There have been many forum posts here on BP about Gurus in this business, evaluating their performance, etc. There are a number of active members of BP that swear up and down that they're not a "Guru". So what is the definition of a being a Guru in this business?
My thoughts are that a Guru is anyone that charges anything for their time or for you to gain knowledge from them. Even if they only charge you $.99 an hour in my mind they're still a Guru. If they didn't charge you I would consider them a mentor because they're sharing information. Now there are some that would say they're not a Guru because they're not charging thousands for their time. I respectfully disagree. Charging anyone for knowledge, coaching, etc., gaining anything in direct payment for your time and not a partnership deal where you profit only from a successful deal you're a Guru.
Gurus are people that make more money talking about Real Estate than they do buying/selling it. That's the way I define it.
I think that is someone who can convince people to pay big bucks for something they can get for free elsewhere!
Interesting, Darren, my definition is very close to yours, but I'd say there is another important element, the quality of the information given.
To me, the derogatory use of the term is applied to those that add fluff, exaggerations, aspects that while may be technically correct but are highly improbable to replicate or simply put out bad advice with no consideration to ethical issues.
I make that distinction because, some professor in some university teaching a real estate course or some instructor in a state approved real estate school for agents isn't a guru, they are teachers and instructors.
The difference in being a non-guru teacher is two fold, 1. the materials taught are compliant with rules, regulations, laws, accepted in practice and are based in sound applications of the business; and 2. they are qualified by education and experience, by education that has some professional level that is determined by proof of their mastering a level of knowledge, testing and degrees earned or certifications by proper authorities in the industry or academia. Being qualified may certainly include experience, usually does, but experience alone does not qualify one to teach from an accredited position.
I also consider the value of what is taught to the costs charged. There are many, if not most who deceive the public as to the value of their product. You can spot these deceiving types by their advertising, "learn the secrets to" stands out and is probably the most abused, as real estate transactions, methods and strategies go back in history. The first concept of a Sandwich Lease was with the King giving possession of property to Lords who in turn allowed possession by citizens for a profit. Nothing in real estate is really "new" nor are there any "secrets".
So the value of the information really relates to how the product might be replicated in reality, how it contributes to business aspects and how strategies are implemented. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but claiming a master piece is created from a paint by numbers set isn't going to hold much value.
I'm probably the most critical member on BP as to gurus' information and value, some a nothing but rip off artists. The value is generally and grossly exaggerated with respect to what a student actually walks away with. Just as we look at comparable properties to assess value alternative sources of information are out there and they value may simply be more to the consolidation of different sources of knowledge that saves time and effort for a student in obtaining knowledge in a shorter time frame, an economic aspect.
Mentors are not gurus in my mind, they participate in the activity that they give instruction in. You can't apply educational requirements to them fairly, that is, depending on what they do, there isn't any teaching certification or qualification aspect as they are showing how rather than telling how. The value assessments still apply. Coaching is pretty much the same as mentoring, they may concentrate more to motivational aspects with less involvement in a specific transaction.
There is another guru out there too, the deal gurus, these guys pump up some strategy with claims of profits, grand deals, simple ways to make money, all you need to do is partner with them, you get their expertise and some assistance for a split in commissions (as a Realtor does) or profits made. The emphasis here is more to that partnering approach is really their business model, they prey on the newbies usually to generate the business activity. These types may fall into the mentor and coach category as well. In some real estate offices, you can see these sharks circling when the new Realtor is hired, it's really more about the basis of their business model, engaging with others more than going it alone. Hooking up with newbies isn't bad in itself really, but it's how they split the value of the deal and what they actually do to earn it.
I doubt that, under my classifications, that you could really classify someone selling GOOD information for 99 cents as a real guru, if it were 99 bucks, probably so.
Most here know that some book has been in the mill with me for a very long time, I'm getting there, LOL. Will I be a guru under my own definitions?
I might be, while I have the teaching experience and degree aspects covered, I'm not currently connected with an accredited institution. I guess I could make a justification as to being "retired" as to being institutionally connected or accredited, I think it would be best leaving that determination up to others. I'm also very sensitive to pricing, I was going to do some things free, my attorney jumped my tail, so did family and friends, nothing isn't fair either, but I think such information put out to the public should be around the cost of a decent lunch, no more. No, this is not an advertisement but a philosophy of value. And, there is no book deal. :)
Darren, great topic, and a well needed discussion. While I somewhat agree with you, nod disagree in that your definition would classify any educator,teacher, or professor as a guru since they get a paycheck.
I love Joseph's definition as it hits the nail on the head. I am not at all against paying for education, RE included. The question becomes, if the "instructor" is a real life investor now or in the recent past and IF they are giving valid, pertinent, relevant, and accurate information without the BS fluff and hype.
These gurus that buy the name of Kiosaki for example, they use all the fluff and puff to swindle people out of their money and most could not tell the difference between an attached garage and a bonus room.
So my definition would be the following: Guru - a person or company providing or pretending to provide RE information at a high price. This arty does so as their main source of income as opposed to doing the RE investing themselves.
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