How to gain real estate investing experience

Reader Question: I have been inspired to go into real estate investing since I have recently lost my job. I don’t have any real estate experience. I don’t have a practical knowledge on how to leverage with OPM (other people’s money). Please recommend what I can do to help me gain experience?

Monty’s Answer: There are many types of business in the real estate industry. As you state you do not have a job, my first recommendation is to find a job that pays a salary that is in one of the sectors directly related to real estate. Some examples are banks, appraisal firms, title companies, and property management concerns. Construction companies that build homes are experiencing a shortage of workers, due to the strong economy. In companies like these you have a chance to earn while you learn.  

While you are working, there are many ways to dip your toe in the water. One of the first things to consider is which path to take in real estate. Here is an article at that describes some of the options in commercial real estate, which is where the OPM crowd hangs out. 

One way to learn about real estate is to get a license. You will learn the fundamentals about real estate law, how to properly complete forms, duties of a licensee, how to stay out of legal trouble, and ethics. The actual practice of real estate is left to learn when you go to work for a real estate broker.

Where to learn more

Go to school – Depending on what field you decide to focus there are many options to consider. Major universities offer degrees in real estate that are necessary for a job on Wall Street. Technical colleges and trade schools offer real estate training classes. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a commercial, industrial, and investment real estate course called CCIM ( that gets into the heart of investing and brokering investment real estate.  

Read – The are literally thousands of books available for sale or at your public library that cover all facets of the industry. For example, I learned how to appraise property through James Graaskamp ( at the University of Wisconsin in the late 60’s. He has written multiple books on evaluating real property. He and many others have shared their observations in writing. 

Find a real estate mentor – Real estate agents and investors are known to bring on associates that help in the process of searching for, qualifying, and demonstrating property for investment, or brokerage opportunities. 

It appears you recognize the odds for you to find quality investors as a newbie are almost insurmountable. Even if you have a great personality and the gift of gab, you need knowledge. If you were able to attract investors now, you should be very cautious. The real estate investment world is not for the faint of heart.