Finding Local Real Estate Information and Contacts

Posted on October 14, 2010 by

Whether you are an experienced real estate investor or a beginner, there is an available local resource you might want to check out.

Where can you find investor friendly vendors, professionals, funding sources, contractors, other investors, realtors, lenders, as well as affordable education, local information and great networking with people who understand what you are doing and speak a common language?

You can find all of this and more at a well run investor group. They go by various names. They may be called Landlord groups, Investor associations, Investor clubs, etc.

You will find them on the Internet.  Generally the bigger groups will have a Website and may be on Social Networking Sites. You can do a Google search.  Simply put in your city and the name “REIA” (Real Estate Investor Association” or Alliance), you might also look for “Landlord Associations or Groups”.  You may find them by going to other sites, for example National Real Estate Investor Association (National REIA), etc.

A  Real Estate Investors Association (REIA) is a group of individuals who band together to involve themselves in “investing” primarily in single family housing.  The early REIA grew out of the “creative real estate” movement following the teachings of Al Lowery, Robert G Allen and others. They evolved into support groups following the teachings of the Real estate “Gurus” who taught techniques to acquire finance manage and dispose of single family houses.  Over the years a body of knowledge specific to this niche market was developed and widely disseminated among the leaders and members of the various groups. Some of the local groups banded together to form a national association to disseminate information pertinent to the operation of the various groups. The original group, the National Leadership Congress, evolved through several name and structure changes to become National Real Estate Investor Association.

Some groups are “For Profit” and some are “Non Profits”. The Non Profits will have a 501 C3 or C6 designations per IRS code. The business structure is much less important than the level of service provided. There are excellent groups in both categories. A number of the “For Profits” have chosen not to go through the hoops necessary to become a “Non Profit”. Most groups rely on volunteers to provide  at least a portion of the operation of the group.

If there are several groups in your area, you might want to check them all out. Each group will have a slightly different flavor. Talk with people at the various groups.  Ask them about the other groups in the area. Some major cities will have several groups.

If you attend a workshop or “investor conference” ask the participants about groups in your area. The “seminar promoters” will generally know of local groups.  Many of the presenters at the workshops came up through the local groups and may still be actively involved in a local organization.

Understand that in general groups have an open door policy. This means that the group does not have the resources to check out each prospective member and that you are responsible to do your own “due diligence” when contemplating a business relationship with anyone you meet there.

Understand that even the “Non Profits” require funds to operate and that they cannot operate without some form of revenue.  Generally they will charge “dues or membership fees” and will charge for seminars, workshops etc. They generally will receive a portion of the sales price of “products” sold at their meetings. Without a source of revenue they will not be able to keep their doors open.

The better groups will have vendors, trade people, etc. who are investor friendly and in many cases will arrange discounts for members.

One of the ways to get maximum benefit out of a group is to “volunteer” it will give you an opportunity to develop relationships with other members as well as the leadership of the organization.

Take advantage of local workshops and seminars.  Generally they are taught by local practitioners. This is where a lot of good information is disseminated by the local movers and shakers.

Invest in your continuing education. Some of the most successful investors I know are still educating themselves. You can do it the hard way and learn by experience or you can take advantage of someone else’s experience. It is generally better to shorten the learning curve. You may run out of focus and money before you learn enough if you try to do it all by yourself.

You will benefit from a group in direct proportion to what effort you expend. Actively participate. Remember why you there. It is good to volunteer but remember that you came to learn and APPLY what you have learned. Set goals and hold yourself accountable. Examine your involvement in the group and ask yourself “what benefits have I received for the time and effort I have expanded?”

Gordon CattsAbout the Author: Gordon Catts has a widely diversified real estate background. He has been involved in building, appraisal, title work, and brokerage, as well as training, mentoring and consulting. Gordon has trained thousands of real estate investors nationally, as well as locally in the Greater Atlanta area. Gordon is a long time member of several real estate groups and have been involved in the formation of several local associations.


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