By Brent Roberts
Let’s face it: when most people think of real estate investors, they think of men and women buying and selling properties, finding investors and tenants, and negotiating loan terms with the bank. But there’s another side to this industry that we’re proudly highlighting in the achievements and recognition of REIN members, and that’s the real estate investors who give back to the community by donating their time, money, and knowledge—and often all three—to the communities where they live and invest.
The REIN Awards celebrate excellence in areas such as ethics and contribution to the community—both within REIN and society in general. This spirit and drive to give back is embodied in REIN founding partner, author, and philanthropist Don R. Campbell.
Don has written a handful of books and, as many of you know, he donates 100% of his author royalties directly to Habitat for Humanity. To date, he has raised more than $1.3 million to build homes for those in need of a hand up. Those are just the donations we can quantify. Don regularly, and willingly, donates his time and knowledge to REIN members and other people and organizations across Canada and around the world.
Don is an inspiration to a lot of people, including me. His penchant to pay it forward is an example we all need to follow, in our own way.
Ways to Give Back
One of the best things about giving back is that you don’t need money to do it. There are various ways to give back, including with your time, knowledge, and resources, which can include everything from donating space or a team of people, to helping with a particular cause or fundraising event. There are a number of worthwhile causes to get involved with, from finding cures for illnesses such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease, to building homes and schools for families and children in underprivileged communities.
Nearly half of Canadians participate in some kind of volunteer work, according to Statistics Canada. I believe the figure is much higher among REIN members, who are very active in their communities. Their volunteer efforts range from helping build homes in underdeveloped countries to coaching youth sports teams in their communities. They each share a similar goal: to give back to the places where they live, work, and play. They’re helping others, and themselves, by working on building stronger communities and making society better in general.
Another way REIN members give back is by helping each other meet their investing goals, no matter how challenging. Knowledge sharing is huge among REIN members. I’ve never met a more supportive group of people and who are genuinely interested in seeing their peers succeed. If you land a great deal, everyone is happy for you. What’s more, the person who landed the deal is open to sharing tips and advice on how they did it. I don’t know about you, but I’m not aware of many industries in which strategies and information are shared to help others get ahead.
Another great forum for members is myREINspace, a popular online community where real estate investors go to ask questions, share their experiences, and offer advice. I know some investors who are on constantly, as mentors, ready to provide answers and advice on just about any topic.
It’s why I love coaching through REIN. It’s one of the ways I give back. I also receive a lot in return. While I am helping an investor through a tricky deal or to find alternative financing arrangements, for instance, I am always inspired by and often learn from his or her questions. Sometimes we learn together as we work through a particular challenge or opportunity in the market.
Coaching a group of people is rewarding too. I love speaking to a crowd of eager-to-learn individuals, hearing their questions, and addressing any concerns. Sometimes I have the answers, but frequently someone else has a different, better suggestion. Often we’ll all have a robust discussion and come up with a few options. In this environment, everyone learns. It’s an amazing experience and yet another great example of how willing REIN members are to give back.
Helping Others Reach Their Goals
Another way real estate investors and agents give back is by simply doing their job. It may sound selfish, because we make money doing it, but it’s a great feeling when you help someone buy or sell a property and reach their goal. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from helping a couple buy their first home, supporting a newly single person looking for a fresh start, or helping retirees get a great price for their home as they downsize.
I get up every morning with the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping someone take their next step in life. It’s a privilege to be let into people’s lives to help them make not only a big financial decision but a personal one too. As we all know, our home is our anchor. It’s where the heart is, as the saying goes.
A wise person once said, “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” To me, the real estate business is about caring and sharing. If you can get that combination right, as many REIN members do every day, you’ll be not only successful in business but fulfilled as well. You can’t ask for a better combination in life.