A Clubby Approach for Trading in Real Estate

Advertisements for get-rich-quick schemes from real estate investments have been been with us for many years, inviting the curious to free meetings, programs and seminars.

Their sponsors claim they can put you into the right groove and point you in the direction to wealth and comfort. Often they cite testimonials of having just done that.

At such events, there is ample opportunity to learn about the machinations of buying, selling and exchanging--whether or not those putting on the affair use a low-key rather than a hot-sell approach. Even though the program is free, the audience obviously will face either a subtle or a strong, badgering pitch to get involved somehow. If you can withstand the hype at such an event, where you necessarily are fair game for such appeals, the exposure can be beneficial and educational.

Now, the Real Estate Marketplace, a newly-organized endeavor, offers a novel or clubby approach for those who wish to buy, sell or exchange real estate. It is the creation of Buddy Bernard, president of the Sherman Oaks-based White House Properties. His plan provides a forum or club for matchmaking--putting those who have property to buy, sell or exchange in immediate contact as members of a club, the Real Estate Marketplace, which will have monthly continental breakfast meetings.

The format is the culmination for Bernard of 30 years as realtor, exchangor and auctioneer and, he emphasizes, it "is not a no-down payment, become-a-millionaire overnight seminar."

It is "a professional, creative real estate marketing organization" and is not affiliated with any realty board. It will be a private entity with a limited membership for both real estate licensees and the public. Bernard's club will not benefit from any commissions or transactions between members; it will serve only as a go-between or matchmaker.

Bernard, a director and longtime member of the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors, may get some static from his business colleagues but his philosophy is that the public has been virtually excluded from brokers-only deal-making and problem-solving meetings.

Making the deal, putting it together--that constitutes the marrow of the industry, and hence, his public forum or club approach provides an excellent setting, he feels, for any person, licensee or not, to attend as a member and enter into the proceedings which he will moderate.

Two free demonstration Real Estate Marketplace sessions are scheduled this week. The first will be held at the Sportsmen's Lodge, 12833 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by another program at the Airtel Plaza, 7227 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

At these orientation lectures, open to all persons interested in real estate activity, details of club membership and annual dues, places and times of the breakfast sessions and other details will be explained by Bernard.

He expects to attract members from among buyers, sellers, licensees, builders, land buyers, syndicators, accountants, lawyers, property owners and investors.

Once the club is launched, the members will have the opportunity to present their offers to sell, buy or exchange. In a typical case, Bernard said, interested parties will be brought together and will have available free professional services from lawyers and accountants, and insurance, title, escrow, zoning, advertising and even pest control specialists during the three-to-four hour breakfast-business meetings.

Membership will not be transferable and only once may a member bring a guest, on a space-available, non-participating basis.

Listing boards will contain "haves and wants" of the members. Bernard, using one of two forms indicating whether a member wishes to buy or sell and/or exchange a property, will interview that person. Typically, a buyer may want to purchase an apartment house, rental houses, commercial or industrial properties or trust deeds. As the buyer explains what is needed, Bernard will direct or refer the person to a prospective seller in the room.

Material containing prospective offerings and names of would-be buyers will be available to members at the end of the meetings. Also, the club plans to distribute the "haves and wants" of members to about 30,000 recipients of real estate publications, Bernard said. Newspaper ads will also call attention to the listings.

Some matches are made in heaven. Competent realtors and other real estate-related professionals, when you think about it, can really become earthly matchmakers.

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