Real Estate Investing Basics

THIS Is the Secret to Finding Deals in a Tech-Driven World

12 Articles Written

Investing in real estate today can be tough. You’ll likely have pretty stiff competition everywhere you turn, and it always seems like someone, somehow, is finding all the best deals.

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Are they looking harder than you? Probably not. Are they staying up all night refreshing the browser on the MLS? Probably not.

Their secret is simple: they’re building relationships. Relationships with brokers, agents, property managers, and anyone else involved in real estate can be such powerful tools if you can learn to leverage them in the right way. To do so, you just need to learn how to set yourself apart from the others.

First Impressions Last

The first impression you make when meeting another person, whether it be in a personal or professional capacity, will undoubtedly stick. You need to make sure your appearance and tone reflect how serious you are about buying and selling real estate.

I’ll be the first to tell you, I hate wearing dressy clothes. I would much rather bum around all day in a tee shirt and shorts with flip flops, like I’m heading to the beach. But what impression does that make? I’m not saying that it makes me unprofessional, but it doesn't shout "real estate professional" when I'm meeting a new agent or broker for the first time.

Set the tone for your relationships with your outward appearance when meeting other professionals. Once you develop a lasting connection and they know you are serious about real estate, then you can bum around in your comfy clothes.

Related: You’re Just One Relationship Away from “10X-ing” Your Goals

two people sitting in a cafe at a table drinking coffee smiling

Meeting Face to Face

This topic is probably one of the hardest for people to fully grasp, considering all of the available technology today. Everyone wants to click a button or send an email saying, “Hello, my name is so and so. Please add me to your list of top buyers.”

This is great, and it can get you on some good drip email lists from agents. But if you want to really make a lasting impression on an agent or broker, make the drive and sit down with them. Buy them lunch or coffee and just talk about what you do and what your goals are. Ask them about their past experiences and show appreciation for them taking the time to talk with you.

After you do that, who do you think that agent is going to call when they get a lead on a hot property? The guy who sent the email or the guy who just bought them lunch?

I’ll tell you about 80 percent of the agents who I contact about properties stop sending me leads after a few months if I have never met them in person. But the ones I took the time to develop relationships with have continued to send me leads even after we have moved from that market.

Related: How to Build a Highly Effective Real Estate Team

The Bottom Line

There is no big secret to setting yourself apart from others. I had a sergeant major once tell me, “People, water, and electricity are all the same, because they will always choose the path of least resistance.”

He was right. People are inherently lazy—it’s just who we are. If you want to set yourself apart, you need to do what others are not doing. You need to get out of the head-down technological mindset and get back to the basics of simple relationship-building.

Do you have tips for building relationships in real estate?

Tell me about it in a comment below!


Ryan Sajdera is currently serving as active duty aviation officer for the United States Army. He is a combat veteran of Operation Resolute Support, having served in multiple regions of Afghanistan,...
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    Scotty Ball Investor from Gainesville, Georgia
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Spot on Ryan! There is nothing that can beat the personal touch and face to face like you describe. Additionally, THANK YOU for your service to our country!
    Lassy G. Rental Property Investor from Milwaukee
    Replied over 1 year ago
    @Scotty Ball We live in a world where the technological development offers us immense opportunities of communications but at the same time we are moving away from each other. Everyone is doing the same thing. We choose the easy way which is to send an email or sms to someone rather personal interaction. In a world where no one has time for one’s neighbor There is nothing that can replace human relationships. Great article
    Lee Ann Stricker
    Replied over 1 year ago
    It was a pleasure meeting you at the monthly RE meet-up in Enterprise, AL. I enjoyed reading your article about the face to face meeting an I agree it does make a lasting impression. I recognized your face which made me read your interesting article. Hope to see you next time and catch up face to face.
    CJ Watkins from Batavia, IL
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Really love this beautifully simple but effective advice. Its pretty easy today to get caught up in the ease of technology assistance without assessing if it’s the path of most value rather than convenience. I am trying to build by investment “team” around my break into the investing game and in-person struck me as the better way to do this. I have recruited everyone in person so far. Thanks for the tips to make this process even smoother.
    Jeffrey Bower
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This is great advice that many people, such as new investors like me, should follow!
    Oliver T. from Hampton, Ga
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This is just good news and as a new investor it is encouraging too.Thanks a lot for your advice.
    Michael Nugent Real Estate Agent from Riverside, Ca
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This is the way business deals are done through meet ups and getting to know you's. Well written Ryan, and thanks for the reminder that we are all humans after all and their is nothing more appealing than personal interaction. Best wishes!!
    C Eaddy
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I am new to Bigger Pockets. this was my first ready. And you are correct. I am closing on my first property in Sept. and the realtor and i hit it off which made things easier during the process of securing the deal. good 'ol fashion relationship. (Great Article!) Thank you for your service oorah! be safe...
    Mario I Fernandez from Miami Beach, FL
    Replied over 1 year ago
    That's right @Ryan there is not better technology than human relationship and deep connections.
    Alfred Johnson from Rocky Mount, NC
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Well Ryan, I guess I'm not alone out here as a newbie investor. It has been frustrating just trying to get to meetups with my 12-hour working schedule. Still, I attend webinars hosted and presented by Brandon Turner and like you he has impressed me with the tried and true methods of tenacity and going person-to-person on this journey toward my personal financial freedom. I have since reading this accepted a digital meet and greet with a REI professional. I am eager to grow my network and net worth by befriending like minded individuals. Thank you for the great article and may you continue to have success in your endeavors.
    Bilson Almonte Investor from NYC
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Not long ago, in a youtube, I heard that one of the best ways to create a connection with a person is to find a way in which you can be in service to them. I believe this to be pretty solid advice and I have had some success implementing it. My recommendation: Next time you meet someone, find out what they are working on and try to contribute.
    Randy Connolly Realtor from Weymouth, MA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Good stuff.
    Brendan Bracken
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Love this guidance, thank you! So many tech tools and data, yet fewer people willing to do the real work of "getting out there" to build trust, respect and value for all involved.
    Anthony J. Faso New to Real Estate from Las Vegas, NV
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thank you for your service and for the article. I am always on the fence on how to dress, the professional me or the "real" me. But then I read an article like yours or I recall the book "Dressed for Success" and it reminds how important the first impression is.
    Ryan S. Rental Property Investor from Enterprise AL / Manhattan, KS
    Replied 12 months ago
    Exactly! Thank you for the support and best of luck in your RE journey!
    Nathan Fish Flipper/Rehabber from Raleigh, NC
    Replied 12 months ago
    Love the perspective here. Thanks for your service Ryan!
    Ryan S. Rental Property Investor from Enterprise AL / Manhattan, KS
    Replied 12 months ago
    Thank you, Nathan! Glad you enjoyed the article!
    Michael Opolski
    Replied 12 months ago
    There is a lot more to it than that. What about the technical aspect? Wouldn't you like to know how Google's search engine now works so you can create content that falls in line with all the new rule changes Google made without notice? No one mentions that topic anywhere in the real estate world and its scary that no one even bring is up. Google's new BERT update is already effecting 1 out of 10 search results so the faster people learn this, the better they can position themselves online to get free leads.
    Arnold Wright
    Replied 5 months ago
    How do I learn what you’re talking about here?
    Paul Thomas Keeley - Dunne Real Estate Consultant from Jersey City, NJ
    Replied 12 months ago
    Thanks Ryan! Truth :-)
    Alejandro Uria Attorney from San Diego, CA
    Replied 11 months ago
    You make a great point Ryan, and I may add that taking the time to meet people face to face and always looking for a human touch and building relationships can mark the difference not only in the real estate but in any other type of business as well.
    Jourdan Johnson Investor from Oakland, CA
    Replied 11 months ago
    Ryan, This made everything clearer for me. As a new investor I believed that investors with the MLS system had the upper hand.
    Stephen Keighery Rental Property Investor from New Orleans, LA
    Replied 11 months ago
    Very practical and effective advise, thanks for sharing!
    Danni Catambay
    Replied 10 months ago
    As a noob, I'm very focused on relationships. I need that extra plus-alpha that you get from hearing it from a real person versus reading about it that really cements your understanding. And I'm kind of becoming a celebrity in my local REIA. I think what I do that sets me apart is a little bit genetic (autism spectrum makes me stand out everywhere), and a little bit intentional: I ask people to talk about themselves and then I really listen. Because I'm really trying to soak it all up. Is that why I just landing two amazing deals sold at waaaay below tax value? ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ Who knows? But I know my investor friends are incredibly important to my success
    Anthony Middleton from Columbia, Sc
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thanks for this info
    Ethan T Williams
    Replied 8 months ago
    Good point on building a curating first impressions. Hit them up front with serious attitude, attire, and demeanor, then relax as the relationship persists. They will understand you better and continue the relationship. Great tip for honestly more than just REI.
    Hank Rhule
    Replied 8 months ago
    The meeting face to face it is what they think happened next. Nowaday it isnt for the single guy teased. Buy his or her expenseits just what is really lousy to or for buisness men. Howd theyd talk about dinner and lunch is such and old technique. With all whats going on.
    Edwing Hernandez New to Real Estate from New Jersey
    Replied 6 months ago
    A really good post! This is the way that every single business should do it to succeed, not only in real estate, but not everyone it's willing to do it and for the people who do it, who go and meet in person others and networking seems easy and an obvious and more effective way to do business but the truth it's that internet weak most of the people on the point of good and strong networking.
    Mark Sam
    Replied 4 months ago
    Excellent article with great advice! I would definitely value an in-person meeting over an email or letter any day of the week!