If you want to learn about real estate investing, buy the man lunch
I’m often asked where the best place to get education is for new investors.
Truthfully, some of the best seminars I’ve ever taken happened over lunch when I’ve taken out successful investors and had in-depth discussions.
Here is how I prepare: before we go, I tell the investor I want to be respectful of his or her time; I ask how long they have for lunch? It’s normally an hour or so. I ask them to pick the place to eat. While there, I turn my phone off and ask lots of questions.
Something I’ve noticed is that successful people tend to be very generous with their experiences. Buying them lunch presents you the opportunity to learn from their past without making the same mistakes yourself.
As the hour begins to draw to a close, I make sure the waitress knows the order is all on one check and that it comes to me.
I use this strategy to turn lunch into a “lunchinar” as often as possible. But get this – these successful investors are often taken aback by me picking up the check.
One of the most successful guys I know told me he’d stopped going to lunch with people he wasn’t acquainted with. He said that they’d invite him out, feast on his knowledge and experience, and then wouldn’t even buy him lunch.
“For me,” he said, “It was a working lunch. I was teaching the entire time, but I was getting absolutely zero pay. They didn’t even show enough appreciation to buy my lunch. It felt like they were just using me.”
The other day I was at an investor lunch. It’s a monthly invitational type meeting where seasoned investors get together to talk shop. We normally email before hand to see what topic we’d like to investigate.
One guy who I haven’t seen for months showed up at the meeting. He’s a good friend of mine, and we sat beside each other. Somehow the topic switched from whatever we’d scheduled to mobile home and mobile home parks – my friend’s forte.
He spent the next hour tutoring us on owning and operating mobile home parks. He walked us through the numbers on the expense factors and the cap rates he’d experienced. We talked about deal structures, funding for mobile home parks, zoning, septic versus sewer and slew of other topics for the entire hour.
The information my friend shared was invaluable. It was real-world, and it all stemmed from his experiences. Even though this wasn’t a take-you-out-to-lunch type of occasion, I had no choice but to show my appreciation by picking up his tab.
When you are new to investing, finding good education can be difficult. My personal opinion is to steer clear of the infomercial courses. They are way overpriced, the classes don’t give you enough information and they try to upsell you a coaching program to counterbalance the incomplete course.
I know this because when we started I maxed out two credit cards to take one of those $11,000 courses.
Later, at my local Real Estate Investor Association, I learned a good course should only run around $500. And when you get through with these courses, you’re prepared to get started with the new strategy.
If $500 is too much right now, find an experienced investor and take them to lunch. Have them pick the place, ask them for a time limit and respect it. While there, turn off your phone and ask lots of questions. But above all, buy the man’s, or woman’s, lunch. This act of appreciation will set you apart from others and pay more dividends than you will be able to count.
Joe and Ashley English invest in real estate in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.