Throughout the years, I’ve had many hobbies. When I was younger, I used to love collecting comic books and playing videogames. After that, I became enthused with playing sports and guitar. Reading books is also enjoyable. Traveling is yet another good one. So on, and so forth.
When it comes down it to, though, I’ll probably admit that my absolute favorite hobby to date has probably been this one: acquiring and buying more rental properties.
Buying houses is fun! Monopoly taught us that owning property is a path to riches as well, but there’s so much more to it than that. With real estate, the sky’s the limit.
Pocket listings. Courthouse auctions. Flips. Buy and Hold. Cash flow. Financing. Principal paydown. Leveraged returns. Tax benefits. Landlording. Etc.
There are so many subjects to learn. Really, you could spend an entire lifetime just trying to master one topic; if you love learning, chances are you’ll have a smashing good time developing your chops along the way as you work towards becoming a seasoned REI pro. Once you get started with real estate investing, it’s highly addicting stuff!
Who doesn’t want to take control of their own destiny and secure their financial future? Real estate investing allows you to do that; you work for yourself and your family, not some employer! For those of us who weren’t cut out to be conventional business owners or entrepreneurs, real estate investing gives us that opportunity, showing us that it’s never too late to be your own boss!
For myself, it wasn’t even that long ago when I first got started. Prior to commencing on the journey to early financial independence, I didn’t even know any of this would be possible for an Average Joe like myself…
The Path to Riches
I still vividly remember how I got started with real estate investing. Even today, when I think back to that first encounter with the mortgage specialist at the local bank, I’m left feeling awestruck that somehow all of this is even possible.
The thing is, when you haven’t been a real estate investor, you have absolutely no idea what is actually possible out there. I grew up listening to my schoolteachers and the masses who told me it would be a miracle and dream come true to own a SINGLE house in my entire lifetime.
And I’ll agree that owning a SINGLE property is an enormous deal. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice to even get to that point! But like I said about being awestruck, once you dive deeper and find out what some “Average Joe’s” are really doing, you’ll quickly learn to expand your reach and dream more MASSIVE!
When I first heard stories about successful real estate investors owning multiple properties and retiring at age 35, my first reaction was, “WTF!?!” Then, I got to meet these people. Things started to become less surreal. Finally, I even had dinner with a seasoned investor who owned 13 or so Bay Area properties back in 2013. When I got around to processing all that, I said to myself, “OK, I’ve got to step up my game!”
You don’t know what you don’t know! But once you figure it out, you might just get the kick in the pants you needed to supercharge your progress.
One Step At a Time
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step. Real estate investing is no different. And back in 2012, when I was first learning the ropes and getting started, because I happened to stumble upon a person who was doing big things, I let my mind expand and accept greater possibilities.
Before I even closed escrow on my first property in the summer, I was already thinking about the next one…
After all, if Mr. Average Joe has “got more than a few rentals now… and is pretty much set for life“, shouldn’t I also be able to at least purchase more than one house?
Why not keep going and find out for myself?
So, I did. In 2013, I picked up 3 more houses. In 2014, I bought one on my own and after that, I started to really think outside the box. I teamed up with some savvy investors and locked up 2 additional properties, in the form of partnerships. So far this year, I’ve managed to tack on one more property, another partnership.
Here’s the full summary:
2012: Purchased 1 property
2013: Purchased 3 properties
2014: Purchased 3 properties (2 partnerships)
2015: Purchased 1 property (1 partnership)
I’ve now got an ownership stake in 8 properties and 10 units total.
That’s my own progress, but obviously your own mileage will vary, depending on what stage you are in the game. When processed through the eyes of a real estate investor, I’m obviously not doing anything astonishing or earth-shattering. In fact, you could even argue that my accomplishments up to date aren’t even that impressive…
And that’s the whole point of this article! If you are interested in real estate investing, want to make a ton of money (obviously), are 110% committed, and open to dreaming MASSIVE, then you have to start raising the bar and thinking like a real estate investor!
Owning one house in a lifetime is not going to cut it!
The game of REI is all about owning and controlling units. If you are just starting out and you’re in the accumulation stage of your wealth building, you need more units!
One tangible goal that I started off with (and one that is often recommended to newbies) is to work on buying a SINGLE new property every year.
I should probably add a disclaimer to that — When I say attempt to purchase a new property every year, I don’t mean buying just ANY PROPERTY and accepting mediocre returns in the process. Rather, you just want to plant the seed in your mind that you’re serious about GROWING your career and portfolio in real estate, and you’re going to set a far-reaching goal for youself to achieve that each and every year.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about MINDSET. But of course, please do proper due diligence and research before buying anything!
During this time last year, I had a few lunch meet ups with some readers of this blog. At the time, I came across freedom fighters who wanted to get started with REI, but didn’t really know how to. They told me quite candidly that this blog inspired them to put a plan into place so that they could finally start making progress on their way to financial freedom.
Obviously, I love to talk shop about REI, so I was more than happy to share, and put in my own $0.02.
When they asked me about “how many properties” they should own, I responded with “as many as possible”. 😉
Why set an artificial ceiling to clamp your potential? Although my own goal was to purchase 10 properties by the end of 2015, it’s not set in stone that I’ll stop at 10… If I do indeed proceed in starting a future career as a real estate agent, I’m almost certain I’ll keep going… 🙂
One year later, and that same reader has now purchased 4 properties (to my knowledge), while another guy has picked up one and is actively looking for his second property.
So, one thing that I’ve learned is that a lot of folks have the means, capability, and interest to invest in rental property, but too often times, they stay stagnant on the sidelines, afraid to take the plunge.
But once you’re able to free up your mind to what’s possible, it becomes so much easier to make that first move. After that, it’s just business as usual…
Looking Back and Ahead
Just 3 years ago, I owned ZERO properties and was day-dreaming about the day when I would invest and own my first rental property.
Today, I have an ownership stake in 8 properties and am on my way to becoming a millionaire at age 30. I may even enter pretirement sometime later this year. I attribute most of my success to the bull run we’ve experienced these last few years, but if I can be most open and honest about everything for a second — None of this would have ever been possible if I didn’t re-program my mind to accept bigger and better possibilities.
In other words, the “great deals” that I won would have just fallen through the cracks; I never would have bothered, otherwise.
But early on, I learned to think like a real estate investor. Thanks to my encounter with more seasoned and successful REI mentors, I became hungrier and more ambitious.
When you’re making it a goal to “buy a new property every year”, you’re always putting more gas to the pedal. So, when the next great deal emerges, you’ve got the right mentality to swoop in and capitalize.
In a few years time, you’ll no longer be awestruck upon hearing about someone else’s success story… Rather, you’ll look back on your own success story and it’ll feel like one magnificent dream.
Let’s make dreams a reality!
If you’re going to dream anyway, dream MASSIVE!