How to Build Trust & Reputation as a Real Estate Investor (to Land More Deals!)

How to Build Trust & Reputation as a Real Estate Investor (to Land More Deals!)

3 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

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How can real estate investors build more trust?

The biggest obstacle to doing more deals and reaching personal goals in this business is building and maintaining trust. Unfortunately, there is a lot of natural distrust out there. And perhaps there ought to be. Sometimes it can be challenging to find great real estate agents, investors, attorneys, and contractors.

The problem is that people would rather risk the penalties of not taking action than taking action and looking foolish. If you want to sign contracts with more motivated sellers, enter into more leases with qualified tenants, deal with cash buyers, and even attract the best investors and vendors, then you’ve got to build trust. Once you build trust and establish a good reputation, you’ll also find that every deal becomes more profitable.

How do you do that?


The one thing most new real estate investors — and even many established ones — lack is a good resume. Where’s your portfolio of work? What track record do you have to show? After all, most people see past performance as the best predictor of future performance. That’s why credit reports are such a big deal.

What if you don’t have a long history of doing real estate deals? Then build up a great resume that shows off how your past accomplishments transfer to real estate. Align yourself with and partner with those who do have a reputation.

Related: 10 Smart Tips for Building Trust With Private Money Lenders

Then document everything. Document everything you do the first time around. Otherwise, you’ll probably never find the time to go back to dig up and organize the information. Between your smartphone and cloud storage, you can back up everything you do as you go and record it. Later, this can be turned into case studies and a credibility book.


Trust Signals

Fair or not, people will make up their mind about you in a second. Maybe less. If you get the chance, then they’ll look you up and take the time to screen you. So, make sure that there are plenty of good trust signals out there.

This includes cultivating:

  • A respectable presence on social media
  • Reputability in a Google search
  • A visible and recognizable brand

The wisest and most successful realize that every interaction matters. It matters how they carry themselves at the gym, how they drive on the road, what their email signature and address says, how their job postings read and the amount they advertise they will pay, and how attractive their website is. These all impact trust.

Make Some Noise

The truth is that it is often the loudest brand that wins. This is true in every industry. People will say, “I chose ‘X’ real estate agent because they have a lot of signs; they must be the best.” Never mind the fact that they may never, ever speak with that person on the sign during the whole transaction.

People trust visibility. People trust the brand with a million Facebook likes, even if that company bought them all. People trust actors on TV, even though they say they know it’s just acting.

So be visible, make some noise, and make sure people know you are there and what you’ve accomplished.


The Truth

Obviously, the best way to be trusted and to build trust is simply to tell the truth. Tell the truth and do what you say. Yes, it may take a little longer to get the results, but you’ll get to keep those results a lot longer, too.

Unfortunately, many investors get distracted and miss the truth of this whole equation. Think long-term and be trustworthy. It will pay off.

Related: 10 Ways to Build a Reputation as Your Market’s Premier Real Estate Investor

It is also important not to let the talk of building out all of these branding and proof materials slow you down. Sometimes all you need is authenticity and rapport. If you don’t feel you have great social skills, don’t worry. Neither did Warren Buffett — or even a Mother Teresa — when they started out. Thankfully, you can hone your rapport-building skills. Hire a writer to craft your scripts and role play them with your partners. Get a coach, join a Toastmasters group, or read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People.

Most importantly, master this dialogue:

  • What do you do?
  • How can you help?
  • Why are you the best one to help?
  • Why should they act now?

Investors: Are there any other strategies you’d add to this article?

Let me know with a comment!