Buyer Beware – real estate investment experts or sharks?

  Good morning folks…

Over the past few weeks, after meeting with some new real estate investors for their 2 free coaching sessions that new members receive with their membership, I’ve been inspired to write this blog post.  Thinking about some of the things I heard in these coaching sessions makes the hair on the back of my neck go up.  

I would like to start by saying that in the Massachusetts real estate investment world there are dozens of real estate investing meetups, associations and groups that meet to network.  They are NOT all the same.  Some of them are awesome with good people running the groups and some of them are sharks or wolves in sheeps clothing.  So, BUYER BEWARE.  Please do your due diligence before handing over thousands in cash or signing contracts with a “mentor”.  Without mentioning names, I will share some stories.  They may recognize their own story and it might be similar to yours and will certainly let you know what to avoid.   

I was meeting with 2 new investors a few weeks back who are highly motivated individuals.  They are incredibly focused and determined to become successful in real estate.  They really want a coach.  After talking with them about their goals, which are focused on rehabbing and reselling properties, I let them know that the coaching program that I offer may not be right for them.  I focus on marketing and lead generation and am not a rehabber.  However, I work with some folks who are focused on rehab, I explained that the  program costs $10k, but, different than other coaching programs or guru programs that are out there, these folks will bring you your first deal and you in essence can make your money back and earn while you learn.  They were excited about that and asked me to make a referral.  Then, they said, “What if we met someone at another meetup who had one of us sign a contract that stated they will teach us, but, then they get a piece of every deal we do for an extended period of time?”  I think I had to pick my jaw off the floor.  Warning signals went off.  Heck even the big gurus don’t make you sign a contract like that.  So, BUYER BEWARE, if someone is asking you to pay money and sign a contract saying they own a portion of ALL of your deals for a few years to the life of your business, RUN!  Good investors will want to help develop you as a long term business partner so that you will naturally co-venture deals with them, they won’t hold you in bondage with their program. 

I was meeting with another 2 investors and we were talking about what their goals are in real estate.  We talked about the different guru programs that are out there.  They said, “We went to this meetup that we heard was happening about real estate investing and everyone met in the lobby of the hotel and the people were trying to sell us on some investing program that they had, it was a free event so we went, but, something didn’t feel right, so we left and we didn’t buy anything.”  Now, I have no idea what was being pitched in the lobby of the hotel.  For all I know it may have been something legitimate, but usually legitimate offers aren’t done in a hotel lobby.  But, the key to this story is that something just didn’t feel right to them so they didn’t take action.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right, trust your gut and trust your instincts.  Even if people have been telling you your whole life that you don’t know what you are talking about, think twice before you jump in.  Speakers are trained to get you excited and to play on your goals, dreams and desires.  They are trained to calm that little voice in your head saying, NO, so that against your better judgement, you say, yes and spend money, that in my opinion should be spent on setting up your business.  Don’t get me wrong, there are great programs out there and great education being offered by some of the gurus.  But, again, all gurus are NOT made from the same cloth, some are sharks in sheeps clothing.  So, if your gut doesn’t feel right, then RUN!

The last story I will share is about an investor I met with this week.  They met another investor at one of the meetups they went to.  Thank God they didn’t meet them at Boston AREIA.  But, the sad part is they could have. I, unfortunately don’t always know everyone in the room, so, beware of people you meet at Boston AREIA and other meetings.  Just because they are in the room and say they are an expert doesn’t mean they are an expert.  If I have known them for years and know they do business in the right way (and I know from my personal dealings with them), chances are you will see them in front of the room training the group.  But, if I didn’t personally refer you to them, based on your needs, Boston AREIA in no way puts a stamp of approval on every person in the room.  So, back to the story,  this investor was at one of the various meetings and met an investor who professed to be an expert and they had a coaching program and could help them become successful.  Obviously they were playing on the desires, goals and dreams that people have.  So, the investor kept the line of communication open and almost pursued the coaching because they desperately want to be successful in real estate to get away from the grind of the 40/40 or 50/50 these days.  But, something didn’t feel right.  This person was saying they would train them for a fee, but, then they would again own a piece of their deals and in essence the investor would be working for them.  The reason they said NO is because they are doing real estate to be their own boss, not to work for someone else.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am that they said no.  Again, trust your gut and don’t ever let anyone “own” you or your business.  

I’m pretty passionate about this.  We have banned people from coming to Boston AREIA because we found out afterwards that during the networking sessions we provide a few investors were talked into getting involved with one of these “coaches”, sharks in sheeps clothing.  They ended up losing money, thousands of dollars, and then they came back to us to let us know what happened.  So, of course we banned that person from ever coming back to Boston AREIA.  It’s been years since I’ve heard stories like this.  But, with all the new meetups and groups that are popping up around MA, it is something to be aware of.  We do the best we can to be aware of who is in the room, but, we can’t police conversations that people are having and we have no idea if a new person comes to the group is who they say they are.  I’m sure it’s the same for all groups out there.  The group leader may be awesome, but, some of the attendees, not so much.  So, whether you are at another real estate investment group or whether you are at Boston AREIA, be aware that the folks you are meeting may or may not be who they say they are.  Do your due diligence before you lay your hard earned cash out there and don’t sign contracts where the “coach” owns a piece of you forever. 

Bernadette Trafton, Boston AREIA Chief Connector

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *