There are numerous, and some would say countless, ways to invest in real estate. However, many new investors struggle with where, when and how to get going. If you are looking for just one area to focus on, there is only one place that warrants your attention: the local market. A large majority of all your deals will come from the local area. Your local market doesn’t necessarily have to be where you live, but it should be in close proximity. In focusing locally, you will see rapid growth. Not only will you grow quickly, but the growth will be sustainable. Building your business locally won’t happen overnight, however. If you want to invest locally, and with results, try the following:
1. Know the area: It is very difficult to build a strong local presence if you do not know the area. Regardless of the market, a lot can change in the matter of just a few miles. Without knowing everything about an area inside of a market, you cannot make quick decisions. The inability to make quick decisions can cause you to lose deals. To learn about an area, you need to get out and see it. This means driving through neighborhoods at various times of the day. Having a firm knowledge of the area also allows you to confidently talk about your market. There are many local contacts that would prefer to work with someone that knows the local market. Before you do anything else, you should make it a point to know everything about your specific area.
2. Network: When you are confident you know your local market, you can start networking. Regardless of what is going on with the rest of your business, you need to dedicate time to networking every week. Between local real estate agents, attorneys, mortgage brokers, contractors and accounts, you can certainly have your hands full. Start by taking an hour or two a day to get in front of as many people as possible. Emails, letters or phone calls may work, but nothing is as effective as face to face impressions. You should have business cards and a quick elevator pitch prepared for how you find and work prospective deals. You can also reach a large number of local contacts by joining local networking groups. The more meetings you attend and people you talk to, the more recognized your name starts to become. This will eventually lead to one on one meetings, which ultimately lead to deals.
3. Strong local team: Building a strong local business often means having a strong team around you. Networking to a large group of people is great, but the objective is to gain a handful of strong contacts. By aligning yourself with the best people in the area, you become stronger. The key is to turn a conversation or meeting into a working relationship. This may require you to make some concessions on your first deal or two, but it is all for the greater good. Even if you don’t need to give anything up, you need to work diligently if a new opportunity comes your way. You will be judged on everything you say and do. If you can execute on the initial deal, you may be able to cement yourself as their go-to contact. A solid local contact usually has a few members of their team that they can refer you to. Before you know it, you will have a handful of local contacts that want to work with you. From there, it is all about maintaining the relationships and moving forward. You are only as good as the team you surround yourself with.
4. Community presence: People like to work with people they feel comfortable with. One of the ways to gain exposure for yourself and your business is by getting out in the community. There are many little things you can do to increase your local profile. Small things like putting an investing ad in the local newspaper or sponsoring a hole at a local golf tournament won’t break the bank, but will have an impact. You may not see any direct impact from your efforts, but everything you do helps. You should also make a point to talk about investing every chance you get. Between parents at your children’s school, sports teams and other activities, there are plenty of opportunities. You never know who may know someone that either has a direct interest in investing or knows someone that might. The better job you do at creating a strong local presence, the more people will know you and want to work with you.
Growing your business locally takes time. Your hard work will be rewarded in the way of deals and contacts. The contacts will help reduce the amount of time and money you spend on leads and grow your business exponentially. If you are looking for one area to focus on in your real estate business, it should be your local market. This is where most deals start.