Being a successful real estate investor is more than buying, selling, fixing up, and renting properties. It is also about reaching out, building relationships, and being part of a community. In short, it is about investing in the community as well as the property.
“As a property owner in the area, you are a part of the community even if you do not personally live there,” says Shawn Miller, CEO of 5 Arch. “You have a financial stake in the community, which gives you an important motivation for staying abreast of local matters and making local connections.”
On the most obvious level, staying abreast of local matters will enable you to understand the ramifications of current and proposed zoning ordinances on your investment properties. It is also a good idea to keep informed about neighborhood crime statistics so that you can take the steps required to keep your property and your tenants secure. In some municipalities, ordinances require you to have specific types of locks and security measures, so knowing what those are is extremely important.
Additionally, it is a good practice for property owners to educate themselves about various aspects of the community, including the area’s small businesses, local government, and school district.
“Attending city council and school board meetings is a great way to stay informed,” advises Miller. “You may even want to join the local Rotary or Kiwanis Club so you can become knowledgeable about and interact with business leaders in the community.”
Participating in local activities can give you valuable connections in your role as a real estate investor. For instance, you may get to know the local paint or hardware store owner, tradesmen like plumbers and electricians, as well as various building contractors who work in the area.
Having these connections can help facilitate the work you do on your property. You’ll know the most reputable and knowledgeable professionals in your area, thus having the resources for the best products, the best advice—and often, the best prices too.
It is also a good idea to interact with local residents to find out their concerns. If you are a landlord, have conversations with your tenants, potential tenants, and surrounding residents. “This puts you in a better position to be responsive to them and show you care about what is happening in their neighborhood,” says Miller.
To solidify your involvement in the community, you also may want to participate in local events, such as street festivals or carnivals. Also consider marketing opportunities for your real estate investment business to serve as a sponsor or offset the costs of a local children’s league sports team.
“Getting your name out is a good way to make connections with the community,” says Miller. “You’re not just some ‘fly-by-night’ opportunist who came into the community to make a few bucks before heading out again. You’re committed to staying for the long-term, and making connections with the community and the people who live there is the best way to show it.”
Community-Building: Invest More, Connect More
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