You may have done research on real estate investing and attended boot camps and workshops, but are still hesitant to jump into the game…
The best way to learn about real estate investing is to see what others do and actually try it yourself, but it can be pretty scary for new investors to get started.
One way to combat your fear and get hands-on experience in real estate investment is the helping hand of an real estate investing mentor.
A mentor can help prevent you from making bad investment decisions and false starts so you don’t lose time and money doing things the wrong way.
#1 What to look for
Search for someone who is an expert in the field and has already done deals successfully. Your mentor should not be someone who simply has knowledge about real estate investing from books or research—it needs to be someone who has actually invested in real estate.
On that note, look for someone who is currently an investor or retired from investing fairly recently. Laws, regulations, and markets are constantly changing, so you should be learning from someone who is up-to-date with the industry.
#2 Where to look
You probably won’t find a qualified mentor by searching on Google or Craigslist. You’re more likely to find a mentor in one of the following places:
- Local REIA meetings: Ask around your local REI clubs, whether they’re local or online, for experienced investors who may be willing to help you. Take a look at this list of local REI meetings in our top markets.
- Bank-owned property auctions: You can usually find a few seasoned investors at auctions, so use these as an opportunity to network.
- REIA meetup groups: Most REI organizations hold luncheons, happy hours, and events fairly frequently that can help you to meet experienced investors. You can also find some of these on our list of local REI meetings in our top markets.
- Social media: Join REI Facebook groups, search LinkedIn for successful local investors, and utilize online resources, but be sure to meet with potential mentors face-to-face at some point.
#3 Research, research, research!
Don’t just take someone’s word if they claim to be a “real estate guru,” or an expert in the field. Conduct research on any person you are considering working with before you present them with your need for a mentor. This is especially important if the person charges fees for their service to you.
Ask potential mentors about their investing history so you can see the types of deals and profits they made. Don’t be afraid to ask them for details about their investing background—a successful investor should be more than happy to share their experiences with you.
If you’re paying the mentor or sharing profits with them, make sure to talk to past students or other references.
#4 Look for red flags
As mentioned before, make sure you do due diligence on each person who could potentially be your mentor. If they’ve only done 3 deals in five years, there’s probably a reason why they’ve done so few…
Be wary of people who make huge promises or sound like they’re exaggerating.
Above all, trust your gut! If your intuition tells you this person isn’t a good fit for the relationship you seek, don’t feel pressured to make them your mentor.
#5 Don’t focus on yourself
Instead of asking experienced investors, “Can you help me?” ask, “What can I do for you?” or “How will we work together?”
You may have skills that the mentor would find useful and make their life easier. Emphasize to the potential mentor that they will receive incredible value from working with you and that their time will be well-spent.
#6 Show that you’re motivated
It’s very important for you to watch the way you come across to a potential mentor. Don’t act scared or hesitant to enter the investment world. No one will want to waste their time helping you if you aren’t committed.
Set goals to show that you’re devoted to becoming a successful investor. Instead of simply saying, “I want to learn about real estate investing,” come up with concrete objectives that a mentor can help you with. For example, you may wish to get a better understanding of a particular segment of real estate investment, such as the rehab process in a Fix & Flip.
#7 Make sure you’re on the same page
Regardless of whether you plan on hiring a paid mentor or working with someone for free, make sure you both have a defined goal for your mentorship and a clear idea of what you each expect from the relationship.
This might mean your mentor will take you along through one of their deals, or it could mean they’ll help you get through a deal of your own. What you don’t want to happen is have a “mentor” who teaches you the wrong things, or doesn’t really teach you anything at all.
#8 …Get started!
Now you have all the advice you need to find the perfect REI mentor, so start looking! A mentor is truly one of the best resources to ensure success in real estate investment. Many of the top real estate investors started out with a mentor themselves.
Relationships with a mentor can last for years and really kickstart your investing career. What are you waiting for?
Now, go forth and find yourself a mentor 🙂