Finding a mentor is a great way to gain more knowledge about an industry. If you’re a newer real estate professional, connecting with a seasoned agent can help you navigate the challenges of starting out, as well as make valuable connections and build valuable experience. However, if you don’t already know someone in the field, you may not be sure how to begin the search for a mentor—or what to do when you find one.
To help, the members of Forbes Real Estate Council shared 14 strategies to help you find your ideal real estate mentor. Follow their tips to take the first step toward a fruitful mentorship.
1. Make Connections Through Existing Relationships
Finding a mentor is very important. Ways to do that are to look for people you have a relationship with—from high school, college, a club, an industry group like the Urban Land Institute—and reach out. I think the most important thing people can do is ask for an informational interview. Not to say, “I’m looking for a job.” Just say, “I’m looking to build my network. I’m looking to learn from you.” – Bradford Dockser, Green Generation Solutions, LLC
2. Surround Yourself With Successful People
I’ve found most people enjoy giving back and helping those earlier in their careers—I know I do. Find someone that’s already done what you want to do and work to build a relationship with them. Don’t ask someone to be your “mentor”—surround yourself with successful people and add value to their lives. They’ll give you all the knowledge you need. – Jeremy Brandt, WeBuyHouses.com
3. Give More Than You Receive
Remember that mentors get to the level that they are on because of the knowledge and years of experience that they have put towards their trade. They will have little time, so think further than just a lunch invite. Offer assistance where they may need filling. You are then giving each other more value, actual experience and deeper mentorship. – Christine Nieva, Nieva, Inc.
4. Look For Compatibility In Values, Knowledge And Experience
Finding a mentor in real estate is vital for setting a strong foundation for any newcomer. Things to look out for in a compatible candidate are values, knowledge and experience. It’s easy to find the top producer in your office and try to have him or her commit to you as a mentor, but if there is no chemistry and mutual benefit to both parties, then it may not be a match. Always follow your gut. – Ivan Estrada, Ivan Estrada Properties
5. Offer To Work For Knowledge Gained
Offer to work for the knowledge gained for free and ask if there is any way that could be possible. With any luck, you will have a taker that you can aid and learn from. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties
6. Keep An Open Mind
As a new broker leading a team of realtors in Mexico, where business has historically been done differently than in the U.S., I have found that the agents who maintain an open mind about learning new techniques and methods have a much better chance at success. Sticking to old methods and patterns doesn’t encourage growth. Learn from someone with a proven track record. Take them to lunch and talk! – Gregory Gunter, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes San Miguel
7. Communicate Your Why
Be self-aware, communicative and proactive. Authenticity and grit are so powerful. If you want someone to invest in you, communicate why. Know what your goals are and what you are willing to do to achieve them. Most people see someone who is successful and want to be like them, but they don’t want to put in the work or make the sacrifices necessary to get where that mentor is. Say why you’re different. – Catherine Kuo, Elite Homes | Christie’s International Real Estate
8. Ask Plenty Of Questions
Ask questions. New agents should ask questions to fellow agents in the market. Ask who has a reputation of mentoring new agents and what their style is. Set up interviews and assess if the mentor would be a good fit with your own personality and work ethic. Come up with a value proposition. Instead of just asking what they can do for you, tell them what you will bring to the table. – Marco Del Zotto, LIV | Sotheby’s International Realty – Breckenridge CO
9. Reach Out To Lone Rangers
We are in the midst of major brain drain in real estate, with seasoned agents coming off their best year ever ready to retire. Look at the top producers who are the lone rangers and have resisted the team model. Meet with them and offer to provide free services—sitting open houses or covering for a vacation. They can be your mentor and you can be part of their exit strategy. – Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group, Inc.
10. Find A Company That Offers Certified Mentors
Finding a mentor is critical for success. New agents need to find a company that offers certified mentors or coaches. New agents don’t have the arsenal to go it alone. Having a certified mentor or coach by your side during the first few transactions is the key to success and agent retention. – Lisa Copeland, The Agentcy by Tarek El Moussa by Exp Realty, LLC
11. Look For Character, Values And Lifestyle
Find people you aspire to be like. It’s not just about success; it’s the character, values and lifestyle they embody. A mentor is someone who is able to lead by example and who can share with you the steps they took to get to where they are. Be sure that you’re selecting someone who can align you with the person you want to become. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty
12. Intern For Top Producers
A great strategy for new agents in need of a mentor is to research agents who sell the type of properties you would like to sell, in the neighborhoods you would like to work in, and ask to intern for them for free. Busy agents are always looking for helping hands and not being on payroll should enable you to shadow these agents. The information you will learn from these top producers will be invaluable. – Tara Hotchkis, Compass
13. Don’t Overlook The Value Of Peers
Mentors are great, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that the mentors are older and wildly more successful. If you want a mentor, go out and make friends with other agents and brokers. Once you start sharing ideas, you’ll see how valuable your peers can be. Also, rather than look for one mentor, look for many. Everyone has something to share. – Kevin Markarian, Marker Real Estate
14. Be Open And Honest
Be open and honest about your goals and weaknesses when meeting a new mentor. Transparency and trust are key for any mentor/mentee relationship—don’t be afraid to be open about where you struggle. Real estate may be seen as an industry full of bravado, but those that show vulnerability will be able to forge deeper mentorship relationships that will be even more mutually impactful. – Benjamin Pleat, Cobu