If you talk to enough investors or visit the many investment websites made available, you will have undoubtedly heard that education is essential. Seasoned investors may scoff at this notion, but the more you can educate yourself, the better chance you have at being successful. The mistake that is often made is thinking that education alone will make you a better investor. Sure, it will come in handy to know how to structure deals or to be able to engage in conversation with a fellow investor, but that is not the only reason why you would need to be educated. If you can educate yourself through other people’s mistakes, it will save you time and money.
An education in real estate investing is about seeing how things were done in the past and what changes can be made to improve the future. You may not currently be thinking of how to buy an apartment building or how to structure seller financing, but you will at some point down the road. Instead of just winging it or asking around when the time comes, you can revert back to what you have learned from others. Familiarizing yourself with their mistakes will help you avoid making them yourself.
Investment club meetings, networking events and even real estate investing websites can serve as a great source of education. Every conversation you have with someone in the business may come back to you down the road. Listen to the keynote speaker at each investment meeting and make a mental note of what worked for them and what didn’t. Talk to as many different types of investors and people in the business as you can. A mortgage broker may open your eyes to a restructuring plan that can save you hundreds of dollars a month. An attorney or accountant may show you a better way for accounting or an updated business system. A fellow investor may pique your curiosity for a different avenue to invest. The more you can learn about the business, the better you will know what works and what you may want to change or stay away from.
There is a lot to know in real estate, finance and investing. There are multiple terms in every facet of the business that can be confusing, even if you know finance and investing. It sounds simple enough, but instead of surfing around the internet for an hour, take that time to learn something new. Success favors those who are the most prepared and you never know when a deal will fall into your lap. If you have learned the process along the way, you will be much more open to the opportunity and be able to take advantage of it. You never want to learn as you go. If you take little steps every day, you will have a much greater grasp on the business in no time.
Education isn’t always about being able to cite terms or meanings at the drop of a hat. Sometimes educating yourself is learning what works and what you may need to change. It is cheaper and easier to do this at another person’s expense. Ask those investors who went into a deal without knowing exactly what they were doing if they value education. I think you will find that the answer is a resounding yes.