No. of Recommendations: 2
Telegraph! You have a soul-mate in the Real Estate Guru Bullsh*t Detection business! Here's what I found at the web site of John T. Reed, self-appointed scam buster/buy-my-books-instead real estate guru. The only way I can tell the two of you apart is Reed's appalling lack of exclamatory punctuation.


Marshall E. Reddick a.k.a. Real Estate Foreclosures—I do not recommend. Reportedly advocates investing in a type of property where he or an associate gets a commission for selling it to you. In general, you should not get investment advice from persons who receive a commission if you buy the investment they recommend. An investor who went on one of Reddick's buying trips said they bought only VA repos that were listed with Realtors®. Furthermore, they told the buyers to bid 15% over asking price, which is typically market value. Why bid 15% over asking price? Because they “wanted their students to be the successful bidders.” Not to mention the fact that the “teachers” also wanted to be the successful salesmen who got the 6% commission on the deal—commissions that were inflated by 15% above what they would normally get. The teachers rationalize overpaying by predicting appreciation and urging students to hold for the long term. I've heard that one before. Why not pay market and hold for the long term?

One of Reddick's seminars is called “Profiting with fixer uppers with or without the work.” I have done fixer uppers and interviewed many fixers and read virtually every fixer book. I know of no way to do it without work---either carpentry, etc. or hiring carpenters, etc.—neither of which is easy.

Another of his seminars is “How to reduce your income taxes to zero.” I have written 17 editions of the book Aggressive Tax Avoidance for Real Estate Investors. In general, reducing your taxes to zero is so difficult that it almost certainly is not worth the trouble. There is a point of diminishing returns in almost everything. To eliminate state income and sales tax, you would have to move to a state with neither. I believe that means New Hampshire. To eliminate taxes on interest, you would have to put all your non-real-estate money into municipal bonds and not live in the municipality in question if that town has a city income tax. There are also disadvantages to reducing your taxes to zero, like not being eligible for social security. The main way I know to reduce your taxes to zero would be to move to New Hampshire and do nothing but buy and sell principal residences for a profit every two years.

Reddick is a PhD and was a professor of business and economics at California State University, Los Angeles until 1/00 when he retired. He also teaches at 22 other southern California colleges. I surmise Reddick is one of many real estate agents, lawyers, insurance agents, etc. who, to generate business, teach Saturday extension courses sponsored by colleges. The quality of such courses is generally good, but varies.

He also says he is a member of the National Speakers Association and holds its “coveted” Certified Speaking Professional designation, as does Zig Ziglar. I am a former member of NSA. I quit after just one year. There are two associations for speakers. The other is the International Platform Association. IPA seemed to consist mainly of men and women of distinction—famous news anchors, actresses, generals, and so forth—who also make speeches. IPA members Wolf Blitzer and Colin Powell do not have the “coveted” Certified Speaking Professional designation; they have the even more coveted $75,000-a-pop speaking fees. NSA seemed to consist mainly of plain Janes whose only accomplishment was speaking. Dale Carnegie said the ability to speak in public was a “shortcut to distinction.” The NSA people, for the most part, struck me as the type who could only achieve distinction by taking a shortcut.

NSA had some impressive guys, but most were pathetic. I do not know which category Reddick is in. But NSA was one of two organizations I have ever joined which immediately inspired me to say, “Let me out of here!” (The other was Mensa, which I quit after two meetings because they reeked of body odor! I kid you not.)

60 Minutes did a program about the NSA on 4/16/00. It featured Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins. Like the 60 Minutes program I appeared on (3/16/86) regarding nothing-down seminars, the correspondent was Morley Safer. Safer made fun of the speaking business. Colin Powell was also on the program. He also gets a private plane to take him to speeches. As far as I know, he is not an NSA member.

I am told also that Reddick sets up a property-management contract with a real estate broker in the distant area where these properties are located. You should never use independent, fee-paid property managers. There are only three sound choices regarding real estate property management: do it yourself, hire a salaried employee to do it, or do not own the property. Someone should start an “I hired an independent property manager” horror stories Web site. It would have thousands of eager contributors, each of which would focus on one of two consistent themes: overcharges/kickbacks and neglect.


Telegraph, with the fifty bucks I was thinking of spending to go see Reddick, maybe I should buy Reed's books instead? But only if he offers a money-back guarantee, right?

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