Your network equals your net worth.
It is true that the people you choose to be around will generally have a significant influence on you, either good or bad. This is true for all areas of your life, including real estate investing. To take it a step further, I believe that leveraging the knowledge, resources and good will of those people in the business of successful investing will not only help you get started, they will also be a critical source of the leads and opportunities that are the life blood of any real estate business. I would like to explore the many ways of meeting the people who will help you on your journey to successful investing. This is all about networking to find real estate deals.
Joining your local REIA (real estate investing association) is probably the simplest and quickest way to meet like-minded investors. Google “real estate investing association + your city” and you will likely find multiple groups. These groups generally contain everybody from beginners to experts. The 1st rule is not to be shy. Get out of your comfort zone and talk to as many people as practical. To network effectively, you must show sincere, genuine interest in the people you are meeting. Ask questions, be curious and most importantly try to figure out how you can help them. The most important question might be ”how can I help you be more successful?” If they are unsure how to answer the question, here are a few ideas: 1. Offer to help find deals (more on that later). 2. Help connect them with other resources they might need (find out what they need). 3. Can you provide money that would allow you to joint venture on a deal? 4. Offer to help in their business in exchange for mentoring. Of course, you eventually will need to qualify who are the best people to associate with more closely. If you are unsure how to vet people in the room, ask the organizer who would be the best people to “partner” with. The more people you meet, the more opportunities that will present them selves.
In addition to the local real estate investor association, there are other groups for real estate investors (search for them at www.meetup.com). You can also network with RE agents and brokers by just calling them (find them by googling “distressed property agents”, “REO agents”, “short sale specialists”, etc). Title officers can also be a great source of leads or lists of potentially distressed property owners. Contractors you meet might be a good source of property leads too, so make sure you ask. Follow-up with all these people and tell them what you are trying to do, but be prepared to get some no’s before you get a yes. The key is that you will use their services when you buy and sell properties. Be persistent!
Other ways to meet valuable contacts and find opportunities are 1. Calling the numbers on “We buy houses for cash” signs 2. Craigslist ads for distressed properties and cash buyers 3. Tell everybody you meet what you are now doing and find out if they know anybody you should meet.
The only cost for networking is your time. The more you put yourself in situations to meet people that can help you, the faster you will find success. Don’t get discouraged, because not everybody will want to help you or be a good fit. It is a number game, so get on it now!