Reader Mail: I am in the Atlanta area and I want to flip a house...

by Ryan Brown
(Carrollton, GA, USA)

Hi, I am in college and I have wanted to flip a house for years. I got my real estate license and have done some research. Of course my funds are low because I am in college but I am willing to work with an investor and do the work. I go to college about an hour from Atlanta but I would be willing to find the house, hire the team, keep up with the progress, and sell the property. I just need some advise on where to get started and what to do exactly to go about this. How did you get started? Let me know! Thanks!

LM says: Ryan, thanks for stopping by. Whenever someone is getting started on this and asks me for advice my answer is almost always the same: education, education, education… That is how I got started.

I spent about 8 months just reading and going to every investor meeting I could find in this city. Talking to other investors is a great learning tool. I did not spend a dime in seminars or courses from gurus. Then I spent another 6 months looking at houses, neighborhoods, understanding the market and the numbers. Then…I started buying foreclosures.

However, even before that you need to go deeper and figure out why you want to do this. Do you want to build wealth, buy a new car, achieve financial independence…what do you want? Then set goals, put together an action plan and then take action.

If you got a license then that’s good. It gives you general knowledge of the residential real estate market, some processes, some understanding of appraisals and perhaps the most important thing which is access to the MLS and ability to negotiate for yourself. So you are off to a good start.

However, having a license does nothing to teach you about investing. That is the next phase of education you need to go into, being an investor. There are a 101 ways to make money in real estate investing so make sure you understand the 5-10 most basic ones and then figure out where you want to go and then go deeper into that one.

Whether it is

real estate wholesaling, buy and hold properties and of course my personal favorite, buying, rehabbing and selling properties. First understand how they work and how they can fit into your own personal situation.

I can tell you that flipping houses is a lot of fun but requires a LOT of moving parts to come together. From market analysis, to project management, plenty of contacts, budgeting, negotiating and if you are good with picking colors then that’s icing on the cake :-)

Read everything in this site regarding real estate investing. That information is based on real world, Atlanta experiences and not hypothetical scenarios.

You say you have no cash…that’s ok. Just make sure you then pick a strategy that does not require a large cash outlay. To flip a house you need money. How you go about finding that money is a whole other thing. On the other hand wholesaling is always the first choice of people with little cash. I have bought properties from wholesalers so I can tell you it can work but it’s not easy…

You might have to be cautious though because if you are licensed you might not be able to wholesale in the traditional sense because of your licensing restrictions.

On the other hand the fact that you are an agent could be helpful to many investors that are not agents and need one. You can find properties for them, list properties for sale for them, check out their competition and like you said do work in exchange for funding.

The cool thing about this business is that you don’t have to have the money, it helps if you do, but if you don’t then all you need is ACCESS to the money…a very different thing. I can tell you that there are plenty of people out there with cash right now. They could very well use someone with creativity and willingness to do the work in order to get into real estate investing.

Real estate investing is not about having money, it's about finding opportunities and finding solutions to all the obstacles you will face. If one of those obstacles is not having money then so be it. Add it to your to do list and get to work…

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