Are you intrigued by real estate as a passive income strategy, but you don't know where to start? It is possible to learn real estate investing best practices through a combination of research and experience. Here are some ways to get the knowledge you need to start building your investment portfolio.
Get schooled in real estate investing
While becoming a real estate agent is certainly one way of gaining the industry knowledge you need, you don't need your real estate license in order to add a rental property or a REIT to your portfolio. However, you may feel more comfortable completing a basic real estate education course before you take on any property investment. So where do you begin?
Many colleges and universities offer real estate certification programs in residential or commercial real estate. While these are not the same as a real estate license, they do provide a sound education in the field. Check with a local college to see if one is offered there; if not, there are many schools across the country that offer online programs you can complete no matter where you live.
If you'd prefer to take a one-off real estate investing course rather than a full certification program, check out Udemy. This online learning platform offers classes that cover numerous aspects of real estate investing, including analyzing rental opportunities, fix-and-flip investment strategy, and multifamily investments.
Read to learn more about real estate investing
Aside from a traditional or online course in real estate investing, there's plenty of literature and media about the business. Here's how to narrow it all down.
The real estate section
Every newspaper has a section that features not only commercial and residential real estate listings but also trends for that area. Whether you read the digital or paper version, make sure to include the newspaper as your daily/weekly reading material for every community you intend to invest in. This is one of the best ways to keep on top of what's happening in the neighborhoods you invest in, as well as find opportunities for you to invest in the local commercial and residential real estate market.
Yes, there are many blogs out there on the internet, and it may be hard at first to wade through them all. The best way is to start with an internet search for blogs in your intended niche/residential area, and you'll begin to see which are the ones to follow.
While comments aren't everything, you may want to take a second glance at those bloggers with active commenters -- it shows they have some cache in the real estate world and people are eager to enter a conversation with them. Go ahead and subscribe to a number of them so the newest posts land right in your inbox on a regular basis.
Here are some of the top real estate investing blogs (besides ours):
There are over one million podcasts, with about 30 million episodes ready to be downloaded. A good chunk of them have to do with money and entrepreneurship -- and there are also a number of real estate investing podcasts.
The wonderful thing about podcasts is that you can multitask while listening to them. An engaging podcast can certainly make a commute seem shorter, and it can also make a mundane household chore more compelling. No matter how you choose to listen, do so regularly. Even experienced real estate investors can find new insight or a tip that will help them with their investment strategy. Heard something that you want to look into? Be sure to check out the show notes of the podcast for valuable information.
Here are some top podcasts you'll want to download:
BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast
The Real Estate Guys Radio Show
The Real Wealth Show
Even in the digital world, books are still one of the best ways to educate yourself on a new topic. When choosing a book about the real estate industry, consider the following:
- How long has the author been in the business -- and are they still in it?
- Is there an updated edition that reflects more current trends?
- Is the information appropriate for your niche?
Here are some books you may want to consider adding to your reading list:
- The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner
- Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing by Doug Marshall
- The Book on Flipping Houses by J. Scott
Keep in mind, though, that the real estate market can be a roller coaster ride. What's true when a book was first written may have changed dramatically by the time it was published. While it's great to keep a growing shelf of real estate business reference books, be sure to augment their information with updated information from newspapers, blogs, and podcasts.
Can you learn anything from real estate TV shows?
There are plenty of reality TV shows that have made stars out of real estate investors and fix-and-flippers. But in the words of many a TV announcer: Kids, don't try this at home.
Launching a new career as a real estate investor based on what you see in a half-hour episode is not recommended. Still, there are a few things you can certainly pick up from television.
- Housing trends from other parts of the country.
- Insight from homeowners.
- Ideas for home renovation.
Keep in mind that while real estate investing makes for really compelling storylines, you have to consider all of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly that goes on (usually) behind the scenes. While shows like HGTV's "Flip or Flop" are good about showing some of the mistakes that even seasoned investors can make along the way, they mainly portray the flips through rose-colored camera lenses.