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.
With so many buyers and sellers using the Internet these days, it’s no wonder why search engine optimization has become a hot topic among real estate agents. About 85% of Website visitors will come from search engines. A more important fact is that over 90% of these users rarely browse past the first 20 results from search engines. Statistical studies have revealed that users will generally look through another search engine before even giving a chance to look beyond the first two pages of a search result. Thus, a higher search ranking is the dream of every Website operator. A Website by itself is like a needle in a haystack–certainly difficult to find. But a Website with strong search engine visibility becomes more like a radiating beacon that effectively catches the attention of people. Through their natural search behavior, a high-ranking Website is guaranteed to be picked for browsing. The more people who can see your Website, then the higher the potential for increased sales would be. This is what Internet marketing is all about, and this is essentially the importance of search engine optimization for real estate companies.Real estate is beyond doubt a high profit business. Many real estate agencies, however, fail to utilize the Internet to their advantage. Real estate, being the billion dollar industry it is, can make for difficult search engine optimization. The real importance of search engine optimization for real estate companies lies in the boosting of a company’s Website ranking among the top 20 for actual keywords in search engines. Failure of achieving such, one can only start to imagine the lost revenue and exposure that your real estate company is suffering. Search engine optimization is very much similar to a well-marketed TV advertisement. You have to look at Internet advertisement like this. A tough competition indeed, with the plethora of Websites floating aimlessly, thousands or hundreds of in direct competition with your real estate business all fighting for the front two pages of a search engine. Facing a lot of competition from other real estate companies, the importance of search engine optimization lies in allowing you to gain that extra advantage to guarantee that your real estate business Website can maintain a consistent high top-20 ranking.A real estate company has a considerable chance of increasing search traffic to its Website if it concentrates its search engine optimization efforts on a specific geographical area. This tactic helps in establishing Website visibility while eradicating the necessity to compete based on standard industry termed content that will not differentiate a real estate company in Chicago from another in Tampa.Recently, the major search engines have started putting more weight on original content and quality incoming links. Many real estate Websites use standard content provided by Website vendors. Thus, in order to rank well you must be able to replace standard content with original content that is attractive to the search engines, and to the site’s visitors. In addition, you will be adding value to your Website visitors.The important point is to stand out from competitors–be original! Real estate companies employing search engine optimization should shift importance to the goal of becoming the most valuable resource for information pertaining to a particular real estate market. Whether buying or renting, people need a place to turn to for beneficial information. If a real estate Website can provide it, high search traffic volume and volume of clients will naturally follow.