New Investor Headaches, and my challenge to the experienced.

8 Replies

I have been a member of BiggerPockets for a short time here and longer on other sites and on every site I am a member of there is a reoccurring rant with regard to new investors, newbie WS, etc. And I understand where that frustration comes from and it comes from mainly wannabe investors that spent a ton of money on some BS GURU course, and even if it was legit, these wannabes then try to take shortcuts, as I hope these "guru" courses are not promoting that people try to sell property they don't own.

I completely agree that nobody should be trying to sell something they don't control. So I am on the side of the ranter on this point 100%.  

The one thing that does bother me though, and this example is not new, it is a very common statement, and I am in no means pointing anyone out in anyway as I agree with the statement, 

"Some jerk just tried to sell me a property they don't even own, I mean I know they are trying, but they need to start by working with someone who knows what they are doing before shopping deals."

This type of statement is the problem IMO and from my own experience, and I will use myself as an example. I have spent the last 6 months reading, studying, learning everything I can on real estate and being an investor. I feel I have a decent understanding, but I don't believe I have the confidence in the process to be comfortable, but I am pushing on forward. 

I spent 4 months alone on trying to find a REAL mentor, not some BS guru, not some flat foot investor trying to make money off being a "mentor" that knows as much or less than I do, I mean a real bonafide mentor, someone that is willing to to let a real investor (someone that has setup their entity, and are marketing themselves -website, social media, etc. not a wishful wannabe.) learn from them and the steps involved and the process from start to finish.

In those 4 months, not a single "investor" that is actually doing deals, has ever agreed to be a REAL mentor, and I have personally contacted hundreds, HUNDREDS. So those of us that are new, and still trying to get our first deal under our belt, are left to flounder in the field based on the information we are able to gather, and just try to do the best we can and pray we don't royally screw up. Sadly, I feel that most newcomers to real estate investing are interested because of the "GURU" trash that floods the internet, and TV.

BUT!, there is hope. And it can change. And the very things that annoy the heck out of active investors, can go away or at least be minimized. 

However, it will take the experienced investors to elicit that very change they so want to see. And as the saying goes "DON'T LIKE THE WORLD YOU SEE, CHANGE IT!" 

Be the helpful investor and Mentor a newbie investor. Yes, I know there are A LOT of wannabe time wasters you need to ignore. However, there are a lot of truly dedicated new investors, trying like to hell to do it right. Look at the histories of all the real estate experts that you listen to? Guess how 90% of them got their start. And if you were able to ask THEIR mentors, why they did it, it would be for the very same reason you should. Most New Investors have these 3 Yes's check marked next to their name:

YES, they are broke, many don't have a more than a few dimes in their pocket.

YES, they are going to need you to hold their hand, to an extent, through their first deal.

YES, it will take upto an hour a day of your efforts. (You waste that much time on candy crush)

Seem like a lot of work? Maybe, but think about how powerful that network connection will be? How many more deals could you now do, or parts of deals that you now benefit from that you wouldn't have before you helped develope an investor. 50% of any deal is better than 100% of a deal you never knew existed.

So I encourage you, empower you, and I CHALLENGE YOU, for myself and many other real "starving" investors out there, to take the Mentor Challenge, Mentor 1 new real investor this year. Just 1.  There were 28.1 Million real estate investors in 2012 (according to BP). If only 1% of these investors were to Mentor 1 new investor you would eliminate 281,000 rant causers and add that many more deals, that is $250,000 more that investors could make with only a $5K profit margin per deal at a 50% split.


I help out a couple wholesalers.  I wouldn't call it mentoring (though I've done plenty of that as well), as I don't have the time these days to devote to full-on mentoring, but I make myself available for questions, phone calls, analyzing deals, creative offers, etc.

But, I've been VERY picky about those I'm willing to work with in this capacity.  While I'd love to help every wannabe wholesaler, I don't have the bandwidth to do that -- I have to be choosy about who I help.  And I'm guessing that every experienced investor is in the same boat.

So, how do I (and likely other investors) decide who to help/mentor?  Here are some of my criteria:

-  First, they aren't the people who have asked hundreds of other investors for help and have been turned down by all of them.  I'm not going to help someone who is happy to have ANYONE mentor them.  I want people who see what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, where I'm doing it, etc., and have decided that I have some unique skills that would benefit them in what they're doing.  

-  I can't tell you the number of times I've had someone ask me to mentor them, and then follow that up with asking me what my specialty is or what I do.  I've written tens of thousands of articles, blog posts, forum posts, etc. about exactly what I do (my first 50 projects are documented in gory details as well as my most recent new construction project) -- when someone approaches me for help but hasn't done even a modicum of research on me, that's a turn-off.  I'm not saying they should be stalking me, but if they're not willing to do a little upfront work, why should I bother?

-  Respect my time.  It's the most important thing in my life.  Understand that -- if I don't know you -- I'd rather give you $100 before I give you 30 minutes of my time.  That's how important my time is to me.  So, don't waste it.  The reason most wholesalers send out bad deals is that they are too lazy to do the legwork to determine if the deal is good or not.  They expect that their potential buyers will determine it for them.  Sorry, but anyone who wants to waste my time to save their own isn't someone I'm going to help.  I don't expect every deal to be great, but I want to see that you're making some concerted effort to filter what you send me and do your best (not your least) to try not to waste my time.  Btw, I don't say this to sound like my time is more valuable than anyone else's -- I ALWAYS strive to minimize the amount of time I take from other people before I have a personal relationship with them (then I bother them constantly :-).

-  I want to work with people who are motivated to succeed, even if it requires hard work.  How do I know someone is in that category?  Most importantly, they're taking steps to succeed while looking for a mentor, not just looking for a mentor before they jump in.  Those I work with are sending out yellow letters, knocking on doors, negotiating with sellers, etc.  They aren't waiting to do those things until they get someone to hold their hand.  If you're not motivated enough to start looking for leads while you're looking for a mentor, you're not motivated enough to succeed in this business. 

-  It's great that you've read 100 books on the subject (you should!), but don't think that that's enough to now qualify you to say, "I've gone as far as I can go without a mentor."  That's ********.  I did 100+ deals before I got a mentor, and my first real estate mentor was someone who I had previously mentored (I helped him with flipping; he helped me with new construction).  Neither of us just read a couple books and said, "Okay, that's all I can do without someone holding my hand."

-  If you want me to help you, tell me how you're going to help me!  Do you have website experience and want to help me with my site?  Are you a good writer and want to help me with a few chapters of my next book?  Do you know how to build model trains and want to help me with a surprise for my kids?  Or perhaps you're good at washing cars or babysitting kids...  :-)  If you and I have a personal relationship, that might be enough for me to want to mentor you; but if I've never met you before, you need to give me a reason to want to help you.

-  My biggest fear when I help someone is that they're going to end up as my competitor (actually, wasting my time is my biggest fear, but the competitor thing is a distant #2).  Make me comfortable that you wouldn't do that.  Convince me that if I make you successful, it will result in my making lots of $$$ down the road when you're bringing me deals, offering to partner with me, etc.

Here's a story about a wholesaler I met when I moved to Maryland last year.  She sent me a deal through her mailing list (I had never talked to her before), and I was interested.  We set up a time to meet at the property and when I met her, she seemed thrilled to meet me.  She then went on to tell me a story about how, a year earlier when I was in Atlanta, she had really wanted to work with me, so she actually mailed out yellow letter in the areas where she knew I was buying houses (she read my blog).  Nothing came of the mailings, but the fact that she: 

1.  Took the time to figure out who I was and what I did

2.  Took the time to learn about the types of houses I buy and where I buy them

3.  Made the effort to start marketing specifically for me out-of-state

4.  Did all this without even sending me an email

made me respect the fact that she was motivated, respected my time and was looking to build a long-term relationship with me -- not just use me to get what she wanted (I already have a wife for that :-).

Hope that clarifies why not every investor is jumping for joy to work with every wholesaler looking for a mentor...

@J Scott

Well written post! I agree totally about new people needing to do the legwork in some capacity. Many have approached me about how to do this or that or how can I streamline and grow, but have not even set up a proper entity. It just shows that most want a mentor to do it all and they sit back and collect.

@William Baumann   not saying at all you fit that description, but it really it the burden of the mentee to prove to the mentor why they should help them especially if you already know the mentor is successful in what they do.

@J Scott @Tyrus Shivers  Excellent posts and thank you both for taking the time to go in to detail on this subject as I think it will benefit many. And I think @J Scott , you make 2 great points as to why there are not as many investors willing to devote the time to mentoring.  

1)"Respect my time. It's the most important thing in my life. Understand that -- if I don't know you -- I'd rather give you $100 before I give you 30 minutes of my time. That's how important my time is to me. So, don't waste it."

I think many new investors (even myself when I was just starting to learn) don't give this simple yet every important concept the gravity it demands.  And to some it may sound harsh (I know when I was just starting out it would have) but now that I have been marketing, and researching deals, making phone calls, etc. I can't tell you how often my fiancee's little interruptions to my work time, drive me nuts.  We all only have 24hrs a day available to us to be productive.

2)"My biggest fear when I help someone is that they're going to end up as my competitor (actually, wasting my time is my biggest fear, but the competitor thing is a distant #2)."

I think that this is another very hard driving force behind the lack of investors willing to Mentor. I think many investors are afraid of losing a piece of their possible pie to their protege.  However, I am not sure that fear is justified unless you are in a very, very small market.  None of us can find, evaluate, and work on every possible deal out there, and again I am of the belief that that these issues/fears can be mitigated.

I also really like what Tyrus mentioned "....but it really it the burden of the mentee to prove to the mentor why they should help them...."

And while I like this statement, I feel it is a hard thing to quantify.  The mentee, in most cases, really has little to offer in this regard, other than non-real estate skills like J Scott mentioned with website help, or babysitting, etc.  I will however agree that the mentee needs to prove that they are serious, actionable, self motivated, self learning, and already taking action (right or wrong).  In essence, the mentee needs to prove they are not a 30 day wonder that saw an infomercial or went to some guru, get rich quick seminar with a lot of talk and nothing else backing it up.

@J Scott - thanks for sharing your perspective on the mentor/mentee relationship.  I'm fortunate to have a mentor/friend that's quite successful in our market. Whenever I thank him for his guidance, he reminds me "Zoran - i'm making money off you.  The more you succeed, the more I stand to make."  It's true! 

What's more, I'm not allowed to compete and buy in his markets :-)  That much I'm ok with. 

That last part moved me @J Scott !!  

"Hope that clarifies why not every investor is jumping for joy to work with every wholesaler looking for a mentor..."

I fully understand!  When I was big on *blank* people wanted to know how they could do the same thing I was doing.  In the beginning I replied to everyone but as time went on, I began to not respond as much.  Maybe because the thrill wasn't there like it was in the beginning.  It was no longer new and exciting like it was in the beginning.  I guess you can say that about anything in the beginning, a new car, a new house, a new wife.  After awhile e begin not to appreciate it as much.  (Don't tell my wife!)  I guess that's the same for some people in the business.  Just my observation.  Here's what I got from the above:

- We can't expect people to be there for us with open arms, similes and giggles all the time. 

- Respect their time and energy because they have other responsibilities.  (Like a fine liking wife...ain't that right @J Scott !)

- Do your homework on a person.  

- Don't waste your time or their time.

Got it!!!  All noted!

Originally posted by @J Scott:
Do you know how to build model trains and want to help me with a surprise for my kids? 


Originally posted by @William Baumann :

In those 4 months, not a single "investor" that is actually doing deals, has ever agreed to be a REAL mentor, and I have personally contacted hundreds,

Who says your mentor has to even know they are your mentor. I have helped hundreds of investors. But if you ask me  "will you mentor me?"  my first thought is "NO".  I do not want that responsibility. I do not want to make a "Commitment" to be your "Mentor." As J said, my time is too valuable. But hit me on the right day and I might spend 4 hours letting you drive around with me and learning the business. 


Good idea but I probably get hit up at least once a week with someone wanting to be mentored.

Well, if a wholesaler is well-read, working hard, doing the right thing to get leads (e.g. mailing yellow letters, door knocking, negotiating deals), conscious of others time, willing to research their target (mentor or prospect), selective, then I'd argue they're already successful.  

A lot of people confuse 'mentor' with 'teacher'.  If you want someone to show you how to do what you need to do, then you want a teacher.  A mentor is someone who can advise, support, motivate, and perhaps, least of all teach.

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