I got interested in real estate investing the same way many people do… hearing an ad on the radio for a FREE session to learn how to invest in real estate. That was July 2007. Here is my story.
I was listening to the radio on a drive home after a tough day of work and the ad came on.
“One day only! Learn from the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad how to make millions investing in real estate. Call to receive free tickets.”
Previously I had set a goal to be able to retire from my day job after 15 years. I was in year 1 and wasn’t sure how I was going to make it happen, but this seemed like an opportunity. I had read Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad (and actually it is in My Top 10 List), so I called my cousin, got our 2 free tickets and we attended the session.
***Disclaimer: The below is my personal experience with this company (Rich Dad Education/Wealth Intelligence Academy). In general, every real estate training company uses similar sales tactics. So if you are thinking of attending a free session like I did, this will provide you some idea of what to expect.
Rich Dad Training 1
Summary: 2 Hour Information Session
Description: They packed a lot of information into this session, but didn’t really share any knowledge that you could act on. There were a lot of flashy pictures: nice houses, nice cars, “the lifestyle.” They discussed some of the basic concepts in the Rich Dad Poor Dad book, such as the Cashflow Quadrant. They briefly mentioned the numerous ways to invest in real estate and offered a 3 day training session for $495. The best part, you could bring a guest for free. When you signed up, you received several audio CDs with real estate training and a workbook. For $250 each, we decided it was worth it to attend. So we signed up and I instantly began listening to the audio books. I grew more excited as I listened to the CDs. I had read Rich Dad Poor Dad previously, but the CDs further reinforced the concepts and began to adjust the way I look at and thought about money.
Feeling After: Excited! There seemed like so much opportunity and $250 for a 3 day training to learn how to do it was awesome.
Rich Dad Training 2
Summary: 3 Day Training
Cost: $495 (Includes 2 attendees)
Description: The three day training started early and ran from 7-5, so they were long days. They were held at a nice local hotel. When we first arrived there were many people waiting outside of the room. We got registered and received our name tags. After a half hour of waiting we got in and found our seats. The next 3 days were a brain dump of information. They discussed concepts from the book. They provided an overview of real estate investing and financing your deals. They went into each strategy and showed example deals. They basically gave you a lot of information on the spectrum of real estate. Most topics (ex. Lease Options) were discussed for 1-3 hours.
Some key things that happened during training.
- They make everyone promise to not be negative. Everyone was supposed to inform the instructor if they heard someone being negative.
- There was to be no collecting of people’s information or making of a class list.
- On day 1, they discussed how credit cards can be a great way to fund your real estate investing. They gave everyone homework to call their credit card companies and ask for lower rates and increased limits. On day 2, people stood up and spoke about the lower rates and increased limits that they got.
- On the last day, the next sales pitch started. They passed out sheets of paper with their advanced training session. We then each wrote in the “regular” prices and the “discounted” prices if you signed up today. This is a common sales tactic.
In the end, my cousin and I decided to sign up for a package that included 4 additional trainings. This package cost us $15,000, or $7,500 each. I did not have anywhere near that kind of cash, so the “coach” recommended that I put it on the credit card that I just got a higher limit on. I ended up having to split the cost over 2 credit cards.
Feeling After: Still excited, but a little sick to my stomach. I had just recently graduated from college. My fiancée and I were trying to get our life started. We were renting an apartment and I just put $7,500 of money that we didn’t have on a credit card. I knew this meant that I had to make this work, at least enough to pay back the cost of the training.
Rich Dad Training 3
Summary: Advanced Training
Cost: $15,000 (2 attendees, 4 sessions)
Description: The first training session was held in Buffalo and contained people who signed up from other local cities in N.Y. It was a 2-day session that provided some additional foundation for starting your real estate business. This included creating your power team, creating your plan, marketing and finding your niche. From there, your next 3 training sessions would be specific to the niche that you picked.
Some key things that happened during training.
- Networking was now encouraged (assuming since you already paid the large fee), so we networked with many people from across N.Y.
- I got a better idea of some of the steps to take to get started. Actually, before attending this training I did a ton of research online. I spent a few hundred dollars buying used real estate courses off eBay, joining my local Real Estate Investors Association (REIA), ordering business cards, finding online forums and securing my first deal.
- We realized the other training sessions would not be local, but all over the country. So it would cost us several thousand more dollars.
Feeling After: Kicking myself. I realized that after the 3 day class, I was driven enough to figure out how to get started on my own. My cousin and I actually had a duplex under contract for $24,000, which was only $9,000 more than we spent on the “Advanced Training.” I knew that it was my decision to take the training, so I was now motivated to make sure it did not go to waste.
We ended up not taking any of the other advanced training courses, even though we had paid a lot of money for them. We did not have the extra cash to pay for plane tickets, rental cars, hotels and food to attend the additional training. A few months later, the company sent us 3 sets of DVDs which we were informed were replacements for the Advanced Training.
If I had to do it again, I would definitely take the 3-day session from Rich Dad. I learned a lot from it and met a couple of investors that I still stay in touch with. In fact, I recently took another 3 day training from FortuneBuilders. I would not have signed up for the advanced courses. They were expensive and that money could be have spent in much better ways to further my real estate investing. I do not regret it though, as I learned a valuable lesson on how sales tactics work, how easy it is to get sold “the dream” and it motivated me to continue investing in real estate so that it would not be wasted. Today I still own the duplex that I purchased with my cousin. Additionally, I started another investment company with my father, Sylvester Enterprises (SylvesterEnt.com). We have purchased and renovated many duplexes and just recently purchased our first mixed use property.
If you are interested in investing in real estate, I would recommend seeking out someone who is successful at what you want to do and learn everything that you can from them. Ideally, this person should be local, but it can also work remotely with the amount of technology that we have today. Some people may mentor you for free, some may charge a price. Even for those who charge you, it will be drastically cheaper than these “guru” training sessions and you will get actual experience, advice and mentoring.