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Certain types of investing are much more open to newbies than others. I'd go so far as to say that there is a spectrum of accessibility in the world of investing.
On one end of the spectrum is the stock market. Investing in the stock market has never been easier thanks to all the awesome apps for micro investing out there like Stash or Robinhood. Getting a Roth IRA is now a cinch, and many employers still offer 401(k) plans too. CDs and bonds are and always have been pretty much open to everyone, so long as you have a bank account or the cash.
On the other end of the accessibility spectrum, however, are hedge funds, venture capitalist projects, and private investments. Most people would think that real estate is one of these ultra-difficult institutions, but they'd be wrong. It's actually fairly easy to get into real estate if you know what to do.
I can personally name 10 different ways to invest in real estate. Here are some of the easiest ways to get into real estate investing quickly and easily.
Have a family member or friend who's already into it introduce you.
Admittedly, the easiest way to start investing in real estate is to have someone you know get you into it. Connections are everything, aren't they?
Any professional in the real estate world can open up the door for you. It could be a lender in hard money, a builder, an appraiser, a real estate investment analyst, or even a landlord. As long as they work in the field, they can help.
Ask them to take you under their wing, and you will most likely get the connections you need for a career in real estate investments.
Apply to become a loan sales specialist.
If you have a Bachelor's degree and a good gift of gab, you may be able to work as a loan sales specialist or a loan officer. They often work hand-in-hand with real estate investors, especially when it comes to hard money loans for fix-and-flips.
By working with real estate investors, you will start to pick up skills necessary to choose a good property—and the connections to make it worth your time.
Buy a two-family home, live in one section, and rent the other out.
I like to have wise friends around me. A good friend of mine once said, "Everyone's first home should be a multi-family home."
He's right you know, too! A multi-family home is an investment that pays for itself. If you live in it, you might be able to qualify for a lower down payment and better tax rates depending on where you live.
A two-family home is an easy foray into landlording and real estate investment while also keeping a roof over your head. What more could you want in a starter home?
Offer to work as a super in an apartment complex.
If you're handy with tools and are looking for cheap rent, working as a superintendent at an apartment complex is probably one of the best ways to get into real estate investing. Superintendents work hard to keep buildings in ship-shape, but they also get paid pretty well.
A typical super will get great connections to real estate investors, develop skills that deal with landlording, learn about local laws, and live at a greatly discounted rent rate. It's not a bad gig, especially if you want to own a building soon enough.
Join a real estate investors' club.
Let's say that you have no cash, no tool skills, and no knowledge that deals with real estate whatsoever. That's okay—you can still work your charm and network with people who can help you out.
You can look up local meetups that deal with real estate in your area. Bring business cards, talk to people, and offer to help out however you can in exchange for knowledge. The rest will come in time.
Take a class in real estate investing.
Now, I don't necessarily recommend this route because it can be pretty sketchy. A lot of people who offer classes in real estate investing never actually made money in it. These people tend to make their money in class sales and slick marketing schemes.
If you're going to take a real estate investing class, make sure that it makes sense and is taught by qualified professionals. A good rule of thumb to follow is that you should not have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to learn this skill—nor should you have to pay in order to gain the right to work! The best online courses for real estate investing are a good place to start if you're serious about getting the education first.
Save up, and buy an investment property.
This is the slowest way to get into real estate investing, but that doesn't mean that you can't do it. People do it all the time, even if there are faster ways to get into the field.
If you work hard, save up money, and buy an investment property to rent out, it can work well in your favor. You also might want to look into a property to fix and flip, if you're willing to put the hard work in.
Become a birddog.
Do you have an eye for people trying to sell their homes? Do you know a lot of people who are in a bad spot? You might be able to become a birddog.
Birddogs are people who work with legit real estate investment firms. They point out homeowners looking to sell. For every home that's bought by the firm, they get a nice wad of cash. You can climb through the ranks in many firms this way.
Invest in a REIT.
REITs, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, are pretty much stocks that involve real estate portfolios. You plunk down the money, others do the hard work for you. Your REIT increases in price and may even pay dividends, which is why you may want to invest in an REIT instead of being a landlord.
Unlike stocks, which can be bought for pennies, REITs are a bit pricier. You can get some as cheap as $500, though, so it's still realistic for most budgets.
Find a hard money lender, find a house, get a crew, and flip it on your own.
This isn't the best way to get into real estate investing, but it still will work pretty well if you are cautious about it. A DIY approach will involve a lot of work, research, and potential mistakes.
It's risky, sure, but it can work pretty well if you have the right connections and mind for it. After all, nothing is quite as good a teacher as real-life experience.