It’s true that anyone can become a real estate investor, but becoming an expert means learning the intricacies of the business. You can avoid a lot of mistakes early on by taking the time to educate yourself about the industry before you jump into your first flip, and as you continue to invest and learn from experience, there are always more resources available to help you optimize your strategy.
As an investor, there are some key topics that you should focus on at the beginning of your career:
- Managing investment properties
- Understanding real estate law and contracts
- Estimating construction and rehab costs
- Analyzing deals
- Financing your projects
How you learn these skills is up to you, but this blog will provide an overview of some of the best resources available for real estate investors interested in learning more about the business.
Back to School
Although you don’t need a college degree to become a real estate investor, if you do plan on obtaining a degree there are some programs that will be more beneficial than others.
By learning the ins and outs of finance and financial management, you will have a better foundation on which to analyze your deals. Understanding concepts like the time value of money and opportunity cost will allow you to make a more accurate judgment of a project’s profitability.
Even if you do not have partners or employees working with you, flipping houses is a business and one that you cannot do on your own. By obtaining a BA in business – or, if you really want to improve your game, an MBA – you will learn techniques for motivating people, making smart decisions, and managing tasks that will allow you to run more efficient and effective projects.
Of course, the most direct route to learn about real estate investment is to major in real estate. Plenty of top universities offer real estate concentrations or programs; the top ten 2018 programs include NYU, the University of Florida, and Penn. The programs will introduce you to a variety of real estate concepts including law, finance, and asset valuation.
Alternative: Online Classes
If you don’t have a college in your area or you just don’t feel like going to classes twice or three times a week, online classes are a great choice. They tend to be cheaper because you’re not paying to be on campus and use the college facilities, and their flexible nature allows you to work on your own time.
If you don’t feel the need to earn college credit but you still want to take classes, you can find online programs that will give you the information without the degree. These tend to be cheaper than online classes for credit since you aren’t paying extra for the credits and you aren’t typically working with a professor.
Often, these courses provide certificates of achievement so you will still have an official record of your progress and can keep track of your education.
If you search “real estate” on UDEMY, you will find a wide variety of courses for varying prices, some of which are even free.
Previous students can also rate the classes so you can decide if it’s worth the investment. One of the top three real estate courses is called “Real Estate Investing: Learn to Fix & Flip, Step by Step!” It has 4.4 stars from 202 ratings, and is advertised as an introductory overview of fix and flip investments.
There are lots of sites that have courses for real estate investors. Many are free or simply require you to make a free account while others require you to purchase a membership or pay for the course.
For example, BiggerPockets offers a course for real estate investors that offers four hours of video lessons designed to prepare you for a career in investing. The only requirement to access it is that you make an account on the site.
If there are fix and flip blogs or investor-oriented sites that you are already familiar with, they may have courses available for you. Otherwise, a quick Google search for “real estate investment classes” will return dozens of options to choose from.
Blogs and Books
If you are disciplined and learn best by studying on your own, you can follow expert blogs and read books about the business to see how the pros do it.
Some popular real estate investment blogs include:
- REtipster is focused on helping part-time real estate investors. It was founded by Seth Williams, an experienced investor in his own right. Seth also developed an investment course that members of the REItipster Club can access.
- BiggerPockets aims to meet a wide variety of real estate investors’ needs. It has a social network, forums, company profiles, property and deal analysis tools, and a real estate marketplace, all in addition to its blog.
- FortuneBuilders is run by a group of real estate investors with the goal of educating new investors. They also have a Mastery Coaching program that matches you with an experienced investor for one-one-one coaching.
BONUS: Asset Based Lending! As hard money lenders, we have a lot of experience working with successful real estate investors and know what works. We frequently post new blogs with the latest advice for investors that we’ve learned through real world cases.
There are new books about real estate investing coming out all the time that will provide an overview of the industry as well as great advice for new and veteran flippers. Some of the top books right now are:
- “Building Wealth One House at a Time”
John W. Shaub, a well-known real estate expert, provides a 9-step program to accumulate valuable property and earn steady cash flow from your properties. He focuses on teaching his readers how to finance purchases, capitalize on real estate cycles, and improve negotiation skills.
- “The Book on Investing in Real Estate With No (and Low) Money Down”
The author of this book is Brandon Turner, co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast and real estate investor. He provides strategies for creative investing and rehab projects with an emphasis on spending as little money as possible.
- The Book on Flipping Houses”
Written by J Scott, author of 123Flip.com, this book provides a step-by-step guide for building a house flipping business. It includes tips on getting financing for deals, finding the right properties, creating the necessary paperwork, and hiring the best contractors.
- “Flipping Houses for Dummies” (a personal favorite of ABL founder Paul Ullman)
This book prides itself on honesty and reveals all sides of the fix and flip industry, both the positives and the negatives. It also provides examples of successful and unsuccessful flips and offers advice for negotiating prices and acquiring and renovating investment properties.
Lifelong learning is a key to success in any field. As new information and ideas come to light, the experts in the field need to take steps to stay updated on the latest advances. In real estate investing, that means being aware of the current legal and financial practices, market changes, and prospective homebuyers’ demands.
Whether you are new to fix and flip projects or you have been successfully rehabbing and selling properties for years, it is imperative that you stay sharp and make the most of every project. These courses, books, and blogs will help you do that and help you make a name for yourself as an expert investor.