Mindy Jensen Shares Her Top Tips for Getting Started in Real Estate Investing

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The Financially Savvy Female had the opportunity to chat with Mindy Jensen, co-host of the “BiggerPockets Money” podcast and the co-author of “First-Time Home Buyer, The Complete Playbook To Avoiding Rookie Mistakes.” Jensen is a licensed real estate agent in Colorado and has been buying and selling homes since 1998. Here, we chat about how she got her start in real estate investing and how other women can do the same. Jensen is also passionate about financial independence, so we got her best advice on reaching this milestone as well.

Read: Why Buying Property in These Vacation Destinations Could Be a Great Investment
Important: These 4 Red Flags Could Prevent You From Getting the Best Offer on Your Home

How did you get your start in real estate investing?

I was living with my parents and had graduated from college. A friend was going through a divorce, and had rented an apartment but needed to give it up. I took over her lease for the remaining months, and when it was finished, I decided that renting was throwing money away and I needed to buy a condo.

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I lived in my condo for four years, selling it when I got married because my husband owned a house. I sold the condo for 50% more than I bought it for after doing very minor work to make it look nicer. (My first flip!) We rehabbed my husband’s home and flipped that, too. The best part is that because we live in these homes while we are rehabbing them, they are our primary residence and we pay no capital gains taxes when we sell the house, thanks to the Section 121 exclusion. (You can legally avoid paying taxes on gains up to $250,000 if you’re single and up to $500,000 if you’re married.)

I’ve expanded into rentals by not immediately selling properties after rehabbing them — you can rent them out for up to three years before selling them and still get the Section 121 exclusion. I’ve also participated in more passive investing, like Real Estate Syndications and Partnerships.

More: 8 Insider Tips To Get Rich in Real Estate

What advice would you give to other women who want to start investing in real estate?

  • Educate yourself. There is a lot more to it than just buying a house and placing a tenant in. If you’re interested in investing in real estate, start educating yourself on the process because it’s going to take a minimum of 250-500 hours of education in order to be competent to start — and even then you’re going to make mistakes. BiggerPockets.com is a great place to start. The forum, the blog and the podcasts can help you narrow down your focus (there are a lot of ways to invest, it isn’t just rentals!) and pursue those types of investments that interest you the most.
  • Don’t be intimidated. Everyone starts out not knowing anything. Someone who makes you feel bad about your newbie status isn’t anyone you want in your corner anyway. There are tons of places to learn — podcasts, websites, meetups, etc. — and so many people willing to help you learn. Yes, there is a big learning curve, but there are so many people who are willing to help you learn.
  • Not every property makes a good investment, and there are some properties that don’t make sense at ANY price. Learn what works and what doesn’t, and don’t offer more than what makes sense to you. It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war and wanting to “win,” but you are frequently up against investors with different objectives, motivations and financial situations. Make the offer that makes sense to you and don’t worry about what other people are doing.
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What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve received along your journey to financial independence?

Get started and make regular contributions to your investment accounts. If your company offers a 401(k) match, do everything in your power to contribute enough to get the entire amount. Do everything in your power to max out your Roth IRA for as long as you are able.

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Jaime Catmull contributed to the reporting for this article.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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