Marc Lawrence at the first Real Estate Insiders Network eventOn a Tuesday last month, more than 100 real estate professionals gathered to celebrate the launch of a new company called Real Estate Insiders Network, or REIN. With help from an open bar, brokers and developers schmoozed with lawyers, lenders and designers.
“Real estate is still a business of relationships and face-to-face connections,” said REIN cofounder Marc Lawrence. As senior managing director at the title insurance agency American Land Services, he’s gone to hundreds of industry events during his 20 years in real estate. He’s even organized them himself. But Lawrence and American Land colleague Ruanna Sakols felt they could attract a broader audience by forming an independent company to host networking events. So they launched REIN, which will organize panels, conferences and other events.
The field of real estate networking companies is already crowded with firms like GreenPearl Events, Bisnow and JudyNetworks. To survive, REIN will need to find a unique niche, said JudyNetworks founder Judy Sahagian. Lawrence “needs to find what’s missing from the field right now and grow to fill that hole,” she said.
Lawrence said he aims to host events that draw equally from all parts of the real estate business, the better to facilitate actual transactions and new working relationships. Too many networking events, he said, attract only brokers, for example, or only lawyers.
He plans to do this by making careful selections from his Rolodex and paying close attention to when and where events are held; lawyers and executives prefer morning events near Grand Central, for example, while brokers tend to populate the after-hours events. That way, he said, guests walk away with more than just a hangover.