It’s not often that I take the opportunity to speak at a real estate investment club. Since I started building my real estate investment business in Boston about a decade ago, I’ve just been too busy. But, my success has attracted attention and, with that, a lot of requests to speak. So, I decided to take one of the local clubs up on their offer and to do my best to impart some of the wisdom I’ve learned as my business has grown.
When it came time for questions, one of the attendees, Scott, asked if I knew of any real estate investment clubs in Massachusetts that were outside of Boston. He happened to be in town from Worcester for the week and, understandably, said it would be too inconvenient to travel into Boston to attend club meetings. He’d really enjoyed my talk and was hoping to get more of where that came from. Another guy, Bill, said he was soon moving to Springfield and was wondering the same. So, I grabbed their email addresses and told them I’d put some feelers out to see what I could come up with.
Looking for Massachusetts Real Estate Investment Clubs
One of the more obvious benefits of joining a real estate investment club is the chance to meet and learn from more experienced investors like me and, maybe, to even find a mentor. But, there are other potential benefits as well. If you’re looking for tips on how to quickly build a property portfolio or need to understand the process of buying a foreclosure auction home, for example, you’ll want a good network by your side to make recommendations and to help steer you in the right direction. Membership in an investment club may help you build that network. Sometimes, they can be good places to learn new skills, like property valuation, too.
And, if you’re a Massachusetts investor, like Scott or Bill, who’s looking for a real estate investment club to join that’s outside of Boston, you’re in luck. We’ve got several sprinkled throughout the state. Below are the options I found and shared with the guys, along with some general pros and cons for joining them. I also included how I got my network, and my real estate investing career, to where it is today.
Black Diamond Real Estate Investors
Black Diamond Real Estate Investors in either Worcester or Waltham to help members close more deals and improve their overall business practices. There is no cost to join, but there is a $10 entrance fee for all events. Still, ten bucks is a small price to pay for getting access to local and national speakers who come in to discuss topics ranging from how to avoid mistakes when you’re buying and renovating property to sell to whether or not you should buy tax liens. And, because they forbid marketing of any kind—from both speakers and members—you don’t have to worry about navigating unsolicited sales pitches. Instead, you can focus almost entirely on the subject matter at hand and create connections with some of the other 1,700 members of the group.
But, in addition to forbidding any marketing, they discourage investors from seeking partnerships with other investors and in offering mentorships, among other things. This can be a smart move that keeps everybody safe—there are a lot of shysters out there, after all. Except, it may also impede the progress new investors can make. For example, some novice investors need to partner with someone more experienced in order to qualify for hard money when they’ve got few, if any, deals under their belt. And, almost every investor needs a mentor at some point to help propel their career forward.
Western Mass Real Estate Investors
Based in Springfield, Western Mass Real Estate Investors meet twice monthly to hold one networking and one educational opportunity each. The group is open to investors of all experience levels, as well as other real estate industry professionals, and everyone is encouraged to mingle, review investing trends, and discuss deals at all of the events. Some of the past classes have focused on changes in the tax code, how to handle the eviction process in Massachusetts, and where to get financing when you start house flipping. So, there’s potentially a lot to be learned from joining this club if you invest in or around the area. And, with over 500 members, the possibility of building your own network from the group looks promising.
Unfortunately, none of the meetings seems to be very highly attended despite the large number of members. Although, because the club posts very few details about its activities online, including whether or not there is a fee to join, it’s hard to know for sure. Either way, only meeting twice a month with your peers is a slow path to growth when you’re trying to learn all you can about investing and amass a network of professionals more experienced than you are to help get you there. You might make a few friends, but it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to build a strong career.
New England Real Estate Investment Association (NEREIA)
The NEREIA meets monthly in Chelmsford for a half hour networking session, followed by an expert speaker right after. Almost every meeting seems to cover an important aspect of real estate investing 101, like the benefits of the buy-and-hold model or the value of buying property insurance for flipping houses. So, the opportunity to expand your investing knowledge is definitely available. It costs at least $159 a year to become a member, but you can try a meeting for only $25 before you buy the membership. Plus, like most REIA chapters, you get discounts on local real estate-related services, office supplies, and other educational materials as well. Considering the quality of the material and the reputation of the REIA, this club isn’t too bad of a deal.
Of course, joining the NEREIA may not be the best deal either. Discounts on goods and services are great, but you’ll need more than that if you want to invest in real estate as a business. You’ll need great training and a great team behind you too. And, unfortunately, you’ll be hard-pressed to find either if you only go to meetings once a month. If you’re a real estate investor in Chelmsford or Lowell, it might still help to go to meetings and check out the competition. But, because these clubs tend to be made up mostly of new investors, don’t expect the competition—or the success of your comrades—to be that strong.
Generally speaking, I think that real estate investment clubs do have their place. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered speaking at one at all. But, I also know that they’re not necessarily the best place to build a good network or a great career—not as quickly as possible, anyway. Yes, you’ve got to work hard to succeed at investing in real estate. But, it’s your team of peers that will make getting there a little easier. Which is why, in my opinion, getting that team shouldn’t have to be so hard.
A Ready-Made Network of Investing Professionals Anywhere You Invest
When I gave my talk in Boston, I was met with a lot of respect from eager and hardworking investors who want to do well in real estate. What I didn’t have the heart to tell the group, however, was that I’d never personally gotten a lot of out of investment clubs and, therefore, rarely attended any when I was just starting out. In fact, I owe much of my professional achievements to the ready-made network of my fellow independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisees, not to any club I ever attended. But, since I had an opportunity to explain this to Scott and Bill, I did.
See, after you attend HomeVestors’ week-long initial training program that is as comprehensive as they come, you’re automatically connected with a regional network of other HomeVestors® franchisees. So, any tips, recommendations, or referrals that you need from more experienced investors are right there for the asking. For more complicated matters that require one-on-one mentoring, or when you’re ready to take your business to the next level, you also get your own seasoned Development Agent. So, though you may still want to attend real estate investment club meetings for your own reasons, as a franchisee, like me, you certainly won’t have to with all of these other professional real estate resources at your fingertips.
Get a ready-made franchise network to attend to you when you need it most. Contact HomeVestors today!