Always know your investment philosophy. And you might want to take that Trump guy’s advice -- he seems to be doing all right.

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How to Start a Real Estate Investment Club

If you can't find a club you like in your area, you might consider starting a new real estate investment club. You can define the focus of the club and seek to attract like-minded members. You'll want to reach out to people who have expertise in different fields, but who are motivated to gain or provide knowledge about real estate investing. You'll also want to think about the professionals you might invite to speak at your meetings.

You can start the process by conducting research.

  • Learn about the purpose and structure of existing clubs.
  • Attend a few meetings to get a feel for how they operate.
  • Consider what they offer their members.
  • Decide how you want your club to be similar to and different from the clubs you research. Jot down ideas and activities that seem worthwhile.

As part of your research, familiarize yourself with key real estate laws and current market conditions.

Once you have defined your mission and have a feel for what you want your club to offer its members, recruit people with expertise in real estate law, finance and accounting who can provide information lend their perspectives about potential real estate deals to the group. Figure out how the members will stay in touch. You also might want to create a monthly newsletter or an online discussion board.

You'll also need to think about how you want the club to grow. You can set up a website to market your club, or use local publications to recruit members. It's OK to start small. As your club provides value to its members, the membership is sure to increase.

Since money will be changing hands, think about incorporating to protect your personal finances. Decide whether your club will be a for-profit or not-for-profit entity. Each structure carries certain legal requirements and rewards. Your state's attorney general's office can provide more information about forms you must file.

Your group can elect officers such as a President and Secretary. Officers and members can help you decide how to manage dues, how often to meet, where to meet and how important decisions will be made. You might also want to create committees to find expert speakers, plan special events or seek out local real estate deals.

Whether you find a club or create one, embarking on the high seas of real estate investment can be a challenge. But it can also be rewarding -- and profitable. Stay alert and stay informed, and you should be all right. You can start by following the links on the next page.