Want to find other investors in your area? Maybe you are looking for cash buyers, motivated sellers, fixers, flippers, and lenders? Where do you turn? Look no further than your local real estate investment group. You’ll find nearly every kind of real estate investor imaginable (or connections to them) to help you build your team, find profitable investment properties, and avoid rookie pitfalls in real estate investing.
You don’t have to be in a huge metro area. Even small towns have real estate investment groups. Wherever people live and work, there are investment opportunities in real estate. Sure, some markets appreciate better than others, but as long as you aren’t in a town where jobs are scarce and businesses are shutting down and shipping out, you can find opportunities. If there are some signs of economic growth in your town, heed advice from seasoned investors in the area. Remember, every large city was once a small town and I’m sure you could find plenty of examples of booming real estate markets, such as Scottsdale, AZ, that were small and lacked excitement long ago.
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Smaller up and coming cities without huge bandwagons of investors shouldn’t turn you off. Just because a market is quiet doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. Likewise, if a market is hot, do your research to make sure it’s warranted. As Warren Buffet says, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” It’s sound and timeless advice. What if you were greedy in 2009-2010 when everyone was freaking out about plummeting housing prices? You’d be in pretty good shape now, especially in regards to our Scottsdale example.
Interview with Liz Nichols, an Iowa RE Investing Group Organizer
In order to get better insight into real estate investing groups, our CEO Jeri Frank sits down with Liz Nichols. Liz, who you’ve seen in previous posts on hard money lending, is also the leader of the Iowa City Area Real Estate Investing Group in the Eastern Iowa corridor. Although AssetRover is a real estate technology company with a national focus, we are based out of Cedar Rapids, IA and we attend this meetup. This group embodies the positive principles that we mention in this article. The group alternates locations between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City/Coralville every month.
In the early 2000s, there was a REIA group in Cedar Rapids. Liz was active in the group, but with the real estate crash, the group suffered. When Liz decided to get back into real estate again, she noticed there was no similar real estate group in Iowa City and started one there. This group attracted members from Cedar Rapids as well, and grew to serve the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor area. This small group with only a few initial members has grown to include over 180 real estate investors in the Eastern Iowa area.
“It’s important I think for local investors to meet locally,” said Liz. “There are several good reasons for this. One, it’s usually a very inexpensive, and even free often, meeting place for individuals who are interested in real estate. Aside from that, often you have to go find a national group, and that will be expensive for travel as well as for fees that are often charged at the national level.”
“We try to find a public meeting space, a public library in one of the communities that we’re serving. If not, every once in a while we’ll meet at a local restaurant or local bar,” said Liz.
How Does a Real Estate Investment Group Benefit You?
There are many great reasons to get in touch with your local real estate investment group:
- Members can help you decide if a local market is hot or not.
- If times are tough, the members will be by your side watching the market with you and finding early opportunities to strike.
- Connect with cash buyers for your fix and flip projects.
- Find money from private money lenders who can help you when the banks won’t.
- Learn about real estate calculations and what market rents and property values typically are in the area.
Many topics are covered in these investor group meetings. “We have to cycle around to Real Estate 101 every once in a while because we do have new people coming in all the time. Sometimes we’ll have a meet and greet where we’ll informally have a group of people who are experienced and a group of new investors, and it gives the new investors an opportunity in a smaller setting to ask their questions,” said Liz. “We have property management sometimes as a topic…really, everything from investing in tax liens and foreclosure property, wholesaling, everything from that to landlording. We really try to cover a broad range, particularly with residential real estate.”
Not All Real Estate Investment Groups Require Money
If you think a real estate investment group is like an “angel investor club”, think again. This isn’t like your typical investor club where people throw money in a pot and find an investment to pool together and purchase. If this is what you are looking for, you could certainly find others willing to do deals like this, but that is not the only intent of the group I’m talking about. A proper real estate investment group is all about networking via learning, mentoring and using strength in numbers to your advantage.
Strength in Numbers
Having a list of interested real estate investors is huge when you want to flip, wholesale, get rid of a property, or pick up a good buy and hold. A local real estate investment group will “be your most reliable group of buyers,” says Liz. “If you’re a wholesaler, for example, you can e-mail people in the investment group, a hundred and eighty members in the Eastern Iowa corridor, and they’re interested in real estate. They want to buy real estate. That is your ready-made buyers list. Why not join a local group? Particularly if you’re wholesaling, that’s a way of finding your buyers. If you’re looking for property, people all the time are selling property, so you can find not only buyers, but you can find properties as well.”
As Always, Watch for the Scammers
A good real estate investment group should not be “elitist”. Don’t just join any investment group. Look at the group’s reputation, goals, and willingness to help. Some groups bring in “gurus” every month to give you a sales pitch and try to get you to buy their product. Understand the difference between education and running scams to get people’s money. It’s okay for a speaker to promote their own products–that’s the perk they get from taking time to prepare a lesson or speech for your group and they deserve some publicity. The problem is when the speaker tries to manipulate you into putting money towards an investment or service without allowing you to use your best judgement.
Even an Experienced Investor Could Learn Something from a Group
Just because you are a seasoned investor, you shouldn’t believe that a real estate investment group s useless or that you are too advanced or “too good” for one. Mentorship is very rewarding and you were also a beginner once! If you think you are already an expert and don’t need other people or mentors to help you, stop, come back to reality, and never forget that there are always opportunities to learn from others. Even a newbie could give you a fresh perspective. Besides, you remember only a fraction of what you learn, but you remember 100% of what you teach. Refine and refresh your own skills by teaching others. This keeps you from getting rusty on the fundamentals.
Find a Group Near You
Hopefully you have a new appreciation for real estate investor groups and want to find one in your area. Here are a few good resources:
Meetup.com – Don’t overlook the local unaffiliated groups out there. Smaller cities may not have official REIAs. Despite their smaller stature, plenty of people attend. These people are avid real estate investors or people who want to learn. The seasoned investors have a wealth of experience and knowledge that you can benefit from!
During the interview, Liz mentioned a few books that inspired her as an investor. If you would like to get more information on these books or purchase them, please follow the links below:
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Anyone stuck in the rat-race of living paycheck to paycheck, enslaved by the house mortgage and bills, will appreciate this breath of fresh air. Robert Kiyosak’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad will give you insight into the methods that have created more than a few millionaires. As proven by the runaway success of The Secret and like titles, changing one’s thinking to influence one’s fortune sells big, and forms the basis of Rich Dad’s advice. Learn to think like a Rich Dad and let your money work for you!
Think and Grow Rich
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a bestseller and one for all ages, a modern day classic filled with ideas which have the power to change your life and set you upon the path of learning and self development. This book conveys the experience of more than 500 men of great wealth, who began at scratch, with nothing to give in return for riches except thoughts, ideas, and organized plans. Here you have the entire philosophy of moneymaking, just as it was organized from the actual achievements of the most successful men known to the American people during the past fifty years. It describes what to do and how to do it! It presents complete instructions on how to sell your personal services. It provides you with a perfect system of self-analysis that will readily disclose what has been standing between you and “the big money” in the past.
With more than a million copies in print, Robert G. Allen’s Nothing Down for the ’90s has probably helped more people achieve success in real estate than any book in history. Countless numbers of his readers are now financially independent and many actual millionaires attribute their wealth to his techniques. Why has this blockbuster bestseller been so successful? The answer is simple: it works! Now, in one of the most practical books you’ll ever read, Robert Allen has created effective new wealth strategies for investing in real estate.
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For more information on the Iowa City Area Real Estate Investor Meetup, visit the official meetup site at meetup.com/iowa-city-area-real-estate-investor-meetup. You may also email Liz Nichols at [email protected], call her at (319) 359-0656.
The information presented does not consider your particular investment objectives or financial situation and does not make personalized recommendations. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal, or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, AssetRover recommends consultation with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, Financial Planner or Investment Manager.