I went with my girlfriend to a wedding yesterday afternoon. We were sat at a table for brunch with a younger couple and we asked what they did. Adam said that he was a real estate agent, and he became one because he got his real estate license so he could save himself fees as he bought and sold properties for himself. My ears of course perked right up.
He said that he owned thirteen properties and did so because he started working right out of high school and decided that he didn't want to (work that is). It took him five years to get going but he had his first place by age 24.
I asked him after a bit what he would recommend for someone looking to get started, as far as the type of property. What he said really surprised me. He said to get a fourplex if possible right off the start. The advantage is that he said, as compared to renting out a single family home, is that even if one or two spots are vacant, you won't be taking the entire financial hit. He also suggested that it might be better to purchase a place outside of my local area and hire someone to look after it for me (as that is what he is trying to do now). Again, all logical things that make sense. I was worried about the cost and he said that his girlfriend just bought her first fourplex for $209,000 (which is considerably less than I thought it would be).
He also mentioned the snowball effect that real estate has: that once you start making money off of it, it becomes easier and easier. The more money that you have, the easier that it is to get finance and refinance loans. He also mentioned that it is important to pay for a good team around you: mortgage broker, lawyer, accountant and real estate agent.
This was a good inspirational weekend for me financially and pointed me to the path of success I think. Now its just time to save for some down payments and begin my financial dreams!