In my conversation with Martin Boonzaayer, who specializes in probate and residential investing, he provided the takeaways and lessons he obtained from his experiences hiring people for his real estate business.
The First Hire: The Hardest
Martin’s believes, as do many other entrepreneurs, that the first hire is the most difficult. Prior to becoming a real estate investor, Martin tried his hand at another entrepreneurial endeavor. He helped private, green companies raise capital for their businesses. However, during the market adjustment in 2008, Martin and the companies he worked with lost the majority of their money. After seeing how quickly things could go bad, Martin decided to batten down the hatches, He wanted to “do his own thing,” which meant focusing on real estate and to avoid exposing other people’s capital to the market. As a result, Martin became fairly risk adverse, which made the idea of adding the overhead of bringing on somebody else outside his comfort zone.
Besides the risk aversion, another factor that was holding Martin back from hiring his first employee was the excuse of being too busy. Fortunately, he had a colleague that understood the importance of starting a real estate team, and encouraged him to take the first step: hiring an assistant. This friend had experience helping others hire assistants in the past. All it took was putting up a post on an online hiring website (www.indeed.com but you can also use Craigslist or any other comparable online platform) and Martin had his first employee.
Martin has had an assistant for 6 years. Their first job duties were to simply help him and be his right-hand man (or in this case, woman). She helps him with book keeping, answering the phone, office management, paying the bills, and handling paper work. She works from home most of the week. However, since she is local, they get together face-to-face one time per week to go over any outstanding issues.
The Second Hire: Acquisitions Manager
Martin’s second hire was an acquisitions manager. The acquisitions manager is responsible for seller communication and making offers. Martin had an existing relationship with the individual he hired for this position; he was the project manager for his fix-and-flips. He had told Martin for a long-time that he was a master salesmans and that he really wanted to come on board.
Similar to the assistant hiring process, Martin put this one off as well, but for slightly different reasons. Meeting with potential clients who may be interested in selling you their property is a crucial aspect of the business. Martin was hesitant to outsource that. However, after taking his project manager on multiple training appointments and seeing him in action, Martin felt comfortable enough to bring him on as a full-time employee. Good thing he did because in his first month, he picked up 18 contracts.
What to Look For When Hiring an Acquisitions Manager
When hiring an acquisitions manager, there is the common misperception that the individual must be a construction expert. While there is some truth to that, the role is not so much defined by the person’s knowledge of the actual property, but more about their problem solving skills. The acquisitions manager must be able to determine what the potential seller is looking for and figure out the solution that will fulfill the seller’s needs. Therefore, it is about finding someone with great people skills, someone who can understand people’s problems, and someone that understands the real estate business enough to be able to determine if what your company offers can solve the seller’s problem.
Ultimately, there will always be issues with properties that you look at. There are plenty of professionals that know a lot about houses that don’t understand the process of helping a motivated seller get the solution that they need. Therefore, it is vital that you are able to understand which one of these skills is most important when hiring an acquisitions manager.
Hire Who You Want to Work With
Finally, Martin’s Best Ever advice is that if you choose to hire people, hire people that you would want to actually spend time with. Hopefully this is fairly obvious, but you will be spending the majority of your time interacting with your team. Therefore, if you have great relationships with your team, you’ll be rewarded with a great business. And the opposite hold true as well.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.