Get up off of that thing – and network!
By Shae Bynes
As a newbie investor it is easy to be overwhelmed as you’re getting started. You’re trying to determine what type of investing you’re going to focus on, trying to get some cash saved up to use as earnest money deposits or for marketing, and trying not to be distracted by weekly real estate investing webinars selling you a new dream, another course, another service, another mentoring program.
Having a vision of what you’re looking to accomplish with your real estate investing is key, and hopefully you have already put together a 90-day action plan to build your business. A key part of that action plan is networking. It’s been noted by top success and achievement experts that working together with others and establishing relationship is vital to reaching your goals – it’s hard to be successful operating in a vacuum. Networking with others is going to help you move faster, smarter, and plus it can be fun to meet new people. So like James Brown famously sang “Get up off of that thing!”…. and network!
So who should you be networking with as a newbie investor?
At some point you will have an extensive network of people: other investors, realtors (brokers and agents), real estate attorneys, mortgage brokers, escrow (title company) officers, general contractors, accountants, property managers.
As a newbie investor, I suggest you immediately start with other investors and realtors (brokers and agents). Through these contacts you will begin to extend your network further as needed. For example, another investor can tell you which title company to use to do simultaneous closings if you’re a wholesaler.
8 great ways to get started networking
Now that we’ve established why networking is so important and who you should be networking with as a newbie investor, let’s discuss 8 great easy ways to get started. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do all of these at once as there are several other things you have to be working towards when starting your real estate investing career and building relationships can be time consuming with the back and forth emailing, forum posting, and phone calls. So take your time and make a monthly or weekly networking goal to include some of the items below.
- Attend a local Real Estate Investors Association (REIA) meeting – these meetings will have mostly newbie investors in attendance, but also experienced investors as well. Make as many valuable connections as you can.
- Go to meetup.com and find other local real estate investor gatherings and attend.
- Attend a local landlord’s association meeting
- Sign up on real estate social networking websites like realestateinvestor.com and biggerpockets.com and add every local investor as a friend. Then make a weekly goal to send emails to a few of them to introduce yourself as they confirm you as a friend.
- Use those same real estate social networking sites to find investor friendly real estate agents who state in their profiles that they are looking to partner with investors. Reach out to them! You never know – eventually you may get the coveted MLS access from them!
- Contact REO listing agents and introduce yourself and your business – let them know that you are looking to buy several deals this year. Tip: If you’re a wholesaler, don’t try to explain how you’re looking to wholesale deals to other investors – just keep it simple.
- Call the phone numbers on those bandit signs all over your city – you’ll find some investors to network with!
- Use Google.com to find websites of investors in your area (e.g. “Raleigh wholesale properties”, “Detroit handyman specials”) Be creative in the searches. You’ll likely run into the websites and squeeze pages of local investors. Sign up for their lists. Then watch and see the volume of deals you see from them. If they seem to be active wholesalers, reach out to them and build relationships with them. These could be wholesalers that you do joint ventures with in the future.
General Tips and Rules of Networking
- When you exchange business cards with someone, be sure to send them a “Nice to meet you” within 24 hours after the meeting (assuming it was actually nice to meet them – if they were a jerk or gave you negative vibes, no need to take things further).
- Be yourself, be positive, and show integrity – don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Famous writer Oscar Wilde has a great quote worth living by: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
- The key to networking is to give first – give, give, and give selflessly. The seeds that you sow in your giving will definitely reap a harvest for you. So figure out how you can help others first.
- Jot some notes down about the conversations you had with people on the back of their business cards (once you’re not with them anymore!) – interesting things about the person or their business. This will help you remember the person and your conversation which is great for follow up.
- Keep in touch with valuable contacts you make – but don’t be a stalker. If you really hit it off with someone whom you’d like to get to know better, offer to take the person to lunch. Long conversations over food can be very revealing. Offer helpful information to the person via email occasionally to keep the conversation going. However, I stress…don’t be a stalker. In fact, it may seem obvious, but generally just don’t do anything that would bother you if it were done to you.
Now that you have all that you need to get started, go out there and network! If you think you’re too shy or reserved to network, you’re wrong. You develop relationships with people all the time – be natural. It will work. Happy networking and happy investing!
About the Author:
Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in the South Florida market. She and her husband are not participating in the recession and are taking advantage of the best real estate investing opportunity in 70 years to build wealth for their family and be a blessing to others. Learn more about Shae’s journey on her blog “Always in Good Faith: Adventures in Real Estate Investing” at http://www.goodfaithinvesting.com