The typical real estate investor may be a “jack of all trades,” but that doesn’t necessarily make him successful, it just makes him tired. The successful investor knows that in order to succeed, he has to surround himself with people who are smarter than he – those individuals very knowledgeable in the business and with a good track record. That’s a proven concept, employed by successful businessmen as well as politicians (though not necessarily “good” politicians, just successfully elected ones).
The key to establishing a great team is to put together players who are successful in their own right or have the potential to succeed. Your real estate investment team can have as few or as many individuals as you need – unlike a sports team where you can’t exist without your pitcher, power forward or wide receiver, you can get along with only a couple of players and still succeed.
First String Team Members
Investment Advisor or Certified Financial Consultant – This individual is going to manage your entire investment portfolio, ensuring that the retirement goal that you’ve set remains in focus at all times, and makes recommendations towards achieving that goal. He should always have your best interests at heart.
Real Estate Attorney – A good attorney is invaluable for reading, drafting and understanding legal contracts, knowing the legality of your property deals, and understanding the laws in the state or community in which you own the property.
Certified Public Accountant – Your number cruncher should be well versed in real estate-related accounting transactions. He’s going to be your go-to guy when tax time comes around, and you’re wondering about your deductions and write-offs.This individual may also be an excellent source of referrals for property acquisition.
Real Estate Agent – Unless you have access to the latest MLS updates, your realtor will be your best asset, alerting you to new properties coming onto the market; a realtor with BPO (broker price opinion) experience, provides even more of a benefit.
Traditional Lender or Mortgage Broker – Face it, you can’t do anything without financing; you need to know where or who to turn to for the amount you need, at a competitive interest rate as soon as you find a property.
Insurance Agent – For an investor with a good number of properties, your agent can help you set up policies, advise you to ensure that you have adequate protection at all times, and help you through the red tape of filing a claim.
Title or Escrow Agent – This individual will make your property closings infinitely smoother and relatively stress-free. A competent agent will ensure that your transactional information is accurately recorded, and that you pay only the appropriate fees. They should be looking out for your best interests.
Second String Team Members
Property Manager – When you can’t be everywhere at once, and find the day-to-day tasks of numerous property ownership overwhelming, a qualified property manager will be the best option to run the operation on your behalf, leaving you time to pursue other opportunities.
Property Handyman – A handyman kept on retainer may be a good alternative to a property manager; however, they should have a basic knowledge of what makes a home tick and be available to fix minor repair needs. Your goal is to hire a Ty Pennington or Bob Vila, not a “Tim ‘the Toolman’ Taylor” from the old television comedy, Home Improvement.
Contractors – If you are beyond the need for basic home repairs, and intend to buy and flip properties that may need some “updating,” you need a reputable contractor to assist you with ongoing and new projects. Finding a contractor that contains costs, works to specs, and finishes within the agreed time, is crucial.
Finally, though not officially part of your team, they are the ones who are your real support: your family, friends and mentor. Without their encouragement, would you really be where you are today?
Putting a successful team together may take some time, and it’s important enough a concept that you don’t rush or “settle” for just anyone. Where do you find your team players? Some you may already know, but see them in a different light – as a member of your community, swim club or religious affiliation. You need to ask around, pass around your business cards, get referrals and then interview your candidates.