Want to get into real estate but not sure where to start? Knowing how to afford real estate start-up costs is an important step in beginning your career. Not only do you need to figure out how much it will cost you to get established as a real estate professional, but how you’ll afford some of the upfront costs associated with the profession — especially getting licensed.
Each method of affording your real estate start-up costs has pros and cons, so be sure to look into each of them to figure out what’s best for you.
1. Save until you have enough money
This option might take the longest, but at least you’ll be able to afford your real estate start-up costs without borrowing money — which could be good for your finances. In order to save money fast, you’ll want to consider finding ways to cut expenses from your budget while also maybe trying to earn some extra cash on the side. Here are some ways you can do each of those:
- Sell unused items. Clear out your home and make some extra cash for your real estate start-up costs fund. You can go the traditional route of holding a yard sale or garage sale. If that doesn’t interest you, consider trying to sell your items online through sites like ThredUp.
- Create a budget and stick to it! Budgeting apps like Mint can help you stay on track with your goals by sending you updates and automatically tracking your expenses.
- Convert gift cards into cash. If you have extra gift cards laying around, sell these online through gift card conversion sites to get the cash value of the cards. Then, put this cash toward your savings.
- Ask for cash instead of presents. Tell all the special people in your life what your plans for the future are and ask that they support you by giving you cash toward your savings account around the holidays instead of buying you presents.
- Find a side gig. If you have some extra time on your hands you might want to consider finding a temporary side gig to help you earn more and save money quickly. In the current gig economy, it’s easier than ever to make some extra cash. Here are some side gigs to consider:
- Ridesharing, such as Uber or Lyft
- Renting out an extra room on AirBnB
- Are you handy? Offer your handyman services through services like Handy or TaskRabbit.
- Deliver food through services like Postmates or Instacart
2. Get a real estate licensing grant
Real estate education grants can be tricky to track down, especially if you aren’t doing a degree in real estate since most grants and scholarships cater to those students. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you find anything to help you. Focus on searching for local real estate associations who might offer some financial assistance to help get new agents in the game. Here’s an example of the way Columbus Real Estate agents provide grants to newcomers.
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3. Borrow from friends and family
One option for financing your real estate start-up costs is to borrow money from friends and family. You’ll want to be careful when doing this because it could possibly lead to tensions in your closest relationships if something goes wrong with repaying the funds. If you borrow money from people you know it’s always a good idea to set up a payment plan with them and make regular payments in a timely fashion. Even if they know you’re “good for it,” establishing some formal structures around how the money will be repaid can go a long way in making sure the relationships stay intact.
4. Ask your current company to cover some costs
If you’re already employed and your job somehow relates to real estate, you might be able to get your current company to cover some of the costs of your education. Sometimes, people enjoy doing real estate as a side gig while they hold a full-time job. Then, when their real estate business builds they take the leap into full-time real estate.
5. Save money by studying online
You don’t necessarily have to pay a premium to take an in-class pre-licensing course. Not only do you pay for the education associated with that kind of a course, but there are usually extra expenses as well, like parking, gas mileage and course materials. Taking an online class could help you cut some costs, especially because you won’t have to drive and park anywhere.
6. Use a personal or business loan
One option for covering some of the start-up costs of becoming a real estate agent is to apply for a personal or business loan. How much money you’ll qualify for, and the interest rate you’ll pay depends heavily on your credit score. Online lenders like Earnest, SoFi and LendingClub usually do what’s called a “soft credit check” when you apply to check your rates. So you can compare rates at several online lenders, which may give you a better deal than a tradition rate.
If you decide to borrow money make sure you have a solid plan to repay it before you sign the loan otherwise you could fall behind on payments which could damage your credit score and future opportunities.
7. Consider a low-interest credit card
Another option if you don’t have all the funds right away is to put some expenses on a credit card. Some credit cards will offer you a 0% APR for an introductory rate. If you manage to repay the expenses before the APR changes, you won’t have to pay any interest on your purchases. Watch out though, because if you still have a balance when the introductory rate expires you might suddenly have a high interest rate to deal with. This strategy is usually good if you’re still earning money and just need a boost for a month or two to cover some additional expenses that you know you’ll be able to pay right away.
Know how much real estate start-up costs are
Do you have a strong idea of how much real estate start-up costs will be? Our sister site, Real Estate Express, put together a handy guide that breaks down how much money you’re likely to spend in your first year as you begin your real estate career.
Don’t get discouraged
It might seem like it will take you a long time to be able to afford real estate start-up costs, but once you begin saving you’ll probably be surprised at how fast the ball gets rolling. Whatever happens, be confident that by following the right plan you can create the career of your dreams, even if it takes a lot of hard work to get it started.