How Do I Get Started in Real Estate Investing? : Self-Education vs High Priced Guru Seminars/Members
Guru: Self-proclaimed and/or famous experts providing education, coursing, seminars and memberships. If you’ve never heard of them, Google “Real Estate Investing guru course” and you will find a few.
The question I hear regularly at meet-ups, and on the many forums and podcasts I regularly visit is, “Where do we start? Are the Guru Seminars and memberships worth the high-ticket price?” All good questions, but unfortunately they don’t come with easy answers and the answers you get will vary from person to person. So with that in mind, I will first explain how we got started, what we liked and disliked about our journey, and then I will provide options on how you could start out differently. From there, I hope you can make an educated decision and most importantly take action. Before I start however, let’s narrow your options down to two ways of getting started.
1. No or low cost self-education through websites, podcasts and reading the enormous amount of free and low cost e-books and standard books available.
2. Attending the multitude of free to medium cost seminars, that may lead to the high cost guru memberships and courses.
So how did we get started? Like many of you, and millions of Canadians and Americans out there, we routinely watched the HGTV shows on rental properties, flipping houses etc.. Like many, we thought “hey we could do that” and to be honest, we had already started. Through various reasons, we had already acquired 4 rental units and we were making a decent return. The difference being, is at the time we never really thought of ourselves as Real Estate Investors (REI). We never understood the power of Real Estate. We never understood what true financial freedom meant, and that Real Estate was likely the best means of obtaining this dream.
Then one sunny spring day in 2018, Sari saw an ad for a free half day seminar in Victoria on Real Estate Investing with an HGTV star. I can honestly say, that day was the day our lives changed forever. Corny I know… but it’s the truth. From there we paid a relatively low price for the weekend workshop that would happen the next month. It was during this 2-day workshop that we decided we were going to take action… -by the way we hate waiting and have the mind-set to process information quickly and act right away. So far it hasn’t failed us… On day 1 of the work-shop Sari found a property, we used the information we learned that day to analyze the property and decided that it fit in the box of a cash flowing property, the speakers were telling us about. So we scheduled a viewing with our realtor. But we weren’t done there….
At the end of the two-day workshop, we decided this was going to be our new life. We heard their message and we decided we were going to jump right in. We paid for the membership, and it wasn’t cheap I can tell you that. But to be honest, one of the main reasons we did it was because of one simple quote by Mr John Rohn – “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” We decided, what better way to increase the likelihood of meeting like-minded, driven and passionate people, but by joining the membership. So we did, and from there our life has been a whirlwind.
There have been many plus’s and minus’s with the membership. I’ve been asked many times, “was it worth it?” My response is always “yes, but not for what you think.” The membership includes many things, online coursing, webinars, example documents, a certain amount of coaching sessions and an online member’s only forum. Oh and a free trip to a members only “summit” in Ontario. So first off, what are the minuses?
The business model seems to be a bit like “work like hell to get you in the door, get you to spend your money and then leave you on your own to flourish or fail.” Since we started, not once have we been called to check our progress. We have used 2 out of our 12 coaching sessions, and not once has our coach called to see if he can help in any way. Secondly, at least in our case, we felt we were already ahead of our coach in real estate assets. So no matter how much he/she knew, it was hard for us to take advice from someone who hasn’t exceeded you, especially if they had been already doing it for years. Same mind set as would you use when approaching an injury lawyer to give you advise on Real Estate law.
Lastly, reference the online course, education and example documents. Although they are all great and you can learn so much from these products, if you knew where to look, you can get the same or better content online for free. Websites like biggerpockets.com provide so much free education, there is absolutely no reason to pay for it.
So that was the bad, now here’s the good, and like I said we have no regrets in paying the amount we did, so there must be a lot of “good”. The main reasons we have no regrets are based on mind-set, motivation and networking. The amazing speakers we listened too, the connections we made during these seminars, and the member’s only forum have with-out a doubt changed the way we see the rest of our lives shaping. As I said, the speakers during the work-shops and summits are extremely knowledgeable and are great at motivating. We truly learned a lot, we learned to train our minds on what to look for, how to evaluate a property and so much more. The speakers showed us what was possible, and best of all they said it wouldn’t be easy. Of course they sugar coated the process more than I think they should have, but in the end, we left knowing it would still take a lot of work. Most of all the connections made during the live events, and postings on forums have been the most benefit. It was here that we met some key members of our team (accountant, mortgage brokers, realtors) through the network. We have also met some amazing partners, that if all goes as planned, we will be working with very shortly on Joint Venture opportunities.
The last reason we don’t regret spending the money is because it made us take action. Spending that kind of money motivates you, which is why we took action on the property we looked at way back during the 2-day workshop. From which the cash-flow alone has almost paid off the membership. So yes, for us it was a great investment.
Now, back to the question, “Where is the best place to start in Real Estate Investing?”. My answer to that question is, that it completely depends on your situation, it completely depends on your mind-set and it completely depends on your motivation. I would likely recommend you first go out and read two books. Rich Dad Poor Dad and the Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
These two books should, change your mind-set, give you motivation and give you the basics of REI. By no means is this enough to be an expert and likely not enough to push you into your first deal, but it’s a great basic training in REI. From there I would recommend you start listening to podcasts and reading the forums on BiggerPockets, and attend a local REI Meet-up. After all this, I would say you have two options: If you feel motivated, educated and have started building a good network, then I’d likely say continue going at it without paying for the high-priced membership. But I would say if you still feel you lack the network, motivation and/or education, I would say to you maybe the pricey memberships, coaching programs or seminars will be worth the investment. - I know it was for us.