You hear the commercials on the radio and you ignore them because they sound too good to be true. A real estate investor is coming to town and looking to partner with people in the local area to do some big deals. They promise how to teach you how to flip houses with their proven system. Just come out to their free seminar and you’ll be taking the first step at changing your life forever. What’s the catch, you’re thinking? I’ve been to a couple of these kind of seminars, and there definitely is a catch.
After buying my first house, I was so excited about real estate. I wanted to learn more and get a game plan for making long-term money with real estate. My mom heard about a Nick Vertucci seminar coming to town, and we attended. This year, I saw an ad online and registered for a Than Merrill seminar. My sister also attended the same seminar with her husband a few months before. They all seem to have a similar format.
The seminar always starts with the speaker showing you pictures of him and his family in their big, beautiful house and of them taking trips all around the world. After showing off his enviable lifestyle, he’ll tell you his rags-to-riches story of how he came from nothing, barely graduated high school, entered the work force, and ended up broke and depressed. But after coming to a seminar just like the one you’re sitting in right now, he got started in real estate and his life has never been the same.
We, the audience is asked to use the pen and pads on the table to write down our dreams and what we would do if we were financially free. We do so and a few people are asked to share, really building a sense of “we all want the same things out of life.”
After doing that, the pitch begins. What pitch, you ask? The pitch for the class where they’ll actually teach you how to get your dreams with real estate. You see, that free seminar is just bait to get you in the room. Once you’re in there, the sales tactics begin. They show you summaries of deals that were done by students and how much profit was made. They give very little information; instead they tell you all about their class where you will learn how to do deals just like this. There is, of course, price tag attached.
In November 2015, my mom and I bought into the pitch and paid around $1800 for the three day Nick Vertucci seminar. There was a lot of info packed into the three days, but not enough step-by-step guidance, which they knew. So they offered a special mentorship program for…. get this… $30,000! When I heard that number, I dropped my pen. I needed to hear no more. I knew these people were only out to make a killing from people naive enough to dish out that kind of cash. We were encouraged to take loans, use credit cards, use money from retirement plans, or borrow from friends and family if needed. All the while, I’m thinking, “If I had $30,000, I’d be planning for my next real estate deal on my own!”
At the free Than Merrill seminar I went to this year, the three-day workshop they offered was only about $200. My sister had already told me that at the end of that workshop, they would pitch their $30,000 program to us, just like the Nick Vertucci class. I decided not to go through with the $200 class.
Like they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that definitely applies to “free” real estate seminars. And with Youtube and Google, there’s really no need to be duped by “real estate gurus” and their expensive classes.