Business Management

How to Expand Your Real Estate Team While Staying True to Your Vision

Expertise: Personal Development, Business Management, Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Flipping Houses
125 Articles Written

Ring ring ring.

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"Hello, this is Nathan." It's a contractor.

Ring ring ring. (While on the phone with the first contractor, another contractor calls.)

Ring ring ring. (And then a potential tenant.)

Ring ring ring. (And then my handyman.)

Ring ring ring. *Screams and throws phone.*

We have all had those days, right? Maybe it's even every day. The phone rings CONSTANTLY. And it's so easy to get annoyed or frustrated as that feeling of getting behind sinks in. We have two more deals closing in the next couple weeks for the large expansion of the turnkey side of our business. And I would have to believe everyone comes to the conclusion differently, but at some point we have to be able to let go — and bring on talent into our companies to make them efficient and to allow us, as investors, to do whatever we do extraordinary well.

Expanding My Team

In the past 3-4 weeks, I have been slowly working on this. What does my expanding team look like? What does our structure look like? How do I find people? And not only just people, the right people. I love Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, and one of the things that stuck with me in that book was the idea of having all the RIGHT people on the SAME bus headed in the “right direction” together. The concepts may sound daunting — but leadership and vision are critical for your team, your business, your contacts, and the people you do business with.

For years I have owned rental properties. We have done a rehab projects, and I had been basically the one man show with a few contacts for plumbing and electrical, along with a few handy/not-so-handy men along the way. A lot of time I was the one swinging the hammer. This year, we have nearly 10 projects going or about to start within the first quarter of 2015. We have 4 fix and flips, 1 rental house that we are holding ourselves, and then 3-4 for flip and then turnkey sales to outside investors.

So how does one guy do all that?

Not very well! Not very well. #nosleep

However, that is when the growth happens. It's when we allow ourselves to look beyond our own skills and reach out to the people who we know, who we trust, and also look beyond our circle of friends and family for others who could complete our business, and do the operations, hands-on work, or management of our real estate companies. It's the gut check, too. Are we doing things the right way? And have we made the right decision for our business, our family, and now-employees?

Related: You Can’t Do it All: Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Assistant

Making My First Hire

For me, the first call I made was to a handyman and painter friend of mine who had done work for me before. I wasn’t sure I could really bring someone on full time, but I went for it — and he came on with me. It was the right decision. He is now able to go anywhere I need him during the day for inspections, cleanup, painting, or in the case of this morning, setting up scaffolding at one of our large remodel projects coming on the market in just a few weeks’ time.

Obviously, one handyman doesn’t solve the problem with needing people on multiple job sites all over the city, but it does solve a large problem for me regarding having someone I trust in the field, working, swinging a hammer, replacing electrical receptacles — whatever it might be.

Adding More Team Members

Second, I posted on Facebook asking for someone to help with my website, uploading social media content, and keeping my online side of the business updated. A friend I had worked with sent me a message via Facebook and boom… there is my web and tech savvy guy, who is not only doing things I have asked for him to figure out, he has also helped me improve my website design to be easier, better, and quicker to navigate.

Then I called my old friend and former rental manager (he worked for the company I had hired as property management) and asked what he was up to and see what his interest was in coming back. He was delighted. And so am I — because now we have someone able to work on the rental side, someone helping keep our properties, websites and media updated. And they are all working together amazingly well.

I then introduced my other newest person, the incredibly talented designer. She has been a godsend, people. It’s one thing to pick a few finishes in a house, but it’s a whole other deal to pick everything in an entire house. She has been immensely helpful, talented, and funny. And she works within a budget.

So, in 2-3 months, we went from a team of one to a team of four, plus several real estate agents, 3-4 GCs, my accountant, and my attorney.

Related: The 10 Step Guide for Hiring Your Very First Team Member

With each person, I’ve repeated my motto, our mission: The best properties, with the best tenants, and the best management for our turnkey and rental business. And for our flips, we do it right. We have the best designer, we have the best crews. And we take our time to do it right. I wanted the team to feel that. I wanted them to hear it from MY voice.


I don’t want to be the cheapest. I want to be the best.

So, for better or worse, learning, living, buying more deals, we are going to work together as a unit. Solve problems. Find new deals. And most importantly, we are going to do it right. From working, to playing, to treating other people with care, to generating great returns for our investors and partners.

I might not be a Level 5 Leader (yet), as Jim Collins calls them — the top leader with the best vision — but you better believe I am hard at work, learning to be the best owner, manager, flipper, partner, all for the future of our company. I want to be that top leader, and it starts with living what you want all your people to do, be, and act yourself.

What’s your motto, or mission, or driving force or language with your real estate team? How do you keep them focused? How do you keep them all on the same page?

Share your best tips in the comments section below!

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey prop...
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    Amy A. from Portland, Maine
    Replied over 5 years ago
    It’s hard to let go of day-to-day control of your investments. I just made my first hire a month ago and it was a handyman too! Figuring out payroll laws is a real pain, but I’m still glad I have him. He’s cutting into my cash flow right now, but he’s painting apartments while I’m sitting here by the fire reading your post, which is priceless!
    Larry Russell
    Replied over 5 years ago
    This is a great article. After reading it, so many ideas are running through my mind. I’ve been brainstorming on how quick to bring partners on board on a more permanent basis and/or how to work with them on a consistent basis bare minimum. This is my biggest challenge for 2015 as well as how many projects can i handle at the same time.
    Karen Rittenhouse Flipper/Rehabber from Greensboro, NC
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Nathan: Congratulations on all of your successes! Growth is a fabulous sign of progress! I always recommend first hiring out what gets in your way, what hinders your progress, what you hate to do. Next, hire out anything that doesn’t make you money. So, my first hire was a bookkeeper. ABSOLUTELY essential to our business, but I hate keeping the books and doing busy work makes me NO money. My next hire was a receptionist/office coordinator. From there it’s grown and grown to 16 of us working together strong. How do I keep them motivated? Well, we all work together in one office space so we encourage/support each other. Next, there are financial incentives available to all for adding to our bottom line. Finally, a number of them work straight commission. It takes a village if you want this to be a business. Being business owners is probably not why any of us got into real estate originally, but it’s certainly where we end up if we grow. Thanks for your post.