President, Traction Real Estate Investors Association ( TractionREIA.com )
A “Real Estate Investor Association” or REIA is a tremendous source of knowledge, networking and inspiration. You need to make these meetings part of your monthly schedule.
Every club operates a bit differently, but the basics are all the same. They are a great place to meet other people in the business. People who can educate you, sell you deals, buy deals from you and recommend team members and services. The other people there are the number one reason you should go to the meetings. Being around others in the business and learning about how and why they are successful will help you succeed in your business faster.
While at a meeting, don’t be shy. Shake hands with the people around you and give everyone you meet your business card (you do have cards on you at all times, don’t do?) Be sure to get their card as well. If they do not have one, have them write their name, phone number and email address down. You will want all this information to build your database. These are the people who will buy your wholesale deals or the people that you can call when you are putting a deal together.
If you are the shy type, try to make a game out of it. Set a goal and tell yourself you want to leave the meeting with no less than three people’s cards. Then force yourself to say hello to the person sitting next to you. It will get easier every time. The conversations will be basic and remind you of your freshman year in college, when everyone asks the same old questions like ‘where are you from?’ and ‘what are you studying?’, but now it will be ‘what kind of investing do you do?’ and ‘how long have you been doing it?’
Want to learn how to estimate repair costs? Ask one of the renovators at the meeting if you can go see one of their projects and have them explain how they determined their costs. Offer to take them to lunch in return and tell them you’ll be happy to wholesale deals to them. Be respectful of their time though, they are busy and aren’t getting anything in return from you at the moment (other than lunch). Be sure to know the basics, you don’t want to waste their time on things that you should have already learned from books, you’ll get more out of it too!
Want to find a good attorney or accountant, ask the regulars at the meeting who they use. What better place to get good team member recommendations that from people actually in the business?
Some groups have a ‘deal makers’ section, where they let people stand up and announce deals. Others have a ‘success stories’ section where anyone who has done a deal in the past month can stand up and give the details and then be applauded. Pay attention to who stands up during these sections month after month. They are the players in your local market and people you should make an effort to know.
The clubs are not usually free and there is a charge per meeting or on an annual basis. I highly recommend becoming a member. The $200 you spend will be well worth it. Where else can you get all these benefits in one place? It is a totally deductible expense as well.
Some of the associations have websites packed with great information. Some have on-line bulletin boards as well. This is another great source for info or for advertising deals. Some of the websites are for members only.
Most meetings will also have a speaker, usually a national speaker. These are gurus who come to town to teach you about their particular real estate investing specialty and to offer you their home study course. The speakers vary widely but we find that we always get a few great ideas from each one and it is well worth listening to them. If you resent being sold to, get over it. They are there to make money and they have given you free advice and inspiration in return for being able to pitch you. There is nothing wrong with that. Especially if you walk away with a great idea.
We will often buy their courses if we think it will give us great ideas that we can apply in our own business. Most of the courses that we’ve bought we’ve made the money back many times over from the great ideas that the courses taught us.
Buying courses is fine as long as you plan to read them and put the ideas into action. Don’t fall into ‘analysis paralysis’. You won’t make your money back by letting it sit on the shelf unread and unused.
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Tom Zeeb has been featured by CNBC, The Washington Post, Kiplinger’s Magazine, The Washington Examiner, Financial Lifeline Radio and National Real Estate Investors Association’s Magazine among others. He is the President of Traction REIA, the Recipient of the National REIA “Honors of Merit” and the “Award of Excellence” for Best Real Estate Investor Association! Traction REIA serves Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Check out www.TractionREIA.com and www.TractionRealEstateMentors.com for more information.