When I first decided to get into real estate investing in South Florida years ago, I thought I could go it alone. While I was able to find a few distressed property owners and had a bit of experience separating safe bets from risky ones, I wasn’t able to do it quickly. Deals were made, but it took so long that I couldn’t afford to make the transition to a full-time investor—though not for lack of trying. That’s when I went looking for help.
I’ve always counted my personal network as a great asset. It includes successful professionals in many respected fields from law, medicine, and business. But, I couldn’t find a professional real estate investor to serve as my mentor. So, I started looking into real estate investor meetings in South Florida to see if I could encounter smart, seasoned investors to learn from. After a series of fits and starts, I finally found what I was looking for.
Now that I’m further along in my journey, I use my experience to help guide newer investors to where they’ll find the most success. And, one of the biggest questions I get is about whether or not it’s worth it to check out some local investor meetings. Here’s my take.
Why Attend Real Estate Investor Meetings in South Florida?
Network, network, network. Attending South Florida meetings for real estate investors can provide value in many ways, such as educational presentations or illuminating case studies. But, the most important potential benefit of these meetings is establishing and growing your professional network.
Building a strong network of professional peers significantly improves your ability to more effectively invest in real estate. Find a solid mentor within that network and they can lead you through the unanticipated hiccups and hardships that invariably blister even the sweetest potential deals. They can help you answer all the little questions that arise and steer you clear of hidden pitfalls.
Your network will improve your chances of optimizing your investments. Mentors in particular, and your network-at-large, can introduce you to trustworthy, hardworking contractors to handle any improvements you need to help rehab the property. They will likely have worked with local government permitting agencies, lenders, insurance companies, and legal professionals, all of whom have a say in your project’s success. When it’s time to reap your rewards, they can introduce you to seasoned real estate agents who’ll work smart to bring you the best possible sale price.
So, where should you go to establish a network, and find a mentor?
The Top Real Estate Investors Meetings in Southern Florida
First, pick a side. As you know, there’s still a lot of swamp in between the Atlantic and Gulf coastal cities and communities. If you live in Fort Myers, you’ll be hard-pressed to travel to Boca for weekly meetings, let alone to supervise renovations. So, look for associations or meetups specific to your area. Here are a few that have been on my radar for a while:
South East Florida Real Estate Investors Association
The South East Florida Real Estate Investors Association is free to join and hosts weekly lunch meetups in Broward County. They also host other area meetings less frequently, including a bus tour of bank-owned houses. Their meetings cover a wide range of investment topics and offer a chance to meet a circle of experienced investors.
While a number of investors have come through this association over the years, they’re not all at every meeting. Depending on the week, you may only run into two or three other people. Also, while membership is free, lunch isn’t, and attendees are expected to chip in $5 for the meeting. Finally, it’s a good idea to be wary of cash-for-mentorship deals. Is your mentor in it to help you, or to collect on as many mentees as possible? Will you buy any of the houses on the bus tour, or will you get sold?
Miami-Dade Real Estate Investors Association
Focused on the Miami-Dade region, this professional association hosts monthly meetups, seminars, and bootcamps to provide investment education to members. With a dedicated mentorship program, this association demonstrates an effort to connect and help newer and less experienced investors. But, a yearly fee is required to join this association.
The fee for a 6-month membership is $150, and additional seminars and meetings cost extra. It’s always a good idea to try before you buy, so seek a way to attend a meeting or two before agreeing to the fee. The mentorship program available requires upfront tuition and a significant percentage of profits on deals, in return for financing and experience.
Without other financing options, this may seem attractive, but be sure to run the numbers. It takes a lot of time and effort to renovate and sell a home—so beware of the opportunity costs. If your share of profits divided by the hours you expect to put in doesn’t beat washing dishes, go wash dishes.
Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association
On Gulf Coast, this association includes real estate investors and related professionals, like real estate agents, contractors, building inspectors, and attorneys. It hosts monthly luncheons and emphasizes sharing the accumulated personal experiences and knowledge of its members. To join, a membership fee is required yearly although there is an option to attend a meeting or seminar for a one-time fee.
This association offers opportunities to meet professionals in many areas which intersect with real estate investing, such as contractors, title companies, and law offices. It also offers those professionals the chance to purchase email blasts to the association’s list, and to sponsor meetings, in return for marketing opportunities. While this does help connect inexperienced investors with associated trades, in the age of the social network, you have to wonder—am I the product here?
These three are by no means the only real estate investor meetings in South Florida. Many more can be found performing a few quick Google searches on your own. Contact each group you may be interested in and attend a few meetings before deciding which meetings you want to make a regular part of your schedule.
Is There a Better Way to Grow a Network?
I started off attending a few free meetings from various groups and even joined a professional association when I thought I was ready. I made good friends and I did learn more about real estate investing, but I didn’t find the level of dedicated support I was looking for. That’s when I looked into HomeVestors®.
Becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee connected me with a seasoned Development Agent—codifying the mentor/ mentee relationship. It also connected me to a wide group of other professional investors, the other local HomeVestors® franchisees, which was exactly what I was looking for when I first started attending real estate investor meetings here in South Florida. After some time learning from my mentor, my peers, and all the educational offerings HomeVestors provides, not only was I making more deals—but also, I was making the right deals. I’ve never looked back.
To move from making meetings to making money, call HomeVestors® today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.