Social Isolation Spawns Next Hot Trend in Networking

Social Isolation Spawns Next Hot Trend in Networking

4 min read
Mitch Messer

Mitch Messer is a real estate acquisitions expert who partners with out-of-state and overseas investors to build high-performance rental portfolios.

Mitch began real estate investing in 1999 and by 2006 had amassed a rental portfolio valued at over $6 million. Then, in 2007, Mitch was promptly and utterly crushed when the real estate bubble burst and Great Recession occurred—he had to begin again. Fortunately, thanks in large part to his world-class professional network, Mitch has rebounded wiser and stronger with an international investment operation backed by over a million dollars in private lender funds.

Today, Mitch works with investors from New York City to San Francisco to Houston, from South Korea to Israel to France, helping them acquire and manage high cash flow real estate across the U.S.

Mitch joined BiggerPockets in January 2014 and has since become a prolific contributor. Thanks directly to his activities on BiggerPockets, Mitch has closed well over $500K in purchase and sale transactions, added over 400 investors to his buyers list, and attracted over 100 serious out-of-state and international investors. His first ever member blog post has risen to become one of the top five posts of all-time!

Mitch has landed coverage in numerous print and broadcast outlets, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, U.S. News & World Report, Black Enterprise Magazine and WSB-Radio.

Mitch holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and a master’s in computer science from The University of Southern California.


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Have you heard this one?

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.