Another in a continuing series of articles on beginning real estate investing. In this installation, I will explain the basic tools that no serious real estate investor should be without. There are not many tools you must have, but there are a few.
There are some things in life that are indicative, and the same is true when you are beginning real estate investing. Like smoke for a beekeeper, a wrench for a mechanic, and a scalpel for a surgeon, real estate investors need certain things to properly accomplish their objectives.
If you are beginning real estate investing, one of the first things you should buy, and learn how to use, is a financial calculator. There are several available, but for my money the Hewlett Packard HP12C is the best. The 12C has the best combination of features and ease of use, and because so many folks use it, it's an especially good choice for those who are just beginning real estate investing. It's wide available, and you can even pick one up on eBay.
The second piece of disposable equipment for someone who is beginning real estate investing is a high quality flashlight. Mine is a Mag-Lite that takes four "D" cell batteries, but pretty much any bright, durable light will work. You'll need one for times when the power is off in a house or building, and for examining dark basements and unlit spaces.
Another tool I would not be without is my cellular telephone. For someone who is beginning real estate investing, or anyone who values their safety, this is a must have item. Obviously, there's a million uses for a cell phone, but one that is often overlooked is for entering properties when you're alone. What if you're injured in a property you're looking at? Who would know where to find you? Carrying your cell phone at least means you can contact someone in case of emergency.
Those beginning real estate investing will also find it much easier to build their business with a cell phone. The convenience and professional image just can not be beat. I've tried other solutions like pagers, 800 numbers, and palm pilots, and they have their uses, but a cell phone beats them all.
The last tool that I feel someone who is beginning real estate investing should not try to do without is a personal computer. There's so much information available on the internet today, much of it free or low cost, that I can not imagine not using a PC for beginning real estate investing. Proper use of your personal computer, and the resources it opens up to you, will shorten your learning curve considerably.
There are other tools that I think are important for beginning real estate investing, such as business cards, bandit signs, lock boxes, and a tape measure, but none of them are what I would call indispensable. The four tools I mentioned- financial calculator, flashlight, cell phone, and personal computer – are the things I strongly recommend as you are beginning real estate investing.
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