Why Real Estate Is a Great Investment
It is said that there is only one thing worse than going to Las Vegas and losing your money. That is, going to Las Vegas and winning.
When the stakes are high and your money is in something that is not very liquid and you get one big break and everything ends up as you planned, it is quite easy to start planning your next real estate venture on an even more increased scale.
Instead, you're going to want to stick with your strengths. You're going to want to stay the course of a really long time before you branch out into bigger and "better" levels of real estate. How do you stay focused when you want to experiment and try out and use other forms of real estate investing right away?
One of the best ways in which you can stay focused is by having a set system. If you always use the same four real estate agents and nobody else, if you always work with the same housing and developing building contractors, and if you always use the same property management group (once you find a good one, of course), then you'll be able to really keep a handle on what is working and what isn't... without going outside of your own field of expertise.
1. Become More Interested in Your Current Expertise
Ask around a lot. Even after you are steadily pulling in money from one direction, be sure that you are doing it the most effective and efficient way possible. Ask local experts what they think about different projects you are working on or at least about the types of projects you are working on. Make sure your contractors are building using modern, better, cheaper materials. Make sure your house flipping is yielding the same return on your investment as similar house flippers in similar price ranges. Make sure you are charging your commercial tenants the same rent as your competitors are charging and that your facilities are kept up just as efficiently and well as theirs are.
Stay with your current people but investigate everyone else. Don't go changing up contractors and agents (unless one of them is consistently ineffective), but do investigate how other contractors and agents are doing things. Allow the new information to shape and form your expectations of your own real estate investing work. Allow your competitors to raise the bar on your own expectations.
Go to competing agents and ask them about how they approach different deals. Go to competing contractors and ask to review their work and their ability to keep to a price and a schedule. When references are listed, show up in person and ask the references about the people in question. Don't just take their word for it. Make sure of their listed recommendations. This is your money, your time, and your real estate investment. Don't take it for granted.
2. As the Experts Say, "Duplicate, Don't Innovate."
Start developing a replicable system. If you start having success in one area of real estate investing, start looking for ways you can you turn it into a replicable system. If you're not sure how to organize your thoughts on this, think about how you would go about teaching your son or daughter about the subject. Start with the main points and branch off from there. If certain things are situation or decision-dependent, then make another branch in your plan and put both sides of the decision down on paper.
Don't be too stiff in the beginning. Allow there to be flow and flux, in the beginning, to allow for people, mistakes, learning curves, and new information. Allow for human error, mistakes, and financial stupidity, even in yourself. Remember: mistakes that you learn from are not really mistakes.
Don't be too loose with the rules later on. After you have an established way of doing things and, therefore, always feel really comfortable, don't allow this expertise and comfort make you slack about following your own self-set rules. That's a great way to waste time and waste money in the real estate market.
3. Be Teachable
If you start seeing something that isn't working, immediately investigate. Real estate is not one of those places where you can just say, "Well, we'll hope for the best!" when something bad happens. You will have to investigate every consistently late contractor, every leak, every piece of mold, or spillage. You will have to make sure you are covered by insurance every step of the way to avoid spending the next twenty years of your life filling up a financial sinkhole. This is not the time to sit back, try to unclench your stomach, and force yourself to relax.
Get up. Go out and see what the damage is, no matter how bad it is. Stay on it, stay with it, and make sure your real estate investments are holding up to your own standard, not just the standard of the people working for you. Los Angeles Real Estate Investor Nicki Zvik details, "I've seen everything in this business so nothing shocks me anymore. I generally assume that contractors will try to cut every corner possible to save money. It's natural. You have to make sure to examine every part of the job at every stage of the job. Also, the most important piece of advice I can give is to never pay the entire balance of the job until it is 100% complete. Always make sure to withhold at least as much as it would cost to have somebody else finish the job," says Zvik. You are the point at which the quality starts and stops, not them.
Keep your ears open and your mouth shut. So many good and smart business deals were made because someone sat quietly listening to their friends (or their competitors) at the bar all night long instead of going home to their wives and comfy homes. There is so much to be learned when you stop playing the real estate game aggressively and start playing it wisely and quietly.
In conclusion, whether you are into flipping, rental homes, commercial real estate, or any other real estate investing endeavor, you will always need to stick with your strengths and not spend hardly any time or money venturing out into the unknown. If you want to try new fields of real estate investment, start increasing your knowledge. Get in touch with local experts and start asking them a ton of questions. In the meantime, stick with what you know.