On a popular property forum recently, a simple question sparked a thread with over 650 replies – spanning useful insights, personal attacks, and (of course) Nazism.
The question? Whether you need to spend money on property education to be successful.
The answer is both blindingly obvious and extremely nuanced. Yes, of course it’s possible to be successful without buying education. But yes, knowledge is always beneficial and can get you to your goal faster. Everything else is dependent on individual circumstances.
Fools rush in…
There are all sorts of “get started in property” courses on offer, with varying degrees of legitimacy. While some are fine, others peddle out-of-date strategies or exist only to upsell their victims to more and more expensive courses.
I’d love to see a course that gives a real overview of the pros and cons of different property investment options, rather than promoting a single approach. But in the absence of such a course, I recommend that property newbies follow this process:
- Commit to not spending any money on courses for six months. There’s an incredible amount of free information out there, and the more you read the more fine-tuned your bullshit detector will become.
- Read everything you can, and go to networking events. You’ll get a feel for what strategies people are using in the real world, what problems people are concerned about, and how the landscape lies.
- Then see where you’re up to. After doing your own research, you might know exactly what route you want to go down. Even if not, you can research “newbie” courses with your eyes open.
Remember: just because someone’s been successful with a certain approach doesn’t mean you will be too. Everyone has different circumstances, abilities and preferences – taking your time to see what’s out there will help you identify something that might work for you, then find a course for that specific strategy.
Why just learning online isn’t enough
Property courses can cost tens of thousands of pounds for a year, or a couple of hundred pounds for an afternoon. I’m not saying you need to spend big bucks by any means, but I do believe you’ll progress faster by investing in some kind of education. Here’s why:
Time is money. You can piece many things together from free information online, but you’ve got to put a value on your own time. It could be worth spending a few hundred quid to learn it in a few hours so you can get started immediately.
Structure helps. Information is scattered across forum posts and various blogs, meaning there’s no structured progression. It’s like learning French by just reading Le Monde every day – you probably will start to understand it eventually, but it’d be much quicker if you knew the grammar and key vocab to start with.
Opinions are free, information is almost free, but there’s often a price for knowledge. An expert will usually be happy to throw a few facts into an online debate, but they won’t take the time to set out their entire philosophy.
You can ask questions and follow up. A good teacher will be happy to answer questions, even after the course has ended.
You’re more likely to take action. If I spent £5,000 on hypnosis to stop smoking, I’d damn well stop smoking – just so I hadn’t wasted my money. Similarly, it’s harder to hold off taking action when you’ve already invested.
You might get a more complete picture. Online there’s always self-presentational bias, and many reasons why someone might hold certain details back. At an in-person course, you’re more likely to get the full picture.
How to choose a course
When you’re ready to invest in a particular type of property education, there will probably be a few competing providers. At this point, choosing one is much like doing your due diligence on anything else:
- Have they done it? I could read a few books on golf and maybe help you with your swing if you were a complete beginner, but you’d still rather learn from Rory McIlroy.
- Are they still doing it? The rules have changed since 2007-2008, so you want to make sure that the details of what they’re teaching still work today.
- What do other people say about them? Many course providers have visibility on property forums, so you might be able to ask others what they think of them. Good teachers will also be willing to give you the contact details of former students.
- What success are past students having? No teacher can have a 100% success record – some people just won’t take action. But you’ll want to see some evidence that people have moved forward as a result of the training.
- Do you click with them? Anyone will be happy to talk to you on the phone before you commit, so you can get a feel for how clearly they communicate and whether you like them – it’s subjective, but important.
Above all, take action
With or without courses, at some point you’ll have enough knowledge and will need to start getting hands-on experience. There are plenty of people who bounce from course to course searching for the “golden nugget” that will unlock the key to their success, when they might be successful already if they’d just got started. Don’t be one of them.
Please have a look at our real estate investment courses or contact us for further information. We regularly have real estate investment courses so please keep checking to find a day most suitable for you!