Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Real estate investors are often required to wear many different hats. But, if you value your time (and your sanity), wearing all of them is not a realistic expectation.
Treat your real estate investments as a business. Because you are, in fact, running a business.
Don’t believe me?
The most basic definition of a business is the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.
You are in the business of providing shelter, and in exchange, you are making money.
So, what do most successful businesses have?
Know that no large and successful business is run by a single individual. It takes a power team of experts.
By identifying your strengths, and weaknesses, you can seek out the best and brightest people that will turn your weaknesses into your greatest strengths. They are specialists in their respective disciplines. They work in your best interests. They educate you. They save you time and money.
Building relationships in any business is important, and real estate is no different. Do this and you’ll turn your real estate investment business into a well-oiled machine.
Now, let me dive into the specialists who should be on any winning real estate investor’s power team.
Mentor / Coach
Having a good mentor / coach in your corner is an invaluable resource for your power team. A mentor / coach comes in many forms: an author, a public figure, a friend, a professor, a member of an investor group, etc. There are also many ways to meet them.
Here are a few:
Whatever the case may be, a mentor / coach will be someone who has achieved what you want to achieve. They’re an expert in their field. They’ve studied it for years. They’ve made many mistakes, but those mistakes never deterred them. They know what works. They know what doesn’t work. They know exactly what to do when you inevitably stumble into a roadblock because they’ve been there. They’ve done that. They came out on the other side a success.
Of course, you want someone like that standing in your corner.
Learn from their experiences. Leave your ego at the door, come in with an open mind, ask the right questions. Use the years they’ve spent mastering their craft to shave years off of your own learning curve.
A mortgage broker is your doorway to funding your future investment properties. You need a good one on your power team to help you build your investment portfolio. You’re not here to do a one-off transaction. Right?
You want to work with someone who owns their own investment properties and knows the process inside and out. Find a mortgage broker who specializes in working with investors, and they will have access to dozens, if not hundreds, of different lenders, including A Lenders, B Lenders, Credit Unions, and Private Money Lenders.
For more details on the Mortgage Products You Should Know About, click here.
A skilled mortgage broker will not only tell you about interest rates and amortization terms, they will provide guidance on creative financing strategies. They understand how the decisions you make now will impact your ability to acquire investment properties down the road. They’ll listen to your short-term and/or long-term portfolio goals and formulate a game plan to match.
Starting out right here is extremely important on your real estate investment journey.
Real Estate Agent
A realtor who solely focuses on working with investors is another member of your power team who will be imperative to your real estate investing journey. Just like your mortgage broker, it is extremely beneficial for that realtor to hold their own portfolio of investment properties.
They are arguably the most important members of your power team. They are your eyes and ears on the local market. They will know what the current market values are, for buying, selling, and rent rates. They will have a good sense of where that market is headed. Meaning they have valuable insight into how present and future factors can affect your portfolio.
Your realtor is obligated to operate with your best interests in mind. Whether it’s in the types of properties you’re looking for, the locations of those properties, knowing what your terms are when at the negotiation table, and how to put together deals to create a WIN-WIN outcome with a buyer or seller.
Working with a great realtor can take a significant load off your plate. They, along with your mortgage broker, should be one of the first members you add to your power team.
A lawyer is another valuable member of your power team. They can be expensive, but they can also save you a great deal of financial hardship. Don’t try to pinch pennies here.
You want a lawyer who specializes in real estate and is well-versed in a variety of different agreements (ie: joint venture partnerships). They review all of your contracts. They understand the language. They know what should be and should not be included in a contract to protect you and your assets.
Similar to the lawyer, a paralegal’s services will be indispensable during your time as a landlord. You want a paralegal who is thoroughly informed and updated about all matters related to the Landlord Tenant Act, and the Residential Tenancies Act (in Ontario).
For a fraction of the cost of a lawyer, they use their skills, experience, and knowledge to provide legal services that will save you time and money. They know the right questions to ask tenants, how to correctly fill-in forms (i.e.: N4 and N11), and when to serve these notices. They understand the importance of documentation, and they have experience to tactfully handle dispute resolution with the Landlord and Tenant Board on your behalf.
They’ve seen everything when it comes to poor tenants, who cause damage, are late on rent, or even don’t pay rent at all. They know how to handle the worst of the worst for you.
As you acquire properties, doing your own taxes becomes increasingly difficult. Having a sophisticated accountant on your power team is extremely important to building your net worth for long-term wealth. They must know the ins and outs of Canada’s Income Tax Act (or your Country’s tax laws). Preferably they also own rental properties of their own.
No matter how many properties you currently have, you should always know where you’re going, and structure your plan accordingly. A good accountant will consult you on your current situation and help you create an action plan for where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years, and beyond.
Come tax season, this is the power team member who’s there to help you maximize your income while still paying the least amount in taxes. A good accountant will save you more than they cost.
There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.
As a new real estate investor, you must keep track of how your investments are operating. Having a good bookkeeper on your power team will help you keep track all the money coming in and going out of your real estate investment empire. Here’s what you gain:
When you can evaluate how your real estate investments are performing at any point in time, you can make informed decisions. And just as with the paralegal; documentation is everything. It may not make sense to use a bookkeeper at first, but as you continue to acquire more and more properties, having accurate record-keeping is a must.
Insurance is a must, and as an investor, you will probably be dealing with many insurance policies. An insurance broker on your power team will shop around for the best rates and the best service.
They often work with several insurance companies that offer a variety of insurance products and varying degrees of coverage for every property type (i.e.: Single Family Homes, Multi-Family Homes, Vacation Rentals, Student Rentals, etc.).
They’ll give you the best advice to ensure you have adequate protection. They call it an insurance policy for a reason. You never know when you’ll need it, but you’ll sure be glad to have it.
Being a landlord is a big responsibility. It includes:
When a tenant moves out, you have the pleasure of starting this lengthy process all over again.
If you don’t want to actively manage your properties, hiring a good property management company to be on your power team is key. They will charge a percentage of the monthly rent to take on a large portion of these management responsibilities, but finding one who can efficiently manage your rental properties will make your life significantly easier.
Your rental property will truly become a passive investment.
As a real estate investor having the physical condition of a property inspected should be a mandatory part of the buying process. You want to know what you’re getting and what repairs might be needed now or later.
If you’re getting into real estate investments, a reputable home inspector will become your new best friend. They’ll make sure you spend your money wisely, keep you away from major issues that can turn into money pits, and provide wisdom that you can use yourself when looking at prospective properties.
Form a working relationship with a good home inspector. Preferably one that regularly works with investors rather than homeowners. They’ll give you the brass tacks because they’ll know you’re decision-making is based on numbers, rather than emotions.
If you’re planning a renovation or addition, then you’ll need someone to prepare architectural drawings for your Building Permit application. A Design professional registered with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) who’s been assigned a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) is your best bet.
The Designer should be experienced in building systems, and construction methods. They will ensure the permit drawings comply with all Municipal Zoning and By-Law provisions, as well as Building Code and Fire Code requirements.
A good Designer will provide valuable insight for you at all stages of a renovation project. They make sure you have a plan and put your vision on paper; turning your ideas into a reality.
A good contractor and/or project manager may seem like one of the more challenging team members to find. But if you’re planning a large renovation, a good one may make or break your budget, impacting your profit margin.
You may want to renovate before you have new tenants move in. Or you may be acquiring a property with a plan to create forced appreciation. In either scenario, you’re probably looking to refinance your existing mortgage at a higher After Repair Value (ARV) to pull out some or all of your initial investment.
Find someone qualified and insured who gets things done on time and under budget. Someone that you can call, and that you can trust. They should provide the best service and be experienced in your renovation needs.
There are a lot of moving parts in a large renovation. You’ll be glad to have someone with construction experience managing the process for you.
You want someone in your phone’s contacts list who can take care of the little repairs that will inevitably come with owning an investment property. Patching some drywall, fixing broken door hardware, unclogging a sink, etc. They should be a jack of all trades.
A good handyman doesn’t need to advertise. They work almost entirely on referrals from a small group of investors and homeowners. There’s a reason for that
A great power team is defined by their expertise and ability to consistently produce results. Investors, especially the more experienced ones, rely on their power team to achieve their goals for long-term wealth.
So where do you find all of these power team members?
You might imagine that it’ll be far more difficult to assemble a team of specialists in real life than it is to talk about it here. However, start by building your network and asking for referrals. If the members of your power team are real estate investors themselves (as I recommended), they will be able to provide you with recommendations to fast-track your search results.
Make sure to always do your due diligence when selecting the members of your power team. Everyone will mesh differently, and you want to build a cohesive team of positive individuals that you get along well with to reach your goals.
Remember that you’re building a business, and your team can raise your level or hold you back. Choose them wisely or opt to work with an investor who already has assembled their own power team of superstars.
Best of luck in your journey!
(a.k.a. ""The Real Estate Rehabber")
Bestselling Author, Real Estate Investor, and Entrepreneur
I want to empower new and seasoned real estate investors alike to navigate the challenges of property rehabbing with confidence.
These resources include essential tips and insights, that every real estate investor can use to excel in the competitive world of property rehabbing.
Whether your goal is to flip houses, create long-term rentals, or execute the buy-rehab-rent-refinance-repeat strategy, "The Real Estate Rehabber" will educate viewers on how they can plan and manage property rehabs.