It’s no secret that real estate is and always has been one of the best investment opportunities, no matter the market condition. In fact, roughly 77 percent of entrepreneurs with at least one million in assets own real estate, according to a study Morgan Stanley did last year.
But, is real estate investing a strategy that only the top 1 percent can take advantage of?
According to real estate agent and investor Josh Altman, the star of the hit TV show Million Dollar Listing, the answer is a resounding no. He says: “There is a new generation of real estate investors that have emerged in the last five years making a killing in real estate. The crazy thing is, a lot of them started with little to no money in their bank accounts and no prior experience. Systems and technology have leveled the playing field. Anyone can be a successful real estate investor if they have a solid plan and put in the work.”
What advice does Josh have for those looking to break into the real estate investing world? What would he tell the active investor who wants an income increase? Here are his top-five tips for someone looking to make money as a real estate investor.
1. Start out in real estate part-time.
It’s not necessary to quit your day job to be a successful investor. It’s easy to get started in your spare time and ramp up as your income increases and you get more comfortable. Or if you prefer, continue to keep it part-time. Despite working 60+ hour weeks as a realtor while filming Million Dollar Listing, I still managed to flip a house in the Hollywood Hills for $1.2 million in profit on the side. The best part? I did it without touching a hammer or funding the renovations myself.
2. Educate yourself on different strategies.
When most people think of real estate investing, they think of either buying properties to fix them up and resell them, or they think of buying and holding property to rent out as a landlord. The truth is that there is an entire world of creative real estate investment strategies out there. My favorites are ones that don’t involve doing renovations or hunting down rent payments. The key is to know the right strategy to use at the right time. For new or beginner investors, I recommend real estate wholesaling, or as I like to call them, quick flips. The reason? There is virtually zero risk for you. You don't have to use any of your own money and you don’t need a real estate license. Although the profits on quick flips rarely exceed $40,000 per deal, you can work on many at one time. And they're fast. Many take less than 30 days to close.
3. Become a master of lead generation.
You can have all the real estate knowledge in the world, but if you don’t know how to find deals before everyone else, you’re not making money. It’s rare that you’ll hit it big on a property that has been on the market for over a week. It’s also unlikely that you’ll find great deals on properties that just hit the market today. Hands down, the biggest profits are in finding hidden, off-market properties. Off-market properties are not on Zillow or the MLS. They are properties the homeowner doesn’t want, or often cannot sell through traditional channels. Some of the most common scenarios I see are divorce and financial hardship. Finding a distressed seller who needs immediate cash often means they will sell at less than market value, which provides you with biggest profit potential.
4. Follow a proven system and keep it simple.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or complicate things. When I started in the real estate world I tried to do everything myself and fell flat on my face. It wasn’t until I buckled down and got a mentor that everything became much simpler. I didn’t have to second guess what I was doing. I just followed a step-by-step process that I refined over time order to find, analyze, and maximize my profit. I love that I can now teach others to achieve success in real estate, but with a lot less trial-and-error than I had to endure.
5. There is no substitute for taking action.
Part of the territory that comes with having a hit TV show is that everyone who meets me asks how I made it big in real estate. Most of these people think I was an overnight success or assume I have a magic easy button solution. Sorry to let you down. It’s not because I was smarter or more charming than my competition. It’s because I took action. I hustled. I am constantly looking for ways to grow my network of potential buyers and potential sellers. They might not want to buy or sell a house today, but they might next year. And they definitely will at some point. You need to be the first person they think of when they're ready to buy or sell. Not the second -- the first.
Never pass up an opportunity to tell people what you do. Never pass up the opportunity to eat lunch with an real estate investor or professional more successful than you. The harder you work, the luckier you'll get. It is all about action, and there is no better time to get started than right now.