I was chatting with Chris Winterhalter (BP profile), a successful apartment building investor and active participant in the Bigger Pockets forums.
He talked about some of the advances he made in his investing career, and many of them were tied to people he met. In fact, he met his current business partner at a real estate investing conference. That partner owned a commercial construction company and wanted to expand into apartment buildings. Chris was a wholesaler/flipper and wanted to get into apartments. A perfect match.
This conversation made me reflect on what networking has accomplished in my career but also made me think about what I could be better.
We Can Accomplish More with Others, Then We Can Accomplish on Our Own!
I had an apartment building under contract, due diligence was completed, the appraisal was completed and we were 14 days away from closing.
Everything looked good. Until I got a call from the loan underwriter who informed me that the local bank I was working with changed their mind about the deal. “The loan committee didn’t like the area the building was in”, was all he said.
Wow, really ?!? Two weeks before closing?
Fortunately I had been working with 4 other lenders, got them to present me with term sheets, and picked the best one. The second best one looked pretty good at this point! Sure enough, that bank jumped on it, we transferred the appraisal and they closed on it in 23 days.
I would have been stuck had I not been networking with other brokers.
The Power of Your Network
While I get the majority of deal flow from commercial real estate brokers, occasionally I get one from someone in my network.
One time I got a smaller building through a wholesaler from whom I had previously bought houses to flip. He knew another wholesaler who had this build under contract and was looking to sell the contract. The deal didn’t work out, but it looked promising for a while.
I do better when I have mentors. They give me confidence I didn’t have before. They might say “buying a 100 unit isn’t so bad. So you need to raise $1M, so what? It’s not that hard, I know you can do it!” Even if they don’t directly help, they’re confidence in me lets me expand my own comfort zone so that I, too, start believing I can do it.
I can Improve with My Networking
My friend Jonathan is my model in what it means to be a good networker: he’s constantly introducing people to each other.
He spends time with people, he calls them regularly. He asks you what you’re looking for and then keeps his eyes for something that could help you. He doesn’t ask “what’s in it for me?” but “what can I do to help you?”
I’m outgoing enough, but I’m not intentional enough with networking. I need to be more like Jonathan and find ways I can help others in my sphere of influence each and every day.
The lesson here is that we need to be more intentional with our networking. Put it on your list each week. Make that phone call, schedule that lunch, follow up with conversations, attend that investment meeting. Then figure out how you can help people achieve what they’re striving for.
What do you do to network with others? What can you do better?
Be sure to leave your comments below!