If you’ve decided to ignore the myths and take the plunge into real estate investing, try reading “5 Signs Your Real Estate ‘Guru’ Might Be a Rip-Off” first.

In the article published by realtor.com, journalist Beth Braverman wrote while some of the instructional workshops do teach skills and provide good insight for real estate investing, “…far too many of these seminars are a waste of valuable time, oxygen, and (most important) money,” she wrote.

According to Braverman, here are signs the expert you’ve chosen may not be on the up and up:

They flaunt a celebrity connection
Celebrities do lend their names to real estate seminars and workshops. However, that doesn’t mean those celebrities are actually involved.

“In most cases, the celebs don’t make personal appearances at the events, and their involvement is often minimal,” Braverman wrote.

More important than a celebrity endorsement are referrals from those who’ve been through the workshop and can vouch for it, she added.

They promise you’ll ‘get rich quick’
The most successful investors are those who put in long hours of hard work for many years and take on a lot of financial risk in the process. Be wary of any presenter who promises you’ll get wealthy with minimal effort and little money, Braverman said in the article. She also advised to stay away from any course where the material presented disregards practical advice in favor of motivational mantras.

“Anyone can do it if they believe in themselves? Uh, yeah right,” she wrote.

They don’t pass a basic background check
Always investigate the company or individual offering the seminar. Braverman suggested using websites such as  Scams Galore and Consumer Affairs to check their business practices.

“A few negative write-ups are OK, but if they outnumber the positive ones or all the criticism focuses on the same flaw in the program, take note,” Braverman wrote.

There’s no money-back guarantee
Any program you choose should offer a money-back guarantee. If you decide to take advantage of the guarantee in the event you’re not satisfied with the program, be sure to check the company’s rating on the Better Business Bureau to determine whether it makes good on the promise.

They’re focused on the upsell
If you attend an introductory course that was free or offered for a nominal fee, don’t fall for the upsell, where the presenter spends the majority of the presentation extolling the benefits of its better, advanced course. Those courses are never free. If fact, they’re usually a lot more expensive.  “If they’re really shady, they’ll try to get you to sign up and pay for the next class before leaving the first one,” Braverman wrote.