Last Updated on May 22, 2020 by Mark Ferguson
Real estate investor association clubs can be a great way to find amazing deals. The clubs offer numerous educational opportunities and networking opportunities as well. The groups can be free, or some have a membership fee. Like anything in life, you get what you put into it. If you are willing to go to meetups, talk to other investors, and ask for help, you will get much more out of it than if you sit in a corner and don’t say a word. I have been to a few clubs and even spoken at a few as well. REIA clubs are not magic and will not make you an investor, but they can be a useful tool. Some clubs can even get you discounts at stores like Home Depot.
What are real estate investor association clubs?
REIA clubs are for real estate investors to mingle and share ideas. Many REIA clubs have monthly meetings with guest speakers who are experts in their field. The meetings usually consist of a speaker, time to network, and food or drinks. I have spoken at a couple of REIA club meetings to discuss HUD homes and how investors can get a great deal on them. There will be lenders, real estate agents, and many other investors at REIA club meetings.
Some clubs have online sites, newsletters, and even coaching programs. Each club is different and runs a little differently than the next one.
What does an REI club cost?
Many clubs are free and open to anyone who wants to join or attend a meeting. Other clubs have monthly or yearly fees to join. Some clubs are very expensive, or their main focus is to sell very expensive coaching programs. Most of the clubs I have spoken at have been free and open to anyone.
We belong to one club that has a $200 a year membership fee. I don’t think I have been to any of there meetings in years, but because we are a member, we get a 2% discount on everything at Home Depot. It is well worth being a member for that perk, and while I have heard that Home Depot may be getting rid of this program, it is still active in my area.
What can you learn at a real estate club?
Many people go to REAI clubs to learn or they want to here people speak about certain topics. There are a number of things you can learn at the meetings, but as with anything, the quality of what you learn depends on the speakers and the people who run the club.
I have seen some clubs make some pretty outrageous claims and offer some less than stellar advice because they are trying to sell their own coaching programs. They are going for the shock and awe marketing technique to get attention without caring about the bad advice they are putting out there. Other clubs are very honest and offer a lot of great advice.
You can learn about a number of different subjects in a meeting or club:
- Rental properties
- Note buying
- Real estate agents
- Finding deals
- Much more
I would advise to learn from more than one source and not get too excited about the outrageous claims that might come from some clubs, especially if they are trying to sell a very expensive coaching program.
Who can you network with at the meetings?
One of the big advantages of the REAI meetups is networking with people who may be able to help your business. I have met some cool people at the meetings, but again, be wary and don’t get too excited.
There are many wholesalers at real estate investor clubs who could be very valuable to any investor. A wholesaler finds properties to buy but usually does not want to fix and flip the house or rent it out themselves. They want to flip the property quickly, and in some cases, without even buying the house. Wholesalers prefer to sell or assign their deals to investors, and many times, the houses are sold well below market value.
One of the main reasons I attended meetings was to meet wholesalers and to start building relationships. A key ingredient to any investor’s successful strategy is finding properties at below market value. I never met any wholesalers at an REAI meetup that sold me a deal. I met a lot of wholesalers, but I think most of them were very new. I have bought houses from many wholesalers, but I met them through many other means.
There will be many wholesalers at meetups but realize they may be very new and just learning the business. A lot of them have high expectations. which is great, but don’t expect a ton of deals to start flowing your way from every wholesaler you meet. I would estimate 1 out of 10 people who call themselves a wholesaler will ever do a deal.
There are usually a few hard-money lenders at the meetings, or they may even sponsor or put on the meeting. Hard-money lenders specialize in financing house flips, but the loans can work for rental properties as well in some cases. I have used hard money a few times but prefer private or bank money.
You will usually see local hard-money lenders at the meetups. I have learned to be very cautious of the local lenders. I have had deals fall apart because a local hard-money lender turned out not to have any money to lend! The local lenders can also be much more expensive than the bigger, national hard-money lenders.
Many people think other real estate investors are their competition and to be wary of them. That is true, but they can also help your business. Many successful investors are willing to share their experiences to help others, and they may be able to help your business as well. They may be a buyer for your wholesale deals, or they may have too many deals themselves and look to sell some occasionally.
I would meet all the local investors you can and make friends with as many as you can. You do not have to give away all your secrets, but having those connections can be a huge help.
Real estate agents
There may be investor-friendly real estate agents at the meetups as well. Some agents at these meetings are great and others not so much. It does not hurt to network and consider using them if you need a real estate agent. I would take your search seriously and not just work with the first agent you find.
How do you find real estate meetups?
It can be tough to find meetups, especially if you are in a small area. There are not any local consistent meetups by me. I have to travel about an hour to find one. I found those meetups through networking. Other investors I knew told me about them. You can also find meetups through sites like Bigger Pockets, local Facebook investing groups, Meetup.com, or online searches.
REIA meetups and clubs can be a great resource for networking and learning. However, I would not rely on them solely to provide you with everyone and everything you need to know. I would also curb your enthusiasm if you are expecting to meet 20 people who will constantly bring you deals from the clubs. Most meetings are full of new investors looking to learn.