In my experience as a real estate investor – first starting out part-time while pursuing a corporate career, and now as a full-time investor and HomeVestors franchise owner in Dallas – I have observed one underlying trait in those who succeed and stick with real estate investing. And this applies particularly to part-time or beginning real estate investors.
That underlying reason for their success is the desire to create their own lifestyle rather than simply accept the lifestyle that’s been created for them.
Now let’s take this concept of lifestyle and peel it back another layer. Today you hear a lot of people speak of their “why.” That is, why they do things, why they pursue a career, why they pursue a goal, an endeavor, an objective or a dream. Everybody can cite a variety of different whys: “I do it for my wife (or husband), kids, family, or for the good of my community,” or whatever that “why” might be.
Define What You Want to Achieve
In the context of real estate investing, this is important because if you don’t know what you are really after, there is a really good chance this endeavor will not be sustainable and it may not be successful. You may not find—one month, two months, one year or two years from now—that you are no longer involved in investing in real estate. So you really have to understand what it is you are trying to achieve.
When I say that I have witnessed those who are seeking a new lifestyle be successful at part-time real estate investing, it is because they define what they are seeking and why. For instance, maybe they want to generate more disposable income beyond what they currently earn in their full-time careers in order to create a given lifestyle.
Some people are seeking to generate incremental income for the future versus right now. Specifically and probably most obviously, this means those who have full-time careers, but who seek out part-time real estate investing in order to supplement or accelerate the funding of their future and inevitable retirement.
I also see those who have purely professional reasons for seeking a new lifestyle through part-time real estate investing. “Hey, I am pretty good at what I do”—whatever it is that I do full-time and get paid to do—“but I have a professional interest in seeking out new competencies, and I have chosen real estate investing as that competency. I want to professionally develop myself in a new professional arena: part-time real estate investing.”
Sometimes these people are motivated purely to create a backup career or a fallback in the event that something happens with their current full time career. If they have developed a competency through part-time real estate investing, then they have a professional safety net that they can fall back on that will allow them to recover quickly and generate income in the absence of their full-time career.
Then, finally, I see people entering part-time real estate investing and seeking a different lifestyle purely for the fun of it. They may know someone else who does it. They may see it on TV. Or they may read about it in books or journals that they choose for entertainment or for recreation. They may simply think, “Hey, I love to paint. I love houses. I love the process of renovating, rehabbing and improving”—whatever it is they might love. They may think, “Hey, it just plain might be fun to buy, fix, sell and/or rent residential real estate. Therefore, in my free time, I am going to pursue part-time real estate investing.”
In any of these examples, the underlying motivation—the one thing we all have in common as successful and sustainable part-time real estate investors—is that we are all seeking a lifestyle and we were able to define it, whether it was to earn income for today, earn income for tomorrow, to seek out a new professional arena in our lives, or simply to have fun. Everybody is seeking a different lifestyle. What constitutes that lifestyle is really dependent on the individual and what’s important to him or her and what that person is seeking to achieve, as in the examples just given.
The point is, regardless of your objective, you are seeking to create a lifestyle versus simply accepting the lifestyle that has been created for you through your current career.
Let’s look at those each of these motivations a part-time real estate investor may have for creating a particular lifestyle. But before we do, let me once again stress that when you know what it is you are seeking—when you know your “why,” so to speak—you will have a much better chance of being successful and sustaining your career as a part-time real estate investor versus starting it today and ending it tomorrow and not achieving that lifestyle you are after.
Motivation No. 1: Increased income
First, let’s talk about those who are seeking an increased income. For those who are seeking increased income right now, part-time real estate investing has proven to be an excellent source. It is something you can do in addition to your full-time career to generate disposable income now. This means money that you can earn on a weekly, monthly or maybe just even on an annual basis, but it’s enough to buy that boat, buy that new car, make those home improvements, or fund that summer vacation for the family—whatever the reason you are seeking to generate increased disposable income.
Or you may be someone who is thinking part-time real estate investing can produce income for the future or for retirement. Rather than pursuing income now—through fix-and-flipping, or wholesaling or assignments—you can create cash flow for later use through rentals or seller financing. These generate smaller amounts of cash, but over time, they can ultimately fund long-term endeavors such as retirement.
Motivation No. 2: Increased time
Let’s say you are one of those who is simply seeking more time to do what you want to do, more so than what your current career allows you. Unlike the previous group who wanted more income, these people would simply be happy with more flexibility and time. They seek out part-time real estate investing with the idea that this can ultimately turn into a full-time endeavor, and they could then create their own schedule each week versus the schedule that’s currently created for them in their full-time careers. They want to be able to cut loose on an afternoon and go to their children’s game or event at school, or pick up their kids, or be able to leave a little later in the morning and take their kids to school, or just have the flexibility during the week to do more and be more than they are today. Maybe they want more time so that they can travel. Maybe they only get two weeks of paid vacation—and maybe that’s you, and maybe you just want to be able to travel more and you are looking for some way to start a professional endeavor that could ultimately perhaps allow you to do that.
Part-time real estate investing is a great way to start and build a business that may ultimately get you that free time or that flexibility that is going to allow you to travel or be places that you typically can’t be today. It does that through passive income. Generating cash flow from rental properties helps to create income for you. For instance, that allows you a lot of flexibility because that rent will come in even when you are not working. That’s an oversimplified example, but it is an example of how real estate investing can enable you to get more time if that’s your definition of the lifestyle you are seeking.
Motivation No. 3: Personal or professional satisfaction
Finally, there are the folks who are just seeking personal satisfaction. They want to do what they love. They want to run their own business—whatever it might be. There is great satisfaction from running your own business. There is great satisfaction from helping distressed sellers. There is great satisfaction in finding what you love to do and then finding how to make money doing it. Part-time real estate investing has been that for many, many people who love real estate, who love houses, who love solving problems.
You can also get a lot of professional satisfaction from part-time real estate investing. There are plenty of individuals who perhaps are highly competent in their current careers, who have mastered their current jobs and are looking for a greater professional challenge. Part-time real estate investing is an option that has provided that for many people. It’s a great outlet to expand your competencies and expand your professional talents and skills, or simply create a fallback profession in the event that your current profession doesn’t sustain, for whatever reason.
Whatever your “why” is, it’s important that you find it. Seek it out and define exactly what it is. Don’t just say, “I want a different lifestyle,” because I don’t think you will be successful in the long run or you will sustain. Defining exactly what you are seeking will motivate you to achieve your goals as a part-time real estate investor.
Keep in mind, it’s your lifestyle, and it’s your responsibility to create it. More importantly, it’s your opportunity. Up to this point, your lifestyle may have been created for you as a result of the compensation you’re paid for working for someone else, the time you have available outside of working for someone else, and the personal satisfaction you receive from working for someone else.
Perhaps real estate investing will allow you to create more income, create more time, create more satisfaction and create the lifestyle that you desire versus allowing a lifestyle to be created for you.
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