… Memphis properties, that is. ‘Distressed’ or ‘bargain’ properties. Cheap cheap cheap!!

A little while ago in ‘Safe investing means doing your homework‘ I mentioned that some members of the United Federation of Property Spruikers have moved onto shifting US properties to Kiwis and Australians. The exact commission structure (i.e. what’s in it for them) isn’t clear from the outside, but I assume they’re getting a clip of each ‘bargain’ sale that the lambs to the slaughter er, clients actually buy. If anyone reading this can clarify those arrangements, please drop me a line at the email address here.

I pointed to a recent promotional email doing the rounds in typical bullish tones, in this case inviting people who want to “retire through property in 2011 without hype, nonsense or unfounded promises” and “create cash flow safely, simply and fast!” to join a sales-pitch/educational tour taking in Phoenix and Memphis early next year — to look at the exceptional ‘opportunities’ the local spruikers will find for the strangers on their shores.

Well, out of nowhere (i.e. I didn’t sign up for the emails) I’ve now started receiving email promotions from a spruiker in Blackpool, England (!) offering me … guess what? … cheap properties in Memphis! Ha! Who woulda thunk it? See… this is today’s message:

Email marketing from a UK-based promoter selling 'amazing deals' in Memphis USA to investors

Don’t you love the Christmas theme? Classy.

Now, call me skeptical (I’ve been called worse) but I just wonder how and why these ‘amazing’ these deals with their ‘amazing’ finance packages aren’t being snaffled up by the locals. Why is that, do you think, if they’re soooo amazing? Huh?

I pay attention on these matters and others to Australian author and whistle-blower Neil Jenman, scourge of the property spruikers, who says it loud and says it plain (written for Aussies, but tune in Kiwis):

AMERICAN WARNING

A deadly trap for Aussie investors.

by Neil Jenman

Here’s a confident prediction: Hundreds (probably thousands) of Australian investors are going to lose millions of dollars in the American property market.

Right now, it seems to be all the rage, the latest fad. Buy real estate in the United States. It’s easy. Prices for American homes are so low and our dollar is so high that an investment in ‘the home of the brave and the land of the free’ seems like a really good idea.

Unfortunately, it’s not a good idea. For the average mum-and-dad Australian investor, buying real estate in America is a very bad idea. Never mind what the Aussie spruikers tell you, never mind how good it sounds, it really is too good to be true.

These days, a number of Australian spruikers have set up companies and are selling real estate in America to Aussies. Some of the men ‘behind’ these companies are the same villains who were once ripping off investors with over-priced property deals in Australia. As any police officer will tell you, once a crook, always a crook.

Yes, I know it sounds wonderful. The numbers are enticing. You’ll be told that you can buy a house for as little as $50,000 and rent it out for about $200 a week. That’s a twenty per cent return. It seems like a no-brainer. In reality, it’s an investment for people who don’t have the brains to spot a scam. And while I don’t mean to be rude, I do mean to protect you from getting stung. … Read on at Jenman.com.au

Don’cha just love a straight-talker? I do.

Meanwhile, Dean Letfus, the NZ spruiker and (arguably) most high profile ‘educator’ (ahem) lining up the tour of Kiwi investors to Memphis said in a recent promotional blog post:

And more recently I have taken the time to really understand the international property market and found a “genuine” cash flow solution for many people in the USA. [Comment: oh boy! Now he 'really understands' the international property market too!] I am more excited about this than anything I have ever been involved in business wise because it is so straight forward and such an amazing product that I never knew about before. The numbers stand up to all scrutiny and there is nothing to “sell”. It is just a great way to solve the cash-flow problem.

Sigh.

Dear Reader, decide for yourself who you’re going to believe. Enough said.