So, you’re thinking about investing in real estate? Congratulations – property investment is a great way to diversify your portfolio and improve your financial footing during periods of economic uncertainty.
There’s just one problem – you don’t know where to start.
Educating yourself on the ins and outs of real estate investment is essential for success, however prospective buyers or mortgage investors shouldn’t take everything they hear at face value. This is especially the case when it comes to assessing the value of real estate investment seminars and courses. While there are many legitimate speakers and practicioners out there, there are just as many shady characters who are in the business solely to swindle your money.
Before you invest time and money into a real estate investing course or syndicate mortgage seminar, do your research on the speaker, the company that’s hosting the event, and the information that’s going to be covered. The value of the information provided during these presentations can vary wildly, as can the associated costs. What’s more, you may find yourself being pressured into investing in a real estate deal right there on the spot. Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important that you look carefully at what the opportunity entails and is offering.
What is a Real Estate Investment Seminar?
Normally hosted by real estate investment companies, these seminars may include a motivational speaker, investment advice, or even a self-made millionaire guest. Their job is to explain to you how real estate investment works and the benefits of this type of financial committment.
Real estate investment companies may offer these seminars for free or for a fee. Highly-priced books and reports on investing are another common sales tactic. While costly, these types of hooks aren’t exactly illegal. It’s when the seminar leaders start to suggest following high-risk investment strategies that things get a bit sketchy.
Red Flags to Watch For During an Investment Seminar
The Alberta Security Commission has issued the following list of “red flags” to watch for when considering a property investment:
- Paid real estate advertisements that are designed to look like legitimate news articles.
- Talk of tax avoidance, moving money offshore or using RRSP eligibility as a hook.
- Above average returns with little or no risk. No investment is risk free.
- Offer of loans to cover both the investment and further investment seminars.
- Claims of a secret or exclusive technique for building wealth. The salespeople at seminars can make misleading claims that entice you to sign up right away.
- Limited time offer that discourages investors from getting independent advice.
- Promises to ‘be a millionaire in three years’ and ‘get-rich-quick’.
- Sales pitches of no cost involved or free attendance at seminars. The first session you are invited to attend may be free, but you may have to pay fees and commissions that the promoters did not tell you about beforehand.
Don’t get caught up in the hype of a real estate investment seminar or mortgage syndication course. Investing in a property before you know all the details can have a detrimental social and financial impact on you and your family. Remember to always conduct your own independent research prior to attending a seminar. This includes seeking independent professional investment advice from a lawyer or registered financial advisor. You should also spend some time talking with your bank or a good mortgage broker. Only then will you have the knowledge necessary to make a smart investment decision.