How To Find A Good Mentor In Real Estate & Business

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Many people ask me how I’ve been able to achieve such success without a formal education. Well, my answer is that I always ask a lot of questions of those people who are where I want to be. Mentors are important in each and every industry, and more so in real estate. It is these experts with real life experience and their amazing expertise that you should carefully sort out from the lot and follow wisely.

So in today’s blog, I’m going to talk about the importance of getting a mentor and the advantage it has over other ways people typically learn. This one is especially close to my heart as there are many ‘expert courses’ out there which I consider to be BS, as they charge a lot and make all kinds of crazy promises to wannabe real estate investors. I also want to go into how to choose a mentor and what to expect from one. Not all mentors are created equal, but each one can give you loads of value, one way or another.

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Step #1 Know why you need a mentor

When you’re sick you look for the best doctor around, and when your car breaks down you go to the best mechanic in the region. You don’t buy DVDs or attend courses on how to do open heart surgery, or, for that matter, repair your car’s clutch. These experts you go to are invaluable because they have a lot of knowledge and experience. And if you want to do, say, your car repairs yourself, you would go out and learn from a buddy mechanic or get someone to show you, not buy a DVD. In the same way, real estate is a very dynamic kind of business. So, getting a mentor to guide you through it all is like getting a mechanic to help you out.

Off the shelf is generic BS: Many people would recommend you to go to boot camps or buy books, CDs and DVDs or invest in one of those millions of courses that promise to transform your life. But these materials can never get you the real thing. In fact, many people who invest in these kinds of things will tell you how the DVDs and courses they’ve sometimes spent thousands on, offer the same information that’s available for free online, especially today.

People are real: So, if you really have the money to spend, I’d recommend that you spend it on meeting real people who can give you real solutions. They’re the ones who’ve tasted failure and know what it’s like. They can be more specific and help you polish your strengths and work on weaknesses, something a generic course could never do. More importantly, unlike an inanimate DVD, they’ll give you feedback. So, I strongly recommend that you spend your money on networking lunches, coffees and even consulting if you want to go all in. Everything else is just a money pinching gimmick that you will never follow through with.

Duration: Many people make the mistake of assuming that mentoring should be long-term. And you know what, that’s simply untrue. Short-term mentoring can also work well, so make your choice based on what you need, and of course, what works out best for your mentor as well. It’s ok to just have a couple of meetings and that’s it. Sometimes you just need advice on one particular thing and other times you might want guidance for a longer time.

Related: Real Estate Coaching or Mentorship: As a Newbie, Which is Right for You?

Step #2 Identify the kind of mentor you’d like

Understanding why you need a mentor and getting a mentor that matches that need are two different things. When you set out to find a mentor you’d like to work with, start identifying the kind of mentor you’d like. Choose people who know how real estate markets work and who have been there and done that. They should know the market and be able to give you advice on what the right thing to do is. They should also help identify pitfalls.

To find those kind of people, it’s important to keep your eyes open and network your A$$ off. Often, people you already have a working relationship with are a good first choice. Think about the first “mentor” you had. It could have been your teacher in school, a parent at home, or even a friend’s brother who taught you how to make your first paper airplane. For those who’ve taken up a day job, mentors could often come as superiors, supervisors or managers at work. So when you go about choosing someone to mentor you in real estate, consider the exact same things that had you choose these people before.

Geographical reach:
Mentors during your childhood worked great because of one reason: they were easily accessible. So, when you’re picking someone to mentor you in the real estate market, it’s a good idea that you pick someone in the same geographical region. This way you can reach out to them whenever you want. Now, if you really don’t have anyone to look up to in the neighborhood, then widen your reach. You can even go online, where people may be willing to mentor you over a call, email or a chat. I’m based in Toledo, Ohio and even in a smaller city like Toledo, I have still found some local folks that I look up to.

People you admire: Not everyone is perfect in everything and if you don’t find the ‘perfect’ mentor, don’t despair. In fact, look for qualities that you’d like to have but you lack right now. For example, if you’re good at identifying markets, but your negotiation skills need work, then look for a mentor to help you with that. If you’re still unsure about the kind of mentor you’d like, I’d suggest you check out the people you admire for their work. Think about why you admire them and whether you have those qualities or not and then approach them. Remember that mentoring in real estate isn’t just about the technical details. Knowing how to be a people person, how and when to negotiate, and deciding on an action at the right time, are important aspects of real estate that a mentor should help you with.

Real life lessons: Opt for mentors who won’t just put you in some kind of a classroom setting but will let you see what they do and how they do it. Look for someone you can trust your future with.

Be ready to rough it out:
Many people who look for mentors often make the mistake of thinking that a mentor will do all their work. That isn’t the case and it shouldn’t be like that even if mentoring is a paid exercise. Be ready to rough it out, do the hard work and be open to criticism too.

Step #3 Check out your mentor

Once you have found someone you really admire in real estate, my first recommendation is that you get to know them a bit better before you approach them.

Online search:
Do an online search on them. This way, if any negativity or shady business about that person is out there, it will come out into the open before you ask them to mentor you. Check out their work ethic and try to find out if there are elements you’d rather not associate with. If they’ve worked as mentors before, you could check with the people they’ve mentored. Finally, look into their social media profiles to understand what kind of people they are and how they operate. These steps will help you understand what you’re getting into.

Read their blogs: Once you’ve ruled out all the bad things, I recommend you read their blogs and see either their interviews or what they’ve written online. The way they deal with a topic will help you understand whether they are easy to follow when they’re explaining things and if you’ll be able to benefit from their mentoring or not.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Incredible Mentors

Step #4 Reach out to the mentor for mentoring

This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, when you really find someone you’d like to learn from, asking them to teach you can be really tough. And then there’s the aspect of whether money would be involved. And if they do agree to mentor you for free, would it be a good match or not? For those looking for a mentor, here is my advice.

Relationships:
Your relationship with your mentor is what matters the most. This means that you need to treat your mentor like your best friend and trust them completely.

Paid or unpaid: Another concern that many ask me about is payments. How can you find out if your mentor would expect money for his/her services? Most mentors don’t accept anything in return for their mentorship, however, you may want to confirm that before entering into a commitment. Some even do it professionally.

Give and take:
Mentoring is not just about taking from the mentor, but it should be a win-win situation for both of you. So I recommend that you make yourself meaningful and useful to your mentor as well. You might have contacts he’d be interested in for example. Introductions go a long way. Also, don’t expect them to put everything aside and spend their entire day on you because they will have other things to handle as well. And finally, keep in mind that mentors can be harsh with criticism, but don’t let that trouble you too much because you chose them as mentors so that they not only help you improve from where you are but also to help you identify pitfalls.

While hard work and persistence can get you anywhere, mentors are experts who can take you to your goal quickly and with fewer pitfalls. They can provide insights that are rare and teach through example.

And don’t forget that, “You become who you’re with.”

About Author

Engelo Rumora is the CEO/Founder of Ohio Cashflow and a successful property investor that quit school at the age of 14. He is known for buying “Australia’s Cheapest House” and building a property portfolio valued at over $1,000,000 in only 6 months. To find out more go to engelorumora.com

14 Comments

  1. Brian Gibbons

    Hi Engelo,

    A mentor is not a business coach? Sales and Marketing and Negotiation and Networking are at the heart of Real Estate Investing, finding and presenting and closing good deals.

    Not doing a BAD deal is invaluable and priceless. Avoiding mistakes. Like hiring the wrong REI Lawyer.

    Sometimes the word mentor is synonymous with business coach.

    A business mentor to me is someone you respect and can help you stay on track with your goals.

    A business coach helps you with business skills.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Brian,

      Mentor, Coach, Consultant, Advisor, etc…

      The word can be swindled in anyway.

      Ultimately, the main goal is to find someone with a clean back round and these days that’s very hard to do.

      I encourage folks to do a quick $35 back round check on anyone they are looking to get advice from and they will be surprised to find “guru’s” with $500 credit card liens hehe

      Thanks and have a great day.

      ps. I have learned and gained more experience from BAD deals than anyone could have ever given me.

    • Alex Franks

      Engelo, you know I love you Aussies, but I agree with Brian 100% I was about to pay $40k for a multi-family group. I went instead on a year’s journey to interviewing over 70 folks about business, life, what makes someone successful, etc… Most have either partnered (private funds) or owned their own business that was directly related to my previous business. I wanted to know I done more deals than 90% of the local folks. Yet I was shutting down in late 2013. I had 21 people in my office and 30 on the construction side we had to let go.

      I then realized I had all the parts, but lacked the business side (hence the business coaching). I can do real estate blindfolded. Have surpassed over 100 homes a few years. We have made 7 figures almost yearly since 2009. When I found the one Business Coach, I went out on limb. Making him our new partner in Buller River Development. He had me get back out and speak to folks.

      So searching for a mentor was really looking at what you said. Our own weaknesses and determine where most folks on here will read this and think they need a guru on wholesaling or rehabbing. Now with a strong business Coach/Partner our expectations are $20m in new construction retail on our Market with a solid 5 year plan in place. Oh… did I mention he is from Auckland, New Zealand?

      So what I learned through, a lot of these interviews about myself, and people in general.

      Hope all is well

      Alex

  2. Mike Baker

    I have to ask.
    I have been looking for a mentor for a while, and I am coming up short.
    My wife and I do a lot of marriage and family counseling with various families, so we usually find ourselves surrounded by people looking to us for info and mentorship.
    Granted its not Real Estate, but it does beg the hypothetical question “who counsels the counselor”
    So where does someone like me look?
    Please be brutally honest.
    Thanks

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Mike,

      Right here on Bigger Pockets is a great place to start.

      Be of value to someone and I’m sure they will take you under their wing.

      Personally, I get 5-10 people reaching out to me everyday asking for something but never asking if I need help with anything.

      Have a great day and much success 😉

      • Alan Sutherland

        Hey Engelo,

        I’m looking for mentorship in the Miami area. I’m certain that a mentor can help from anywhere and open to assist in any capacity. You have any suggestions? I am currently a realtor in South Florida, and work full time as an IT engineer.

        Thanks much

        Alan S.

        • Engelo Rumora

          Thanks Alan,

          There is no step-by-step formula IMO.

          Your network = net-worth and I have personally always gone down the “hard work” route. IMO nothing come easy and whoever tells you that it does, needs a serious wake up call.

          Get super busy attending a ton of local events. Conventions, seminars, meet ups, etc…

          Don’t pay stupid money to attend them and you will find most of them to be free. It took me 6 months of cold calls and emails before I finally got through to someone that I really wanted to show me the ropes. This individual today has a $100m business and is killing it back home in Australia. He gave me the foundations of me being the real estate investor and business owner that I am today 😉

          Keep hustling and I’m sure you will find someone.

          Thanks and much success

  3. Andrew Mestas

    Great Article/Blog. I just got started in the real estate “game” and i started here on Bigger Pockets listening to podcasts and watching the beginners guide. I then quickly turned my attention to getting out and meeting people at FREE meet ups. You can read all you want but if you don’t get out there and talk to people you’ll never take that leap forward. I then went to a $20 REIA to hear a guest speaker and after the event i talked to a few people and i met a guy who works with Homevestors. I am now diving in to driving for dollars, and soon i’ll be analyzing my own farm. I hope to do atleast 3 deals this year. I shared my little story because i don’t know if my guy is the best mentor for me but the experience and knowledge is priceless. If you’re new and want to get started, get off the keyboard and go to a REIA, meet people and just socialize. (Obviously be sure to check back in with BiggerPockets and give back to the community as well as learn more!) Open up a little bit at the meetings and they will too. Real Estate and LIfe in general is about relationships. You know what they say, “Your net worth is linked to your network!” Happy Sunday and Happy Investing. Once again great post Engulo Rumoro!

  4. Andrew Mestas

    Great Article/Blog. I just got started in the real estate “game” and i started here on Bigger Pockets listening to podcasts and watching the beginners guide. I then quickly turned my attention to getting out and meeting people at FREE meet ups. You can read all you want but if you don’t get out there and talk to people you’ll never take that leap forward. I then went to a $20 REIA to hear a guest speaker and after the event i talked to a few people and i met a guy who works with Homevestors. I am now diving in to driving for dollars, and soon i’ll be analyzing my own farm. I hope to do at least 3 deals this year. I shared my little story because i don’t know if my guy is the best mentor for me but the experience and knowledge is priceless. If you’re new and want to get started, get off the keyboard and go to a REIA, meet people and just socialize. (Obviously be sure to check back in with BiggerPockets and give back to the community as well as learn more!) Open up a little bit at the meetings and they will too. Real Estate and LIfe in general is about relationships. You know what they say, “Your net worth is linked to your network!” Happy Sunday and Happy Investing. Once again great post Engelo Rumoro!

  5. Jason Jones

    Hello, I am looking for a mentor in Las Vegas. I am fired up about Real Estate investing and ready to start immediately. I visit this site often and attend online webinars as well as face to face. In other words, I’m driven and willing to do what it takes to learn the business and succeed!

  6. Ryan Luthi

    This is a great list and some excellent advice! Having a great “coach” will always enable you to do more than could have alone. They have a way of pushing you further and believing in you more than you would by yourself.

    One of the biggest things I have learned about making sure you have a great mentor is that they have a vested interest in your success. This may be monetary or it may be personal, and it really doesn’t matter unless if they are motivated to see you succeed.

    Once you make sure to check all the other boxes mentioned here, be sure to check for the mentors motivation to your success. Good luck everyone!

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Ryan,

      I like your comment and it makes a ton of sense.

      The vested interest is a great way to look at it, I wonder how many would be willing to put up the $$$ tho.

      It might have to be more of a reputation type vested interest where you MUST succeed or everyone knows that you didn’t hehe

      The reputation vested interest has always made me make sure that all of our investors are successful 🙂

      Have a great weekend.

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