Everyone needs a goal in life; it could be to land the perfect job to finding the right spouse. The same applies for real estate investing especially when you are just starting out. I would definitely recommend sitting down and writing down the things you want to achieve from investing in real estate, even before you start out. This will be your outline, something you would do prior to writing a research paper. Warning – the goals you write down must be precise, time lined, and realistic. You can’t just write “I want to be like Donald Trump”, this is an example of a very vague goal. I wouldn’t even call it a goal; it would be defined as a dream.
Your goals have to specifically state what you want to do and the steps you are going to take to achieve them. For example, “I want to start investing in real estate by buying a residential property in the south side of town. I will start by researching the area and ask friends to recommend a realtor.” Furthermore, your goals should be time stamped, meaning you have to put some sort of expiration date on when you will accomplish said goal by. Using myself as an example – when I started out in December of 2009, I wrote down that I want to have 8 residential properties in my name by December 2010. So far, I have not waivered and I am on #5. It is also important to be realistic while writing down your goals. You can’t say on the 19th of the month that, I will buy a residential investment unit by the end of the month. Even if you pay cash for the property, it takes time for the realtors and title companies to do all the paperwork and put together everything for a closing.
Lastly, I would put together a list of goals I would like to achieve 3 months from now, 6 months from now, and 1 year from now. This way you have a clear picture of what you would like to achieve in one year. Additionally, I would recommend writing down a daily to-do list of things to do specifically towards the goals. And don’t start writing down things like getting a hair cut or grocery shopping. These have nothing to do with your goals. The last important piece of advice: constantly refer back to your goals on a regular basis and evaluate yourself fairly as to how you are progressing.