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How to prepare yourself before investing in real estate

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By : Eugene Hacker    99 or more times read
I often find people considering buying real estate as an investment with out doing any preparation. Like any task…it goes smoother and there is a more likely possibility of success if you are prepared.

Where should you start?

I suggest you start by investing in your education.

First off…I don’t really recommend paying a lot of money for education when you are first starting. There are tons of “gurus” out there selling investment advice and usually at a great cost. I have read or watched many of these courses and generally the information is good, but it is not the only way to learn. In fact most of the highly advertised educational courses can be purchased at a huge discount on eBay.

I recommend starting by visiting your local library. Most libraries will have several books on real estate investing. If the selection is too limited, most have a program where your library can barrow books from other nearby libraries. After reading a few books on basic investing you should have a good idea of what kind of real estate interests you and you can focus your education on those subjects. I also recommend reading books on time management, marketing, and negotiation.

Books can also be found very inexpensive online. This can be a good way to go because you can highlight, take notes and keep the books for reference down the road.

Along side with reading you need to get “street smart”. I don’t mean this in the tradition sense…but I suggest you familiarize yourself with the area that you wish to invest in. Pick several neighborhoods, with a total population base of 5k to 10k people. Your goal is to really get to know this area. You need to know where the problem areas are, what homes rent for, what houses generally sell for. Visit open houses, call on “for sale” and “for rent” signs and get details about the properties. Talk to residence about the area.

There are also some great online resources. There are online real estate investment forums where you can ask specific questions and usually get pretty good answers. There are also real estate specific sites such as Trulia and Zillow, which contain a ton of information.

I personally do not think that it is a good idea to leave these tasks up to a real estate sales person. They can be a great resource but I think it’s important to have a personal understanding before you get started. At the end of the day, you are going to be the one that has to live with the long term consequences of your investment.

I know education is not very glamorous or exciting but I assure you that it is a critical step if you want to increase your chances of success.

Keep in mind a few weeks of education is not going to make you expert. Like most investors I know I have continually invest in my education. It is a lifelong process.
Eugene Hacker is a real estate broker for RIVER AND LAKE REAL ESTATE in the Kern River Valley severing the communities of Lake Isabella, Kernville, Alta Sierra, Wofford Heights, Bodfish, Mt Mesa, Weldon, and Onyx. You can view his website at

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