Lately, around here, there are a lot of those really cheap signs like you use for garage sales saying, “Real Estate Investor Seeks Trainee.” Sometimes, there is a dollar figure mentioned like $125K per year, or something like that. As you can probably imagine, this is a scam.
Making Money in Real Estate Signs
Let’s start with the obvious. Do you really think it is hard to find people to work in training programs that pay $125,000 per year? I mean, so hard that you would have to resort to placing out dozens, or even hundreds, of cheapo signs by busy intersections. It’s true that the economy is recovering a little bit, but it isn’t like there aren’t people willing to work for six-figures.
Anytime you see signs like this advertising anything other than a yard sale, estate sale, or maybe a car for sale, you can be pretty sure it isn’t a legitimate business opportunity of any kind. There are literally hundreds of job websites, message boards, and real estate forums, not to mention Craigslist, and local electronic bulletin boards where someone who really did need some form of real estate business trainee could find one. There is never a reason someone would mass sign for something like that. If you’ve ever sold something, like a car or piano, you know that filtering out the bozos that call is the biggest pain. Why would you go through that to find an intern for what would be a highly desirable position?
Unfortunately, these signs are where they are precisely to target the least savvy of people. Some people are really so disenfranchised that they believe that the only thing standing between them and success is some secret thing that they don’t know. In this case, clearly savvy, rich people know all about investing in real estate, and maybe, just maybe, calling that number might connect you with one of them and change your life forever.
How Real Estate Investor and Other Scams Work
The scam can take many forms. Typically, in order to be the trainee, you’ll need to buy some sort of kit from the investor. You remember the guy who can afford to cut you in on deals worth over $100,000 per year, suddenly needs you to come up with $400 cash for a training kit, or something, as a way of showing that you are serious. All you’ll get is some rehashed information and $400 less in your bank account.
It can also be an identity theft scam. Of course, to be a real estate trainee, you’ll need some licenses. Of course, your friendly real estate investor is probably so relieved to finally have a trainee after having to resort to just putting up signs at intersections that he’ll be happy to get the licenses for you. Not for free, no of course not. It costs $400 to get the licenses, but don’t worry, just give them the money and they’ll take care of it for you. Oh, and by the way, to fill out the forms we’ll need you social security number, address, and so on.
Real estate can be a good investment, but it isn’t always easy, and it’s never done by yard sale sign. If you are serious about investing in real estate, grab some books from your library (make sure they are published AFTER the real estate bubble popped because it’s all different now. Books published in the last three years are probably the way to go.) Don’t read one. Read lots. You’ll see that there aren’t any secrets, just research, hard work, and enough starting capital to make it all work.
Sorry. I really wish there was a secret investor program to point you to.