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Five steps to get started in real estate investing even if you don’t have money

Building wealth through real estate may feel like a distant dream for many, but according to Tahani Aburaneh, a real estate investor, entrepreneur and single mother of two, it is much more attainable than people think.

She is living proof, she says. Born in a refugee camp in the Middle East, Tahani came to Canada when she was just 15 years old in an arranged marriage, and without knowing a word of English. Step-by-step, she persevered against all odds, becoming a self-made millionaire.

“People think it’s money first, but it’s not,” says Tahani. Here are the five steps she recommends people take to get started in real estate investing, even if they don’t have all the money they need to invest yet:

STEP 1: Invest time in acquiring knowledge 

This means dedicating time to amassing insights on real estate investing strategies. Read books, articles, and blogs, listen to podcasts, and follow experts online. The great part about consuming intel from the industry’s best in this way is: it doesn’t require a lot of money.

STEP 2: Join a like-minded community and ask questions with child-like curiosity 

There are lots of great groups out there – be it local meet-ups, or online. Tahani recently created an online community called Females in Real Estate (F.I.R.E.) on Facebook where she answers lots of questions to help women gain financial freedom through real estate investing. Again, this doesn’t require a lot of money. Rather, it gives you a chance to find someone who has already done what you are planning to do. Here, you can learn from them. Ask lots of questions. Find out, what worked for them and what didn’t? What lessons did they take away through their experience?

STEP 3: Figure out what can you afford

Map out your finances and create a plan. Speak to your bank, but also speak to other lenders like mortgage brokers (google it if you don’t know anyone or ask for a recommendation). It’s important to know all your options.

STEP 4: Determine what region you want to invest in 

Once you know how much you can afford, begin researching areas where you may want to invest. For Ontario for example: Hamilton is less expensive than the Waterloo region, and the Waterloo region is less expensive than Toronto. Start searching through MLS yourself – even before you engage the services of a realtor. In this way, you can familiarize yourself with the area, and know in advance what is out there, and what you can expect. This will enable you to definitively choose which city and area you want to focus on.

STEP 5: Set your goals

Write down your goals and be specific. Give yourself a timeline. For example: I want to acquire one investment property within the next 12 months and 4 properties in 2 years, etc. The way in which I will save up for this plan is (insert details here). Writing down your goals will help you to manifest them.

Once you’ve gone through these 5 steps, and saved for a down payment, you can move onto Step 6, which is: engaging with a real estate agent to start putting your plan into action. At this stage, Tahani advises finding a real estate agent who specializes in working with investors.

“Real estate investing is not as complicated as people think,” says Tahani. “It is simple, but it takes time, effort, and a solid understanding of industry best practices; in the end, it is absolutely worth it.”