My friend, Caroline, hit me up the other day to talk about some of the best ways she and her fellow New York real estate investors could connect with other, more experienced investors for networking. She just started flipping houses in Rochester and her brother, Eric, is thinking about investing in Albany real estate. I’m in New York City, but, unlike Caroline and Eric, I’ve been buying, renovating, and reselling property for a long time. So, she knew I’d have some advice on the subject.
For the most part, I told her, other real estate investors are not difficult to find in most of New York’s major metropolitan areas, including Rochester and Albany. Becoming a member of an investment club or association is usually pretty easy too. And, I happened to know of a few good ones outside of New York City that have decent reputations.
Where to Connect with New York Real Estate Investors
Investing in New York real estate is a competitive endeavor, no matter which part of the state you live and work in. To get your foot in the door and have any chance at succeeding, you’ve got to have solid training in real estate investing under your belt at the outset. Not knowing how to accurately analyze the numbers on a deal, for example, could cause you to skip over a good investment or make the mistake of buying a bad one. But, training is only the half of it. As your career progresses, you’re going to need advice on a variety of issues from where to find an electrician to rewire an entire house to which real estate investor insurance broker to use. And, you’re going to want the best advice from the most reliable sources in town so that you can become a competitive force in your local market.
That’s where real estate investment clubs and associations may come in. They’re specifically designed to provide opportunities for investors of all experience levels to meet, exchange ideas, learn new skills, and get support. Throughout New York, we’ve got plenty of them. Here are a handful outside of the Big Apple that might be near you:
Tri-County REIA of Western New York
Tri-County REIA of Western New York serves three counties, including Ontario, Wayne, and Monroe. So, if you’re a new investor in Rochester, like Caroline, becoming a member of this real estate investor association could potentially connect you with peers from several local markets, not just your own corner of the county. Meetings are held monthly in Farmington and cover everything from using social media to build your business to how to write offers that get accepted. Membership is $199 per year for individuals and $249 per year for partners. This gets you access to all the meetings, your own website and Facebook page, property listings, and discounts with local and national vendors. You also get a free consultation with the group’s founder to help you strategize how to get the most out of membership.
But, for as interesting as the topics covered in these once-monthly meetings are, the meetings themselves don’t happen often enough to give you what you’re really looking for: access to a network of experienced investors. For a tri-county association, membership is surprisingly low and meeting attendance even lower. Sometimes as few as two people attend, including the organizer. At that rate, it could to take you years to build your network—unless you find another way to connect with your more experienced peers.
Action Investors Network (AIN)
AIN is an Albany-based real estate investment group with an impressive 800-plus members. So, if you’re like Eric, and need guidance on how to get started as a new investor or if you’re more experienced and need insurance-related advice about your investment properties, your chances of connecting with the right people are better than average. The group meets monthly in Latham to discuss everything from flipping houses to managing large apartment buildings. They encourage both new and experienced investors to join. Your first meeting is free too. Thereafter, you’ll pay annual dues of $199. But, at least you can give the group a try before you buy.
In trying to build your network, however, you’ll want to go to as many meetings as
possible and, unfortunately, that’s going to cost you. Your membership fee doesn’t actually give you entry to meetings. There’s a $20 door fee for members and that number jumps to $36 if you want dinner. Non-members are charged $40 to enter. So, if you join this club and go to every monthly meeting, at $36 a pop plus the membership fee you’ll pay $631 a year just for the pleasure of their company. And, that nickel-and-diming doesn’t include drinks or a guarantee that you’ll be able to find the team you need to grow your business.
Onondaga County Real Estate Investors Club (OCREIC)
OCREIC has been serving Central New York since 1980. So, if you’re a Syracuse-based investor, or would like to be one, the years of investing experience you could be exposed to by joining this club makes for a strong argument to sign up. They have one main monthly meeting in Syracuse and, occasionally, additional networking events, training sessions, and neighborhood tours are scheduled too. There are multiple payment options available to members, including a $20 monthly fee or a $200 annual fee for individuals, and joining gives you membership into the Centerstate Chamber of Commerce as well—another potential source for local networking opportunities.
Unfortunately, being a member of both the OCREIC and the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t automatically grant you a network of experienced real estate investors who can help you learn the nuts and bolts of investing. Sure, the meetings cover a lot of topics, including local ordinances and happenings that affect investing. But, when you’re just starting out, you’re going to need to know how to evaluate the ROI of a property, as well as how to find a deal in the first place. And, what if there’s a snag in closing a contract? You’ll need help unraveling that too. It’s not that you won’t meet, become friends, and even work with other professionals by joining. But, it does mean you’ll still have to work hard to create the kind of critical connections that can propel your career forward—especially since the meetings don’t seem to be designed for that purpose.
Obviously, joining an investment club or association does have the potential to connect you with other New York real estate investors. But, it will take time to build your network and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be skilled enough to provide the support you need when you need it. In my opinion, the best business connections are often built right into a team from the get-go anyway. And, there’s only one team I know of that’ll give you the guidance you need right out of the gate.
A Better Selection of the Best Built-In Connections
Before I started investing real estate full-time, I attended several investment clubs and association meetings so that I could meet my fellow investors and get advice on how to handle some of the snags I was dealing with. I have to say, however, that most of the time it was an effort in futility since the majority of investors I met were as inexperienced as me. It’s not that I didn’t meet some good people—I did. But, in terms of getting some of my business problems solved, I often felt like I was better off handling them on my own.
Then, I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. By joining the nationally-known “We Buy Ugly Houses®” team, I gained immediate access to a network of fellow franchisees with more experience and interest in helping me reach my investing goals faster. I was set up with one-on-one mentoring with a seasoned Development Agent who made it her business to ensure that my business stayed on track. Before long, thanks to the help of my team and a lot of elbow grease, I was investing full-time. Now, I help other new investors, like Caroline and Eric, do it too.
Get the best selection of built-in investing connections. Contact HomeVestors to see about becoming a New York franchisee today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.