(Published September 2014)
When most new investors start getting their feet wet with land investing, they realize pretty quickly that there is A LOT to learn in the beginning.
When I first got into this business, I was surprised to find that even as a veteran of the banking industry, I suffered from a severe lack of knowledge about how to get started and find success as a land investor. Without some overtly clear & direct guidance – it was very difficult (if not impossible) to do things like:
- Find deals
- Get lists
- Do a direct mail campaign
- Close deals
- Find buyers
- Sell properties
- Build a buyers list
There is a ton of information for any new land investor to learn! So it's a totally valid question when a new land investor asks me:
“Do I need to buy a course to succeed with land investing?”
My honest answer is No – you don't need a course to start a land investing business. If you're not afraid of self-teaching (and making lots of mistakes), you can figure out pretty much anything in life.
I think the more important question you should be asking yourself is:
“Is it wise to jump into land investing without any guidance from someone who knows what they're doing?”
I'm not contesting the fact that you CAN figure it out on your own, I'm just challenging you to ask yourself – is it worth the hundreds of extra hours and thousands of extra dollars you'll have to spend just to “go it alone”?
The fact is – if you don't have anybody showing you a clear path on what to do – there is a significantly higher likelihood that you'll quit before you get off the ground (because let's be honest, it's very difficult to survive on your own). Most people throw in the towel because they don't experience any real “wins” in the beginning – and if you jump into this business without a plan, you will struggle and it will probably take a long time for you to experience any real success. I wish it didn't have to work this way – but it's just the reality of the situation.
Mark Podolsky and the Investor's Toolkit
Earlier this year, I stumbled across a guy named Mark Podolsky (aka – “The Land Geek”) and I was immediately intrigued by the guy for a couple of reasons…
- He runs a similar type of land investing business to mine (and he's been doing it for several years).
- He is also in the business of teaching others how to do it.
I've done my best to explain the basic concepts of land investing in this blog post, but the funny thing is, land has always been a largely overlooked and misunderstood opportunity. Most real estate investors just don't get it – so when I see one of the few players out there who gets it AND is telling the world how it's done, I pay attention.
Mark reached out to me a few months ago because he realized (just as I had) that we were both doing basically the same thing. He was kind enough to feature me on his land investing podcast back in April 2014 and since then, he allowed me to review his land investing course so I could let the REtipster Blog readers see what his educational program is all about.
Here's the overview:
In addition to the online materials shown in the video above, the Investor's Toolkit also comes with a physical copy of the course with DVDs, transcribed booklets of the DVDs, and 2 free tickets to Mark's boot camp.
Note: If you decide to check out Mark's course through the link above, be sure to use coupon code retipster at checkout and you'll get an immediate $250 discount.
What I liked:
Mark's system covers many of the same techniques that I use in my business (along with a few others that I don't). I thought this was a pretty huge plus – because if you decide that direct mail to a tax delinquent list isn't for you (or if you just want to try something else and add another technique to your business), he gives you some other options that may be of interest.
I thought Mark's videos (the primary medium he uses to deliver the content) was pretty well done. He is good at giving directions and keeps the videos reasonably short and to the point (so you don't have to spend weeks reading books and watching videos). If you set aside a solid day, you can easily knock out the most important aspects of this business. This kind of short & concise education has always been my personal preference – and he is great at cutting to the chase.
Mark also shares a TON of helpful websites for the land business. As I was going through his course, I was familiar with several of the resources he shared – but I also learned about a handful of new ones that would have been extremely helpful to me if I'd have known about them when I first started.
Mark's information is current. This business (just like any other) is constantly evolving in an ever-changing environment. Mark seems to understand this, and his strategies aren't 20 years old – they're applicable today.
The Investor's Toolkit includes a few other bonus programs (on top of the land investing business) that bring a good amount of value to the table – diving into a GREAT deal about:
- Pricing Strategies
- Hiring & Managing Virtual Assistants
- Finding Buyers
These are some key areas that can be HUGE assets to land investors. This is the kind of knowledge I would have greatly benefited from in my early days of land investing.
What I didn't like:
I have to admit, it is literally impossible for a course like this to address every possible scenario that can come up for new land investors. Any prospective beginner needs to start by having reasonable expectations of what a course like this is supposed to deliver. It's not a magic bullet – it's a set of instructions on how to get up and running.
That being said – I found that there wasn't an abundance of “hand-holding” in the course itself. Here's what I mean by that…
Mark hits all the pertinent issues and doesn't leave any major details out – but when I imagine myself in the shoes of a brand new land investor with no prior knowledge of real estate investing – I can see how some newbies might feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume and depth of information in this course. In other words – he doesn't start at the preschool level – he starts at the 5th-grade level and goes up from there. There's nothing particularly wrong with this approach – it's just something to be aware of, as he assumes each student has SOME basic working knowledge of real estate.
I also thought that some of the documents and supplemental tools could have been organized a bit better throughout the course (see 17:00 in the video above) and I also thought that his forum (which is essentially a private Facebook group) would have been better served as a free & permanent fixture for his students (rather than requiring a monthly fee for continued access to it). I know that forums were a major reason for my success in the beginning because they gave me a place where I could bounce ideas off of other land investors and get some other perspectives without having to pay for more help.
On the same coin, one of the problems with forums is that in order to be useful, they need to be well-moderated and well-maintained. Moderating and maintaining forums is an ongoing and time-consuming task, requiring man-hours and real work. With this in mind, I do see the validity of charging for membership to a good forum like this. I do, however, think it can hurt a forum's number of active users when there's a fee attached to the membership, which can also snuff out some of the helpful contributions that would otherwise be there to help improve the activity within the forum (it's a kind of “catch-22” in some ways).
I think Mark's course could be a tremendously valuable resource if you find yourself in one or more of the following camps:
- You're brand new to the land investing business and you have no idea where to start.
- You're an aspiring land investor, you've given it a shot, but you haven't been able to piece things together and find any real “success” yet.
- You're looking for other land investors with whom you can bounce some ideas off of (this is where Mark's private Facebook group could come into play – big time).
Mark's course is definitely a viable way to learn the ropes. It's not a flawless system (nothing ever is), but he does deliver the goods in such a way that the main points are conveyed without any major gaps or holes in communication.
If you think Mark's course would be beneficial for you based on the video review above, by all means – you can help support the REtipster Blog by purchasing it through this affiliate link. Note: If you sign up through this link AND use coupon code retipster at checkout, REtipster.com will earn a commission from the sale and you'll get an immediate $250 discount.
Like I said – there are many different ways to learn the land business and I don't think a formal course is necessarily a “must” for all people and all situations. There are, however, MANY instances where a course like Mark's is highly appropriate, because it provides a condensed set of instructions that will help an aspiring land investor cut-to-the-chase, avoid wasting time & money and start finding success sooner rather than later. This was how I learned this business in the beginning too – and it definitely worked for me.