My niece has always been great at sales. Even when she worked part-time while in high school, she made more money at her sales job than most of her older peers did working full-time. That trend continued well into college and beyond. So when she said she wanted to switch gears and embark on a career in real estate investing, I was happy to hear it. I knew her work ethic, ambitious nature, and ability to connect with people would ensure her success just as it always had.
Of course, she had questions about where to take real estate investing classes here in Chicago, which is where I come in. I’ve been investing in real estate a long time and have seen what’s worked for other new investors and what hasn’t. To start, we did a quick search on the internet to find what classes are currently offered in town. Then, we compared those with my own personal training experience and that of my colleagues.
Where Are the Best Real Estate Investing Classes in Chicago?
With any new career path, there’s bound to be a degree of uncertainty and a general lack of knowledge that’ll require some sort of training to bridge the gaps and get you going. Starting a career in real estate investing is no different. Thankfully, you don’t have to return to school for a degree or necessarily even get a real estate license to invest in properties and build a portfolio, however, you should check on this licensing requirement with your local real estate attorney. You do need to know what you’re doing, however, to earn a good living—no matter how good at sales, or anything else, you might otherwise be.
So what should classes in real estate investing offer? They should offer instruction on buying and renovating a property and how to determine whether to rent or sell it. They should also provide guidance on performing real estate investment analysis and valuation to ensure that renovation costs are affordable and teach you how to determine a property’s potential ROI. Knowing how to market your investment property once you’ve decided on an exit strategy is also critical to seeing good returns and becoming successful at what you do.
That seems like a lot to absorb, right? It can be. But the right program will teach each of these things and more to the beginning investor, equipping you with the right tools and resources to start investing as soon as possible. None of the local Chicago classes we found hit all of these marks, but that’s not to say they aren’t worth considering. Let’s take a look at what they do offer, so you can choose—like my niece did—what works best for you.
Chicago Learning Center. The Chicago Learning Center in Lincoln Park offers occasional one-day real estate investing workshops for $200. These workshops are modeled after his program at the Chicago Investment School and cover roughly the same territory. You’ll learn to determine whether you can afford a property, the dos and don’ts of diversifying a real estate portfolio, landlord best practices, and the process of buying foreclosures, among other things. It’s basic beginner stuff, but not a bad introduction to real estate investing.
Unfortunately, one-day workshops abound in this city and none can cover everything you need to understand about real estate investing. Even if you still choose to attend them, you’re better off attending those taught by investing professionals who’ve made their mark and have helped others do the same. These classes taught by Mr. McNeal, a real estate attorney by trade, don’t fit into this category. I’d recommend skipping one-day workshops altogether in favor of a more comprehensive experience elsewhere.
Chicago Creative Investors Association. The Chicago Creative Investors Association, like many associations, offers monthly real estate investing classes and specialty seminars to its members. Topics include wholesaling, choosing rental properties, and understanding tax laws. For only $99 a year, you also get access to their list of vendors, discounts at various retail outlets, and plenty of networking opportunities. As far as real estate investing associations go, what they offer for new investors is not half bad.
Regrettably, what they offer is also not enough. The problem with classes provided by most associations is that they’re scheduled too infrequently—usually once a month—and are often squeezed into a few hours that are also packed with networking. Joining may still hold some value if you want to meet fellow investors, vendors, and other industry pros. But if you count on your membership as a means to learn about real estate investing, you’ll probably be hobnobbing for years before you buy a Chicago investment property.
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, together with the Booth Real Estate Group, currently offer three courses in investing, each taught by Joseph Paglieri–a clinical professor of real estate. Though the first two courses primarily focus on how to evaluate real estate investments, including REITs and private real estate opportunities, the third course exposes students to firms that are actively investing. This gives the students the chance to review and analyze transactions, even make recommendations, and practice what’s been taught.
Even so, most of what the students learn is theory. In addition, the curriculum covers a wide array of general investing subject matter, much of which might be inappropriate for the student who wants to know how to buy cheap property in Chicago, rehab it, then sell it for good returns. And, again, the courses are taught by an individual whose expertise lies elsewhere–as a certified public accountant and financial analyst. For the funds you’ll likely have to cough up to get into this program, you can probably get more for your money somewhere else.
For as much as the city of Chicago has to offer, classes in real estate investing are surprisingly lacking. And those that do exist seem only to provide a modicum of useful, and actionable, information for the would-be investor. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get the instruction you need within a timeframe that makes sense. I should know. I’ve been successfully investing in Chicago real estate for years, and I’ve got great training behind me to thank for it.
The Easy Choice: Training at HomeVestors®
When you join the nationally-recognized “We Buy Ugly Houses®” team as an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, you’re trained by top-notch professionals who have on-the-ground experience and in-the-classroom expertise. You will experience a proven week-long initial training program on how to get started in real estate investing. Thereafter, every HomeVestors® franchisee receives one-on-one mentoring with a Development Agent. So you’re never left to go it alone.
My real estate investor training with HomeVestors set me up to help me work toward success years ago and my Development Agent helped me get, and stay, there. Now that my niece has started her training as a franchisee, she’ll soon be able to say the same.
If you’re thinking of starting a real estate investing company, and need some training to feel confident, make it easy on yourself and contact HomeVestors today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.