When Books Become the Enemy

Ever gotten a letter of intent from unrepresented buyer offering to purchase your listing for exactly for 63 percent of your list price, subject to an armload of caveats and stipulations? How about a minimalist purchase contract from an LLC, missing many, if not all, of the forms required by the local, state or federal government?

The letter probably came right out of a book, ripped out by someone who recently attended a seminar on how to “get rich quick” by investing in real estate. This type of scheme was detailed in a recent Washington Post piece by real estate lawyer Harvey S. Jacobs of Jacobs & Associates in Rockville, Md. Jacobs warns readers not to pay the thousands of dollars these presenters charge for their books and CDs:

“…instead of spending thousands of dollars for a course put together by some large national seminar company, you should attend local events. There are local real estate investor associations run by folks who have done and are doing local real estate deals and who are willing to share their expertise and resources. Many libraries have excellent real estate resources available for free.”

I’d add “contact a local REALTOR®” to that list. But what I thought was most interesting about the Washington Post piece was the comment from a RE/MAX listing agent named Charles Sullivan (he’s where I got all those details in my first paragraph about the 63 percent rule). He says he sees it all the time:

“I can always spot someone fresh from a get-rich-quick, get-rich-easy real estate seminar… The guiding philosophy seems to be ‘Send out a thousand slipshod, lowball offers and hope one confused seller calls you on the phone.’ I have never seen a transaction result from one of these ridiculously inept solicitations.”

It got me wondering: Do you see these types of solicitations in your day-to-day work? Have you ever warned your sellers about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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