Some real estate courses, seminars, and coaches claim to be the best educational solution for new investors. But in reality, they’re actually little more than modern-day snake oil salesmen. Others may offer some applicable insight, though costs can range from a pittance to a small fortune. It’s enough to make your head spin! So how do you judge the good from the bad and determine what’s worth your time and money? Let’s take a look at some of the educational resources for new investors, what you can expect from them, and how well they rank for potential return on investment.
REI Club is a group that meets in the Chigaco area, and they also have an online venue for the real estate investment community to engage in discussion forums and to increase their investing education with free webinars, books, and videos. You have to understand that since these resources are free, they are not top quality. Rather they seem to be more of a promotional offering from experienced investors who are keen to make a name as an author or “guru” of sorts. To me, it’s telling that the organization’s leadership is made up of “experienced” investors who are apparently spending their time in customer service and social media management capacities instead of making real money investing. Most meetings have more vendors trying to sell investors things than members. But, it is a good way to access lenders and other potential vendors.
- ROI FACTOR: Flat
Phil Pustejovsky: Creative Real Estate Investing & Flipping Houses on Udemy
FortuneBuilders is the brainchild of four real estate investors who sought to leverage the systems and tools they developed as younger entrepreneurs by offering an educational platform and coaching to other new investors. The company provides three courses that each include a book, a manual, audio CDs, and ready-made branded marketing materials on CD. These courses involve no in-person or interactive learning, which may suit some individuals. It will set you back $1,197.
In addition, FortuneBuilders hosts three-day investor training workshops run by the stars from A&E’s “Flip This House!” for the same price. You can also take one of their other live three to four-day training workshops—but you have to be a coaching client first. Coaching clients are hand-selected and there is an application process. If you make the cut, you can receive coaching and support from experienced investors, access to webinars, and business management software and plans.
That all sounds great, right? Well, don’t be afraid to check out their online reviews from a number of sites. You’ll note the colorful language used by people who have attended their seminars, with the lexicon including terms that go far beyond “scam” and “cult.”
- ROI FACTOR: -2
Real Estate Investing on Ed2Go
Like Udemy, Ed2Go is a self-paced online learning platform offering both certificate programs and individual classes. The difference is that many corporations and even colleges like George Mason University and Rutgers use Ed2Go as the back-end of their own online courses. The instructor, Josh Fuhrer, actually holds both a Master’s degree and a graduate certificate in real estate, which puts the class a step above other online classes led by “gurus.”
That doesn’t mean the content is up-to-date, though, as the course was last revised five years ago. It’s hard to tell if the class is worthwhile from a financial perspective as Ed2Go’s website doesn’t allow students to rank it. You will, however, see a handful of narrative thumbs-up, although there doesn’t seem to be an obvious ulterior marketing motive beyond just selling the class itself. The $109 may or may not be a waste of time, but at least it won’t break the bank.
- ROI FACTOR: +2
Udemy calls itself the “world’s largest online learning marketplace,” offering over 55,000 courses ranging from self-development to business and, of course, real estate. The website states that courses are taught by expert instructors. In reality, however, they can be designed and led by anyone who wants to make a few extra bucks sharing what they know (or think they know). Instructors are financially incentivized to promote their courses through their own marketing channels.
There are multiple real estate investing courses available through Udemy but this one may be higher quality than the others based on the reviews. After all, Phil is a likable guy with a compelling story about how he became successful in real estate investing. There’s a catch, though. He often pitches his other courses and, ultimately, his Freedom Mentor Program. It seems that Phil isn’t really in the real estate investing business anymore. He’s in the content marketing business. But for 20 bucks, that anecdotal insight may serve as a small but useful bit of insight to extreme newbies.
- ROI FACTOR: +1
Ron LeGrand – The Millionaire Maker
Ron LeGrand is one of the oldest of the old school real estate investing players. He offers home study courses for around $1,000 and still does live training events all over the country. The four-day training “Quick Start Real Estate School” costs $4,495 and covers a range of issues including how to buy bank-owned property, pre-screen sellers, and how to protect yourself throughout the transaction. There’s also his “new” idea of assigning a contract to a new buyer, thereby making money as the middleman (a practice that has long been known in the industry as a form of wholesaling.)
There are also some hokey elements like calling “sellers” live on-stage to show participants how to negotiate and traveling on a tour bus with the group to see distressed properties in person. The seminar comes with two manuals, 34 audio CDs, and a money-back guarantee if you don’t like the material. And, wait—there’s more! You can even make payments on the tuition for 12 months, just like a layaway plan.
There doesn’t seem to be any real data on the efficacy of Ron LeGrand’s program. I can tell you that there’s no shortage of complaints about the company online. Best advice: Proceed with caution if you choose to spend your money on this “system.”
- ROI FACTOR: -4
Rich Dad Education
Robert Kiyosaki’s famous books spurred a whole marketing funnel of free workshops, three-day seminars, live and online classes, and even a mentoring program. It appears that the whole scheme has been re-branded, however. While the Rich Dad Education website does indeed list the course offerings, it provides little other information. That’s because everything has been transitioned to Elite Legacy Education.
I dare you to give them a call. Seriously.
Talk about sticker shock. Wowza! Now, you can take an online basic training course for only $97 but the prices go up—way up—from there. Their class on wholesaling, which is simply an online recording, goes for $1,690. The salesman at Elite Legacy figures that only amounts to about $30 per month on your credit card and if you do a wholesale deal afterward, you can PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD!
They do offer discounts for multiple class enrollment packages. For instance, when I talked with them, I was offered a package of four classes for $5,390—plus one extra class for free. Most of their packages, though, range from $20,000 to $50,000, according to the salesman.
After you complete two classes of your choice, you can sign up for personalized mentoring. For $10,000, an experienced real estate investor will come to you and spend three days guiding your business strategy. Alternatively, you can get three to six months of weekly phone support. I didn’t ask how much this costs.
We’re talking about real estate investing here, so let’s think through the return-on-investment you get with an “Elite Education.” If you were to, say, spend $50,000 on buying a property instead—even if you made a few mistakes along the way and didn’t get your optimal profit in the end—you would still be better off, both financially and educationally.
- ROI FACTOR: -10
HomeVestors holds a unique position in the real estate investing education marketplace. Yes, it’s a franchise. But that’s why HomeVestors is devoted to superior training and education. They benefit when you succeed in investing.
All new franchisees attend a five-day real estate investment training led by seasoned professionals. The comprehensive curriculum covers the nuts and bolts of what franchisees have learned in buying over 95,000 houses nationwide since 1996. You will learn about the process of buying houses, including lead generation, evaluating deals, communicating with sellers, making offers and the legal precautions to keep your business above board.
After the training, each new franchisee is assigned a real estate investing mentor, called a HomeVestors Development Agent, who has knowledge and experience in your particular market. They are available to you on a continuous basis whenever you have a question about anything from property valuations to handling sensitive conversations with home sellers and rehabbing a property. Of course, their goal is to help you close the contract on solid investment opportunities and get the house sold with a good return-on-investment. The best part—you don’t pay for this mentoring—the company does!
But, there’s more than just a Development Agent working on your side—you have the whole corporate team as a support network. That’s a pretty sweet deal when you consider that an associate franchise, with all these training and support benefits, can currently be purchased for $34,000.
- ROI FACTOR: +10
Best Value of the Long Term
Most people spend the time and money to learn about real estate investing at the outset, but few actually follow through with buying a house. That first step just feels too overwhelming. That’s why ongoing support from experienced franchisees can be the critical factor in creating the investing business that can help you achieve your personal and financial goals. This is especially true when that support doesn’t eat up your profit margin. HomeVestors delivers a one-of-a-kind value proposition for new investors by maintaining their interest in your success. If you are ready to experience a proven real estate investing business model and support system to take your investing to the next level, consider HomeVestors’ opportunities for franchising.