Saturday, November 5, 2016
I am requesting information from readers on Zurixx, LLC, an information company with offices in Salt Lake City and Dorado, Puerto Rico.
Zurixx is a legitimate information provider but they have lately become the one stop shopping source for real estate gurus wanting to outsource their seminar programs. An example of the gurus who work with them are Christina and Tarek El Moussa of the television programs "Flip or Flop" on HGTV.
Zurixx is most definitely a legitimate company, in fact, it is ranked as one of the best employers to work for in the United States by Fortune magazine.
But their real estate guru programs have been taking fire nationally as fraudulent. It is clear to me as an attendee at their events what Zurixx has been offering is classic bait-and-switch advertising coupled with all the traditional real estate guru scams. This business, however lucrative, is beneath a company like Zurixx.
Again, I am seeking information on Zurixx related to their real estate guru seminars. Zurixx, LLC is a genuine and legitimate company providing great information services but why they choose to be involved with the sleaze of real estate gurus is beyond me.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
In this blog I usually write about real estate gurus who cheat and steal from their own students. In now what is best described as a "man bites dog" story, an employee of a famous guru has defrauded his company of over $1.1 million.
Tigrent, Inc. is the seminar promotion company of Robert Kiosayki, the (in)famous Rich Dad, Poor Dad guru. One of Tigrent's employees working in the accounts payable department created a series of shell companies and then generated a large number of phony invoices for these imaginary payees. After the invoices were paid, she took the money sent to her shells and spent the cash on vacations and other consumer items.
The FBI eventually got involved and this woman was sentenced to three years in prison, fined $1.1 million, and was also ordered to make restitution to Tigrent. The charge was wire fraud.
I could comment on the loose accounting safeguards at Tigrent but I won't. Her scheme went on for more than two years before it was discovered.
This is the only case I know where a real estate guru was the victim of cheating and not the cheater themselves.
In case you are curious, the woman's name is Junipher Sayers and here is her Facebook page. She just got married in March and was pregnant at the time. Her baby is due October 22, 2016. Reading her posts is quite sad especially since now we know what she was up to while writing them.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Well placed sources have confirmed a very well known real estate guru from the pre-crash 2000s boom is facing a criminal investigation by both state and Federal agencies.
This guru was known for his real estate wholesaling programs where he claimed to make thousands of dollars every month without tenants using his unique program where anyone could find and flip properties without cash, credit, or even a job. Essentially, this was a subject-to buying scheme. At one point he claimed he was earning $100,000 a month working five hours a week.
The investigations began when this guru's partners and bank grew concerned over financial statements submitted to them about recent seminar and home study course sales. It turned out the guru had been overestimating sales and profits to not trigger loan provisions which would call his debt immediately due.
As the investigation expanded it was learned this guru had phantom employees on his payroll, issuing checks to workers that did not exist which were later cashed by his relatives, including his wife and brother. Ironically, taxes were paid on these checks to keep the scheme looking legitimate. But tax returns were not filed on these fictitious employees which has now raised the scrutiny of the IRS and the use of stolen or fake social security numbers.
Total investor losses on this scheme appear to be more than $1.5 million.
This guru was everywhere on the Internet in the early 2000s. Their wholesaling program was a joke, underestimating the risks and profits which can be earned by wholesaling real estate, which is basically selling real estate property interests without a license, often illegal in many states. Here is an excellent Reddit thread on the subject of real estate wholesaling and its illegality.
Should this guru be arrested or indicted I will let you know.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
By far the best book on the subject of buying your first home.
There are multiple editions of this book, another sign the author and publishers really care about keeping their readers informed.
I cannot recommend this book more highly. It answers every question you will ever have about the process and gives tons of advice that will save you thousands of dollars.
MUST READ BOOK.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Are you a satisfied graduate of Trump University?
Did you buy his programs and actually make money with them?
If so, I'd like to hear your story. I'm writing an article on Trump University and would like to report both sides. The media, as you can imagine, has no problems finding and touting unsatisfied and unhappy students.
I have reviewed many Trump University real estate programs and books and find them to be quite good, in fact, better than nearly all get-rich-quick real estate materials out there. As to how they were sold, that's another story.
For example, one of Trump University's books was written by Gary W. Eldred, a fabulous real estate writer and author of the best (by far) book on real estate investing in print today. The books pictured above and below are both excellent and highly recommended for real estate investors.
If you have a Trump University success story, please email me at email@example.com.
Everything you tell me, including your name, will be kept strictly confidential.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
It is an election year and therefore the silly season of campaigning is in high swing. Politicians eager to use your hard earned income in the form of taxes to buy votes. Simple equation everywhere.
Only in "progressive" cities like Seattle just worse.
Here is a campaign mailer from a candidate I've never heard of named Marcus Courtney. He's running for State Representative in the Washington legislature.
He's got some ideas for providing more affordable housing. Unfortunately, some of them contradict his stated goal.
He wants to create a Washington Department of Housing, the equivalent of HUD on the state level. Perhaps he should first investigate HUD's dismal record in building affordable housing or the mismanagement of HUD's Section 8 program. Since when does putting the government in charge of something actually increase market efficiency?
Next he wants local authority rent control. No comment necessary on this nonsense. When does rent control lead to MORE housing units? This author is correct when he says if you want to destroy a city rent control is the best way to do it. Maybe Mr. Courtney should visit San Francisco and learn about their rent control experience.
The photo above is not Berlin in 1945 but the South Bronx in New York City in 1980. This devastation was the result of New York's never ending experiment with rent control.
My favorite campaign promise from the above mailer is to "ensure residential construction includes infrastructure for electric vehicles." Perhaps Mr. Courtney does not understand the cost of installation and maintenance of this system is not borne by the landlord but by the tenants---MOST OF WHICH DO NOT DRIVE ELECTRIC CARS and NEVER WILL. So the richer car owners will have their fuel rights subsidized by the poorer tenants who do not own cars.
Installation costs for electric car charging in apartment buildings are variable but here is one estimate for about $21,000 for a system. That sounds very low to me given the specifications necessary but on a small apartment building of 8-20 units still prohibitive.
Mr. Courtney has other progressive ideas such as a new income tax for Washington (which currently, Thank God, does not have one) and all the usual green energy and diversity boilerplate required of all liberal candidates for office.
What I can say with certainty is imposing capital spending burdens on landlords does not create affordable housing. Making landlords pay for things, especially boondoggles like electric car charging stations, make housing less affordable. Do politicians think landlords are going to raid their children's scholarship funds or their own 401(k)s to pay for these retrofits? Tenants in a building pay for all improvements through rent, a common sense idea which often eludes the political mind.
Friday, July 1, 2016
I have been receiving a high volume of media requests for more information on Mike and Irene Milin. I have written about these former get-rich-quick real estate gurus in the past such as here and here in this blog.
For those who do not know, the Milins have returned to the public spotlight in a huge way because of their involvement with Trump University and also having made donations to the Marco Rubio Presidential campaign.
This is my formal statement on the Milins to the media and those requesting more information from me.
Mike and Irene Milin have been fixtures on the get-rich-quick guru circuit since the 1980s. The fact the Milins gave money to the Rubio campaign is no big deal. The Milins are U.S. citizens and long time Republicans. They supported Mitt Romney in 2012. The Milins are also active on political issues involving Israel such as supporting Jewish Republicans in U.S. Congressional races. The Milins supported Republican candidate and former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle on her unsuccessful U.S. Senate run in 2012.
The legal history of the Milins is well documented online such as in articles like this one. Like most major real estate gurus they have had many encounters with unhappy customers, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies. You cannot sell expensive books, programs, seminars, and home study courses that promise people easy and instant wealth and then expected still poor and now unhappy people to react calmly.
What fascinates me about the Milins is not their get-rich-quick exploits such as through Trump University but their personal politics.
How does a 1970s counterculture couple in just ten years go from radical communist SDS members advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government at Arizona State University to appearing on Robin Leach's television show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" boasting about champaign wishes and caviar dreams?
Leach would go on to star in a Milin's half hour sales infomercial called "Two Years to Financial Freedom" where the couple drove around in a Rolls Royce, exited a Lear jet, and showed off expensive houses and just about everything else that costs lots of money. Leach would later successfully sue the Milins for copying his TV show format and promoting their wealth in other infomercials.
Again, how does one go from Karl Marx to Robin Leach in ten years?
This is the Milin book I would love to read.
The basic question I am getting from media inquiries is whether the real estate community knew all about the Milins and their reputation at the time Trump University hired them. Sadly, the answer is yes. Whether Donald Trump, Trump University, or the Trump Organization knew is another story.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
I bought this truly amazing book on Andrew W. Mellon at a garage sale for a quarter.
It is literally the best business biography I have ever read. This contemporaneously written book about the living (and then happening) exploits of one of the world's richest men from 1933 is even better on Mellon than MELLON: AN AMERICAN LIFE by author David Cannadine which itself is a tremendous and much celebrated work.
Amazon sells the book I found for $25 or more depending on condition. I got a real bargain not on the price but especially on the content.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOOK.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I recently read about this company in Tampa, Florida and am fascinated with their approach to building an instant real estate portfolio.
Anyone with personal information about RE-710 please contact me through my Facebook Page.
Monday, May 16, 2016
One of the oldest get-rich-quick in real estate techniques has been in the news a whole lot lately. And the news is all bad.
Land contracts, also known as contracts for deed, is the much maligned device.
Unlike a traditional mortgage where you get a deed at the time of sale expressing an ownership interest in a property, under a land contract you make payments to a seller for years and after the final payment you finally receive a deed reflecting ownership.
There is nothing inherently illegal or immoral about land contracts except the fact they have a long history of abuse by crooked sellers. How they get away with it is obvious. The moment the buyer misses a payment and is in default, they lose their rights to a deed. Often the properties sold under land contracts are poorly maintained and offered to credit and cash poor buyers at widely inflated prices. These sellers know from the start a buyer default is inevitable which allows them to sell the same property again and again and again.
Like I said, land contracts have been in the news a great deal lately. Here are just a few headlines.
As the articles above make clear, land contracts are commonly abused and should be avoided at all costs. There are ways of using them with some safety, for example, having a fully executed deed placed with an escrow company or third party pending receipt of the final payment from the buyer but even these solutions are often unworkable and leave the buyer who has faithfully made every payment without proof of ownership.
Overall, if a land contract is the only way you can buy a home delay buying one.
Instead, offer to pay a higher interest rate or give better terms to the seller under a traditional sales contract.
Land contracts can work but often do not. They are a real estate purchasing device best left alone for most potential homeowners.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
I talk, speak, rant, and rave a great deal about the Federal Reserve Bank on this website.
Here is why.
America's Bank is a simply amazing book by author Roger Lowenstein.
The struggle was epic. A financial adventure story.
Sunday, April 3, 2016
This article from The Washington Post has the title "Why You Don't Want to Flip Homes."
It is worth reading. Interesting analysis.
The reason I bring it up is the flipping property gurus have returned to late night television. I do not know how it is where you live but at least five different real estate gurus have visited Seattle in the past two months. FIVE. Same operations pitching virtually the same get-rich-quick in real estate products, same TV networks for the late night infomercials, even the same hotels for the seminars too.
Maybe you would want another perspective on the subject of flipping properties, especially one which is not trying to sell you a $3,000 seminar or a $25,000 bus tour on the subject.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Want to know why the streets of Seattle and virtually all U.S. cities are filled with vagrants begging for money?
Want to know why street and property crime is rising in virtually all cities, large and small? Take, for example, Los Angeles where property and violent crime rose a whopping 12% in the first half of 2015. Or in Washington state which has the highest rate of property crime in the United States.
The answer is simple. Just one word.
This isn't my opinion alone. Even the Seattle media agrees with me, calling heroin the "root cause" of homelessness in Seattle.
Heroin use has exploded in Seattle. Heroin deaths rose a staggering 58% in just one year in Seattle. The CDC now calls heroin use in the U.S. an "epidemic", up 63% nationwide in the last eleven years.
There are so many junkies in downtown Seattle the Washington State Convention Center and local stores like Target have put syringe disposal boxes in their restrooms where dopers go to shoot up. Here is a photo I took inside the men's room at the Washington State Convention Center.
Used syringes litter the streets of Seattle. I have posted many photos of them on my Twitter feed. You literally find piles of them like this one.
Here is one Seattle man's story having to deal with the dozens of syringes he finds regularly near his home.
Here is a story about a child who stepped on a used syringe at a public park in a small town near Seattle. This is the actual photo of what was found in the park.
The romantic notion of "homelessness" has been promoted by activists for decades. There are men and women through bad luck and carelessness find themselves homeless. But the hardcore vagrants you see on the streets are not these people. It's quite obvious to tell the difference. Start with the track marks and their glassy eyes.
Until the government through law enforcement takes the heroin epidemic seriously, watch crime to spike and, most importantly for this blog, real estate property values fall.
Who wants to buy a $800,000 condo and leave their house and step on a syringe or see this? Incidentally, the building in the background of this video is the flagship location of the luxury department store Nordstrom's in downtown Seattle.