learning from investors who had already succeeded in the industry. He joined a Facebook group called WA Real Estate Investing (WAREI) to meet local investors.
Wanot also took advantage of local real estate appointments. It was there that he found mentors and asked established investors exactly how they got started and expanded their portfolios. A useful resource is Meetup, he said. Anyone can use it to connect with real estate investors and find events to attend.
Succeeding in real estate takes time and requires a long-term view, Mark added: “It’s not a quick and rich plan. It’s a process. It takes perseverance. It takes determination. ” You also need the right team: “It can be very difficult to do all this alone. You need help.”