Virtual Real Estate Investing: Is it Possible or Just Hype?

Right now, especially with so much focus on social distancing, many self-proclaimed ‘Gurus’ are claiming that with their system anyone can make money investing in real estate by working just one hour a week by phone. Yet, we’ve all heard the saying that if it seems to good to be true, then it probably isn’t true. So, is it really possible to invest in real estate virtually, or it is a scam?

Honestly, the answer is both.

If you believe that by purchasing a ‘Guru’s System’ you’re going to start magically making money at the push of a button, then you need to Stop Reading! Legitimate real estate investing isn’t for you because doing so takes time and effort. If, however, you are willing to learn and put in the time, then virtual real estate investing is not only feasible, but 100% possible. 

Hype But No Substance

If you Google “virtual real estate investing” you will see a lot of different self-professed gurus touting their systems. You’ll see such things as:

  • Work as little as one hour per week
  • Start bringing in paychecks without spending a dime
  • The system does 100% of the work for you and you collect the checks
  • Close deals simultaneously for monthly profits of $100,000+
  • Eliminate all financial risk
  • Just follow the system – there’s no heavy lifting – just plugin and make money daily
  • We will show you how to find a buyer, a seller, and a contract today – and you’ll get money today – without investing a dime
  • This formula will make you free and rich for the rest of your life

Don’t you think that if it were truly possible to work just one hour a day and make over $1 million each year that everyone would be doing it? Or if making a six-figure monthly income required no “heavy lifting” that there would be no one left doing any other job out there?

The truth is simple. There isn’t one sure-fire system that takes no time, no effort, no knowledge, and eliminates all risk. In fact, there isn’t one sure-fire system at all. Instead, there are basic real estate investing principles that, when applied appropriately and in the appropriate situation, allow investors to make money. However, this all takes time, effort, and knowledge.

But Virtual Investing Is Possible

When real estate investors first hear of virtual investing, they often balk at the idea. How is it possible to get a good feel for the property? How can you possibly negotiate terms if you never meet the people involved in the deal? That feeling is quite understandable since most real estate investors started out doing their due diligence in the physical realm. 

With that said, I do want you to know that it is possible to invest remotely. You simply have to use methods and tools that provide you with the critical decision-making criteria you need virtually.

First, you need to be able to do virtual property research. There are many possibilities for researching without actually driving to the property. For instance:

  • Zillow – Not only can Zillow help you research property, but you can also get a feel for the local market and market values. You can also locate local realtors who can help with such things as photos of the property and comparable properties.
  • Google Earth – Provides you with views of the property and surrounding property.
  • Paid Listing Services – Consider a subscription service where you can not only find property descriptions but can begin creating buyer/seller lists.
  • County GIS Database and County websites – Provides information such as property boundaries, owners, tax info, and more. Some county systems are more user-friendly than others. 
  • Property Inspection Services –  There are inspection services available that either use an employee to verify information you have on a property or allow you to use an app to let others you know validate the information. 
  • Take a Virtual Tour – Several companies now offer virtual tours of properties, even using drones. 

Once you have scouted out a property, it will be time to communicate with sellers, buyers, lenders, inspectors, and more. In today’s world, the technology for such communication is abundant. Consider using:

  • Phone
  • Text
  • Email
  • Chat app
  • Video conferencing app

But what about documents? How can you sign contracts if you are not present? There are now many different ways to share and sign documents virtually. For instance, you can use Dropbox or Google Docs to share documents between many users. You can also use programs that allow for a legal digital signature, such as DocuSign

With virtual real estate investing, you still need to do your due diligence. The difference is that you do it through digital sources. And if you find information gaps, be resourceful. The information is out there, it is just a matter of finding it. 

For those that try virtual real estate investing, you’ll find there is less competition, which means there is far more opportunity. However, this is only true for those who are actually willing to learn and are not looking for a magic button. 

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