(The following was adapted from a section of The Book on Rental Property Investing. Wait… what? You haven’t read it yet? Well pick up your copy today!)
No doubt, you have seen expensive coaching and training programs advertised on late-night television or internet banner ads. Real estate gurus claim to be able to teach you to become filthy rich through real estate investing. Is this real? Can you really learn from these guys?
Let me first explain how this industry works. Typically, this kind of coaching or training involves several “layers,” and as you peel away the layers, the education gets more and more expensive. Let me share the most common layers, so you’ll be able to recognize them in the future.
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1. The Free Class
You might come across an advertisement on the radio, on television, in your local newspaper, or on your favorite website –something like “free real estate seminar” at a local hotel or conference center. The marketing teams behind these gurus spend a lot of money to drive traffic to these free seminars, hoping to pack the room with wannabe real estate investors.
2. The Hype
In the seminar, the real estate guru creates massive hype around what real estate can do, showing photos of his properties, citing impressive numbers on how much profit he made, and claiming how easy it was. He tells stories of past students who have amassed a fortune from his investing tips. He pushes on all the right pain points about how hard being broke is, how you are not taking care of your family well enough, how you are missing out on life’s luxuries. Then, he pitches hard for you to attend his weekend boot camp, usually for a small yet not insignificant chunk of money, between $200 and $500. After the pitch, he encourages the attendees to run to the back of the room to sign up — and many people do.
3. The Boot Camp
At the boot camp, the guru goes into more detail about what real estate can do, shares more numbers related to what he’s done, and will probably spend a decent amount of time showing you a high-level overview of the kind of investing he is touting as “the best way to invest in real estate.” He may even talk about numerous different strategies people use to build wealth in real estate. Some gurus are even known to spend a significant amount of time teaching those present how to negotiate, and as a “test,” encourage attendees to call up their credit card companies and get their credit card limits raised significantly. However, the guru’s only real goal is to get you to sign up for the next level of training, which is typically a $20,000 to $50,000 in-depth coaching program with some live events built in.
Related: The 13 Tell-Tale Traits of a Scammy Real Estate Investment Guru
The Problem Isn’t the “What” But the “How”
I have no doubt that many (though not all) of these “real estate gurus” have good information to share. However, the problem lies not so much in the “what” as in the “how.” These people are expert marketers and manipulators and know how to touch on the right pain points and cause your emotions to lead you to make an expensive purchase. Their pitch logically makes a lot of sense: with just a $25,000 investment in your future, you’ll end up making much more than that from the real estate training you’ll learn. What’s $25,000, $50,000, or even $100,000 when you’ll be making millions of dollars from your real estate investing?
The problem, in my opinion, is twofold. First, I believe that the vast majority of those who attend these events will never actually use the information presented. And second, the information people learn from those programs could easily be learned elsewhere absolutely free (such as on BiggerPockets)!
Does Coaching Work?
Sure, for some people. But I believe anyone who can succeed because they took a super expensive training program could have succeeded without that program as well. After all, the program is not what makes you successful. You make yourself successful. Real estate programs offer education, motivation, and accountability, which can all be obtained for much lower costs than what these salesmen charge. Rather than helping most people get ahead, these programs simply plunge many Americans into further debt and despair when they end up spending their life savings on coaching for an activity at which they will not succeed.
That said, do programs like this have a place? Yes, I believe so. Successful coaching has been demonstrated in almost every industry there is as far as getting people motivated and moving toward their goals. However, the people who get the largest benefit from coaching are those who have already found a significant level of success in whatever they are doing. They have proven themselves to be someone who takes action, is a self-starter, and is willing to work hard. And most importantly, they have money to spend — and it’s not coming from a credit card.
To summarize, expensive coaching and training programs may have a place, but they are probably not appropriate for new investors. Real estate gurus have a terrible reputation for taking gullible and low-income people and pitching them hard to pay for overpriced training that they are not ready for and that will only put them in a worse situation. In the end, these gurus provide no more than an organized version of what interested individuals can already get on their own: education, accountability, and motivation. If you want to save your money and still get all three of these benefits, get active on BiggerPockets and use your cash for your next big investment instead.
How do YOU feel about paid real estate courses?
Let me know your thoughts with a comment!