Biggest real estate investing mistake you've ever made?

Figured, I'd post this in the "beginner's corner" as some of this might be helpful for those starting out.

I took on a piece of Vacant land that I thought had just a 'bit' of garbage that could be easily removed. (Looked like that on Google Maps). After purchasing it, and having buyers go buy I got messages of images and people stating that it was a joke. Looked like 747 crash landed on this 5 acres. The local enforcements was close to putting a fine on me as well. As long as you work with local enforcements and give them a plan, a lot of time they are understanding. Was about to hire a team off Craigslist to remove the junk (spoke to several teams who wanted to take the job on for a hefty amount). In the end, it just seemed a lot less headache to reverse the sale through the courts. It was a hairy process.

Lesson learned. Get someone to drive by for a small fee to snap some photos (which you can even use for marketing if its decent) or get the owners to send you some photos. Never assume there's nothing sitting on the property.

@Jessey it’s surprisingly easy to skip the site visit, because usually it doesn’t come back to bite you... but man, when it bites, it can bite hard! I’ve run into this kind of stuff before, but it sounds like you got it pretty bad on this one.

I suppose there’s no more effective way to learn.

1 Like

I bought a banked owned forclosure house last year with only a window peek and walk around. Looked like a floor coverings/paint and cabinets job... Funny thing is the bank wanted me to close in 7 days, which is really odd. Anyway after getting possesion I realized there was a foot of water sitting in the crawlspace, wood rot and mold in one corner of the joists. Luckily in my former life I was a remodeling contractor so I was able to solve it myself for a couple grand (Bids were like 40k) but it took me a MONTH of Work in that miserable crawlspace. I even had claustrophobic nightmares after for a while.

The good newd is the house turned out awesome and is rented now to a good tenant. I have been flipping for years so I should have known better.

With Land I had a nice property that I almost self closed on but sent to title. Turns out it didnt have marketable title due to a name mispelling (by one letter) on a deed years back.

@jawollbrink Can you explain what options you would have had if the property was worth the hassle? Such as quiet title, etc. Asking for a friend.


Title company told owner they needed to do a quiet title action and get name spelling fixed in order to sell to me. This would probably cost 2 or 3k to have done and the property was under contract for maybe 5k so they didnt thinik it was worth it. Im not sure what ever happened as I didnt hear back from them

A boring response, but the answer I hear a lot from investors about the titular question is "my biggest mistake was not starting sooner."