Ever since I was a little kid, I always wondered why all the real estate agents and property builders were richer than us. They drove luxury cars and their kids went to the most expensive schools. Whenever I inquired my dad about their riches he would reply, “They put up houses for sale, son”.
As intrigued as I was, it was normal for my attention to be drawn towards the real estate market. I would read the classified section of Dawn and Jung.
During that time, I also closely observed the shifting patterns in the property market, and it was not long before I made my first million workings as just an agent. So, how did I make it and what were the challenges?
1. It is Not Just About Buying/Selling A House
Firstly, you need to understand the broader spectrum of the Pakistani real estate market – it is not just limited to buying or selling a house – that is essentially the last part of the process. From my experience, I can say that if you want to make a fortune in real estate, you start by learning from the best.
When I started out, my ambition was to grasp as much industry knowledge as possible, and that is why I would go on trips with my friend who was and still is an extremely successful real estate investor. I would closely observe his body language, negotiation skills, temperament and eye for the right property. I did that for 3 years straight, which eventually enabled me to set up my own real estate agency.
One more habit I picked up was to follow current affairs and read books on real estate. I would follow the prices of properties in Pakistan and see the best investment opportunities in Pakistan. One book in particular I would like to recommend is The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Keller, Papasan and Jenks.
2. Your First House Holds the Key
When you are starting out, your first investment in a property is very important. If you are getting a house, I suggest you go for a ‘’fix-upper’’, renovate it and sell for a high price or stay patient, and wait for the economic conditions to be favorable.
Keep up with what is in demand and furnish the house accordingly. I made more than 400,000 on my first fix-upper house alone.
3. Time To Move On
Buying a house in Pakistan these days is not same as purchasing one in Japan or the United Arab Emirates, due to economic and political insatiability. So, once you have sold your first home, get another for lesser money and rent it out. Time moves in a circle, and you need to avert risk as much as you can by securing a steady flow of income every month through rent.
4. Become Your Own Boss
Once you have established a portfolio in real estate, it is time to set up your own agency with hungry agents wanting to make money. Right now, my portfolio has expanded to include properties in Lahore, Rawalpindi and of course, Karachi, my home city.