High-priced real-estate seminars promise to teach unlicensed novices how to make big money buying and selling property, but Ohio officials say there’s a problem: Unwitting students who follow the advice might be breaking the law. The officials’ concerns center on a practice known as “flopping” that, according to three officials with the Ohio Department of Real Estate & Professional Licensing and two real-estate lawyers, is illegal without a license. A Cincinnati Enquirer investigation found that during a recent three-day seminar, the instructor — Gerald Martin, a self-proclaimed real-estate guru teaching for FortuneBuilders Inc. — gave students instructions on the practice, but seminar attendees weren’t warned that by following the advice, they might be breaking the law. Attendees were required to sign a waiver promising not to sue the organization if any of the taught practices got them in legal trouble. Anne Petit, superintendent of the Ohio Department of Real Estate & Professional Licensing, said real estate seminars have been on the rise since the housing market crisis hit in 2008. “You have to be very aware of what Ohio license law does and does not allow unlicensed people to do,” Petit said. “Some of what’s being taught is legal, but… Read full this story
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