House flipping has been around as long as people have lived in houses. Flipping houses got a bad rap in the 1990’s, when scammers engaged in widespread fraud using mortgages, appraisals, and straw buyers. In some cases, some “renovated” houses were uninhabitable and sold to unsuspecting home buyers. But house flipping has regained its legitimacy because of its significant contribution in revitalizing the country’s housing stock after the Great Recession. As a result, many investors found their fortunes. Of course, reality TV glamorized house flipping and the prospect of real estate riches. And as more people wanted in, flipping instruction courses multiplied.
Many embarking in house flipping courses believe it’s their road to real estate riches . Unfortunately, what’s not understood by many consumers is that flipping houses is an incredibly risky business. For most, it’s a full-time job that offers a modest living. And, many real estate flippers lose money.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC.gov) entered a temporary restraining order against a real estate investment seminar promoter. You may have seen ads for these seminars, as they were promoted with reality TV star endorsements. The FTC alleges that the seminars are misleading and make “deceptive promises of big profits to lure consumers into real estate seminars costing thousands of dollars.” According to the October 4th FTC press release, the promoter claims to offer consumers coaching and training on how to make large sums of money by flipping houses.
But it’s not so much about real estate riches through flipping houses. The FTC complaint alleged that seminar ads attracted consumers to free event that claimed they would learn how to make large profits “using other people’s money.” It is alleged that the free event was a sales presentation for a three-day workshop that cost $1,997, and was promoted as teaching everything needed to know “to make substantial income from real estate.” The three-day workshop was sometimes described as a “beginner’s course,” and attendees were “upsold” products and services that cost as much as $41,297.
The FTC action just didn’t pop up overnight. It resulted from years of investigation. An eye opening 2013 report highlighted complaints about these seminars (Some Buyers Call Classes By ‘Flip Or Flop’ Stars Misleading; Investors Business Daily; 10/28/2016, p43-43). The reality TV star who was supposed to be at the seminar, instead appeared in a video stating they were busy filming their show. An attendee who paid $1,997 for the three-day course, $1,000 for real estate software, and “thousands more” for additional classes, stated, “They weren’t really teaching at all.”
Real estate investing and flipping courses have been around for decades. However, not all advocate house flipping as the vehicle to make riches. There are many avenues to invest in real estate; some teach buy and hold strategies, others teach auction strategies, etc. Before spending any money on a real estate investment course, do your due diligence. Check with the Better Business Bureau and FTC for complaints.
Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated, “From start to finish, these defendants used the promise of easy money and in-depth information to lure consumers down a path that could cost them thousands of dollars and put them in serious debt. When a company tells consumers they have the secret to get rich with little work, we encourage consumers to take a hard look at what’s really being offered.”
Original article is published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2019/11/05/real-estate-riches-promises/
By Dan Krell
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.