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How to Find Real Estate Mentors and My Eureka Moment!

by Peter Giardini on April 22, 2010 · 14 comments

  
finding a real estate mentor

From time-to-time there are vigorous discussions regarding the topic of “mentors”.  The comments run the gambit from… Do I need one?  To how do I find one?  To should I pay?… well you get the picture. 

A more recent article on the subject was from one of my favorite authors to the BiggerPockets Blog, Jeff Brown, aptly titled I Can Do That! No, Sorry, You Probably Can’t – Wannabes and Mentorship, is a great read.

Jeff gets it!   He understands that for most everyone striving to achieve high levels of excellence, more then hard work is required.  It requires the insight and knowledge of those who have mastered their craft and gone before those just starting out.

I believe that most real estate investors get it also.   They know that to achieve their goals they need the very knowledge and insight of those who have gone before them. Yet, based on almost all of the posts I have read regarding BP members trying to find a mentor… it is obvious to me that they are going about their search for a mentor all wrong.

(A  point of clarification… when I speak of a mentor I am referring to a relationship where the mentor is not being directly compensated by the individual being mentored)

Shortly after Jeff’s article posted and just before I headed off to bed, I sat down to read the article and the comments.  The comments often times are as entertaining as the articles.  After I posted my comment I headed off to bed for what I thought would be sound sleep.  WRONG!  About an hour later I am wide awake pondering why mentors are so darned hard to find!   Thanks Jeff for that sleepless night.

And now for my Eureka moment!

Have you ever given any serious thought to who your first mentor was?  How about your parents, grandparents, an aunt or uncle; perhaps an older sibling.

What happened as you started to move from home, spending more time in school – especially junior and senior high.  Who were your mentors then?  A favorite teacher, a coach, perhaps your first employer?

And if you headed off to college who were your mentors? Again your professors or coaches or masters or doctorate candidates?

And finally the workplace . . .  perhaps your supervisor or boss saw something in you that they wanted to help you to further develop, so they willingly shared their knowledge and made the right introductions.  As you advanced in your career you may have even found yourself on the other side to the equation, where you were now mentoring those who worked for you. 

As I lay awake thinking through each of these stages of our lives, it dawned on me that when it comes to mentors there is a common thread.  Can you guess what it is?

I believe the common thread regarding mentors in our lives is that these individuals were first in our lives through an existing relationship, and the mentoring relationship grew out of it.

This is what I laid awake half the night contemplating. Did you get it?

In all these situations that I’ve covered, a pre-existing relationship existed before any mentoring started,  and I would point out that in every situation described above, the relationship did not include having to pay someone for their assistance.  The only requirement was the relationship.

For those of you hoping a mentor is going to fall out of a tree and make all of your real estate worries vanish, this is profound.

Let me repeat it one more time just in case you missed it…

“these individuals were first in our lives through an existing relationship, and the mentoring relationship grew out of it”

Now for the action plan!

For those investors desperately seeking a mentor, if you are seeking a mentor first, you are going about it BASS-ACKWARDS!

If you would like a mentor to come into your life, instead of your search being all about you and your needs how about this:

  1. Worry first about establishing a relationship with those who you would like to learn from.
  2. Make yourself valuable in a way that is meaningful (profitable) to the other person.
  3. Don’t expect anything in return.
  4. Always be thinking win-win — not just what’s in it for me.
  5. Most successful investors are willing to assist… but only after you have proven that you are worthy of their involvement,
  6. And finally, don’t expect these successful investors to spend time teaching you on the “promise” that you will share a deal with them.  They know how challenging this business can be, and they also know that they may spend an inordinate amount of time teaching someone who then does nothing.  Don’t believe me? Ask almost any successful investor and they will tell you.

So there you have it –my Eureka moment: when it comes to mentors the relationship must always come first!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Brown April 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

Hey Peter — good stuff. The solid info passed to his/her apprentice by a mentor, doesn’t know or care whether or not the info was imparted pro bono or for profit. It’s the character/honesty/integrity of the mentor that matters, never whether they’re paid or not.

Some of the most ‘expensive’ mentoring is done by firms via their intern programs. Sometimes hundreds of applications are taken for two openings in a firm, just for the opportunity to break their backs working for free — the price for invaluable mentoring.

In fact, speaking for myself, about half of those who mentored me as a young man, had their hands in my pockets — and in my opinion were woefully underpaid.

You point out the student should strive to make themselves useful to their mentor. The most successful mentoring I’ve ever done was with ‘assistants’ who slaved for ineffectual wages doing my bidding. That was superb advice, Peter. You’ve helped more folks than you may have realized.

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Peter Giardini April 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Jeff… It appears that once again you and I are on the same page. No coincedence!

Pete

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dan April 23, 2010 at 12:54 pm

that’s a eureka! It’s the surround yourself with those who you would like to learn from. You can’t just lurk in a web forum and expect trump to be-friend you from your snazzy profile picture. You have to go out and meet people, invite them to lunch and be friends with them . Friends help friends get ahead, strangers not so much

Same rules apply to finding a wife. You don’t just mail-order a bride. You gotta date them first and become friends …

and for the people that say “there’s nobody like that in my neighborhood” is the excuse from the other post

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Richard Dale-Mesaros April 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I hear you, Peter,

On numerous occasions I have taken someone that I admired out for breakfast….. having an experienced investor’s undivided attention for an hour or so is $25.00 extremely well spent! This can be just as valuable as courses or bootcamps, even more so because the information is local to one’s market.

Regards,

Richard :) ([email protected])

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Brian Gibbons July 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Hi Peter:

I listen your radio show and I like it alot. Keep it up!

I am a coach, and a LIFE REI coach. You need to get your life in shape. Financial Shape.

As a Real Estate ENTREPRENEUR, not investor, find a way to make money in this crap non lending market.

I look for PROBLEMS, and offer solutions.

Like, go talk to sellers that just had a listing expire.
- Give them a free report on selling on terms, quickly,
- get their price now before their equity goes out the door and out the window.

Of course, FLA and CALIF, and NV are astutely different to the stable markets of IN, IO and DFW TX.

There has never been a better time to flip a seller financing contract. And I define Seller Financing as any legal contract that allows a buyer to buy on terms without a bank. The SAFE Act must be addressed, but there are legitamate ways to address the issues.

And, what is not talked about much, is using seller financing notes to sell a free and clear house, acting as a note broker, using an agent to find an owner financed buyer. And in some states, like California, Title Holding Land Trusts and Delayed Sales Trusts can handle attractive rate underlying financing.

Example)
-20% down buyer, underwritten for credit, income, debt to earnings, by a mortgage licensed individual, and
Note Broker creating 2 notes, Generally a
- 85% 1st 8% 20 yr amoritization,
- 15% 2nd 8% 20 yr amoritization,
and having the flexibility to pull cash out of the new 1st by selling a “Partial”, meaning selling the front end of the note for cash today,
is an awesome income opportunity in this crap super jumbo non lending market.

Wholesaling (to end consumer buyer, not the REI buyer) is tough now, and Short Sales, well that is a Masters or Phd work, sorry. You can bird dog the Short Sales to a SS Pro, but loss mitigating them with no experience? A road to disappointment, if you ask me.

All newbies out there,
IMHO, Find something simple, like lease optioning a house as a principal, and assigning the deal. If you need to be licensed, then get a sales license. Learn about notes, simultaneous financing, wraps, AITDs, CFDs, Land Contracts, subordination, etc.

We are back to the eighties, where those that can create paper solutions will leave the “bank financing only” folks in the dust.

Best to all at BPs,

Brian Gibbons

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Richard Dale-Mesaros July 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Hey Brian,

Good point about needing to work the ‘paper’ element on deals in this market; it’s much more timely now than two or three years ago. By the way, who do you recommend for doing simultaneous note closings….. I feel a few coming on!

Regards,

Richard :)

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Favian Martinez August 28, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Great article peter. This is such a common sense thing but I guess sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves that we forget the value of making friends just to have something worth more than money :)

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Chris October 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

Great information Peter. This was the exact type of information I was looking for this morning and you provided it. Thanks. My questions stem from the 6 bullets that discuss what you should do. I completely agree with it all, but have problems with execution of a couple such as #2. How exactly can you make yourself valuable? #5 – How do you prove yourself to the people you have created relationships with? These two items are ones that I have the biggest problem in solving. Its almost a catch-22 – you need credit in order to get a credit card, but you can’t obtain credit unless you’ve had some. Thanks much, Chris

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Peter Giardini October 6, 2010 at 9:11 am

Chris… I guess the old phrase… “Ask and ye shall receive” applied today! I am glad that you found the article and that it is useful.

Regarding your questions…

The response regarding item number two I think is answered by Richard above. Identify who the real estate movers and shakers are in your area and take them to lunch. Have a list of questions prepared so as not to waste their time. Find out what their biggest problem is and ask them if you can help them fix it… and don’t ask to be paid for your efforts.

By successfully executing the recommendation above you will be putting yourself in a place to execute number 5.

The key here is just take the first step… you will think of many reasons why any investor may blow you off… and you need to take the attitude of… Who Cares… I will continue until I get one of more investors to got to lunch with me.

Focus on creating the relationship, come from a place of service and you should start to see results.

Best of luck!

Pete

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Kevin January 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Great article Peter!

I definitely agree that the relationship is an essential part of a mentor. I also agree that paying for a mentor is not the best idea most of the time. There can be a difference of opinion here.

Over the past year or so I have been hiring interns all over the country and teaching them how to wholesale properties. I do it for free since I love teaching others how to achieve their dreams. Some interns don’t give 100% effort since they don’t pay me, however, I get so much satisfaction teaching the one’s that do give 100%.

I have a recently been helping other people hire their own interns by giving them all the files and resources that I use to hire and manage my interns (job descriptions, interview script, email templates, list of tasks, etc.) I’d be more than willing to share any and all these files with you or anyone else that desires them.

Let me know!

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Jason Brooks June 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I would love to learn what you are teaching these students…I am a 110% student day in and day out! Please let me know.

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Phil Pustejovsky January 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Peter,
Interesting point of view. I think when it comes to specifically real estate investing / business, there may be some caveats as well. In my Bigger Pockets blog post, I explore this topic of choosing a real estate investor mentor:[url]http://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/3387/blog_posts/25718-choosing-a-real-estate-investor-mentor[/url]
I found my real estate investor mentor when I was broke, living out of my truck, trying to flip him a deal. He agreed to mentor me but there was definitely money involved. We split profits 50/50. It changed my life. He was a nice enough guy and truly enjoyed teaching, but to not only get, but keep his attention with all the other things he had going on in his business life, there needed to be some compensation or else he would have moved onto other projects, because rarely does the mentee (in this case, me, at the time) realize how much mentoring is really involved in transforming a person into a successful real estate investor/entrepreneur. So my experiences have been that part of the value that the mentee brings to the table is money (the sharing of profits when deals close seems to get the best results because it aligns the mentor and mentee’s incentives). I don’t think that applies to non-business mentorship though, such as spiritual, etc. But great business men and women I have had the distinct honor and privilege to work with over the years, who have become mentors to me (in addition to my original real estate investor mentor), they have given me far better advice and mentored me at a much deeper level when they benefitted economically from the relationship. Maybe they are all just greedy people? Or maybe the score card for most business people is money?

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Mark Gould March 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm

I am in 100% agreement of haveing a mentor to learn any business. Great article!!

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Sonia Spangenberg January 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I loved this post and wished I had read it sooner ( an found deeper pockets sooner). I am a new investor and have plunked down large sums for education and mentoring. However I still feel I gleaned great info I can apply…I have a responsibility to work on relationship building whether or not I paid for my mentor if I want to gain the most value from the relationship, I will need to make it a point now to keep that in mind. I must say I am really learning a lot from this website. Thanks for the creation of this community of info and support!

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