Corporate REI Club Helps Employees Invest in Real Estate

Corporate REI Club Helps Employees Invest in Real Estate


"For those of you who haven’t yet invested in real estate, this will be an opportunity for you to learn from those who have."

A buzz of anticipation filled the first Affinity Real Estate Investment Club meeting.

“So, show of hands. Who in the group has never before invested in real estate?” asked Mike Wrenn, Chairman of Affinity Worldwide, Think Realty’s parent company.

About two thirds of the members raised a hand.

“Okay, who has invested in between one and five properties?”

Fourteen members raised a hand.

“Five to 10 properties?”

Five hands went down.

“More than 10 properties?”

Seven hands remained up.

“That’s great. For those of you who haven’t yet invested in real estate, this will be an opportunity for you to learn from those who have. Some of us have invested in real estate for many years and know how life-changing it can be.”

I admit; my hand was in the first group that indicated no prior real estate investing experience. But, like the rest of the newbies, I was there because I had always been interested in REI and wondered if I could do it. I was eager to take part, knowing I would learn the ropes of investing while enjoying minimal risk by contributing only a small amount.

Affinity Worldwide is a company that includes multiple real estate investing-related service entities, like National Real Estate Insurance Group (NREIG), Think Realty and Radius Renovation Group. Some Affinity employees who worked in service to real estate investors had never themselves invested, so the club was formed to give those employees practical real estate investing knowledge and experience. Before setting up the Affinity REI Club in September 2017, its leadership consulted with lawyers to make sure it was set up correctly and that its structure followed SEC regulations. The first meeting for the club’s 36 members was that October.

During the first few months of meetings, the new investor-members learned REI basics from the club’s seasoned pros, including the CEO of Affinity Worldwide and Think Realty, Eddie Wilson. Club members were encouraged to bring investment opportunities, so the group could discuss the potential deals, analyze them and determine if they could be good investments.

After considering a few properties, the club voted to purchase its first in February 2018: a brick Tudor in an old Kansas City, Missouri neighborhood on the cusp of regeneration. It is a flip that requires a total gut job and top to bottom renovation. The magnitude of the renovation likely would have deterred many of us first-time investors from investing in this property. On our own, the cost would have been too great, and the management of a full gut job would have been too overwhelming. But, together, and with the tools and resources the seasoned pros in our group brought to the table, it didn’t seem so scary. In my next article, I’ll dive deeper into how we handled the renovation portion of our flip (and show you some pictures, of course!).