Becoming a successful real estate investor takes time, patience, and dedication—but how do you make that happen alongside a full-time job?
The real estate market is a tempting industry to get into. Seeing that unloved home on your block that just needs the right touch can make anyone get the itch to become a real estate investor. But real estate is risky, and the path to success is littered with those who jumped in without looking and ended up flat on their faces (and potentially bankrupt). Still, there has to be a way to dip your toe in while still holding onto your day job, right? How can you do it?
The key to becoming successful when investing in real estate as a side job comes down to staying organized, efficient, and dedicating yourself to getting things done. It’s also helpful to have others behind the scenes keeping the business going while you’re at the 9-5.
So let’s talk more about what you’ll need to do to become an investor while keeping your day job. But first, let me tell you why real estate investing might be the right field for you.
Should I Become a Real Estate Investor?
Okay, clearly I’m biased, but: Yes! Real estate investing is a great industry to get into that not only earns a nice income but helps improve your local economy and community, too.
To give you an idea, here’s the median wage people involved in the real estate industry reported they received in 2020:
|Job Title||Median Wage (2020)|
|Real Estate Investors||$117,372|
|Real Estate Brokers||$60,370|
|Real Estate Agents||$49,040|
|Other Sales and Real Estate Related Careers||$37,560|
Granted, those are full-time salaries from experienced investors and brokers, but I think you get the point.
What You’ll Need to Become a Successful Real Estate Investor, Even if it’s Just Your Side Job (For Now)
Dedication is essential for becoming successful as an investor. You should specifically focus on three facets: time, energy, and effort.
You will need to spend time learning new skills in sourcing, negotiating, creating and overseeing rehab projects, marketing, sales, and an entire myriad of real estate intricacies and laws you’ll be accountable to.
You can become an expert by squeezing in research modules during lunch breaks or waking up early to get some studying in. Real estate investors of any experience level will frequent real estate investment groups at night to learn the tools of the trade. Remember that becoming successful is a journey, so take it one step at a time and master each subject on its own.
Despite what you’ve seen on the HGTV programs, fix & flip businesses are not an easy endeavor. Your energy will be spent using dozens of inventory sourcing strategies, from searching through foreclosure and auction listings to sending out mailers and other inquiries. There are plenty of ways to find profitable deals, but it will definitely require energy on your part to make it possible.
Unfortunately, real estate investments are not passive and require constant effort from your initial closing to the final sale. You will need to search for profitable properties actively, do what it takes to beat out competitive offers, negotiate with realtors, and be involved in the rehab and reselling processes.
Since you are already working full-time, investing in real estate can get overwhelming faster than you think. This is where organizational skills become crucial. You can do it all, but you’ll need to stay highly organized and on top of all the moving parts.
To get started, begin creating organizational structures for these three components:
- Schedules: List everything you need to accomplish day by day into a calendar or planner. Make sure you create a plan that is both actionable and not overly ambitious; otherwise, you could spiral from overwhelm and have both your day job and side hustle suffer.
- Systems: Setting systems in place will help prevent getting discouraged and create efficiency that frees up much-needed time. Create a systemized way for how you’ll find properties, source professionals, handle paperwork, etc. Once you have that in place, create your backup plan B (and C, D, and maybe even E) systems to guarantee that you’ll have a tried and true method for running your business no matter what comes up.
- Balance: Make sure you give your work/life/investment schedule an appropriate balance to keep from getting burned out. For example, if you get home from work at 5 pm, have dinner and family time scheduled from 5:30 pm to 7 pm. Then search for properties until 8:30 or 9 pm and call it quits to get some solid sleep and prepare for the next day’s adventure.
You can have an investment-based mindset and an organized plan, but without perseverance, your fix & flips will sink faster than a shipwreck. Finding, rehabbing, and reselling properties takes a great deal of time, and there will be plenty of obstacles that will pop up in your way – rehabs not getting done on-time, schedules not lining up, people taking too long to get you bids, etc. The key element here is to not give up! Stumbles happen to every investor, but it’s the ones who push through that get the profit.
If pursuing real estate investing while working full-time is beginning to feel like you’ve signed up for more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to invest money in your business to hire some help. If you don’t have the time to pound the pavement searching for properties and making inquiries, you can pay someone else to do it for you. You can even hire an assistant with real estate experience to negotiate purchase prices or market your rehabbed home. While it may cost you some money upfront, bringing on others to help you run the business allows you to focus on growing the business and earning enough money that gets you closer to your goal of going full-time.
Balancing a full-time job and real estate investing isn’t easy and requires a specific type of entrepreneurial mindset. However, this mindset can be cultivated by anyone willing to be intentional with their actions and put in the work.
Did I miss a trait you think new investors need to have before leaping full-time? Leave a comment and let me know.