What’s the one rule any real estate professional will tell you? Location, location, location! Like it or not, real estate is a local game whether you’re developing 1,000 multifamily units or selling a 1,200 square foot single-family home.
Doing market research on professional and personal real estate projects, it never ceases to amaze me at how different real estate markets are–sometimes down to specific block and building. Because of the need to be hyper-aware of your real estate surroundings, the strength of your local network of real estate professionals is crucial to understanding these local subtleties. But how the heck does one grow this network of trusted local real estate brethren?!
Here’s one resource that can help you get started. Enter Meetup.com
Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Users enter their ZIP code or their city and the topic they want to meet about, and the website helps them arrange a place and time to meet.
While Meetup.com isn’t new (launched in 2001) or specific to real estate, it continues to grow and develop strong networking opportunities for real estate professionals. Simply type in “real estate investing” or “real estate development” and see who’s meeting up in your local market.
If you’re in a big enough market, chances are there are multiple Meetup groups dedicated to your specific real estate investing and development endeavors (and your calendar will fill up quick). Many of these groups meet on a regular basis to talk shop about real estate and offer networking opportunities to grow your local contacts. You can also create a group and build a community of your own.
My local market, St. Louis-MO, is fortunate to have one of the largest real estate-specific Meetup groups in the country (over 1,500 members). The group holds monthly networking events, tutorials, expert panel discussions, and seminars. In just three months of actively participating in this group, I have already met many developers, investors, brokers, consultants, and business owners that are just as jazzed about real estate as I am. The best part–many have deep knowledge of my real estate market and are more than willing to help with advice and guidance. Likewise, I try to give back when I can.
So if you’re new to the real estate game or looking to meet and collaborate with industry experts like yourself, search out real estate Meetup groups in your area and join the conversation.
Where are some other resources to help you get local (not postal) on your real estate network? Be sure to check out these organizations and real estate communities to meet people in the industry and build your real estate business.
-Check out events held by your local or regional Urban Land Institute chapter.
-Ditto (does anyone still use “ditto” anymore?!) for REIA.
-Join the online conversation at BiggerPockets.com. I’ve been a “long time listener, first time caller” guy but am jumping in!