William Bronchick, a Denver-area real estate lawyer and veteran real estate investor, knows that people who buy and sell homes and other properties sometimes have a reputation as being scam artists, who will take advantage of down-and-out sellers that will do anything to make a buck.
“Look, there are bad apples in every line of work,” Bronchick, the president of the 1,550-member Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors and the principal of Legalwhiz Publications said.
“But I think that real estate investors are often unfairly portrayed as vulture or unethical,” added Bronchick, who in addition to being a real estate lawyer, has been buying investment properties for about 20 years, including 12 purchases in the Denver-area this year.
To combat the negative image, and improve the quality of real estate investors, this weekend Bronchick is officially launching an online program called the College of American Real Estate Investors. In the first year, he hopes to have 5,000 people participating, with maybe 1,500 from Colorado. He plans to pitch CAREI to investment clubs nationally. He officially unveiled the college at 1 p.m. Saturday at a real estate investment club meeting at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center Hotel – DIA, 15500 E. 40th Ave.
It takes 12 hours of course work and to sucesfully complete an exam, to be certified by the college, which is not affiliated with any university. Classes required for certification include ethics, cash flow analysis, property management, tax strategy, foreclosure laws, and contracts. CAREI classes are offered individually at $29 for members or $49 for non-members plus a $69 annual enrollment fee.
Eventually, the college will offer more than 100 programs, he said. And he plans to have at least one streaming video on a topic available each month. Also, interactive classrooms will be available, where instructors can be questioned over the Internet. For more information: CAREI.org.
To help combat this image – and to help independent real estate investors gain knowledge – Bronchick has launched the online College of American Real Estate Investors. The college provides certification to independent real estate investors, helps them master fundamentals of buying properties, and help repair the negative image of the industry by establishing clear ethical guidelines.
Those certified also will agree to adhere to a code of ethics.
“We think integrity matters,” Bronchick said.
He noted that the CAREI has an advisory board and they will review any cases of someone violating the code. And if fraud or any other malfeasance seemed to be taking place, “We would absolutely turn them over to the authorities. We’re going to be sort of like a better business bureau for real estate investors.”
He said he thinks that investors who take his course will be similar to real estate brokers who also are members of the National Association of Realtors.
“There are real estate agents and there are Realtors,” Bronchick said. “Realtors must agree to the code of ethics of the National Association of Realtors, a private organization.”
Bronchick thinks that graduates of his college will have a certain cachet that others will not have. And because of the continuing education, people dealing with them can have more confidence that they are professionals, he said.
“I think we will attract two kind of people,” he said. “There will be the mom and pop investor, who might buy the occasional foreclosed home either to fix or flip, or rent out. But I think we will also attract the people who are investing in real estate for a living, and want to improve theirs skill sets and knowledge base. I think we will even attract seasoned veterans who might own big multi-family properties or shopping centers.”
I asked Bronchick if he would like to see real estate investors licensed, like real estate brokers and mortgage bankers.
“That is something I never thought of,” Bronchick said. “I’m not sure we have to have the heavy hand of government involved. And by launching this, we are in some ways self-regulating our industry, which could lead to less need for government regulations. I’m not totally opposed, I guess, to some level of government involvement. And it does exist to a certain extent, such as when you pull permits. And if you use a real estate agent or a mortgage broker, they are regulated, of course. And if you are soliciting money to buy real estate, you fall under the state securities rules and regulations.”
Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865.