But that’s not the story that high-net-worth (HNW) investors should be following in terms of retail real estate. Rather, experts advise, HNW investors should be

How can I become rich by investing in real estate?

The two ways you can become wealthy in Real Estate is by investing in it or acting as a Real Estate Agent/Broker. I myself have done & continue to do both very successfully. In fact I had become a self made millionaire by the time I was in my late 20’s. Below I will go over some tips on how to become wealthy in each capacity.


The 1st & absolute most important thing that a Real Estate Agent must do to be successful is master marketing. Once marketing is mastered everything else will fall into place.


What is a sphere of influence? Simply put, your sphere of influence are circles of people that you already know. This could be any of the following.

  • Friends and family.
  • Current and previous coworkers.
  • Spouse’s current and previous coworkers.
  • Children’s and/or Parent’s friends and family.
  • Neighbors.
  • Members of your church.
  • Doctor.
  • Dentist.
  • Handyman.
  • Landscaper,
  • Barber.
  • Hairdresser.
  • Accountant.
  • Mechanic.
  • Pool guy.
  • Dog groomer.
  • Day care provider.
  • Mailman.
  • Banker.
  • Little league coach.
  • Snow plow guy.

Your sphere of influence is the most likely place to get your first sales. Tell everyone in your sphere of influence that you are now a real estate professional and would like to help them and anyone that they know buy or sell real estate. In a perfect scenario your sphere of influence’s sphere of influence will now become your sphere of influence as well. Social media is a great way for you to stay in touch with your sphere of influence and tell them that you are now in the real estate business and would like to help them and anyone that they know buy or sell real estate.

(More information on how to best use Social Media in the last tip)


Make it a habit to get contact information from every person you meet. If you are buying a new car get the salesman’s card. Ask your bartender or server for their information when you go out for the game on Sunday. Every person who gives you their contact information should be placed into your database. This can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet. It should include the following

  • First and last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • social media handles
  • Notes

In your notes section you will want to write in things like what the potential client is interested in, first and last time you corresponded with them and how you met them.

Related: How does a real estate agent get paid?


We have a term in the real estate industry “Listers Last” Simply put this means that real estate agents should focus the majority of their attention marketing to sellers, not buyers. There are several reasons why it makes sense to market to sellers instead of buyers.

  • You have more control of your time when working with sellers as opposed to buyers. This means you can do more business. Typically a real estate agent can service four times more listings then active buyer clients with the same amount of time commitment.
  • Marketing to buyers usually leads you to buyers. Marketing to sellers usually leads you to buyers and sellers. Nothing attracts buyer leads like houses for sale. When you are the listing agent your name is on the online advertisement and your sign is in the yard. Unrepresented buyers will call you after seeing your sign. Remember you can only sell your listing to one buyer. If five or six unrepresented buyers called you about your listing that ended up selling you can still work with them as their buyers agent and find them other properties for sale. You started with one listing and ended up with a listing and a handful of new buyer clients.
  • Trying to market to buyers without listings is like trying to chase down bees one at a time in an attempt to get honey. Why not just go to the bee hive? Real estate listings are like the bee hive. All off the bees are going to go to the bee hive just like buyers are going to go to the listings.

Enjoying the article? Tweet it!


Wait, didn’t you just tell me to market to sellers and not buyers?

I am a firm believer that real estate agents should spend the majority of their efforts marketing to sellers, but beggars can’t be choosers. When you are a new agent you do not have the luxury of referrals from clients you have worked with over the years. Zillow spends million upon millions of dollars every year on SEO and marketing. As a new agent I imagine you don’t have that kind of coin so if you can’t beat um join um.

Advertising on Zillow is a great way to drum up some new business as the majority of people looking to buy a home do their searching on Zillow. Zillow is the most widely searched real estate website in the world. In fact it was the 36th most used website in the U.S in 2015. 32,762 different websites link to Zillow. Zillow’s closest competitor Find Real Estate, Homes for Sale, Apartments & Houses for Rent is another choice to drum up some business. Find Real Estate, Homes for Sale, Apartments & Houses for Rent was the 98th most used website in the U.S. in 2015. 18,069 different websites link to Find Real Estate, Homes for Sale, Apartments & Houses for Rent.

When Advertising on Zillow you should focus your attention on getting the biggest market share you can afford in one zip code. This zip code should be the same zip code that you are doing all of your other prospecting and lead generation. Remember multiple touches is how you convert leads to closed sales.

Related: 50 Questions real estate agents should ask potential hiring brokers.


As a new real estate agent you will need to spend the majority of your time on prospecting and lead generation. As you get deeper into your career you will of course need to spend time servicing these leads so you will have less time for prospecting and lead generation right? WRONG! The most successful real estate agents understand that prospecting and lead generation is the MOST IMPORTANT part of their business. As you get deeper into your career you never want to reduce your prospecting and lead generation. You actually want to INCREASE it. Servicing tasks can be outsourced to administrative assistance and new agents.

If you have trouble with time management make this a daily habit. Block off specific times of the day for prospecting and lead generation. Spend at least four hours a day on prospecting and lead generation.

What are the best ways a new agent performs prospecting and lead generation?

Social Media

Social Media is the best way to stay in touch with your sphere of influence. It is also a great way to grow your sphere of influence and continually remind everyone and anyone that you are in the real estate business.

Let’s focus on the big three social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To be a successful real estate agent you need to have a presence on all three of these sites. When you post something you should post it on all three sites. To save some time link your sites together so you can post things on one site and have it automatically post on the others.

To connect your Twitter account and your Facebook profile:

  • Log in to the Twitter account you want to associate with your Facebook profile.
  • Go to your Settings menu’s Apps tab.
  • Click Connect to Facebook.
  • If you are not already logged in to Facebook, then you will be prompted to enter your Facebook login credentials. Enter your credentials and click Log in to sign in to Facebook.
  • You will then receive a prompt explaining that Twitter will receive certain information from your Facebook account. In order to continue, you must select “Okay.”
  • You will then be prompted to select the privacy settings for who will see your Tweets and Retweets posted to your Facebook wall. It is set to friends by default.
  • Click “Okay” to complete the process.
  • Your Tweets and Retweets will now post to your profile Facebook wall and your username will be displayed there as well. @Replies will not be posted.
  • Note: To link your Facebook updates to Twitter, use this application on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/twitter.

To connect your Twitter account to a Facebook page:

  • If you have a Facebook Fan Page, or are the admin of one, you can post Tweets and Retweets from your Twitter account to your Facebook Page.
  • Follow the steps above to connect to your Facebook profile.
  • If you have not already done so, visit your Apps settings and grant Twitter the “manage pages” permission for your Facebook profile.
  • In your Apps settings, Select the page you’d like to connect to.
  • When prompted, click to allow permission to post to the selected Facebook page.

To share photos from Instagram to Facebook:


  • Go to your profile and then tap
  • Tap Linked Accounts
  • Tap Facebook and then link your accounts by providing your Facebook login info
  • Android
  • Go to your profile and then tap
  • Tap Linked Accounts
  • Tap Facebook and then link your accounts by providing your Facebook login info


  • Tap and then tap Settings
  • Swipe down to Preferences and then tap Share Settings
  • Tap Facebook and then link your accounts by providing your Facebook login info
  • Now when you take a photo or video on Instagram, you’ll have the option to share it on Facebook from the same screen where you add a caption.
  • You can also share from Instagram to a Facebook Page you manage.

To link your Instagram and Twitter account:


  • Go to the “Settings” app on your device. Settings App
  • Scroll down until you find the “Twitter” option. Tap Twitter Option
  • Turn on ‘Instagram’ to allow it to connect to your Twitter account. Tap Instagram to turn it ON
  • Login to your Instagram account with your infos (make sure you’re signed in to Twitter). Click the Settings button. Settings Icon
  • Scroll down and tap “Share Settings” Share Settings
  • Select “Twitter”. You will be asked to enter your Twitter username and password. And you’re all set! Select Twitter and enter infos


  • Login to your Instagram account. View your profile then click the “Settings” button (with the 3 dots) located at the very top right side of your screen. Samsung Settings Instagram
  • Go to “Sharing Settings” Instagram Android Sharing Settings
  • Select “Twitter” and login with your Twitter credentials.

Now that you have linked up your big three accounts it is time to get to work. You need to post and share things every single day. They do not always need to be advertisements either. You want to mix in advertisements with quality content that people will want to read such as DIY articles, market statistics, and popular housing trends. Everything you post needs to tie in to real estate in same way. By posting these types of things in conjunction with some advertisements you position yourself as the first thing people associate with real estate as well as stand a better chance at having your posts or tweets shared. People don’t typically share or retweet advertisements but they do share and retweet quality content.

You must constantly focus on growing your friends and followers list on your social media profiles. Join groups or lists and make sure to use hash tags on all of your posts or tweets. Always use pictures with your posts or tweets. Content that includes pictures is viewed 94% more than content that does not include pictures.

Direct Mail

An oldie but a goody. Directly mailing potential customers is a tried and true strategy that will lead to sales. Pick a target area and start mailing to them. You can mail them any of the following

  • A letter explaining who you are and what you can do for them.
  • A calendar with your picture and contact information on it.
  • A bottle opener keychain with your contact information on it.
  • A pen with your contact information on it.

The area you choose as your target area should be a neighborhood that a lot of your social media friends and followers live or do business in. It typically takes multiple touches to convert a lead into a sale. You will want to mail the same area multiple times throughout the year.

Phone calls

Call your contacts once a quarter to touch base. Let them know that you are still in the business and ask them if they or anyone they know needs anything in relation to real estate.

Call for-sale-by-owners (FSBO’s)

  • Many new agents are hesitant to reach out to people that they don’t know, but these are people who are motivated sell their home. If you do not call them you can’t sell their home. If you do call them best case scenario you get the listing, sell their home and end up with some additional buyer clients that did not end up buying this particular house. Worst thing that can happen is they say no and you can’t sell their home which is where you already started. It is important to note that they may originally say no but that should not stop you. You can ask them if you are allowed to bring buyer clients to their property. They will be impressed with your determination and this gives you the opportunity to prove how much traffic you can bring into their home.

Call expired listings

  • Every day you should monitor the MLS in the areas that you target. You can even create a “hotsheet” in the MLS to notify you of any listings in your target area that expire each day. Call the owner and discuss their property and why it did not sell. If they have not set up a listing appointment with you during that phone call drop off a marketing packet on their doorstep.

Door hangers

Walk neighborhoods and place a door hanger on everyone’s house. Focus on the same target areas and neighborhoods you do your other prospecting and lead generation activities in.

Wish people happy birthday every year

You can do this by mailing them a card or by doing it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Related: How to grow your business using Bigger Pockets.

Carry a pocket full of business cards at all times

Never leave home without a pocket full of business cards. Do not go home until your pocket is empty. Include your business card with the bill at a restaurant. Place your cards on bulletin boards wherever you go. Hand them out to your cashier at the grocery store. If you use a urinal at a Cleveland Cavaliers game go ahead and place a business card on top of the urinal.

Wear a name tag everywhere you go

Get a name tag that says Realtor with your name underneath it. People will see this when you are at the grocery store, bank, gas station, restaurants etc. I gives them a reason to speak with you and you a reason to speak with them…..about real estate.

Want bonus points…..wear it upside-down. If you wear it upside-down it will get people who may not have talked to you otherwise a reason to strike up a conversation with you because they can’t resist the urge to tell you your nametag is upside down.


You buy a property using someone else’s money (the bank) then have somebody else pay off the bank (the tenant) What could be better than that? NOTHING!

But don’t get ahead of yourself, it’s not exactly as simple as getting a mortgage on 50 houses then having the tenants the ready and willing to pay off all of your mortgages.

The major barrier that keeps most mom and pop landlords from buying 50+ houses is capital. For non owner occupied purchases you would need at least 25% down to purchase the property. I am out in the Cleveland, Ohio market. We have tons of rental properties in the $100,000.00 range. The returns are solid as that price point will bring in $1,000.00-$1,500.00 in rent. So let’s say you wanted to purchase 50 of these $100,000.00 properties. That means you would need to bring in a cool $1,250,000.00 in cash.

If the $1,250,000.00 is not an issue for you, you will run into the next hurdle. Residential mortgage limits. You are capped 10 of those puppies. 1 primary residence and 9 rental properties is a nice start to a great portfolio but nothing you could live off of. You’re 41 properties short of your original goal of 50 properties.

What does the investor do once they reach 10 residential mortgages?

Move onto multi-family investments.

After the 9 residential rental properties it’s usually time for the investor to move onto investing in multi-family properties. If you purchase a property that has 5 units or more it no longer falls under the residential financing restrictions. These properties use commercial financing and there is no cap to how much capital you can borrow so long as your credit and experience qualify and the loan amount hits the proper debt service coverage ratio.

This is what I did with my portfolio and it worked out very well for me. At this point in my life I rarely look into purchasing anything that has less than 4 units in it. If I do buy a residential property it is usually with cash or some type of owner financing.

Last thing you or any new investor should look at when deciding whether or not they want to take the plunge into rental properties is the true expenses associated with owning a rental property.

Let’s run the numbers on a typical property in a Cleveland, Ohio investment portfolio. The numbers below are based on properties in reasonable neighborhoods. Sometimes investors get greedy and attempt to buy properties in questionable neighborhoods because the rent to purchase price ratio is better. That may work sometimes but more often than that it can lead to disaster. I myself have ran into some issues with low quality properties. I discussed this here on Quora in another post. I recommend anyone thinking of investing in rental properties give that thread a read as well.

123 Main street in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Price: $100,000.00
  • Down Payment: $25,000.00
  • Loan Amount: $75,000.00

Monthly Breakdown

  • Monthly Rent: $1,500.00
  • Monthly Mortgage Payment: $474.00 (Assuming 4% interest, 30 years)

$1,500.00 less your mortgage nets you a profit of $1,026.00 per month, but let’s not get too excited just yet. There are many more fixed and variable costs that we need to account for.

Monthly Operating Costs

  • Taxes: $168.00
  • Insurance: $65.00
  • Utilities: $150.00
  • Vacancy: $75.00
  • Repairs, Maintenance & Capital Expenditures: $150.00
  • Non-Payment of rent: $75.00

After accounting for all the proper expenses that leaves the investor with a net profit of $343.00 per month. If the investor chose to hire a professional property management company that would bring the net profit down to roughly $193.00 per month.

The self managing investor would net roughly $4,116.00 per year. Since the initial cash investment was only $25,000.00 that is a return on investment of 16.5% and the investment would pay for itself in a little over 6 years.

If the investor hired a professional property management company the investor would net about $2,316.00 per year which is a return on investment of 9.3%. It would take almost 11 years to recoup the $25,000.00

Want to learn more about Real Estate?

Follow me on Instagram.

Subscribe to the Holton-Wise YouTube Channel.