Should You Do Real Estate Full-Time?

Many self-acclaimed real estate gurus state that everyone should quit their jobs and immediately jump into full time real estate investing. They often claim incredible results from students with little experience. We would like to caution that life-changing decisions are not usually simple and that full time investing is not for everyone. Let’s discuss some pros and cons of full-time versus part-time investing.The Full-Time InvestorEntering into the real estate profession on a full-time basis offers several advantages over a part-time commitment. Being successful requires you to develop knowledge in many aspects of real estate, and more time focused on real estate leads to greater knowledge. The more your learn, the more you earn, since you do not need to rely on as many professional services or partners for help. You also learn to recognize a deal (or a dud) faster, which gives you more time to do more business or spend with your family.As a full-time investor, you work your own hours. When we say “full-time,” that may mean as little as twenty hours per week if you are good at finding deals. The rest of your time can be spent pursuing other vocations or hobbies. Or, if you are so inspired, you can work forty or more hours and use the extra cash flow to buy rental properties or diversify your holdings in the stock market. The point is that you need to satisfy your cash flow needs before you can start “investing” your money.One final point you should consider is whether you want to be “self-employed.” If you have always worked for someone else, being your own boss sounds very attractive. In some, respects, this isn’t quite the truth. Being your own boss means being an accountant, bookkeeper, stock clerk, receptionist and office manager all-in-one. You have to do deal with tax returns, payroll, office supplies, customer service, bills and all the other hassles that come with a business. You don’t have friends to chat with at the water cooler. You don’t have paid health insurance, a company car and a 401(k). You take your problems home with you every night. Sound like fun? It is, once you learn how to master your time and run your business. Being the master of your own life and career is well worth the other hassles of dealing with your own business.The Part-Time InvestorThe part-time investor holds a “regular job.” This may be by choice or for the time being until his real estate ventures are bringing in enough cash to quit his job. If it is the latter reason, don’t quit your job because the real estate “guru” told you so. Quit your job when it is not worth the income that it brings you. In other words, if you are making more money per hour flipping properties on the side, you are at the point that where your regular job is costing you money. Only then, is it time to quit!One of the advantages of starting out part-time is that you can maintain cash flow while learning the business. It may take weeks or possibly months to find your first deal. That same deal may take several months to turn around, especially if you decide to fix it and sell it retail. Think twice before telling your boss you’re leaving; you will have plenty of time to make the career switch once you have real estate experience. You may, on the other hand, like your occupation. If so, continue to work at it, and invest in real estate on the side.The best case scenario, if you are married, is to have one spouse work a regular job. The other spouse work the real estate business for creating wealth, retirement income and a nice college fund for the children. Of course, in today’s market, you could be laid off due to unforeseen circumstances. If you earn additional income flipping houses and invest the proceeds into rental properties, you will be covered if your main income is lost. This is especially the case for married women that often forego a career and raise a family, only to find themselves divorced with no means of making a living. We don’t want to sound cynical about marriage, but with a fifty-percent divorce rate in America, it never hurts to have a system for making money.Someone with a full time job tends to have little free time to focus on real estate. A part-timer should learn most of the same skills as a full timer. Thus, the key disadvantage to flipping properties on a part-time basis is that it takes sacrifice to learn the business. Something has to give; television, lazy weekends, meaningless hobbies and even some family activities must be compromised. As with any education, time spent learning about real estate will bring its own rewards, especially if the people in your life understand your goals and your plan to achieve those goals. If you are married, make sure your spouse reads this material with you and participates in the fun process of making money.Treat Real Estate as a BusinessPeople are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat it like any other business.

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14 Steps to Creating a Real Estate Business Plan You Can Use

This model of business planning and goal setting for Real Estate Professionals breaks the process down to five sections and fourteen steps.SECTION A: The Big WHYIt is important to first look at who you really are and what your core values are. These things will drive you and carry thorough to your business.Step 1 – What is your purpose?Uncover your purpose, what provides the foundation of our values, vision and goals.Step 2 – What are your values?Know your core values which dictate what is important in both life and business: how business should be conducted, your view of humanity, and your role in society.SECTION B: Vision – Goal SettingThis is where you take a hard look at where you are at and figure out where it is you are going in your business and in your life.Step 3 – The Year in ReviewRecognize what it is you have done this year, celebrate the accomplishments and also look at what may have stopped you short of reaching a goal.Step 4 – Is your life in balance?The Wheel of Life, sometimes called the Balance Wheel, will help you visualize your current situation, providing a snapshot of how you see your life today.Step 5 – Business ReviewTake a look at the results of the last 12 months. Did you reach your goals and achieve what you wanted?Step 6 – Goal SettingDon’t hold back, dream LARGE, think BIG, aim HIGH.Step 7 – Production GoalsWork the numbers. Create specific number goals for the next one to five years.SECTION C: Creating an Action Plan to Achieve Your GoalsAll Real Estate Professionals know they need a Business Plan. By following these steps you will create a plan that will help you hit your business goals.Step 8 – Define Your Niche and Value PropositionBecome a specialist and build perceived value. Know your true value and learn to articulate your value proposition to your clients.Step 9 – Lead Generation/Marketing PlanRecognize what specific changes to your current plans are necessary to make in order to reach your goals.Step 10 – Define Your Team Organizational StructureUnderstand the organizational structure of your team.Step 11 – Development PlanCapture all of those things you have wanted to research, create, do, perfect, delegate and implement in your business.Step 12 – BudgetingReview your expenses for the current year and include any new marketing and development changes.Step 13 – Production PlanCreate and monitor goals on a monthly basis in order to hit your production goals for the upcoming year.SECTION D: Achieving Your Goals: How do I get there from here?By breaking your large goals into smaller steps you will always know what you need to do next in order to keep working toward hitting your business and personal goals.Step 14 – Creating a Master Project ListChange your goals into “projects” to actively work on over the next twelve months, and from this create a “Master Project List.”