I’ve seen these signs around St. Louis the last few years.  I saw one on Laclede Station and Watson, there was another one at Gravois and 270…I’m quite sure there’s more.  Normally, the sign is on cardboard, poorly written enough just to attract your attention.  Sometimes, someone has taken the opportunity to write on the sign “scam” below.  I find it kind of funny.

I don’t have any experience with this particular group.  However, I’ve been on the periphery of the St. Louis real estate investor groups for some years. You should always question real estate commercials. Here are five things that come to mind.

The Five

  1. There are some legitimate real estate investors. Some houses are in really bad shape.  When someone comes along and takes a risk to fix a house, I understand that.   More power to them.
  2. Selling the dream works as a sales technique. When you see any show on investing in real estate, it’s some fellow on a yacht at the beach.  The reality is more like visiting houses that are infested with fleas and with smells that don’t ever seem to leave your conscience.
  3. If a real estate investor can afford to invest in real estate, why can’t he/she afford a decent sign? The crappy sign is a way to catch your attention.  There aren’t thousands of people calling the sign.  They just need one or two people.
  4. Real estate investing involves risk. A lot of it.  So, let’s say you make $20,000 on a flip and have another house ready to go.  You’re going to invest more on this next one and of course the rewards are higher too.  Then, the market shifts and that house is a $50,000 loser.  Now what?  This happens all the time.
  5. Want to invest in real estate? Read a book first.  A used book on real estate investing at Amazon goes for about $10 bucks.  Your total risk is $10.00 plus the time it took you to learn 90% of the real estate investing game.  Contrast this with gurus selling their marketing for thousands.  Not a tough decision.

In Closing

A good article on the real estate investor apprentice signs and multi-level marketing is here.  Some people swear by the training they’ve received, at least online.  As someone who has seen how these marketing programs work, I can say that the people who “lost” are usually so embarrassed and so broken that they don’t write about it or even talk about it.  Why?  It’s like the Nigerian prince scheme, we all see it and think no one could ever fall for it, but some must, or it would go away.

The reason so many “investors” are attracted to this advertising is that they really believe that they are just one secret away from making millions in real estate.  Real estate investing is hard work.  I’ve seen it here in St. Louis, and I’m sure it’s true across the U.S.  There isn’t one secret, and if someone had one, they wouldn’t tell you for any price; certainly not on a cardboard sign in Affton.