First and foremost I am not talking about a “Mentor” that costs you significant money and requires you sign up for multiple mentoring sessions, buy multiple boot camps, etc.
Thankfully I can’t speak for any of these programs as I am too cheap to sign up for any of them.
Instead I chose the low cost approach to finding, reading and listening to my mentors. I recommend you at least start at this level and then decide on your own if you are going to step up to that kind of commitment.
When I started out as a new investor I knew two things to be true.
First, I wanted real estate investing to be my long term investment platform. I wanted it so bad I could taste it, I thought about nothing else; it was all consuming.
Second, I knew there had to be hundreds if not thousands of people that had already done what I wanted to do.
All I had to do was decide what I wanted real estate investing to mean me and then go find people that had done it before.
Finding a Niche
So like many of you I went to various book stores, went on-line, attended various free workshops and attended local investment group meetings.
This investment of time and a few hundred dollars allowed me to review all kinds of possible investment options. I read or reviewed things on Flipping, Lease Back, Tax Liens, Mobile Homes, Commercial, Probate, etc-etc.
This time investment lead me to the decision of focusing on buying distressed properties, repairing them and holding as rentals for the long term.
The Hunt for a Mentor
Once I had my niche and I was committed to it, I had to go find my mentors. As expected, I went online, and various search engines became my best friends. I found more books and websites and started to really hone in on the individuals that were really doing deals instead of the glorified sales people.
Your search may lead to different results, but I found two individuals to be my initial mentors and I did everything I could to read what they had to share.
My first mentor is in my mind the original buy, repair and lease investor, William Nickerson. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to meet the man as he passed away in 1999 at the age of 91. The good news is he left several classic investment books. They are all out of print now but that didn’t stop me from buying what he produced.
His timeless classic ”How I Turned $1,000 Into a Million in Real Estate — in My Spare Time” provides a tremendous blueprint on how to be successful in this business.
Another benefit of Mr. Nickerson’s contribution is the fact he started his investment career during the Great Depression. I figured 10 years ago if he can make the model work during that time frame I certainly can make it work during my lifetime.
The second mentor I found goes by the moniker of Fixer Jay (AKA Jay P DeCima). Fixer Jay has produced several investment classics that built on the foundation Mr Nickerson provided. One of his books “Investing in Fixer Uppers” is the single real estate book I have read the most times cover to cover.
The real life examples, the sharing of his plan and the review of the numbers is exactly what I needed from my mentor, to know I was on the right track and that buying distressed properties, repairing them and leasing them long term was a profitable business.
Why did I chose these two as my mentors over all the others I could have chosen?
- They we both deemed to be leading experts in the business model that I wanted to follow. Said differently, They had already blazed the trail and they left guide posts on how to succeed.
- They showed my how one could start with a full time job and then at some point cut over to full time investing. This was important as I have a full time job I love and I was not looking to make it a full time business for many years.
- They seemed to be generally interested in sharing information vs. selling books. I felt the books were complete and not some big marketing ploy to buy another book or attend another seminar.
- They were talking about real deals and real experiences. I didn’t want theory I wanted to hear about real deals.
- I felt I could trust them. You have to trust your mentors and I trust both of them.
It might seem odd to you that I chose my initial real estate mentors this way, but having a full time job, a busy life and starting a real estate investing portfolio didn’t provide another option.
Put simply . . .
In closing, if you are a new investor the first thing to do is decide on the real estate investment framework that will work for you. Then go out and seek experts that you can learn from without spending thousands of dollars.
You are already one step ahead of me when I started as you found BiggerPockets that is full of experienced professionals.
My final comment is actually a question.
Who are your real estate mentors? I would love to hear from each of you as you can never have to many mentors.
Photo: Michael Cory