I need need help with a difficult decision!!!

13 Replies

Hi Bigger Pockets community!

I recently joined Bigger Pockets because I see that’s there’s great information for beginners like myself and the community.

I’m currently going through a small dilemma and I’m stuck between cross roads and I’m not sure which path to take out of my 2 options and I would like to receive some feedback possibly advice so I can make an educated decision.

A little bit about myself ever since a young adult I always been interested in Real Estate like many people I have spent about $10,000 over the past few years on courses and education but nothing really came of it besides understanding the basics and having 1 a week phone meetings only lasting 30 min. Like most I also have business ideas revolving real estate but I believe that in order to start any business you need to be an expert on your field.

I currently live in Newark NJ I had to go back to work for documentation purposes and me and my brother own a family business that's been passed down to us and we currently grew to a store front in Furniture Upholstery, my original plan is to purchase my first investment using a FHA 203K loan on a 3 family for cash flow, I also have an investor willing to give me $10,000 so I was planning on using his money for holding cost I'm going to put up the 3.5% down payment and closing cost. My plan is once the properties is complete rent 2 apartments out and move out within 3 months and rent out the last floor for positive cash flow, I told the investor I would give 5 months of rent as his profit, I will manage it since I want the experience anyway. In regards to the down payment I found a grant that I might be able to qualify for which is for down payment assistance and closing cost thus cutting my saving time by half.

The dilemma I’m facing is that recently I been talking to a national real estate investor and I’ve been following him for about a year in conference calls mainly, his name is Mark Pantak he’s been trying to come to develop a group in NYC for a while but it seem to be difficult for him to find a committed person. I have no problem doing the leg work providing he gives me the blue print I’ve been looking for to turn real estate into my career. His course cost 5,000 and this includes him flying out and working with me the problem is that I have the amount for the course but I don’t want to give everything I saved up because it would stop me from buying. I told him I only have 2,500 and he’s still willing to work with me in a way that once we start working and I create a deal I’ll pay the remaining for him fly do a meeting and help me close the deal. Since he’s an investor he also will purchase the deal I find “ if it’s good” I’m intrigued because he’ll be my personal mentor providing the step by step process to correctly wholesale, lease option and seller financing, and guidance is all I've been looking for.

In life I soon realized in order to learn something or anything you need to learn it from someone hence my family business I learned from my father, and that’s what I've been looking for in real estate someone to teach me without having to pay upfront cost but reality is that’s not the case for most gurus even if it cost me giving up the profits of my first 5 deals I just want to WORK!!!!!!! AND LEARN.

So I wanted to know what you guys think should I spend money it took a long time to save up to purchase my first home because I’m still saving and make mistakes learning or pay for a mentor to teach me the ropes and risk everything in “hope” of doing a deal but there’s a possibility the outcome can be much greater?

All I want is to have someone to teach me and provide the steps by steps to create a successful real estate business so I can take control back of my life I just don’t want to be burned again and waste money for nothing that’s why I’m so hesitant.

Thanks again and Remember

-The best way to predict

the future is to

Create It.-

NO, NO, NO Guru mentor! 

There is no need for you to spend that money, First I will mentor you and so will others on here for no charge. This is going to cost you more then just the up front fees in the long run. There are plenty of RE investors on here that are in your area that will help you. 

You have already spent $10,000 to much. You said it yourself.


If your not sure of the numbers run it by us.

@Jeiby V.

Hello Jeiby, If it were me I will not use my hard earned money to pay any guru is just not for me. Instead I would be networking in my local REIS and here in biggerpockets. Ask all the questions you have here in the forums and you will find that you will get great advice and tips from the pros here. Like I mention network as much as you can you never know you might find an experience partner. Hope this helps.

I understand wanting a mentor, but if you just start doing it you find there are many people along the way who will help you for free. People respect people who are trying to learn and putting effort into something. To the extent that you demonstrate that, I think people will step in give you hand.

Bigger pockets is great. Live people are better. There are real estate investment groups that meet regularly across the country if you need to find people to run deals by.

And of course there are people who will give you free bad advice. A key part of being successful is knowing who to trust and who to accept help from. And that is a skill you need to develop.

Moreover I usually figure things out myself while talking them through with another person. The process of explaining my situation and my strategy to someone clarifies what I should do. Often I don't take the advice or position of the person I am talking to, but I am always grateful for the listening ear and interaction.

Finally, I am not sure the guru's are bad. But I am sure you are not going to be successful until you have the nuts to make your own decisions. And I am sure you aren't going to learn anything you don't work through and almost discover yourself.

The advice I pay for is mostly legal advice. I pay for the advice of realtors through brokerage fees. And I pay for advice on insurance and liability by buying my insurance from one, good agent.

Read books, read this site, look at the free information on the guru's sites. And spend your money on a good lawyer.


Like these other two gentlement and Katherine already said, don't pay to fly this guy. Don't pay him to help you make a deal. Find the numbers and ask your Bigger Pockets community for help analyzing the deal. Also, you're in Newark, not out in the country. There's bound to be plenty of local REI clubs that you could visit. No need to rush into a deal for the sake of doing it. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make.

Think about this from the guru's perspective.... he gets flown to NYC for free and paid to go look at a house. I should become a guru. Now, if this guy was a guru and made such great real estate deals, why would he be willing to take time out to help you with one? Wouldn't his time be served better making huge real estate deals? It's just like that business professor at a college who is teaching students how to create their own business based on what a textbook says when he or she has never created a business, ever. Good luck.


I think that you have spent enough money in trying to learn...Now you need hands on learning. That is when one really learn.

You have no one guru, man.....You have BP. This is a great resource. You can email members or ask questions in the forum and people will guide you. You can put your deals on the forum and get imput no from one or two people, but many folks will weight in.

My humble opinion is spend your hard earned money in making your first deal. You have the whole BP nations behind you!

I wish someone told me in the beginning not to pay a guru. You should listen to these folks. I didn't even know about BiggerPockets.com or local REIA's in those early days. Funny thing, the guru didn't tell me about them either. Fellow investors did, however.

Consider the time value of money. $5,000 lost to a guru today might well become $500,000 in 10 years, if you invest it well. That's an expensive guru!!

I'll take the unpopular opinion and say that if a "guru" or initial investment is going to light a fire under your feet and force you to take action, DO IT! The cost of not taking any action is way too great.  Paying 5k to push you to do a deal that you would have never done before (and end up earning at LEAST the same 5k) is worth it.  

However, if you are self motivated and committed and are ready to leap into action without any additional convincing, stay away from gurus.  You will find most answers you seek along your journey on BiggerPockets.

OHH Wow this is amazing thanks everyone for the feed back highly appreciated.

I'm not surprised because everyone I told feels the same way, just do my first investment.

But I really want to make real estate my main career focusing on wholesale, lease options and seller financing.

I regularly attend meetups every month the only problem I'm having is finding someone willing to teach and guide me to learn, a lot of the groups I have attended so far they always try to sell something.

I do have experience but all I learned is to post signs that don't work, and call people all day on craigslist, I did come close to having a contract 3 instances but I was not prepared and ready that's the main reason why I'm looking for someone to guide me.

My thought, Jelby, having paid way too much for gurus, is that learn all you can, ask a ton of questions, get educated at local REIAs, and read lots of books. Take action and do some deals, based on what you've learned. Then, later, once money is not the issue, you can get specialized guidance from a mentor who has put in many hours of learning and applying him/herself.

Buy the investment, get help for free on BP!!

I personally dislike the word "GURU"....something about it just does not sound right.

Anyway, I would suggest you take your savings, combine with FHA 203k, get the grants you mention and buy your OO/Investment property.

Once you get started, I am sure everything else will fall into place, remember BP  has the answers to most of your questions.

Good luck to you!!

@Jeiby V.  

I am going to echo the folks that have already responded, put your money towards an asset, not towards a teacher.  There are thousands of teachers on this site that can help you out.

I almost pulled the trigger on a "guru" type deal a couple of months ago but I am really glad I didn't.  It sounds great, having someone walk you though the entire process from start to finish (or at least thats what they say), but in reality you will learn so much more by doing it on your own with the help of free teachers.  After all you have already spent 10,000 on courses and information.  Its time to start putting your money into assets and those assets will become teachers that hopefully pay you money instead of the other way around.

Hello Bigger Pockets Community, (Mark Pantak, Real Estate Investor Responds) 

I would like to set the record straight and I am going to respond to what I have just discovered and read here? 

Since my name IS Mark Pantak, AND I am NOT any kind of a GURU, 

What I have done for many years is teach people how to get started by finding me deals, which I then negotiate & structure & buy...

If the property meets my specific criteria? I am not required to buy CRAP & sometimes we wholesale those & split the wholesale fee.

I am a full time Real Estate Investor and I have Always TOLD people to go to Bigger Pockets FIRST and get everything that they can FOR FREE.... as well as to join ALL of their local REIA Groups & Meetup Groups that they can for FREE or very cheap...

and I have told them to always be careful if someone wants to charge you a LOT of money?

I am no more a Guru than the people who lead BiggerPockets are? Are they Gurus? I do not think so...

I am a full time real estate investor, and that is HOW I MAKE MY MONEY.... NOT as some kind of GURU...

They often charge $25,000 or MORE! Which I do NOT Recommend! 

We have a Meetup Group in NYC where we teach & help people for FREE.. and suggest that they also join Bigger Pockets.

I have also attended a Bigger Pockets Meetup group in NYC.

WE also have Real Estate Investor Meetup Groups all over the USA, in Florida, in Atlanta, in Charlotte, in Chicago, in Minneapolis, in Kansas City, in Houston, in South East Texas, in Denver, in ABQ, New Mexico, Seattle, San Francisco, and Fullerton, CA. 

and a few more places as well, I LOVE to travel and meet people and network & help people... 

Have done a LOT for FREE for many years... and where I make my money is when someone brings me a deal that I buy,

My goal is between $25,000 to $40,000 minimum equity upon closing on an average house in the middle of the USA.

Most of them have been in Texas and I have done deals in Seattle and Kansas City.

So what is this Jeiby V. from Newark, NJ talking about? posted almost 3 years ago?

My time is valuable, and I am not willing to work for FREE? Are You? I have spent many hours helping many people who have had absolutely ZERO honesty or loyalty even though most of you newbies talk a good story? about what you are going to do? and how I am going to get paid out of the deal for helping you? Lots of liars among the newbies who are only in it for the money & could care less about the relationship?

The $2,500 that he and I discussed was to help cover my travel expenses when I came to NYC and spent time with him to help him, hands on, in the field to get started and get a deal closed! Who is going to spend three months helping you hands on in the field for $2,500? NO ONE... 

The additional $2,500 that he is talking about was to pay for marketing... yes, Marketing Does Cost Money...

Yes, doing business, Does Cost money... So What I was offering him was basically MY WORKING for FREE...

and Just covering my costs as best as I could, It can be expensive spending a week in NYC or even Newark?

Yes, I would be planning to come to NYC anyways to attend my Meetup Group, and yes, I would be spending the money to come & for airfare & hotel & possible car rental & other expenses... 

and this was a business agreement that I was offering him that I felt was more than fair...

Since I was not making any money, just covering my expenses... and doing marketing...

I have people approach me about once a week, asking me to mentor them?

and You know what I used to tell them? Go to Bigger Pockets...

Most newbies are not very committed to doing any work... it is mostly all talk, and complaining...

Very rarely do I waste my time any longer attempting to help people... everyone wants everything for free...

There is no fair exchange for the price I have paid over the last 30 years to learn all that I have?

I can tell you right now, I meet stupid people all of the time, people who do not use an attorney? people who do not have a professional inspection done before they buy? and people who have paid to much, listening to the wrong people? I have spent a lot of time doing what I can to help people... for FREE.... and now I better understand why my more successful investor friends tell me that I should just stay low profile & quietly do deals...

It is not that easy to find a real investor who is actually doing deals who will help you? There is a reason why.

Just went back & reviewed all of the comments again: You do not know me... and this just has me reconsider my strong recommendation of Bigger Pockets that I have made over the years? 

Jeiby V. from Newark, New Jersey

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