Have you thought about being a flipper, and paying to learn the craft?
Armando Montelongo Seminars offers long weekends of questionable advice, raucous showmanship and tours of foreclosed homes in some of America’s poorest sections. His secret formula: Go deeply into debt to buy distressed properties, fix them up minimally and sell them quickly. “People throw money at me to become multimillionaires,” Montelongo, a large, stocky guy with shoulder-length black hair, tells the crowd. “This is the means to your end.”
No guarantee that end will terminate in six zeroes. Montelongo, the onetime star of A&E’s Flip This House, offers scant proof the formula has turned his “students” into plutocrats. Asked to provide successful seminar alums, Montelongo serves up two–neither has made millions. Billy Godsey declines to detail his finances. Jake Leicht claims he’s made about $180,000 in 16 months buying 18 homes.
The one certain multimillionaire to emerge from Montelongo’s seminars? Montelongo himself.
His formula is simple: First, expose people to his system through a 90-minute free seminar. Then funnel them into a second (cost: $1,497 per couple) and, finally, a third: a three-day extravaganza like the one I attended that runs $40,000 for two.
Montelongo claims his San Antonio, Tex. company will rake in an estimated $100 million in revenue this year from 350,000 people attending one of 3,580 events. That’s up from 57,000 folks at 120 seminars, generating $12 million in sales in 2009, its first year of business. If Montelongo’s numbers are accurate, and his margins are typical for this kind of thing, then he will personally pocket $50 million this year (he owns 100% of the enterprise).
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