There is no REIA anywhere near me, any tips to start one?

16 Replies

Good Morning all, 

I'm located in Berkshire County, Mass and I'm getting started in Real Estate investing with my wife. I'm looking for a local REIA to go to to network and sit in on meetings, and there doesn't seem to be one even within an hour drive of us! Any pointers from folks who have started a chapter in their area, or is there anyone from the Berkshire County Massachusetts area that would be interested in starting a REIA?

Thanks!

go to meetup.com and do the 3 month plan for $40. They should give you a discount when you first sign up so really it will be $20. We started a REI group on meetup and have almost 100 members now.

If you actually want to start a REIA vs just a real estate investor meetup I'd go the national REIA website and see what information they have about setting up an official chapter.

Wayne is on the money for meetup.com to promote it regardless if you make your own meeting or an official REIA.

I think there is a need out that way.  I have seen people from Pittsfield before asking about them and usually the answer is to check out Albany.  You are a pretty big hike from Springfield but you might draw from there as there isn't one there for several years now.  So that part of Western Massachusetts is under served.

Maybe consider doing the meeting a little farther from you but on a place right on the Mass Pike in the Berkshires like Lee.  It is a bit closer for people near Springfield and other possible draws like Westfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and the rest of Hampden county (Trying to be liberal with my keyword dropping for you:) ) and an easy straight shot on I90 for them.

Wish I could think of some of the west MA guys off the top of my head to tag to bring in.  Only one I can think of is @Cory E.  

Medium rre logo web rgb w motoShaun Reilly MBA, Reilly Real Estate, LLC | [email protected] | 1‑800‑774‑0737 | http://www.MassHomeSale.com | MA Agent # 9517670 | Podcast Guest on Show #43

Www.rhabc.com

They hold a meeting once a month at Zucchini's, I have personally never been. It looks like more of a landlord association. Not sure if they talk about all types of real estate investing or just buy/holds. I've wanted to go to one, just never got around to it.

Based on the website it looks like it is pretty much a landlord association.

Still good to know that there is a resource out there as I didn't know about this, something to point people to that ask until Charles gets his meeting going.

Medium rre logo web rgb w motoShaun Reilly MBA, Reilly Real Estate, LLC | [email protected] | 1‑800‑774‑0737 | http://www.MassHomeSale.com | MA Agent # 9517670 | Podcast Guest on Show #43

Charles, I've been involved in the management of several REIAs/Real Estate groups.

I would consider starting one yourself.  You don't have to be an expert to start a group, but you do have to be involved in real estate.  Consider networking with the group mentioned above so that the members there who also want to be involved in more creative deal making and possibly rehabbing or wholesaling, are made aware of your efforts.

A REIA is not actually a chapter of National REIA, but is a member of National REIA. Think of National REIA as a trade association for REIAs. Each local REIA is totally separate and an entity unto itself. By joining National REIA and paying dues, the local REIA is able to offer it's members the discounts and benefits that National REIA offers. There are pros and cons. Certainly contact National REIA and talk to them. In general the business model of a REIA uses commissions from selling speakers (gurus) to fund the business.

Most attendees these days are sick of sales pitches.  So personally, I would start a low cost "Meetup".  Find a restaurant that will allow you to use some space for free since you are bringing people to their business.  (it can be a long process to find the right place)  Set a schedule (not having a set schedule can be deadly) stick to it, and try to provide some content.  If you are not ready to go out and find speakers, consider Q&A sessions that the attendees can ask questions of each other for advice.  @Justin Silverio has done that successfully and he limits his meetups to quarterly.   I personally feel that setting a plan and announcing that plan is better than having a meeting and saying "I want this group to be what you want it to be, what do you want to see in a group?"  So to start with, set the plan, announce it, and then make adjustments as attendees give you ideas and feedback.  Ask for feedback and ideas.  You won't get much, but you'll get a little bit.  

It will build up gradually.  Capture email addresses and notify people of the next meeting if they allow you to.  Gradually the attendance will build and you'll have a core network of people who trade resources, references and information.  

Consider attending the events around you.  It will take some driving, but you will learn what you do and don't want to do.  CTREIA has selling speakers regularly.  Our Worcester (long drive) Black Diamond has no memberships or selling speakers.  Look into Albany for groups and attend those.

There is a need for a group in the Springfield area, not sure that just Berkshire County can support a group.  Since Springfield is only about an hour from you, you might take that into consideration.  You'll have better attendance in Springfield and surrounds than in Lee or Pittsfield.  

If all this sounds overwhelming, find another reputable investor and team up with him/her.  Or approach the rhabc and consider providing a separate event under their umbrella if they are open to it.  Just a few ideas for getting started.  

And one more important note:  If you decide to make your meetings free, like Black Diamond, rest assured there will be costs to you.  Free to attendees doesn't mean you can easily run this without it costing you something.  Time, website, email system, etc.

Good luck!

Medium small logoAnn Bellamy, Buy Now, LLC | 800‑418‑0081 | http://www.buynowhardmoney.com | Podcast Guest on Show #9

Thanks for the insight, Ann. I agree a Pure Berkshire County REIA would probably not be sustainable, however I imagine that if we encompassed parts of southern Vermont, and Also Eastern New York (much like the local Chamber Of Commerce does here) then it could be a successful group. The only issue with this that they seem to have is they're constantly changing venues so that people with the one hour drive to the meeting one week only has a 15 minute drive the next. I've looked in the neighboring states for groups, and Vermont doesn't have one at all, and New York's Closest is in the Boroughs.

Would it make sense to pair up with the CoC?

Thanks @Ann Bellamy  .

@Charles Manuel  I started a networking event last year in September.  I had no prior knowledge of how to set one but felt there was a need in the area.  My intent was to offer something that no other networking event offered to gain people's interest and get them coming back.  My method for getting people on my mailing list was to tell people about the event at other networking events and here on BP.  I haven't used Meetup.com yet because I've been getting enough attendees at my meetings.

I will say that I've been attending networking events for 2+ years and have been investing for 3+ years so I'm sure that was helpful in getting a list of interested people.  If I were you, I would decide what, when and where you want to hold the events and then create a meetup since you don't have many networking events out there.  Do a search for real estate investors in the area and call them to let them know what you're planning to do and how it can benefit them.  Ask them if they know of others who may be interested.

Good luck!

Medium open letter marketing logoJustin Silverio, Open Letter Marketing LLC | [email protected] | (978) 269‑0245 | http://www.OpenLetterMarketing.com | Podcast Guest on Show #194

Local chambers change venus to highlight their member organizations who have a venue they want to spotlight.   I don't think the local chamber will give you the exposure you need.  Real estate investing is a sub sub culture.  

For you, changing venues is a killer, people get confused and it will lower attendance.  Consistency is better.  

Choose the area based on where you want to attract people from, and where you want to invest.  Bear in mind that the higher the population, the more deals.  

Good luck

Updated over 3 years ago

venues not venus. :-)

Medium small logoAnn Bellamy, Buy Now, LLC | 800‑418‑0081 | http://www.buynowhardmoney.com | Podcast Guest on Show #9

Originally posted by @Justin Silverio:

Thanks @Ann Bellamy  .

@Charles Manuel  I started a networking event last year in September.  I had no prior knowledge of how to set one but felt there was a need in the area.  My intent was to offer something that no other networking event offered to gain people's interest and get them coming back.  My method for getting people on my mailing list was to tell people about the event at other networking events and here on BP.  I haven't used Meetup.com yet because I've been getting enough attendees at my meetings.

I will say that I've been attending networking events for 2+ years and have been investing for 3+ years so I'm sure that was helpful in getting a list of interested people.  If I were you, I would decide what, when and where you want to hold the events and then create a meetup since you don't have many networking events out there.  Do a search for real estate investors in the area and call them to let them know what you're planning to do and how it can benefit them.  Ask them if they know of others who may be interested.

Good luck!

 how is your event going? i was thinking of starting one too. 

Originally posted by @Cory E.:

Www.rhabc.com

They hold a meeting once a month at Zucchini's, I have personally never been. It looks like more of a landlord association. Not sure if they talk about all types of real estate investing or just buy/holds. I've wanted to go to one, just never got around to it.

 Lets go. I'll buy the first round! 

Originally posted by @Charles Manuel:

Thanks for the insight, Ann. I agree a Pure Berkshire County REIA would probably not be sustainable, however I imagine that if we encompassed parts of southern Vermont, and Also Eastern New York (much like the local Chamber Of Commerce does here) then it could be a successful group. The only issue with this that they seem to have is they're constantly changing venues so that people with the one hour drive to the meeting one week only has a 15 minute drive the next. I've looked in the neighboring states for groups, and Vermont doesn't have one at all, and New York's Closest is in the Boroughs.

Would it make sense to pair up with the CoC?

My 2 cents is that if you don't think that it would work doing something focusing pretty much on the Berkshires right near you then I would try to draw from Springfield more than Eastern NY or South West VT.  I don't know the demographics for those areas well but seems like Pittsfield is the biggest population center so if that can't sustain one trying to make it live by drawing from even more sparsely populated rural places to keep it alive isn't a great bet.

If you are willing to travel a little more for it and want to draw better the closer you get to Springfield the better you are likely to do.  My suggestion of a place like Lee was only since it wasn't bad for you and people from Pittsfield but was doable for the Springfield area people being a 45 min straight shot on the Pike.  If you can move it closer to them than that it will be a better draw there.  Though at some point if you really want to have a Berkshire feel it will get pretty far for those investors.

Medium rre logo web rgb w motoShaun Reilly MBA, Reilly Real Estate, LLC | [email protected] | 1‑800‑774‑0737 | http://www.MassHomeSale.com | MA Agent # 9517670 | Podcast Guest on Show #43

Great. Very true insofar as looking more toward the Pioneer Valley. 

So I think I'll probably get the ball rolling with a Pittsfield area one first to gauge interest, and if it doesn't pan out I can always move on East.

@Charles Manuel
I'd be happy to join you for the September meeting

Sorry I am posting so late I just discovered BP so I apologize if this information is mute now. I live in Vermont and I had the same problem you did. I had attended Real Estate Investor Classes and my initial members were people I had networked and exchanged cards with at those classes. I had an attorney draw up the 501c6 paperwork (a non-profit trade organization but you could do a for profit as well.) and operating agreement. The filing fee was around $75. I had a really nice attorney in my network who gave me a really nice discount on the paperwork and filing but you could probably do something like that on Legal Zoom as well. After that was done contacted National REIA and joined their membership as an organization. They were really friendly and helpful. There were a bunch of forms required by them and we also needed to send them a copy of our Bylaws and Code of Ethics (PM me and I would be glad to send you copies of mine.) I created them both based on the National REIA's bylaws and code of ethics plus a few changes discussed with my initial members. I submitted all the paperwork paid the fee (about $250 with the application fee.) and we were good to go.

Hi, We live in Central Mass, but have owed a 2 family in West Dover VT for 15 years. I would like to be involved in such a group if you ever got it going. I am new to BP, I see this thread is a few years old now. Maybe you have a group? Let me know, we can share experiences and opportunities.

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