16 Year Old Getting Into Real Estate - Mentor?

34 Replies

Before anyone judges me for the fact that I am only 16 years old, I'd like you guys to hear me out. I live in a suburban environment south of Seattle, and I've gotten tired of letting others control the way I live my life. Ever since a young age, I have always wanted to be successful. "But how, and from what"? Those words are constantly in my head because I haven't even skimmed to opportunities in life that are there. All that I'm asking is that if anyone see's this, that you would give me some tips on how to invest in real estate, or any tips for starting off. I'm not totally sure how this would work out, but I would work for you in any way that I could if you could teach me you ways of making cash. I want to become financially independent and I can not think of a better time than now. I've been saving up my money, and I know for a fact I will become a millionaire and successful some point in life, but for when that will actually happen only the lord knows. Nothing can stop me, and from everything I've read, I need a mentor of some kind to help me through this to help me achieve greatness and become smarter with your knowledge. If you would like to help me out, or give me some valuable tips as I'm sure many of you guys have, I would greatly appreciate it. I know that many of you might be snickering at what only a 16 year old kid can do, but I have the hunger of getting knowledge and coin. Thank you so much - Casey

...I know I'm not allowed to ask for mentors as this I guess I am indeed going against some of the guidelines, but I literally have no connections to anything that is going on in this area. Anyways thank you for taking the time to read this cumbersome article.

Hi Casey,

I wouldn't worry about anyone judging you or snickering. Everyone on BP is working on fulfilling a dream. The difference between you and the rest of us is that you seem to have figured yours out at an early age. Frankly, I envy you for knowing what you want at 16. And I'm sure pretty much everyone else on BP will agree with me.

I'm sure you understand that you can't legally sign a contract until you're 18. So for the next two years you have a wonderful opportunity to learn what you can. I would find a Seattle area investor who would be willing to take you under his/her wing so you'll be ready to go when you turn 18. And I'm guessing that some pretty big players in the Seattle area will be willing to work with you, possibly in an intern-type position.

And it's not inappropriate to seek a mentor on BP. It happens all the time. I personally consider all of us on BP as mentors to each other. We are all sharing information and knowledge with everyone else. I have no doubt you'll be able to find someone in your area who will be willing to spend time with you in a mentor relationship.

Good luck!

Hey Casey. First, it's great to see you taking initiative at such a young age. No one here will "snicker" at you because of your young age, in fact, the vast majority of people here probably wish they had started as young as you. 

To be honest, given your age & experience level, your most valuable asset is probably physical. There are plenty of smaller investors that would love to mentor someone like you in exchange for cheap labor (painting their properties between tenants or ongoing exterior maintenance for their properties like cutting the grass and/or weeding).

If you watch the various real estate shows on TV, you'll notice a ridiculously disproportionate amount of the episodes are the SF, Portland & Seattle metros ... so there will be plenty of people you could work with. 

For starters, I would read as much as you can on the forums here so you can build your knowledge base & real estate vocabulary. Second, definitely start getting involved in any Forum posts that are Seattle specific. You'll get to know some of the frequent posters, connect with them and see what they are up to. Also, tons of people are real estate investors, you probably have a few friends or classmates who's parents are real estate investors, ask around. Additionally, you could check out the Real Estate Investor Association meetings close to you.

Welcome to BiggerPockets, best of luck to you!

Thanks! I'm more interested in purchasing properties, and renting them out to people. I'm not exactly sure what that is called and I know that will take extra money, but if you guys have any links to that spectrum I'd be supper appreciative. Anyways thanks a lot to both of you!

@Account Closed  I only wish you were in my market. Best of luck, dont give up you will be successful with that attitude. If I can give and help from half way across that states let me know.

Casey, you don't really have too many options to own property on your own until you hit 18. I would spend the next two years working under a mentor, learning everything you can about all the different aspects of real estate, and building your savings. Once you hit 18, you can hit the ground running and may even have a few partners willing to invest with you assuming you have impressed those mentoring you.

Baby steps. 1. Get a job 2. Establish credit (credit cards, bank accounts. Etc) 3. Read real estate books

I would suggest that you look into getting a cash secured credit card at a local bank or credit union. You have to start your credit young and make it a priority to not mess it up. 

Read some book. Rich Dad Poor Dad. Ask questions on here. Try to get a job helping a local rehabber as you will learn tons from them. 


Congratulations on taking a step towards achieving your life's dream. One thing I would ask is "are your parents supporting this dream?" If they are, you can enroll them in helping your learn, finding a mentor (and this site has tons of people who just LOVE to help), and perhaps partnering up with you to do the work, since they can sign anything that needs to be signed. 

At 16, you can get a job. Why not try and find a job in something related to the type of real estate that you want to do? If it is as a rehabber, finding someone that you can do clerical type of work for and learn from them. If you want to learn about apartments, try finding some type of work where you can be close to the people who do management, try "driving for dollars" for a wholesaler or rehabber and get paid for the leads...etc., etc.

This way you can both earn and learn. I think that I speak for many of us here who wish that we were where you are when we were 16. At that age I had delusions of being a lawyer (dodged that bullet!). Many of us are open to help people, just don't be afraid of asking.

While you are at it, read, read, read. Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" should be the first one. Personally I like Keith Ferrazzi's "Never Eat Alone" and give both of them to the new investors that I work with. Please, do NOT fall into the guru route taking bus tours and paying ridiculous amounts of money for something you can get her for free. 


Casey, you're awesome.  Just continue with your education, first and foremost.

Hey Casey - doesn't matter here as much but I always tell people to never start their first sentence negatively, most people won't think negative until you put it in their head. I learned that doing speeches at Toastmasters, anyone who apologies or anything put that in my head, without them saying it, I never would have even thought it. I started a business @ 13 and had a credit card by 16 which today helps me a bit because my credit card is amazing. Your "investment strategy" to buy, hold and rent out is exactly my strategy. I wish I had been interested in real estate when I was younger, (pre-2008) so I could have got loans I shouldn't have been able to qualify for, it's always getting harder - especially for me as I am self-employed. Nonetheless, if you start learning now you'll be up on everyone else your age. I am 28 and essentially none of my friends have any clue or desire to know anything about real estate investing. Everyone gave you good advice. I'd meet you for a coffee sometime to talk in the future if your ever in Snohomish Co.


I LOVE you!  You are exactly where you need to be!  Don't let anyone tell you that you can't buy a property.  

Here is a story of a 14 year old girl who bought a 100k house in Florida for $14k.  She bought the home with her mom signing, and they remodeled it, and are now renting it for $700 per month.  

She is a landlord at FOURTEEN!!

Study, learn wholesaling.  You can find motivated sellers, and work together with a mentor in your area that is trusted, or your parents if you can show them how it works!  

You are smart enough, and ambitious enough!  There is no stopping you!  Follow the blogs you see in people's addresses, as well as the BP Forums and you will learn the sales skills you need to be ready when the time comes! 

Please keep in touch with me.  I would love to interview you on your first deal!

Have a POWERFUL Sales Day! 

Being a Buy and Hold investor is a great way to build long-term wealth and enjoy the cash flow along the way.

My advice is find a local buy and hold guy/gal that will let you shadow them. Do it for free or for minimum wage if you have to. If you find the right person it will be a great opportunity "to work to learn" not earn as in Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

How do you find the right person?

Here are some ideas that would work in my market and are likely to work in your market.

Call local real estate offices, insurance offices and other places like the Chamber Of Commerce. Tell them you are looking for a house or apartment to rent and aren't having much luck. Ask them if they can give you the names of some of the bigger local landlords.

Take that list and do some research on them through your county public records site. Look for the ones with most properties and then drive by them to see if they appear to be the kind of landlord you strive to be. As in, do they take care of their properties, do they own the kind of properties you'd like to own and so on. When you find one or more that seems to fit the bill call them up and introduce yourself and offer to help out (for free or cheap) in exchange for getting to learn the business. If you offer them something (free or cheap labor) you will have a better chance of getting something in exchange.

I'd love for a kid with a strong work ethic to call me up and offer to help me out in exchange for me to be able to talk/teach about what I do. My wife would love it too....I may not talk about it as much at home ;)

Best of Luck!

Read, learn, digest, plan, dream, seek, and above all listen.  Don't limit to one media or one person.  Follow up on the advice of every person who responds here.  And connect off line. Right now initially don't be worried about market specific knowledge.  Get to know real estate as a comprehensive animal.  I would also add the local Realtor's board for recommendations of realtors who may have some expertise to offer you.  

You'll find many people willing to share their expertise with you.  Go find @Derek Holm and @Maxwell Foster and connect with them on BP. Both of them are 16 also and seeking to learn to be real estate investors  and connect with other young investors.  

And at the risk of being a fuddy duddy and irrelevant - don't pursue real estate to the exclusion of fundamental learning.  History geography, mathematics, science, and literature are all essential skills that you will use in your real estate investing career that will amaze you. I promise.  

Your goals are great.  Get going.

@Account Closed  

Originally posted by @Lumi Ispas:

@Jason Aviles,

You are getting all kind of great advice on this site. Remember to never follow only one person. Read and listen to everyone you think is relevant, and then use your own judgement in creating a plan to follow based on what you feel is important to you.

Keep in mind that there are two ways of learning: from your mistakes or from someone's else mistakes and that it's faster and cheaper to learn from somebody's else mistakes.

I can tell you from experience (mine and my mentees) that is best to get paid while you are learning the business and especially if you learn from the best.

Start working as a part time RE assistant for the top Realtor in your area, or for a construction company or a management company in your area. Make sure you choose the person you'll work for well, as their knowledge is what you are after.

Stay in school and choose your electives not based on what's the easiest course, but on what you are interested in and will give you the specialized knowledge in your future endeavors. Bill Gates while in college took a calligraphy course because it fascinated him. He said that the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts and probably no other programs would be what we have today if he did not take that class. Follow your interests.

As soon as you learn from the first mentor, move on to another position to the next industry. I will go to the following industries in the next few years if I were you: construction, property management, Real Estate sales, Real Estate investors, Financing (mortgage assistant), work for a CPA etc.

By chance I started my Real Estate career as the secretary of a Management Company. I could not have chosen a better path even if I planned it. I've learned how to find, choose and manage tenants, I learned how to analyze and negotiate deals from the owner, one of the smartest people I've me and I also learned how to find deals there.

I've bought my first property and finished the basement acting as the contractor. You can imagine how many subcontractors I had to meet... After work, every night for a month I spent hours in Home Depot buying anything from nails and drywall to kitchen cabinets and plumbing.

I also worked for a short time for a contractor where I was in charge to prepare the estimates, you can't imagine the learning curve I had there.

I moved into RE sales and chose the company that had the top training program and who's broker manager happen to be a buy and hold investor also. I've learned not just how to sell, I also learned how she created a vast portfolio starting with a 2 flat with a finished basement and how she lived in that basement for 10 year while she was purchasing few properties a year.

Because I wanted to understand better how investors are taxed, I took an H&R Block class many years ago, and while I did not learn that much about tax savings, that is at the base of the advice I give my investors and that I apply. That knowledge is enough to know what questions to ask CPAs and when I call IRS.

I've read hundreds of RE books and went to countless RE events, classes and courses. I can't pinpoint one in particular, however all this knowledge helped me to be named in top 1% of Realtors in Chicago, an Association with over 14,000 agents. I did not realize how I differentiate myself from other agents until that moment, when I realized that I sell more than 99 agents out of 100. I think that has been my pinnacle in my RE career, and now I have to hit my RE investment goals, which is next. I've created many millionaires in my career and having those people in my life is amazing. I've also trained a lot of agents that are top agents in Chicago now. And some have started as my buyer agents or just mentees.

I can't stress how important is for you to build a great foundation. You are very young and you have a lot of time. Find that special mentor and be ready to give back in helping them and give everything while working for the people that will teach you the business. Make sure that whatever job you take, part time and full time, you give it all, go way and beyond your job description, and you'll not just see the difference, you will be the difference.

Meanwhile read books on mindset and positive attitude and by 30, you will be a millionaire!

Casey, I just re posted an old post, as I am all about "efficiency". 

Good luck to you and reach out for any questions!

@Account Closed  on this & add some thoughts.  I'd re-post but faster for me to type it up than to look for the post:

1.  Find a local realtor and ask if you can be an assistant.  Make sure it's a realtor that works w/ investors.

2.  Find a General Contractor and/or handyman and ask the same thing.  Use the investors in your area to find out which GCs work form them & then over your services.

3.  Find a successful wholesaler an tag along.

4.  Find a real estate investor that loans money.  Find a lawyer

5.  Find a real estate developer

I can keep going on and on, but my point is:  There are multiple aspects of the business.  Read, Volunteer, Shadow.....  Do as much as you can to learn.  Figure out what niche of the business or niches are right for you then you can pull the trigger& become an investor yourself.

WOW! I can't believe the amount of tips and great ideas you guys have given me! I guess my plan will be to try to contact someone trustworthy with a good rep in the managing business area. I'll then try to get a mentor of some kind. But, if i'm trying to find someone in the managing department, should I be looking towards finding a mentor in a corporation or someone who is self employed? As from all the comments above, I would have to match my wants as my future with Zach Schwarzmiller, and the type of business he does. I realize by now unfortunately I have to be 18 to own property. However, that wont stop me from learning. Would I need to find someone in managing or in real estate? I think both could be a profitable experience to try out, but I'd like to know what might be the best choice for me. If anyone has any ideas please let me know because I read everything and I've even written down notes on things you guys have told me. Once again thanks a LOT and I hope to hear from a few of you in the near future!

If you're looking to buy and hold rentals for cash flow I would start with trying to find a landlord to work with and shadow. Once you have determined that this is the path you want to pursue I would start finding others to help you develop the skillset for a life in that business.

Im a buy and hold guy with 42 units and wish I had started years sooner than I did!

Ok sounds great I'll see if I can do just that. Thank you!

I'm pumped for you! I wish I would have started learning about investing earlier. I'm 25, so still young by most standards. You have the world for the taking, just go take it.
-Look into getting your real estate liscence. I learned a ton by working as an agent. And I've also worked with some investors along the way.
-Network, network, network. Talk to everyone and anyone that will talk to you. On forums is nice, but try and get emails where you can get specific questions answered. Why start your own path from scratch when you can start where someone else left off and learn from thier mistakes. People have been doing this for years, learn from them.
-House hack your first house?? Save a few thousand and buy a cheap duplex. Live in one side with a buddy, and rent out the other. There's nothing like living for free. You'll get a better loan if you live in a property.

Let me know if you need anything.

Casey, way to go! I echo everybody's comments, so much great info for you to think about. One person mentioned that if your parents are on board with what you want to do, they can sign docs and do the legal stuff on your behalf. I'd expand on that by reaching out to trusted aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. I wouldn't recommend trying to convince or convert anyone but expand your search to other people you might be able to work with. You never know, you might find someone close to you that's been investing or wants to invest in real estate that might be a good fit. Sometimes we don't know these things because we never ask or people are quiet about them. You might have an older relative with money and rental properties that wants to retire and is looking for an exit strategy. Wouldn't that be nice?

Good luck!

Hi @Account Closed  ,

You mentioned you live south of Seattle, but your account says you're from Issaquah?  Are you more in the Rainier, Burien, Seatac, Des Moines, etc. areas?

I'm surprised that so few people here (only saw 2-3) have mentioned staying in school and finishing your diploma.  I place a high value in education.  Growing up in the ghetto areas of Seattle, my education is what saved me and my family.  At a minimum, you'll need your diploma, otherwise you'll end up hindering yourself in the future.

With that said, you can definitely spend the other 8 hours of the day investing in your real estate education, or perhaps a job in the industry like some have mentioned (summer break is the perfect time for this too).  BiggerPockets has a LOT of free and valuable resources for your education, and I'm sure you'll definitely get to meet a lot of interesting investors too.

I would caution against jumping into things too soon or letting your excitement get the best of you, otherwise you won't be thinking clearly and the mistakes could hurt.  You do have plenty of time.  It sounds like your passion for real estate is real and long lasting, so there's no need to rush.  Get educated and once you hit 18 and finish high school, you'll be a pro and ready to go.

Real estate's pretty awesome, but your high school experience is priceless too :-)

If you ever want to sit down and chat about real estate, let me know!

Judge you??!!!!!…..Negative bro. If anything I wish I grew up with you and had the influence, drive and understanding of whats what like I do today. At 31 I still feel as if I'm ahead of the curve, you my friend are beyond that. Stay on this site, pay attention and learn! You are now tied to one of the greatest learning tools of your life…..ENJOY!!!

I would first read every recommended book on real estate investing I could get my hands on. I would also get smart on the math and technology used to find and analyze deals. Presumably, you have a huge advantage on that front as you "know how to program the VCR' so to speak (this was considered tech savvy when I grew up).  

Then you can offer your skills to a mentor or three who might give you a piece of the deal in exchange for some analysis work (excel modeling), deal sourcing, or internet marketing (we're all looking for new, cheap ways to source deals - but not all of us have the time to learn software or deal with mass mailings / craigslist searching / website creation, when we're busy working on the deals we currently own and operate. 

Or...just get your parents to check some big checks, buy some buildings and wing it. 

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