months or so.” Ragland also met Steve Cook, another real estate investor at the event. When they returned to Wash- ington, D.C., Ragland paid $500 for a one-on-one mentoring session with Cook on how to get his first real estate deal. “It’s funny because here I was, somebody who had a career in commercial real estate, an MBA in finance and real estate development, and Steve by his own admission ‘barely made it out of high school,’” Ragland said. “[But], here’s a guy that basically taught me to fix and flip houses for my first year as a full- time real estate investor. I was fixing and flipping houses and the more I did it, the more people would come to me and say, ‘Hey, how do you do it?’ That’s how I got into the education business. People asked me, ‘Hey, can I look over your shoulder?’ Soon I became the ‘go-to guy’ in D.C. area real estate.” Ragland and his RealInvestors® Team have let a lot of people look over their shoulder and learn about real estate investing since 2001. The company began as a local networking group that helped one another out with real estate matters. It eventually turned into the largest real estate club on the east coast—the D.C. Real Estate Investor Association (DC- REIA). By 2003, it became clear that people really wanted to learn about real estate investing as it’s done closer to home. At the time however, there were a lot of speakers going around the U.S. pressuring attend- ees to sign up for training that was centered around going to out-of-town boot camps. SHARING REAL ESTATE KNOWLEDGE THROUGH REALINVESTORS ®

“The challenge with boot camps is they are a three-day event and by the time your credit card statement shows up, you don’t remember half the stuff you were taught in those three days,” Ragland said. “So, we started doing training in our own backyard for local investors in the D.C. market. We were doing a ses- sion one day when somebody asked what we called ourselves. I said, ‘I don’t know, RealInvestors®.’ We went online and found that nobody had grabbed the domain name.” The club soon started its own training programs that consisted of a day of training at a hotel and then 30-45 days of “hands-on” training at local properties. The hotel company asked what they wanted to call the

event, and Ragland replied “Real In- vestor Training.” That same weekend he registered the domain names and the training program was known as RealInvestors® from that point on. Located in Prince George’s County Maryland, RealInvestors® had to go through a number of processes to comply with the county and state regulations so it could offer formal training in a permanent facility. The company purchased a 5,000 square foot building and then became a licensed trade school and the Mary- land Higher Education Commission approved it. RealInvestors® is the only real estate investor school in the U.S. that a higher education com- mission has approved. The Maryland Higher Education Commission has

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