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In the world of real estate investing there are many ways to make money, do deals, structure financing, etc. that will work in today’s economy. However, the real career killer for most real estate investors are the hidden mistakes that, if you’re not careful to avoid, can doom a business before it even gets off the ground.

Let’s take a look at 9 of the most common and most dangerous mistakes that investors make and how to avoid them.

1.  Taking on the seller’s mortgage yourself

If you take on the mortgage yourself, you are held personally responsible for the property and your credit will be affected directly. You do not want that. You do not want to deal with a bank or ‘owe’ them anything because that means you don’t own the property. There are too many rules and regulations you have to follow if you don’t own the property. You need to find the funding to purchase the property in full so you can own it in full and not have to worry about that.

2. Not bringing in enough leads

By far, the most important pieces to a successful real estate business are the deals you do. In order to do deals, you need leads. With that being said, the more leads you generate, the more potential deals you have available to you. Not only that, but because you have so many leads at your disposal, you have the ability to pick and choose which leads you want to pursue. Remember this quote, “More leads equals more offers, and more offers equals more paychecks.”

Don’t let yourself think that a handful of leads all at once are sufficient. You need a consistent flow of leads to maintain your business. If you don’t have leads coming in consistently, you’re going to feel discouraged and could potentially give up.

3. Inadequately pre-screening those leads

Make sure every lead is worth investing in before spending any time or money. There are many ways to research your leads, and today you can find the majority of the information you need online. In most cases, you can direct a seller to a website to fill out a form or have them give you property details via email. Once you get the basic property information, find out as much as you can about the property by researching online, and then contact the seller for more details if needed. Remember, you want to come up with a win-win solution for both yourself and the seller. If you don’t do that or can’t come up with that solution, the lead is more likely to fall through.

4. Neglecting to choose exit strategy before making your offer

Making an offer without an exit strategy is like flying blind; it’s not smart to say the least. You need to decide whether you are going to wholesale, rehab, lease out, etc., before taking any action.

It’s as simple as this: If you know what you’re going to do with the property, then you know your exit strategy.

Deciding your exit strategy will give you a clear vision of whether or not you need funding and how you should go about getting it. For example, you need transactional funding for a bank owned property, a private or hard money lender for a rehab, and to buy from a private seller, you need no funding. If you know your exit strategy, you will know where to focus your time and avoid wasting time elsewhere.

You need to be 100% sure of your exit strategy before making an offer because if you walk away from a deal, you will give yourself a bad reputation. Real estate agents do not like that and will spread the word that you backed out. Once you are labeled as an investor that walks away from deals, you’ll have a harder time building your network, partnerships, credibility, and business.

There is always a chance that things won’t work out the way you planned. It happens to everyone. To avoid losing out on money and time, make sure you have a back up exit strategy. What if the house doesn’t sell? What if you can’t find tenants? What if you can’t find a hard money lender? Having a backup plan will help ensure you don’t have to walk away from the deal.

5. Funding a deal when you don’t need to

Some investors don’t fully understand when to use funding and what kind should be used for each deal. This is vital to growing a successful business because if you pay a funding fee or interest on a loan that you didn’t need to pay to do the deal, you’re losing money that should be part of your profit.

6. Needing to do and fully understand everything yourself

There are so many moving parts in this business. You are not going to be able to do everything and be everywhere all the time. Most investors think that no one can do it as good as they can and that they have to do it all on their own. There are professionals out there that can do a better job than you.

A really good example of this is the appraisal process. Appraisers are trained to do appraisals. That’s their profession. It may cost you $300, but it’s worth it to have a professional to it for you. You must trust the professionals. If you want to learn more about what they do, or if you are new to the business, go with them. Don’t watch over their shoulder, but you should have a good idea of how the process works.

7. Not Delegating

This goes right along with needing to do everything yourself. Your time is much more valuable than you think. You should be spending your time thinking of new revenue generating ideas instead of hammering in the nails. There are people out there that have the skill set to do what needs to be done, so that you can also do what needs to be done for your business.

8. Not becoming a transactional engineer

A transactional engineer is someone that can do several different types of deals. They can wholesale, rehab, lease, rent, etc. Being knowledgeable and flexible enough to do any deal will give you the ability to make revenue from many different avenues. Not only that, but the more types of deals you are willing to work with, the more deals you will do. If you’re a transactional engineer, you will be able to find a win-win solution in almost every situation for each lead you generate.

9. Letting someone convince you that you can’t do this

Don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t possible. Look at all of the successful investors. You could be just as successful, and you don’t need anyone to tell you that it’s not possible. Rid yourself of all of the negative people in your life, because you will end up right next to them if you keep them around. These people are known as "dream stealers". Instead of letting them bring you down, focus on proving them wrong.

Don’t let realtors discourage you either. They will tell you it’s illegal and they don’t have any idea. One of the most common things Realtors say is, “you can’t sell a house until you own it.” Well, that’s not true at all.  That proves that they have no idea what they are talking about. This concept also goes back to “let professionals do what they are trained to do” comment before. You’re the professional in this case. Do what you know how to do.

Avoiding these 9 mistakes will go along a long way in helping you become a successful investor in the quickest time possible.