Should You Hire a Real Estate Consultant?

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Businesses have long used consultants to bring in experience or knowledge that they have a temporary need for.  Should real estate investors do the same?  Many wanna-be tycoons think nothing of forking over large amounts of money for boot camps and mentors, experienced investors understand the value of real estate education.  Yet how many of them would ever think to hire a consultant?

Most understand the value of hiring professionals, such as attorneys and accountants, even if they choose to perform those tasks themselves.  A real estate consultant may provide a great value as well when a need exists.  Regardless of how experienced someone may be, they don’t know everything.

Consultant vs. Mentor

Mentors are very common in real estate.  Some view them as a colossal waste of money and vultures that prey on newbies looking for that magic bullet.  Others seem them as a valuable asset that can shorten the learning curve.  Mentors are supposed to take someone by the hand and teach them the ropes as they guide them through the real estate investing jungle.  All too often they don’t deliver as promised, leaving the person who hired them feeling like a victim.

 Consultants are different.  They may bring a particular expertise to the table or advise on a specific aspect of the business.  Most often, they are paid on an hourly basis.  Perhaps there is a particular aspect of your business that you need help with but don’t feel the need to hire a mentor.  Rather than slogging through the trenches trying to figure things out on your own, a couple of hours of a consultant’s time may be just the ticket.

Finding Consultants

There are professional real estate consultants that can be found in the phone book or by searching online.  However, your best consultants may be closer than you think.  If you are a serious about your real estate investing career, you should already belong to at least one real estate investor club (article).  The majority of successful investors that I know are very happy to help others.  Most would be glad to consult if asked.  A fee arrangement can be worked out based on what is needed.

It can be very rewarding for those that do help others, and I’m not talking about money.  Several years ago I sat with a young couple that was about to pull the trigger on a rehab deal.  To them it looked like a sure-fire winner.  When I pointed out all of the things they overlooked they quickly realized they were about to embark on a financial disaster.  They ditched that deal and went on to another that was much better.  To this day they thank me for the few minutes I spent with them.  My fee for that consultation?  If I remember correctly it was a cup of coffee.  I am going to raise my rates, in the future I want a muffin to go with it!

We never had it as rough as the kids have it today. Look at the price of a gallon of gas or a piece of real estate or a college education. ­­­­­­- Suze Orman

Photo: laverrue

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Richard,

    Your article was very timely with me, as the thought of becoming a real estate consultant was dancing through my head…

    I find that most of the real estate ‘mentors’ that I know of, advertise themselves as both a ‘mentor’ and a type of consultant as well.

    You touched on the differences between a ‘mentor’ and a ‘consultant’ in your article.

    I would also be interested to hear from other readers on how they think ‘mentors’ and ‘consultants’ differ.

    Thanks for your article Richard.

    Best Regards,
    Neil.
    .-= Neil Uttamsingh´s last blog ..BiggerPockets Just Got Bigger =-.

  2. Richard, I agree no one person knows it all. A REALTOR will adhere to the code of Ethics while a real estate agent may not. As a REALTOR it is your duty to provide your clients with the best advice available to help them make their decision. When our clients do not buy, we do not get paid, but we have to look out for their best interest.
    Visit Liz Voss’s last blog at San Antonio Homes

  3. Richard,
    Great post! As you state there is a significant difference between the two. I like to think of the Mentor as the one who teaches the How To’s of the deal-while the Consultant leans more to the side of Due Diligence. The Consultant is the one who in the end will keep you out of trouble.

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