If you’ve already read some of my previous posts, you’ll know I’m working my way towards freedom. Now, being free also means having financial freedom. One way to create a steady monthly cashflow is through real estate. Not knowing anything about it, it made most sense to me to take a real estate investing course first. And just as the universe understood what I needed, an old friend reached out to me. We met for a drink and after talking for a while, it turned out he had been investing in real estate for a while now. He followed a course in the Netherlands which he highly recommended as a starting point for my ventures. In the meantime, however, I stumbled upon an advisement on Instagram, promoting a free real estate introduction course.
Real estate “gurus”
Seeing that this introduction course was free (and the course in the Netherlands wasn’t) I figured it wouldn’t cause any harm to go check it out. It was organized by Rich Dad Education, and as I read quite some of the Rich Dad books, it seemed trustworthy. Turns out however, that this kind of free introduction course is a method that’s regularly used to hype people up and pressure them into buying expensive follow-up courses and programs. Here’s how it went:
First off, the event was in the centre of Brussels, in some fancy hotel. Quite some people attended, I would guess about 200. Then this very charismatic guy – 29 years old -, tells us about how he bought over 10 properties in just 18 months and now has a steady cashflow of 9000 per month. He paints this very promising picture about how you can get infinitely wealthy in a ridiculous short amount of time. He doesn’t mind adding some personal and even emotional backstories. Through these stories he frequently mentions thethe importance of taking action. He even demonstrates this by giving away CD’s to the people taking action and running to the front of the room to get them.
Towards the end of the course and after hyping everybody up, Mr. charming tells us now it’s time to really take action. We need to run to the back of the room to sign up for a 3-day seminar at a discount price. Now, I must admit, it was actually a very good deal. The only problem however, is that I am a very rational person (and very hard headed about spending money). I needed to be 100% sure that the course was going to be worth it. But of course, the good deal was only if you signed up at the event and just for the first 20 people signing up.
After being the absolute last person there because of all my contemplating (which should have been enough of a warning sign!), I did actually sign up for the course. The only reason I did was because I knew Belgium has the great 14 day return policy to protect customers. After doing some research on the course when I got back home, I learned that the 3-day seminar was going to be about 40% useful content, 40% hard selling into very expensive mentorship programs, and 20% breaks. Needless to say I cancelled immediately.
Now I’m not saying what this guy accomplished is impossible. Neither that I didn’t learn anything from the course. It did offer quite some useful information and I am glad I attended. What bothers me most is the way they paint a rather unrealistic picture. As far as I know, real estate is not a get rich quick scheme. It is something that demands a lot of work, time and commitment. Besides that, the way these kind of programs are sold through emotional appeals, scarcity and fear tactics make it hard for me to trust in the sincerity of them. Is their focus actually on helping people invest in real estate? Or do they just want to make money of seminars and courses?
Let this be a lesson for all of us, to never sign up for something without doing you due diligence. Take your time to get all the positive and negative reviews to help you make an informed decision. Recognize the tactics and don’t let your emotions get the better of you.
While researching the Rich Dad course, I stumbled upon a website called Biggerpockets. They position themselves as an online community for real estate investors and offer a lot of free information and resources. I followed their free introduction course the “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to real estate investing”. I must say this was a great way to get a general idea of what real estate investing is all about. The course explains you how to develop your business strategy, how to evaluate projects, which different kinds of financing there are available and so on. I would recommend anyone interested in the field to follow this course and browse around the website for a while.
However, seeing that I was really serious about real estate investing, I felt like I needed to take a more personal course. Getting the valuable insights from people who have done it all before, is priceless. So I finally followed my friend’s advice and signed up for the course – Basic Property tips and tools, Real Estate & Finance – in the Netherlands.
Basic property tips and tools, Real estate & Finance
Unlike the Rich Dad course, I had a personal recommendation for this one and knew it was going to be worth it. And while some of the real estate gurus spend most of their time running seminars or selling courses, this person actually made most of her income from real estate. Although the course was held in the Netherlands, I was sure it would still be useful for Belgium as well. It was organized just once a month, so a couple of weeks later I found myself in Utrecht for a full day of real estate immersion together with a fellow student.
You don’t know it until you do it
The personal approach, the detailed information, the course material, all was much to my liking. It was clear that Lia, who gave the course, really wanted us to succeed. Besides that, she had a great track record in real estate and was ready to share all she knew with us. The biggest benefit for me from taking this course was learning how to evaluate properties. How do you know a project is going to be profitable? Which costs do you have to take into account? Which ROI is good enough?
All these things and much more I have learned from the course, making me more confident in the whole process of real estate investing. Moreover, taking a personal course like this will get you in touch with likeminded people. And who better to learn from than people who have done it all before? If you’re really serious about real estate investing I do recommend to find a similar course in your neighborhood. Be sure to find one that has great reviews, preferably from people you actually know. Do your due diligence. And remember, you don’t know it until you do it so make sure the person giving the course is actually investing in real estate him or herself.
In my next post I’ll share all that I have learned from both the Biggerpockets beginners guide, and the real estate course I took in the Netherlands. Be sure to stay tuned for more!
And as always, don’t forget to make it happen!