Is the REIA a scam?
I have observed a lot of bashing of the Real estate Investment Association (REIA) by the new generation. I’m positive some of you have heard quite a few negative things. Those comments range from lack of help, waste of time, and they only offer ineffective sales courses. The REIA can be a good resource if you leverage it properly. The experience with the association is what you make it. It is comparable to people with high 5 & 6 figure debt from college and feel it was waste a time. For example I had one friend who did well right out of college however; most of us came out of colleges getting dead end or entry level hourly jobs. That 1 friend who was doing 6 figures right after college was already working for a prestigious financial company. He had a plan on why he was going to college. With that being said, whenever you do something you must always know what you want out of the situation in order to get the best results. I am one of those people who left college just as “dumb” as the day they entered. I had to learn to take personal responsibility for my decisions, and realize it was my fault that I did not take advantage of the opportunities around me. The cycle occurs when people enter the REIA aimless and without a plan. Much like my college experience the lack of seriousness will not enable you to hit your targets. So when you don’t reach your goals that is not the REIA’s fault.
Let’s talk about how I made the REIA work for me. Prior to joining I worked on myself. You can say my first deal or project was me. You have to be mentally prepared for success in any venture. I knew the idea of being around a bunch of active investors was a no brainer, which was affirmed by the self development books I had read. My first meeting was the sub groups which are the smaller meetings. Those consist of the association’s local investors and are 100 percent content based. They provided me with written materials to interpret and review on my own. At that time I use to go to the meetings every week on the 1 day I had off from work. I would take notes, ask questions, and most importantly do a lot of listening. I had devised a plan involving wholesaling. I knew it was a perfect fit for me after researching intensively. I brought 3 houses before joining the REIA, and never knew you could buy a house without money or credit. Had I known that information before investing in those houses, I would have done things differently. Again we are revisiting the notion of making informed decisions versus impulse. That point brought me to the realization that I was only at the tip of the iceberg.
The main meetings are where the REIA would occasionally invite a national speaker that would cross sell a program. I would use the little vacation time I accrued to attend the main meetings. I was determined to be successful by any means necessary. I also used every opportunity to network & introduce my self to people. The fact I was a young, cool looking black guys with dreads worked in my favor. A lot of people actually use to approach me, and introduce themselves. The game changer for me with the REIA was serving them. You must first give before you get. I volunteered for the Metrolina REIA for 2 years straight. That experience was worth more to me than the 6 years I invested to get my B.A degree.
I use to get in the Saturday meetings for free. I would serve the speakers, audience, and other volunteers coffee. I would clean up after the meetings, and do anything else they asked me to do. I was just happy to be there. After my duties I would take my seat, and eagerly take notes from the speakers. Volunteering also allowed me to get familiar with people; their behaviors, businesses, best practices, and identify strategies. People started remembering my name, and I was able to learn exactly who the movers & shakers were. I started aligning my self with them and asking questions whenever I got an opportunity to. My first mentor eventually approached me after he saw how dedicated, consistent, and most important persistent I was. I was able to complete my first deal 8 months later with the use of his strategies.
What I would like the readers of this blog to take away from this, is that the REIA can be a resourceful place to be given dedication. I see countless people go to one meeting and never come back. That is the equivalent to going to calculus class 1 day and expecting to ace the class. I also observe people contact a successful investor, get a meeting, and when the investor does not explain a six figure business in 30 minutes they give up. People demand instant microwave results from the REIA and its members. Success depends on the 2nd letter in the word. You must be the catalyst to your change, and the REIA can be a helping hand.
Fast forward to present day, 4 years after joining the REIA. I am now one of the members first time attendees seek out. I get countless people asking me to become their mentor. I am not divulging this to inflate my ego, because I am not finished on my own personal journey for guidance, knowledge, and success. I am saying this because of the number of people who approach me without a plan, knowing if we are a good fit, or in the program for the long haul. That shows me that they may be on the instant path which is dead end without the hard work. For example lets’ say 8 out of 10 people give up on real estate when someone declines to mentor them for free. That behavior; is the exact reason why we tell people “no” the first time. The word scam is then introduced by those lacking the knowledge or aptitude to make good use of the resources the REIA offers. My story is just one of many, emotionally written, and still being penned, however the REIA is an integral part of it. If I had to leave you with just a few key words it would be determination, resilience, planning, and resourcefulness.