How Can I Best Add Value as an Aspiring Investor

11 Replies

30+ Yr Old Finance Professional with Experience in Strategy and Business working full time...what would be the best way I could add value / learn the business of investing? My long term goal is to revitalize / improve working class neighborhoods. Provide quality housing (rehab/sell , buy/hold) coupled with neighborhood services (fitness, financial literacy, wellness, etc).   Current interest duplexes and small multifamily units. 

  • Current Location: South Jersey (Collingswood)
  • Work Full Time - Philadelphia PA
  • B.S. Finance,  MBA Wharton

LinkedIn Profile --> 


I'm looking to add value / help an experience investor in the area. Flexible to hold workday lunches. I'd like to get more involved in local REIA.

My goal is to invest heavily in education (time, networking, volunteering over the next year or so...first and foremost I'd like to add value..not necessarily just take information without contributing)

Welcome @Lafontant Cherilus  ,

Those are all great goals! Al Williamson would be a great person for you to connect with. Although he's not local, he's done/doing a lot of what you mention in his area. Hopefully someone that can tag him will come along shortly.

Adding value to another investor, that's a tough one. Perhaps researching emerging areas/markets, helping them to put systems in place, especially financial ones, may be a huge boon to the right investor. 

I think going to REIA's would be huge for you. Also, if you've narrowed down an area you want to work in, connect with some local non-profits that provide services in the areas you want to invest in and volunteer with one or several. My wife has worked for several non-profits in Philadelphia and there are oodles of ways you can volunteer your time whether it's helping at fundraisers and events, tutoring, helping the clients fill out applications of all sorts, etc. This would get you on the ground in the neighborhoods you're interested in and talking with people that live and work in these neighborhoods. Also, the board members for these non-profits are usually pretty well connected and could be a great way to meet some movers and shakers in different industries.

Best of luck,


Might search for a thread here on BP "Profits in Non-Profits" should get it.

Remember the principles of economics you learned back in your first Econ course;

Land, Labor, Capital and Entrepreneurship? That's the basis for you to add value.

Adapt your skills to the problem and solve the problem. 

Get involved!  Good luck :) 

Hey there

@Lafontant Cherilus you're heading towards a very fulfilling way of building wealth. There are many super easy best practices you can used to reach your goal. It's very doable, very profitable, and others will appreciate your efforts while you're rolling in the dough.

I wrote a book on the topic. However the main point is that by advocating for the block that your rentals sit on, you will create a sense of leadership that restores the buoyancy in nearby property values.

The wealth building goal is to boldly buy as much as you can handle while prices are low. 

You WILL, by not wasting your time and following the best practices of others who have been successful , be able to affect the area and capture the equity for your efforts. Make sense?

You still need to buy in a promising location and under the right political and law enforcement climate.

Too much to share.

I think you can add value to investors, by getting more people to invest. I was at a networking event last night in the city and asked two people I met if they were into any investing outside of their jobs. They looked floored as if neither of them had ever thought about investing. If we can just get the people we have in the community to start thinking of themselves as investors I think it will go a long way toward driving value for everyone. Diatribe over.

Thank You All for the great ideas and feedback. I've googled a few REIA and looked them up.

@Tim Butters  

 - that is a really good fact that is one of my goals.  I've researched crowdfunding ...most are for accredited investors (high net worth) ... I think it would be great to get the average joe who may only have $1K to $5k to invest... of course it means you have to spend more time asking but I'm a big fan of "Bottom of the Pyramid" ideas...


@Al Williamson   you're absolutely right. I've read many of your posts and I think it's awesome what you're doing (wifi... bulk purchase of goods... neighborhood block party).  Exactly what I'd like to do. It will be hard work but it will be worth it. Profit & Purpose. 

@Bill Gulley  

Thank You as well for the tips. Looking forward to being an active contributor of this community.  If you happen to know of any good folks to talk to in S. Jersey or Philadelphia  ...happy to connect and help out where I can. 

Lafontant, welcome to BiggerPockets, and thanks for your desire to improve communities.  We're four years into our attempted revitalization efforts, have learned a lot, and have kept people in their homes than completely profit minded landlords would have.  It doesn't always feel rewarding or the best path, but we know it is the right path for us for right now.

@Lafontant Cherilus   You need to put yourself out there. You need to go to the local meetups and start shaking hands. Ask questions. Find an investor that is doing what you want to do and simply ask... "Do you face any challenges in your day to day operations that you feel you don't have the time to resolve?"  I can't imagine any high powered/profiled person (investor or not) saying No. Once they relay that information, determine how you can alleviate those issues. It may be on an "intern" basis to get your feet wet. It may be more. That is for you and that person to decide... but I think that is the route that I would take if I were you.

I was appointed by our Mayor to chair a committee on redevelopment here and identified blighted and underserved areas, setting a vision for a 20 year plan. It's still in the makings but much of it has been completed.

Start at your P&Z office, get to know planners, see what the vision is, what they consider blighted and underserved areas. You will need tons of capital if you take on bombed out areas, look for the mildly underserved, neighborhoods that are trending toward the drain as they will be easier to revitalize. Rome was not built in a day!

And, see your economic development office, wear a suit, ask about target areas and your Enterprise Zone where funds can be used, states have money from no interest to low, I call it funny money. Beware, this is highly political and it's where the big boys play, don't play on their turf, but they don't play everywhere either.

Be aware too, that cities doing redevelopment keep cards close to their chest in some respects, tagging an area can influence prices overnight, something they don't want if they are having to take property buying out owners. But, the P&Z folks should be able to tell you of general trends. :)

HI, Lafontant,

It sounds like we have a similar perspective on investing.  I'm wanting to also provide something additional in the properties I sell or rent over and above what tenants may expect.  Love your thoughts on community services. Sounds like you got some great comments and suggestions from other users.  Have you listened to @michelefischer's podcast?  It's definitely inspiring!  I'll be watching to see how you progress on reaching your goals.  Good Luck!!!!

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