Whether you're a seasoned professional or a novice investor there are fundamentals that you should always be paying attention to when investing in real estate. The fundamentals for beginners may be second nature to experienced investors but they aren't to the beginner. The beginner needs to keep these in mind every step in the process of making his or her first purchase and sale.
Money can be made in any type of real estate market but it takes different strategies that change on a regular basis. There are two basic investment strategies. One is to buy and hold as rentals and the other buy and flip as quickly as possible. Within those two basic strategies are many other options. Today, one of the better buy and hold strategies is the lease option where you hold for a few years but have a plan to sell to the renter at a future date. For those wanting to flip houses, being able to owner finance them (even using other people's money) is a great strategy. Both of these strategies are working well today because of the tough lending qualifications and because so many people have damaged credit scores coming out of the recession.
First and foremost, have an exist strategy. Never buy a house just because you can get it at a good discount. Know exactly what you are going to do with it once you own it. It's also preferable to have a plan "B" and a plan "C". Once you have an exit strategy, join an investment club if you haven't already. Decide on a couple of experienced members that you trust and possibly use the exit strategy you've decided on. Invite them to lunch. Explain your strategy to them and ask them to punch as many holes in it as they can. Use the information you learn to improve your plan.
Expert advice for beginners is invaluable. An example of a big mistake one beginner was advised not to make involved a double lot. The beginner had found a double lot at a deep discount in a lower to middle income subdivision. He saw a huge opportunity to buy the lot and then go through the permit process to subdivide it with the intention of more than doubling his investment by selling two individual lots at retail. When he discussed his plan with an expert, the expert suggested that before making the purchase he first look into his ability to subdivide the property. When the beginner did, he learned that it could not be subdivided because of a wildlife habitat issue. The only use the property was suitable for was building a small mansion in the middle of low-end neighborhood. Obviously not a good investment strategy.
If you're at the top of your game, the best thing you can do to stay there is remain humble. Lack of humility is the biggest problem any businessperson can cause for them self. People simply don't like doing business with someone that is arrogant. The best deals won't be made available to you. When you do find a decent deal, negotiations won't go in your favor when you portray yourself as always coming out on top. Stay humble and you'll do much better.
Being humble includes offering your experience and knowledge to beginners and others less experienced than yourself. Don't think of them as competitors and blow off their requests for help. There are plenty of deals for everyone. Occasionally, taking the time to thoroughly think through the strategic basics will also help keep you at the top of your game.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.