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An interesting idea: Have All the Experienced Gurus Either Died or Retired, Etc. ?

Someone made a post on the website that impressed with the # of gurus that had died, retired, etc.   It has impressed me that we have lost quite a few gurus in the last dozen years or so.

The fact that I’m listing a guru doesn’t translate into a recommendation from me, though it may mean that some people on the board like them.

I’m not listing those who were indicted or went to prison---that would make the list very long.

I couldn’t possibly list all the lease option gurus since there are a ton----just the major, established gurus.

And I’m not thinking  of specialty areas like taxes, asset protection, property management, construction,  tax liens,  self improvement and inspirational ,  marketing, mobile home parks, notes, probate, IRAs, 401Ks,  etc.

If we included all of these specialties, the list would go on forever.  But the point is that one can only consult a limited # of experts---if you attend just any seminar you are probably wasting your time.

If I just included the names I’m familiar with and who are established lease option gurus they would include: Claude Diamond, Jeff Beaubien,  Joe McCall,  Bob Bruss (now Deceased), Peter Conti,  David Finkel, Richard Gardiner, Vena Jones Cox, Loral Langemeier, A.D. Kessler (now deceased but used to present at sdcia), Joe Kaiser, Thomas J. Lucier, Lonnie Scruggs, as well as some local experts (in various parts of the country) who pursue the same strategy.  This doesn’t include those major figures listed below (Robert Allen, Barney Zick, William Bronchick, Ron LeGrand, Jack Shea & Mark Warda.)

If you will search for "lease option" or "rent to own" on amazon you will find literally dozens of books---at least more than 100 titles ----and I haven't included almost all of these authors on the above lists (because the vast majority of these authors don't have a system, etc)

The point is: Lease option isn't rocket science and self proclaimed lease option experts are very, very common.

Also, I also haven’t included authors who don’t really have systems.  William Nickerson wrote some really great books about real estate, for example in the 1980s (here I am dating myself).  Leigh Robinson wrote great tomes about being a landlord that are still extremely useful and good advice.  But you will never hear seminars from these guys (I don’t believe).  There are a ton of real estate authors with useful books that have never evolved into systems.

Actually, when one thinks about it, there are just too many speakers out there.  I notice that Bigger Pockets has a guru section and purportedly lists 79 of them (mentioned in the title).  I’ve never heard of most of them----so many are tied to tv shows, etc.

The astonishing thing about the Bigger Pockets list---they don’t appear to include almost any of those listed below---these are the “experts” the new generation of investors is getting advice from.  (Amazing---there are 96 pages of comments.  Admittedly, the John T Reed list hasn't been updated in a long time, but it seems like few of the younger investors look to the more established gurus).

One of the things that is misleading is the subtitle---79 real estate guru, etc.     There appear to be alot more than that----there are 96 pages of discussions with something like 25 posts per page----we are talking about something like 2500 posts about gurus.  I don't see how they reduce that to 79---the # actually appears to be astronomical.

One of the longest list of gurus was that by John T Reed---and I know some disagree with its evaluations.  (Although on a positive note it no longer says anything negative about Bruce Norris). But it hasn't changed much in the last decade or so.  But to me the really astonishing thing----almost NONE of the 79 gurus listed on Bigger Pockets are included in the Bigger Pockets list---and vice versa----I mean to say, Bigger Pockets doesn't appear to include many of the older, established gurus (as far as I can tell---No, i haven't gone through the 96 pages of posts).

Or maybe they include them---but they are lost in the crush of so many alleged "experts".  Either way, it's a discussion that most serious real estate investors would find a bit disconcerting and bizarre.

I searched "Ward Hannigan"---came up with nothing.  I searched Bruce Norris---there was a brief thread about his appearance at a Pasadena where someone said something favorable about him.  There was an interview with Bruce Norris about his loan programs, however.  But there wasn't much advice to seek Bruce Norris as a mentor---there was one post where someone wondered whether to attend the February 2017 conference---but no one responded to the post---no one said anything.  

That was it---nothing really significant on the remainder of the website.  I could use other examples, but this is sufficient to illustrate my point.

It is actually favorable to the marginal gurus since the more established gurus appear to be grouped into a veritable haystack of comments and arguably get lost in the shuttle---and don't stand out the way most would expect them to do so.

The truth is that there are only 2 gurus permitted on the website---those who founded it.  And these guys are very, very young (at least, by appearances).

Which is actually rather amazing if one thinks about it----the younger generation is looking towards reality tv shows, youtube, facebook, twitter, local REIA clubs, etc more so than established gurus that most on this board could identify----a trend I find both bizarre and dispiriting.   I recall that Armando Montelongo (sp?) was indicted not so long ago----but the point is that if they see them prominently featured on public media---how could they NOT be the absolute top experts!  But what the flipping shows require are photogenic stars, not so much dirt-under-the -fingernails type real estate experts.  It also isn't consulting books, by and large, to fill in their education.

I do understand that the Bigger Pockets website has some useful capabilities---they can hook up local investors who operate in the same zip code---I think that is useful.   They claim to give away free beginner books---which if true is useful, I haven't been able to confirm that.   But I also have some misgivings about this website becoming, as it were, the Walmart of real estate investment websites.  The website clearly promotes the founders----whom I wouldn't really consider to have enough years of real estate experience to qualify as an expert in my book.  They do discourage commercialism, which I can't really criticize---and that is one thing that has made them very popular.  But I see alot of chaff and much less wheat in many of the posts----so many of the posters are inexperienced but it doesn't deter them from loading up the posts with sometimes clueless observations.  

Actually, I may have been overhasty in dismissing it---there are some posters at sdcia who think highly of it.  I still don't like the guru thread, but maybe the other threads are useful.  Won't know unless I try.

But I would also say that Bigger Pockets has figured out a way to grow exponentially---and I would concede their success in this regard.

Caveat: I haven't spent alot of time on Bigger Pockets and maybe there are those who would have something more positive to say, I haven't found it generally useful in my situation.  Which isn't to say that it might be useful to some on this website.  I see they have webinars---I haven't checked any of those out.  Maybe someone who actually uses the website---I don't----would have something more positive to say about Bigger Pockets.  They are welcome to post and enlighten me.

Caveats aside, this is why I tend to regard Bigger Pockets as frequently being a "pooling of ignorance" type website.  A ton of newbies post there--which can be a problem, as with this situation.  Their list creates the impression that a majority of these Nimrods are major players---they aren't.

The other problem putting together a list---there are a ton of so called experts in the area of lease options---too many to list, in fact.

I also don’t cover what I would call “local experts”----Vena Jones Cox listed some local speakers on her website as one of those whose seminars she regularly attends.  There are too many of these type of speakers to list.

It’s not like the real estate business is rocket science---and I question the necessity of the incredible # of gurus.   Although I also acknowledge that going to seminars and rereading their books sometimes reminds you of important facts one needs to pay attention to---though I wouldn’t sit through just any dog and pony show.

Although I don’t cover notes, I would mention that the note community has lost some significant experts as well.  My general feeling is that a lot of these older experts aren’t being replaced, won’t be replaced anytime soon.

And I would encourage the younger generation to check some of these speakers out before they hang up their spurs---or worse happens.

Ward Hannigan.  A local expert, but everyone says that he was the best and most useful  local expert (along with Bruce Norris).  But no more annual meetings (so far) and he doesn’t have nearly as many speaking events---though he does show up at sdcia meetings as an “expert”.  You should definitely talk to Ward while you still can.

Bruce Norris.  Well he hasn’t exactly retired, but I was struck when he announced the fact that this was his last report for a decade.   Bruce always has shown considerable enthusiasm for making these reports.  And maybe this is more of a reflection of our weird real estate market and economy, I don’t know.  (In his most recent review of Bruce Norris, John T Reed finally deleted anything negative he said about him.)  Caveat: I have no inside information about Bruce's long term plans---these are just my own observations.  The problem is once you become as fabulously rich as Bruce---and you have a business that don't need to manage on a day to day basis---what's the incentive to keep going?  

Some other local experts I like to listen to and really respect are: Sean O’Toole, Rick Solis, Tony Alvarez.   Sean is one of the smartest investors I know---and he is willing to share his strategies---Wow.  Rick Solis ditto.  And most of the investors I respect consider Tony Alvarez one of the smartest landlords on the local scene.  (Caveat: Most investors might not put Solis on their list, and I acknowledge he hasn't been around that long, but I respect his advice).

Bill Tan offers a useful calculator class and creative real estate classes, especially useful for those who are beginners.

Mike Cantu is a local real estate investor and he will be appearing at the Las Vegas Conference, 11/3 to 11/5 mentioned above---and he has appeared on many of Bruce Norris radio shows.

In fact, the way one should probably approach this is to break down the experts by specialty: Ward Hannigan would be the trustee sales expert, Bruce Norris the local real estate trends expert, etc.

You should figure out the area of real estate where you want to shine---and find an expert in that area.

The other issue is whether you actually need training in the area in question.  For trustee sales and real estate trends---Yes, those are sufficiently complicated.  Plus the good thing about hooking up with Ward---and to some extent Bruce---they know experts in other fields who are reliable---and you may be able to hook into their circle of acquitances.

I am also somewhat skeptical about the extent to which certain things can be learned: Real estate is a people business.  Are you going to be able to turn a total wallflower into a real estate hub? That would be difficult.

There are also a list of real estate related experts.  For example, Vena Jones Cox who has had a real estate radio show for 15 years, Bruce Norris who has had a real estate show for a very long time.  Sean O'Toole whose propertyradar alone is a game changer, and who is also a very astute expert on real estate.

But not all areas of real estate are rocket science. Anyway, here is a very short list:

1. Jack Miller.  Died on 10/9/2009.  Surprising that it’s been that long, though they still keep selling his materials.  Mike Cantu swears by him.

2. Peter Fortunato.  He’s been teaching since 1965.  He still does seminars, but he doesn’t come to California every year like he had been doing.  You can sometimes catch him in Las Vegas, otherwise you would have to fly to Florida.  He is coming to Las Vegas from 11/3 to 11/5 as part of Gary Johnston’s annual seminar.

3. Dyches Boddiford.  Similar to Peter Fortunato, though he is also attending the LV seminar mentioned above.

4. John Schaub.  Annually comes to sdcia, and sometimes to Las Vegas.

5. Gary Johnston.  Annually comes to sdcia and sometimes to Las Vegas (he is coming 11/3 to 11/5).  Clyde Wilson.  Almost always paired with Gary Johnston, but also going to the LV seminar.

6. John T Reed.  Everyone likes his multifamily management book and I like a lot of his other books---he has written over 20 books.  And among his recent books, the one that I would identify as possibly useful is:   How to Protect Your Life Savings from Hyperinflation and Depression, 2nd edition.  The reason I would identify this book is that right now even Sean O’Toole thinks we are heading for deflationary period.  And I don’t know any other author who has tackled this particular subject.  Anyway, Jack Reed has indicated he will stop writing his monthly newsletter (after many decades), though he still sells his 20+ books on his website.   He doesn’t make appearances too often either, though he has made a few at local Bay area clubs from time to time.

7. Wendy Patton.  No one has written more about lease options in the last decades and I’ve never heard anyone categorize her as dishonest, though the kind of lease option strategy may have limited appeal in some corners.  She tries to help real estate licensees sell properties by using lease options, among other strategies and she is President of a real estate club in Michigan.

8.  David Lindahl.  I recall getting his materials a long time ago, but I wasn’t particularly impressed since I didn’t think you really needed his system to approach apartment owners and get financing.  But I would concede that his classes (if he shows up in your town) are reasonably priced.  (My impression is that he wants to use students as bird dogs to find deals or to partner in deals, but I can’t prove that.)   Lindahl also has a kind of network whose aim is to encourage investors to make offers on multifamilies---I can''t comment about that since I haven't participated.  The one thing I will say positive----multifamily was an awfully favorable asset class to choose when the financial crisis hit---there were killer deals.

9. Jay Decima.  Still shows up to sdcia from time to time, a landlord out of Redding California who has been doing real estate for decades.   Small multifamilies appears to be his speciality and he has alot of practical advice from that standpoint---and his books (which are still in print) have gotten good reviews.

I'm not sure about the remainder of this group, though some have championed their work including:

1.  Robert Allen.  Some have cited him in reference to his “nothing down” approach.  Not dead, though I haven’t heard him make an appearance in a very long time.  (It says he lives in San Diego??)  You can still find his books on Amazon and ebay.

2. Bernard Zick.   A lease option advocate.  Dead since 2005.  You can still find some of his books on Amazon or ebay.  I hear he published quite a lot, most of it seminar materials.

3. William Bronchick.  I have seen some of his videos on Youtube and, I guess because he is an attorney, he didn’t give completely bad advice.  But I would never order an asset protection “system”, however---you need something tailored to your individual situation rather than taking one off the rack, etc.  But I would show up to see one of his talks if he ever presented outside of Colorado.

4.  Ron Le Grand.  Never understood the attraction or the high prices he asks for his seminars.   There was recently a post on sdcia where he mentioned selling his system for a 1$, though there were some strings attached, etc.  I hear that he can strut while sitting down.

5. Jack Shea and Mark Warda---a Florida Attorney and a realtor who present on the subject of lease options, have several books on the subject.

 I really can't say I follow too many others.  Anyone want to recommend someone else for the short list?


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