If you’re just getting started in real estate investing, or have a couple of rental properties already but don’t feel like you’re prepared for all of the challenges you encounter on a daily basis, you could probably benefit from a mentor. It’s something you should at least be open to.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor sounds like a really official term, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can really be anything you want.
“As I define it, a mentor can be anything from a coach or boss with whom you interact for 8-10 hours per day, to a friend whose counsel you seek a few times per week, to a successful person that you meet with just a handful of times for specific advice,” investor Scott Trench says.
In essence, a mentor is someone who has more experience than you and is willing to help you improve professionally as you pursue the same sort of success they have. But it’s just as important that you understand what a mentor is not. Otherwise you’ll place false expectations on the relationship and things will quickly feel strained.
“A mentor is not someone who I only contact when I need something. I don’t go to my mentors with small, trivial problems, or to discuss my bad day,” Trench explains. “My mentors aren’t there to help me with vague questions or with directional life decisions (‘What career should I choose?’ or ‘Should I invest in real estate?’). I do not expect to go to a mentor and have them hand me the keys to success while I drive off into the sunset.”
The purpose of a mentor is to provide big-picture guidance on very specific issues and challenges that directly relate to your professional goals.
5 Tips for Finding a Good Mentor
Real estate investing is tough. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to the industry or have built a massive real estate empire over many decades of work. It’s never easy to make a deal happen and there are always risks associated with putting your money into a vessel that you can’t totally control.
A mentor isn’t a solution to all of your woes, but does give you access to experience and advice that you wouldn’t otherwise have. That’s something that every single person in this profession can use.
The trick is to know how to find a good mentor. Whereas the right mentor can open up a lot of doors for you, the wrong person can force you onto a path towards nowhere. And with that being said, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind as you search for a good real estate mentor in the future.
- Know What You’re Looking For
The first step is to know exactly what you’re looking for. According to investor Tom Sylvester, good mentors share a number of important qualities, including a willingness to share information, experience in your particular investing niche, success in that same niche, trust and honesty, and an ability to inspire you. But there’s another quality they also need to have: failure in your investing niche.
“We all fail and successful people often fail more often,” Sylvester points out. “A ton of learning and growth can come from failure, and I believe you don’t truly know someone until you have seen them fail.”
Sylvester advises finding an investor who was successful before and after the recent housing collapse. This shows that they know how to survive in the midst of feast and famine.
- Define Your Objectives
You can’t ask someone to be your mentor if you don’t know what you want. Define your objectives and clearly articulate your goals. This allows the mentor to know how to guide you. Otherwise, you’ll find that you’ll end up running in circles without any positive growth.
- Know Where to Look
Mentors don’t walk around with big signs on their foreheads that read, “I’m looking for someone to mentor.” They don’t even have the word mentor in their LinkedIn bio. That’s because mentorship is something that happens naturally, or when confronted.
In order to find a mentor, you have to really look. You might find one in the form of a close family friend or relative who has been in the investing game for a while. Others have luck in local Real Estate Investor Association (REIA) meetings. There are also plenty of online forums and communities that bring people with all different backgrounds and experiences together. Go out and mingle – eventually, you’ll stumble on some options.
- Be Sure You’re Comfortable
You have to be comfortable with someone in order to benefit from a mentorship. You aren’t going to learn very much from someone you detest. Before really investing in a relationship, test the waters and make sure there’s some chemistry between the two of you.
- Be Willing to Pay Your Dues
Most people – unless they happen to be a relative or extremely gracious person – aren’t going to mentor you without getting something in return. Some mentees choose to pay a mentor for their time. Others offer to work for free in an internship type of role. There are even those who bring their mentors in on any deals that they want to be part of. The point is that you have to be willing to give something in order to get something.
Partner With Green Residential
The more talented and experienced people you can surround yourself with, the better. A good supporting cast will take you a long way towards accomplishing your investing goals. In addition to having a good mentor, you need a partner that can come alongside and help you manage your investments in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
At Green Residential, we work with some of the leading real estate investors and landlords in the Houston area. Whether you’re looking for someone to simply handle administrative tasks, or you’re in need of comprehensive property management services, we can help. Contact us today to learn more!