Wait! Before You Buy That Real Estate Course or E-book…

by | BiggerPockets.com

Before you get the wrong idea about this post, let me start by saying that I am a huge advocate of learning both before and while doing anything new with real estate investing. I’ve invested plenty of dollars on solid education and mentoring over the years and will continue to make these investments for years to come. There are unlimited options available for e-books, home study courses, systems, and mentoring programs. Many of these products are excellent and will provide you with enough education to get started and be successful. Other products? Well, perhaps not so much.

With these seemingly unlimited options, I was truly overwhelmed when I was first getting started in real estate investing. Everything sounded like an awesome opportunity for success and I didn’t know who to trust, what product to buy, whether I should buy anything at all!

I know that I’m not alone here so I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on what you should consider before buying any system, course, mentoring program, or e-book.

Ask yourself “What was the last training product I purchased, and is it collecting dust on my bookshelf?”

If the answer is “Yes, its collecting dust on my bookshelf” go pick that sucker up, dust it off, and read it again. Unless it’s a complete piece of junk, take action with what you already have available! Grass always looks greener on the other side when you’re seeing examples of other’s success, but try out what you have! Your issue may not be lack of education, but rather fear and/or lack of action.

Ask yourself “Do I get excited and feel inclined to purchase every time I watch a new webinar, see the pictures of huge checks, and read the super long sales pages?”

Do yourself a favor and be honest about this (nobody else will know)! Effective sales letters and videos for products – whether they are awesome or a piece of junk – are designed to evoke emotions out of you. Don’t lose your head! If you’re the type of person who gets excited each and every time and quick to pull out your wallet, you have to be doubly careful.

My advice is to do a little free research online on the various ways to get started in real estate and ask questions (again for free!) in some real estate investing forums first. After you’ve done that, then you should begin to take a look at the product options in your area of interest so that you can follow the lead of someone who was successful in that area.

Once you’re determined your area of focus and are ready to invest in education, consider your available resources

The truth is that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars up front on real estate education. There are so many options available that will cost no more than a couple hundred dollars and can get you started. Once you’re at the point where you have more resources available to you, you may want to consider spending more on an advanced level of real estate education and/or mentoring to help you get to the next level.

Remember, success in real estate investing results primarily from acquired knowledge, a positive attitude, and massive focused action. No course, e-book, or system runs by itself without work from numero uno (yep, that’s you). Once you’ve found something that works for you, don’t let Negative Nellies tell you “I bought that and it didn’t work for me” without questioning them on the actions that they took to be successful.

I wish you the best and encourage any comments or other suggestions below!

Photo credit: dslrninja

About Author

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in Sunny South Florida. On her blog, GoodFaithInvesting.com, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her real estate investing adventures -- obstacles, failures, & successes!


  1. That was another excellent post Shae! I agree that continuing education needs to be part of your overall budget. However, I would put any of our top people on BP up against any guru out there.

    Awesome post again,


  2. Thanks Matt! I’d actually love to see more of the experienced investors (who are highly active within real estate investing online communities) release e-books and/or mentoring programs ….they so much knowledge and experience to share and the communities that they are active in would very likely support those efforts. I do recognize and respect however that not everyone wants to get into the information marketing business and would rather focus 100% on investing. 🙂

  3. Excellent post Shae! I too want to see more “Real” investors put out information, trouble would be telling them apart. How would you know who’s full of it and who’s not?

    For me, I’d rather get my info from BP!

  4. Excellent and true, I am a real estate investor who can and does frequently bash the gurus. Recently I was contacted by an individual who had spent $15,000 on a seminar in Palm Beach only to find that his education was lacking after the purchase of a property at tax deed auction in Broward County. After the purchase he found that there were nearly $18,000 in code violations and liens, ooops. With a property value of $30,000 (he stated) and having paid $15,000 at auction and another $4,000 for a quiet title action he was already in the negative before the quiet title action was completed. My advice, do not let the attorney negotiate the lien for you, many times their hourly rate will negate whatever reduction the BOCC (Board Of County Commissioners) grants. In negotiating the lien yourself you will learn the steps necessary to present this in the future and you will recieve the full benefit of the reduction. Typically the BOCC will reduce the amount of liens.
    The best idea is to not purchase properties whose liens exceed value.

    I have found a discouraging number of people claiming to have great experience and knoweldge who do not. If someone is boasting they sold 7000 properties in Florida for 30% of value it takes about 2 minutes to check. It is always better to check before writing a check, if you don’t check the only one who will be putting profit in their pocket will be the guru who duped you.

    Lets Check
    Google “Florida Division of Corporations”, you can query statewide records for named persons who are agents , officers, partners, managing members, owners of a corporation. If the persons name appears in the registry the records returned will show position in company and contact info. Ohh Look there he is Jeff K, the boaster guru, from XYZ Realty Buyers in Marion County.

    Google, “MyFlorida Official Records Search” run a state wide search of the official records by name Jeff K and by business entity, XYZ Realty Buyers. If the business location in the Division records reflect Marion County, for example, you can restrict the MyFlorida query by county. Oh Look Jeff K nor XYZ have purchased a property tax deed yet he is the expert and guru. Once you have located a few counties in which they have purchased property write down the names of the counties, lets say Marion County again.

    Run a Google search for, Marion County FL Clerk of Courts. Once the County Clerk of Courts Homespage is found you can locate a link for and query the county official records by the persons name and business entity. In most counties you can also see the documents of conveyance.

    I received a call from someone in Mexico wanting to know my opinion on a seminar he was about to take on Florida foreclosure investing and auctions. Oppps the individual he had been talking to was not an officer, agent, owner or partner in a Florida Corporation and the guru personally had purchased a total of 4 properties over the course of 6 years-now that’s truly the markings of a guru. His claim was that he had been personally investing in Florida foreclosure auctions for 15 years and through his Florida Corporation for 5 years. FYI-He needs a better story such as I have invested in Florida reale estate for centuries but all of my transactions are through a trust and my name is not on the trust and the funds I draw from the trust go into my sister-in-laws name and I own a business but I am not a owner, agent, officer, member and I hold no stock in the company, it’s in my step sons name.

    By The Way, I’m no guru, I’m not flashy and I’m not a marketer. When real estate investing is new to you, it is hard to obtain accurate info. If you have the desire to learn and invest in Florida real estate I have approximately 130 free pages and of the millions of US sites on the internet this is the only one where you will actually learn for free. Here’s a short tutorial on using county official records to be a pre foreclosure finder.

  5. @Jose, Thanks! I think that once people have established themselves in online communities you trust them…so once that investor puts out a product you KNOW they are the real deal. Essentially you want to learn from someone you like, know, and trust…and when investors make themselves accessible and have a solid reputation, I think its a great idea to generate an additional income stream through selling information.

    @Steve, thanks! I agree with your comments. I’m a big time online researcher and there’s so much to gain from hearing from others. At the same time, I feel that you have to also consider the fact that there are a LOT of loud complainers who actually shouldn’t be complaining because they didn’t take any action. It’s easy to say something doesn’t work if you haven’t done anything. LOL! Thanks again for your comments!

  6. Nice post and great feedback from the comments section. My question is where would I go to research or even just find mentoring programs? I know forums is a start but are there any websites or information out there that covers such programs? Btw, I’m from California.

  7. Hey Joey, thanks for your comments. I’m yet to see a specific website that allows you to research an extensive list of options in one place….what I’ve seen are websites that are dedicated to bashing a ton of products 🙂

    As you mentioned, I think a great place to start is in forums and you can begin to figure out the direction you’d like to go and ask experienced investors for advice. I think I’m going to work on a blog post in a couple weeks that talks a bit more about the options you have as a new investor and how to compare them and make decisions about where to start.

  8. The best place to start, for any investment, is at the most direct source. In Cali-I ran a query on Goolge for Cali Counties. Picked a county name at random and returned to Google Mariposa County Gov. It took about 25 seconds to locate the link and some info on their next tax sale at the Clerk of Courts site. County autions and protocal are mandated by Statute so what is found in one county will likely pertain to all within a given state, research your local area.

    Once you are aware of the different offices in your county, visit them and start gathering data.

    Example Foreclosures: If you are interested in foreclosures, there will be files held at the Clerk of Courts office or atleast this is a great starting point. Each file will be accessible and holds all of the documents for the case. These files will be retreivable by case number, the case number can be found on the ad for the auction. On many documents within that file you will find Statute numbers pertaining to info on documents, query them on Google. The same holds true for most auctioned property, there will be a file-in that file you will see referenced Statutes or U.S.C. that can be used to gather other information. This is what I call information lincoln logs. Some small piece of info leads to building a new piece on top and then it begins to expand. You can see for yourself I have a page on my site which answered a question in regards to Hawaii Tax Deeds and Oklahoma tax lien auctions, the process for locating the info is the constant and in both instances it took less than 2 minutes to gather the information. Knowing where to look is of more value than being told what to do.

    Ask lots of questions and befriend someone at the court house. This will always give you a leg up, I frequently pay for luches with people from the court house that we have gotten friendly with. Because of this I can get attention and answers where many can not.

    I have paid for lunches with judges, deputy clerks, assistants in the property appraisers office, pretty much anyone. This always works better if it is woman to woman, that is why I say I pay for lunches not attend them. My female counterpart actually gets to enjoy the lunch and I get to enjoy the free info. Men offering to take you to lunch over a simple answer seems weird to many, sorry men we are out of luck on this. If you are serious, send your wife.


    Just my 2 cents

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