- finding deals
- signing contracts
- organizing your marketing efforts
- working on rehabs/renovations
- assessing your future goals
So, when considering joining a local REI club, you might be wondering, “Is it worth my time?”
The answer, in most cases, is a resounding YES!
Today, I’m going to tell you all the reasons why…
But the overall gist is this: Local REI clubs will present you with resources and opportunities that you’re not going to find anywhere else.
- Not in books.
- Not in national courses or seminars.
- Not in your day-to-day interactions.
- Not even online.
Let’s dive right in…
What Qualifies as a REI Club?
So, first off, let’s put a definition on this.
According to Wikipedia (I know, legit resource, right?), REI clubs are:
Clubs formed by individuals who want to invest specifically in real estate.
Mind blowing, right?
Okay, so while that definition is pretty obvious… all you need to know is that some REI clubs are non-profit and others are for-profit groups.
Some may be fairly informal, while others (such as Real Estate Investing Association “REIA” clubs) are more structured groups, as they usually have membership guidelines, rules, etc. A group could be an extension of a national organization, or it could be entirely unique to your location.
But every REI club has something in common or, if it’s a good club, it should have this quality: They have a value that you cannot put a price on.
So, let’s take a look at the specific benefits you can expect when you join a REI club.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
People in many professions have opportunities for ongoing or continued education. These may be in the form of conferences, seminars, courses or more. Why should you, as an entrepreneur, be any different?
Even those who excel in their businesses will always benefit from continuing education in their field. Those people who seem to “have it all together” (you know who I’m talking about) can learn a great deal from a good REI club.
On a casual level, an excellent REI club will have local speakers (such as other investors or experts in relevant industries). This will give you the opportunity to hear success stories (and hopefully some disaster stories too) from people who started out just like you.
On a bigger scale, your REI club should also bring in some more prominent speakers, on occasion. These may be investors who have built highly successful businesses, started their own coaching or mentoring programs, etc.
In all cases, the presentations or seminars offered through your REI club will give you valuable, first-hand exposure to experts who you may not have met otherwise. And, since these groups often allow time for informal conversations/networking before or after the speaker’s presentation, you should have a good chunk of time to ask the speaker your burning questions.
These one-of-a-kind learning experiences can’t compare to REI books, online courses, etc. (although those things do have their own value). The information that you’ll glean from personal interactions with these local and national experts will be immensely beneficial for your own business.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”
The educational component of REI clubs ties in closely with the next advantage of these groups: The awesome networking opportunities.
I think the word “networking” gets a bad rap sometimes…
When most of us hear the word, we imagine a conference or career fair of some sort, with nervous people walking around in business suits, making small talk and wishing for dear life they could be at home on their couch watching Netflix instead.
You won’t experience this negative stereotype at most REI clubs. In fact, many of them are casual environments. You should feel comfortable and welcomed – and there shouldn’t be any pressure to be stuffy or formal.
By attending REI club meetings, you’ll meet a variety of investors. This will give you multiple opportunities to schmooze with:
- A mentor; or even just a more experienced investor who you can bounce ideas off of
- Partners who would be great options for future joint ventures
- Industry-relevant professionals/experts
- Real estate attorneys
- Real estate agents
- Handymen/general contractors/subcontractors
- Title companies
- Mortgage lenders
- Private money lenders
- Insurance companies
- Property managers/property management companies
- Cash buyers
I should also note that finding partners for joint ventures is a great way to diversify your portfolio and to pursue deals that you wouldn’t be able to handle – financially and/or in terms of management, rehabbing, etc. – on your own.
Support & Motivation
“We rise by lifting others.”
~Robert G. Ingersoll, 19th-century U.S. lawyer
I think one challenging aspect of being an investor – especially when you’re first starting out – is that it can sometimes feel isolating.
You may have friends and family who are heading to their “regular” office jobs every day, working 9-5 and enjoying their work-free weekends. A lot of times, it can be difficult for an investor – whose “typical” day is all over the place – to relate to these individuals. (Not that you can’t have friends with traditional jobs – I sure do!)
But my point is: It can be refreshing to meet with like-minded people at your REI club, who are facing career challenges and victories that are similar to your own.
Plus, it can be highly motivating to cheer each other on and to encourage one another through the failures and mess-ups (we all have them).
You may even find a mentor at your REI club, who you can rely on for wisdom and advice. And, as you become more experienced, you can return the favor by mentoring a newbie investor. The great thing is – regardless of whether you’re the mentor or the mentee – there’s a lot to be gained from the relationship.
“There are two kinds of knowledge: local and universal.”
~Ursula K. Le Guin, novelist
The knowledge that you gain from REI groups about your local market is something that you’re probably not going to find online (at least, you might never come across it online).
When local laws/policies that affect real estate investors are changed or created, you’ll most likely hear about these first at your local REI group. It can save you a lot of headaches if you know the information right away, as opposed to finding out about it halfway through a rehab, for instance.
Other examples of info you might hear at REI clubs are:
- The houses on Chestnut Street are having issues with leaking basements.
- Contractor Joe Schmoe is known for doing cheap, faulty work.
- A new Walmart and Home Depot are going up on the east side of town.
- The Taylor Park neighborhood is starting to go downhill; two people were arrested there last week.
…you get the point. Hearing this type of information can be incredibly beneficial as you look for property deals in your local neighborhoods.
Every good thing has a downside (doesn’t it?)
In the case of REI clubs, really the only downside is that you may need to pay membership fees (depending on how the club is structured).
Now, as with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Expect clubs that have higher membership fees to be bringing in top-notch experts and speakers. If you find that this isn’t the case, move on to another group.
Most groups will charge between $50-$200 per year, which – in the grand scheme of things – is nothing. Considering that you’ll likely find several property deals through connections at your club, the membership dues will more than pay for themselves.
Watch out for groups that are charging an arm and a leg. This is usually a bad sign. REI clubs are designed to be informational and educational in nature. Anything that has an extravagant price tag is probably not in your best interests.
Also, make sure it’s not a “club” that promotes the leader’s specific program, books, software, etc. that they just want to sell you. Those types of events might be helpful, on rare occasions, but they don’t offer the benefits that you’re looking to get out of a genuine REI club.
Sign Me Up!
That’s really all there is to it. This topic certainly isn’t rocket science. If you’re able to put some time – and maybe a little bit of money – into joining and attending a REI club, you’ll most likely gain knowledge, emotional support, motivation, resources, connections, and much, much more.
What has been your experience with REI clubs?
Let me know (the good and the bad!) below.