The Real Estate Investors Association began as a small group of five local landlords who decided in the summer of 1970 to form a "club". The group would share information on real estate issues and try to help promote their business ventures. Since then, REIA has grown to over sixty members who own and control a vast amount of real estate in Jamestown. From that group of five has developed  an organization that meets monthly, providing guest speakers on issues of interest to the real estate industry, conducts workshops for local landlords on a variety of topics and publishes a monthly newsletter.

In the fall of 2008, REIA developed and launched its website featuring its Tenant Referral System, the first tenant screening site in Jamestown and Chautauqua County.