Q: What are some ways that an 18-year old individual can get started in real estate as a business? I want to learn everything I need to know about buying, selling and investing in real estate.
A: The best way to learn is by asking questions. What you really want to do in the field of real estate will dictate to whom you ask those questions.
If by becoming involved in real estate you mean you want to become a real estate agent, you should start by talking to an experienced real estate agent or broker in your area and seeing if you can work for him or her for a while. As you work in real estate, you might want to take real estate agent courses and even take the real estate salesperson exam to get your real estate license. You will also need to decide if you want to specialize in residential, commercial, industrial, warehouse, or special use properties.
You also need to learn the ins and outs of the neighborhoods in which you want to work. We’d suggest you spend some good time learning about neighborhoods, the types of real estate located there, how to list a property for sale, what things you should look at when deciding whether to make an offer on a piece of real estate. You will also need to learn how to negotiate a sale or lease of property, and how to finance real estate transactions.
Personal relationships are incredibly important as you build a career in real estate. Not only are these relationships a key part of obtaining and keeping clients, but you need to develop relationships with mortgage lenders, other real estate brokers, home inspectors and even people in the construction trades. If you want to make these relationships work, you’ll need to do your homework and be respectful of other people’s time.
It won’t cost much for you to learn the game of real estate, and if you find the right internship, you might even get paid to learn. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide if you want to put your own money on the line. If you don’t do your due diligence, and understand how transactions are put together, you could end up losing quite a bit of money.
While you are young, your age shouldn’t be a barrier. You will have to learn enough so that you aren’t taken advantage of by other investors. Build a savvy team that can help you put the pieces together. And, spend a lot of time looking for the right deal before signing the paperwork.
Many real estate companies now require their employees to have a college degree. Since we are assuming you’ve just graduated from high school, your age could be a handicap. But beyond that, running real estate numbers can be complicated, and some companies will want you to have knowledge in advanced mathematics, so that you can understand how to properly judge the value of a piece of real estate.
There’s no formula for success. But by reading everything you can get your hands on, befriending successful investors, and getting some hands-on experience with deals, there’s no reason you can’t create a solid career and a financial future you can depend on.