Are you thinking about getting in the business of real estate investing? Do you have a passion for making deals, for managing big projects and a team of people, and for transforming crappy houses into gorgeous new gems? If you’ve answered, “Yes,” you are not alone.
Chances are, you’ve thought about getting some education, or even a Mentor to personally guide you through the process. It’s no secret that the 800-pound Gorilla in the real estate education space is: Than Merrill’s $100 million dollar company Fortune Builders. But, what do you get from the Fortune Builders program – and how much is the Fortune Builders Mastery program going to cost you? Further, is FortuneBuilders (or the hundreds of other education programs like it) even right for you?
Well, sit back – grab yourself a cold one, and prepare to be blown away as I pull back the curtain on real estate education courses and companies, as I explain the massive difference between real estate education vs. real estate experience – and as I make a HUGE announcement that will forever change the landscape for real estate investors in Maryland.
JUST THE FACTS
Americans love to spend money on self-help. It seems we all are in a quest to be better. Maybe, you think there is greatness locked inside of you – but you can’t seem to find the key. Whatever the case, whatever you’re searching for – and whatever you want to change – there is help out there for you. Someone has written a book for you, shot a video for you, has a workshop for you, or has built a system for you.
Here’s a fact: Americans (just like you and me), spend 11 BILLION (don’t you just hate when someone says, “That’s Billion…with a B.”…like really? We all know what a billion is, and how it’s spelled.) dollars per year on self-improvement programs. These facts come from Marketdata Enterprises, a research firm in Tampa, Florida. The clip to the left was lifted from a Jan 2009 post from Forbes.com – but don’t let the dated citation dissuade you. The self-improvement industry is growing not shrinking.
You’ve must be very careful as you go down your road to self-improvement. Why, Craig? Well, I’m glad you asked, my inquisitive new friend.
Whenever you have millions of Americans chomping at the bit, and all emotional to spend 11-billion (with a B…I couldn’t resist 😎 ) bucks, you’re gonna have at least a couple opportunistic, less than above-board, sheisters looking first to take your money and last to improve you.
I’ve never been to a Tony Robbins workshop, but I’ve heard nothing but praise from those who have attended. I’ve listened to his courses, and have watched a few of his free YouTube videos. The guy is completely legit. Now, he may not be your cup-of-tea in terms of style, but he delivers solid, actionable content that, if followed, will bring you measurable results.
Let’s juxtapose Tony with say…a real estate Guru like Armando Montelongo (Yeah…you’ve got it. THIS guy). Sure, they are in two totally separate spaces in terms of self-improvement, but let’s just focus on integrity, and most importantly cost vs. results. I just Googled the term, “Armando Montelongo Review,” and was immediately greeted by words like, “Huckster,” and endless listings referring to complaints, lawsuits and general negativity. You start to get the picture real quick on ‘ole Armando.
Let me tell you how Armando works. First, you see one of his late-night infomercials pumping an upcoming “free” seminar (where seats are limited) in your area. You think, “He seems like a D-bag…but I’ve got a dream so I’m going!”
I have personally spoken with 4 completely unrelated people who have recounted for me, in vivid detail, exactly what goes on at Armando’s “free” seminars. The seminars are billed as “info-packed” events where you’ll learn Armando’s exact systems for flipping houses. Trust me. They are far from “info-packed.” At best, the uninitiated newbie comes away from the event thinking he’s learned something. At worst, the attendee falls for the carefully crafted sales-pitch (disguised as real information) – and forks over $15,000 to attend a multi-day bus tour with Armando (who is usually not even there). At the multi-day event, they put on the HARD SELL! You’re shaken-down….uh…”upsold” into the one-on-one coaching program for another $25,000!!! The likelihood of ever speaking with Armando, personally = slim-to-none.
Add it up! That’s $40,000 out-of-pocket, and you haven’t even done a deal. You can read more about the Montelongo shake-down here, then – be sure to come back and finish this article, because I’m just getting started here.
The sickening part, for most is – the $15-grand often goes on a credit card, and the $25-grand comes out of what little savings or IRA the person may have. I once heard of a tactic used at The Rich Dad Poor Dad seminars where the salespeople at the back of the room instruct you on how to call your credit card company to get your credit limit raised – then as if a miracle occured, tell you that your new limit is the exact cost of the mentoring program! You can watch the 3-part video here.
So most investor wanna-be’s are completely tapped-out, or worse, are in debt – and have zero dollars to start a real estate business because they’ve just spent their entire life savings on “education.” All the while, Montelongo (and many others like him) could care less that they just took every penny you had leaving you with NO chance of successfully starting a real estate business.. All they care about is the sale NOT your results.
Just remember, these “free” seminars are NOT designed to teach you anything. They are craftily worded pitches with the sole intent of tapping into your emotions and getting you to believe you can’t make it in this business without them. The goal is to get you running to the back of the room with your credit card in your hand. A newbie with a dream, or even a veteran who wants desperately to get to the next level, is NO MATCH for a well-rehearsed pitch-man, most who make millions selling these courses.
How Much is the Fortune Builders Mastery Program?
A few months ago, I received a call from “Jerry” (not his real name). I didn’t know Jerry, so he explained that he was referred by Mike Green, former owner of Trusted Homebuyers, a very successful real estate investment firm here in Maryland.
Jerry seemed like the kind of guy who I’d love to have some beers with. He is a firefighter of over 20 years and his wife is an accomplished Realtor. Together they earn over $250,000 per year. Jerry explained that he had a dream and a passion to become a real estate investor. He wanted to buy, renovate and sell houses – and he wanted it badly. He then went on to tell me that he had been in the Fortune Builders Mastery Program for just over 2 years.
I said, “That’s great. Tell me about a few of the deals you’ve done.”
He said, “Well…that’s just the thing. I haven’t done any deals because while I’ve learned a lot in the FortuneBuilders program. I’m afraid to pull the trigger on a deal, because there’s no one here locally to teach me how to get through the deal.”
I said, “That’s a pretty common theme. I hear that all the time – but I have to ask, how much is the Fortune Builders Mastery Program?”
He shyly admitted, “So far, I’ve spent $40,000.00 with Fortune Builders.”
Of all the “Out-of-State,” TV-Guru courses, I think students get value of out the Fortune Builders program. But, in the end – it’s still an education program where you are essentially on an island trying to operate your fledgling investment business. I wish I could say I was shocked by Jerry’s story, but I’d heard this $40-grand number several times before. I’ve also spoken with many FB students who felt very similar to Jerry; like they’d learned a lot – but they just couldn’t put all the pieces together to feel the confidence they’d been searching for all along.
I just sat there feeling badly for the guy and I kept thinking, “40-freakin’ grand and he’s never done a deal!!!” How many Jerry The Firefighters are out there? There’s GOT to be a better way~
REAL ESTATE EDUCATION VS. REAL ESTATE EXPERIENCE
Here’s another indisputable fact. Let this seep into your DNA. In terms of real estate investing, there is a MASSIVE difference between education and experience.
You’ll find at least one Real Estate Investment Association (REIA) in every major city in America. If you have not yet done a deal, you should attend one of those meetings and seek-out a veteran in the room. Then, ask that veteran how much they learned about the business from educational books or videos, versus how much they learned from simply doing deals. The vast majority will tell you that the real education begins the moment you get into your very first deal. They’ll tell you that you can watch every video, read every book – and even get expensive 1-0n-1 phone-coaching from some clever Guru – but, you don’t really learn squat until you get in that first deal.
This indisputable fact goes directly against the business models of every real estate “education” company.
The big multi-million dollar education companies want you to believe that you will get wealthy only if you buy into their latest greatest systems. But, veteran investors know better. They know that you get educated by doing deals! This is called, “Experiential Knowledge,” and in real estate investing – there’s just no substitute.
With a billion or so a year being spent on real estate education – this country should be churning out real estate millionaires by the boatload, but we’re not. That alone is the perfect testament to the fact that these education programs rarely work.
Maybe you’ve bought into some of these programs. If you did, we’d love to hear from you…good or bad. I honestly pray that you’ve done well, and that you got out of the courses more than you put in. I’m not bashing these Guru’s….well maybe I’m bashing Montelongo. I simply think it’s time for a massive shift in real estate education.
THE TIME IS NOW.
When Fred Lewis, owner of The Dominion Group, and Jack BeVier co-owner of The Dominion Group came to me and said, “We want to partner with you to start a Mentoring program, here at Dominion,” I thought – “Wow, we really have an opportunity to take our time to carefully create something really special.”
I asked them to give me a few days to think about a Mentoring model – but deep in my heart I already knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Because Dominion renovates 75-100 houses per year, and because we are a 45 million dollar per year hard money lender, we had the opportunity to offer so much more to our students than almost every other education company in the United States. So here’s what I set out to create:
PERSONAL AND LOCAL:
The program had to meet each student precisely where they were in their journey. We don’t believe in a pre-cast box for every investor. Suppose one day, we meet an introverted newbie who wants to subsidize his full-time job by flipping a few houses per year. Then, the next day we meet an extrovert who wants to quit his job and needs to flip 10-12 houses per year to match his current income. These two potential students are vastly different. Designing a single box in an attempt to meet the needs of both would meet the needs of neither!
The Dominion Mentoring program had to be experienced-based rather than just education. There is no doubt in my mind that we could enroll a ton of students and give them a monthly phone call for some crazy amount of money. No doubt. But – we wanted to go far deeper. We wanted every student to go through actual deals with us. So, upon completion of the Dominion Mentoring program, there would never be a student who could claim, they’d spent money but never did a deal. There would be no “Jerry The Firefighter” in the Dominion Mentoring model.
Next – the mentoring program had to be exclusive. We would NEVER stoop so low as to allow people in the program just because they had the money for the program. Potential students would be interviewed prior to acceptance into the program. Each would have to prove that they’d had some previous experience, or that they were infinitely coachable and passionate about succeeding in the business. Each would have to show significant cash reserves, not so we could charge them more for the mentoring, but so that they could hit the ground running and go directly into rehab deals upon acceptance into the program. Upon acceptance, each student would feel as if they were part of something exclusive and very special.
DAMN NEAR RISK FREE:
Finally, I wanted to design a payment model that actually made the students say, “This seems too good to be true…how can this be?” I also wanted them to see that we had stakes in the game as well. The cost of the program would not be cheap. In fact, it would be prohibitively high for most – but the right applicants would instantly see the value, rather than having to be sold on it. We will not “sell” anyone on why they should choose Dominion Mentoring because the value of the program should be instantly recognizable.
ANNOUNCING THE DOMINION SCHOOL OF REAL ESTATE
I’m proud to say that Fred, Jack and I designed a Mentoring program that includes not just some, but ALL of the points mentioned above. We’ve designed a Mentoring model that is truly results based. Upon completion of your time with us, you will have completed at least 3 deals (see Mentoring levels below). Only one other company in Maryland can say that. As if the 3 deals were not enough – it gets so much better.
We soft-launched the Mentoring school a few months ago after announcing it at a BWI Meetup event. The response to the offer was overwhelming – and we instantly knew that we had a winner on our hands. Following a 2-day workshop we had interviews with several potential applicants and accepted 2 students into the school.
NEW STUDENTS: LEE & JASON
Lee and Jason are two young professionals who have done well in their regular jobs, and they’ve lent money on a couple deals with mixed results. They possess the exact qualities we are looking for in potential students. They’ve done a couple deals, they have good income, and good cash reserves, they are super smart – and they’re passionate to build a business rather than just a hobby. I have no doubt Lee and Jason will do well. Here’s what they have to say about why they chose The Dominion School over other programs they’d seen:
NEW STUDENT: CHRIS
Chris is a former business owner who did well in the sale of the business. She is still figuring out her “Why,” but knows that she wants to create long-term stability for herself using real estate rather than the stock market. She has acted as a private lender on a few deals with mixed results and knows that she’s missing critical skills like, rehab estimating, rehab team building, and project management. She’s also looking for help in designing the look for her rehabs. Here’s what Chris has to say about her experience thus far with Dominion
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
We have two levels of Mentorship here at The Dominion School of Real Estate. They are; the Masters level, and the PhD level. See the graphic for a detailed breakdown of the benefits and cost of each.
In both levels you’ll learn how to build a sound rehabbing business – not by reading books – but by doing actual rehab deals. We’ll personally work with you from start to finish as you go through your rehab deals. We also think it’s super important for a student to feel successful as soon as possible. To that, we will source the very first deal for you.
Let’s talk quickly about the Masters level program because it’s our most popular level. As you can see, we’ll split the profits on each of the three rehab deals; 50/50.
The cost of the program will seem almost too good to be true because with us, you put up a fairly substantial deposit that you actually get back! The deposit is like a guarantee that you won’t waste your time, or ours. However, we don’t want your money and we’ll prove it to you. The Dominion Mentoring program is all about getting you results. If you get results – we all get paid – AND – we give you back your deposit. That’s right, upon completion of each rehab, we return 1/3 of your deposit.
There is a monthly mentoring fee that covers costs and all other resources you’ll have access to – but we’re pretty sure you’ll see the value.
The end result is, you’ll learn a ton, you will successfully complete deals, you will earn back the money you spend with us for the education, and you will learn a skill that no one can ever take from you. With Dominion Mentoring – you will get the ACTUAL EXPERIENCE you need to succeed in this business.
We’d love to hear from you. We currently have only 8 open spots for students and we’re accepting applications. If you live in Maryland, are interested in being considered for the school, and you have cash reserves of at least $30,000, please send an email stating why you’d like to be considered, and why you love real estate to: craig@theDominionGroup.com