I am a big fan of REIA Clubs. It is a place where real estate investors can learn for little or no cost regardless of their level of investing experience. There are always folks there that know a whole lot more than you do, as well as those that know less than you do so it’s a perfect place for just about everyone to learn and network. It is also the place where you will most likely find your first mentor or two. The members in our group are always willing to share their knowledge.
I happen to live in a city that has a really good club. But our club didn’t just “magically” get that way. We have a group of people that devote a whole lot of time each month to make it successful. If you happen to be a part of a group that isn’t what you can call a “really good group,” maybe it’s time for you to get involved, and see how you can contribute. They always need someone to fill a seat at the sign in table, collect dinner tickets or pass out materials. You don’t have to be an experienced real estate investor to jump in and help out. And, it’s a great way to meet the other members.
One of the most valuable aspects of our club is our L.O.T.S. program which stands for “learn on the site.” Our regular monthly meeting is on a Thursday night; each month on the Tuesday following the meeting, our club hosts a lunchtime get together that is free to all members. Someone that is rehabbing a house will provide their project as the place to meet. These houses will be in various stages of the rehab process, but a lot of them will be finished or nearly finished. The club also provides a free lunch for anyone that attends, which is likely to be pizza or something similar. There’s nothing like free food to get a bunch of guys (and gals) out.
The Purpose of the Program
The purpose of this program is quite simple. It is just one more way for everyone to learn to how to invest in real estate safely and profitably. It is also a great place to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
If the house is at the “tear out” stage, it gives investors a look at the bones of the house and things that are being corrected structurally. For instance, if walls are being removed, you will be able to see the new supports that have been put in place. Having the L.O.T.S. Program at a house that is at this stage of the renovation is especially useful for newer investors.
When a completed house is chosen for that month’s program, the owner will typically have all of his figures taped up on the wall in various locations throughout the house. It will show the purchase price, the amount spent on the renovation which is broken down for everyone, holding costs, and the anticipated sales price. It anything went wrong with the project that is inevitable discussed too.
Our group has one member named Dick Vreeland that has been responsible for the success of this program ever since I have been a member — and that’s a pretty long time. I’m not sure just how this idea evolved, but the L.O.T.S. program has been a part of our club for many years.
If you don’t have a program like this at your local REIA, why don’t you step up and start one? It’s just as simple as asking the members who has a house for L.O.T.S. next month, and ordering up some pizza, if that’s what you want to do. I know this for sure, it’s a great way not only for real estate investors to learn, but for experienced investors to pass along their knowledge. One of the best things about these types of informal meetings is getting to network with a whole bunch of folks that are passionate about real estate.