Many self-acclaimed real estate gurus state that everyone should quit their jobs and immediately jump into full time real estate investing. They often claim incredible results from students with little experience. We would like to caution that life-changing decisions are not usually simple and that full time investing is not for everyone. Let’s discuss some pros and cons of full-time versus part-time investing.The Full-Time InvestorEntering into the real estate profession on a full-time basis offers several advantages over a part-time commitment. Being successful requires you to develop knowledge in many aspects of real estate, and more time focused on real estate leads to greater knowledge. The more your learn, the more you earn, since you do not need to rely on as many professional services or partners for help. You also learn to recognize a deal (or a dud) faster, which gives you more time to do more business or spend with your family.As a full-time investor, you work your own hours. When we say “full-time,” that may mean as little as twenty hours per week if you are good at finding deals. The rest of your time can be spent pursuing other vocations or hobbies. Or, if you are so inspired, you can work forty or more hours and use the extra cash flow to buy rental properties or diversify your holdings in the stock market. The point is that you need to satisfy your cash flow needs before you can start “investing” your money.One final point you should consider is whether you want to be “self-employed.” If you have always worked for someone else, being your own boss sounds very attractive. In some, respects, this isn’t quite the truth. Being your own boss means being an accountant, bookkeeper, stock clerk, receptionist and office manager all-in-one. You have to do deal with tax returns, payroll, office supplies, customer service, bills and all the other hassles that come with a business. You don’t have friends to chat with at the water cooler. You don’t have paid health insurance, a company car and a 401(k). You take your problems home with you every night. Sound like fun? It is, once you learn how to master your time and run your business. Being the master of your own life and career is well worth the other hassles of dealing with your own business.The Part-Time InvestorThe part-time investor holds a “regular job.” This may be by choice or for the time being until his real estate ventures are bringing in enough cash to quit his job. If it is the latter reason, don’t quit your job because the real estate “guru” told you so. Quit your job when it is not worth the income that it brings you. In other words, if you are making more money per hour flipping properties on the side, you are at the point that where your regular job is costing you money. Only then, is it time to quit!One of the advantages of starting out part-time is that you can maintain cash flow while learning the business. It may take weeks or possibly months to find your first deal. That same deal may take several months to turn around, especially if you decide to fix it and sell it retail. Think twice before telling your boss you’re leaving; you will have plenty of time to make the career switch once you have real estate experience. You may, on the other hand, like your occupation. If so, continue to work at it, and invest in real estate on the side.The best case scenario, if you are married, is to have one spouse work a regular job. The other spouse work the real estate business for creating wealth, retirement income and a nice college fund for the children. Of course, in today’s market, you could be laid off due to unforeseen circumstances. If you earn additional income flipping houses and invest the proceeds into rental properties, you will be covered if your main income is lost. This is especially the case for married women that often forego a career and raise a family, only to find themselves divorced with no means of making a living. We don’t want to sound cynical about marriage, but with a fifty-percent divorce rate in America, it never hurts to have a system for making money.Someone with a full time job tends to have little free time to focus on real estate. A part-timer should learn most of the same skills as a full timer. Thus, the key disadvantage to flipping properties on a part-time basis is that it takes sacrifice to learn the business. Something has to give; television, lazy weekends, meaningless hobbies and even some family activities must be compromised. As with any education, time spent learning about real estate will bring its own rewards, especially if the people in your life understand your goals and your plan to achieve those goals. If you are married, make sure your spouse reads this material with you and participates in the fun process of making money.Treat Real Estate as a BusinessPeople are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat it like any other business.
We all have families, but not all of us work with them. If your real estate business includes a family member or two, you already know what the good and the bad of it is. Learning how to increase the positives will help in creating not only a stronger platform for your business, but also in stronger ties with your family. This particular balance can be a tough one to manage; however, it is very possible.As a real estate mom, no one has to tell you how difficult it is to combine your career with your family life. When part of that family life is also an integral key to the success of your business, complications can arise. Issues such as fair compensation, flex-time, favoritism, and familial boundaries can each lend a hand in specific problems you likely won’t face with non-family employees. The goal is to achieve a harmonious working relationship without jeopardizing those all important family ties. To do this, you need to plan ahead and take into consideration any and all possible issues.Making it WorkWhether you’re worried about being taken advantage of or taking advantage of, some simple tips will have you headed down a much smoother path to the work environment you’re seeking. These 5 tips should get you started:o Form Definite Boundaries. While this rule sounds simple, it can be difficult to achieve. The best way to handle it is open communication from the very beginning. Explain clearly that while on the job, it is best to keep family chit-chat to an absolute minimum, if at all. Let them know this goes both ways – that you won’t be calling them at home on the weekend to discuss work. Keep the two entities as divided as possible!o Keep the Clients Separate. Sticky situations can sometimes arise when a family member is a social friend of a client. Business is business, and any possible work issues need to be kept confidential and not turned into fodder for gossip.o No Hard Feelings. Real estate is a competitive environment. Realize that the monthly sales figures could cause negative emotions in whoever is on the lower end. Be supportive to each other to get through these moments of crises – and be prepared to deal with them when they occur.o All Employees are Treated Equal. From day one. If your normal course of action is to put a job offer in writing, including compensation and benefits, don’t deviate from this with family. While the process may seem more casual, it isn’t. You need to be as effective and vigilant with family employees as you are with non-related ones.o Communication is Vital. You already know this, but don’t forget it’s just as important when dealing with your family in your workplace as it is in other areas of your business. They deserve the respect of one-on-one business meetings to voice their concerns and to discuss their job, and your business, in general. Miscommunication is the biggest cause, by far, of poor job relations. Keep this in mind, and you’ll go a long way in keeping everyone happy. Including yourself!All in all, the way you treat an employee should be consistent. Whether a part of your family or not, creating the correct boundaries from the beginning is imperative. However, that being said, a non-related employee probably hasn’t seen you in your PJ’s, or at family gatherings, or visited you when you had your first baby. Therefore, normal innate boundaries aren’t going to be in place with family unless you strive to put them there.Once you do, however, you will begin to see the positives when working with a family member far more often than you will see the negatives. It is possible to combine family and career – as long as you know what you want, how you want it, and take the proper steps to communicate those wants effectively.