Don't Flip for "Free" Real Estate Investment Seminars

News Release

Competition Bureau Issues Warning: Know the risks and avoid debt

May 3, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

With the peak real estate season fast approaching, consumers should be extremely wary of "free" real estate investment training seminars that promise large returns with little or no risk.

These pseudo‑seminars claim that they can teach anyone how to make quick money thanks to "secret" techniques and "proven" strategies.

The truth is that any real estate investment involves many financial and legal risks. Flipping properties for a quick profit rarely happens that way. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

It can also be a slippery slope into debt. While the initial seminar may be free, additional training seminars and educational resources are not. It can cost up to $7,000 to attend a three‑day seminar, more than $20,000 for advanced training and up to $150,000 for coaching programs.

Here are five tips to avoid wasting time and money on "free" real estate seminars:

  1. Do your research before signing up. Question the reliability and accuracy of the real estate deals, profits and earnings claimed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are considering investing in another country, get reliable advice on how this will affect your taxes.
  2. Don’t believe all testimonials. These seminars may use false or misleading testimonials promoting their success. Recognize that a testimonial may be inaccurate or fake.
  3. Know and understand the risks of "No money down" real estate investment deals. If someone offers to "give" you money for a down payment, ask to see the contract and understand the terms. Take the time to do your research and consult with trusted professionals before signing anything.
  4. Be skeptical of “get‑rich quick” promises. Those certainly seem appealing but remember that there is no such thing as easy money. Real estate investment requires time and large amounts of money.
  5. Consult with professionals for advice. Before paying for a real estate seminar, consult with a licensed realtor and consider getting legal advice to help determine if this is right for you.

Consumers who believe they have been misled should contact the Bureau's Information Centre at 1‑800‑348‑5358, or visit the Bureau's website to file a complaint. Businesses and consumers can also contact the Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre at 1‑888‑495‑8501, or visit its website.

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For general enquiries, please contact:
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Competition Bureau
Telephone: 819-997-4282
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

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