A podcast for expat UK property investors
July 27, 2022

Property Education and Bias

Property Education and Bias

As Season One of my podcast, Expat Property Story, draws to a close after five months and 33 episodes, downloaded in over ninety countries perhaps now is time to reflect on one particular theme that keeps coming up: property education. In this blog, I will revisit this theme within the context of bias.  

In the very first episode, I outlined my own position, which is that, personally, I wouldn’t pay for education in Chapter One!

What has somewhat surprised me, however, is that nearly all of my guests so far have had some property education, to one degree or another. A fair few have spent huge sums on courses. Others have paid for mentorship. In a couple of instances, I have suggested to them that they would have succeeded anyway, given that they are all smart, driven, determined individuals. Are they maybe victims of ‘bandwagon bias’, the tendency to do something because everyone else is doing it?

All but one of them had no regrets about the money they’d spent on property education. Could they be victims of ‘choice supportive bias’, the tendency to believe you have made the right choice because… well because it was your choice.

It’s true that their property education may have accelerated their story and given them contacts and accountability, but is that really worth £20,000? Are they perhaps victims of ‘post-purchase rationalisation bias’, the tendency to believe in the value of a high ticket item because, not to do so, would be an admission of poor decision making.

Some of them would say yes, they made their course fees back on one deal. But these are the people that are doing so well in property that they are household names on the property podcast circuit. What about the ones that spent £20,000 and did nothing with their education? We never hear from these people on podcasts. If anyone reading this knows someone like this, let me know. Their story needs to be heard too!

And have you noticed that the ones who shout loudest about the benefits of property education are the ones offering courses, often under the guise of wanting to ‘help others learn from their mistakes’. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against education, but as an expat, you are bound to miss out on the networking that seems to be the biggest advantage of these courses.

And if, after listening to the opinions of my brilliant guests, I still believe that property education should be avoided until you’re absolutely sure that property is for you and that you have chosen a good provider, am I not just a victim of ‘confirmation bias’, the tendency to choose a position that aligns with previously held beliefs?

Who knows for sure? In the meantime, here are my top tips for property education:

  • Get as much education as you can for free first, at least until you have worked out if property is for you. Despite what you hear, not everyone can do property. It just doesn’t suit some people. If you’re still interested after buying some books and listening to a whole load of podcasts and going on Property Tribes and attending networking meetings, THEN consider paying for some education.
  • If you do sign up for a course, make sure that the trainers are currently investing in property themselves
  • Make sure that the person who is the face of the company is the one doing the training and not just the best student from the previous year’s course.
  • Make sure that the trainer has a lot of experience. Have they survived and thrived through a property crash?
  • Do your due diligence on the course provider. Check out if what they have told you matches what you can see about them on Companies House. Search for them on Property Tribes. Go past the first few pages of Google. Ask questions on Facebook Groups. Ask the course provider to provide you with FIVE names and randomly speak to one of them.