I’m often asked how to get started in real estate quickly. Someone has become disenfranchised with their current career and wants to move. Or they got laid off. I’m happy they are thinking real estate. More and more frequently, people seek a second career and gone are the days where people stay at one company. I blame the corporate culture of over-using workers, decreasing benefits, loss of pensions, and general lack of valuing workers for this trend. These companies have sacrificed loyalty so they can get rid of a 50-year-old and put in an inexperienced 20-year-old for $10,000 less a year. It sounds like sour grapes, though this hasn’t happened to me. It’s just what I see in others.
These people then need a place to turn. Real estate is one of the natural avenues. But it takes time and money. This is why I encourage people to start thinking about this second career right now, while they still have their day job. Here are the steps you need to take right now to be ready:
- Start putting money away. 10% of every paycheck, right after taxes/benefits come out, but before anything else is spent, needs to go into a protected bank account. I recommend a bank account because the money is easy to get out (we call it liquid), even though the interest is minimal. Another option would be a mutual fund, but make sure it is one with low risk and has easy access to your money. A few days would be the maximum.
- Cut expenses. This goes without saying. There are so many things we waste money on without even knowing it. Start by looking at your recurring technology bills such as television and cellular phones.
- Learn about real estate careers and decide which to go for. An obvious one would be to become a real estate agent. You can even start doing this on the side of your current job. Some people will lean toward becoming an investor. They might want to flip houses or become a landlord. This is the path I took.
- Learn more about your particular niche that you chose. This involves a lot of reading and podcast listening, networking, and conferences. Any free time you have you should think about learning more in your niche. You don’t have to buy anything right now, just be ready for when you want/need to.
- Last step is to actually take the plunge and get started. One word of caution – keep your first career as long as you can, even though you have one foot out the door. You don’t want your boss knowing you will be quitting. And the W2 income is very helpful to get loans.
It is critically important you start these steps right now. This will help you avoid the stress of trying to find a second career once your first one has already ended. Even if you never get started in real estate, just having the knowledge will help you. I truly hope you are happy in your current career – but even so, you never know when the next downsize is coming. Be ready.