Whether you are renting out your first home, maintaining an apartment building or holding an inventory of houses to be sold, you are essentially running a real estate investing company. This type of business is very volatile and nerve wracking since you are taking a large risk in purchasing property that you can't be sure will appreciate in value or be rented out at your desired rate. Before you start in the real estate investment game, you will need to first do some research and understand the ins and outs and ups and downs of the real estate market.
Decide which type of real estate investor you want to be. Will you flip houses (buy them cheap, fix them up and then sell them higher), rent out houses or rooms within each house, buy an apartment building and rent apartments, buy properties to sit on for years until they appreciate, or some combination of these investment methods? Will you rent and sell to individuals or commercial clients?
Find financing for your new real estate investing firm. You can either attempt to borrow one large sum of money from a bank to buy many different investment properties with cash or seek individual mortgage loans for the properties that you want to buy. Many investors choose creative mortgage financing programs, like 3- and 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages because they have low initial interest rates. Since the investors may not intend to own the home for very long they will not have to worry about the loan's interest rate adjusting over time. You need excellent credit to be approved for real estate investment loans.
Find a reliable Realtor. While you don't necessarily need to hire a real estate broker to buy and sell houses, they provide valuable services that will save you time, aggravation and possibly money. Real estate agents will handle your title work, coordinate with your investors and act as a liaison between you and the other party.
Find properties (including homes, buildings and land) to purchase for investment purposes. Look at the potential growth of each property by analyzing the neighborhood conditions, new constructions to come (such as retail stores, transportation hubs and large businesses that will require new employees), crime level and the quality of schools in the area.
Find a reliable fixer-upper team. This crew will be responsible for getting into each property right after closing to bring it up to livable standards. Many experienced real estate investors also choose to add new features to their newly purchased properties to make more money on a sale. If you are running a medium- to large-scale real estate investing company that turns over three or more properties per month, you will need to hire several-fixer upper teams to work on your properties at the same time.
Advertise your houses for sale or rent on popular classified listings. The final step in running a successful real estate investing company is to find buyers and renters for the properties who are willing to pay your asking prices. You should advertise your open listings on Realtor websites, in classified ads (newspaper and online) and by passing out fliers and business cards to all of your associates, family and friends.
Some real estate investors get certified through a state Section 8 program to offer housing to low-income applications. With Section 8 you are guaranteed a certain payment each month from the state on the behalf of the tenant, but you are required to keep the property up to certain standards. Also, keep in mind that some section 8 investors have difficultly managing tenants who refuse to follow the rules of the community (such as noise and property damage issues).