A former corporate colleague of mine, Patrick, read through some online directories and found that there were several real estate investment clubs in Pennsylvania that might give him what he was looking for. As a novice investor, that included a chance to network with his more experienced peers, get support for overcoming some of the snags he’d run into, and maybe even find a mentor. He’d, technically, already learned how to buy and sell homes for profit, but wasn’t exactly doing a bang-up job of implementing his new skills.
By the time we ran into each other over at Northland Public Library around the corner from my Pittsburgh office on Cumberland, he’d grown tired of an investing business that wasn’t growing. That explains his recent exploration into investment clubs. I remember doing the same at an early point in my professional investing career, too. It was because I’d been there before that I could to tell him where the most opportunities to network for the greatest amount of support might be found.
The Top Real Estate Investment Clubs in Pennsylvania
Whether you’ve already received training as a real estate investor or are just starting to consider it, the idea of joining a Pennsylvania real estate investment club has probably crossed your radar. And, why wouldn’t it? It can be one of the easiest ways to make good friends and learn how to make a great living—and, faster than if you leaped into investing on your own. But, what you might not have considered is that, just as there are pros to joining a club, there can be cons. So, be sure to look before you jump into club membership anywhere. To that end, here’s a rundown of some of the top clubs in the state that might be worth joining.
ACRE of Pittsburgh, Inc.
ACRE serves more than 2,500 club members of Pittsburgh’s real estate investing community. So, whether you’re buying, rehabbing, and reselling homes or holding properties as rentals, you stand a chance of finding your tribe there. And, because of the group’s emphasis on education, the opportunities to hone your craft are many and varied, too. Everything from the pros and cons of being a landlord to how you can safely navigate local tax laws are covered either in the group’s main monthly meeting or during one of its specialty workshops. And, all experience levels are welcome. So, even if you’ve just started your real estate investing career, the annual individual membership fee of only $144.00 gets you access to the same benefits as old hats like myself.
Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that the benefits really add up to much. For as big as this group is, few networking or educational opportunities outside of the main monthly meetings seem to get scheduled. That may be because the club isn’t terribly organized or because attendance is never high enough to justify scheduling more events. But, whatever the reason, an empty calendar won’t help you build your network or your skill set—not quickly, anyway. Even when other events and classes do make it on the books, attendance is typically discounted, not free. So, I’m not sure what you actually get for joining this club, except, maybe, a lot of unmet needs.
Philadelphia Real Estate Investors Association (REIA)
The Philadelphia Real Estate Investors Association (REIA) boasts more than 8,000 members, making it one of the largest clubs in the state. If only a fraction of those members attend a couple of meetings a month, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to network with seasoned investors, contractors, attorneys, local hard money lenders, and anyone else who works in Philly’s real estate industry. The odds of finding a mentor to work with you look pretty decent as well. And, you’ll get access to some great classes. So, brushing up on your negotiating techniques or improving your chances of buying a foreclosure auction home are there for the taking. It’ll only cost you between $10 to $50, on average, to take advantage of these business-building events, too.
One of the problems with this club, however, is that its once-a-month main meeting focuses primarily on pitching deals. As a new investor, you may not have any deals to pitch—or enough cash on hand to buy them. Of course, you may still learn a lot about buying and selling properties by attending. But, you won’t gain much insight into generating leads on investment properties. As for gathering this info from another class, you may have to wait—and a good long while, too. While the Philly REIA pitch meetings are always on the calendar, opportunities to learn more from your experienced peers aren’t.
IN NEPA Real Estate Group
The IN NEPA Real Estate Group offers membership to investors and their industry colleagues who work in and around the northeastern region of the state. So, if you’re investing in real estate in Scranton, Pennsylvania, joining this club may be for you. It has fewer members than some of the big city groups, but they’re just as dedicated to helping each other reach their goals. And, a more intimate setting could actually have a greater impact—especially if it allows you the time and space to really get to know the people who will become your network and, maybe, your mentor.
Except that, sometimes, these more intimate meetings equate to only three people in attendance. And, the fewer members who attend, the less likely you are to build your network as fast as you need to—or, with people who are more experienced than you are. In general, that’s a major concern with many real estate investment clubs, big and small; the most devoted attendees also tend to be the least experienced. That’s great, of course, if your goal is to make new friends who will help cheer you on. But, if your goal is to quickly build your property portfolio so that you can quickly build an income, you’ll need more than a few good friends. You’re going to need a highly experienced network.
You can probably tell that I’m not a huge fan of real estate investment clubs. But, it’s not because I think they’re all bad. It’s because I know that if what you need is access to a supportive network, the ability to receive timely advice, and perhaps even the option to work with a mentor, you can do better. In fact, if you go where I went—and still go—for these things, you have the chance to do very well indeed.
Skip the Clubs and Go Right for the Support
When Patrick heard that I’d once turned to several of Pennsylvania’s real estate investment clubs as a way to, hopefully, beef up my business, he was noticeably relieved. But, once I gave him the lowdown on the impact these clubs really have on your career, his relief turned to disappointment. Don’t worry, I didn’t let him linger there long before driving my next point home.
That point? That nothing compares to a top-notch, built-in network of support that you don’t have to struggle for. And, as an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, like me, that’s exactly what you get—immediately after your initial week-long training, too. You get access to an entire network of regional franchisees to support your professional investing endeavors. Plus, you get your own seasoned Development Agent to mentor you through each stage of business growth and to help you facilitate more growth. That is much more bang for your buck than any investment club can ever provide. And, I’ve got a successful Pennsylvania HomeVestors® franchise to prove it.
Stop struggling to get the support you need. Skip the real estate investment clubs and call HomeVestors about becoming a Pennsylvania franchisee, like Patrick did, today!
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.
HomeVestors of America® is the nation’s only real estate investing franchise, providing business opportunities to real estate and investment professionals across the nation.