How to Spot A Bad Potential Partner for Your Multifamily Real Estate Business

Real estate can be lonely. Building a real estate business is often best done with a partner who has skills that you don’t. And it can be more fun that way too. But how can you avoid partnering with someone who’s bad for you – or just plain bad?

A bad partner can set your real estate career back years – or even keep it from getting off the ground in the first place. You could get tarred with a bad partner’s reputation – or worse, if that person is involved in illegal or immoral activity.

But people are usually very good at hiding their bad qualities. Bad people can often be quite charming. How can you protect yourself and tell in just a meeting or two whether partnering up with this person is a bad idea?

Here’s a checklist of bright red flags I’ve come up with over the years to weed out bad partners. These will work even if you are just starting in real estate or in business. (Except for #10, they probably all work for weeding out bad dates, too!)

All you need to do is sit down with the potential partner for a couple of conversations and see if any of these red flags come up. If they do, you should do some digging. This person is probably someone to avoid deeper involvement with.

  1. They brag about themselves and their accomplishments.
  2. They only see the upside potential and dismiss downside risks.
  3. They don’t listen to other points of view.
  4. They try to browbeat you into adopting their point of view or following their course of action when you disagree.
  5. They know the answer to everything. No one can tell them anything.
  6. They believe their way is the right way all the time.
  7. They put themselves and their interests first, over partners, investors, tenants, clients, etc.
  8. Their actions contradict their own rules, and they do not provide a convincing reason why this situation should be an exception from the rule.
  9. They won’t show you actual results. They just expect you to take what they say on faith.
  10. The deals they’ve done so far aren’t actually that good.
  11. They ask you do to things that make you uncomfortable or conflict with your values.
  12. No matter how great this person seems to be, your gut tells you partnering with them would be a bad idea.

Did I leave anything out? Have any of you ever connected with a bad partner or avoided doing so? What did you do in that situation?

Be sure to leave a comment below!

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