How to Build Your Network
The best networking advice is to be open, honest, and sincere in connecting with others. If during every negotiation you look not only for your maximum gain but also to help others, your network will be built on real trust and friendships. That is a solid network that will ensure success from your first house flip and continue to help you succeed as you grow your business.
What Is Networking?
Networking is the background irrigation system in house flipping. It keeps opportunities open to you and ensures, over time, that more house-flipping leads and opportunities come your way.
Once people know you are a real estate investor, they will connect you with properties or homeowners ready to sell. Your network is a very effective way to generate house-flipping leads. More leads mean more opportunities to flip houses.
Networking is emotional. You will need to put yourself out there and reach people through your character, personality, charisma, honesty, excitement, vigor, or humor. You want people to remember you and be attracted to you. That will grow your network and attract house flipping opportunities.
Who Should Be in Your Network?
Your first objective to build your network is to realize that everyone is a potential connection. Start with your family, friends, and colleagues. Share your desire to start flipping houses and listen to the ideas they have.
As you build your house- flipping business, the people you meet will become important connections and part of your network. The core of your network will be people whose professions put them in direct contact with either buyers or sellers of houses.
Your network should include:
- Other investors
- Real estate agents
- Your competitors
- Title companies
- Courthouse clerks
- Residents of your target neighborhood
- Local real estate investment clubs
- Employees at the local home improvement or hardware stores
- Your family and friends
5 Step Plan to Build Your Network
While the list of potential network opportunities may seem daunting, you can follow this five-step plan to be well on your way to building your house flipping network.
5 Step Network Building Plan:
- Join a local real estate investment club
- Contact investor-friendly real estate agents
- Contact local contractors
- Visit hardware and home improvement stores
- Connect online
Step 1: Join a Local Real Estate Investment Club
When you join the real estate investment club, make a point to attend events at least once a month. More opportunities will arise if you take the time to get to know other members and are frequently seen at real estate events. Networking starts by being where other house flippers are and building connections.
If there isn’t a real estate investment club in your area, join an investment club. If there is a real estate club, join that as well. Any clubs that relate to your goal are a good place to meet new contacts and generate leads. This will be your first line of connection.
How to Reach People
When you attend club meetings, you can plan to show up early and stay late. Be prepared with business cards. Reach out to others, and get their business cards as well. You can talk about your house flipping business and your goals.
You want to reach out and connect with people. Make them feel heard, powerful, and important. When you network, you want people to feel good about themselves and good from being around you. People will remember how you make them feel.
It is a good idea to ask others in the club about their experience or current projects. They may be able to give you useful insights or point you in a new direction. Your goal is to start to build connections. As you regularly attend meetings, you will start to make friends and be known within the real estate investing community.
Step 2: Meet Investor-Friendly Real Estate Agents
Now you will want to start reaching out to investor-friendly real estate agents. Connecting with investor-friendly real estate agents will be an important step in networking and throughout the house flipping process. Investor-friendly real estate agents will help you to search the multiple listing service (MLS) for houses being sold under market value, including foreclosures and preforeclosures.
An investor-friendly real estate agent will do the following:
- Help you find properties with good house flipping potential
- Be motivated to help you find a house to flip and resell.
- Understand the importance of a quick close on the purchase
- Help locate motivated sellers
- Be aware of the importance of your return on investment (ROI)
- Realize you will bring more business than the average homebuyer
- Know the house flipping process and expedite the buy and sell process
- Help bring referrals and grow your network
It is worthwhile to meet with several investor-friendly real estate agents to get different viewpoints and find an agent you are comfortable working with. When you meet with the investor-friendly real estate agents, you can share your goals, your target neighborhoods, and ask them for recommendations based on their experience. They may be able to point out a target neighborhood you had not yet considered or suggest a property they think will be good for flipping.
You can ask the real estate agent to meet in their office or wherever they prefer. After the first meeting, if you want to really build a connection, it is useful to invite them out to business lunch. There you can have an in-depth discussion about your goals and how you can work together.
Questions to ask an investor-friendly real estate agent:
- How long have you been in the business of real estate investment?
- What are your favorite areas or target neighborhoods?
- Do you have any houses for sale right now under market value?
- Can we use the MLS to search for properties?
- Do you know of other house flippers looking for a partner?
- I am looking in (name of the neighborhood) - do you have any properties listed there?
- What are your recommendations for how to start house flipping?
The investor-friendly real estate agent will be one of the most important relationships in your house flipping network. They can help you search for houses, bring you leads, and facilitate the buying and selling process during the house flip.
Step 3: Contact Local Contractors
The best way to select local contractors is by a recommendation. This is where step one and step two come in. You can ask other house flippers, real estate investors, real estate agents, friends, and family for recommendations. A good recommendation is worth more than extensive online research or a good interview.
When you reach out to local contractors, you will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and ask them for general quotes. It is good to find out from them what type(s) of work they specialize in and their current availability. You can explain your interest in real estate investing and discuss leads you already have.
Questions for local contractors include:
- How long have you been in the business?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have space for new clients?
- What is your price per hour?
- Do you have standard bids or price ranges for projects?
- Do you know of any houses that need renovation, and are for sale?
Networking with local contractors is an important step in building your house flipping business. You want to find professionals who can get the job done in a timely manner - while staying on budget. Plan to contact at least four or five contractors in your area to start building your network.
You may find several contractors you would like to work with and price each job. Even if there is only one contractor that you think is good, any of the contractors you contact could later bring you house flipping leads. For this reason, consider them all a part of your network.
Step 4: Visit Hardware or Home Improvement Stores
If you arrive at your local home improvement store early in the morning, you are likely to meet contractors and other house flippers buying supplies. You can also speak to the employees in different departments and ask for their advice on specific projects you have in mind.
This will not only build your knowledge of construction tasks but also build relationships with people who come in contact with builders, contractors, and house flippers every day. You never know when they might offer a lead or partnership.
Step 5: Connect Online
You can use the internet and online groups to connect with other house flippers and real estate investors.
When you connect online, you are enriching your network in four key areas:
- Knowledge resources
- Investors and sources of funding
- Reaching local people outside of your in-person network
- Support and encouragement
The best ways to connect with others online is through dedicated forums and websites for house flippers.
If you are already investing in other areas, you can ask the bank or investment firm if they have contacts in real estate investment. They may be able to point you to resources and connections that can generate house flipping leads.
The Importance of Reputation
When building your network, reputation is the most valuable currency. Help the people in your network whether or not they have helped you. By gaining a reputation for treating everyone fairly and giving others opportunities, people will be happy to work with you.
Some ways you can support the people in your network include:
- A finder’s fee
- A referral fee
- A bonus for on-time, high-quality work
- A partnership
- A referral
- A recommendation
- A lead
- An opportunity to participate in your house flipping
- A second chance
- A small gift
- A thank-you note
- A generous gesture
Not all of these will always be applicable, but you can keep them in your pocket as an arsenal to build the contacts in your network.
Be sure to act in a way that is clear and professional with everyone in your network. For example, it is good to return phone calls and messages promptly. Make it a habit to be gracious and generous whenever you get the chance and watch your network grow.
Cultivating Your Contacts
It can be useful to have some type of contact management system to keep track of your network. This can be something as simple as a sortable Excel spreadsheet or a specialized app.
The idea is to keep track of the contacts in your network and follow up with any connections or leads. You will also want to make sure their information stays up to date. For these reasons, it is useful to reach out to your contacts periodically to check in on them and see if they have any leads for you.
You can classify your contacts from the most active in bringing you house flipping leads to the most passive. Over time, the people who can and do bring you house-flipping leads will change. However, it is worth keeping tabs on all the connections in your network.
Some house flippers use networking strategies like reaching out to each contact by text at least once a month and following up with a call to their most active contacts. You will have to see which strategy works best for your contacts. Think of connecting with your network like watering your garden— you don’t have to do it every day, but you should do it regularly.
You want to keep regular contacts around because networking, like advertising, is about success in numbers. The more contacts you have in your network, the more possible leads you have available. Just keep cultivating your contacts, and sooner or later, a great house flipping opportunity will come your way.
Through networking, you will connect with people who can potentially bring you house flipping leads or direct you to motivate sellers. Your network is all your contacts who can bring these leads. Anyone in contact with people buying, selling, or repairing houses is an especially important connection in your network.
Your reputation will be your currency. Help those in your network to succeed and connect to them emotionally. Cultivating the contacts in your network should be a regular activity and will pay great rewards in time.
It takes patience and persistence but, over time, your network will be an important factor in making the best use of your time and generating house flipping leads. Continue to build your network, and watch as your house flipping opportunities grow.