How to Find a Real Estate Investing Mentor

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Over the past 10 years I’ve had several mentors and I still have one to this day. I plan on having a mentor until the day I die, because I’m pretty sure there is always going to be someone on the planet who is smarter than me.

Just like everyone else, I’ve had good mentors and bad mentors, but my bad mentors were at the very beginning of my real estate career when I didn’t know what to look for, and I didn’t know how to tell if they were all hype and no substance.

Ever since then I’ve been very fortunate to work with top people who have no doubt helped me become successful a lot sooner than if I had been trying to learn this business all by myself.

How Do You Find Quality Mentors?

Well, first off, you need people who are actively in the business. I know that’s common sense but I ran into a lot of mentors who used to claim to me that they were now retired and hadn’t bought properties in years, but they were retired because they were so successful. Hearing that raised a major red flag. I know that true entrepreneurs really never retire and that even if they weren’t doing 50 deals a year, they should still be doing a few deals a year.

Also, start local. Go to your local REIA and find out who the most successful person is. Find any way you can to learn from this person. I do know several good mentors who are not local, however, if you get one of these, you must be getting your mentoring directly from them. In other words, if some television guru is selling mentoring and you’re talking to one of his “people,” that’s probably not a mentoring program you want to be in. You want to talk to the investor himself or herself.

Before you commit to mentoring

There are a few things you need to ask your potential mentor. First, ask them what they’re doing right now and what types of deals they specialize in. If they have trouble answering that question, walk away. Next, ask for references. Any decent mentor should be able to refer past students who “graduated” successfully and ended up buying some properties.

Also, be sure to use the “property test.” What this means is that you ask your potential mentor to give you the addresses of two or three of his properties so that you in fact know he does invest in real estate and own some rental properties. If the mentor refuses to give you any addresses, then again, walk away.

For a brand new investor, I realize it’s not easy to spot a good mentor from a con artist, especially because you don’t know the business well enough yet, but using the information above will at least get you headed in the right direction.

Photo: Christopher Schmidt

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About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.

8 Comments

  1. Are these people you pay to help you? Or do they do it for free? If you don’t pay them I think it would be kind of interesting to pre-qualify them with all these questions.

  2. Most real pros don’t mentor (its a distraction from making money)
    one lunch is more likely. I like asking title company for a
    reference that’s a great idea.

  3. I LOVE THIS ARTICLE and will share with friends. There are a lot of frauds of claim to be experts for the sake of pride or to make some extra money. smh Some of these people I personally met invested wrong and got caught with their pants down in 2008 during the financial meltdown. For some reason these people consider them selves experts when they have not done deals with out using banks. I personally tell people that want to get started to find your local reia and identify who doing deals and who is just a tire kicker. I been apart of my reia for 3 yrs now and have met people who been apart of it 10 yrs or longer and done no deals. But they continue to buy courses. smh We are not even going to get into the national guru’s who charge any where for 5k-60k for coaching. And during their experts presentation all they do is show checks or talk about them going to the latest island. But I love the info man and hope to be financially free soon. I am far from it but willing to take the ride to get their.

  4. In your book you mentioned that you traveled to North Carolina for one mentor, would that be Larry Goins? Whom is your mentor now?

  5. I am new to investing. I’m wondering if you could comment on the other side of the equation? Why would a mentor want to take on a new investor as a protege? What would make a mentor give out references to a new investor to prove his/her qualifications? Some of these pointers don’t make sense to me without understanding how the mentor might benefit from the relationship. Are you offering to invest in the mentor’s business through capitalization? I could see that exchange. Thanks.

  6. I have a problem with your assertion that it is best to find a “local” mentor, simply because no sane person bent on making moiney in this business is going to properly train his future competition. USING the “newbie” is more likely. Also have an issue with asking for addresses of currently owned rentals – not every investor wants rentals. Many prefer to simply flip, and cash out, so there would be no “currently owned rentals.”

    • Sharon Jones on

      Finding a local mentor is best because you are able to work with them a whole lot better than someone not local. There are some successful real estate investors that would not find you as a threat. There are way too many deals to go around; real estate is every where all around you. Some real estate investors are ethical and have integrity and would not try and use a newbie, but truly mentor you so you can be successful. A newbie should be serious about being a student and not wasting the mentor’s time. Even if the investor does not have any rentals he or she should be able to show you true deals done.

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