“One of the most important leadership lessons is realizing you’re not the most important or the most intelligent person in the room at all times.” —Mario Batali

If you don’t agree with this statement or even see its value, then I think you will have a VERY hard time being successful in this business of real estate investing. As with every business, a successful real estate business is a team sport. The best teams win the most. And the best leaders surround themselves with smarter people than themselves all the time. It is that simple. (Side note: When I say “smart,” I don’t only mean “book smart.” I mean “street smart” as well.)

I can tell you that we are always working on building the best team possible. It is an evolving process. We have come a long way in 10 years, but there is always room for improvement.

It can seem a little daunting when someone is just starting out; however, forming a great team is incredibly important at any stage of the game, especially early on. Remember, your team will evolve as YOU evolve. Still, you want to start off on the right foot with the right people.

Before you go out and form a team, I would highly encourage you to determine your niche, your market, and your strategy. I don’t care if you get the smartest people in a room and begin working with them; if you are not focused and super clear on your plan and strategy, then NO team member will be able to help you. The more specific you are, the better people will be able to help you achieve your goals.

So here is a list from A to Z of key people you need on your team for optimal success.

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20 Must-Have Team Members for Real Estate Investing Newbies

1. Mentor

I know there is a TON of articles and blog posts written about this topic of mentorship. However, I can’t stress this team member enough. I would encourage you to find someone (local if possible) who is where you want to be in 5 years. Once you find this person, find out how you can help them achieve their goals faster. Then and only then will they be happy and willing to help you achieve your goals and mentor you through the process.

2. CPA

This is a very critical person to your team. Obviously, you want to ensure they have real estate investing experience. However, above all else, you want to make sure your CPA is a real estate investor themselves. Our current CPA is an active real estate investor and simply understands the business more than other CPAs we have had who did not own investment property.

Related: How to Hire Amazing Team Members for Every Real Estate Process — From Finding Deals to Renting Them Out

3. Attorney(s)

This is also a BIG one for any new real estate investor. You want to find an attorney who can help with basic real estate knowledge, but who also has the ability to put together partnerships, etc. As a newbie, you want to have an attorney who can help you through real estate closings and will help review all documents, etc. Again, an added bonus is having an attorney who owns investment property as well.

4. Banker

It is always recommended to begin to get your financing together BEFORE you actually need the money. You want to have the relationships and terms established up front before you make any offers. That way, when you begin to run your numbers and analyze deals, you will be able to know if a deal is a good one or one you should pass on based on the terms the bank gives you.

5. Insurance agent

You would think all insurance agents/brokers are the same, but they are not. Some insure investment property, and some do not. Some insure properties you are going to flip, and some do not. You want to find a local, hands-on agent who can help you with your insurance needs. You also want to shop around. There is one insurance company we work with that just insures our single family homes because they give us the best price. There is another insurance company that insures all of our large multifamily purchases. Different insurance company specialize in different areas. Know what you are getting yourself into.

6. Hard Money Lender