Choosing A Real Estate Investing Program
The airwaves of late night television are cluttered with infomercials, and too many of them revolve around some real estate "guru" promoting his course, seminar, boot camp or bus tour. And they all leave you wanting, providing little, if any substantive help in learning the career of real estate investing. Most are outright scams.
Perform due diligence before investing any any real estate program. In particular you want to know what they are NOT telling you.
First you should find out exactly what is included. For example, if you can get their "free CD for the cost of shipping and receiving (say, $6.95 - $9.95) then you are probably paying for a CD or DVD that is nothing more than a sales pitch, to get you to order their course or attend a "boot camp". There is a name for people who will PAY to get someone else's advertising - it starts with "S" and ends in "ucker". Or, if they advertise a "free" seminar, forget it. Such seminars are designed for one purpose - to get you to buy into their expensive, yet often worthless, boot camps, bus tous or mentoring.
Find out if you will be getting a complete course Is it a stand alone? In other words, is it LIKELY to allow you to get into investing without having to buy into any costly add-ons? Almost all gurus sell a basic program devoid of useful materials in order to get you to buy into more expensive add-ons, like the bus tours, boot camps or "mentoring".
Ask if the mentoring is done in-house, and if the mentors are actual, practicing investors. In most cases the mentoring is provided by a third party business who uses hourly telephone operators who have never purchased any real estate. Make sure you get them to answer that question, and ask if they will put it in writing. Again, there is a name for people who expect expert help from others who are worse off than you are.
Next, find out about the hidden fees. Be very blunt and ask if there are ANY monthly charges, hidden fees or any additional costs. Most of the so-called "gurus" unobtrusively charge your account a fee - usually $39.95 - each and every month. You agree to that in the small print that you never read. So either read the small print or ask them flat out about additional charges.
And then there are the "bus tours" and "seminars" promoted by gurus like Armando Montelongo. In every case the seminar is almost all sales pitch and mostly useless, general information.
And don't waste time checking the "online gripe sites" like ripoffreport.com, either. Most of those are even more bogus than the gurus themselves, as the gripes are never vetted - anyone can post anything, true or not. Ripoffreport.com and its founder have been sued regularly and are under the microscope of dozens of state attorneys general, and while they claim to be on the side of consumers, their own profile with the Better Business Bureau shows an "F" rating. So much for being "consumer oriented". Take everything in the gripe sites with a grain of salt. If a person posts a complaint there, it is because the credible, legitimate consumer protection sites such as the Better Business Bureau have already deemed the complaint to be invalid.
In short, if you go online to do your due diligence, first check the most credible consumer protection sites like the Better Business Bureau. Then, check a few of the sites that actually review the gurus and/or post complaints by legitimate customers.
It may be a bit time consuming to find a viable course that will work for you, but it is definitely worth the effort. Even a part-time real estate investor can pull in 6 figures easily. And it's FUN!