The short answer to the question is “no.” It involves the broader discussion of mentoring and mentorship, but for the purposes of this article we will focus on the real estate industry. For wannabe investors, the knowledge and information you need is available online through real estate websites or social media outlets such as YouTube. This is not true for every type of investing.
One of the first things you want to look at is your personal motivation level. If you are highly self-motivated the chances are very good that you need zero mentoring. You will be able to sit down in front of your computing device and read, watch, and listen to what experienced people in the industry are saying about real estate. Keeping up with the current changes in the industry will become second nature, and while you may not hit a home run at your first at bat, you are more likely than those with less motivation to go into the game fully prepared to start on the road to success.
If you conclude you need a little push (or a huge shove) to get you started, this does not mean a mentor becomes a necessity. Some people start off slow and then as they gain more and more interest in the various aspects of real estate investing their self-motivation level rapidly increases. So it may take them longer to get up to speed but unless there is some immediate need to start investing right away, you can exercise some patience with yourself and be just fine in the long term (which is usually what real estate investing is about anyway).
The third broad category of real estate student is the one who knows it is the best direction for investing their hard earned money, but finds online or self-learning a tedious proposition. Perhaps the most important step for people in this situation is to admit they don’t have what it takes to go it alone online. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, you are doing yourself a huge favor by admitting this upfront because you will save yourself a ton of time and frustration instead of trying to be like everyone else.
That leaves who you should choose as a mentor. An obvious first choice would be someone you personally know, either through friendship or maybe a friend if a friend you trust. What is at the top of the “rules of engagement” in this type of mentorship is to keep business separate from friendship. This may require you to humble up and remain silent when you disagree with what you are being told because you are the student. You will have plenty of time to make your own mistakes and join the club who has learned from experience.
Moving on from personal motivation, the next consideration is how much money you have set aside to invest. The larger the amount of money, the more you should lean towards working with a mentor. There is a huge difference between losing $1,000 and $100,000 in a real estate investment. Writing off losses and taking tax deductions are hardly compensation for losing tens of thousands of dollars. Working with a mentor will help you recognize the nuts and bolts of how real estate works, and give you time to think about things before dropping down your first $1 for investing. Also, you are very likely to avoid a lot of the real estate scams out there as you mentor redirects your perspective into recognizing the properties that will bring you the most profit over the longest period of time.
After reviewing these basics about choosing a mentor, the question is at what point should you begin considering real estate as an investment? To put it a different way, at what point does a real estate investing mentor have the greatest value? Remember there are many successful investors who are willing to give you advice for free. That is why going the online learning route is ideal if you have the right personality type for it. There are real estate investors that have started with $0 and became successful. So there is no reason you can’t be one of those people – if you have the right knowledge and understanding of the real estate market. A mentor will have their greatest value when you have the least amount of dollars to lose. The reason is because your focus will be on learning and not on making money (though the two can go hand-in-hand).
But remember that a mentor’s role is to get your started – like learning to ride a bicycle. The goal is to get you started, and then you learn like the millions of people before you who made mistakes along the way but found long term success in real estate.