Honor & Equity: A real estate investing resource for military members, veterans, and their families

7 Tips for Real Estate Investing while Active Duty

Real estate investing is challenging, especially when you have a full-time job like being in the military. That doesn’t mean you can’t invest in real estate though. Many people ask me how I do it, so I thought I would share 7 key pieces of advice I have learned from my experience. 

 

Join a Mastermind Group

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. A mastermind group is a collection of individuals who share information, hold each other accountable, and help other group members achieve their goals. I first heard about this concept from the book “Tribe of Millionaires”, and I knew that joining one would help me achieve my real estate goals much faster than just pursuing my goals by myself. I was right! I joined the War Room real estate mastermind two years ago and I have been an active member ever since. There is a common bond within that group (everyone in it is active duty, a veteran, or in the reserves) and everyone is eager to help one another achieve their respective goals. 

If you’re serious about real estate, you have to join a mastermind group.

Photo courtesy of Sean Robertson

Think “Who?” not “How?”

A common flaw among entrepreneurs and real estate investors is the attitude “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. This is a limiting belief that holds people back from growing and scaling their businesses and portfolios. The truth is, if you want to go far, you have to do it with a team!

Property management is a perfect example. We purchase properties in Oklahoma (even though Doug lives in San Diego and Tess lives in Honolulu) because the markets there fit our criteria. It would be very time-consuming and frustrating to manage our rental properties in Oklahoma from out-of-state, so we hired a rock star property manager to handle it for us! Does it cost us money? Of course it does, but that company does a much better job than we ever could, and it saves us time to do more important things. 

Let the experts do what they’re great at, while you focus on growing and refining your business.

 

Invest with Other People’s Money

I used conventional financing for the first four investment properties I purchased, using 100% of my own capital for the down payments. As you can imagine, this can get very expensive very quickly depending on your real estate acquisition goals. At some point, every real estate investor who wants to scale quickly needs to start acquiring properties using other people’s money. 

This may sound scary at first, but once you get a few properties under your belt and you have some more experience, people will probably see you as a knowledgeable real estate investor who has a good grasp of the process. Many new investors don’t feel comfortable “taking money” from others to buy properties, but that’s the wrong way to look at it: you are giving them an opportunity to earn a return on their money. 

Let me explain. When we get a property under contract in Oklahoma for a BRRRR or a flip link flip article, we are agreeing to buy it far below market value. We then perform due diligence on the property and renegotiate as necessary. Now we are ready to close the deal using other people’s money. We have a contractual agreement with our private money lender that if we are unable to pay them back based on the agreed-upon terms, they have a first position lien on the property. So even if we can’t pay the lender back, they now own a property that is worth more than the money they lent to us. Their money is collateralized by a hard asset that is worth more than the capital they put up to acquire it. Sounds like a pretty good deal for the lender right?

My point is that as long as you are buying correctly, your lender’s capital is relatively safe. 

 

Manage Your Time Better

A lot of people ask me how I find the time to do real estate while working a full-time job. There are a few key points to take into consideration when it comes to time management:

  1. You should only be doing the most essential tasks! This is very difficult to do, even for me, but you should be hiring out or delegating as much as you can. Bookkeeping is a good example. I used to do 100% of the bookkeeping for the properties until I realized I could just pay someone to do it even better than I could. You don’t have to pay a lot for bookkeeping either – you can find a virtual assistant on Upwork to do it for $10/hour or less.
  2. Wake up early! I get most of my essential tasks for the day done before I go to work, and the rest of the day is managing things here and there via email. 
  3. Write down your goals! Daily journaling has been key to my success so far. You should regularly be assessing your long-term goals and breaking them down into what you can do this year, this month, this week, and down to what you can do today. I’ve been using the Panda Planner venture for over a year now, and I think it’s a great value. 

 

Take Consistent Daily Action

Success in real estate isn’t achieved in big chunks a couple of times a year. It’s achieved in the small, seemingly insignificant actions you take every day that gradually turn into habits. Even if you’re just getting started, can’t you find the time to read 10 pages a day in a real estate book? Or listen to 20 minutes of a podcast each day? You don’t have to take massive action to be successful, just make small, incremental progress every single day. 

These small daily chunks will not feel like very much and you may get frustrated if you’re not progressing as fast as you want, but trust me! Keep doing a little bit every day and over time it will all compound and evolve into the achievement of your goals.

 

Give Yourself Some Grace

If you have a full-time job or are just getting started, you need to manage your expectations. It can be frustrating to listen to a Bigger Pockets podcast and hear about the investor that owns 45 properties and started investing 18 months ago. But, that person may not have been working 50-plus hours a week in another job while they acquired those properties! 

So, be realistic with your goals! If you only have one extra hour per day to focus on real estate and it takes you 1 year to acquire your first investment property, then you should be proud of yourself. You’ve just done something that most people will never do because it requires them to both consistently dedicate the time and take action. If you’re in the very beginning stages of your real estate journey, you should be focusing on connecting with other real estate investors and professionals, and educating yourself on real estate which includes podcasts, books, youtube videos, blog articles, conversations with other investors, and whatever else you can think of!

Build your real estate portfolio at a pace that works for you, your family, and your lifestyle.

Photo courtesy of Bethany Laird

Self-Education Never Ends

Brian Tracy said it well: “Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” Be skeptical of anyone in real estate (or anywhere else for that matter) that says they have everything figured out. No matter how successful you become, there will always be lessons to be learned because the landscape of real estate is always changing. There are up-cycles and down-cycles, interest rates go up and come down, deals are everywhere, and then deals disappear. 

Life has a way of keeping us humble. Whenever we think we know everything about something, life steps in and makes us think otherwise. 

Never stop learning!

I hope you gained value from this article. Please reach out to us on Instagram @honorandequity and let us know your thoughts. We respond to all messages personally!

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