Property investment seminar

How To Spot A Property Investing Scam

Information verified correct on September 28th, 2016

It's no secret that it is more than possible to create wealth through property investing. Arm yourself with the knowledge to spot and avoid the shams

In fact, plenty of people use property as the cornerstone of large scale wealth building strategies. They aim at properties with a likelihood of good capital growth and they take advantage of tax benefits that property can offer.

However, far too many people seem to think that property investing is way too difficult for them to do by themselves. And so they flock to property investing seminars in an attempt to educate themselves a bit more about their options.

Knowledge is power and education is a great thing, especially if you're thinking about investing a considerable amount of money. It's wise to understand as much as possible about any investment vehicle you want to include in any wealth building strategy.

Unfortunately, not all property seminars are on the same level. In fact, some of them are downright scams perpetuated by property spruikers. These are the people who happily lure unsuspecting people into buying overpriced properties thinly disguised as good investments.

By knowing what to look out for, you can avoid the tricks and traps.

How to scam a scammer

Learn how the seminars work

The seminars usually follow a very similar pattern. They begin by showing you the consequences of retiring without having enough superannuation. They show images of poverty and retired people living on meagre incomes, barely able to survive.

This switches to images of good looking Australians achieving wealth through negative gearing residential properties. These are usually punctuated with intricate graphs and charts showing projected capital growth figures and various models designed to pay off your mortgages that aren't supposed to be scrutinized too closely. They'll even go into the huge amounts of tax you won't have to pay if you follow their plans.

From there, the seminar presenter will then point out that the best possible properties to buy are always the ones they have available for you. They'll tell you that they've done all the research and they've saved money on "bulk" purchases with builders so you can benefit.

If you see a pattern like this emerging in any seminar you're at, chances are you're about to be ripped off. Head for the door.

7 Signs of a Property Scam

As mentioned earlier, not all property seminars are scams. However, there are some common signs to look for that should ring some alarm bells.

These types of seminars are always initiated by them – not you. They'll send you an invitation to a "free" seminar teaching you how to build wealth through property. They'll call you on the phone and ask if you want to reduce your tax bill at the same time as becoming a property millionaire just by turning up to their seminar. They'll email you out of the blue with an awesome opportunity to get rich, but only after you've listened to their entire spiel. You get the idea.

The seminar might feature some interesting tips and points about investing in real estate, backed by a few speakers. Then the real sales pitch will begin. The spruiker will need to set up an appointment with you at your home to talk with you personally about how it all works and to see if you qualify for their deal. These types of spiels have been known to last for up to six hours, after which time anyone will be willing to sign up for almost anything at all.

Constructing a new home for investment purposes isn't a bad thing, but when you're being sold an overpriced property that costs you far more than what other similar homes in that area are worth, you could be in trouble. You'll be told that you can save on stamp duty, which is true. You'll be told that building a new home gets you some better tax advantages, which is also true. Then the sales person will point out that you could try to do it all by yourself, but you won't get as good tax benefits as you would by buying their deal instead. This is simply because they can hike up the price you pay and boost their own profits.

The majority of these types of "deals" will offer you the opportunity to construct new homes in outlying suburbs or low socio-economic areas. You may also be offered investment opportunities in different states to the one in which you live.

Experienced investors understand that it's very possible to build wealth by seeking good quality properties that are priced well and that represent good value for their own investment strategies. However, these property spruikers will make it very clear that they have already done all your homework for you. They will tell you they've struck a deal with a developer so they can get better prices through bulk buying. They'll even tell you that there's no way you could possibly go out and get it right if you do it all on your own. You need them or you'll fail!

The sales sharks pushing these deals will be keen to take control of the entire transaction. They'll control the conveyancer working on your transfer documents, the mortgage broker arranging your finance, the builder you have to build the property through, and the rental agent handling your tenants. While this might sound like an easy solution for many newer investors, it's simply a way for the sales person to keep control of the transaction so you don't get to see that you're buying an overpriced dud.

The mortgage broker recommended by the property spruiker will be extremely well informed about exactly what property you've been set up to buy. That broker will then work on ways to set up a mortgage over your own family home. This is usually done in an attempt to stop you seeing that the property you're buying is overpriced. After all, any bank taking security over a property for a mortgage will conduct a licensed valuation on that home. If that valuation shows that the real property value is tens of thousands of dollars lower than the amount you just paid for it, you might not proceed. The spruikers really don't want that to happen.

Avoiding the Property Investing Scams


Perhaps the best possible way to avoid being caught by these types of property investing scams is to sit down and do your homework yourself. It's not difficult and it's not challenging. The key is to be sure you understand what you want to buy and how it will affect your overall financial and investment situation before you begin.

Really look into any suburb or area in which you want to buy. Understand the median prices for homes in that area and compare the options of buying an established home vs building a new home in the same area. Do the sums and work out whether you're able to build any capital growth into your property simply by choosing construction in a given area. Do a little research into the anticipated rental income you're likely to receive.

Talk to a good accountant about how to structure your investment loans and about your taxation options before you buy. Ask plenty of questions until you're sure you understand. Discuss the differences between negative gearing and positive gearing and decide which one is better suited to your own investment strategy.

Then spend some time talking to your bank or a good mortgage broker about setting up your investment loans in the way your accountant suggested.

If you can do all these things on your own, you should find that you end up with some great real estate bargains that can become excellent investments over time.

Adrian Barclay

Adrian spends most of his working hours writing about home loans and everything property, as well as interviewing finance experts.

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15 Responses to How To Spot A Property Investing Scam

  1. Default Gravatar
    Glenn | December 15, 2015

    Hi there,
    I recently attended a 3-day training course on investing in US real estate. The name of the company is Income Property USA. Is this a legitimate company? Thank you for any information.

    • Staff
      Belinda | December 16, 2015

      Hi Glenn,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      finder.com.au is an online comparison service so while we can offer general information on this topic, we cannot verify the legitimacy of another organisation.

      If you have concerns about this company, I would suggest that you contact them directly.

      Kind regards,
      Belinda

  2. Default Gravatar
    Steven | November 24, 2015

    Can (Property Investors) be trusted?
    That in brackets is the business name.

    • Staff
      Belinda | November 25, 2015

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve sent you an email to follow up with this enquiry.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  3. Default Gravatar
    Bill | July 24, 2015

    Assert financial services reputation

  4. Default Gravatar
    shirley | May 29, 2015

    Looking for any info on Wealthbuild Australia or Asset Financial Services

  5. Default Gravatar
    Paul | February 10, 2015

    There is a company called Blue Wealth Pty Ltd, which source then sell off the plan properties in upcoming booming areas. Have you heard of them and are they fair dinkum?

    • Staff
      Shirley | February 11, 2015

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question.

      Blue Wealth Property Pty Ltd is registered under ASIC in Parramatta NSW. If you have any questions about the organisation, its best to speak to ASIC directly.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  6. Default Gravatar
    Gerry | September 14, 2014

    Have you heard of wealth build Australia or asset financial services and what is their reputation as investment property brokers?

    Thanks,
    Gerry

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 15, 2014

      Hi Gerry,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately finder.com.au provides factual information, general advice and services on financial products, so we can’t comment on the validity of other organisations.

      I’d recommend that you get in touch with ASIC if you have any questions about a firm’s reputation.

      All the best,
      Shirley

  7. Default Gravatar
    Renee | September 9, 2014

    Hi has anyone dealt with Wealth build Australia from QLD.. just attended one of there seminars… not sure… they seem bit pushy. Not sure what advice they will really provide. Thanks

  8. Default Gravatar
    interested | June 6, 2014

    Any feedback on IQ Capital Group, Gold Coast?

    • Staff
      Shirley | June 10, 2014

      Hi Interest Investor,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately we don’t have any feedback on the IQ Capital Group. Please speak to your trusted financial advisor or accountant for their opinion.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  9. Default Gravatar
    andrew | October 21, 2013

    should i do business with Parkmore Trent

    • Staff
      Shirley | October 21, 2013

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Please direct this question to your accountant or mortgage broker.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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