Are you a beginner in real estate? If you want to succeed, there is perhaps no activity more important in setting up your own real estate business then seeking out good mentors and networking opportunities, says Dennis Henson, investor and president of the Arlington Real Estate Association of Investors.
“If someone is interested, I think the best thing to do is to find a local real estate Meetup group or meeting,” Henson said. “Ask questions and make sure that it is something that would really be of interest.”
Second, Henson says mentoring can “be a tremendous advantage” because you can watch your teacher and see how they troubleshoot problems in the industry. “Going to those meetings, listening to the speakers, and networking will help them move forward the fastest,” he said.
Henson’s life and career in real estate is a great example on the value of education. Without it, Henson contends he might never have made it past his very first deal.
As a young band director fresh out of college, Dennis Henson had a dream like many others who enter real estate of securing more control over his financial destiny.
“I was living in one house, and I decided to purchase another one,” Henson tells Deals & Dollars Weekly. “This guy came to rent my first house, which I kept as a rental property, and he gave me a check. And then, the check bounced.”
As a complete novice, Henson spent the next year trying to figure out how to deal with the bounced check before he figured out the eviction process in Texas. And then, he did something so fundamental yet a key step Henson said he missed: he got more education.
From Mark Harrelson to John Schaub to a host of other mentors in between, Henson said he found successful mentors to guide him through building his own world-class real estate business.
“I kept reading the Financial Genius ads from Mark Harrelson, and I eventually broke down, bought the course, and thought there sounds like there is a lot of money [in real estate], maybe I just didn’t know what I was doing. Maybe I’ll do better,” Henson said.
“And I did pretty well. I made money on my second, then third properties, and since 1975, I have purchased properties where I live and have done very well with it.”
Networking, Henson said, is second to mentoring, but an important part of any real estate investor’s success strategy.
To help augment his business, Henson launched the Arlington Real Estate Association of Investors, or AREA for short. In its first year, the group which boasted six initial members swelled to 40 to 50 attendees after a couple of years, and today is the world’s largest real estate Meetup group.
The group has helped introduce novices to the real estate business, and even led Henson to his very first coaching student.
“I told him I was busy, but Mike was very persistent,” Henson said with a laugh. “He gave me a blank check and I put an amount so large I knew there was no way he was going to sign the check. Without hesitation, he signed it and gave it to me.
“That’s when I decided to teach real estate investing.”
Finally, Henson said you should always aim to seek wisdom everywhere you go.
“I have a list of my 7 Secrets of Success in Real Estate Investing, and in addition to developing skills, getting your mind right, forming good partnerships and being persistent, I talk about seeking wisdom,” he said.
“When you’re riding in the car, you do not listen to music or talk radio, you listen to CDs about real estate, business and motivation. If you really want to succeed, you need to find a mentor and follow them.”