2 Questions and 3 Golden Rules.
by Neil Jenman
Yesterday I saw an email that made my blood run cold. It was from a property identity. He was inviting consumers to listen on-line to a panel of property “experts”.
The first name on the list of “experts” is someone whose clients have suffered some of the worst horror stories I’ve seen.
As I saw this expert being described as trusted, respected and ethical, I felt nauseous. Even more so considering that I have personally informed the man recommending him that this bloke is highly ‘sus’. I have provided horrific evidence of what this “expert” has done. But, as often happens (when money is changing hands in real estate), silence was the reply.
Please understand: The more credible people appear, the more care you need. The best con artists look respectable. They win your trust. That’s how they rip you off.
If you have read my book, Success Takes Character, you will know I had a strained relationship with my father. In his personal and business life, he caused enormous harm. But, gee, he could turn on the charm. He had many quips. One was this: “You can’t cheat your enemies because your enemies don’t trust you. You can only cheat your friends.” He would roar with laughter at his wicked wit.
But, it’s true. How can someone cheat you unless you trust them?
So, let’s look at what this so-called property expert has done.
He has sold properties that have plunged – when he assured investors they’d go up in value.
This “expert” promised to find the right property in the right location at the right price. The opposite is closer to true.
This expert seems to be the president of every safe-sounding association and seems to have won a string of awards.
Who’s giving out those awards?
Who is recommending this bloke?
I’ve been contacted by two of his investors, each has lost at least $300,000. If it makes me sick, imagine how the investors feel.
How many more investors have dealt with this bloke? Dozens? For sure.
Hundreds? Quite possibly.
And yet, here he is today, right now – probably as you are reading this article – giving advice to consumers as a “trusted expert”.
As for the man promoting him, shame on you when you know the harm he’s caused.
So, why don’t I give you his name?
Well, because my wife does not want me to risk our financial future.
Some of these property “experts” will go to great lengths to protect their “good name”.
Yes, remember, back in 2005, when I was attacked and hospitalised with life-threatening injuries after I confronted one expert?
Well, guess what? It’s fifteen years and every person who invested with that expert in 2005 lost their money. Every cent.
So, if I won’t give you his name, here’s what I can do. Give you two questions you must ask him (and any so-called expert) before you consider doing business with him.
Question 1: Tell me, Mr Expert, have any investors lost money following your advice? If the answer is negative, ask the “expert” to provide a Statutory Declaration to that effect. Be heavy on this point. Don’t be shy, don’t hold back. It’s your financial future on the line.
Question 2: Are you paid a commission by the sellers of any properties? If so, how much? Warning, this expert is paid by both developers (sellers) and investors (buyers) for the same property. This is unethical and, in some cases, illegal. Also, if the expert will not reveal how much commissions they are being paid, do not deal with them.
That’s it – just two questions. Ask these questions firmly and do not do business with anyone who will not give you a clear answer to these questions.
Finally, for investing, here are Three Golden Rules:
First Rule: Never be rushed. There is never a genuine need to be in a hurry. Whatever deal they are offering (“for today only”) will be available tomorrow. Property deals are like buses, there is another one along soon. People who are urging you to sign-up fast are doing so for their benefit, not yours.
Second Rule: Never use experts recommended by experts. Dodgy experts associate with other dodgy experts (such as lawyers and valuers). Many lawyers are “in bed” with property experts. So, always get independent legal advice PLUS an independent valuation. I have never seen anyone ripped off if they follow this rule.
Third Rule: Stay away from anyone who asks you to pay any money (called a “fee”) before you buy a property.
And finally, as much as I am critical of typical agents, you will be much safer buying an investment property from a suburban agent than any property expert.
And please remember: The better and more trustworthy a person appears, the more likely you are to be cheated.
FOOTNOTE: To you smart-alecs who say that I, Neil Jenman, should not be trusted, let me remind you: I do not sell real estate and I do not ask for money or for anyone to sign anything. If you want to talk – and you’re a genuine and decent person – I’d be happy to do so. Thank you for reading this article.
PLEASE NOTE: Our focus is upon helping consumers. Abuse from agents on our web site or Facebook page will be deleted, ignored or well publicised – it depends on our mood.
But one thing will never vary: We will never stop doing what we love most – helping polite and honest consumers get the best deal possible in real estate. And, of course, if any agents are serious about taking care of consumers, we’ll help you too. Thank you.