Should you go to a REIA?
When Ashley and I got started in on our real estate investing journey we had no idea where to go or who to turn to for education — or guidance in general, for that matter. The first course we took was on creative financing. We overpaid, maxing out our credit cards to get the $12,500 class with a big-name investing education company.
That $12,500 at a 28% APR was a huge amount that really didn’t make good financial sense for two broke kids who were freshly out of school with a mound of student loan debt.
Truly, we were blessed that $12,500 was the max on our credit cards. Otherwise, we would have bought more and gone further into debt. (I have friends who have spent between $20,000 and $50,000 thousand on such courses.)
But we didn’t know any better. This was one of the big education names that goes from city to city selling the dream of real estate investing to the masses at a massive price tag.
It wasn’t until we took that course that we learned about a REIA.
REIA stands for real estate investor association. And after testing out a few local REIAs, we found ourselves at North Georgia REIA put on by Bill and Kim Cook.
This REIA was literally lifechanging for Ashley and me. To begin with, we got exposed to quality education that was affordable. We learned that a two-day seminar should cost around $500. And that that seminar wouldn’t have holes in it that necessitated the purchase of another seminar (a situation we experienced elsewhere.) Instead, it would be taught by a practicing investor with real world and current knowledge. And by the end of the course, we should be prepared to implement whatever the course topic was.
That was huge.
At the REIA, we got to meet both new and very experienced investors who were very open and willing to talk through deals with us and help us figure out how to do them. It was one of those “go-giver” type settings where everyone was enthused and willing to help the other attendees succeed.
These talks often happened before, but mostly after, the REIA. Bill always called this time the meeting after the meeting. We would sit in the lobby and talk for hours about deal structures, funding, landlord tactics, flipping, foreclosures, contractors, contracts … you name it. It was a wealth of knowledge.
And it was during these talks that we got introduced to the private money lenders who were members of the REIA. Would you believe that 12 years ago, we did our first deal ever with one of those lenders? His name is Mike Tarpey, and we are still doing deals with him today.
I just did a mental tally, and we have done deals with at least eight private money lenders from that REIA. That’s huge.
So, we found the knowledge and the money we needed to successfully become full time real estate investors at that REIA. But that’s not what I think about the most. The long-term friendships that we forged out of that REIA are really what matters the most.
I miss North Georgia REIA. It closed in 2016, and nothing has quite replaced how special it was.
But the question remains: Should an investor go to a REIA? You bet. I just showed you how they made a huge difference for us. But realize a REIA is what you make of it. And that goes for both the owners and the members.
You see, the owner has a duty to control the atmosphere of the room. It needs to stay honest, helpful and upbeat. But they also have the duty of connecting the members with solid, usable and affordable education while fending off the vendors and teachers who would turn the meeting into a sell-athon for services and coaching programs.
The members must come with positive, open hearts and be willing to share knowledge, resources and contacts in order to help others succeed. And if both the owners and the members can accomplish this, the REIA will be very successful.
There is a REIA that meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Home2 Suites off Kingston Court in Marietta Georgia. It’s called North Metro REIA. Go check it out and see what you can make of it.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.