by Erin Spradlin
Recently, I wrote an article about junior investors who get a little ahead of themselves when they reach out to others about wanting to invest. They are missing some of the hallmarks of good investing: reading at least one investment book (and that’s a very light education at best), knowing their metrics, knowing their finances, talking to a lender, and having realistic expectations for their market.
1. Being Too Particular with Metrics
With investors, we call it “metrics” and with house buyers, we call it “wishes”—but either way, you see people incapable of moving forward because of their quest for perfection. It’s important you feel comfortable with your numbers and that you like your home, but honestly, being overly picky on your metrics or wishes is a disservice only to you. Be smart, but don’t be ridiculous. And keep this in mind because I honestly believe it: The biggest deterrent to investing (and, possibly life) is letting fear hold you back from getting in the game at all. Get in the game! Ninety-five percent of the time you’ll be fine, and 100 percent of the time you’ll learn a ton.)
2. Being Afraid
I see people make poor financial decisions all the time based on their fear. (This is particularly true for leveraging a HELOC.) And I’m sympathetic because I also had those fears when we started. Buying any property requires a lot of money and a sustained commitment for at least a month or two. It can be hard for me to continue to make a big or hard decision for a sustained amount of time, even when the financials make a ton of sense.
Investing requires that sustained effort: You have to decide you want to make an investment, contact a lender, start to look, go to your inspection, get through your appraisal, and go through tons of tedious paperwork. And every step, you have to remain confident that it’s something you want to do and that it makes financial sense. There’s no two ways around it: Your first investment might be a mentally taxing and draining situation, but it’s absolutely worth it for the financial gains that open up to you.
3. Being Female
The numbers don’t lie. And anecdotally, I know most I see in the BiggerPockets forums and at meet ups predominantly have Adam’s apples.
My own investing path mirrored this as well: James was ready and I was not. The risk seemed too high. Real estate investing seemed like something other people did. It felt like a very expensive hobby that could go wrong. And, honestly, every time we talk to an excited male investor, I want to know pretty quickly if they are married and if I can get their wife on the phone.
Here’s why: Women make up to 85% of household purchasing decisions (I know this because my entire grad school thesis was about this). If it’s true that men are less averse to risk, it’s also true that a lot of the time, the bottom line comes down to their female companions.
Women can (and do) get on board with investing, but they have a higher threshold for making that decision. In other words, they like to be informed.
I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but I was never really educated to think about real estate as a vehicle for wealth. I was told it was dumb to spend money on rent and that growing up meant buying a place, but no one really talked to me about how leveraging real estate could lead to very fast financial gains. And I bet that’s true for a lot of people reading this and absolutely true for the majority of the public. If you want to learn more about this, please feel free to reach out to me. I love helping people understand investing and what to look for.
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