#RealEstateClubAssociationSpotlight Great Lakes REIA, Zach Weaver

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Podcast Transcription

Dave Dubeau [00:00:09] Everyone, it’s Dave Dubeau here with another special episode of the property, Profits Real Estate podcast. And today we’re doing a special real estate investment association spotlight interview. And it’s my pleasure to be interviewing Zach Weaver from the Great Lakes area near Cleveland, Ohio. Zach, how are you doing today?

Zach Weaver [00:00:29] I’m doing great, Dave. How about you?

Dave Dubeau [00:00:31] I am doing fantastic. So, Zach, let’s talk about the Great Lakes region. How long you guys been around? What area do you kind of draw most of your members from? What kind of events do you put on that kind of thing? So tell us a little bit about your club, about your real.

Zach Weaver [00:00:47] So Great Lakes. We’ve been around since 2012. We kind of formed out of necessity. Gary Blini was our previously. He started the river and he just handed off to me recently. I’ve taken over as president, but we formed in 2012. We have about 120 members and we cover the Cleveland metro area.

Dave Dubeau [00:01:06] All right. Very good. So do you guys focus on one particular style of real estate investing or is it kind of, like all things, real estate is what you guys cover?

Zach Weaver [00:01:16] We focus on all things real estate for the Great Lakes real. We’re primarily focused on educating our members on how to run their businesses and do it the right way. So, you know, buy and hold, fix and flip private money lenders, they all have a place in the room. For us, it’s not. We’re not focused on one niche or anything like that. It is really how to grow your businesses.

Dave Dubeau [00:01:36] So Zach, it sounds like you got started with RIA as a as a member and now you’ve been plunked into the position as president. So congratulations for that. So what kind of drew personally drew your attention to belonging to a real estate investment association or a real estate club? What piqued your curiosity back in the day?

Zach Weaver [00:01:56] So about 2012, we had five rental properties if things were going decent, but. I started to struggle, we were ramping up and hitting some of those growing things that people hit financing. But it’s always a big one for people starting off. So I was having issues with financing and then just finding contractors that you can count on and rely on to do your flips. I guess it sounds easy. You pick up the phone. It’s not, you know, so. So long story short, I joined the Great Lakes region in 2012 in Rob Break out on one hand, the number of meetings I’ve missed since then.

Dave Dubeau [00:02:30] Yeah. So what has been for you as a member of a real or real estate investment club? What have been like the biggest benefits for you personally? Like what? Obviously, you’re you drank the Kool-Aid. No, you’re the president of the club. But for somebody who has enjoyed a club or a real estate investment association, what would you say are like the biggest benefits you personally received from this?

Zach Weaver [00:02:53] It’s the biggest. It’s the education. It’s first and foremost, it’s knowing how things work. We’ve got a lot of really unique regulations here in the Cleveland market and just you don’t know what you don’t know, right until someone’s taught you and the cities aren’t going to sit there and teach you all the ins and outs of their processes. So that’s what the EPA really has done is it teaches us how to be successful in the environment that we’re in. And, you know, like I said, we have some really unique regulations here in the Cleveland. So and I’m sure all the market

Dave Dubeau [00:03:21] friendly, landlord friendly regulations.

Zach Weaver [00:03:24] No, no, anything. But the biggest one we have here is they call a point of sale. I’m not sure you’ve heard a point of sale by Howard. What does that mean? So in northeast Ohio, they have these point of sale regulations, which means the city comes in and inspects your property prior to the point of sale, and it must pass a housing inspection and building code inspection prior to being transferred. Really?

Dave Dubeau [00:03:46] So how does anybody do any flips? The thing has to pass code before it can be sold, right?

Zach Weaver [00:03:53] You’ve got to get really unique. The other thing, though, what you do is they’ll let you escrow one hundred of 50 percent of the city’s estimated cost of repairs in order to transfer the property. So that’s, you know, that’s a huge one for fix and flip. Yeah. Like you could buy a forty thousand dollar property, you’d have to escrow one hundred and fifty percent of $100000 repair, right? Like, it’s crazy. That is. So you’ve got to get pretty creative in how you structure your deals. Sometimes if you

Dave Dubeau [00:04:20] like auctions and things like that to tie him up in that sort of

Zach Weaver [00:04:23] thing, I would imagine. Exactly. Yeah, it’s just how you structure things, getting creative. You know, you got to work within the box, but you can do a lot of things inside that box so that you don’t know what the heck the

Dave Dubeau [00:04:33] box is first. Right, right? Don’t get caught with your pants down. Yeah, that’s a big one.

Zach Weaver [00:04:39] Right. So that education, you know, like I say, like, you need education to be an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer. The same is true in real estate, right? To be able to be successful here. You need an education on, you know, the sophisticated investor has a leg up on everybody else. They know the ins and outs. They know the things that can save them money in the real really provides that whether it’s through the education side or the networking, I mean, I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved through the networking within our organization. You meet people that are there, they’re doing things and they tell you what they’re doing and you’re like, Oh, what a great idea. Or just or just connections like, yeah,

Dave Dubeau [00:05:14] for sure, you contract. Like, you’re talking about picking up the white page of the Yellow Pages to find contractors that aid the best way to go. Finding somebody that use somebody that’s reliable, that’s a much better way to go.

Zach Weaver [00:05:25] Absolutely. And you know, when you joined the real, all the contractors are members. You know, you got your whole team there when you join, you’ve got real estate agents in there. You’ve got accountants, you’ve got lawyers, you know, and you’ve got contractors. So a lot of that stuff’s there. And then I give you like some of the simple things like flooring, like we go through a lot of flooring, fixing and flipping properties. Well, you know, it took me like a year into it till I realized I got an LLC. Why don’t I just buy straight from the distributor instead of buying from Home Depot or Lowe’s? Because once you’re a business and you’re, you know, you can get that retail account with the distributor. So, you know, things like that and

Dave Dubeau [00:05:59] you get that at wholesale prices now instead of brand retail.

Zach Weaver [00:06:02] Absolutely. So those kind of things make you a little more sophisticated and give you that that leg up on the market.

Dave Dubeau [00:06:08] So, Zach, it sounds like you had massive benefit, obviously, and success from being part of your of your local right of the Great Lakes area. So besides your own success story? What’s like one of your favorite member success stories that pops into your mind?

Zach Weaver [00:06:25] It’s in Brian Masterson’s probably my favorite one, he joined the Rio 2016 real soft-spoken quiet person. He and he did everything the right way, and this is why I think it’s such a great success story as Brian joined the Rio 2016. He had zero property. You don’t own any real estate, and he showed up to every single meeting all the way through 2016. All the way into 2017. Still had never purchased a property, and now it’s 20 and 21, and he’s financially independent and has left his W-2 job. But he really did it the right way. He showed up, he got some education and then he started buying properties, you know, buying properties, quite outings in over his head and then trying to get someone to see them, you know? Well, that’s a way to learn, too. It is one that people are.

Dave Dubeau [00:07:13] Yes. Oh, that is wonderful. Yeah. So I mean that and everybody that I’ve interviewed on these spotlight interviews has got like a story like that. And again, it’s all about. Learning the basics, getting the basics down, getting your power team in place, you know, not getting too stuck in analysis paralysis, it sounds like Brian got going, but it took him a while, that’s for sure. Until he was comfortable to

Zach Weaver [00:07:41] take it, he wanted to pursue any and he shows up at every meeting. I can tell you; he probably hasn’t missed five meetings in five years. He’s there every month and he’s asking good questions like especially when he was just before he made that first purchase, you know, he was there paying attention, asking some really good questions, then yeah, once he got comfortable, like, yeah, he got over the analysis paralysis and then he just he jumped in and just went and it was just successful. I mean, right off the bat. And like I said, it’s fine. It’s 2021, and he’s, you know, he’s left his W2.

Dave Dubeau [00:08:11] All that is fantastic. That’s that is great. Now you’ve got a very in-depth personal connection with your RIA. What words of advice would you give to a relatively new real estate investor or somebody who’s got a deal or two under their belt and they want to kind of kick things up to the next level? What have you found as being the big benefit of taking a more active role in your rehab versus just being a passive member?

Zach Weaver [00:08:42] The networking, it’s huge. And so you go there to get the education. At some point you’ve kind of got all that education and now you’re transitioning more to the networking side and the people you meet in. And, you know, deals just flow from knowing people that are in the business and that are doing deals. And in the more you’re there, the more you participate in your activity. You’re seen as a leader, right? And those people that are in the meetings, like especially Aria, if you if you go to one of the meetings are going to be a bunch of younger people in the front and there’s a bunch of people in the back with gray hair. Well, they’re the ones that are at the back into their career. They own a lot of real estate and they’re starting to look at succession planning and things like that. And you know, their owner financing some of their properties to others. They want to stay in real estate, but they can’t be there on site every day. They want to go to Florida

Dave Dubeau [00:09:25] or don’t want to be anymore.

Zach Weaver [00:09:26] Yeah, right. So those guys, they’re not dumb. They’re not going to go in owner finance or property to the guy who’s been there for, you know, two months, right? But they’re looking at who’s in this room. That’s an expert and that’s who they’re doing business with. So. So yeah, it’s

Dave Dubeau [00:09:44] like, who do they trust out of that group? Right? That’s right.

Zach Weaver [00:09:47] That’s exactly it. And sometimes it’s not today that this relationship pays off. I mean, we got 18 units this summer. Owner Finance, I met the gentleman six years ago, stayed in touch with him through the last six years. You know, been active. Yeah, we’ve talked so many times. And finally, he got to the point where he’s at. He’s ready to sell now. I knew that are still mean circumstances.

Dave Dubeau [00:10:11] And guess who was ready and waiting for? Right?

Zach Weaver [00:10:13] Yes, that’s right. That it’s because I’ve been there consistently, you know, for six years and he trust me. He knows me always. He can hand off his baby to me and know that he’s going to get paid because you owner finance the whole thing and he knows that I will deal with it and I’ll treat his tenants with respect in the right way.

Dave Dubeau [00:10:30] Third of all, that is a wonderful story there. We all got success stories for one. You know, not just Brian’s, but yours as well there that that is fantastic. So Zach, as we’re wrapping up our conversation here today. How did the whole pandemic thing affect the Great Lakes region, and what did you guys do to better adjust throughout this whole weird time that we’re going through?

Zach Weaver [00:10:54] So, so for us, it’s fairly unique. I’d say it really hurt the organization a lot. So Gary had been running the organization since he started it nine years ago, and the pandemic came and we just shut down for like 18 months. We didn’t really do much. And then this past spring, I called Gary up and I said, Hey, when are we going to get going again? You know, like, we need to be here. And Gary was kind of he was ready to retire. You know, again, he’s been here for the long haul. He didn’t really want to fire it back up and start doing all that. So I kind of stepped in and took over. So attendance wise, membership wise, it really hurt us a lot. But when we came back, we’ve come back to this group of people who’s really active. They’re doing business each and every day. So now that we’re back, we’ve had this opportunity to have a little more. Our meetings are a little higher level, I’d say. So, you know, I don’t want to say like we trim the fat or anything like that, but we have a lot of people in the meetings. Before that, they just weren’t active. They were going to be investors. They were never going to be active, but they showed up. Now we’re really down to these core that they’re really active and we can really get into them good strategy sessions and some discussions in and, you know, doing deals with each other and bringing in a partner on a deal if it’s too big for us. So overall, it really affected the membership negatively. But coming back, I think we’re going to come back stronger.

Dave Dubeau [00:12:16] Yeah. So are you guys back to doing live in-person events? You’re doing virtual stuff on both what we

Zach Weaver [00:12:22] do both on. So we are yeah, we have two meetings a month. We have a live in-person meeting, third Thursday of every month and then on the first Thursday of every month, we have just an open Zoom meeting for all our members. It’s more like an office hours unstructured question and answer period so we can bounce ideas off of each other, you know, try to find contractors, then that was just for members that we don’t allow. The vendor in the room is just for members to really have that open, honest talk, you know, kind of really help each other out if we need to

Dave Dubeau [00:12:53] go to make sense. Well, this has been really, really good, Zach. I appreciate your time. And if people want to find out more about the Great Lakes region, and I imagine you know, you got people from out of state who are kind of interested in your neck of the woods or people from outside of Ohio able and welcome to attend your meetings as well.

Zach Weaver [00:13:14] Absolutely. So we have an online option there that we offer. Obviously, they’re not going to be in-person, so know we are we do charge for membership. It’s, you know, it costs money to run the organization. So there is an online option. We have members in Australia, Israel. We just had a member sign up a couple of weeks ago in Washington, DC, so we have a lot of members from our area. The Cleveland market is really, really strong, cash flow wise. So. So we get a lot of out-of-state people and they want to sign up. But so we don’t charge in full price. We have an online only and they’re allowed to get access to our vendors and that kind of stuff. But they also they get to get on those Zoom calls, right? So they get some of the networking and the value there. They just missed that in-person meeting.

Dave Dubeau [00:13:57] But if you do the in-person meeting, you do a hybrid where people can watch it online as well as are the only life.

Zach Weaver [00:14:03] We’re moving that direction, but we’re not there yet.

Dave Dubeau [00:14:05] OK, got it. All right. So people want to find out more and connect. What should they do?

Zach Weaver [00:14:10] Go to our Great Lakes reo dot com

Dave Dubeau [00:14:12] and we’ll put that in the show, notes Zach. It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you very much.

Zach Weaver [00:14:16] Awesome. Thank you, Dave.

Dave Dubeau [00:14:17] All right. All right. Take care. Tune in for our next episode. Bye! Thanks for tuning into this special Spotlight episode! Now, if a real estate investor and you’re looking to find private money partners and raise capital for your deals, then check out Money Partner Formula dot com, you get a free copy of my book. You can find out how to raise six figures or more in six weeks or less. Again, that’s money partner formula dot com.

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