Personal Development

Investors: Don’t Fall Victim to the Biggest Scam in Real Estate

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing
247 Articles Written
blue sky background with some clouds and red flag in foreground waving in wind

I’m sick and tired of constantly seeing fake gurus out there trying to sell courses, DVDs, seminars. It doesn’t work, and this is why. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why the hell is someone charging to teach me how to do it if they can just go out and do it themselves?”

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

If you’re sick, what do you do? You go to the doctor, and the doctor gets you better. If your car breaks down, what do you do? You take it to the mechanic, and the mechanic fixes your car. You don’t go out and buy a seminar or attend a seminar on how to fix your car. You also don’t go out and buy a book on how to cure your health.

Related: The 13 Tell-Tale Traits of a Scammy Real Estate Investment Guru

Finding a Mentor

Now, if you want to learn how to make money in real estate, you have to go and find a mentor. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay for a mentor. When I started my journey as a real estate investor, I hustled my way to someone who’s got a $150 million company right now. I called him and cold emailed him and begged him for six months before he took me under his wing and I got a job with him. And he pretty much taught me the foundations for being the real estate investor that I am today.

So I want you to stop buying DVDs, courses, and seminars. I know that a lot of people watching this video are going to absolutely slam me for what I’m saying here, but I honestly think that this is the biggest scam going on in real estate right now.

Related: Real Estate Coaching or Mentorship: As a Newbie, Which is Right for You?

Don’t Fall for TV Celebrity Gurus

You guys are getting sucked into these seminars and buying these courses and DVDs because of what you’re seeing on TV. Some of these folks have created credibility from their TV shows, even though a lot of those TV shows are fake. Ninety percent of them are fake—the figures are fake, and they make it look much easier than it is. I’m begging you—go work with someone who’s doing it every single day. Maybe they don’t necessarily want to teach it because they’re making so much money doing it. But if you offer them value, you might just land a gig that will help set the stage for your investing career.

ad-youtube-channel

Have you purchased any courses, DVDs, seminars, etc.? What has your experience been?

Let me know your thoughts with a comment!

Engelo Rumora, a.k.a."the Real Estate Dingo," quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at the age of 18. From there, he began to invest in real estate. He now owns real estate al...
Read more
    Adam Schneider Flipper/Rehabber from Raleigh, NC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Rumors, I agree with you completely on all points. Thanks for raising the issue, and providing the analogies of the visits to the doctor and the mechanic.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks for your comment Adam, I did my best hehe Much success
    Daryl
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Good article. Salesmen come in all flavors……some sell stuff, some sell solutions to problems and some sell themselves as both, without being either=The art of self promotion. In legal terms…..a con artist.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks for your comment Daryl, Have a great day
    Joshua Davis from Orlando, FL
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I guess I’m not watching the show now. What an odd thing for a TV personality to post – don’t watch TV personalities because they are fake. Is this post supposed to be reverse psychology?
    Mel
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I was questioning the same thing and valid point about reverse psychology. Not many successful investors are willing to mentor anyone from FREE especially if their mindset is “I don’t want to train my competition. Many times, I see the blind leading the blind at the meetup groups and REIAs. With that said, I challenge anyone to go to a live foreclosure auction find the cash investors bidding on and buying properties (at the auction) and ask if those investors will mentor for free. I am curious to hear how that goes.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I have no issues training my competition. The fact is that not many will work longer or harder than I so I always end up winning. I’ve had many employees that have worked for my company, learned a tonne from me. Then left abruptly to start their own thing. Here I am and most most of them are back to their shitty little lives and haven’t done anything significant with the experience that I passed on to them. So teaching someone for “free” and being worried that they will be your competition hasn’t been an issue for me. I’ve had way to many people ask me for something but never really willing to give anything in return. Even ifn this instance, if only they where a bit more persistent with following up, maybe they would have caught my attention. Nothing beats hard work and if you bang the door hard enough, someone will open it. Now, I’m composing a consulting tab on my site that is going to be so bloody expensive just so no one bothers me anymore lol The high price point is there to “scare people” off hehe Thanks and much success
    Chad Glover Investor from Virtual
    Replied about 2 months ago
    So if someone sign up for the high price that’s meant to scare them off, will they get it for free?
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Not sure who or what you’re referring to? Can you please clarify? Reverse psychology? Thanks
    Sean Bryan Professional from Overland Park, Kansas
    Replied about 3 years ago
    All he’s saying is an ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory. You should never stop learning, but you should know education is the last great scam, and not just in real estate. It’s an amorphous product. Students don’t know what they’re supposed to know and don’t know when they’re shortchanged. That and nontraditional education is about as unregulated as it gets. Forget real estate for a moment. Is it wise to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a computer science degree if you haven’t yet taken a free Khan Academy course to determine if you both enjoy coding and have an aptitude for it?
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    100% agreed Sean, Formal education will earn you a living while personal development will give you a lifestyle. I’m a big believer in taking action, working hard and figuring things out along the way. Much success
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hi I agree with your core premise!!! But there are several catagories of help sellers, alot are selling helpful info and at modest prices. The class of folks I definately agree with you are the: – fortune builders REI training. OMG what a rip! – Kiosoki’s rich dad training. Same thing. expensive and drops you off without doing deals. There’s other education Mills that are factories, helping you increase your credit limit to pay for their training. I’ll draw a line in the sand. Education that costs over $997 in practical terms can’t deliver the proportional valiue. A person can only learn so fast and around $997 is about all you can learn in a few months. Maybe $497 is the break point. My point is that the $25k Fortune builders 3 day weekends can not deliver proportional value, yoiu can’t learn 25 times faster in their education vs the $997 guys 3 day training. BUT there’s lots of folks selling $97 things and I buy a lot of them to reverse engineer and pull the valuable one liners from. One of my favorite good guys selling small $$ amount education is Mark Walters, but there’s many many good folks selling really good content! Then there’s the national level educators: Dykes Boddiford, Pete Fortunato and a few others who’s intelligence and content is heads and shoulders and often unique so I travel for their education. Engelo I respect what you are saying, 100% agree, but as one who as made it as well, but via the local REIA, local “doers” path plus paying for knowledge here and there I know that what you said sounds black and white but I view the reality (and I bet you agree) that REI education is a shades of grey reality. I like Tai Lopez (51 steps guy) who said be the 30 yr old driving the nice car, not the old guy driving the nice car. Because most folks who become successful by making all the mistakes first hand take till they are old to finanally have made it. (dove tailing into Engelo’s comment) Learn from others so you can accelerate your success. My input is, that its not always via pay them nothing mentors. These opportunities are very rare, even in large REIAs. IE I can’t take anyone on as a student (free or they pay, neither) so if I can’t who can? There’s few who can. Fortunately I hear of a few who do. I also hear of a few of those mentors taking advantage of the students! My tips are: – Joine ALL of the local REIAs even if you have to drive 2 hrs each way. – Go to all the REI groups and over time figure out who is really doing deals. – click on those ads offering REIA training systems. Buy a few. Study them and not just put them on the shelf. – Always be reading REI books. A book a month at least!!!!! – Get on a bunch of education sellers mailing lists. Watch their videos, watch their live presentations. You will learn something for free. – I under represented struggling to do your own deals in this list. Every other bullet should be struggle daily at lead gen, talking to sellers, driving for dollars, calc MAO, signing contracts, canceling contracts, a few will make money. Learn a long the way. You’ll get your 10,000 hour education and find a level of success.
    Daryl
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Curt, I don’t know you, but some advice……I’m 68, built five companies and now fully retired with some investment properties in my portfolio, so I feel I can tell you without holding back…..you are chasing a $5 with a $20. I don’t know what value you put your time at, but all the hours you pledge to ‘improving’ your performance might be better spent actually doing battle to get ahead. Successful people make mistakes…lots of them. Unsuccessful….they take what they see as shortcuts. The differentiating factor between failure and success is to take mistakes and turn them into success by moving forward. Successful people immerse themselves in making things happen, not reading/driving and not listening to others that don’t work for them or who don’t have any skin in your success. This creates your good instincts….not reading, or taking another person’s success map as your own…it’s not a shortcut…and most shortcuts turn out to not be shortcuts in the end. You deserve good luck if you want it, but you must do the heavy lifting to get it.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Daryl, I’m F#$%ing screenshoting your comment and printing to hand deliver to my staff tomorrow morning hehe Love it mate but what you mention is the “bulldozer” way of succeeding. It hurts putting your head through the wall but I do it every day. It’s a slugger match without much finesse lol Curt has some good points (More finesse based IMO) but I also prefer taking action and making S#$% happen and learning from the actions I take. Thanks and have a great day
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hi Curt, Thanks for your detailed comment and perspective. It is much appreciated. To date, I’ve never paid for any course, dvd, etc… I have a library of books that I’ve read over the years, get my daily fix with business articles and I surround myself with the nations greatest entrepreneurs. I spend a fortune on lunches, dinners and coffees along with “trial and error”. That is how I learnt and advise others to go down a similar path. Nothing beats first hand experience and your Network = Net-worth. Great comment tho and you had some great tips. Thanks again
    David Moore Investor from Ocala, FL
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Your advice to travel for Dykes Boddiford and Pete Fortunato is great! The person who mentored my mentor advised me to go to a Dykes Boddiford seminar. Worth the travel to another state & spend a weekend learning. One thing I would add to your advice is that not only should one educate themselves they need to act on that education. Knowledge is power, but without action it is nothing.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    This is spot on mate “Knowledge is power, but without action it is nothing”
    Thomas Phelan Appraiser from Miami, Florida
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You pose a fair question: “Why the hell is someone charging to teach me how to do it if they can just go out and do it themselves?” The answer is simple if you have ever attended a highly marketed Real Estate Guru Conference, example Ron Legrand. If you were Ron Legrand what would you rather do, visit a dozen prospective fix and flips homes, submit offers and counters offers, come to an agreement, go under contract, close, repair the property and then list it and wait for it to be sold and closed to receive a check amounting to maybe $15,000 – $30,000 in profits three to six months later? Or, how about addressing 300 – 500 hungry attendees at a highly promoted conference, perform your platform sale’s pitch and see a $1,999 – $3,999 Course sold to 50 – 100 eager buyers who rush to the back of the conference room with credit cards in hand? The math tells the story. Also bear in mind that if Ron Legrand couldn’t come up with one single success testimonial he probably wouldn’t succeed just as a Las Vegas Casino must have some slot machines pay off some of the time, Real Estate Gurus must have occasional winners and they do. I was one of them. Where the element of “honesty” is lacking isn’t always exclusively attributable to the alleged Circus Barker, Snake Oil salesman Real Estate Guru, rather it’s the purchaser who in his/her heart of hearts knows he/she may diligently study the Course but won’t put in the actual time necessary to succeed, making a lot of phone calls and visiting a lot of properties.. I think a good analogy is a fitness gym where the majority of people who join know they will never fulfil an intense, time consuming workout regimentation. They know from the beginning they may show up a time or two but will soon quit and place blame of everyone and everything except themselves. Fitness gyms know this dynamic well and exploit it to the hilt. Can you imagine every single member of a fitness gym showing up on a Friday evening to work out? The line would wrap around the building and the parking lot would be overflowing. People inside the gym would be waiting perhaps for hours to use a particular machine. At least a Guru’s real estate course has no such physical limitations. That being said I absolutely agree that a having a Mentor is a better way to approach the real estate business because a competent, professional Mentor will hound you like a Drill Sergeant or personal fitness coach whose motto is “No pain no gain”. However, if we eliminate the Mentors who charge a fee, and the industry seems to be flooded with them, there are few Mentors remaining and willing to do it for free. Why would someone successful in real estate where every minute counts and can be used for another deal, another listing, another sale etc. want to have you tag along asking questions that only slow the Mentor down? The only answer I can come up with is, “Money”. The Mentor will want to charge you money or receive money from another avenue, e.g. TV rights like Million Dollar Listing and any of the numerous Fix and Flip shows that crowd the screen. I truly wish this ethereal Mentor altruism existed but I guess I have done too many real estate deals and witnessed too many players all seeking the d=same thing, i.e. a maximum paycheck for minimal time invested. This is why Internet Courses or so popular now, people want to believe they can stay home and masterfully flick a few computer keys to effortlessly buy and flip properties for big profits. Believe me, the physical fitness industry is green with envy that it too cannot come up with an Internet stay-at-home workout product.
    Darius Ogloza Investor from Marin County California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Sure, gurus have success stories. A stopped clock tells you the correct time twice a day.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great comment Thomas, In my opinion they all are still scammers with their BS products, courses, etc…. None of them want to trade time for money so they put their “knowledge on paper” and sell the S#$%. Guess what? I’m happy to trade my time but for my 14 full time staff (total of 50 dependent on my main company) and other business that generate millions and millions of dollars in revenue every year. I’m happy hiring people to source, offer, negotiate, buy, rehab, tenant, manage and sell hundreds of deals. It’s the good old hard work and an honest living way 🙂 As rude and raw as I am mate, my ethics are through the roof and seeing the fluff S#$% they sell makes me sick. I know the whole seminar circuit scam back to front and that makes it even “yuckier” for me to watch. I say yes and yes on your gym analogy. They empty out come March as soon as the “New Years resolution” dwindles down lol I posted in another comment above that “if you knock hard enough, someone will open the door” Most people only knock once and the door stays closed. That’s why they never find anyone willing to be their mentor for free. I’m even setting up a site now that will charge an absurd amount lol I don’t want any clients to be honest and it’s just for folks to stop asking me for something once and never willing to give anything in return. If only they kept knocking… Thanks mate
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied about 3 years ago
    @Daryl LOL great comment! I find that I don’t cover the full scope of my thoughts when I start typing. I would have included your tact of fire-ready-aim-fire-recalibrate-fire again -success- do it some more-etc. I’m not an example of this good advice! LOL as such I quit my day job later in life thanks to real estate but I had all the tools had I just jumped in and did it learning a long the way. Yes mentors accellerate and save on expensive mistakes. Another side topic is: how to choose a mentor, a coach, a pay for course? The premise here IMHO should be the core criteria: does the teacher DO what they are teaching in the immediate preceding month? How many per year. Only move forward if they are doing what they teach. This one criteria would get folks much higher quality help. Tnx Engelo for the intriging blog title!! LOL
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    “The premise here IMHO should be the core criteria: does the teacher DO what they are teaching in the immediate preceding month? How many per year. Only move forward if they are doing what they teach. This one criteria would get folks much higher quality help.” Yes and yes Curt, Can you write a blog for me mate? I’ll just put my face on video for it hehe Thanks 🙂
    Christopher Smith Investor from brentwood, california
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Engelo I would agree. Sure someone with real depth of real estate experience to turn to at critical times would always be very helpful to just about anyone, but that is not what these programs / groups are “selling” (emphasis added). What they are pushing is about 95% hand holding and emotional coddling, and 5% (if that) real substance which begs the following question. If you need someone like one of these organizations to perform this specific function for you (i.e., to assist you in baby stepping through your comfort zone), what chance do you really think you will be successful in a field that requires an immense amount of grit, drive, self starter initiative, unrelenting perseverance and the willingness to assume individual risk, this on nearly a daily basis.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Very good points Chris, Maybe a shrink is a better/cheaper option if you need emotional coddling lol You are right tho mate I have found that most folks are just lazy and unwilling to put in the work. It’s that simple 50% of it is just showing up. Thanks
    Daryl
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Christopher, you clearly have your head in the game. There are several key traits, some of which you’ve nailed down, that are key requirements for being a successful entrepreneur. The industry chosen is immaterial to success, it’s the fabric of the person that matters. I’ve always defined an entrepreneur as someone who clearly has problems working for someone else, has an actual talent for making business happen, and is capable of drinking out of a fire-hose while chewing on ground glass at the same time. One of the greatest lies we tell ourselves and our children is that anyone can be anything they want if they only put their mind to it and work hard. No they can’t, and neither can any of us. Just because you have the talent to sing in a rock band doesn’t mean you can sing opera, no matter how much training you’re willing to pay for.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Daryl, I think “talent” is BS. Nothing beats hard work. I agree tho that you will never be the fastest man/woman in the world unless you’re born with fast twitch muscles hehe. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got and you will always be able to improve. Thanks
    John C. Investor from New York, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Good for you, Engelo. Somebody had to be blunt and say it. Lol I like the gym analogy that another writer brought up. I too use this analogy when explaining to others how to achieve their goals. It’s grit, determination, persistence, and self discipline. Most people only have enough discipline to go to the gym for a month or 2 after making their New Years resolutions. Same for dieting, saving and investing, etc. The successful ones stick it out for years, for life. They make it a part of who they are, not just for a short while. Congrats to you on your extreme success.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks John I’m still chipping away and no “extreme success” yet. On another note F#$% New Years resolutions. They don’t work and never will. Set an end goal 5 years in advance and brake it down to 3 years, 1 year, 3 months, 1 month, 1 week, 1 day and 1hr They take action every day to achieve that end goal. I believe in setting goals and targets and not just fluffy S#$% like “Stop Smoking” Thanks again
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Chandler/Lima, Arizona/OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    So – I spent 2 hours on the phone with 3 of my students. All of them paid an exorbitant amount for my CFFU course – $199. Phone conferences are free of charge cause I like people… Once off of those calls, I checked my email, and guess what – decided to click on a BP newsletter for the first time in a few months. Engelo, how’re you doing?
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Benny, Great to hear from you. Same old here “Shaking hands and kissing babies” hehe Thanks
    Wilson Churchill from Madison Heights, Michigan
    Replied about 3 years ago
    The books are where the rubber meets the road. The seminars, coaching etc. are just fluff. Buy their inexpensive books and skip the rest.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I like books mate, Finding it super hard to read anything these days tho Thanks for your comment
    Elicia Goodale from Boca Raton, Florida
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great advice. I’ve been a sucker for a couple of seminars, etc. Even in the past week before finding BP, I have been marketed to by a company wanting me to go in $10K for education/networking. I’d much rather start here, particularly given that I initially contacted the person on a Meetup without realizing what would ensue. Top 5 books for a beginner??
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks for your comment Elicia You will learn more on Bigger Pockets than any seminar company could ever teach you. My 2 favorite books are Think & Grow Rich and How To Win Friends & Influence People Much success
    Daryl
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Good to Great. Strengths Finder. First Break all the Rules. All 3 should be at your library. These will help you define you, how you kick the can down the road…..and how you don’t. Knowing yourself before learning how to do ‘things’ will advance you in ways nothing else will. If you read these and subsequently feel you are on the right track to your own successes, you’ll get there with minimal training and mentoring. You will have identified the ‘right stuff’ for what you want to do.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I need to check out these 2 Strengths Finder and First Break all the Rules Thanks for the recommendation
    Brandon Hall CPA from Raleigh, NC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I think education is valuable – but only from those who have a proven track record, and *generally* not from those mass-marketing their education. These seminars are a complete joke, 100% agree with you Engelo. I have clients that literally spend $40k-$80k for a “blueprint” to help them syndicate deals, flip houses, etc. I have to be the bearer of bad news and inform them that such education is NOT tax deductible if incurred prior to their own business starting up. That’s generally a shocker. That said, I do spend about $30k per year on business coaches. I consider them my “board of advisors” and they all have significant successful business experience. This is key for me because I’m only 26, trying to grow a business, and manage 5-6 employees. I don’t have decades of experience so my coaches help to lessen the learning curve and avoid pitfalls. Nice article!
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks Brandon and well done on your success at such a young age. Those BS blueprints sure are a shocker… Great stuff on your business coaches. I have many partners/business associates that are my advisors also but am yet to find someone that I would actually be willing to pay lol A good business coach is definitely worth the money IMO Catch you on my next blog
    Karl B. Rental Property Investor from Columbia, MO
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I never felt the need for a mentor, paid or otherwise. Information is everywhere. Everything an investor needs to know is on this website, in the podcasts, and of course, through personal experience once he or she gets started.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Agreed Karl, So much can be found online and nothing beats live hands on experience. It’s good having people around you tho that have walked the same path that you are taking Much success
    Account Closed
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I really thank you guys…I do hear you all and respect you too as successful people or on their way to being succeful, because I am 21. You are all my elders. Am a smart worker and persistent one. I don’t know the word “hard working” because I have not yet chosen the real path to follow and work harder for it….few months I thought of REI, and I worked the way I could and finded this website…now, am with you brothers….my country is a quick developing country, and I know in few years someone with real estates will get rich from it. So, I want to know, how to start REI when you don’t even have 20$ in your pocket, but I have a good working mind…but it needs your knowledge power to supply it and start working. Thank you. GOD IS GREAT
    Account Closed
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I really thank you guys…I do hear you all and respect you too as successful people or on their way to being succeful, because I am 21. You are all my elders. Am a smart worker and persistent one. I don’t know the word “hard working” because I have not yet chosen the real path to follow and work harder for it….few months I thought of REI, and I worked the way I could and finded this website…now, am with you brothers….my country is a quick developing country, and I know in few years someone with real estates will get rich from it. So, I want to know, how to start REI when you don’t even have 20$ in your pocket, but I have a good working mind…but it needs your knowledge power to supply it and start working. Thank you. GOD IS GREAT
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks Gisa, You need to work as long and as hard as you can while at the same time living a very frugal lifestyle Once you have saved sufficient funds, then you will be ready IMO to start your real estate investment journey God sure is great and much success 🙂
    Jodie Tyndall
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Recent licensed agent in NC and I am interested in RE investing and learning how to find the funding for these flips, rentals, etc. I was thinking of going to the Than Merrill seminar but it sounds like a total waste of my time when the resources are available to me online. My background is in business and am taking a break to get this business started. Any thoughts on info for funding and input on seminar. Thank you
    Christopher Smith Investor from brentwood, california
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I’ve been to one or two of these, and you won’t miss much. They are glorified pep rallies all directed at selling you hand holding services. Essentially nothing of substance is addressed other than the promise you will get something of real value if you just keep purchasing the more advanced elements of their program. These meetings have been deftly tailored to put you in a state where you will turn of your rational thinking mind and get caught up in the imagery (or should I say illusion) of being a successful real estate magnate. The great irony is if you need all the upfront emotional coddling they offer you have almost no chance of being successful in an endeavor that requires you to be able solidly stand on your own two feet without baby stepping assistance.
    Jodie Tyndall
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thank you Christopher for the honesty. Based on your experience, where should I begin? I am familiar with locating foreclosures but I need help with completing the deals and acquiring financing, etc. Can you recommend where you would start if you were me and know what you know now???
    Christopher Smith Investor from brentwood, california
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I guess all I can tell you is how I began. First, I am only in the Rental Business and I don’t flip properties (at least not so far). My first property was the accidental landlord thing, moved because of a job change and didn’t want to sell my home. It worked out reasonably well, but again it was just one property. Then 2009 hit with the housing crises and there were properties galore at 65% plus discount from their last selling price. I live outside Silicon Valley so I started buying up properties during the 2009 to 2013 time frame. It was then I needed to get really serious about managing properties because by then I had a number of them. So my approach was very passive in the beginning just learning as I went but without much real focus, and then it accelerated very rapidly after I acquired a whole portfolio of properties. As I indicated before, I went to a couple of the standard “sales” seminars in the beginning (pretty much totally worthless stuff), and I realized very quickly I was going to needed to educate myself if I was going to learn this business. I started by reading quality books on the subject of acquisition and management of rental properties (Bigger Pockets members can give you many recommendations here – see Brandon Turner’s list – some of which he has written himself). Although I work full time outside my real estate activities, I was able to find enough time to read a book every two weeks. So it was mostly just taking the self initiative to learn from others, I mean really credible folks now not ultra cheesy self declared TV RE Gurus. This would include for instance Bigger Pockets contributors either through the articles or the blogs. And finally and perhaps most importantly actually learning on the job dealing with my own portfolio or properties. Bottom line, I’m still learning and reading now, it never really ends. You can always improve your efficiency (i.e., your profitability) no matter how long you have been doing this. It’s really up to you to find the self starter within yourself. Once you really get going with true dedication, doors will start to open, just walk through them and don’t stop.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks Jodie, If you post on the open forum on Bigger Pockets, I’m sure that you will get a tonne of replies to your questions. Much success
    Mark Padolsky
    Replied about 3 years ago
    The best form of investment would always be education. Educating oneself and training oneself does not mean that you should just read this and read that. Educating and training oneself means that you should put yourself through a real estate training course. The best way to learn a trade is to learn from the ones who are certified to teach that specific trade. Being a real estate investor involves a lot of money which we do not want to waste and hand it over to the sad fate of loss. Save yourself the loss and invest in a real estate training course where you will learn the basics all the way to the specifics.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks for your comment Mark but I strongly disagree Most real estate training courses composed by “guru’s” are just a big BS scheme. All of the supposedly “life changing” secrets can easily be found online. Also, nothing beats taking action and actually learning on the mistakes you make Thanks again and much success
    Daniel Pollock Real Estate Investor from Brooklyn, New York
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Wow, lots of great discussion, ideas and tips. Thanks everyone. Definitely helps to formulate my plans and actions. No NY resolutions! Dan Brooklyn, NY
    Lucas Mills Physical Therapist Assistant from Springfield, Missouri
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    To play devil’s advocate, why wouldn’t an investor want to teach instead of doing deals all day long, when they can make as much (or more) money running seminars than being out in the field? Furthermore, some people actually enjoy teaching. I am not trying to defend gurus, as I feel similarly — about the bad ones. But, I know successful investors in my local area who swear by some of them. One in particular is a member of more than one mastermind group (thousands of dollars annually) and he says it’s well worth it. Another local investor speaks very highly of Ron LeGrand. This one in particular was mentored by him and, as a result, became extremely successful in the span of about 3 years. This investor cash flows ~100k per month. I am getting ready to attend the 4-day “quick start” class offered by LeGrand. I am not paying for the class. Being negatively biased towards gurus beforehand, I feel like I should be able to offer a good perspective on how I view the value from this class, so I’ll report back later if interested.
    Christopher Smith Investor from brentwood, california
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I don’t want to paint with to broad a brush here recognizing that there may be some legitimate folks out there teaching real estate classes, but let me relay a “confession” I listened to once from an individual that use to run these classes for a real estate outfit. The reason I was told this story is that I mentioned to this individual that I was considering attending one of the road shows put on by one of the more popular outfits. As noted, this individual had been an organizer for a similar real estate outfit and he asked me a few background items about myself and he told me, “don’t go, you will be just wasting your time” and this is why as he explained it to me (his words to follow). “These outfits are looking primarily for truly sad sacks who have failed at most everything they have done in life and are absolutely desperate to turn their fortunes around. They are typically uneducated folks (high school or some minimal college attendance), are very easily manipulated, and will do nearly anything the sponsor tells them to do (e.g., pay big money for routing information that can be had in books at only a nominal cost or sometimes on the internet for nothing) for just a chance to hit it big. Its all about emotionally motivating these types, not by conveying valuable proprietary information, but rather through psychological gamesmanship and posturing, giving these unfortunates a vision of what they can be if they just faithfully carry out all the sponsor’s instructions. In other words, giving hope to the hapless. Kind of a like a used car salesman conducting a high school pep rally and hand holding session for the class misfits and dropouts”. Now to be fair, he said it wasn’t a total con job, and on occasion an attendee actually went out and generated some real results, but those folks were far and few in between, and those few individuals that did have some success probably could have done what they did without extraordinarily high costs of the program. So there it is, the confession of an instructor working for one of the real estate gurus. I ultimately went to one or two of these events myself, and in my opinion he was spot on. Totally useless and a huge waste of time, learned nothing that wasn’t available reading any one of a hundred 4.95 books available online from amazon.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Christopher, Yes and Yes, Do you know that they have a structure for every presentation. For example: 1) About my success 2) You can do it also 3) Relate to consumer 4) Show family photo’s 5) Pitch 6) Show success stores of others 7) Pitch etc…. It’s all an emotional scam Disgusting stuff
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Thanks Lucas, There are good ones but a dime a dozen lol Post back on here with your experience. I still think that nothing beats 1on1 The classroom stuff is just too fluffy. I charge a fortune for my 1on1 stuff and it’s more for turning people away rather than actually hiring me haha I make more money investing than I ever good “teaching” Much success
    Lucas Mills Physical Therapist Assistant from Springfield, Missouri
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Hey, thanks for the reply Engelo. Well, upon return from the 4-day Quick Start event, I have to say that I absolutely loved it. I didn’t pay for the event itself (just travel and lodging), though I did spend 2k on some training material. Not too bad, I don’t think. The 4-day event did have some sales pitches here and there, as can be expected. But, they didn’t push anything terribly hard and mostly left people to their own devices as to whether or not they wanted to do whatever it was they were offering. I would say the event was 80% content and 20% sales, which is actually a bit better than I was expecting. Overall, I think the information that was presented was extremely valuable, worth far more than the price of the course (which again, I did not have to pay). I am going to put it into practice over the course of the next few months so we will see what happens. In addition, I have a local mentor to help me along the way. I think that I am in a good position to produce results.
    Monique Rene Coates Consultant from Providence, RI
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I agree. I spent MUCH more than my fair share on guru courses that got me nowhere. However, what you WILL NEED as a real estate investor, whether you are a NEW or OLD real estate investor = MONEY! Lack of funding is the number ONE reason deals fail. If you have your property under contract, and have at least 10% down, but could use additional funding, our private investors can help. VISIT: frontstglobal.com
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I suggest investors work hard and save as much cash as possible. When they have enough saved up, then start your real estate journey. Financing from the “get go” is risky business in my opinion Thanks
    David A.
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I totally agree with you that people should not be paying fake gurus for their books, courses, seminars, ect. Incidentally, do you charge for your new book? https://engelorumora.com/book or your speaking? https://engelorumora.com/speaking-engagements or your consulting? https://engelorumora.com/consulting
    Bret Ehlers Investor from Holladay, Utah
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Thank you Engelo for your opinion. I personally know several of the HGTV Celebs and they have active real estate investing businesses and practice what they preach. HGTV has a very stringent requirement the celebs must also have active real estate investing business in order to have their HGTV show. They are down to earth folks and got their start just like the rest of us who have successful real estate businesses. They had to do their first transaction too. Have a Terrific Day!!
    Carmen Molina
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I don’t know how old this post is, but I agree 100% Specially about the TV gurus. They make everything look so easy on TV and some people think they are going to make millions just because they attended that seminar or bought that DVD
    Kevin Waropay
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Amen! I didn't mind buying a book or two on Amazon to get some knowledge. That was enough to get me motivated. I did what you did...found a fellow flipper that was willing to guide me. I'm working on my first flip this month. Settlement is this week! I have not considered paying for "subscriptions" or seminars to learn about real estate.
    Mitch Smith Rental Property Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I would agree with you to a point. The $10,000, or $20,000 programs that some new investors are purchasing is a waste of money in my opinion. That being said, is a $1000 online course worth it for a brand new investor to learn how to analyze a property, find a market, complete due diligence and learn how to network? In my opinion yes. Seven years ago I began flipping houses in San Diego and Los Angeles. I moved my business to the Midwest for a better price point and better returns. I am now doing 15 to 20 flips and new construction projects per year with an amazing team that I established from 1700 miles away. All with blood sweat and tears. And yes, I lost a lot of money by trusting bad contractors, real estate agents and the list goes on. I spent hours on the phone and on my laptop talking to those that could help me build my own purchase agreement, searching for contracts and running comps. I had one contractor that ran off with $30,000 because I had not built a team that I could trust. Would I have paid for One on One coaching and an online course to help me build my team, analyze my properties and learn my investment market? The answer is a resounding yes. All for less than the closing costs on my first out-of-state purchase? You bet. I respect you and your accomplishments. However, I do find it a little hypocritical and somewhat of a conflict of interest, that an Investor that has built a Turn Key company, is beating up those that are trying to build a business teaching others. After all, If some of those individuals learned how to purchase a property below market, then add value on their own, why would they need a turn key provider that that sells the property at market value and sucks the equity out for them? Talk about the biggest scam in Real Estate.... At least the course providers are providing information and allowing the new investors to learn and fail forward so they can eventually do it on their own. In regards to your doctor example, I beg to differ. Book sales in relation to the health industry, is in the billions of dollars every year. Because there are those that would rather learn how to do something on their own, from a qualified individual, with some guidance, as opposed to letting someone do it for them. And lets be honest, not every doctor has the patients best interest, or knows what the best treatment might be. I'm curious to hear where you draw the line for the "real estate guru". Is it Grant Cardone? He sells a course. He is also one of the most successful real estate investors in the country. He is "actually doing it" as you would say. Although I somewhat agree with your statements in regards to mentorship, I also think there are those that would prefer to get a basic understanding of real estate investing prior to asking a mentor to show them all there is to learn. I'm sure your mentor would have appreciated you having some basic understanding of real estate investing before coming to him. Although I see the point you are trying to make, I think you would've done a much more effective job by being less dramatic.
    Craig Anthony Lender from Orlando, FL
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Good point and I have found a program that I am now in that only cost $1497, but the support and the setup is by far the best I have seen thus far. The setup is like none I have ever seen or heard about.
    Rob Massopust Real Estate Broker from Garden Grove, California
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I think the celebrity gurus are the worst. They have the platform to market to gullible and the fact that they are on TV gives them credibility. So people shell out 10k's for the secret magic button. While trying to find someone a good deal on a real property no one really wants that. Lots of the Celebrities are in trouble and rightly so. RE is hard and requires lots of work and capital. There is no easy button, at least I have not found it!
    Mike Arman
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Back in the old days (like 1,000 years ago), I used to fix motorcycles. Got down and dirty, made some money. Then I got a job teaching about how to fix motorcycles. Didn't get dirty, made more money. Then I wrote some books about how to fix motorcycles. Stayed clean, made LOTS of money, and used that money to buy half a dozen rental properties. So yes, there's more money and less hassle in teaching people how instead of doing it yourself - but you have to start by doing it yourself.
    John Turner
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I agree wholeheartedly! Every “guru” I’ve met at these classes who are “set” financially from real estate earned the bulk of their successful investments from 2008-2012! Every single one. Yes they were in the business of fix and flip and buy/rehab and rent. And I’ve met some very successful individuals who aren’t getting paid to tell you what they did. To a person they say fix and flip in most markets is beating a dead horse. Do you really want to invest in a property sight unseen in a city 2000 miles away? Next these seminars have many attendees who are now out there turning over rocks looking for a deal. Stand in line. I’m more of a buy, fix and rent investor. Cash buyer. I’m lucky. I’m still being paid on my rentals. No Covid 19 BS. But I’m constantly looking and what’s out there doesn’t work. Newbies are overpaying big time. I’ve seen prices paid and can estimate rehab costs on fixers. I see what they pay and follow as best I can what’s being done and what the list price ends up being. Very touch and go for any profit at all. Maybe they’re doing the work themselves? Who knows. So net net....... The gurus make their money teaching. Their portfolios were built yesteryear. If they could make the big bucks doing just real estate they would NOT be out there creating their own competition. Can you make money wholesaling? Oh Gawd! I’m a cash buyer. The stuff that’s offered to me are jokes. Years ago I dabbled in trading. Took a weekend course for $1500 on options. The instructor implied you could make a living trading from home in your pj’s. He asked “Any questions?” I raised my hand and asked basically why are you even here teaching this on such a gorgeous weekend if you could be home trading on your computer!? Silence. Ummmm......anybody else have a question?
    John Turner
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hard money lenders? If you go that route pray that everything needing to be done to your property happens quickly. A 30 day turnaround? Good luck. I’ve seen those turn into 12 month nightmares financially. Ask residential real estate sales people why they do what they do and don’t buy fixers to flip. Some do. Many have tried it but time is money. And when the dust settles???? They would have done better just being a salesperson
    Joshua Brenner
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Absolutely! Well said!
    Amalia Auge
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hi all Bigger Pockets lovers, Engelo: Great post, I have enjoyed reading it a lot. I like your honest approach without forgetting these funny touches, the topic doesn't lose depthness and at the same time creates a nice feeling of closeness to the reader. My five cents: I have learnt (and still do) slooowly, I was not lucky enough to find a mentor but anyway, reading a lot, asking around, going to showings, meeting good and not so good contractors, handymen, realtors, CPA's, a couple of attorneys (so helpful to avoid the fall after the occasional banana-slippery-the-deal-of-the-century-went-south), wholesalers and many other people in this so enriching and amazing environment, eventually you can find your way.  I was tempted by boot camps and gatherings alike, but the price tag looked too high and it seemed difficult to obtain an 'elixir' of the needed experience to succeed in such a short time (anyone has dreamt with a magic pill to learn a language for instance?). Anyway (that's getting too long): congratulations for this and other posts that keep us grounded. All the best. Augardi
    Paula NA
    Replied about 2 months ago
    January 2018 was when we fell into this trap and signed up for mentorship program that eventually got shutdown by the FTC September 2019. VERY LONG STORY. but this is also the start of how we got introduced to a new mindset and investing outside the traditional 401K.
    Wenda Kennedy JD from Nikiski, Alaska
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I've spent the last 44 1/2 years (yes, I started in 1976) in my real estate career hearing people tell me about how easy it is to make money in real estate. They said you can do without using your own cash, expending too much effort, or take too much risk. And they learned all this at these silly seminars!!!! LOL. Like the author, my favorite source of correct information is other people who are out there doing it. I love to get together with them and exchange ideas. My second favorite sources are books, podcasts, articles, and continuing ed courses. Got you! Why continuing ed courses? I try to have lunch with the instructor and other fellow students so I can ask my numerous questions. I have been known to offer to pay for everyone's lunch at the table IF they will agree to answer my question(s) while we eat. Some of those sessions get pretty lively. It's the perfect setting to tap into a bored, captive audience of diverse RE professionals. I've got to be there and put in the hours anyway, so why not use it as another source of info and ideas?
    Alvin Milton from New York
    Replied about 2 months ago
    You are 100% correct.
    Chris Brandlon
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Suggesting that newbies avoid learning products (books, DVDs, seminars) because there are unscrupulous vendors in the market is like telling someone who wants to drive to avoid automobiles because there are dishonest car salesmen. The phrase caveat emptor is not a new one... much better advice is to do your homework, vet any big-ticket offering nine ways from Sunday, and *invest wisely* in your real estate education. "Learn by doing" sounds great, but it can be a much more expensive way to grow your investing career than paying a qualified, value-conscious "self-promoter" for his/her knowledge, skill, and, yes, practical expertise. My two cents.
    Winston Dottin from New York
    Replied about 2 months ago
    No Truer words have ever been spoken
    Craig Anthony Lender from Orlando, FL
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I do agree there are worthless programs out there that teach you no more than you could pull off the internet. They are simply regurgitating what they read and pass it off as a class. So, you have to do your homework and really decide what niche you want to participate in. Find a mentor in that area and build that area before you move on to another niche. Now I will admit there are a few good programs out there, but you have to find them. I only know of three or so personally thus far, but none of them are above $3k to get started and you make money with a mentor and support team.
    Tracy Fascia Rental Property Investor from Belmar, NJ
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I love this!! It’s like anything else look for someone doing it already and copy their success. If you’re looking for a mentor yourself how can you bring value to the person who is already successful? Could you give me some examples? It may sound of obvious, but it isn’t for me.
    Adam Cole from Rochester, MI
    Replied about 2 months ago
    This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our social media driven age of society. "Influencers" discussing topics that they may have little to no experience in and, frankly, not having any business promoting. The younger generation is so impressionable by these social media people that they take their word as gold. I find it very disheartening how engrossed so many of my former friends are with instagram. It's always just a simple 3 step system and somehow you'll magically have dollas in your account. Everyone's life is always sunshine and rainbows on instagram, and apparently everyone has a lambo. But 99% of it is fake. And most people don't chose to see through the BS. I have no problem with self help books or seminars. But I 100% agree that you can't teach something effectively unless you've done it yourself.
    Trish Luna Rental Property Investor from Garfield, NJ
    Replied about 2 months ago
    This article was published 3 years ago? smh
    Steve Morris Real Estate Broker from Portland, OR
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Dear god, when are people going to realize this? I still get calls from the "Nothing Down" students on investment property. Wast of my/their time. Then again, I guess if 1M monkeys on 1M typewriters type for 1000 years, odds are one will typoe a sentence worthy of Shakespeare.
    Michael Huffman Lender from Charlotte, NC
    Replied about 2 months ago
    From a lender's perspective, I totally agree with what you're saying. Newbies that come out of some of these training programs are probably our worst applicants. While a course may benefit a brand new person in the area of lingo and orientation to investing, it is absolutely impossible to instill hands on understanding through a course. There are a lot of unrealistic expectations put out there as well. A mentors is always the best way to go. Our natural tendency is to want it all and now to the point we've lost the fine art of apprenticeship. "wax on, wax off".
    Timothy Corbette
    Replied about 2 months ago
    So how would you categorize Bigger pockets? I joined as a pro member because of attending several webinars
    Jack Gregory
    Replied about 2 months ago
    OMG, I was just talking to my wife about this today. All the gurus brag about buying 500 houses per year and "You can too" if you simply follow my built-in system. Truth is, most successful RE investors quietly purchase 1 to 4 houses per year, rehab them, rent them, then get their money back through refinancing. (BURRRR) ANYONE and I mean ANYONE can do this business if you take it slow, learn the ropes, and make small mistakes as you go. I have played this game for 10+ years with only 80k of my own money because I keep recycling it with cash out refi's. Slow and steady builds true wealth.
    Amy Pfaffman
    Replied about 2 months ago
    It's nice that someone is talking about this. When I was getting started, I reached out to everyone I knew who knew something about REI just to have a conversation. Everyone had something different and valuable to share. Also, I did buy an online course that wasn't at all expensive. In the end, I got bad advice from him (he told me I couldn't use an inherited IRA to buy real estate), and the fancy spreadsheets I paid extra for weren't really useful. I ended up making my own spreadsheets that serve me very well, and I've shared those spreadsheets with a few friends for free so I could help them. Like someone else said, most of those people won't actually do it. I've met lots of people who talk about investing and pay lots for classes and never pull the trigger on a property. I think it's just too scary for some people, and that's fine.
    Kiera Underwood Specialist from Oklahoma City, OK
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I relate to this. I talk to investors everyday. Some of them have spent $1000+ on a course, some of them have read 6 books and some have just got on bigger pockets and did basic research. They all typically end up making the same thing in my market, but I think it's because I lead them through the steps of the most approachable strategy. I'm 100% sure this isn't true for every provider or every market, but if you have access to a provider that is successfully helping many people take steps toward their goals and they'll give you the time of day to walk you through every step of the way for free.. you should check that out! I say that know there are a lot of agents talking that honestly don't know what they're talking about. There are also of course slimy providers. When looking for a provider to help guide you, you MUST read reviews and talk to people that posted those reviews. If you find that there are an overwhelming amount of people that are happy from the providers services, then that's a great sign. Reminder: I'm talking about a provider advising you and walking you though FOR FREE, not for a fee. Good luck guys!
    Nakia Cooper
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hi, How do you get started flipping homes? What's the next step after filing my LLC to protect my assets? I'm ready to start
    Nakia Cooper
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Hi, I totally agree with you. I'm so irritated because I always help people with anything I can, if I can. I don't charge them. We're in a pandemic right now and every time you turn around either your being charged or someone don't want to help you. The part that upset me. They make it seem so easy to start investing with other peoples money. It's not easy at all. One mentor said, "someone helped him and he helped someone else". Once he made to where he wanted to be in life. We have so many selfish money "hungry" people that just don't want to help people like myself get started. That's why so many people losing money right now during this pandemic. Greed will cause people to lose a lot. I just don't get it! I need to know each form I need to use for (contractors) to protect myself and my business
    Jeff Willis from CA & NV
    Replied about 2 months ago
    I have a simple philosophy on all these "get rich on investing" schemes. If they are so good and successful, then why would they share the information instead of keeping it to themselves. Most seminar providers make more from the seminar that they can than using the methods they are selling.