A Real Beginners Guide

Hi All,
I’m completely new to real estate and I’m looking to get involved in it for investment prospects.

It looks like a lot of the posts on this board are get rich quick topics. :deal That’s not at all what I’m looking for. What I’m looking for is a few recommendations on books or websites that provide solid fundamentals of the process. How the game is run, who are the players, what are the rules. I need to have a solid education in this before I commit any dollars.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!


Not sure what you mean by most of the topics on here are “get rich quick” ideas. Just read through the topics and learn. I find this site to be the best Real Estate learning site there is. Trust me, as only a 16 year old, these ideas are not very complicated to pick up.

You can do 2 things.

Buy and sell houses.


Buy and rent houses.

If you want a good steady income, I suggest the buy and rent route.

Day 1

Before any other activity is accomplished, there is a fundamental step you must do that is a prerequisite to any kind of success. This overlooked aspect of having a successful REI business is you must plan to succeed. In other words, decide that you are going to buy and sell 12 houses in 12 months. Put it there in your mind and see it accomplished. The rest is simply establishing that decision into the physical world. Remember, things are created by decision so plan to succeed, and succeed you shall.

Your ability to speak to others, and for them to reach you, is vital. It is the foundation for which all of your other efforts will rely on. Establishing a reliable, professional communication line that is solely dedicated to your business is the first thing you need to do.

You may already have a cell phone but you need one that is strictly for your REI business. It is not for your spouse, friends, kids… just the inbound calls from your advertising efforts. A dedicated home line won’t cut it because the key here is to always answer the telephone when it rings. This is your MONEY line. And you must be willing to answer calls starting as early as 8:00 am to as late as 9:00 pm.

Make sure that the cell phone service you purchase offers voicemail for taking messages when you’re unable to answer calls.

On your dedicated cell phone, a recorded message should be to-the-point and request the necessary information for being able to get back to them. Record the following:

“Thank you for calling. This is and I buy houses. I’m sorry that I could not take your call, but your call is very important to me so please leave a message. Leave me your name and number along with the address of the property and I will call you back shortly. Thank you again. I look forward to speaking with you about buying or selling you a house.

This should be recorded in your professional voice; don’t make the mistake of trying to sound like “a regular guy” or even worse, funny. What not to do: “Hey! This is Bob. You know what to do,” BEEP! Don’t start out with music either - nothing but professionalism. Also, don’t say that you have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for x dollars for sale either.

A "vanity number is a toll-free telephone number – beginning with either 800, 866, 877 or 888 – that spells out a relevant name (like 1-800-SELLHOME) or acronym for the purpose of making the number easy to remember. Toll-free numbers allow potential customers out of your area the freedom to call you without having to pay long-distance charges. The cost is placed on you instead.

This handles the consideration of cost for callers and you will receive more business with one of these types of services. It is worth obtaining an easy-to-read and remember vanity number as an important step to your success. (As most, if not all, of the “good names” have been taken for the REI industry, we have excellent vanity numbers available that you can utilize.)

It is important that when you order your vanity number, you tell the telephone company to have it ring to your dedicated cell number.

It is important that people can remember you by everything you use to advertise with. Name recognition is what is known as “branding,” and vanity numbers are a valid part of accomplishing this. If you’re concentrating on foreclosures our 1-888-EZ-AVOID is excellent. If you’re all around investing our 1-877-877-1010 is perfect. If your advertising message is fast cash then our 1-888-290-FAST is perfect! I have taken the steps necessary for you to succeed by securing 14 vanity numbers to suit all aspects of the real estate industry. This is simply part of what I have developed with my membership Web site for helping REI’s.
Day 2

Once you have your communication lines established, it’s time to figure out who your customer is. In sales, potential customers are commonly called “prospects.” The word, “potential” is important here because it requires the real possibility of people becoming interested in what you have to offer. Teenagers would not be your prospects because their “potential” or likelihood of selling or buying a house is zero.

Determining who your audience is – the type of people who will be interested is your services – is key for preserving time, energy, and expense. So you want to attract as many real prospects as possible without wasting time, energy and money on the rest of the masses.

Under normal circumstances, you would have to do a great deal of research and trial & error to find out just WHO are the prospects are of any business – in this case, the REI business. But this guide reveals the most valuable and profitable prospects, clearly and simply, on a silver platter.

There are essentially seven types of prospects that will be interested in buying/selling a home. These customers can be labeled by the type of house they are connected to:

For Sale by Owner people are interested in saving money while making the most profit from the sale of their houses. Most actually interview agents for the job of selling their home. If you decide to buy their house, make sure you buy it before they list it in the MLS.

People in Notice of Default are a desperate situation. They have defaulted on their mortgages by not paying for a minimum of 3 to 6 months. As a result, they must come up with the balance in full in order to keep their homes. They are typically given 90 days to come up with the money or the house will be foreclosed on and put up for auction. The time frame may be different, depending on your state.

Their interest is to sell their home quickly in order to pay off the mortgage before foreclosure. Keep in mind that most people in foreclosure are in denial. So it will be up to you to get them to realize the reality of the situation.

Absentee Owners
People who rent have different problems such as terrible tenants, tenants who are falling behind on their rent and do forth. It is very common for an Absentee Owner to consider selling when a tenant decides to move out.

For Rent
If a For Rent prospect’s house is not being rented to tenants, they are losing money by having to pay a mortgage that would normally be covered by paying tenants. So you can see a number of angles you can take in meeting this type of owner’s needs and convincing him to unload his headache with your help; including keeping him from potential hardship, being that “it’s so hard to find good, long staying tenants who respect the premises…,” you get the picture.

This is the most difficult type of prospect to deal with due to the legal red tape involved in the probate process, while potentially being the second highest profit potential. These sellers (Probate prospects) are usually the children of the house owner and they are more interested in getting money quickly over dragging the process out. Take some time and find a good, CHEAP probate attorney that you can refer prospects to for selling the house, and sometimes even hire on the behalf of them. The key in dealing with this prospect is to make the process of selling the house as easy as possible. These people will not know anything about the probate process and the more you know, the better your chance of buying the house will be because they begin to trust and rely on you. So spend some time with the attorney to learn the time process of a probate-related house sale. Become an expert in your prospects’ eyes and you’ll close more deals.

Remember one important issue, and that is never lie to your prospect if you do not know the answer to one of their questions. Say the following, “that is an excellent question, and I will call my probate attorney and ask her for you.” When they feel like you are there to help them, they will follow you like ducklings that follow their mommy duck.

Farm prospects refer to a geographical/demographic area that you mass mail to. Let’s say you want to market to people with 2-year-old mortgages or houses that were purchased 5 years ago; they would make up your Farm prospects. Knowing what Farmed prospects want can be difficult depending on where you’re cultivating your list from. If you’re not sure, you can always go with the most common interests like, “Sell our house fast!”

Keep in mind that you cannot start off advertising to everyone. You simply do not have the resources, and I’m not just referring to money. Resources include capital, labor, knowledge and experience. FSBOs are better left to investors who want to do lease options (L/O); although I have bought my fair share of FSBOs outright, meaning - it can be done.

Organization is a key element to becoming more successful and avoiding stress. Can you imagine a doctor operating on a patient and not being able to find the right instrument at a crucial point during an operation? Everyone needs a system for staying in control of their surroundings. You, as a real estate investor, need to have a system for keeping track of everyone you send information to about your business.

The Binder System
I use binders to track the people I’m prospecting to. I call these my “Money Binders.” You should set up the same system for yourself, and here’s how:

Is this what you were looking for… Dont assume all teachers are selling the get rich quick idea…

Anyone who wants the remaining pages let me know…


You are absolutely correct, you do need to become educated before you buy anything. If you don’t know anything about real estate investing, then I would recommend the Carleton Sheets course. You can probably get it dirt cheap on e-bay. The Carleton Sheets program is an excellent beginner’s course and covers everything in a logical manner. There are probably more successful investors that started with the Carleton Sheets Program than any other course.

Once you do that, then decide on which area of real estate investing (REI) you want to start with (rentals, flipping, wholesaling, etc). I can assure you that whatever area you pick, this IS NOT A GET RICH QUICK BUSINESS. Many of the gurus promote the get-rich-quick nonsense because that is what people want to hear. However, starting a successful real estate business requires a LOT OF HARD WORK, persistence, and a basic understanding of business principles. The truth is that the vast majority of newbies fail in a short period of time exactly because they didn’t understand the business (especially cash flow issues).

Once you pick an area of real estate investing that interests you, then write a short business plan to specify how you will get from where you are now to where you want to be. Be sure to work backwards. In other words, start with your goal and then determine how you will meet that goal. Your goal should include a cash flow target, equity target, and a time frame to get it accomplished.

JOIN YOUR LOCAL REIA (real estate investors association) and make friends with the SUCCESSFUL investors in your area. Your new friends will be of tremendous help!

Finally, once you have a good understanding of the business, put your plan into action in a controlled manner.


You may already have a cell phone but you need one that is strictly for your REI business. It is not for your spouse, friends, kids…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am not carrying around two cell phones! I receive an average of 30-40 calls per day related to my rental business and I have absolutely no problem answering another call or two from my wife, friends, or kids on the same phone. I am going to answer all these calls anyway and therefore having two phones would be a pain in the butt and expensive. A vanity number/toll free number is also certainly not needed if a person is running a local real estate business.

Good Luck,


Matt, what blows most n00bs out of the water before they even have a chance is the Paralysis of Analysis. This is when you have become so immersed in books and theories that you have a head full of ideas that often contradict one another. Book smarts, but no street smarts. I see it all the time.
So rather than trying to be all things to all sellers from day one, I suggest you focus on one technique to start. Learn it well, do a deal or three, then move on to other areas of investing.
My recommendation for most every beginner is to start with options and lease options. They are virtually risk free and don’t require you to be involved in financing. Two big concerns for most n00bs.

There are only 2 ways to get rich. Slow and quick. Get rich slow is to put 10% of your salary into a 401k for 30 years and when you are so old that you get around with a walker with an oxygen cylinder on it you are rich and can vacation every month. Quick is to get rich fast enough that you are young enough to look good at the nude beach when you vacation every month…I prefer quick.

The volocity at which you acquire wealth is not an indication of how sound the ideas are. There are sound ways to get rich in real estate and they are all represented here. If you want to do it quickly or slowly is your own choice.

Hoosier has it distilled to the very basics: You can do 2 things…Buy and sell houses…Or…Buy and rent houses.

There is also buying commercial, which is not normally a beginner’s game. Commercial is really expensive to purchse, vacancies can be very long (like multiple years long), and the tenants are usually very savy and have lawyers on retainer.

There is also buying bare land. That’s normally a buy and hold. It’s a cash game, and you must be extremely clever about what you buy.

I love it….I get to argue with a Moderator my second day…

For the life of me I cant believe a “successful” investor would miss the point of a “Dedicated” line… What I call my money line telephone.

Those 30-40 business calls and the 2 calls from the wife are great for the “Regular” phone however if you think for a moment that the new investor is answering their telephone every time it rings you’re crazier than I…

Their call volume is low, thus making every opportunity extremely important. So important in fact that they need to have a method for understanding urgency.

A lot of the “Gurus” out there say, “Use an automated line”

Have you ever ordered Pizza from an automated line…

Something like…

Hello and thank you for calling We Don’t Care Pizza Parlor, press one for delivery, 2 for pick up… type in your address using your telephone keypad and so on…

Having a dedicated line works… besides when you get to the point where you’re doing 200 deals a year then you can actually hand it to someone so they can answer it… That way you can answer the calls from your wife.

My goodness these boards haven’t changed…

Michael Quarles

I have 2 different numbers as well. I have one line for buyers and one for sellers.

I focus on L/Os. I do this because when I run an ad to get a tenant buyer I don’t want my seller knowing that I am going to be getting $5-10k as a down payment.

All of the numbers go to the same phone though. :beer

I love it….I get to argue with a Moderator my second day...

We are not arguing, we are discussing a topic.

For the life of me I cant believe a "successful" investor would miss the point of a "Dedicated" line.. What I call my money line telephone.

Carrying around two cell phones just seems silly to me.

Those 30-40 business calls and the 2 calls from the wife are great for the "Regular" phone however if you think for a moment that the new investor is answering their telephone every time it rings you’re crazier than I..

I don’t think that new investors are all stupid. The ones that are destined to succeed will be smart enough to answer their phone, whether that’s their regular phone or their “money line telephone”. In addition, having two cell phones to answer is just a waste of money.

A lot of the "Gurus" out there say, "Use an automated line"

The gurus say that because they are promoting the dream of making millions without any work. So they tell the newbie to get an automated line, so that they don’t even have to answer the phone. It’s all just part of the scam.

One popular marketing scam tells people that a computer will make money for them while they sleep. I guess they believe that a lot of people are too stupid to realize that if there were a magic computer that would generate money around the clock without effort, the scammers wouldn’t be selling that computer! Unfortunately, a lot of people are that gullible.


Okay we arent arguing we are just talking… :banghead

I think carrying around two cell phones is ridiculous too.

Whenever I see someone with two cell phones hanging from their belt, I just roll my eyes. I usually ask them why they have two cell phones, and they are like, “well, one is dedicated for my very important business, and the other is for my private friends and family.” Im like, oh, ok…why carry them both out of your belt? They say, “cause it looks cool like that.” LOL ok buddy.

My cell bill is $93 a month. Plus two = $186/month. No thanks. You can always get a cheaper line at home and set up call forwarding and send it to your cell.

To each their own I presume.

The cost is not significant enough to be a factor when we look at the potential income.

The issue of one cell phone vs another is a matter of personal opinion. Some people would have no problem with it, while others may like it.

If you have a day jon you may need two phones…

I’ll probably be getting a second phone soon but that’s only because my current phone is paid for by my employer, I can’t be racking up tons of calls on a phone that I don’t pay for.

For those of you who haven done over 200 transactions in a year take this test for me…

Open your local newspaper and call all of the “I Buy Houses” ads you find and tell me how many didnt answer the telephone…

This is an excercise we do at my bootcamps to to bring the two cell phone system home…

Happy calling…

I don’t see how that brings it home. The people that don’t answer their phones are lazy slackers, they just don’t answer their phone. 1 phone or 5 phones it doesn’t matter, it’s just a matter of picking up the phone or not. Whether or not the person has a special business phone is not the issue, its a matter of picking them up. Most gurus teach the voicemail system so most use voicemail to capture all their calls, if instead they forwarded calls to a cellphone they would get answered. It doesn’t much matter if it rings into a personal phone, business phone, money line, or Bat Phone (R).

Youre right Rich I cant teach answering the telephone I can however teach a system that will tell you when “This” phone rings you “Should” answer it…

I personally dont care for the voice mail systems… An investor has to create Urgency while at the same time communicate to the seller that they can solve the sellers problem…

It is very difficult for a voice system to say with confidence… “When I come out today to buy your House”

But I get your point about the investors who really dont want to be investors…

Michael Quarles

It’s really pathetic that people need to be told to answer the phone when they own a business. Then the lazy bastards wonder why their business failed…

For those of you who haven done over 200 transactions in a year take this test for me..

What is it with you and this 200 transaction obsession? Doing 2, 20, 200, or 2,000 transactions in a year is totally irrelevant. This business is about making money, not seeing how many deals you can do. Are you trying to say that only people that have done over 200 transactions in a year are qualified to talk to you? Get real!


Nope not at all…

I do however think that experience does count… maybe I am wrong…

the 200 guy… :anon
Michael Quarles