If you’ve ever had to watch tv during the wee-morning hours, then surely you’ve seen the annoying yet endless infomercials put on by self proclaimed Real-Estate ‘experts’. Also, If you’re a female and enjoy reality tv, then you’ve probably watched ‘Flip or Flop’. This is certainly more entertaining than the cheesy infomercials, however, guess what they do have in common? The ability to fool the masses with celebrity charisma and clever marketing.
Real Estate ‘Experts’: What do they really sell?
With the infomercials, they all follow the same narrative: One of these ‘Gurus’ explains how he or she went from rags to riches flipping real estate properties, implying they created some new ‘strategy’ or ‘secret’ that NO ONE else in the world knows! Soon the guru is showing off his own mansion on the beach, nice cars, and dream life that resembles a rap video, but without the music…or the ‘hoes.’
Logic over Emotions
The next part of the infomercial makes even less sense. For some reason, instead of keeping these ‘secrets’ to themselves with which they have made their incredible fortune, for some inexplicable reason, they want to just give it all away! It only that, but they want to spend advertising money to do so. All you have to do is attend their FREE seminar, which would eventually eliminate their ability to keep proficient…but hey, maybe they’re just feeling charitable?!
So let’s stop and ask this question: is there any logic in this business model? Um…none whatsoever. When anyone in business comes up with a revolutionary product that makes them millions of dollars, who in their right mind would want to give away this product? It would only saturate the market, and diminish their capacity to profit off their idea. Think of it this way: When Steve Jobs and his team finally completed the first iphone model, and it was ready to launch, was he spending money on infomercials and seminars offering to give away technology that literally has changed the way we all live–and increased Apple stock into the zillions? Of course he didn’t.
The Seminars: Rarely a celeb spokesperson; a constant sales push
The initial first day is ‘free’ (wink-wink), as they try to excite those in attendance with a lot of rah-rah-rah, upbeat music, and enthusiastic rhetoric by the “team” which, more often than not, will NEVER include the actual ‘Expert-Guru’ you saw on tv. This is the first sign that these seminars are not exactly what was explained in the infomercial.
Then at some point, these same people will the most blatantly obvious, and tacky ‘motivational sales pitch. They will explain how they must differentiate the ‘serious investors’ from those who aren’t committed to changing their lives. That’s because the SERIOUS attendees will stay for the remainder of the training program, which goes into more detail about the ‘secret strategies’ necessary to flip homes and make millions of dollars….
…Oh by the way, the rest of the course will cost on average $1,500-$2,000. Keep in mind, the remainder of the ‘training’, they will continue all the tactics and keep pushing different and more expensive products, up to $40,000 for some ‘memberships’ and ‘insider’ clubs.
The Warning Signs are Everywhere
So again let’s quickly review what these seminars truly entail: These expert celebrities have developed their own ‘secret strategies’ that helped them make millions, then scored reality tv shows, which gave them celebrity AND real estate ‘street cred’. If there’s one thing we as Americans are all vulnerable to, it’s the obsession with celebrity (me included).
Red Flag No. 1: They now want to ‘share’ these secrets that, would actually diminish the market place with that much more competition.
Red Flag No. 2: The actual celebrity or infomercial millionaire guru is usually not even in attendance.
Red Flag No. 3: They use professional sales people who also double as motivational speakers, and they throw every mind trick in the book to push more and more product on you…for 2-3 days.
As for the celebrity expert-multimillionaires like the El Moussa’s from the unrealistic ‘Flip or Flop’ Reality show: They are simply endorsing a marketing company the same way Michael Jordan endorses Gatorade and McDonald’s. The most cringe-worthy aspect of all of this: these seminars still get people to show up, who still fall for the sales pitches, and altogether, they generate millions of dollars in profit.
Target Market: Your emotions
To be fair, are these seminars a full on ‘scam’? Well not by the full definition. It’s not theft. But I hope no one is counting on getting a date with Christina El Moussa, because she probably isn’t going to be there. At the very least, it’s a misleading ad campaign. It’s a business that has mastered the concept of emotional marketing, and selling the concept of success. But make no mistake, the entire purpose is to sell as much product as possible. The information contained within the up-sell and packages is legitimate, real estate information. However, none of these products, strategies, or techniques being sold are…new or unique!
Pleeeeaaassee… don’t waste your time or money. Remember, the goal in Real Estate is the same now as 100 years ago: “Buy Low, Sell High.” The concept of flipping houses is a highly competitive niche business across the country. It’s not difficult to find someone in real estate or construction who can lead you in the right direction–no seminar required. To find out how, keep reading below…
Real Estate for Dummies: Find an Expert
If you’re interested in the ‘flipping’ business, but have no real estate knowledge or construction experience, no worries. If you live in Arizona, chances are you know at least 16,788 realtors (like me). Ask one you trust, and it’s almost certain he or she can offer good information. I do have experience buying auction properties (over 3,000 in the Phoenix Area), but I had an advantage on competition–buying for a large hedge fund between 2012 and 2014. The auction still exists, but it’s a different market dynamic now. Finding any property for a potential flip requires money or credit, time, market knowledge, construction or remodeling knowledge, and also…a lot of luck! Some of the smartest and most successful people I know, with expertise in all of the above, will tell you the same.
If you happen to see my Instagram post (@housemoneyaz) on this same topic, I posted their social media pages on the last photo of my post.
Bonus Read: I highly recommend going to this link as well, it’s a great read: http://undercoverrealestate.com/
Ben Stapley has worked in Real Estate since 2009. He has also written for various Phoenix Area newspapers, Real Estate Brokereages, and Law firms since 1999. Contact him at ben@LRAphx.com