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This month we’re diving deep into the world of real estate investing. We kicked off last week with The Do’s And Don’t’s Of Real Estate Investing.

Now, traditional investments (where you buy a property, fix it up, and the rent or sell it) are a great option for a lot of people. But maybe you want to invest without taking on the financial burden of fixing a property up or the responsibility of being a landlord. If that’s the case, today’s post is for you.

Real estate investment groups offer unique pros. Here are some of our favorites.

Here are 5 benefits to join a real estate investment (REI) group:

  1. They provide a great opportunity to learn. One of the biggest benefits to joining an REI group is that it will put you in front of seasoned real estate investors who can teach you the ropes.
  2. They provide monthly passive income while also freeing your time. Want to spend a week in Italy? Climb Mt. Whitney? Take a family vacation? Now you can!
  3. It’s less risky and more profitable than investing in stocks.
  4. You get paid every month, whether you work or not.
  5. You don’t have to know when, where, or how to invest. You can jump in and literally learn as you go!

If you’re ready to join an REI group, here’s what you should look for:

  • Advisors who are succeeding at what you are trying to achieve right now
  • Affordable, preferably free real estate education and training
  • Great networking that will empower you to make the best possible investments
  • Real success stories from real members. There should be at least a handful of people in the group who have made a good profit (are are willing to share the documentation to prove it.)
  • Low fees and commissions for services the group provides
  • An A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau and real documentation about the quality of any extra services they provide
  • Good education practices. A lot of investment “experts” will tell you that you need to buy now in a certain market. A good investment group will tell you why the market is trending so that you can learn to recognize hot markets for yourself.

Here are 10 questions you should ask before joining an REI group:

  1. Is the club set up for education?
  2. Is the club for-profit or not-for-profit? Either structure can be legitimate, but you’ll want to make sure you know what type of group you’re getting into.
  3. Will people constantly hound me to make sales pitches for books, seminars or services?
  4. What type of real estate does the club focus on? If it’s not the type you’re most interested in, move on to a group that’s a better fit for you.
  5. Is the club structured to promote networking?
  6. How many serious investors belong to the club?
  7. How does the experience of others in the club compare to mine? You’ll learn more from more experienced investors.
  8. Have the club’s investors done well with investments over time?
  9. What are the dues? Most clubs charge between $50 and $200 per year. More than that could be the sign of a scam.
  10. Does the club receive a commission from speakers selling products or services? If they do, the information from those speakers might be biased.

Ultimately, you’ll need to trust your instincts. If you start talking to an REI group and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If there’s something telling you that a group isn’t a good fit for you, trust that feeling and move onto the next group.

If you’re ready to start looking for the group that’s right for you, here are 3 great resources to get started:

CRE Online – Real Estate Investment Club Directory

National REIA – National Real Estate Investors Association Directory Listing

REI Club – Find your local real estate club (REIA). Comprehensive state-by-state listing of real estate investing associations.

The last half of this month, we’ll be focusing on the financial side of investing. Next week we’ll be sharing some tips and tactics for financing your investments, and then we’ll wrap up the month by sharing the tax benefits of selling your primary residence. We’ve got a lot of great information coming your way, so stay tuned!

The Lowdown On Real Estate Investment Groups

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