What to look for in a real estate mentor

The right mentor will offer guidance and act as a sounding board for any questions you have

Part of excelling in real estate is understanding that it’s not possible to be successful on your own. You need a solid support team. And what’s one of the MVPs on that team? A real estate mentor.

This seasoned professional can provide the guidance, support, and insight to help you succeed in the real estate industry. Here’s what to look for in a real estate mentor. 

Real estate mentors: What they are…

Think of real estate mentors as the Obi-Wan to your Luke Skywalker. They offer guidance and act as a sounding board if you have questions regarding everything from contracts on investment properties to the best staging a house for sale. 

Real estate mentors can provide insight into complicated transactions so you can translate them smoothly for your clients (or understand a contract with multiple angles and contingencies). And because the real estate agent’s role is more complicated these days, this insight can give you a distinct advantage, even over people with years of experience beyond yours.

There are different types of mentors, too. If you can’t find a traditional one-on-one mentorship, consider seeking out a small group or a “mastermind” group. This provides not only the counsel of a mentor but also the collected wisdom of the larger group.

… And what they are not

Although real estate mentors increase your chance of success, having one does not guarantee results. You’ll still need to put in plenty of hours and be committed to making things happen on your own.

In addition, real estate mentors are not:

  • Responsible for lead generation
  • A given, even if you join a real estate brokerage
  • Exclusive to you
  • A one-way street

A mentor is a precious resource and it should not be taken for granted. Consider what benefit you bring to the relationship, and take care not to monopolize your mentor’s time. Virtual lunchtime meetings or a quick coffee in the morning are good, but sometimes a question can be answered over email.

Ask what your mentor prefers, and lean into that.

7 things to look for in a real estate mentor

1. Experience 

Remember, you’re seeking a mentor precisely for their experience, so don’t handicap yourself out of the starting gate by choosing someone with just a few months in the industry. 

Look for a mentor who has extensive experience in the real estate industry and has a proven track record of success. This could include experience in buying, selling, managing, or developing real estate, as well as a deep understanding of the local real estate market.

2. Availability

No, you should not expect daily meetings with your mentor, but you’ll need to find a mentor who is available and willing to invest time in your success. A good mentor should be accessible, responsive, and willing to answer your questions and provide guidance when you need it.

Ask a potential mentor if they feel comfortable with the level of support you think you’ll need and go from there. Keep in mind that your busiest season is likely their busiest season, too. And never bug them when they are on vacation.

3. Communication skills

You’ve found a mentor with the experience and availability you are looking for, but are they communicating in a way that makes sense to you? 

Effective communication is critical in real estate. It is important to find a mentor who is able to communicate clearly and effectively. Look for someone who can explain complex concepts in a way that is easy to understand, as well as provide constructive feedback and guidance.

4. An established network

Your real estate mentor is not responsible for drumming up business for you, but it’s important that they have a strong network of contacts in the real estate industry. They can introduce you to potential clients, partners, and investors while providing you with access to valuable resources and information.

A real estate mentor may have other contacts that you’ll need for even the simplest transactions. These include:

  • Home inspectors
  • Contractors
  • Closing companies

The right mentor is also able to stay on top of trends in real estate and can connect you with on-trend service providers, such as outdoor room designers and boutique moving companies.

5. Willingness to share

A real estate mentor with all the contacts in the world won’t mean anything if they keep them close to their vest. 

Seek out a mentor that shares their experiences — the positive and especially the negative. This can help you learn from their mistakes and make better decisions in your own real estate career.

6. A positive attitude

Choose a mentor who has a positive and optimistic attitude. You want a mentor who will be more likely to encourage you to take risks and pursue new opportunities, rather than holding you back.

A growth mindset is crucial, too. Mentors who celebrate the learning process help you to see your developing skills as a positive (rather than highlighting what you don’t know).

7. Honesty

Look for a mentor who is honest and transparent — one who will provide you with an accurate picture of the real estate industry, including the challenges and rewards. A good mentor should be able to provide you with an objective perspective and help you make informed decisions.

How this honesty is delivered matters, too. Some people thrive with a no-nonsense, drill sergeant approach, while others preferred a more measured and mindful communication style. Make sure the mentor you choose communicates in the best tone for you.

How to find a mentor

So where should you look for a real estate mentor?

  • Start at the office: This is the easiest option (if there’s a likely candidate).
  • Consider your current network: Other real estate professionals may be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Social networks: Millennial and Gen Z marketing relies heavily on social networks, so why shouldn’t your search for a real estate mentor?
  • Attend networking events: Broaden your search IRL.

Once you have identified a potential mentor, define your goals by examining your current skill set and figuring out what you need from a mentor to reach them. When you approach prospective mentors, outline your goals, and don’t forget to include what you bring to the table. 

Mentorship is a great way to support your growing career.  While not a requirement to be successful, a mentor provides valuable counsel and insight into the complex world of real estate.

Luke Babich is the CEO and co-founder of Clever Real Estate.