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How to Make Money in Real Estate: A Beginner's Guide

CEO Khai Intela
Real estate is a lucrative industry with countless opportunities for investors to make money. Whether you're looking to build passive income or start a full-time investing career, there are numerous strategies that can lead to...

Real estate is a lucrative industry with countless opportunities for investors to make money. Whether you're looking to build passive income or start a full-time investing career, there are numerous strategies that can lead to success. In this article, we'll explore the best ways to make money in real estate and provide valuable insights for those ready to jump in.

How Does Real Estate Make Money?

There are four primary ways to make money in real estate:

  1. Increase a property's value: When a property appreciates over time, you can sell it at a higher price and make a profit.
  2. Generate regular income: Renting out properties allows you to earn monthly cash flow through tenant payments.
  3. Buy and hold residential real estate: This strategy involves purchasing properties and holding onto them for long-term appreciation or renting.
  4. Participate in investments that don't require property ownership: You can invest in real estate projects or lend money to other investors for a share of the profits.

Before getting started, it's crucial to consider factors such as your risk tolerance, local housing market, liquidity needs, available capital, real estate knowledge, and time commitment. These factors will help determine which real estate investments are suitable for you.

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1. Increasing Property Value

One of the most common ways to make money in real estate is through appreciation. Properties tend to increase in value over time, allowing you to sell them at a higher price than what you initially paid. The location and improvements made to the property can significantly impact its appreciation potential.

Land and residential/commercial properties appreciate for different reasons. For land, development and natural resources can drive its value up. Residential and commercial properties appreciate due to factors such as location, development in the surrounding area, and improvements made to the property.

It's essential to consider inflation when calculating your returns on a property. Inflation can slightly reduce the profitability of your sale price, so it's crucial to account for it in your calculations.

2. Regular Income

Generating regular income through real estate involves renting out properties to tenants. Residential properties and commercial properties offer opportunities for generating cash flow.

Renting out residential properties involves collecting monthly rent from tenants to cover expenses like mortgage payments, utilities, and property taxes. Pricing the rent appropriately is crucial to ensure profitability without risking extended vacancies.

Commercial properties can also be rented out to businesses, often with additional income streams through contractual obligations. These obligations, such as "first right of refusal," can provide additional income and reduce vacancies.

Raw land can also generate income by renting it out for resource harvesting or production purposes. Ensuring that the rental income covers expenses and turns a profit is vital for generating regular income from raw land.

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3. Residential Real Estate Income

Residential properties offer various ways to make money in real estate. Here are a few strategies suitable for beginners:

Buy and Hold

Buying a property and holding it for long-term appreciation or renting is a popular strategy. It doesn't require separate properties; you can even rent out rooms in your primary residence or live in a multi-family home while renting out the other units.

Being a landlord comes with responsibilities, including maintenance tasks and tenant management. If you prefer a passive income approach, hiring a property management company can relieve some of the burdens.


Fix-and-flip investments involve purchasing undervalued properties, renovating them, and selling them for a profit. This strategy requires careful budgeting and knowledge of renovation costs and their impact on the property's value.

Vacation Rentals

Renting out properties as vacation rentals, particularly in desirable locations, can be highly profitable. Platforms like Airbnb have made it easier for property owners to attract guests and manage bookings. However, keep in mind any regulations or restrictions on vacation rentals in your local area.

4. Alternative Real Estate Income

If you don't have the capital to purchase properties directly, there are alternative ways to make money in real estate:

  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): Invest in shares of commercial property ownership, earning dividends from the profits generated by each property.
  • Mortgage Investment Corporations (MICs): Invest in entire mortgages and receive interest from rental payments.
  • Hard Money Lending: Provide short-term loans to other investors and earn interest. These loans are typically for investors who can't qualify for traditional financing or need quick access to cash.
  • Real Estate Investment Groups (REIGs): Join private investor groups with unique structures. Suitable for seasoned investors.

Other ways to make money in real estate include real estate options, short sales, becoming a real estate agent, or starting a property management business.

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What Do You Need to Make Money in Real Estate?

Contrary to popular belief, you don't always need vast sums of money to start making money in real estate. While capital helps, there are beginner-friendly strategies that don't require significant resources. Wholesaling, house hacking, turnkey properties, Airbnb rentals, property management, and lending to investors are all viable options for beginners.

To be successful in real estate, you need a strong work ethic, time commitment, a solid understanding of the market, and the ability to identify creative financing options. Experience will make these factors easier to navigate, so don't get discouraged if you're just starting out.

How to Make Money in Real Estate for Beginners

For beginners, some of the best ways to make money in real estate include:

  1. Invest in single-family homes: Rental income from single-family homes can provide a straightforward and cost-effective way to generate cash flow.

  2. House hacking: Turn your primary residence into an investment property by renting out rooms or additional living spaces. This allows you to leverage your existing property to generate income.

  3. Invest in turnkey properties: Purchase properties from companies that have already completed renovations, making them ready to rent or sell immediately.

  4. Rent out properties on Airbnb: Turn your property into a vacation rental for short-term guests, taking advantage of popular platforms like Airbnb. However, be aware of local regulations.

  5. Manage real estate properties: Start a property management business, catering to real estate investors who need assistance with property upkeep, tenant management, and other tasks.

  6. Lend to investors: Act as a private lender, providing financing to other real estate investors and earning interest on your loans. This method doesn't require property ownership but carries certain risks.

Remember, these are just a few options available to beginners, and there are numerous other paths to make money in real estate.


Real estate offers a wealth of opportunities for investors to make money. Whether it's through property appreciation, rental income, residential real estate strategies, or alternative investments, there's something for everyone. Starting in real estate doesn't always require vast sums of money, but it does require knowledge, research, and a strong work ethic. As you continue to explore the industry, you'll discover even more ways to profit from real estate.

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