Are Any Gurus Telling the Truth?

Are there any gurus out there that tell the truth in their materials or seminars about real estate investing? I can’t think of a single one that tells the truth about expenses, whether it be flipping, wholesaling, rehabbing, or landlording. Can anybody think of one? Just one?


Yes! I just bought a bottle of snake oil and my hair won’t stop growing.

I have heard that William Nickerson, the “granddaddy” of real estate gurus, who is now passed away was very good. I just ordered 2 books by him:

  1. How I turned $1,000 into $5,000,000 in Real Estate


  1. How To Make a Fortune Today Starting From Scratch

Larry Goins!!!

He’s more straight up, honest and accessible than any out there that I know of.

I liked Steve Cook and William Tingle’s material. They also have a free web site that anyone can post on, and they are usually on there answering questions. Not too many gurus I know that do that (excluding John Locke on here). Their material is also nuts-n-bolts with very little “this is so easy even a caveman can do it” that most gurus try to convey.

Actually, Sheets mentions most of them, albeit mostly in passing and doesn’t go into great detail…


Mike, I’m still waiting on the “No- Nonsense Landlording Rule Book”.

Sheets is a good course. He doesn’t lie, I just would like to have more detail specific to my market. What works in California doesn’t work on Ohio, what works in Ohio doesn’t work in Texas. Even more than that what works in Houston doesn’t work in Austin.

most gurus, especially those that sell stuff at 39/month will sell you a dream. That’s my understanding

I guess I need to buy more courses but what I have found is that they tell you generally how to do each technique. They tell you how to locate properties, how to evaluate them etc. They then explain different strategies like wraps, assumptions, owner finance contract for deed, etc. None of that is a lie. If just is not specific enough to do anything with.

If you are talking about when they go into how much money you can make or those inspirational stories, then they may or may not be lies but that does not make the information they sell a lie.

I personally love sheets AS A MOTIVATIONAL tool!
The only way to get experience w/ different techniques is to jump in.
As you invest you learn what to do or not to do next time and that is the best teacher!

It is not a deficiency in knowing…it is a deficiency in execution.
And the execution part comes from fear. Most gurus that I have found to be the most informative take the fear out of trying.

2 years ago I made the HUGE mistake of actually going to work for a real estate guru. Let me just say helping people succeed was his lowest priority.

His mission was to get you into his web and sell you a home study course ($900), then a boot camp ($4000) where he’d tell ya you really need to buy his probate course ($500) and his luxury home course ($500) if ya want to really make the big money. …“and if ya buy today folks I’ll give ya a really good deal on these over priced xerox copied books!”

Once you got home you would be bombarded with calls to buy the coaching program for anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 where some guy who’s never done a real estate deal in his life reads the home study manual to you.

I’ve met many of the other gurus that are discussed here and they are all in the same business of selling the “dream” for as much as you can afford. They sit around and laugh about how easy it is to deceive people into buying their overpriced books!

The sad part is I watched so many people fall for this scam that it made me sick. To make matters worse my guru only did one real estate deal while I worked for him and he lost $10,000. My next 2 paychecks bounced. After that I had enough and quit.

Word to the wise: Buy real estate books at the bookstore and avoid all gurus. You can get the same information for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.


I agree with you that for many new investors, it is a deficiency in execution (at least until they finally do something). However, once you actually do something, it is ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS. Businesses fail for one big reason - the lack of cash flow. Therefore, learning the truth about the numbers IS one of the main things a person should learn from the gurus, but one of the things least often taught (or at least taught accurately).

Despite the claims of the gurus, they KNOW that the vast majority of wannabes who buy their courses and attend their seminars and bootcamps will never do a single deal. In fact, a lot of them will never even open their courses. At last years state REIA conference, at least a couple of the gurus were offering to refund the cost of the course if the student actually did a deal within a period of time (90 days). What does that tell us?

Then there are the newbies that do a deal, but are never able to go beyond that. This is a very frequent event. I talk to these disgruntled newbies all the time and they are one of my best sources of deals. This is especially true of new landlords who have not been told the truth about landlording by their favorite guru. Typically, they buy a house at near retail and therefore start losing money. They keep deluding themselves that all of these mysterious expenses are just one time events and that things will get better. All the while, the terrible tenants are acting like animals. Very soon, the landlord can’t sleep and is DESPERATE to end the pain. You’ll notice that I didn’t say motivated. They aren’t motivated, they are DESPERATE and will do almost anything to stop the agony! There is no win-win here. I will buy their property at 30 to 50 cents on the dollar. Their agony is finally ended, but they have lost a bunch of money and a year of their life. I win. They Lose.

This is the norm for new landlords. The vast majority just do not make it.

What got me on such a crusade against these silly gurus was that I was dumb enough to drink the Kool-Aid also. Even though I had been successfully self-employed for about 15 years, I believed the guru nonsense about rentals. The interesting thing about this, is that you don’t realize that the guru numbers don’t work right away. After all, it makes sense that cash flow is gross rent minus taxes, insurance, management, maintenance, vacancy, and utilities paid by owner. I believed it. Even after I owned several rentals, I still didn’t realize the truth. I knew that something funny was happening with the numbers because I wasn’t making as much money as projected. I deluded myself into thinking that I was making the money as projected, but that was not the truth. The only reason that I survived and made a profit is that I am extremely competetive. After I bought my first rehab rental for about $30K, I heard of someone else that bought a house for $20K. My competetive fangs came out and I started hunting for better and better deals. This is the only reason that I have a profitable business today. If I had followed the guru numbers, I would have ended up like the majority of the newbies who crash and burn.

To end this long post, after being in the rental business for well over a year, I finally discovered my local REIA. What I discovered was that there were only a few serious investors there, but every one of these serious investors knew the truth about these silly guru numbers. Every one knew that the expenses were MUCH higher than advertised.

What I don’t know is why the gurus don’t tell the truth. Is it because the truth is unpopular and will severly cut down on their sales? Or is it that they don’t know the truth?


Good post Mike…

Makes me think more and more that if you’re considering REI…it’s an uphill struggle if you’re just considering only rentals.

It’s posts like this that make me consider that rehabbing for resale to the retail market is an important means of fueling whatever passive REI you want to get into.

Either that…or having another business that provides money to invest and deal with unexpected expenses.