Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Real Estate Investment Coaching

Students of real estate investing are often looking for mentors, internships or apprenticeships where they can study under more experienced investors. Many new investors pay for a real estate coach to walk them through a formal training program, complete with assignments and benchmarks for completion. Others partner with colleagues and set their own goals, trusting their partner to hold them accountable for progress. These can all be great methods to learn more about real estate investing, and to put theory into practice.

The Real Estate Association of Puget Sound has a hands-off policy regarding referrals and recommendations for coaches and mentors, as the industry has various levels of experience, expertise and practice that may or may not be appropriate for all new investors. It certainly makes sense for anyone considering a partnership with a mentor, coach, employer or partner in real estate to do his/her own due diligence.

Some of the questions one might ask a prospective coach or mentor are:
How long have you been a real estate investor?
How many real estate transactions have you done?
What kind of real estate investing do you do (and is this an area in which I am interested)?
Did you have mentors or coaches? Who were they? What did you find most valuable about your own training experience?
Do you have a formal agenda? Written goals? Scope of work for our time together?
What systems do you use to do what you do?
What are you looking for in this relationship? What would be a successful outcome for both of us?
What resources are you willing to share?
What publications/organizations do you recommend?
What costs, fees or charges are involved?

Be sure to ask for references or testimonials. Look up the more experienced investor on Google or in industry publications to see if there are negative reports to investigate further.

I was fortunate enough to work for eight months when I was starting out as a real estate investor for a local investor who was also on the national speaker circuit. I made very little money, but learned a tremendous amount about investing, ethics, systems and practices that I still use in my business. I also learned a lot about things I would not do, or would do very differently on my own. It gave me great confidence as a new investor. In fact, I left to do a deal that became the Deal of the Year for REAPS’ November panel that year! Many investors are willing to take on apprentices or interns in exchange for assistance in addressing their work load. Ask, if this is of interest to you and you have the time and resources to make it meaningful for both of you.

Another method I highly recommend for jump-starting your real estate investing career is to loan money. It does not need to be a lot of money, and should be money that you can afford to put at risk. Most investors are looking for private funds, and will gladly share their project information with those investors putting money into their projects. At the very least, you will see the paperwork they use with private lenders, and learn how they treat their investors. Private lenders also have access to inside information, and can ask many questions about what makes a good deal with appeal to other funders.

And don’t forget to take advantage of the educational resources that are available through your membership in your local real estate investor association, including monthly meetings, informal networking, speaker programs and boot camps, seminars, webinars, library materials, and newsletter articles (like this!). Plan to attend the next FREE half-day orientation for new real estate investors sponsored by REAPS from 10:30am to 1 pm, on Saturday, March 17 at the Lake City public library in Seattle to learn more about these resources.

Happy New Year! And Happy Investing!

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