Over the weekend, I took my family to the DuPage Children’s Museum and met Jon, a local real estate investor who was there with his family too. He said he was just starting a career in real estate investing and needed a little help learning the ropes. He didn’t yet have a network he could rely on for support, so was thinking about joining some of the real estate investing clubs that serve Naperville investors. He was also thinking about getting a mentor. So, I proposed we sit for a few minutes at the Bean Sprouts Cafe while the kids grabbed some lunch and go over the clubs he was considering. Sometimes, it helps to get a second opinion about these things when you’re just starting out. I know it helped me back when I was a newbie.
Real Estate Investing Clubs Serving Naperville Investors
For investors who don’t already have a reliable network—and few of us do in the beginning—the advantage of joining a real estate investing club is the opportunity to meet like-minded professionals, or even a mentor, you can learn from and lean on when needed. Starting a real estate investing company is hard work and it can seem even harder when you go at it alone. So, as a seasoned real estate investor who’s been there, I recommend you connect with colleagues, especially more experienced ones, whenever you can. They can help you sidestep potential mishaps, like hiring an uninsured contractor, make suggestions on how to run your business more efficiently, and guide you through complicated transactions.
Even as a new investor, Jon was already thinking like a pro. I was impressed that he understood the importance of surrounding himself with a strong set of more experienced peers and that he’d done some homework to find them. So, once we all sat down with our sandwiches, I gave the local real estate investing groups he’d found the once-over. Then, I gave him a better option.
- DuPage County Real Estate Investors meet in Downers Grove, but serve investors from throughout DuPage County and areas nearby. Members, whose experience ranges from novice to expert, invest in single-family homes, multi-family units, and commercial properties. They meet monthly to share their knowledge and expertise, to network, and to encourage buying and selling one another’s deals. And, they discourage pitching any products which, in this day and age, is a relief. By joining this club you can focus on learning from your peers and building a network of colleagues, instead of dodging sales people trying to separate you from your cash. Unfortunately, the club meets irregularly—not every month—and, on average, less than 20 people show up. Of course, it’s possible you’ll meet an experienced group of investors, and even a mentor, on your first few visits. But, it’s more likely you’ll meet other newbies who can’t help you at all—month after every other month.
- Chicago Creative Investors Association (CCIA) gives members access to real estate investing classes and workshops, regularly-scheduled networking events, and discounts on renovation and building supplies. Membership, which costs $99 for one year or $149 for two years, includes automatic membership into the National Real Estate Investors Association and the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association. As far as for-fee groups go, the cost of joining the CCIA looks like a good deal for all that it offers. However, you’ll still have to hop all over Chicago to take full advantage of the classes, workshops, and networking events being offered—and those aren’t always free either. So, it also looks like you could end up spinning your wheels, and spending your money, in an effort to piecemeal your network together.
- South Suburbs Real Estate Investors is a Mokena-based club that hosts monthly networking dinners in Mokena, Orland Park, and surrounding communities. The purpose of the group is to connect real estate investors who work in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago, including Naperville, and to provide input on neighborhood resources, professional development, and the local market. Additionally, if you’ve got properties to sell, or are looking for some to buy, they encourage you to attend and try to strike a deal. They don’t appear to charge a fee to join and don’t sell educational materials, both of which are big plusses in my book. Instead, members are encouraged to bring problems they need help solving and to focus on motivating each other to succeed. My problem with the group, however, is that the meetings aren’t held consistently, nor are they always highly attended. So the chance you’ll meet a potential real estate investing mentor, or other investors interested in sharing their learning experiences with you, seem slim—and spread too far apart.
- Chicago Real Estate Investors Association also hosts classes, seminars, and workshops, in addition to networking events, in multiple suburban Chicago locations. Meetings are held in Naperville, but also in neighboring Aurora, Oak Brook, and St. Charles. And, if you miss a meeting, there’s an online portal where you can catch up. For $199 a year, you get discounts on their educational courses and approved vendors, chances to acquire and market properties, and opportunities to build your team during structured networking events. With more than 600 members participating in this popular real estate investing club, it’s possible you’ll be able to meet and assemble your dream team faster than by joining some of the other groups. But, just as with the CCIA, it’s more probable you’ll end up investing time and money sponsoring the growth of the association, and of other newbies, instead of finding investors interested in supporting your goals.
If you’re a new investor, like Jon, and want to connect with your fellow Naperville colleagues, these real estate investing clubs really aren’t a bad place to start. But for finding an experienced team that truly supports, and serves your best interest, you can do better. So much better, in fact, that your best option even comes with a mentor.
A Better Team That Serves Your Best Investing Interests
I can say for certain that without the support of my team I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much, nor as quickly when I began investing in real estate. I’ll even go as far as to say that it’s thanks to my network of fellow investors that I went from newbie to pro as fast as I did. Sure, I came to real estate investing with a solid work ethic and a willingness to put in some serious elbow grease, but I didn’t come with all the answers. So when I had questions about which experts to hire for a renovation, for example, I relied on my HomeVestors® franchise network. If things got a little rocky with a transaction, I leaned on my mentor—a HomeVestors® Development Agent. Both my network and my access to one-on-one mentorship came as part of the deal when I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. From the beginning, HomeVestors® wanted me to succeed as a real estate investor and, after my training, I took advantage of every opportunity to do so. Joining the HomeVestors® team is a decision that has served me and my investing career very well.
Still thinking like a pro, Jon decided he wanted to work with the best team in town too. So, later that week, he contacted HomeVestors® about opening a Naperville franchise. If you need a better team of pros supporting you, you should too.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.