Real Estate Investing Basics

Social Isolation Spawns Next Hot Trend in Networking

4 Articles Written
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Two guys are in the woods when suddenly they spot an enormous grizzly bear off in the distance. The bear sees them, too! It begins to charge toward them and will be upon them in less than a minute.

One guy immediately kicks off his heavy hiking boots, reaches into his backpack, takes out his running shoes, and begins lacing them up. “Are you crazy?” says his buddy. “Grizzlies can reach speeds of 35 miles an hour. There’s no way in hell you can outrun that bear!”

“I don’t think you understand,” our guy says. “I don’t have to outrun the bear… I just have to outrun you!”

As we begin June 2020, some communities have now been under COVID-19 shutdown for nearly two whole months. That’s a long time to be cooped up inside, and all the hours spent watching “Seinfeld” reruns won’t make it feel one minute shorter.

But here’s a secret…

Experienced investors are not “easing up” or “taking time off” during this crisis.

Are you kidding? We’ve seen similar situations before, and we understand that this is merely the calm before the coming storm. The grizzly sees us, and now the big race is about to begin. We pros are doing everything in our power to gain an edge in this new reality in which we all now live.


How to Get Ahead (in Any Economic Climate) as a Real Estate Investor

The No. 1 edge in building, maintaining, and explosively growing any real estate venture is a powerful professional network.

For us real estate folk, this network consists of fellow investors, real estate agents and brokers, contractors, lenders, loan brokers, attorneys, accountants, and everyone else who is part of the enormous, interrelated, and interdependent business ecosystem within our investing geography.

Your network is how you “outrun the grizzly.” And right now is the perfect time to give yours a major system upgrade!

Related: BiggerPockets Podcast 323: How to Attract Deals and Earn More Through the Magic of Networking With Travis Chappell

Broaden Your Geography of Interest

Accurate information is the most valuable commodity in times of crisis. Conditions can change very quickly, so it’s essential to understand not just what is happening but also where.

The more people you can talk to, the better your understanding of the situation will be. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that every market is exactly like yours. All real estate is local!

Connecting with colleagues from outside your area gives you a broader view of the bigger trends, as well as the coming challenges. Additionally, contacts from outside your market might be more willing to share insights with you because you don’t represent direct competition to them.

Personally, I easily spend an hour every workday reaching out to investors from all over the U.S. and the world, trying hard to get the big picture and look for opportunities to enhance and enrich my network and my business.

Handsome young African man in shirt telling something and smiling while making social media video

Get Ready for Your Closeup

Back in the olden days of January 2020, millions of people had never been on a live video conference call. Now, nearly everyone with a smartphone has likely participated in a Zoom call or a Facebook Live event. Birthday celebrations, church services, and even graduation ceremonies are all being conducted via remote video.

In a 2018 survey of over 700 Zoom users, 82% said there was greater trust with video, and 91% said there was greater engagement with video, leading to better understanding through nonverbal communication. And trust and engagement are the building blocks of a true power network!

Certainly, video calls require a bit more personal preparation than, say, texting. But just embrace it. The benefits of video are well worth the effort. You’ll ultimately want to invest in the best video camera and microphone you can afford, but your smartphone will certainly get the job done in a pinch. You’ll also want to consider adjusting the room lighting and layout to present yourself in the best possible manner.

While there’s no substitute for being there in person, the video call has become the next best way to build a personal connection with someone else. And, since most of these services are free, there’s no excuse not to make aggressive use of them to strengthen the bonds between you and the far-flung members of your network.

Related: How to Network Like a Pro (Even If You’re an Introvert!)

Give Back, Regardless of Your Level of Expertise

When times do get tough, it’s easy to adopt a “me first” attitude. Survival is one of our most basic instincts. However, those who take time in a crisis to reach back and help out those struggling to keep up will always be remembered and valued long after the worst has passed.

You don’t have to sacrifice everything to help someone in need. Sometimes, just a little timely advice, a hand lent in support, or even a few words of encouragement can make all the difference to those short on hope and resources.

So, while you're planning your next power-networking Zoom session, consider inviting that real estate agent who hasn't had a listing in 90 days. Maybe make a referral to a great contractor you know who could really use the work right now. Connect two members of your network who don't realize they are tackling the same problem in isolation when they could be comparing notes.

Three weeks ago, I started a free weekly Zoom call to give new investors an opportunity to hone their deal analysis skills in a safe and supportive group setting. These calls are my way to offer my skills and expertise to those trying desperately to learn how to use real estate to make their lives better. Twenty-one years ago, I was in this exact same spot, and there were many there to help me back then; I'm honored to be in a position to do the same now for others.

So, what pro tips do you employ to leave that grizzly in the dust?

Share below in the comment section.

Mitch Messer is a real estate acquisitions expert, who partners with out-of-state and overseas investors to build high-performance rental portfolios. He began real estate investing in 1999, and by ...
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    Barry H. Investor from Scottsdale, AZ
    Replied about 1 month ago
    MITCH - good stuff here. Having been a RE investor 17 years and now being mostly a Private Lender, I have been taking your advice of being a humble mentor to folks who reach out consistently. I am averaging 1-2 hours/day sharing my experience from owning my 1st rental (2004) to becoming a private money lender and now a reluctant flipper (Remodeler / Turn Key Seller with Seller-Financing in Kansas City MO). I am a big believer in Karma, and though I am giving it away for free, it will come back to me - it always does. :-)
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hi Barry, thank you for your comments! Yes, I've been trying hard for years to outgive the Universe, and I continue to fail spectacularly! No matter how much I give away, no matter how fast, even more comes back to me. Truly amazing!
    Steve Vaughan Rental Property Investor from East Wenatchee, WA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Keep up the good work, Mitch! Thank you for sharing and thank you for giving back!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Steve, thank you for your words of encouragement!
    Wenda Kennedy JD from Nikiski, Alaska
    Replied about 1 month ago
    You're right. Don't quit -- just pivot to your "if-then" plan. Most people totally stop -- they freeze -- when they are in danger. They don't even start before it's too late. By the time they figure out that they need a new direction, I'm far down the road -- along with select, like-minded people. And I've found that those running with me provide me with the fuel that I need to keep on going. They're awesome and inspiring.
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Well said, Wenda! Thanks for reading and for sharing your perspective!
    Terrell Murray from DelMarVa
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Awsome Blog, a good guide to help a new investor like myself through these difficult times. It has been a bit discouraging to start but I think it might be no better time than now. If a new investor can make it during the current economic state then they should be able to in any climate. Again thanks Mitch, hopefully, the GA market is treating you well.
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you, Terrell! You are correct: There is NO better time than now to step forward and contribute your unique gifts! If you learn to devour the problems of the world, you'll never go hungry!
    Eileen Mazza
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Well done!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you Eileen!
    Ilia Kolosov Realtor from Cliffside Park, NJ
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you sir! I just recently joined and an eager to connect!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Welcome, Ilia! I think you'll find BiggerPockets to be an incredibly supportive and knowledgeable community!
    Chuks Erinne Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Great article as always Mitch! This is my current situation and working on changing that. Networking is crucial especially post Covid-19
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks, Chuks! The only real alternative to "networking" is "NOT working!"
    Laura Johnson from Utah
    Replied 28 days ago
    Thanks for the great article! As someone new to the REI game, I'm trying to "lace up my running shoes". I have set a goal to chat with an investor in different regions, weekly if possible, to try and learn about different methods and markets. There are so many opportunities, it's difficult to narrow it down without the experience you can gleen from others sharing their story. I'm also reading a book a week and have the next local REI meetings on my calendar. Here's to learning all the stuff!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied 28 days ago
    Hey Laura, thanks for reading and for leaving me a comment! It appears you're doing all the right stuff. Keep it up and don't forget to share what you've learned with the rest of us back here!