Making the transition from a part-time to a full-time real estate investor is a big decision—and rightfully so. Being your own boss is a huge undertaking, and letting go of your 9-5 carries repercussions. So, before you make the rash decision to go all in, it is important to carefully consider what that will look like and what it is you want out of real estate.
There is nothing wrong with having a day job and investing in real estate. Part-time real estate certainly has its benefits. In fact, most real estate investors opt to stay employed while building an investment portfolio on the side—proof positive it doesn’t have to be a mutually exclusive relationship.
However, it’s also true that those who can dedicate themselves fully to the craft may find the transition well worth it. Plenty of folks do. The bottom line is that in order for you to capitalize on your investments, you must treat real estate investment as a business above all else.
How To Tell If You’re Ready To Invest in Real Estate Full-Time
Investing in real estate is no easy task. Only the committed are able to get their business off the ground. But once you have a surplus of cash flow coming in from your real estate investments, choosing to keep your day job becomes an option.
Like everything else, there are pros and cons to stepping away from your 9-5. Weigh them carefully—decisions made in haste are rarely rewarded. Before you put in your two weeks, ask yourself if you have a solid plan in place and a vision for your business. The change will be difficult. However, if both of those elements are in place, it will be immensely helpful during your transition into full-time real estate.
Tips for Part-Time Investors Who Want To Invest Full-Time
Let’s say you’re not there yet. You want to hang onto your full-time job for now. Know this: It is entirely possible to earn worthwhile returns as a part-time real estate investor. You will just need to be much more efficient.
As mentioned, there are benefits to being gainfully employed. Your steady flow of income likely helps you qualify for financing through banks. Additionally, your steady influx of cash flow from part-time investing may raise your credit score. These are great attributes that will help you grow and maximize your real estate investment portfolio
If investing full-time is your ultimate goal, here are a few tips to get on the right path:
- Find a partner: If you have limited time—or maybe you have limited money or expertise—try recruiting a partner. Find someone whose strengths complement your weaknesses and vice versa.
- Automate and outsource: If you don’t value your time, nobody will. Dedicate the hours you have available to the things that matter most and the things you are best at. Outsource everything else. You’d be surprised how productive you can be if your day isn’t bogged down by the little things.
- Pick a niche: Investing in real estate is a complex endeavor, and it only gets more complicated the more you are immersed in it. It’s rarely possible to be a jack of all trades. Stick to (and master) one particular niche. Your limited time in the industry is likely better spent focusing on one area.
- Find your “why”: Working as a part-time real estate investor requires passion, drive and determination. Few things will push you to succeed more than determining your “why.” Ask yourself: Why are you investing in the first place? For many (like me), it’s about taking control of your time.
What You Must Know Before Making the Leap Into Full-Time Real Estate Investing
First things first… why do you want to quit your full-time job? Do you think real estate investing will be easier? Do you think the income will be better? Believing these hypotheticals doesn’t mean it makes sense to quit your full-time job.
To contemplate such a change, you need to have enough business in place to substantiate making the leap to full-time investing. A good rule of thumb is that it only makes sense if you are losing business by doing real estate part-time.
If you are quitting your W-2 just to gain more free time or to have a flexible schedule, you are not doing it for the right reasons. To forgo a full-time job is to give up a lot. Not only do you lose out on a steady paycheck and benefits like health insurance, but you are also now fully responsible for your income. Many investors welcome this pressure. However, there are others who cannot handle the newfound burden and wish they still had a paycheck coming in. Before you commit to investing full-time, ensure
- A budget in place
- Reserves in the bank
- A business plan in order
Completing a couple of successful transactions doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to go all in. As mentioned, if you aren’t treating investing like a business, you will quickly regret your decision.
Also, keep in mind that if you have a spouse and/or family, branching out on your own is an adjustment that needs to be discussed beforehand. Your family must be on board—especially since the first few months may be lean income-wise until you close a few deals. Instead of getting paid every week or two, a large lump sum may come in every four or six weeks. This means you need to budget and spend accordingly.
Let’s say cash flow isn’t a problem. Even if your business is robust, running it could be much more stressful than you’re expecting. Is it worth it? If things are different than you anticipated, would that be a deal-breaker for you?
And keep in mind, individuals who don’t have a 9-5 job because they are full-time real estate investors are considered more of a lending risk in the eyes of banks. To qualify for a loan, investors or entrepreneurs typically must generate sufficient revenue from their business and show proof of at least two to three years of steady income.
Will you qualify for a loan without your full-time job? What if qualifying means paying a higher interest rate to compensate? How would it impact your bottom line?
The fact of the matter is, it is better to wait until you have steady business and reliable cash flow, rather than prematurely quitting your W-2 job and struggling until you get there. Take the time to set things up right. Wait until you are fully ready before jumping in with two feet.