Dave Says

Rental Runaround (August 2016)

Do you think having cancer insurance is a good idea? (July 2015)

Setting up the kid's car insurance (February 2015)

Check cashing for the unbanked (September 2014)

Keep the lifestyle simple (May 2014)

Should she have skin in the game? (September 2013)

Time to pay it off! (September 2013)

Making It Through Medical Leave (July 2013)

Should We Ever Buy A House? (January 2013)

Be Tightfisted Until The Crisis Is Over (January 2013)

Paying the parents (December 2012)

Sallie Mae vs. selling the car (December 2012)

What’s the worst that can happen? (December 2012)

Letting them in on the secret (December 2012)

Not ready to combine finances (November 2012)

What The Law Will Allow (August 2012)

Making The Right Choice (August 2012)

Baby comes first! (August 2012)

Get the brother-in-law out! (August 2012)

Trust Broken After Cosigning (April 2012)

Review The Research (April 2012)

The Investing Makes Her Nervous (April 2012)

Lifestyle Changes (April 2012)

Do I Tithe On An Inheritance (March 2012)

No Credit Score, No Mortgage? (March 2012)

Where Do Toys Fit In The Baby Steps? (March 2012)

Guilt and Cynicism (March 2012)

Where Does Debt Go When Filing Bankruptcy? (December 2011)

Where Does The Donation Go (December 2011)

Ready to Buy (December 2011)

Intensity Hurting The Marriage (December 2011)

Hobby Car? (November 2011)

Not Quite Dearly Departed… (November 2011)

Enough For Retirement? (November 2011)

It’s Just Another Gimmick (November 2011)

Will Paying Early Help? (November 2011)

Bargain Master! (November 2011)

Sisters Should Have Asked! (August 2011)

Buy Now Or Wait? (August 2011)

So, He Knows How To Manage Money? (August 2011)

Girlfriend’s Money Problems (August 2011)

Smaller Down Payment? (August 2011)

Why Can’t She Get Another Job? (August 2011)

Landlord Wants Protection (June 2011)

Prepping Kids For Healthy Habits (June 2011)

Switching To Company Debit Cards (June 2011)

Should I Reduce My Tithe? (June 2011)

Closing The Account (February 2011)

Dishonesty Is Not The Best Policy (February 2011)

Piles of Cash? (February 2011)

New Car In A Bad Situation (February 2011)

Drop Coverage? (November 2010)

Can't Pay For Her Wedding (November 2010)

Does Pride Keep Us In Debt? (November 2010)

Not Time For A Reunion (November 2010)

You're Being Hoodwinked! (November 2010)

Buying Used or New? (November 2010)

Is There A Recommended Vacation Percentage? (July 2010)

Don’t Do it for the Gas Mileage (July 2010)

Investing Strategy for Retirement (April 2010)

Insurance? (April 2010)

Triple Play Investing (February 2010)

How Do I Get Started in Real Estate (February 2010)

Published: February 2010
How Do I Get Started in Real Estate  

by Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

I’ve always been interested in real estate, but the only experience I have has come through owning my own home here in Atlanta. I’m not sure I’m enough of a handyman to fix up houses to sell, but I’ve never thought of myself as a landlord, either. What advice can you give me?


Dear Mark,

Anytime you own real estate you’re going to have to deal with repairs, whether it’s fixing up a house to sell, a rental property or your own home. If you’re not the handyman type, then you’ll need to know some repairmen and have other connections in the building industry. I mean, if the house needs extensive work, or the central unit or water heater goes out, it’s your job to make things right!

There are a few things you can count on when it comes to rental properties. We just talked about repairs, and that’s a big one. Another one is a formula that goes something like this: on average, the cheaper the rent, the bigger the “character” you’ll have to deal with as a renter. Now, if you run too high on the rent, you’ll discover a different type of character. This type thinks you work for them, and it’s never good to have confusion on this issue.

A good, solid, middle-of-the-road house in your area would probably cost about $150,000 to $200,000. A lot of people will tell you to take on debt to buy the place, but I want you to pay cash on this trip. It may mean a less expensive house and dealing with low-income renters to start with, and that can be a headache. The good thing is that you’d learn how to be a landlord from the bottom up. You’ll learn how to be firm, but fair, and how to be gentle in the midst of a crisis. Believe me, you’ll have a crisis or two—or 10 or 12—if you stay in the landlord business very long! You’ll also learn how to handle evictions. But once you get some experience under your belt, you won’t be intimidated by other, bigger, rental situations in the future.

So, either you’ll be a landlord, or you’ll be a person who buys and flips properties. Either way, make sure you do it with cash. Don’t go into debt to make this happen!