Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where Have All The Late Night Real Estate Gurus Gone? (With Apologies to Pete Seeger)

Late night television used to be the realm of the get-rich-quick real estate guru.

Infomercials on every channel all night long.  Remember Dave Del Dotto, Tom Vu, and a long list of others?

But take a look today, actually tonight, and what do you find?  Nothing but ads for physical fitness equipment and kitchen products.

So where have all the late night infomercial gurus gone?  The same guys who told you for $495 they could teach you how to buy all the real estate in the world without cash, credit, or even a job?

The Godfather of real estate infomercials, Carleton Sheets, is off the air.  His NO MONEY DOWN home study course was a staple of late night TV for at least two decades.  Today, Mr. Sheets lives in Stuart, Florida and has suffered so many financial losses through questionable real estate partnerships he founded he can no longer afford TV air time.  His website is still on the Internet but he is gone from TV.  Here is an article from The New York Times on Sheets from 2009 that explains some of his troubles.

John Beck, the tax lien expert who sold PENNIES ON A DOLLAR teaching how you can buy single family houses for as little as $600 is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for $90 million for making false claims through his infomercials.  He is still selling his course online.

Fellow late night real estate guru TV pitchman John Alexander is a defendant in this same suit.

The sole survivor these days is real estate guru Dean Graziosi who appears occasionally on my TV in the Seattle area pitching his books for $19.95.  I have read both his books, BE A REAL ESTATE MILLIONAIRE and PROFIT FROM REAL ESTATE RIGHT NOW, and can recommend both as basic primers on real estate investment.  There is nothing new I haven't read 10,000 times before in either book and neither one will make you rich.  Despite the hype, there are no get-rich-quick secrets in either book.

So why is Graziosi spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce TV infomercials and buy air time to sell $20 books?

Graziosi is attempting to run a continuity program on people who buy these books through his infomercials.  Once he has your name and phone number (and credit card) his sales staff will attempt to get you to buy $3,500 home study courses and other offerings.

Here is the official FTC warning on continuity programs and what I wrote about them months ago.  And here is an article from real estate author Eric Tyson on Graziosi and how he operates.

By the way, I got both of Graziosi's books at my local public library for free and I do remember his "Make a Million Brokering Used Cars" home study course which was as dumb an idea as it sounds.

I have said for years that the days of the get-rich-quick creative real estate guru are over.

The fact they are off late night television is just more evidence that the public and the truth are catching up with them.

More of these gurus are about to fall.  They are dinosaurs and most do not even know it yet.

Stay tuned.