Even the most profitable and experienced investors started somewhere. And there is a good chance a lot of them started out going to their local REIA. The REIA is the Real Estate Investors Association, and virtually every major city has a group. For new investors they offer several fantastic opportunities, from mingling with experienced investors to listening to exclusive panel discussions. If you’ve never connected with your local REIA, you definitely should. It doesn’t matter if your a newbie or an old hand, there are so many reasons to connect with your local REIA.
Meet Experienced Real Estate Investors
It can be tricky to start out in the real estate industry if you don’t know anyone. Real Estate is a dog-eat-dog world and if you don’t have an experienced investor watching your back and showing you the ropes, you could get eaten alive. But how are you meant to meet these elusive experienced investors? One way is at your local REIA. Yes, believe it or not, experienced investors still attend their local groups. That’s because there’s plenty of benefits for them, too, but we will discuss them below. Just getting the chance to meet with experienced investors can be a huge coup for the eager beginner, let alone having the opportunity to chat with them about the market over a cup of coffee and a donut. If you’re struggling to find someone with a bit more experience than you, your local REIA meetup could be your best bet.
Build a Team
Your local REIA meeting isn’t just an opportunity to meet with experienced investors, it’s also a good opportunity to meet other industry experts. If you didn’t know, the REIA has a corporate membership that allows contractors, plumbers and other tradespeople to sign up and attend. You’ll also find attorneys, realtors and other professional service providers at meetings ready to make connections and talk shop.
Any experience investors will tell you that real estate investing is not a one-man show. No investor is an island. It takes a network of people to be successful in this game. For instance, if you don’t have a realtor feeding you information about the market, you aren’t going to know when a good deal appears. If you don’t have a contractor you know and trust who will offer a discount due to the amount of work you give him, you’re going to continually pay too much for renovation work. If you aren’t friends with an attorney, you might come unstuck by some of the tricky legal aspects of this industry.
In the same way that it can be hard to find investors, it can be hard to find other professionals. Yes, you could reach out to them at their offices, but they are much more likely to treat you like any other client that way. Meet them at your local REIA group, however, and you already have something in common. What’s more, the professionals you meet at REIA events will be much more disposed to offering discounts for real estate investors than someone you found through a Google search.
Gain Exclusive Education
If you want to be a serious real estate investor, you’re going to have to do more than read a few investment books or attend a free seminar at the local Marriott. At your local REIA there is a wealth of free education on offer that can help you to become a significantly better investors. It’s just advice from experienced investors, either. You’ll find that your REIA will regularly hold panels and host speeches attended by experts from a wide range of industries. These events can give you a fantastic grounding in the industry and help to increase your breadth of knowledge across all areas and specialties.
Find a Mentor
When you’re starting out, real estate is a tough market to crack. Many of the people who succeed don’t do so on their own. More often than not, they have a helping hand. That’s why I meet many new investors for whom meeting experienced investors isn’t enough. Some want to take advantage of a mentorship. But if you thought finding an experienced investor was hard, finding one who also wants to be your mentor is even harder. Having said that, many REIAs have mentoring programs that team you up with an experienced investor willing to take someone under their wing. This is a much more efficient system than buying dozens of investors coffees in the hope that one will say yes. It may not always work out, but it offers new investors an opportunity that they won’t get anywhere else.
Make Use of National Benefits
There’s much more to your local REIA than meets the eye. All members of their local REIA also get access to the National Real Estate Investment Association’s (NREIA) program of benefits. And boy are there some great discounts to be had. As an REIA member you can get exclusive discounts at some of the countries biggest brands, including Rent Perfect, The Home Depot, Equity Trust, REIPro, Arcana, Office Depot, Rentals.com, PartnerShip, 1-800-Got-Junk?, Avis and many, many more. These include discounts that you simply won’t get anywhere else. In many cases, these discounts will more than cover the membership fee to your local REIA in the first place. In fact, many are so generous that some investors save thousands of dollars by using them. Imagine if you had an extra grand in your pocket. Best of all, anyone can use these discounts. It doesn’t matter whether you are brand new to the industry or have been working in it for years. In fact, many experienced investors will actually find that they save even more with them.
As you can see, joining your local REIA offers some huge benefits for both experienced investors and brand new ones. If you’re thinking of joining your local group, make sure that you check with the NREIA to make sure that it is an “accredited” REIA that is a chapter of the NREIA.