Group formed to focus on real estate investing

Phil Castle, The Business Times: 

Doug Van Etten believes low prices and even lower interest rates offer an attractive real estate market in the Grand Valley not only for buyers, but also investors.

Doug Van Etten

Investors need help, though, in tracking trends, identifying potential properties to purchase and dealing with legal and tax issues.

That’s why Van Etten said he’s excited about starting a real estate investment group. “I think there’s a great opportunity here.”

The first of what’s initially planned as monthly meetings of the Real Estate Investors Network of Western Colorado is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Grand Junction Masonic Center, 2400 Consistory Court. The second meeting is set for Feb. 15 at the center.

More information about the Real Estate Investors Network of Western Colorado, is available by calling Van Etten at 433-4312 or visiting the Web site at

While Van Etten works as a broker associate with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty in Grand Junction, he said his primary goal in organizing the group is to offer an educational and networking venue for those interested in investing in real estate. New and experienced investors will be welcome. Van Etten also hopes to involve a variety of professionals in the group — not only real estate agents, but also accountants, architects, attorneys, building contractors, financial advisors, lenders and property managers.

The combination of lower prices and historically low interest rates offers opportunities for people interested in purchasing real estate either as rental properties or to hold for appreciation, Van Etten said. “It makes real estate, I think, look more attractive than ever.”

Like other forms of investments, though, successful real estate investing requires a long-term approach with carefully considered strategies, he said.

For new investors, the first step is answer why they want to invest in real estate and set goals for what they hope to achieve, Van Etten said.

And then there’s the matter of identifying potential good investments, considering various types of financing and dealing with tax and legal issues, he said.

While it’s possible to read books and attend seminars about investing in real estate, one of the best ways to learn more about the subject is to interact with others involved in the same pursuit, he added.

“There’s a lot to be said about learning from people around you.”

The Real Estate Investors Network constitutes the second effort of its kind in the Grand Valley. David and Mindy Vindiola oversaw the Western Slope Real Estate Investors for several years before the recession and downturn in the housing market.

Van Etten said he talked to the Vindiolas about their group and they offered help in his efforts to launch the new network. “They’ve been great in that regard.”

Van Etten said he expects monthly meetings to include updates on the local real estate and financial markets, presentations by local experts, featured speakers and a time for participants to network.

Grand Valley professionals will be tapped to share their knowledge about various aspects of real estate investments, he said. “We have a lot of expertise in this town.”

The Jan. 18 meeting will feature Marcus Straub, a Grand Junction business coach and consultant who will talk about setting personal and financial goals as they relate to real estate investing and achieving financial independence.

The Feb. 15 meeting will feature Paul Brown, the Mesa County public trustee who will talk about property foreclosures and they opportunities and challenges they present in the real estate market.

Given the low prices and lower interest rates, Van Etten said the timing is good for real estate investing — and a real estate investing network. “It’s an ideal time for people to jump in.”