Continuing education is an important part of being a successful real estate investor, and attending seminars and taking online real estate courses are good ways to learn. When exploring options for learning more about real estate, investors often ask if real estate seminars are really worth it or just a waste of time.
Determining whether to attend a seminar or enroll in an online real estate course can be difficult.
To help you decide if seminars or real estate courses are best for your real estate business, we’ll review the pros and cons of real estate seminars and things to look for when choosing courses.
- Real estate seminars and online real estate courses both can be good ways to learn about real estate investing.
- Seminars can offer opportunities to socialize with other investors and visit vendor exhibits to learn about the latest trends, but organizers often try to upsell attendees on more expensive programs.
- Real estate courses are more convenient, easier to customize with one-on-one training, and can offer more value for the tuition spent.
- The best online real estate courses offer ways for investor-students to interact with each other online through investor communities, private forums, and special member-only events.
The pros of real estate seminars
Attending a real estate seminar in person requires time, effort, and, sometimes, money. But despite these potential drawbacks, some real estate seminars may be worthwhile. Here are some of the advantages of real estate seminars:
Going to a real estate seminar is a good way to network with fellow real estate investors. Almost everybody is looking to do deals, and meeting a peer in person can be an effective way to build a business relationship.
Steve Jobs once suggested that people “learn continually—there’s always “one more thing” to learn.” Continuing education, along with networking, is the name of the game when it comes to success in real estate investing. Seminars can be good ways to learn new investing strategies and techniques and stay educated on current trends.
Real estate seminars usually have breakout sessions that cover trending technologies for growing a rental property business. Longer seminars often feature vendors, such as companies that provide rental property software for investors, online rent payment services, and smart-home device manufacturers.
Investing in real estate can be rewarding and exhausting at the same time. Attending a real estate seminar can be a good way to stay motivated, collect new business ideas, and learn ways that other successful investors profit from rental property.
Going to an out-of-town real estate investing seminar also offers the opportunity to mix business with a little pleasure. However, while real estate seminars and continuing education expenses are generally tax deductible, follow the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) business travel guidelines to claim the allowable deductions.
The cons of seminars
Although there are benefits to traveling to real estate seminars, there are drawbacks to consider:
Some inexpensive or free real estate seminars may be nothing more than sales pitches masquerading as continuing education classes. It’s certainly possible to learn something by attending a cheap seminar. However, don’t be surprised to hear more noise than constructive advice.
Low-cost real estate seminars are frequently hooks to reel in investors for additional expensive seminars. Instead of providing real value to investors, attendees may be told that to really learn about real estate investing, they’ll need to enroll in a high-priced boot camp or to purchase expensive coaching sessions.
Instructors at some real estate seminars may be more like sales people than knowledgeable real estate investors. Others may be tried-and-true real estate investing gurus but are absolutely terrible at teaching and public speaking. If possible, try to view a sample session, and always ask up front about the seminar’s refund policy.
Seminar organizers have overhead to cover, such as marketing and advertising, conference room rentals, and meals. Because in-person seminars have high fixed costs, event planners have every incentive to pack as many people as possible into a classroom.
Because real estate investing seminars are not conducted one on one, it’s virtually impossible to customize classes to meet the specific needs of an individual investor. Generic real estate seminars may be helpful for gaining general information, but they often come up short on actionable knowledge.
Real estate courses vs. seminars
Investors have unique goals that seminars may be unable to fulfill. That’s one reason to consider investing in a good real estate course instead of a real estate seminar.
Here are key differences between online real estate courses and seminars:
- Convenience. Real estate courses can be taken at an investor’s convenience instead of in a specific place and at a certain time. Instead of having to sit on a metal chair in front of a folding table, investors can use computers, tablets, or smartphones from the comfort of their own homes to access and complete real estate courses.
- Flexibility. Because the best real estate courses offer options for one-on-one coaching, instructors can be much more flexible when designing material to meet an investor’s specific needs.
- Interaction. While opportunities to socialize may be more limited, interaction through online real estate courses is often more valuable. Real estate courses conducted online typically offer dedicated forums and communities for interacting with fellow investor-students.
- Value. “Price is what you pay; value is what you get,” according to Warren Buffet. Although there are plenty of free and low-cost real estate seminars, an investor may get more bang for the buck from an online real estate course taught by successful real estate investors.
- Support. Instructors can provide more support and mentorship with online real estate classes. Class sizes for group coaching are limited in size, allowing instructors to focus on the needs of a small group of students and offer opportunities for one-on-one coaching.
What to look for in a real estate course
Some of the top real estate courses, such as Roofstock Academy, provide many of the same benefits that in-person seminars do but can be much more effective. Here’s what to look for in online real estate courses:
Everyone has different learning styles and timelines. Self-paced real estate courses let investors choose how much to study and when, by combining online lectures with group and one-on-one coaching.
Recorded lectures allow students to learn at their own pace, aided by options for members-only Q&A and lessons from classic real estate investing books. Topics to look for in real estate courses include real estate investing strategies, property analysis, buyer and seller checklists, scaling of rental property portfolios, and 1031 tax-deferred exchanges.
Focused, one-on-one coaching builds on lessons learned from lectures. Students should set aside in-person learning time to personally meet with an investor-coach and complete homework designed to spark action and progress.
Dedicated communities, forums, and support
A good real estate course offers a variety of opportunities for students to network and socialize online. For example, students who enroll in Roofstock Academy’s Workshop and Mastermind programs have unlimited access to a private investor community, member-only Q&A, Rooftalk webinars and mini-courses, and preferred access to a customer support team.
Quality online real estate course programs typically offer a no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. Knowing that a money-back guarantee is available provides a level of safety and assurance that the course instructors are confident they’ll provide a level of value far beyond the cost of the real estate course.
Real estate investing seminars and courses can be good ways to learn more about owning and operating rental property. While seminars provide opportunities to travel and mix business with pleasure, they often don’t provide enough value compared to cost. On the other hand, good real estate courses taught by instructors who are experienced real estate investors can provide a better return on investment and help investor-students jump-start their real estate investing businesses.