I’m a big—no, huge!—anti-guru person. They are a real danger, especially to real estate investors who are just starting out and desperately trying to learn this business. Let me tell you a story to illustrate why I am so emphatic about this.
I had a speaking engagement in Chicago recently, and this older fellow came up to me and shook my hand. (And this is why I do speaking engagements—I get to share a kind of value with the audience. I always share my perceptions, opinions and experiences with them and I strongly believe that people buy people.)
So, this older gentleman comes up to me, just a really nice guy, shakes my hand. And he says, “I really want to thank you for all the value you’ve given throughout your presentation. Thank you for being so genuine. Thank you for being original. Thank you for not selling us.”
And then he went on telling me how he spent $50,000 of his life savings and credit card debt on different types of seminars. These so-called educators swindled him out of $50,000 and he didn’t learn anything. Now, he and his lovely little wife have to work at WalMart to pay off $6,000 every year in credit card debt. Their credit score has gone from 780 to the mid-500s. This is absolutely disgusting. It hurts my heart. And it’s beyond astonishing to me how these so-called gurus can do this to people.
Don’t get me wrong; there are good mentors
I’m not talking about the bona fide mentors out there, but rather the big talkers who claim they’ll show you the “fail-safe” way to invest (which doesn’t exist, by the way) but who haven’t even invested a cent of their own in any property.
So beware of those types. What you want is an expert, someone who knows the subject.
Here’s an analogy:
Let’s say you’re getting sick. If you are sick you go see a doctor because a doctor will make you feel better. You have to pay the doctor, but you get the knowledge that professional received from a reputable school. Just like if your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic—a legitimate mechanic who will fix your car because he is an expert in that field.
If you want to learn how to make money in real estate, you have to go and work with a real real estate investor, on a one-to-one basis. You cannot buy a book, buy a course, watch a DVD or attend a seminar to get the knowledge you need. Those only provide a snippet of what this business actually consists of or what it actually takes to make money and be successful in real estate.
So, forget all that. Forget about the gurus. Forget about what they preach. Forget about what they sell. Forget about the boot camps, the courses, the DVDs and the seminars where you’ve got to pay tens of thousands of dollars. It will not get you anywhere.
Find someone who’s in the trenches
My suggestion is to go and find someone doing real estate investing. Find an active, successful investor. When you find that person, try to work alongside him or her. Offer that more-knowledgeable investor some kind of value for that person giving you his or her time. Offer to do things like knock on doors for that investor, or help with all the paperwork. Offer anything that will give you value in return for that person teaching you.
You are who you’re with. If you hang out with successful real estate investors, you will be successful because of their knowledge and their strengths.
If you can’t find your way to a real estate investor, then try to find a consultant, a coach or a mentor who charges a monthly or hourly fee—someone you can speak to directly. Someone you can meet in person, who is powerful.
That is where you will really get knowledge. In my opinion, this is the only way to go about it.
A question you should ask yourself, when considering buying knowledge from a guru, is, “If they make so much money investing in real estate, why are they teaching it?” Many of them say they are teaching because they want to give back to the community and help people. But are they really doing anything other than taking people’s money without anything to show for it?
There are other investors out there who actually DO give back to their communities. My company, for instance, last Christmas gave a $60,000 home to a family in need right here in the community where I live.
My point is, if you want to help people and give back, then do so without an agenda. You give back with the goodness of your heart. You don’t ask anything in return; you give.
So if you encounter one of those gurus who claims to be “giving back” but has nothing to show for it, I suggest you turn and run as fast as you can in the other direction.
Be careful when choosing where your knowledge comes from.
About the author
Engelo Rumora—“The Real Estate Dingo”—is a successful property investor, motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur who quit school at age 14, played professional soccer at 18 and now runs a multimillion-dollar real estate investment company. To date and against the odds, Rumora has been involved in more than 350 real estate deals equating to $50 million worth of transactions. He also successfully founded and runs five businesses in Ohio, including List’n Sell Realty, a Toldeo-based real estate brokerage that aims to be the #1 discount broker in the country offering an innovative, “first of its kind” referral program. You can follow him on social media at https://www.facebook.com/TheRealEstateDingo/ or https://www.facebook.com/engelorumora.