When you get up in the morning and go to work, you always make sure you’re not late, and you always make sure you look like a professional. That’s because you take your job seriously and you want to be treated as a professional. It would be difficult to take someone seriously who showed up at the office wearing jeans and tee shirt, unshaven, and not on time, wouldn’t it?
What does this have to do with making money in real estate? Lots! One of the biggest mistakes that would-be real estate investors make is to treat it like a hobby by not taking it as seriously as it should be. Look, I know all about this because I’ve seen too many good people try to get ahead in this world and completely failing because they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into and when they do find out, they are completely overwhelmed. That’s when the panic sets in, and that’s when people lose money in real estate.
So how do you take something like real estate investing seriously? What does that really look like? Well for starters, you must understand that this is a complex investment and there is much to learn. Unlike a mutual fund at your bank where you “set it and forget it”, investing in real estate requires constant learning, researching, networking, marketing, risk-taking and management. Not everyone has the time or the skills to do all this themselves, but there are people out there who do this for a living and can help. A serious investor will seek out those resources early and talk to them about options before they spend a dime on a property.
Taking this seriously also means that you need to be professional when you meet with brokers and bankers and others involved in the industry. You want the best advice possible and the truth is, you won’t get much time if you look sloppy.
Finally, being serious about real estate investing means you need to treat it as a business. A separate bank account for all your activities is a must. Finding a good bookkeeper knowledgeable about real estate will also really help you with various deductions you may be able to make. Keep smart files for all your papers. In other words, treat real estate with the same professionalism you would treat your clients and colleagues at work. By doing this, you’ll automatically increase your chances for success.