I definitely see pros and cons to the Real Estate Investing Clubs that seem to be everywhere these days. For anyone wanting to join these or thinking about joining, especially if you are newer to real estate investing and trying to figure out how to get started, I want to point out some things to think about in attempt to help you get the maximum benefit out of them.
Real Estate Investing Clubs: Use Your Time Wisely
Don’t go to just any REI meeting you find or join just any group. Pick one that sounds like it can really add value to you. Obviously if you have an interest in wholesaling, and there is a wholesaling event coming up, by all means do that one. If you are just starting out, look for events geared towards beginners so you don’t accidentally end up not understanding a word anyone is saying. If you are a female and think you would be less intimidated in an all-female setting or just like the idea of meeting other females in the industry, there are plenty of female-only investor groups. If you are just focused on networking and want to meet other people, awesome! Connections are definitely a mandatory part of succeeding in this industry.
You get what I’m saying. Be smart about where you spend your time. There are so many real estate investing clubs out there now that you join and meetings you can attend, you don’t want to go to just any of them. As the saying goes, “time is money” and that holds no truer in any other industry than this one. Spend your time wisely.
Benefit vs. Hurt
If you understand the benefits you can get from going to REI meetings and events, you will know what to focus on while you are there. If you understand where these meetings can hurt you, you will know what to watch out for while you’re there and avoid it.
What good can come from these meetings? A lot actually!
- Learn about options. No, not lease options or buying options, I mean options, like choices/possibilities/opportunities. Not only will you hear of different methods of real estate investing you may not know about, but you may also hear expansions on the methods you are already familiar with.
- Networking. Everyone knows this term. But what are the real benefits of networking? You may meet mentors, people who you eventually do business with, resources for good contacts (need a new accountant who specializes in real estate investments? Somebody there may likely know one), and in general some really cool people that you may enjoy hanging out with in the future and learning from. You may also be fortunate enough to meet people that you can learn lessons about how not to be. If I’ve learned nothing in real estate, and this goes for most industries I would imagine but especially in this one, your reputation will always supersede you. Believe it or not, real estate investing is a surprisingly small world. You’d be surprised how many people may be very quickly warned not to work with you if you give someone a reason to not trust you. Learn from those who impress you and those who don’t how to conduct yourself.
- Learn skills. Especially in trade-specific meetings and events, you are likely to learn new tools and resources that will help you excel in your projects and dealings. Every little tip helps. I have attended numerous 2-hour seminars that are free but are mostly geared to selling you a more extensive course (usually with a hefty price tag!). Most people leave knocking on the fact that all they heard was a sales pitch. Yes, the sales pitch was there, but so was just enough information to let me take two pages of notes with some really good bits of information! If you learn only one new thing from an event or meeting, you’ve succeeded. Sometimes it only takes one line of information to make you millions of dollars. Again, just know who you are taking the advice from and use your judgment about the validity.
Don’t Let Bad Information Hurt You
I always preach about not taking advice from people you wouldn’t trade shoes with. If Joe Blow is telling you how to flip a house or where to buy a property but he himself lives paycheck to paycheck and hasn’t been to the dentist in ten years, you may want to be suspicious about his advice. If someone who is financially free living the life of their dreams gives you advice, they may just know what they are talking about. So with every contact you make, always analyze the person before you take their advice. There are a lot of talkers in this industry. Make sure you know which ones actually know what they are talking about. Here are some folks you will most definitely meet in REI clubs and meetings that you want to be sure to keep one eye open on.
- Salespeople, and better yet salespeople on tape. Not all salespeople are bad. Sales are a critical part of any business, including investing, and even the best products have to be sold.
- There is a difference however between the shady salesman and someone who actually cares about your success and sells you something that can add value to you. The shady salesman could care less what happens to you after you buy his product. The legit salesman actually does care and may even follow up and build a relationship with you. What is the reputation of the guy you are thinking of buying from? Do some research. Ask other investors if they’ve dealt with him and Goggle reviews if they are available. Especially don’t hesitate to ask the sales guy a lot of questions. Asking questions can often differentiate the legit guys from the less-legit ones. How-to tapes (am I actually using the word tape?) and videos can be excellent tools, but research the program before you shell out a lot of money. More than that, realize there is free training out there too. You might be surprised at how many experienced investors are willing to help you along. Paying for training isn’t bad, just be smart about it and still keep an eye out for opportunities to get your foot in the door for free. Be especially cognizant of salespeople at the beginners’ clubs and meetings. They know they can usually trick a newbie easier than they can an experienced investor. Being sold a bogus program can not only be expensive but it can deter you from staying in real estate because of such a big loss right out of the gate which would be the most unfortunate outcome.
- People who want it but never do it.