Robyn Thompson got involved in real estate nine years ago not by choice, but by desperation. She worked for IBM for many years. One day a corprate "Hatchet Man" came in to eliminate almost half the employees from the corporate accounting department.
Robyn gave her heart and soul to IBM for over 9 years and she was afraid she would lose her job. In fact she was terrified, living paycheck to paycheck with a mortgage payment on a new condo, a car payment, student laons, credit card debt and no savings like so many others. She panicked and immediately went out and got a part-time job waiting tables at night to save money just in case she lost her job.
A few weeks past and Robyn made it through the downsizing. But the fear remained and loyalty to the company she had worked for 9 years vanished. She decided to keep her waitress job. The reality was that she had no financial security and she wanted to make sure she had enough money to pay her bills "just in case". She knew there had to be a better way to financial freedom than holding down 2 jobs.
One of the units in her condo development went into foreclosure. She watched over the months as the asking price continued to drop to 1/2 what the original asking price was. she knew at an asking price of $34,900, the condo was a steal. She calculated that the monthly cash flow the unit would provide after renting it out would make her car payments and she decided to take the plungs and buy the unit. She bought it at auction for $27,500.
Robyn knew that if she continued finding great deals like this, she would have enough positive cash flow to quit her day job, invest in real estate full time and live well on the cash flow from renting the properties.
"The best way to get started is to get started!", Robyn says. She thinks that most people approach real estate investing like kids who have never swam approach a swimming pool. They stand on the outside and test the water with their toes. They yell out to the other kids in the pool, "Hey what does it feel like?" Then they ask more questions, "Is it warm?". "Should I bring a kickboard?" They stand on the edge, afraid to jump in.
And so it is with most real estate investors. They ask questions and they wait for the perfect time to jump in, or they wait until they know every way to do a deal (and good luck to them, because even I'm still learning) And you know how life goes. One thing leads to another, until investing is no longer the #1 priority.
Robyn believes that the investing technique you start with does not matter as much as starting with one technique and following it through. She also firmly believes that resilience is the most important quality in a successful real estate investor. She uses an analogy that investing is a lot like hiking up a mountain. As you approach it from distance, it can be intimidating. Once you get on the trail and start hiking you fall into a rhythm. On the way to the top, occasionally you'll lose the trail or stub your toe.