If someone would ask me what kind of advice I could give a Real Estate Investor, there's a few things I would say:
1. Have a clear written business mission
A mission is not the same as a goal because goals can change as you evolve as an investor. A mission should stay with you through your journey. If you have a clear mission for your business, it can help you avoid mistakes since everything you do and every decision you make should line up with that statement.
Our mission is to deliver quality rentals and provide excellent service to our tenants whether they plan on renting for a year or 20. Now with this statement, in order to maintain that level of service as we grow, we know not to focus on the amount of properties we buy and instead to focus on the amount of cash flow one property will generate. It reminds us that cash flow is always key. You want to be able to afford to hire a good handyman or property manager if needed, without it eating all of your profit.
As an example: recently, we debated buying a 5 unit building that cash flowed almost the same as a duplex. The only reason we were even looking at the 5 unit building in the first place is because we got excited with the thought of quickly adding 5 more doors to our portfolio. But that wasn't a good enough reason. Looking back, we would of had a lot more headaches with that property. It was older, had many structural issues and 3 bachelor units that were poorly designed so the value-add potential would of been limited. I'm glad we bought the duplex instead because I'm certain the 5 unit would of cost us a lot of money out of pocket and would not have been as good of an investment. Basically your mission statement should help you stay on track with what's important.
2. Get that magical team
I call it a magical team because having those key people is like in Mario Kart when you get that magical boost on your race car. It's just a great asset to have. I'm not saying you won't make it without them, but you'll definitely be slow getting to the finish line. Now all I want to do is plug in the old N64 and play! Ok so moving on, it's important to find these key people early on, even if you don't have a rental property yet. You’ll probably change your team as you grow too and that's Ok, the only way to know who is best suited for your business is by trying someone out and seeing what works and what doesn't. Once you do find that key person, you'll know because you'll feel like you got that magic boost. Here's a list of our key people that we couldn't do without now:
our real estate agent and our insurance broker
our suppliers and reliable trades
and most importantly our families and close friends who are always supporting us
3. Stay educated
I think every entrepreneur should stay educated no matter how advanced they become in their field. They should especially become masters of knowledge in every subject that touches their business. As a real estate investor, you should be a master of knowledge when it comes to your market like demographic statistics, real estate statistics, unemployment data, tenant class, ongoing events that could potentially affect your market, as well as the local rental laws and legal procedures.
It's true that you will learn as you practice but I strongly recommend that you take that extra step of creating time in your schedule for self education (and self care for that matter).
4. Celebrate and Relax
No matter how busy you are or how small the victories may seem, always take the time to celebrate and make it a point to set aside time for yourself and with your family. If you can't stand your family then just go be in the great outdoors by yourself and recharge your batteries. The hustle is good and I respect it, but if you don't find a way to enjoy the process at the same time, you'll end up resenting it and you'll only slow yourself down. You'll also risk not being able to achieve your goals and I don't know about you but not being able to achieve my goals is not even an option for me. Not to mention it can affect your health, mentally and physically. Trust me, you don't gain anything from that.