No matter what level of commercial real estate expertise you have, it’s helpful to network with other investors who can help you reach your goals. Enter real estate investing clubs, groups, and associations.
Real estate investing clubs serve a few purposes -- and each club may have a specific focus. You'll find groups for networking, education, deal funding, and more.
Not all members of these groups purchase property directly. Clubs also include accountants, lawyers, agents, lenders, wholesalers, and bankers -- all crucial players in real estate transactions.
Getting to know these and other investors before you actually need them may lead to smoother future transactions. You’ll already have an arsenal of resources to tap.
A club could be a handful of people or hundreds, all with their own stories and journeys to share. A club can help you the easy way -- others can tell you about their experiences so you don't make their mistakes. They can also offer educational opportunities that you may find useful. You might see seminars on legal trends, legislative updates, or financing.
Find a real estate investing club near you
You can find a local real estate investing club through the National Real Estate Investors Association (NREIA). You can also ask around within your own network to see who belongs to a club, if they like it, and what it's all about.
There are virtual real estate investing groups or clubs that meet online, but you may get more out of it by meeting people in person. After all, real estate is local, so keeping in touch with those who work near you and putting faces to names could give you a better shot at sourcing off-market deals. You can use those connections to create meaningful, long-lasting business relationships.
Watch for fees
Real estate investing is a business, and you may want to minimize investing club fees until you know it's worth it. Some real estate investing clubs charge membership fees of $100 per month or more while others are free to join. Free clubs might charge fees for events or other programs.
However, there may be financial perks that help you make back your membership fees. NREIA and associated local REIA members get discounts and incentives from other companies, such as a 2% annual rebate and discounts from Home Depot and a 10% discount on junk removal.
Some other real estate groups may require members to pool money together to make investments. This is becoming more common with Opportunity Zone Funds, which are tax-advantaged ways to purchase and hold properties in economically-depressed areas.
Start your own real estate investing club
If you don’t come across a real estate investing club that suits your needs and interests, you could start your own. Post your interest on Craigslist or online forums such as those at BiggerPockets or ConnectedInvestors. Come up with a plan for what you’d like members to get out of the club or group.
If your goal is to partner with other members on deals, it’s a good idea to lay out some parameters for how you’d like to go about it. Then you can share that with prospective members. It might also be helpful to
Find -- or create -- a club that works for you
Not sure exactly what you want or could get out of a real estate investing club or group? That’s okay.
It doesn’t hurt to go to a few meetings and give some groups a try. Don’t be shy: People cannot help you unless you tell them what you’re up to! Share what you want to do, how others can help you, and how you can be useful to the group.
A real estate investing group can be a gateway to abundant educational resources, valuable contacts, and mentors. If nothing else -- even if the meeting is lame -- you could meet a few new people to have coffee dates and bounce project ideas off of.