Real Estate Investing
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"How To Make Money In Your Local Real Estate Market"
Today's Article: "The Workplace of the Real Estate Investor-Part 2"
Regardless of location, an office or other place of doing business for your real estate investing will require a few essentials. The list below is not intended to be all-inclusive but does feature the most important things you’ll need, based upon my experiences.
- Computer (desktop or laptop. Personally I prefer Mac vs. a PC)
- A dedicated work desk
- High speed Internet access
- Mobile phone plan with plenty of available minutes
- Local phone line
- Business cards
- Organized and readily available forms and paperwork
- Printer (color is ideal)
- Fax machine/scanner
- A dedicated business mailing address (P.O. Box or UPS Box)
- Dedicated email account
- Business website
- Accounting software
- File organization capacity for different projects/deals
Note that the list above does not include basic office supplies, as I think the need for these should be apparent.
Other Helpful Tips
To help with the proper balance between your business and personal life, I suggest having dedicated business hours. I appreciate that the business of being an investor can sometimes spill over into evenings and weekends and I’m not suggesting leaving these times off limits. Just have some definition to how your time is spent. For example, if you typically find the afternoons during any given week to be pretty slow, don’t take calls during that time. Rather, return calls during a defined time slot in the evening. You’ll be more apt to reach clients then anyway and you won’t feel like you’re a slave to your phone. Accessibility is one thing. Being consumed by your business is another and I believe strongly in a happy medium.
A well constructed website can also help alleviate any worry that you’ll potentially lose business during your ‘down-time’. Visitors can learn about you, submit inquiries, and request to visit with you during your normal office hours. The ability to set hours when you are working your business is not only healthy, but also helps you to appear more like a retail business that has set hours. This is especially helpful if you start the business as a part-time venture.
Let me reemphasize that I’m not suggesting any of you go out there and lease or purchase dedicated office space for your real estate investing business, even if that may become more relevant and necessary later. The most important thing you need right out of the gate is some dedicated place from which to conduct your business. I recognize that this may be challenging for many readers. You may not have that finished basement or spare bedroom that could serve as an office. In these cases, all you can do is the best you can.
Remember too the all-important issue of balance between your life and your business. A future as a real estate investor can be very exciting and also one that can be somewhat consuming. Between meetings, phone calls, and time online doing your research, the business (like any) has the potential to blur the line between your home life and work, especially when the business is home-based. Make the effort to find that right balance and, in the long run, you will be much happier and be able to truly enjoy the fruits of your business from the comfort of home.
The importance of a physical office is much less of an issue for either your professional team or for your clients. You of course will be going to meet them in most cases and you are more important than the perception of where your actual business is located. If you’re self-conscious about the ‘rattle trap’ nature of your home office, remind yourself that your clients won’t be coming to visit you there and that your true business results will come from who you are, in the eyes of those who will be evaluating you. Bottom line is, just get started at home and then work your way to an external office only if that is your desire and only if revenue can support the move.
Key Point: Make lots of money first before you make lots of changes.