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3 Must Have Qualities I Look For In Every Investment I Make

If you start out investing as a spring-chicken, you may be excited to dive into scrubbing moldy cabinets, exterminating bug-infested corners, painting, repainting, and installing sheetrock until your arms are weak with exhaustion.

The truth is, the hustle and bustle of real estate is fascinating and it’s thrilling to be a part of it all. Investing in real estate provides experience in both the finance side and the construction side of things. But after a while, you may begin to feel like you need a more simple option.

#1 - Low Effort

The investment trait that’s the most important to me these days is that the effort required from my end is low.

Parenting also means you’re a master coordinator of swim class times and play dates and meal prep. This also means I barely have time to ensure my socks match, much less deal with tenant applications and maintenance requests.

I’ve had tenants on the verge of eviction purposely clog sinks and leave water running only to damage not just one or two units, but three units! You better believe I had piles of insurance and repair paperwork to sort through.

When my kids are tugging at my sleeve to come play with them, I never want to have to say, “Sorry honey, I have all this insurance paperwork to do.”

Therefore, an investment opportunity must rank low on the required effort scale.

#2 - Low Risk

Investments are like a playing piece in a giant game of Jenga. The whole thing topples over in a certain amount of time (the market cycle) and then you can re-stack the pieces and play again.

When will the Jenga blocks begin to teeter so much that they crash?

At this point, the tower is still standing, and many people like to speculate, but no one really knows how much time we have until the next market cycle will come around.

I’ve been through multiple market cycles, and I want to position my portfolio such that I’m accounting for the possibility of that tumble. Thus, low risk is another main priority.

#3- Cash Flow

Gamblers spend hours, sometimes days at the casino hoping for the chance to hit it big. More often than not, they come home empty-handed.

In an extremely opposite manner, investing for cash flow is my game. I want my investments to cashflow as-is, before improvements.

That way, if the Jenga blocks do tumble, I know that the investment will stay afloat until the tower gets built again.

Appreciation is great, but I want to be able to sleep soundly, knowing that I can count on the cash flow.

Attractive Investments

As a real estate investor myself, I have a few years of experience and have discovered my preferences for this stage of life.

Investing passively in reals estate syndications have met my requirements of being low effort, low risk, and having positive cash flow.

I like the idea of having an experienced team in place working the renovations and following the business plan on my behalf. They do the tough stuff while I receive regular cash flow checks, tax benefits, and progress updates. Meanwhile, I have all the time in the world to play with my kids.

Passive investing wouldn’t have made sense for me as a spring chicken. I was way too excited to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty on a fixer-upper. But now? Naps and story time are much more valuable.


At this stage of life, investing passively in real estate syndications that are low risk, low effort, and provide cash flow, allows me to have time freedom while simultaneously building wealth. It’s not a get-rich-quick strategy, but I’ll be so happy to look back and know that I made the best of my time with the kids while they’re little while also focusing on our financial future.

That’s what it’s all about, right?

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This work by Annie Dickerson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


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