Are you a newbie attending a real estate investing club? Learn the rules before you attend.
Having run a real estate club since 1994 with 650 members [Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors] and having spoken at more than 50 clubs around the country, I have a few observations and insights. If you want to get the most out of a real estate investment club, follow these five rules...
1. Get what you can from each speaker
Real estate investment clubs are often underfunded and not for profit. Since they cannot afford to pay professional speakers to speak, most speakers who volunteer have something to sell. In many cases, it is a book, CD set, mentoring, or boot camp.
Some people are offended that speakers are selling something--insisting that the speaker reveal everything he knows about a topic in a 90-minute meeting.
Understand that EVERYONE has something to sell, whether it is a guru selling a course or a local mortgage company representative selling his loan packages. Everyone who speaks at a group has an "agenda." Otherwise he or she would not be standing on the stage speaking.
Even the most hard core "pitchmen" do offer some great ideas during their presentations. So you need to get past the "I'm not here to be sold" attitude and get what you can from the speaker.
A speaker cannot reveal everything he knows in 90 minutes. Otherwise he or she isn't qualified to take the stage.
So, you should expect a certain amount of stories, jokes, anecdotes--and yes--a sales pitch for something. Listen carefully! You might also learn something.
2. Respect other people's time
Many newbies expect they can take a veteran investor out to lunch to learn the business. Most veteran investors won't do this, unless they are fairly certain you will bring them deals. And, the "teach me the business, and I'll bring you deals" attitude doesn't work.
If a veteran investor teaches you everything he knows, and you do nothing (or you do invest, but don't bring him deals), he's wasting his time.
I know this from personal experience, having taught dozens of newbies the business for FREE, thinking they would bring me deals. At some point, I woke up to reality--people who don't pay for their education RARELY USE IT!
Many people know that I charge for mentoring, and I charge quite a bit. And yet the more I charge, the more people appreciate the advice and use it.
Be willing to pay people MONEY for their time. You wouldn't expect a doctor to let you take him out to lunch for a consultation, so why is an investor's time any different?
Keep in mind that most investors have paid thousands of dollars over the years for seminars and courses. Many feel that sharing information with others for free is simply unfair in that respect.
And--most importantly--don't waste other investors' time trying to learn the basics. Undoubtedly, you have seen dozens of unanswered posts on the CRE Online Main Forum from people asking general questions that can be easily found in a $15 book.
Go to the bookstore and buy 10 paperback books and read them. If you are not willing to spend $150 and the time to read 10 basic books, you aren't ready to be a real estate investor--period!
3. Let people know why you're there
If you sit in the corner drinking coffee, you aren't networking and marketing your most valuable asset...YOURSELF!
If your club does not have big name tags, make yourself one. Make it big and colorful. Have a statement about what you do and what you are looking for.
There's one guy at our club whose name tag reads, "THE MOBILE HOME GUY." Everyone knows him. Everyone calls him when they need to sell a mobile home.
Be creative and aggressive. Ask your club leader if it is okay to pass out flyers--bring big, colorful flyers that read:
"I have houses to wholesale--Call me" or "Looking for rehab properties on the west side--Call me"
Get yourself a fancy business card and hand it out to everyone. And, don't use the cheap computer-printed garbage. Go spend $50 and get some nice double-sided cards that explain who you are and what you do.
In short, if you show other investors you are serious about taking action, you will get their cooperation.
4. Join membership immediately
It amazes me how many people hesitate to join membership in their local real estate investing associations. For a few hundred bucks, you get access to one of the best resources you can find--her investors.
Why spend all your time looking for the "right" mortgage broker when you can ask other people in the club? Why run ads in the paper for your wholesale deals when you can send an email to a dozen other investors you meet at the club?
Heck, even the fact that you are a member of the club will give people a reason to do business with you rather than someone who isn't a member.
I've been running a real estate club for nine years, and I can honestly tell you that I always go to the membership roll whenever I need a deal, a partner, a recommendation, or money to borrow.
Also, volunteer to assist with the meeting. Volunteers often get on the "inside track" to becoming a board member, which gives you a lot of influence in the club.
Offer to write articles for the newsletter on your own area of expertise that may be related to real estate. If you are an experienced investor, offer to teach a beginner's class or host a breakfast meeting.
5. Respect the club rules
Be considerate to others at the meetings. Every real estate investment club has rules, so be mindful of them.
Show up early so you don't disrupt the meeting.
Don't pass out flyers without asking permission.
Don't stand in the back of the room and yak while the speaker is on stage.
Don't shout out questions to the speaker without raising your hand.
Close the door to the room quietly when you go to the restroom.
And, for Pete's sake--turn off your cell phone.
About the Author:
William Bronchick, J.D. is an author and attorney who regularly presents workshops and do-it-yourself seminars at real estate and landlord associations around the country. He is the president and co-founder of the Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors.
Bill specializes in all forms of asset protection and is the author of several great home study courses: