By Lex Levinrad
Find the local Real Estate Investment Club in your area and go to the meetings. Attend each meeting religiously. Get involved, become a member and make new friends with other investors who want to learn about real estate as much as you do. Network with rehabbers, wholesalers, investors, mortgage brokers, title companies and realtors at these meetings. If you have very little money to get started investing then know that there are partners, private lenders and hard money lenders at these meetings that will help you. Don’t bring a friend who is not interested in real estate. They will want to leave or they will bring their own opinions which will influence yours. Do bring a friend who is as passionate as you are about learning about investing in real estate. If you are a realtor keep in mind that there are many new concepts that you will learn about that you may have not been aware of previously. Be open to that and also be open to new ideas.
Network effectively. Make sure you have a business card with a photo. Your card should describe exactly what you do and who you are. Your website on your card should match what you do and who you are. If it doesn’t you will not be taken seriously. If you are a wholesaler then have a card that says that. Make sure that you get a good quality business card and don’t go for the cheapest option. Get a professional logo and picture taken and use a thicker card stock and pay someone to design your business card (you can do this on www.upwork.com). Do not act like a know it all at meetings or make like you know more than you do. You are there to learn, and you learn best by listening to others. Find out the smart people who are having meaningful conversations and introduce yourself and listen. If you don’t understand something ask. Most investors are more than willing to help new investors.
Do not rush to shove your business card into everyone’s face at every opportunity. Instead make the conversation about the other person (amazing concept). Ask them questions about what they do and be interested. Have one or two meaningful conversations at every meeting with someone new. After a few meetings you will begin to recognize the familiar faces. You will also notice the newbies that show up at every meeting. Those are your potential bird dogs. Don’t skip meetings. That is what newbies do. They show up once or twice and then they don’t come back. If you want to wholesale or fix and flip houses you will need to put in a lot of effort. Start by attending meetings religiously and look at it as a work obligation like an important appointment you can’t miss. Some meetings will not be great and you will question why you bothered going (especially if is raining or the weather is bad). Other meetings will be amazing and you will learn new things and make new connections with other investors.
Remember, you need to know people and they need to know you. The way you do that is by showing up every month at the meeting regardless of how small it is or how many people attend. Attend more than one REIA meeting if you can and there are multiple meetings in an area. Yes, there will be speakers presenting at these meetings and they will often end their presentation with a sales pitch. Look past that. Learn from the one-hour presentation.
Remember you don’t have to sign up for every item that is presented to you (beginners pay attention). Avoid the shiny new object syndrome where every week or month you are on to a new strategy or technique that you heard about. There are no shortcuts. Learn and focus on one thing. Become good at that. Then move on to the next thing. Be wary of charlatans. Every REIA has them. If you are the beginner in the room then as Warren Buffett says, “if you don’t know who the sucker is then it’s you”. So be cautious of the scam artists out there (especially the guys promising you low interest hard money loans with upfront fees).
As a beginner your job is to listen and to learn and network and to educate yourself. Only work with people that have referrals and that other members say good things about. The good people will be easy to spot. They will always show up, will have lots of people who have done business with them, and will have many people who say good things about them. Use your bullshit detector radar. Scam artists are quite easy to spot. Go with your gut feeling about a person. 9 out of 10 times you will be spot on.