Real Estate Investment Clubs Networking
Why Real Estate Investment?
Investing in real estate has always been considered a safe investment strategy, a little more aggressive than municipal bonds but -- at about 6% return on average -- not as rewarding or as risky as the stock market. The mortgage meltdown associated with sub-prime loans and toxic mortgage assets knocked that "traditional wisdom" down, and Real Estate Investment Trusts and comparable investment vehicles took nearly a 60% hit. Suddenly real estate was sliding and may only now be finding a "bottom." Good time to steer clear?
Wrong. If you ever want to make serious money. the bottom of a market, is when you get in. The housing market is glutted and there is a backlog of bank-owned homes, so the early part of this decade may well be one of the best opportunities ever to invest in real estate. You especially want to consider buying homes that are about to be foreclosed, or residences that need to do short sales, because these homeoweners are anxious to keep foreclosure off thier credit. If you are a beginning or intermediate level investor, you may well worry that you do not have enough knowledge, resources or connections to be successful. That is where your local real estate investment club comes in.
Real Estate Investment Clubs
Local real etstate investment clubs are useful ways to learn what you need to know in order to be a successful real estate investor. If you become a member there is usually a membership fee that is not too steep, or you can often sign upand pay a small amount for continuing education that these clubs offer to non-members. Many people who think of "clubs" think of 15 or 20 people sitting around swapping information, however the typical club has well over 100 active members and often that many in are attendance; smaller groups typically coalesce within the clubs that meet about more specialized areas of real estate investing.
The larger group has investors with knowledge ranging from novice to mastermind, with many of the more experienced members willing to serve as a mentor formally and informally. Most local groups also have contractors, builders, appraisers, and other related professions. You will certainly be able to network with other colleagues, and be able to have at your finger tips any vendors you might need.
The focus of these groups is mostly educational, with courses that will often be all you need to know to get started on some investments that are sound and have potential. Local real estate investment clubs will have current and useful knowledge about local trends in nearby towns and neighborhoods, and useful contacts you will need, once you decide to put together a deal. The opportunities that are presented are not infomercials; when an opportunity is available it is typically a "real" deal of the sort that day in and day out makes money in your area. Pooling a small amount of your money with others can sometimes be a good starting point, while you are learning and bringing yourself up to speed on information you need to take advantage of current market conditions.
Real Estate Investment Clubs Can Introduce You to Local Buyers
You might be thinking that you could probably find by yourself plenty of distressed properties to buy, but to whom would you sell it? Developing a buyers list of people who are looking for deals is one of the things you will learn about at the real estate investment clubs. A large proportion of the members are buyers, and anybody who is a wholesale buyer is likely to belong to, and actively participate in, your local club.
Of course the social events are more than just an opportunity to network or learn. Many local clubs have fun or social events as well. The CashFlow game, developed by the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki, is often payed as part of the membership activities offered by the local real estate investment clubs. That game is not only a lot of fun, a great natural way to network with other members, but the game also is a very good learning tool.
Beginning and intermediate Investors almost always get extra attention regarding the how-to-do-it types of information that you most likely won't get from the Real Estate Investor Guru's.
Online Investment Networking For the More Experienced
Not everyone is suited to these real estate investment clubs. If you are not very social, then online investment networking may be easier for you. Or maybe you do not want to limit your investments to the local area, but would rather target the really distressed markets in a different state, or zip codes -- outside your area but with the most cash buyers -- so one of the local clubs is not of as much use. Then you might want to connect with one of the reputable real estate entrepreneurs, who also do mentoring. D.C. Fawcett, has a good reputation and offers a virtual short sales program that has a mentoring component with DC as your mentor; that program is not cheap however, and if you wanted a less expensive way to come up to speed on short sales, you probably want to start with the free email course which he offers.
As you move towards more advanced levels of real estate investing there is plenty of reason to stay involved. If you learned a lot as a basic investor from the local real estate investment clubs, you really owe it others to give back, and being a mentor to newer investors can be rewarding in and of itself. Additionally the local real estate clubs will be an endless source of networking with investors at all levels, and a good way to build or add to a buyer's list.
Photo credit: cashflow by Casey Saran. The usual disclaimers are of course true here, this material is informative but not prescriptive, and does not give investment advice for your specific cirumstance. You should make your own choices of an appropriate investment strategy, especially when it comes to real estate, based on your unique situation, and rely on your own accountant, and others for legal, tax, and economic specifics. Real estate investment may not be the right choice for everyone.