The Vital Real Estate Investing Skill Most Newbies Overlook

The Vital Real Estate Investing Skill Most Newbies Overlook

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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What I’ve discovered as one of the most important skills and assets in real estate investing is also one that new investors aren’t prepared enough for. This skill is critical for being able to buy and sell properties and for raising funding.

Knowing how to evaluate properties, select great software to run an effective business, hire marketing help, manage tenants and contractors, and select a quality market to invest in are all key skills in real estate. Most investors understand the need to develop in these areas.

However, there is also a point at which knowing how to write an offer, underwrite a deal, attract prospects to your website, and manage the technical side of business can all come up short. Far more important is your ability to sell. Specifically, to be able to present and sell yourself.

Here’s why it matters so much.

Becoming an Attractive Buyer

During these tough times in multifamily acquisitions, I’ve learned that yes, you are buying the property. But at the same time, you have to sell yourself as the right buyer for the seller.

So many investors are missing this. The truth is that there are no shortage of buyers out there for sellers to choose from. As an example; during a recent apartment purchase, my partner and I were not the highest bidder. However, the seller still went with us. This was because we built rapport with the property owner in a face-to-face meeting and presented the reasons that we were the right buyers for the deal. A few points we made were the fact that we closed on several other apartments nearby and our financing was in place.

Related: 7 Tips for Getting a House in a Hot Market (Like Denver!)

Nowadays, you can’t just throw up a bland “We Buy Houses” squeeze page and expect to do a lot of business any more. Sellers of all types and sizes are really learning how important it is to choose the right buyer. For the biggest sellers, they must choose buyers who are not only qualified, but have a proven track record of dealing fairly with their assets.

Homeowners, for instance, can’t afford to just deal with anyone. Their biggest challenge today is finding a qualified buyer they can trust. This isn’t just about getting to the closing table without any shady renegotiations, either. Many sellers really care about their old homes and neighborhoods.

Multifamily property owners need to make sure their new buyers will treat their tenants well and maintain the property—plus follow through on their offer without re-negotiating right before closing.

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Standing Out as the Best Seller and Partner

The same is true for investors who sell investments or who are syndicating multifamily property deals.

For one, there are so many scams out there that it often just seems better for people not to take action. It’s super simple to throw up a website and print some flyers. What today’s buyers and end investors need is confidence in being able to trust those they are buying property from.

Related: How I Landed a Solid 4-Plex in Denver, One of the Hottest Markets in the Country

The same applies to working with capital investors, too—both if they are lending capital to a venture as a partner or are participating in a syndication on the other side. These are relationships—often longer and deeper relationships than a marriage.

What makes you stand out as the right fit and partner?

Vendors & Mentors

Being able to present and sell yourself also makes a big difference with the vendors who will work with you and the mentors who will take their time to help you.

Why should they trust you? Why should they invest their time with you? How do they know you are going to do a good job?

Throughout this year, I decided to really home in on this sales skill, and it is paying off. I am still learning, though. Once you wrap your head around everything, figure out how you can really add value to these different players in the puzzle, and learn to convey the benefits of working with you, more doors will open for you.

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What ways do you demonstrate that you’re the right buyer?

Share your tips and tricks below!