There are plenty of articles that help those just starting out investing in real estate, including those pearls of wisdom found here. But advice doesn’t always have to be “do it this way.” Good advice can also come in the form of “whatever things to avoid when investing in real estateyou do, don’t do this.” What are some things you must always avoid when considering a real estate investment?

First, don’t make a decision without data. That means don’t fall in love with a property. Keep your emotions at bay. Investing in real estate is a serious business and mistakes along the way eat up profits, or worse, create a real loser. Get your system down and stick to it. If the numbers don’t work, find another property because there are plenty out there. Let someone else invest in that loser.

Don’t box yourself in with an investment. Say that you buy a property that you expect to flip within 90 days but after 90 days are over you don’t have an acceptable offer? Markets can change and mistakes can always sneak up on us when we least expect it but what’s the backup plan in this scenario? Can you rent it out quickly and if that’s not an option make sure you can afford the monthly payments on the loan you got to acquire the property?

Don’t gamble with real estate. Time and time again as years have passed, casual real estate investors begin to consider themselves as true real estate gurus who have the ability to see into the future like no one else can. Real estate investing is just what it means: investing. Trying to outguess the market and do nothing more than speculate is a recipe for the foolish.

Don’t invest in significantly distressed neighborhoods. For example, a home that sold for $200,000 three years ago can now be had for $50,000 and it’s worth maybe $75,000. Easy profit, right? Not really. Unless the home is indeed an isolated foreclosure with nice homes surrounding it, buying in an area where there are multiple foreclosures and abandoned property just waiting for the next round of vandals, find another area. You’ll spend more time worrying about it than fixing it.

Don’t fly solo. There are plenty of people around you who are not only willing to help if only asked but can also be part of your real estate investment strategy. Find and keep a good general contractor to help you with estimates and repairs. Call that real estate agent who’s been bugging you about a property that’s just been listed. Take advantage of the years of experience that others can provide; it’s there for the asking.