You know what really ticks me off about most of the investors I deal with? (And I’m putting that nicely, believe me!)

And I speak to a lot of investors on a daily basis, from all over the world—from the East Coast, West Coast, the UK, Canada, Australia and Asia. We have investors from Korea to Madagascar. They all have one thing in common that very much annoys and frustrates me: They all get stuck in the stats and demographics. So they ask questions about vacancy statistics in a particular area, capital growth projection, population growth, employment numbers and job growth.

Yeah, that’s important, but there’s something even more basic that you simply have got to understand.

Focus first on relationships with the right people

I always like to break it down to them like this: “Guys, you have it completely the wrong way around. You shouldn’t be asking those questions. What you should be focusing on first is establishing relationships with the right people on the ground.”

I very much believe that “teamwork makes the dream work.”

Here’s how I see it: If you buy the best house, in the best streets, in the best area, with the best capital growth projection, but your property manager is incompetent or a cheat, you are going to lose money because he is going to steal your rent or he is going to lose it. When you break it down like that, it really doesn’t matter what you see online, what you see on TV or what you read in the papers, because at the end of the day it comes down to the people on the ground either making or breaking your investment.  They are your eyes and ears, your heart and soul.

This is true for out-of-state or out-of-country investors, and it is also true for those who are investing in their own backyard. Let’s say you are not buying a turnkey product. Let’s that say you want to go out find a property, buy it, renovate it, get a tenant in it and manage it all yourself. You are still going to have to entrust a local Realtor whom you trust to have your best interest at heart and not just want to sell you just any property that comes across the desk. You will want a great contractor who is going to renovate that property to a standard enabling it to be self-sufficient and sustainable. So he should not be cutting any corners. You will want a genuine property management company that is not going to nickel-and-dime you to death with every little expense.  

You need a long-term perspective

These are some of the key people who are going to assist you in your real estate endeavor. I always like to look at it from a long-term perspective. You do not want to work with anyone who is all about instant gratification. What I mean by that is, someone who just wants to sell you a property, or renovate your house, or whatever it is, and do everything very quickly.  

No matter what you might hear, or read, or see on TV, real estate investing is NOT a get-rich-quick undertaking. You have to be in it for the long-term—and so do the people you have on your team.

Let’s say, for example, you make an average income, or around $55,000. In order for you to achieve financial freedom, one property is not going to cut it. You need to buy and hold five, 10, 15, 20-plus properties, and it is going to take five, 10, 15, 20-plus years for you to acquire such a large investment portfolio.

So you have to look at it from a long-term perspective. Whomever you establish as your dream team or that group of people you deal with, they have to have that delayed gratification type mindset and really have your best interest at heart for the long-term.  Make sure they’re not all about that quick money but that they really want to grow you and grow with you over the next five, 10, 15 or 20-plus years.  

OK, I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying, “Engelo, that’s easy to say, or maybe that’s easy for you, but how can I tell if somebody has that long-term mindset?”

Now, here’s the ‘magic question’

That is a fantastic question. And now I have a question for you. This is a “magic question” that has saved me a lot of money and is one that you should ask of anyone you’re thinking about adding to your investing team.

This question is this: “Are you willing to spend six, nine or even 12 months of building a trust and relationship with me before we do business together? Educate me on who you are.  Educate me on what you do. Educate me on your history, on your experiences.  Educate me on what you are doing now.  Educate me on where you are going.”

I as an investor want to learn everything about someone with whom I am going to be doing business. And they should also take a genuine interest in learning about me: who I am, where I have been, what I am doing and where I am going.

What you are going to find is that 99.9% of operators—be it Realtors, be it wholesalers, bird dogs, contractors, property managers, accountants, attorneys, I mean everyone—they are not going to do that. They will fade away. They will stop replying to emails. They will not call you back. Or they will take two weeks to respond to you.

Why? Because it isn’t instant money; they cannot make a profit off you right then and there. They’re not about delayed gratification because they want instant gratification. They want your money right now.  Well guess what, you do not want to work with those people. You want someone in sync with you, someone who understands the long-term aspect of this business.

So ask that magic question. That is how you build your dream team. That should be the foundation of your successful real estate investing business.

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  • Engelo Rumora

    Engelo Rumora, aka “The Real Estate Dingo," is a successful property investor, motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur who quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at 18. He also is a soon-to-be-published author and aspiring host of his own real estate house flipping show. To date—and against huge odds—Engelo has been involved in over 350 real estate deals worth $50 million in transactions along with successfully founding and running five businesses in Ohio. The most prominent of those is List’n Sell Realty, a Toledo-based discount real estate brokerage offering a “first of its kind” referral program in the nation. Visit for more information. You can contact Engelo at or visit

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