“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
While this old saw is not entirely true, it’s not completely wrong either. After all, business is done between people who work for companies, not between companies by themselves. Inter-personal relationships are and always will be an important aspect of any business, especially real estate. Effective networking, getting to know people, is as important in real estate as understanding the local market.
Naturally, a new real estate investor will look to benefit from the knowledge offered by other, more experienced real estate investors. However, there is actually a wide range of professionals that can add value to a real estate portfolio and increase the investment rate of return. This list includes real estate agents, contractors, appraisers, inspectors, mortgage brokers and real estate attorneys, just to name a few.
Meeting Real Estate Professionals Online
Meeting this wide range of real estate professionals is very straightforward on the internet. There is a wide range of discussion forums available that focus on specific areas of real estate investing, real estate lending and real estate management. Of course, like online dating online networking brings the risk that what is being presented is not real. Always be careful when sharing personal information.
Another fantastic place to network is the discussion forum of your favorite real estate podcast. They often offer a menu of forum topics, such as this list of over a dozen specialties from BiggerPockets.com, a popular podcast. They offer forums from General Information and Investor Basics to such specialty topics as Financial, Tax and Legal and Real Estate Technology and the Internet.
Locally Building a Real Estate Network
Like politics, all real estate is local, and at some point in the real estate investment process the best way to build a network is to work locally. There are a wide variety of real estate investment clubs, and like the online forums they often have a specific focus. Attending a special focus club is a good way to learn more about that area of real estate investing.
Another way to build a local network is to attend real estate auctions. These are typically attended by real estate investors and professionals. In particular, look to build relationships with those who won the auction. There are several ways to learn where and when auctions will be held. There are subscription services for auctions, and notices are printed in local papers and online.
Networking Tips for Real Estate Investors
Keep in mind that networking is an important part of real estate investing. It is an investment of time that contributes to success as a real estate investor. Although any individual networking event may not produce immediate results, over time networking is worthwhile. Keep this in mind if attending local events seems unproductive and fruitless at the beginning.
The other important aspect of networking to remember is that it is a two-way street. It is as important to contribute as it is to receive. In discussions, offer only helpful comments. Offer to help put chairs away or straighten up the room after a networking event. Remember that networking is about building professional relationships, so behaving professionally is important.
One aspect of networking that might not be worth the time is attending real estate seminars, particularly seminars that charge for attending. The ready availability of information on the internet and through discussion forums means that more quality information is available for free than ever before. In addition, seminar selling is still as prevalent as ever.
Like other aspects of the real estate investment business, successful networking takes time and effort. It may come easier for some people than for others, but everyone can build a robust network. The time spent in creating a network will result in a more profitable career as a real estate investor.