Real Estate Investing for Beginners

Setting Goals and Removing Fears

Start with the Dream.

Visualizing the future is essential for attaining any goal. It helps us clarify our wants and gives us the certainty that we can accomplish them.

That’s why we love case studies. We want proof that someone has done what we want to do. We want to know that we are not going to waste years of our lives without seeing any results.

If you know with absolute certainty that in five years you can live off the income from your rental portfolio, you will do whatever is necessary to get there. This becomes a must in your life, a priority.

On the other hand, if you think it may happen but you are not sure, you will act indecisively or not act at all. This is what kills most newbie investors. They learn a lot about real estate investment but never take action because deep down they are not sure that they will be successful.

I have seen many accidental landlords who give up and sell when something goes wrong in their first year. Why? 

Because they are not committed to being a real estate investor.

Commitment comes from knowing with certainty that you are capable of reaching your goal and that your dream is attainable.

Here is a story that illustrates the power of our beliefs.

In May 1954, a British runner Roger Bannister run one mile in under 4 mins. At that time this was considered impossible. The belief was that the human body was simply not capable of running a 4-minute mile. 

Yet right after he did it his record was broken routinely by many other runners.

Why? Was this the result of the evolution of the human body? No.

All the other runners were capable of doing it but they didn’t think it was humanly possible. Roger Bannister showed the others what’s possible. This is the power of belief and the power of certainty.

You have the potential to achieve your dream, but if you don’t think that dream is possible, you won’t take the actions necessary and you will fail. Failure unfortunately reinforces negative beliefs so you are stuck in a vicious circle.

So how you become certain if you don’t have experience yet?

Athletes and other high performers know the answer to this question. 

Listen to the trainer of Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all times.

Why does visualization work? David Hamilton Ph.D. explains that the brain doesn’t distinguish between what you imagine to be happening and reality.
The neurons in our brains, that transmit information, interpret what we imagine as real.
Visualization helps us stay motivated because we can see the desired result.

Let’s try something to help you visualize your dream

Taking Stock

Before setting your goals, take a piece of paper, divide it in two and write down your

Abilities and Liabilities

Abilities – what are you good at, what do you have or can get. For example:

  1. I can paint like a professional
  2. I am handy
  3. I have $5,000 for a downpayment
  4. I can find partners

Liabilities – what are you lacking. 

  1. My credit is not good
  2. I can’t move
  3. I don’t know much about real estate investing

Write down everything you can think of. This exercise will help you decide which real estate techniques you should learn first and practice.

Setting Goals

Proper goal setting is critical to your success as a real estate investor. As Yogi Berra said: 

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

Start with your long-term goal, and work backward to where you are right now.

Long-term Goals 10 years

Medium-term Goals – 5 years

Short-term Goals – 1 year

Immediate Goals – what are you going to do right now 

Do you want to make $20,000 per month from rentals? What does this mean? How many rentals do you have to own to make $20,000? 

If you make $200 profit per month from each rental, that’s 100 rentals.

To get to 100 rentals, what is your medium-term goal? Where do you need to be at 5 years?

Where do you want to be in one year?

And finally, what do you have to do daily to accomplish the one-year goal?

Write down a menu of things to work on daily.

Put that on your fridge so you can see it every day!

Find Your Dream Team

Next on the list is finding your dream team. You may not have to use them all but if you have questions or if a good opportunity presents itself you can ask someone immediately

Who should be part of your team?

  • Realtors
  • Property Managers
  • Lenders
  • Insurance companies
  • Handyman
  • Local government officials – zoning, planning, etc
  • Real Estate lawyer 
  • Accountant and tax advisor

Checklist to get started:

  1. Describe your dream and use visualization techniques every day.
  2. Write down your liabilities and your abilities.
  3. Write down your goals
  4. Pick your team members.
  5. Choose a location to specialize in.
  6. Start learning about the location you chose: zoning, regulations, planning. Commit to learning one geographic area and type of property to start with. This will minimize your fear of failure and it will help you see opportunities where others see none.

Related Articles:

Real Estate Investing for Beginners: Action Plan

How to Determine Property Values

How to Find a Good Rental Property to Buy in Any Market

Analyzing Rental Property: The Ingredients of a Good Buy

How to Finance Your Investment Property Using Little or None of Your Cash

Ten No Money Down Strategies

How to Make an Offer on a Property

From Offer to Close

About the author

Jana Christo is a business owner, real estate investor, and property manager. She has 16 years of experience in most areas of real estate.
During the last recession, she was also the managing partner for a company that bought and rehabbed properties from the court foreclosure auctions. Today, she manages her own portfolio of rental properties and shares her experience on