Lessons Learned: Diary of a Rookie Real Estate Investor

Epilogue to the five-part series of articles tracing the exploits of a newbie investor who has transitioned from accidental landlord to advanced beginner in a flash.

My friend is probably right. I should probably buy five more units in this complex. However, last I saw there was only one unit for sale and it was going for about $40,000 more than I paid for mine.

I’d love to have more of them. Every person who walks in to the condo says the same thing: it’s a great location and I won’t have any problems renting it out in the future after my son and his roommate move out.

Being a newbie to this whole investment thing, doing these last two deals has been an eye-opening lesson in working the business. Early on I knew I wanted to be a buy and hold real estate investor. At this point in the business cycle I feel more comfortable using this strategy rather than flipping properties.

Some veteran investors I have interviewed for stories in the past have even suggested that I adopt a rent-to-own type strategy, but I was not about to lease option my family home, and I know my son is not interested in staying in San Diego for the long term after he gets done with school.

In working on both projects I also learned a lot about working with contractors — especially general contractors, painters, landscapers and window treatment vendors, along with my mortgage broker and Realtors.

Although neither property was a foreclosure home, the experience has given me enough of a taste for investing that I’d be interested in pursuing short sales and bank-owned properties in the future and build up a portfolio of rental properties.

Although we expect to see another foreclosure wave coming down the pipe, I won’t rule out traditional sales either if the right deal comes along like it did in San Diego. I had a motivated seller and I got lucky plain and simple in a very competitive market.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading about my first-hand experiences as a rookie investor throughout this series of articles. If you have any experiences as an investor you’d like to share, please feel free to blog about them and then we can trade links.

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You may also be interested in the following articles:
Time to Get into the Game (Part 1)
From Accidental Landlord to Cash Flow Positive (Part 2)
Better to Buy Bank Owned, Short Sale or Traditional Sale (Part 3)
Foreclosed Homes a No-Go this Time Around (Part 4)
No Foreclosure, But Still a Good Deal (Part 5)

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