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Real Estate Gurus
Tom Vu was yet another late night infomercial self proclaimed no money down real estate guru. If you have been reading other critiques on my website about no money down real estate gurus you know that they all make me sick. I have spent over the last 20 years thousands of dollars on these guys, only to realize that they prey upon your dreams and hopes and deliver so little.
Once the ether wears off and you go face the real world of real estate investing you realize that it is infinitely more difficult then they let on. You also will have noticed that I am a real estate investor and it is much more difficult then they let you know.
The following are some comments of others regarding Mr. Vu's programs:
1) “Tom Vu was a scamster whose late night antics on cable TV provided much amusement for those of us with three-digit IQs. He pitched no money down real estate flam doodles in infomercials that were equal parts Charlie's Angels, Horatio Alger, and P.T. Barnum.
Inevitably, they showed him with a platoon of scantily clad babes on a powerboat, or in a limo, or however else. As his used-building-salesman shtick only harvested the hopelessly stupid (who deserved it), one might claim he was performing a public service. Sadly, he's no longer on cable, from what I gather of Tom Vu fans that now have to look elsewhere for their daily giggle fix. One suspects the local constabulary hauled him to court, where twelve raucously eager peers convicted him of being only marginally smarter than they.”
2) “Claimed to be a Vietnamese boat person. Surrounded himself with bikini-clad babes in TV infomercials. I am not sure how babes relate to real estate investment. Was he implying you can afford prostitutes after you get rich using his course? Or were the babes gold diggers, which you will attract because of your net worth? His approach to advertising is so sleazy I wonder why anyone asks me about this guy.”
3) “I wish that the Internet had been around ten years earlier. I bought many books and tapes from many speakers. One of them was Tom Vu's course. After I bought the course for about $395.00, I realized that I had been had. The information was just basic knowledge that most reasonable real estate books you get from the library would have. Some of the information was worthless. I kept some old courses, but I threw Tom Vu's course away long ago because it had zero value.”
4) “More than a decade ago now, I took an exorbitantly priced one day seminar from Tom Vu (more than $1000 as I recall). This was what he taught:
Vu's main strategy was to control, rather than own, real estate. So you would go out looking for distressed properties, (foreclosures and such) and offer to buy these houses at incredible discounts. He claimed to never offer more than 50% of market value, but said it would depend on whether it was a buyer's or a seller's market how much your discounted offer would be.
The desperate owner would be happy to just get out of the property without ruining his credit, so he takes your offer happily. In your offer, you write that the agreement is between the seller and you or assigns. Then you offer ten bucks as a down payment to make the contract legal, exchange of consideration. Your closing date is a couple of months hence. In addition, you tack on a whole pile of whim-and-fancy clauses, such as this deal is subject to the final inspection and approval of the buyer before closing.
During the time before closing, you find a buyer to assign your interest in the contract to. Selling the place will be easy, since after all, you got it at a huge discount in the first place. You walk away at closing with a hefty profit.
Unlike the vast majority of seminar attendees, I actually tried for a long time to do this in my neck of the woods, British Columbia, Canada. I failed miserably. I encountered the following realities:
1. Even with distressed properties, offering to buy a property that far below market value was a joke (I was trying 80%). I was laughed out of most negotiations. Never once did I encounter someone so desperate to get out of a property that they would bend over to accept that kind of deal. However I have no idea if this kind of thing works in very depressed real estate markets, as I am an ignoramus when it comes to real estate. All I know is that it didn't work for me in my area.
2. Many of these properties were over financed, and even if they weren't, there was no desperate bank mandate to unload these non-performing assets at all costs. Generally, even in foreclosure sales, the owner or later, the bank, wanted fair market value.
3. Whim-and-fancy clauses were not acceptable to anyone I dealt with. I now have come to see how unethical they are as well. They amount to not keeping a promise if you can't find a buyer, and leaving the seller high and dry. Plus I bet you could be sued for breach of contract for backing out of a deal in this manner.
4. In the real world, no one (at least no one smart) accepts a $10 down payment. It implies that I am not serious about this deal and intend to screw you at the drop of a hat, written all over it.
I also bet that finding a buyer that fast would not be very easy, unless you got the property at a really gigantic discount. But I never got that far.”
I do not recommend Mr. Vu.
There very few things around today that will allow the average person to really get rich. Real Estate is one of those things. In case you didn't know it there have been more millionaires created because of real estate than any other business.
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