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Real Estate Seminar Scams - Armando Montelongo?

Anyone who has an interest in real estate, and anyone who has has insomnia and watched late-night TV is familiar with Armando Montelongo, current king of the real estate seminar scam. Yes, scam. Seminars have only one purpose, and it is not "teaching". It's selling!

The definition of SCAM includes, "A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle. To include misleading, misdirected or exaggerated claims in advertising. A ploy by a shyster to raise money. A deception practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain. Any act, expression, omission, or concealment that deceives another to his or her disadvantage" . Does this fit the Armando Montelongo seminar scam?

Let's see...

A "free" seminar, designed to lure people into the web. Check. Get just enough information to get you all fired up, high on promises, and pressured into popping out $1500 for the next seminar, a 3 day extravaganza. Check.The second seminar is like the first, gets you fired up some more, tells you that, to insure your $1500 is not wasted, you need to get on board the grand "bus tour" - at a whopping $40,000 per couple! Check.  On the bus tour you get to ride around with a bunch of other hopefuls, in seedy neighborhoods, looking at abandoned foreclosed homes. And here is whereyou are told  - after shelling out over 40 grand - that all you have to do is max out your credit, go into hock for mortgages and fix-up money and with a bit of luck, you may be able to sell the place for a profit. Check.

So there you are - over $40,000 in the hole, looking at dumps you did not have to spend $40,000 to see, and being told what you already knew - if you want to spend a lot of money and borrow your way into oblivion, you can make some money. Really?

If that does not sound like a scam to you, then maybe you should review your other beliefs, like the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny.

It's a scam, folks. Pure and simple. But that is not to say all real estate investing "gurus" are scammers. A few are actually legitimate, and deliver the goods. And in the case of Bill Vaughn's "Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate", it includes coaching by true professionals, and all for under a hundred bucks, complete. It is truly the best real estate investing course available, with the highest success rate of them all and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Why not check it out - it costs nothing to look - but it can cost you a great deal if you do not.

With the plethora of real estate gurus hitting the airwaves of late-night TV, it can be a daunting task to figure out which, if any, are legitimate. And with the huge sums most of them charge (Armando Montelongo charges $40,000+) it is imperative to a budding real estate investor to find out which is worthwhile.

As a general rule (there are exceptions), most of these "infomercial gurus" are fast-talking hucksters. Several, like Russ Dalbey, John Beck and John Alexander have been sued by the Federal Trade Commission. A few have even ended up in jail. And several, like Robert G Allen and Albert Lowry have filed bankruptcy at one time or another.

But there is a good real estate investor training course or two available.

One of the better ones is offered by Carlton Sheets. But don't jump just yet. While Mr. Sheets promotes legitimate methods, his course is mighty shy on enough detail to actually put it to use. And there is a purpose behind the lack of detail - Mr. Sheets wants you to buy into his expensive coaching.

This is true with all the gurus (except for "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate", the only real estate course to include free coaching). The main difference between Carlton Sheets and most of the other infomercial gurus lies in the simple fact that Sheets actually teaches legitimate (though limited) methods. Many of the gurus pimp methods that are nothing more than snake oil.

Of the Toip 20 gurus, Carlton Sheets rates about #3.
It is truly amazing the number and variety of real estate gurus flooding the airwaves these days, and it has become proportionately difficult to sort the truth from the hype. This article is designed to assist you in doing just that.

First and foremost, remember that an infomercial - any infomercial - has one objective: to separate people from their money. Keep that in mind as you listen to the spiel, as that will tend to make you more attuned to what is actually being said - and what they are NOT saying.

Here are a few general things to bear in mind:

1) Mentoring (coaching). Almost none of the infomercial gurus utilize actual investors for their "mentoring". In most cases, the "mentors" are third-party telephone operators who have never purchased any real estate. Some of these third party mentoring houses are under indictment for misleading advertising. Before signing up with any mentor program, find out a) if they do their own "in-house" mentoring, and if the mentors are actual, practicing investors.

2) Watch out for the low cost lead-in product that quietly and unobtrusively leads you into a monthly fee debited from your account every month. Almost all the infomercial gurus do this - you pay a low cost for their program only to discover to late that they tap your account every month. Before ordering, demand to know if there are any ongoing costs or fees.

3) Another important caveat - beware the expensive upsells. Almost all the "gurus" you see on TV provide a very basic program lacking in sufficient detail to be put to use. But it does whet your appetite - basically, it is a sales pitch disguised as a program, created to get you to spend the big bucks for their mentoring or "boot camps" so you can get the rest of the info you thought you were buying in the first place.

In short - THINK! Do not allow yourself to be sucked in by hype. Check things out. Make sure you understand exactly what you will be getting, and what it will really cost you.

IntelliBiz - "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate