My guest for today is for the 6th part in this series of “Successful Women in Real Estate Investing” is Karen Rittenhouse from Greensboro, NC. Karen has been a full time real estate investor since 2005, and has bought and sold hundreds of single family homes. She is also coach, a trainer, a blogger and has written several books.
Even though Karen is not a Realtor, she also owns and operates a real estate company and a property management company. Karen's varied experience makes her perfect for today's Successful Women in Real Estate Investing Series.
The 4 Questions
What made you choose the niche you invest in today?
I wouldn’t say we have a niche. We are involved in wholesaling, renovating, landlording – we have our investment company, a property management company, a coaching and training company, and a full service real estate company. Every area grew out of a need created by the other areas.
For example, because we managed so many of our own hold properties, others began asking us to manage for them as well. In most states, it’s illegal to manage for others without a real estate license, so we opened a real estate brokerage and hired agents which enabled us to open our property management company.
Did you try other investing strategies before settling on the main strategy you focus on today?
Not having a “niche”, we’ve tried pretty much everything. Our first goal was buy and hold rental properties to build our retirement portfolio and to have the much needed deductions for tax purposes. We later added flips whose profits are taxed as short term capital gains unless, of course, you have enough write offs from your hold properties! So first we focused on buy and holds, later we added flips for cash infusions, now our primary focus is wholesaling to pay off all those hold properties. We continue, however, to be active in all of these areas.
What is the best advice you could give someone “brand spanking new”, someone just getting started?
Find a great mentor and follow closely. By “mentor”, I do not mean “guru”. A mentor is someone who works closely with you, hand holding, and who is invested in your success. A guru is someone selling a product who is gone once you’ve made the purchase.
There are just too many moving parts in this business to figure them all out on your own. And, when in the midst of a deal, you’ll have questions and need someone with experience to call on.
Find someone successfully doing what you want to do and pay them to coach you. The best coaches are worth what they charge. They’re successful, busy, and will save you a ton of time and money going forward. We’ve spent probably $300,000 on coaching and mentoring over the years. Our coaches have guided us to millions in profits that we would never have made without their expertise. Believe me when I tell you, you have no idea how much you don’t know.
If you had to start over today, what would you do differently?
I’m not really sure what I would do differently. We had coaching early on so I feel that we were always on a good course. Another amazing thing we did from the beginning was to write out a very, very detailed business plan that kept us on track from the start.
That being said, I wish I knew starting out how much work this business really entails and how long it would take to make the money you hear about on the TV flip-it shows and from gurus… We’ve seen dozens of investors fail out of this business over the years, mostly from becoming too easily discouraged and giving up too soon.
Real estate investing is not easy; if it was, everyone would be doing it and doing it successfully. It takes a lot of time, focus, and effort. But you’re going to be working somewhere and I don’t know of another industry that pays the lasting dividends that real estate creates.
You can connect with Karen at her blog “Karen's Perspective” by Clicking Here…..
My name is Karen Rittenhouse. I’ve been investing in real estate full-time since January 2005. In that time we have purchased hundreds of homes, opened a full-service real estate company, a property management company, and a coaching/training business.
I have also written several books on real estate – The Essential Handbook for Buying a Home, The Essential Handbook for Selling a Home, and The Essential Handbook for Landlords. You can find out more about my books here By Clicking Here …
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