Summary: In part two of our Finding the Right Real Estate Investor Mentor series, we’ll share what to look for in a great real estate investing mentor. Topics Include: our top 20 characteristics of a real estate mentor, why finding a mentor with these characteristics matters and what to look for in your mentor, especially if you are just starting out.
The quest for finding a great real estate investing mentor can be a tough one. Knowing where to start, what to look for, what questions to ask, and most importantly, how to build a mutually beneficial relationship can be difficult.
Today, we are going to answer, “what to look for in a mentor”. Our list of 20 characteristics of a great mentor should help you get started.
20 Characteristics of a Great Real Estate Investing Mentor
The following list includes our top 20 characteristics to look for in a real estate mentor.
1- Willingness to Spend Time to Mentor You
Have you ever committed to helping someone and then later realized you didn’t have the time or even willingness to follow through? A mentorship can easily fail if your mentor isn’t willing to spend time to mentor you. It’s as simple as that.
2- A Good Track Record
Mentors can be full of ideas and advice. But does he or she have the track record to back it up? Proven success, especially during a recession or down markets, will be an excellent indicator of your potential mentors long-term success.
3- Positivity and Encouragement
You don’t want a mentor that’s all praise and roses, that’s what our mothers are for ;). A mentor should bring positivity and encouragement to the mentee, along with areas to improve and constructive criticism.
4- Similar Interests
Imagine you were interested in learning how to invest in single-family homes. Would you seek out a commercial real estate investing mentor? No, you absolutely wouldn’t because commercial real estate is an entirely different beast. Find a mentor with mutual investing interests and a few personal interests to chat about when you’re not talking shop.
5- Is an Active Real Estate Investor
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Easier said than done.” A retired real estate investor with lots of experience and success under her belt (and plenty of time to mentor you), may seem like a perfect scenario. But it could also not be.
Most industries experience change. Whether it’s advances in technology, new laws, or changes in the economy, we can count on change. This is especially true for real estate as markets are always fluctuating. An active real estate investor will be aware of these changes and up-to-date on making any necessary adjustments and avoid mistakes.
Have you ever tried to learn how to do something from someone who lacked patience? It’s not a pleasant experience for either party. I learned pretty quickly the importance of patience and keeping your cool during my first year of teaching high school. After answering the same question seven times because students failed to listen, it took everything in me not to throw my papers in the air and walk out. Patience and understanding is key to mentorship.
7- A Passion to Share Their Knowledge
Some people are really good at what they do but don’t have a passion to share what they know. A person should not just agree to be your mentor, they should have a passion to share their knowledge and help you achieve equal or more success.
Investors looking to get help when they’re just starting out can often be taken advantage of. Good deals may be stolen, they may sell you an over-priced, badly located home, the list goes on and on. Be careful who you choose to work with and make sure they have your best interest in mind.
9- Broad Investment Experiences
Good real estate mentors should have experience with different investment types. Look for a mentor with experience in buy-and-hold real estate, single-family, multi-family, commercial and flips. Your mentor should know how to read the market so when it changes, so does your investing strategy.
10- Goal-Oriented and Motivated
Two of the most important characteristics in a real estate mentor include being goal-oriented and motivated, according to Sea Coast Real Estate Academy. A mentor that is motivating should inspire you to work hard and be persistent. Setting clear, attainable goals with your mentor will keep you both on the same page and working toward your success.
11- Is Accountable and Will Hold You Accountable
Have you ever set a goal for yourself and didn’t tell anyone you were working towards it? If so, were you successful? For me, if I don’t share a goal with a friend, sibling or parent, chances are I won’t achieve it. No one is following up or asking about my progress. No one is supporting and cheering me on from the sidelines. No one is encouraging me if I fall behind. Because I’m more externally motivated, I’ve learned that I need someone to hold me accountable if I’m going to achieve my goals in a timely manner.
12- Able to Teach You What They Know
Not everyone is good at teaching or explaining something. Not everyone is built to be a mentor. I remember growing up, my older brother was really good at Math. My sister, on the other hand, was struggling in her Math class and asked my brother for help. It took about 20 minutes before I heard my brother’s voice raise as he stood up in frustration, unable to comprehend how my sister couldn’t understand what he was explaining.
While my brother is excellent at Math, he is a terrible teacher. Find someone who is able to explain things in a patient manner.
13- Location Knowledge and Insights
Beginner real estate investors should consider finding a mentor in the area or neighborhood they wish to invest. This is important because location is key to success or failure in real estate. The more insights and information your mentor has about specific locations, the better.
14- Is an Attentive Listener
While a mentor is there to teach you and share advice, they also need to be a good listener and have a genuine interest in you. A mentor should ask questions and challenge you to think and problem solve. They should value others opinions and not just their own.
15- Ethical and Wants to Serve Others
“It’s imperative to seek out a mentor who is ethical and always acts in the best interests of their clients,” says Vickey Barron, Licensed Real Estate Broker. “Access to a real estate mentor who thinks outside the box will go a long way in developing your career,” shares Barron.
16- Knowledge About Real Estate Tax Laws
Real estate tax laws can be complicated. Even after extensive research and writing articles, I still have questions and unknowns. A new real estate investor should know all about tax laws to help you take advantage of them.
Antonio T. Smith, Jr., Owner of ATS Jr Companies adds, “There is nothing worse than making large profits and spending 30 percent more in taxes than what should have been paid.”
17- An Understanding of Your Goals and Financial Situation
Your mentor will likely be in a more successful financial position than you, or at least they should be. So it’s important for your mentor to know and understand your current financial situation and help set your goals accordingly.
18- Interested in a Mutually Beneficial Relationship
As I said in part one of this series, a mentorship should be a mutually beneficial relationship. The mentee is there to learn and get help, but they should also be able and willing to add value to their mentor. The more value and help you provide, the more value you should get out of your mentor.
19- Has a Knowledge of Up-to-Date Technology
In number five on our list of characteristics, I stated the importance of finding a mentor who is a current real estate investor. Our 19th characteristic has similar reasons behind it. Just as industries and markets change, so does technology. In fact, we know that technology is constantly changing, causing processes to change, new or different tools to take advantage of, etc. The point is, your mentor should have a knowledge of current technology.
20- Is Dedicated to Your Success
A mentor can teach you everything they know, wish you the best and send you on your way. A great mentor is dedicated to your success. Your mentors dedication should match your dedication.
What to Look For in Your Real Estate Investing Mentor
Has your mentor achieved the kind of success you want? Every real estate investors story is different. There is no one way to invest or succeed. Look for a mentor who has already achieved the success that you want. Someone who can help you improve on your weaknesses, build mutual respect and comfortably work together.
Find a Mentor Whose Strengths are Your Weaknesses
If you’re not a competitive person, bear with me for a minute. Imagine you are playing doubles in Tennis, corn hole at a backyard barbecue, or in a golf scramble (or whatever works for you). Assuming you want to win, or at least be competitive, think about what you look for in a teammate.
I’m serious, think about it.
Are you looking for someone who is good at the same things you are? Or are you looking for a teammate who can pick up the slack when you fall short? You want to win, don’t you! The best partnerships work together to balance strengths and weaknesses.
No one ever wants to feel like they’re being talked down to or diminished in some way. As a beginner, it’s easy to feel intimidated by an experienced investor. Find a mentor that you respect and who respects not just you, but your time and opinion as well.
You Get Each Other
This may sound a little “Millennial”, but you need to find a mentor you vibe with. After all, you are building a relationship with this person. You won’t always be talking only about real estate.
Developing a relationship with your mentor should include sharing some common interests, a funny story about a family member, or a recent vacation you went on. The more you vibe, the more comfortable you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have.
I hope at the end of this you’re not thinking, how am I ever going to find a real estate investing mentor with ALL of these characteristics? The great thing about mentorships is that they often happen naturally. It could begin as a personal or working relationship and build from there.
If finding a mentor doesn’t happen naturally, it’s time to start networking and meeting people within the industry, asking questions and building relationships. More on that in part three of our Finding the Right Real Estate Investor Mentor Series.