Here’s Why You Should Never, Ever Pay for Real Estate Advice

by | BiggerPockets.com

Today we’re talking about real estate courses. Should you buy one?

Abso-freakin-lutely not!

The 20 Best Books for Aspiring Real Estate Investors!

Here at BiggerPockets, we believe that self-education is one of the most critical parts of long-term success, in business and in life, of course. This list, compiled by the real estate experts at BiggerPockets, contains 20 of the best books to help you jumpstart your real estate career.

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Forget the Gurus

Now I’m probably going to get a lot of heat for this one, because unfortunately there are just so many gurus out there selling a ton of crappy courses. Guys, I’m the biggest anti-guru there is. I do not believe in products, materials, DVDs, courses, or seminars. Whatever it is, I just don’t believe in it.

Find the Real Pros

Let me tell you why. It goes like this. If you’re sick, you go to the doctor, and the doctor helps you get better. You do not buy a DVD on how to cure the flu, right? If your car breaks down, you take it to the mechanic. You do not read a book on how to fix your car, do you? So if you want to learn how to make money in real estate, you should find people who are working in real estate and making money. Affiliate yourself with them any way you know how.

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

Sometimes you may have to pay for their time just like you have to do with a doctor or a mechanic, but there are many instances where you will not have to pay for their time. What can you do now for someone who is really successful doing deals and making a ton of money? How can you help them? How can you be of value to them? I don’t know, polish their shoes or wash their car. Do whatever it takes. Really; whatever it takes. 

Now, I’m going to go back in time to when I started my journey. I found someone who I looked up to. I saw him on the front cover of a magazine. In it, this particular fellow was talking about how he retired and became financially free at the age of 24. My mind was blown. I’m asking myself, how the hell did he do that? I was 21 then. I’m 30 now. I literally spent six months cold calling his office, emailing his secretary, begging and pleading and doing whatever I could to get in his door. Believe it or not, I was able to finagle my way in and we became great friends. I got a job, worked under his wing for two years, and that pretty much gave me the experience and foundation to become the real estate investor that I am today. 

So look, there are a lot of schemes out there. There are a ton of these magician gurus selling these crappy courses. They are very good at lead generation. They’ll do all of these Facebook sponsored posts, Google AdWords, and they’ll suck you in with a lead magnet like a free e-book, or whatever it may be, to lead you down the rabbit hole to eventually sell you something. Guys, I don’t believe in it. I just don’t believe in it. 

Show Me I’m Wrong

Please prove me wrong. Anyone out there who has a course with a DVD, anyone who sells a mastermind or seminar, comment below. I’d love to hear from you. If you want to, please let us Google your name so we can see how many of you folks actually have bad reviews on Ripoff Report and Better Business Bureau and whatnot. Because I have yet to find a legitimate real estate guru who does not have anything negative in their background.

I believe in trial and error. I believe in working hard. I believe in saving a certain amount of money. I believe in immersing yourself in anything and everything real estate.

Related: Real Estate Gurus Are Full of It

Find the Information You Need for Free

Look at the forums. Look at BiggerPockets. I mean, there is nothing you cannot find here. There are so many successful bloggers who have tens of thousands of posts and likes, with 30 and 40 years of experience. I met a good colleague of mine, Jay Heinrichs, (shout out to Jay)  seven years ago on an Australia forum. What a man. This guy is 100 million, billion percent legit, right? There are so many people like that. You can learn from BiggerPockets, and you can learn from the hundreds and hundreds of videos on YouTube of so many other folks doing so many cool things. 

There’s really no need to pay for anything. If you are going to pay for something, make sure you do a Google search. Google is your best friend. Google the particular guru’s name and put scam behind it and see what you come up with. If you can’t come up with anything, awesome. Google my name, by all means — I urge you to Google my name. I’m not selling you anything. 

Anyway, thank you so much for watching this video.

Do you agree or disagree?

Please comment below, because I’d love to hear from you!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora, the Real Estate Dingo and your favorite Australian, 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 all over the world and has bought, renovated, and sold over 500 properties. He is currently in the process of launching an ICO that will “Decentralize The Real Estate Industry.” He’s also known for giving houses away to people in need and his crazy videos on YouTube. His life’s mission is to be remembered as someone who gave it his all and gave it all away.

31 Comments

  1. Engelo,

    Many years ago my wife and I became fans of Ron LeGrand. Our initial investment was $10 for his book that was definitely intended to be a teaser leading to many, much higher priced “sure fire” programs. What his book did for us is give structure to what we needed to do. We bought and flipped dozens of homes that year and made a lot of money, $50,000 in one deal and $35,000 in another. We became celebrities in the small town we were working and Investors and Realtors asked to attend our infamous Bassackward Closings.

    But, we were different from the beginning, we had powerful discipline. I was a Certified 1031 Exchange Specialist and between us we were quite savvy about real estate. Also, and most importantly, we got off our duffs and hit the bricks spending many hour chasing down decent deals while casting aside ten times as many time consuming bad deals.

    The reason I cannot wholeheartedly endorse your theory of working under a proven and established real estate Guru is for two reasons. The first reason is money, most people don’t have sufficient funds to finance working with a Mentor/Guru and pay him/her or work for free in an externship. Secondly and more importantly, most people simply won’t put in the effort. Genetically the vast majority of us are programed to have someone else tell us what to do.

    I think a Physical Fitness Club is a good analogy. How many hundreds of thousands of people filled with good intentions join fitness clubs across America each year and do nothing but let their Membership eventually expire? I don’t see nearly as many people criticizing these Clubs as real estate Gurus. Fitness Clubs know the vast majority of Members won’t show up to work out. If even 10% of a Club’s Members showed up the same day to workout the lines to use machines would stretch into the parking lot. There would be chaos and many Members demanding refunds. But the Clubs know most Members will work out a time or two and quit, or better yet for the Club, never use the facilities to workout.

    In reality, most people who consider entering into the realm of investing in real estate would prefer to sit home on the couch watching someone else on the TV screen get rich. Their degree of participation would be to mail in a check. Wall Street’s Stock Market proves this point. For example, there are 45,000,000 IRAs in America today collectively worth six TRILLION dollars. Incredibly 95% of those dollars are invested in Wall Street products with an anemic and embarrassing 3% – 5% invested in real estate. People want their Stock Broker, Mutual Fund salesperson or Financial Advisor to do the heavy lifting, in fact all of the lifting.

    • Frank Boet

      Excellent comment Thomas. We live in a society where not too many people want to do the heavy lifting. Just watch how many people actually wait to ride an escalator, instead of taking the stairs. But, this is great news for those of us that put the time and effort in what ever we do, because the competition is weak and lacks motivation! For the past year I have put the time and effort to learn how to trade stock options. As such, my portfolio started with $2,800 in February 2017 and has grown to $18,000 as of last week. Are options confusing and risky? They sure are, but by understanding how they work and how to trade them, they can be very profitable. I’m willing to take high risk/ high reward, when everyone else is “investing” in mutual funds or too scared to trade at all.

      • Having the knowledge or knowing where to obtain it and then obtaining it is key.

        However, the vast majority of people blindly accept Wall Street propaganda, for example, that the 401(k) is the undisputed best vehicle for their retirement. It is not for two blatant reasons:

        1. A 401(k) defers taxes it doesn’t eliminate them. There is an alternative Plan where the accumulated money can “Tax Free”.

        2. A 401(k) is vulnerable to market volatility when it doesn’t have to be. A 401(k)’s Funds can be invested in a Wall Street Index Fund, for example, the S&P 500, where gains are posted but loses are never passed onto the 401(k).

        When is the last time your Stock Broker, Mutual Funds salesperson or Financial Advisor told you that?

  2. karen rittenhouse

    Engelo:

    At one time, I traveled with national gurus. What I discovered shocked and bewildered me – many of the gurus don’t do and/or have never done what they preach and sell. They gather info from their “students”, package it and sell it. 100% of their income comes from selling product, not from real estate investing. And they take courses on how to sell at seminars. The belief is that they need to sell their entire package on the first presentation because that’s their best shot – most “students” will never come back to buy more. Terrible.

    Needless to say, I also preach “do not buy from gurus”. I strongly recommend investors go to all the free workshops that come along, though, because you can absolutely pick up wonderful tips for free. But do not buy the product or you will have very expensive product gathering dust because you don’t know how to use it (and neither do most gurus).

    The best coaches are local investors who know your local market. And NEVER buy product or sign up with ANYONE until you’ve spoken to others who have used what they teach or sell successfully.

    The best way to learn is from someone successfully doing what you want to do. The time you will save and the errors you will avoid are more than worth the cost (investment) of a great coach.

    Thanks for your post.

  3. Only 3% of the people who buy programs from guru’s actually go out and buy a property. It takes a whole lot more than programs and knowledge to become a successful investor.
    You can go to school and get a PhD in Aviation. You can read every book on flight in every library on earth and watch every flight video available, but you will never learn how to fly an airplane until you fly an airplane.
    An investors real education comes when he buys his first property and it doesn’t matter if he buys a hundred property’s or a thousand property’s that education never ends. It doesn’t end because the variables are always changing. There are no two markets that are exactly the same. There are no two people that are exactly the same. Variables are a permanent part of all economies. If you are a golfer you have to learn how to read the greens and the wind. If you are a real estate investor you have to learn how to read the markets. There are no guarantees but there is always risk. So you only have two choices because everybody is on the team. You either play on the field or you sit on the bench, the choice is yours. My father always told me not to go out on the limb, but that’s where the fruit is, just make sure you don’t break the limb while you’re reaching for the fruit.

  4. Dave Roberts

    I think you’re casting a very broad net by saying all of it is crap. I do agree there are a lot of unscupulous charlatans out there but not everyone is or not everything they say is dubious or based on magic.

    I sat through a few crappy seminars and did the scam research on the authors and looked at all the smear campaigns and waved my righteous fist. And it got me nowhere. So I changed my attitude towards the whole thing. If its affordable and you learn something that changes the way you think about investing it could change everything. You might have to wade through some crap to get those nuggets but its worth it.

    You might meet other investors who become partners in your deals. I did. You might get the confidence to take a big step that you wouldn’t do if you were just at home reading a book. The social aspect is really important – we’re social creatures.

    So I think its important to be discerning and to know what you’re heading into (expect upsell pitches) but nobody is holding your feet to the fire or forcing you to do anything. Education is a business but its not that different to any other education – buyer beware. 3/4 of the things I learned in school were pointless and I didn’t get any choice there.

    But to tell people not participate at all is bad advise, IMHO. Kiyosaki is one of the biggest gurus there is and there are pages of scam/ripoff reports. I never got ripped off and his advise has been revolutionary for me.

    I’m also struggling a little with what appears to be some hypocrisy. You’re going after the gurus yet look at your profile. Doesn’t sound much different to a guru to me.

  5. Ryan Stucki

    I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t entirely agree. I spent $40,000 on mentoring, and I can honestly say it has been worth every penny. I’m not even going to mention which one since I don’t want to sound like I’m promoting anyone.

    I 100% agree with you that you need to find someone who is a legit real estate investor and figure out any way to associate with them and learn from them. I just simply couldn’t find that. I knew plenty of real estate investors, but they weren’t doing it on the level (and in the manner) I wanted to. I found a mentor that was legit (and walking the walk) and paid the money. Couldn’t be happier with that decision.

    I believe in education big time, and I’m not afraid to pay for it. I think the key is that you have to realize that a large percentage of those programs aren’t worth the money. However, I disagree that you should throw out all mentoring and coaching programs. I would certainly encourage anyone considering one of these programs to shop very carefully and make sure you talk to someone who can vouch for the program. Do all the Google search for scams (which I did, and was actually super impressed that the guru in charge of the program had such a clean online record, especially since he isn’t a no-name guy).

    I also agree to need to be sure you’re going to be willing to put the program to use. I see a lot of people in the same program as me doing nothing with it. However, I joined almost a year ago, and I’m putting it to use like crazy. At the pace I’m going with flips, wholesaling, and rentals, I’ll technically be able to retire (if I wanted to) in a few years. Prior to signing up for the mentoring/training, I had zero experience with real estate investing. Now I’m making back my education investment many times over.

    Could I have figured it out with free resources? Yes. However, I chose to use a mentoring program since I figured it would cut the learning curve, and it couldn’t be going fast. I feel like paying for education has accelerated things for me like crazy.

    Is paying $40k (or whatever the price) good for everyone? Definitely not. Is it right for some people? It was right for me. You definitely have to shop VERY carefully, cause it is easy to waste your money. Buyer beware, but I wouldn’t rule it out for everyone.

    I spent more than $40k on my college education. I graduated with a degree in entrepreneurship, and yet I feel the real estate mentoring I paid for has taught me more about making money than college did (and I think college was worth every penny also).

    I also agree that doing actual investments is where you really learn, but my mentor has helped me with that process. And, my mentor has helped me avoid a ton of costly mistakes.

    I fear that these comments will encourage someone to buy a lame coaching/mentoring package, and I hope that doesn’t happen. But, like I said before, it’s been worth every penny in my case.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Ryan,

      You are one of very few individuals that’s found it useful

      Most of the courses/programs are scams and the information is freely available online.

      I don’t know of any real estate strategy that involves intellectual property from an education standpoint

      Much success

    • Barry O.

      Actually purchased Ed Beckleys course and it did give good information before the internet! Have purchased several others over the years and almost all are rehashing or repackaging the material Ed gave out many years ago. Just in brighter colored packages and Bows!

  6. Daniel Borrero,Jr.

    Very well written article. There is no substitute for Hard work , extreme planing , excessive research and a lot of sacrifice. However, having been a Real Estate Investors for 30 years , I can testify to the fact that it is much easier to gather information then it was in 1988.

    I have closed thousands of deals and made many mistakes in the beginning. Mistakes I could have avoided if the internet was where it is today.

    The best advice in this article is to create an alliance with a Investor that has a proven record of success.

  7. Chris Field

    If a “guru” is making more money talking and writing about real estate than doing deals you may not want to pay them to much for their “advice”

    Real estate is not terrible complicated but is not easy. You can lay out a road map to say a million bucks in property pretty easy in most markets. .0001% of people have the smarts and ability to make it reality. The road map is worthless in most people’s hsnds.

    YMMV

  8. Derek Christian

    I have been very happy with the education I have gotten from Vena Jones Cox for a fraction of what a lot of the large education mill companies charge. She really does want her people to do something and make some money and is constantly pushing them to take action.

  9. willie morales

    Hi Engelo

    Good piece, I bought my share of courses, was shy to admit I wanted to be a real estate investor so i didn’t have a mentor. Lately I’ve gotten more education through Youtube, Biggerpockets, reading, and just asking . I found a mentor who doesn’t charge me a dime!!! what I bring to him besides, my time, I try to send him possible leads through realtors, other investors.
    How I met him was through networking, and telling people what i’m doing. I feel if more people just get out there and network, it’s more than likely you will find a mentor. Nothing beats action and being on the field.

  10. George Fiad

    Every comment here has valid points. The article is valid too. So what to do?
    Find an honest, seasoned, professional real estate broker (most really successful full time brokers are also real estate investors) and ask for his personal, single agent representation with investing in real estate, be it for flipping or renting, and then sign an exclusive with that broker for your first deal where she/he acts as your single agent (creating a fiduciary duty to you only) and watch the difference that will make in helping you take off in acquiring great investment grade properties, as well as the high quality and speed of what you’ll learn about the real estate investment business and markets. Become friends and keep that broker close to your vest as she/he helps you build your own real estate investment empire while you both benefit. A real win-win situation. Any successful investor knows all good deals are the result of win-win deals. In the end not only will you have the education you need and the mentor you want, but you’ll have a body guard by your financial side in the real world of real estate investments. I’ve done it repeatedly for my clients and they have all profited enormously as have I. When two way, mutually beneficial relationships are forged, it becomes an unstoppable symbiotic relationship. I know, I’ve been a single agent exclusive buyer broker for over twenty of the thirty three years I’ve been a real estate licensee in Florida. I will say that finding the right broker does take some time, but when you do it’s like finding the best guru ever, willing to work for you only, and willing to teach you all he/she knows at the same time. I strongly agree that the guru who can make more money “teaching” what he/she doesn’t practice is more than a waiste of time and money, it’s down right dangerous to your financial health. Good article. Best of luck.

  11. Lisa Phillips

    Ah, this is so silly.
    People pay me to help them build SUCCESSFUL and WONDERFUL real estate investing businesses. And their happy, confident, and free, excited!
    I JUST received this TODAY – http://prntscr.com/ihzy32
    And i just got this one YESTERDAY – http://prntscr.com/ihzz04

    So, no one has to pay anyone for help. You pay for help because someone in Oh who invests in A class neighborhoods cant help you with a C class neighborhood in Detroit. You pay for help because when this is the first time you have money (because you cant ask your mom or dad to bail you out with a 50k loan for your first investment), its SCARY thinking of losing that money, and a forum post doesnt answer all of your questions, or your friend you thought would help you is so busy he can only give you an hour or two of his time when you need so much more. Thats why people pay a coach, and some people are better than others. I am a great coach as I always over deliver, and make sure people get their value, and my youtube, facebook, twitter is full of unsolicited “Thank you Lisa, you changed my life” messages because I meet people as they are (seriously, just look at my youtube channel alone). You’re telling them they should be okay with only using an online forum to get everything they need, EVEN they are still scared, EVEN though they dont know the next move. I meet people where they are at, and that’s the difference. Thats why the world needs more feminine energy in business to understand its best to meet people as they are.

    So, continue to tell people your way is the best, i will continue to meet people where they are. In this instance, thats Miami last weekend, Atlanta in April, DC in July and NY and August for face to face, 3 day REI intensives. But, I like meeting them where they are, face to face, and really giving them hands on help for their investment business.

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