What to expect from a mentor

13 Replies

So as a new investor I managed to pester a local investor to the point that he has agreed to meet with me over coffee to discuss REI. I called this individual because I noticed his bandit signs all over the Sacramento area. He was very friendly and said that even though he was busy, he is always receptive to speaking with another investor.

I get this the feeling that this guy has a rather large operation going based on this information: He keeps saying "we" and I am pretty sure it is a syndication of investors. He also stated that they buy houses to fix and flip with cash, and purchase in all of Northern California and most of the bay area. He also stated that he was in the process of selling two other businesses he owns to fix and flip full time, indicating that he is doing well. My question is this:

When I meet this guy, what can I reasonably expect? Ideally I am looking for a mentor who doesnt mind me shadowing him, and maybe would take me on as an investor, bird dogger, or even a future partner. But really why would this guy do that? He obviously doesn't need additional financing, he obviously knows what he is doing and is doing well, and I could not really teach him anything about REI. I really am the one seeking knowledge and experience through him.

I am thinking of asking him general questions about the Sacramento area to help me with my buying criteria, and maybe some questions about how his direct marketing works. I also am thinking of asking him for mentorship, and in exchange I would offer to do some manual labor on some flips (I am a painter), and look for additional deals for his group in exchange for insight. Perhaps I can convince him to involve me in a future deal with him as well.

Let me know what you guys think!

One who walks the talk!

You almost have your answer in your question. This investor has something that you would like them to share with you. You have identified that the best way for him to share this with you is to provide something he wants and does not have. A person like this generally has a lot already, so you have to dig deep and get creative to find what his wants are. You might be surprised that you have what he wants. Maybe you are a fitness buff and they are overweight and they are looking for inspiration. Another, off the wall example might be that he really enjoys fishing with his grandson, so that might be your hook. Maybe you can get them a fishing rod. Perhaps, he has a favorite charity and would be thrilled if you volunteered for it. You can only find this out by paying close attention to them, genuinely listening to them and asking questions about them and not necessarily about the topic you want to learn about.

You need to offer him something of value.  Offer to drive the area and look for vacant properties is just one idea. 

This post should go a long way in helping you find a mentor: A Beginners Guide to Finding a Mentor


It's good to see others have stepped up to meet with you.  I have had a reminder set to have coffee but with our state burning I haven't been able to get off work during the day to meet with you.  I still have your name and number on a sticky note that I'm carrying around.  Send me a private message and let's meet after work later this week or this weekend.

What the other person you are going to meet will probably want, which is the same thing I would want, is to come prepared.  Have some questions and thoughts ready to discuss.  What do you think you want to do, what interests you, what skills do you have, what can you contribute and if it's someone who you want to work with, why should they take time to help you.  That should be a good start.  Don't show up without a clue of the Sacramento market or info on what you want to do or think you would be good at.

I'm a buy and hold investor so I can provide information on that, specifically for Sacramento, generally for other locations.  Flipping, not so much.

If you still want to meet pick a few days that work for you that we can meet at 6pm between downtown and W. Sac or possibly on Saturday, if the fires die down, and I'll meet you for an hour.  I'll answer all the questions I can for a diet soda.

(normally I would send this as a PM and not a post but I'm hoping others will step up and pay it forward.  I'm challenging all of you experienced readers to help others who are learning the business.  Reply to one person per week or one per month and meet with them for an hour.  I have talked with or met up with everyone who has asked me for help, though not too many, it's the fact that we are helping others.  I learned all this on my own and having a mentor would have been helpful)

Keep the contact and relationship going. Even if he doesn't have the time to mentor you because he's always busy, he can provide references and resources for you. Ask him if you can put their organization on your buyer's list. My mentor doesn't actually mentor me ( little story there), I am given a task. When I complete it, I move on to the next project. I'm fairly new to rei but I've educated myself enough to get out there. You can provide sweat equity for any investor, rehabber, contractor, etc. Attend your local REIA meeting. You can find all kinds of mentors, but you have to know your niche.

I'd start here:


@tyler Haskell, you already identified what you have to offer. No active investor is going to pass up a bird dog looking for deals. Painting in exchange for knowledge, that's a serious value proposition. @David Huston laid it out very well. Come prepared, know what you want, listen to what he needs and find away to bring value. Active investors, especially those involved with the REIA get many people such as yourself asking for their time. I find that they're willing to provide that time as long as it doesn't become a "time suck". No one wants their brain just to be picked. The best relationships I have with newer investors are the ones that understand it's a give give relationship. I have knowledge, a network to share and willingness to share it. But that giving will be short if there is no reciprocity. I can tell by your post that you already understand all this. Good luck in your ventures.

Alberto, thanks for the reply! I never thought about getting to know the guy more personally and using that to find other ways to offer help. I believe your right in that some very successful financial people may find it more beneficial an be willing to help for knowledge in unrelated fields or even hobbies. I will have to see how personal the individual wants to take the conversation.

Ben, I definitely agree that I will need I offer him something of value in order for an agreement to be reached. Driving around for vacancies is also a good idea I had not considered.

David, thanks again for replying to my questions. I appreciate anyone that will take the time to speak with me, as active REI people are usually some of the busiest that I have ever seen. I will continue to work on developing my criteria for investing and continue to learn the area, so that I can at least somewhat intelligently speak about what I want. I will give you a call shortly so we can set up a meeting. Thanks again!

D'mark, thank you as well for replying. I understand that continuing a relationship is very important regardless of the time factor. I believe that jus like finding the right REI deal to close, the agreement has to work for all parties involved, or it won't work. I need to receive the information and training to be successful in this field, and the mentor probably needs some sweat equity, an expanded network, and an understanding that time with someone like me now may truly benefit them financially in the future when I become established. Thanks for the great advice!

Mike, I'm glad to hear that you would find value in my options to put some work in for training. I can only hope that my local mentors feel the same way. I know that even if things don't work out with one or more people I meet, I can just continue on and learn even more from that experience. Thanks for the comments!

(This is not an offer for mentoring services... this is my experience and motivation for mentoring a few select people...)
This is what I've asked of each person I've personally mentored:
Go generate motivated sellers leads and when you get one "on the hook", we'll work it together and split the proceeds.

Without motivated seller leads, there is no business.  If I generate motivated seller leads with my $, I'm going to work them and get 100% of the proceeds.  I have no incentive to cut someone else in on my deals, regardless of the "sweat equity" offer.

I figure the main concern a new person has is they are afraid they won't know what to do or say or how to handle objections, etc.  In that case, they are hesitant to spend $ to generate leads because they fear they will screw up somehow - either wasting the leads, offering too much, etc.  I'm happy to help people avoid those mistakes & convert more leads into $$ because it's a win/win.  Since I am not a full-time mentor or coach, I'm most interested in working with people that could be a part of my team on a longer term basis.

Hope that helps you guys think about what motivates other investors to help you learn...


Thanks for the input. Very straight forward answer to my question, generate my own deals, and help me to not make rookie mistakes and complete the deal, split the profits. I think that this is a fair deal for any experienced professional in exchange for his or her time. Thanks again!

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