You’ve heard all about the benefits of being a real estate mogul — how you can start from nothing, build your way up to a profitable portfolio, and generate passive wealth in order to achieve financial freedom. Now you want to break into the game yourself.

Clever’s Co-Founder and CEO, Ben Mizes, was in your exact position just a few years ago. He bought his first property — a multifamily building — at 23, and today owns 22 units in St. Louis in addition to being a licensed real estate agent and, of course, running this company.

Real estate investing is a huge field, and a single article could never cover everything you need to know to be successful. This guide is simply intended to get you started in the right direction and includes plenty of links to other articles and property investment resources that offer a deeper look at certain subjects.

Here’s how you can follow in Ben’s footsteps on the path to becoming a real estate mogul yourself:

Starting Out as a Real Estate Investor

The first and most important thing you can do when starting out is to learn. You’re in no position to be purchasing properties until you understand how real estate investment works and the different paths you might take to profit.

Start with our guide to 20 terms all rental property investors should know to get a sense of the language real estate investors speak. Next, take a look at different real estate blogs and podcasts so you can keep up with current trends. Then, make sure you get involved with local real estate investment groups to network and keep your ear to the ground for new opportunities.

Different Strategies for Real Estate Investment

Once you’ve got a good sense of the field, you’ll be ready to start searching for investments of your own. At this stage, it’s important to know exactly what kind of investment you want to make — no simple task considering the breadth of options and opportunities available to real estate investors.

As a general rule, there are three main strategies for real estate investors: wholesaling (buying properties at a discount and selling at a profit), house flipping (using sweat equity to turn a fixer-upper into a tidy profit), and investing in rental property (finding tenants to cover maintenance and mortgage costs and provide you with a steady cash flow). All of these options can lead to incredible success, and some investors even take advantage of multiple strategies when building their portfolio.

However you decide to proceed is going to depend on a range of factors from your age to your financial situation to your long-term goals to your tolerance for risk. You’ll want to consult with an experienced real estate agent before making any major investment decision. Ben Mizes himself has always been a strong advocate for multifamily properties — but only you can know what’s right for you and your situation, and only a professional you deal with directly can help you figure it out.

Finding and Managing Investment Properties

Now that you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to find the right property and start building your portfolio. There are lots of ways to search for investment properties, but one tried-and-true method is to simply monitor listings yourself and put an offer on every property that makes sense. Building first-hand experience like this is the single best way to carve out success as a real estate investor.

Once you’ve found that perfect property — and used the power of leverage and limited liability entities to finance it — it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Only by engaging with your property directly can you can get an intuitive understanding of what separates a good investment from a bad one.

So: get hands-on. Do your own interior renovations. Deal with plumbing and electrical issues. Get quotes from different contractors, then do the work yourself to see how they arrived at those numbers. Fix the roof and floors. Search for tenants, maybe with a service like Cozy.co. Get to know their needs. Collect rent. Remember to take some time to yourself every once in a while — no one said this would be easy.

If you can stay committed, engaged, and eager to learn, you’ll be doing everything you can to make your new property investment as successful as it can be.

So, Are You Ready to Get Started Investing in Real Estate?

Sure you are!

There’s a lot to learn about property investments, and we’ve just barely scratched the surface here. But if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to work, you can achieve financial freedom sooner than you think — as millennial real estate mogul Ben Mizes can attest.

As you get started, consider connecting with a trustworthy real estate agent who can guide and advise you through your first property investment. Clever Partner Agents are top performers in their local markets with specific experience in investment properties. They can answer any questions you might have, offer expert advice, and help you find the perfect property to achieve whatever investment goal you set your mind to.