Every rookie real estate investor on planet Earth is aware of the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” There’s a reason it’s so common: it’s true. Finding the right person to introduce you to the world of real estate can be an invaluable way to get ahead, especially when you’re just starting with real estate investing.
Table of Contents - Searching for a Real Estate Investing Mentor? Avoid These Red Flags
A proper real estate investment mentor can help you solve problems and provide a fledgling investor with a lot of knowledge. That means, if you take care of “who you know,” then they’ll cover “what you know.”
The value of finding a mentor
First-time real estate investors often make the mistake of believing that with enough work and research, they can strike out on their own and make good on their savvy. That may be true, but new real estate investors may find that success in the market involves a good deal of trial and error. “Trial and error” is code for the loss of valuable resources in exchange for knowledge.
A competent real estate mentor, however, can help you bypass a lot of pain with access to their contacts and knowledge base. Unfortunately, finding the right real estate mentor isn’t a piece of cake. There are countless people out there who like to pretend they know what they’re talking about, even as they waste your time and your money. When you’re hunting for the right mentor, here are some pitfalls to avoid.
Beware of the “free” seminar
Put simply: Valuable information isn’t cheap, and anyone offering cheap information is likely not offering anything valuable. There are myriad real estate professionals who host free or inexpensive seminars that try to provide supposedly infallible advice designed to improve your returns, get you rich quick, etc.
While some of these professionals may seem legitimate, what they off is often just thinly veiled attempts to sell you merchandise such as books, DVDs and additional courses. They want you to buy into their brand so that they can profit.
More often than not, you’re filed into a hotel banquet room to hear a three to a five-hour-long commercial for a set of books or DVDs that can deliver on the promises the seminar was supposed to provide. Don’t buy the books, don’t enroll in more courses and don’t trust a flimsy investment deal. Most importantly, don’t go into debt just to get advice from another professional.
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Instead: Mingle with professional groups
Many communities throughout Canada have regular in-person meetings of real estate professionals and investors. Search sites like Facebook and Meetup to see if you can find a group that shares your interests. If you live in a smaller town, you can turn to the internet to find real estate professionals mingling online. Or, you can start your group! By engaging with the broader community, new investors can forge invaluable connections and learn an incredible amount about the field.
That said, don’t begin an interaction by directly asking a professional to be your mentor. You need to forge a stronger relationship before that can happen. Community meetings are a fantastic opportunity to plant the seeds that may one day blossom into a mentor-mentee relationship.
Con artists will prey on your emotions
Those people who claim to make a living as real estate “gurus” are often much better at a different skill: manipulation. They will try several tricks to get you thinking about your feelings and not your brain. Beware of:
- Offers that have a rapid expiration date.
- The panic that you’ll forever ruin your professional career by not taking the advice at hand.
- Insinuations that your intelligence is in question if you pass up a given offer.
Those people who would bilk you of your hard-earned money in favour of platitudes you could have figured out on your own will attempt to provoke your insecurities (whatever they may be) and use them to get you to empty your pocketbook. The key to avoiding these scams is to exercise patience and believe in your ability.
A proper mentor will identify your strengths and build your confidence.
Instead: Read a book
If you worry that your emotions may get the better of you, don’t take chances. Instead, take a trip to your local bookstore. Just as a poet must learn the alphabet before she can write in verse, so must great investors learn the basics before they can truly succeed.
If you’re looking to learn about the fundamentals of real estate investment, a great place to start is with a book. Hundreds of books have been written on the topic of real estate investment, and — while some may not apply to your current situation — several of those lessons could prove both timeless and extremely important to your development as a real estate investor.
Enroll in classes, not seminars
Some educational opportunities are worthwhile. There are some lessons, for example, that can serve to fill in the gaps in a first-timer’s knowledge. Before you enroll in any of these classes, be sure to take five minutes to do some cursory research. Look for:
- Reviews from people who have attended.
- News reports about the event.
- Unbiased information about the keynote speaker, the hosting organization and the class sponsors.
The classes that will best help your career will be specific to your local market and hosted by someone whose full-time profession is real estate investment, not travelling the country hosting seminars.
Instead: choose your mentor
Don’t wait for some self-appointed guru to advertise a seminar on how to become a multi-million dollar real estate investor. Do your research to discover the most successful real estate investors in your area. Pinpoint one that has the skillset and specific market expertise that you need.
Then, if you have the capital, invest with your potential mentor. If you’re convinced of their prowess, this should be a no-brainer. No matter how successful, real estate investors are always in search of capital. If you approach them with some cash, they should be willing to listen.
Finding a supportive mentor can be the difference in a successful real estate investing career and years of frustration. Don’t be fooled by so-called professionals who don’t have your best interests at heart.
How To Find a Real Estate Mentor
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