I spent years at my company. I knew it bottom to top, inside and out. But, the daily grind was getting to me—I didn’t feel inspired by my work anymore and, frankly, I had probably reached the pinnacle of what I could achieve there. Making someone else more money was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I decided to break away from the corporate hamster wheel and start my own real estate investing business. But, I didn’t have a Rolodex of people to bounce ideas off of or point me in the right direction, so I started hunting for other resources to help me get on the right track. I’m going to share my journey to establish mentor relationships so you can avoid the time-consuming—and expensive—pitfalls that I experienced.
Books, Seminars, and Quacks—Oh My!
The first place to start with any new project is by doing some topical reading and research, right? Searching for real estate investing books online quickly gets overwhelming. The first several pages of Google search results brings up list after list of books that you simply “must buy.”
“10 Investing Books to Jumpstart Your Real Estate Investing Journey!”
“These Books will Make You Rich”
“The Best Real Estate Investing Books”
Ugh. Not only does it take hours to sort through these online lists, it’s a waste of time. Admittedly, some books probably have a tidbit of good information here and there. However, many of them are just promotional material for seminars or courses offered by self-proclaimed real estate investing “gurus.”
Those new to real estate investing, like I was, often fall prey to so-called “guru traps”— those who claim to offer the most exclusive, valuable advice for achieving the highest profits with promises of industry secrets and proven shortcuts. These “gurus” often have no qualms about trying to convince novices to pay thousands of dollars for their training, even if it means using credit cards, borrowing money, or refinancing your home. When you are trying to start a business from scratch their promises can seem alluring. With the old adage in mind, “It takes money to make money,” I tried a few. I quickly realized, however, that seminars offered limited, and often questionable information, and provided no support for actually building my business.
Welcome to Networking Groups
Networking groups offer something different from the seminar model and can be beneficial for finding mentor relationships if you keep your expectations in check. Offered in nearly every major metropolitan area and beyond, networking groups can take many forms. I’ve spent my share of time engaging with numerous real estate groups, from casual meetups and clubs where members chat about the latest trends to formal associations that offer a slew of advice through forums and seminars. They all share a vision to help members achieve their real estate investing goals. But, just as it took years to cultivate a network during your corporate career, it also takes time to get to know people and grow key relationships within these groups.
While attending networking groups in my area, I met lots of incredibly motivated, resourceful, and supportive real estate investors. However, they were focused on achieving their own goals, had an already-established network of connections, and had too many people who wanted their help. They enjoyed talking shop and were occasionally willing to meet for lunch but overall, they simply didn’t have time to take a novice under their wing. The upshot: Don’t look for a mentor at a networking group hoping they will teach you everything you need to know. Rather, understand that the benefit of these groups is the snippets of wisdom you will hear in casual interactions and the long-term relationships that you can build.
The HomeVestors® Difference
I finally hit my stride as an independently owned and operated real estate business when I became a HomeVestors® franchisee. I have the benefit of a Development Agent, who gives me one-on-one support for understanding the ins and outs of how to assess opportunities, negotiate deals, determine necessary property repairs, and get the house re-sold. In addition, I have access to the best marketing tools for real estate investors.
If you are ready to skip the scams and are weary of climbing the steep learning curve of real estate investing on your own, then it’s time to look at proven opportunities. Leveraging the structure of an established and reputable franchise with real mentoring supports and solid tools can position you to achieve your investing goals. Reach out to one of the HomeVestorsⓇ representatives to get more information today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.
Photo Credit: Flickr CC user Skoll Foundation