also regulated popular colleges like Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. “We’re in the same peer group as (those schools),” Ragland said. “So with that, we have to provide a cur- riculum and go for an annual review. We’ve done everything except get accredited, but we’ve thought about that from time to time. We are li- censed and sanctioned by the state.” RealInvestors® also offers certain classes under career school pro- grams like the 60-hour real estate agent licensing program as well as continuing education (CE) classes, which a state agency regulates. The courses are part of the RealInves- tors® Academy, which students pay a small membership fee to join. Classes are now offered in a 10,000 square foot campus located just east of Washington, D.C. where people learn to become real estate inves- tors within a 90-mile radius of the White House. Programs offered vary from getting started in real estate,

the fact that you can continue to not only educate people, but as time goes on, those people that you educated now become successful real estate investors and teachers,” Ragland said. By having students become the teachers, RealInvestors® is consis- tently expanding its curriculum. Rag- land admitted that when the academy was first starting he questioned the need to go through so many certifi - cation hoops just so he and his team could teach some real estate classes. In hindsight, he realizes the process was worth it so RealInvestors® can be a longstanding educational resource. “This is the same certification process that a Johns Hopkins Univer- sity has to go through,” he said. “It causes you to think about how do you create something that is sustainable, something that has longevity and is an institution. That’s what RealInves- tors® has become—an institution.” CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL WEALTH GAP One of RealInvestors’® goals is to help members solve their real estate investing challenges in part so they can create wealth that they can pass along to their children and grandchil- dren. Ragland noted the large wealth divide in the U.S.—which unfortu- nately falls along the lines of ethnici- ty. African-Americans have one-tenth of the wealth of non-African-Amer- icans and Hispanic Americans have approximately one-eleventh of the wealth, according to Ragland. “Fundamentally, if you look at the absolute numbers in terms of where wealth comes from, it comes down to just one thing: home ownership!” Ragland said that “The vast majority of African-Americans do not own homes, and it is similar for Hispanic

“quick-cash” real estate strategies, transitioning to commercial prop- erties, raising capital, and using crowdfunding. “There’s something for everyone from the newbie to the more ad- vanced investor who’s looking to really take it big time,” Ragland said. “I have a project now that I’m work- ing on that’s a $10 million deal. Steve Streetman who co-teaches a com- mercial course with me just raised a $26 million fund. I would say a big part of sustainability and resources is can you actually take somebody who knows nothing about real estate and help them build a $26 million portfolio.” Streetman did his first commercial deal with RealInvestors® 10 years ago, not knowing anything about commercial real estate, according to Ragland. Six years ago, he became a RealInvestors® teacher and started to put together numerous deals using cryptocurrency and crowdfunding. “That’s ultimate success to me—

24 | think realty magazine :: september 2020

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