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Avoiding Hidden Commissions: Property Spruikers

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Open Book Property, 16th Aug, 2015.

  1. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi all,

    Just dropping a line to introduce ourselves. We are an investor friendly group (of uni students) who want to help people avoid paying hidden and unnecessary commissions.

    Many people decide to use real estate as part of their investment strategy.

    Along the way, there are countless 'gurus' or 'property advisers' only too willing to take advantage of those who are inexperienced or just unaware of their true motivations.

    These individuals may seem smart, charismatic and successful. Unfortunately, in many cases their apparent success is at your expense.

    We provide a simple way to help check whether you are receiving honest advice that is not conflicted by large hidden commissions.

    We aim to help save you tens of thousands of dollars, for free.

    Check us out and drop us a line at our website or on Facebook:

    http://openbookproperty.myfreesites.net/
    https://www.facebook.com/openbookproperty

    We don't make any money doing this - we do it because we hate seeing people getting ripped off.

    Anyone involved in the property advice industry, feel free to complete a copy of this simple survey - any honest practitioners should welcome this as an opportunity to help clean up the reputation the industry has unfortunately earned for itself:

    http://openbookproperty.myfreesites.net/blog/a-simple-survey-for-property-advisers

    Thanks all!

    The Team at OBP.
     
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  2. Tekoz

    Tekoz Well-Known Member

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    Ok what service that you provides ?

    What are the fee or commission structure for building the portfolio ?
     
  3. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi Tekoz,

    We are not an 'adviser' and do not provide advice in relation to building an investment portfolio.

    What we do is try and help people avoid the bad practices that have taken over the property advice industry - hidden commissions, conflicted and bad advice.

    We do this by gathering information and responses from people / organisations engaged in providing advice in relation to real estate investment. We aim to create a public record which can be used by potential investors to help them avoid the pit falls of being the subject of dodgy and conflicted advice. Since this is an area that is not well regulated, we are going to do our best to try and increase transparency and hopefully save some people a lot of money.

    Our end goal is to make our service redundant - to make dodgy property spruikers who take hidden commissions and provide conflicted advice so fearful of being caught out for their bad practices that they simply give up.

    If you or anyone you know are thinking of using a property advisory service, drop us a line and we will do some of the up-front due diligence and make our findings public.

    If you have any other questions we are a happy to help - drop us a line at www.openbookproperty.myfreesites.net, or on facebook www.facebook.com/openbookproperty.

    Kind Regards
    OBP
     
    Last edited: 16th Aug, 2015
  4. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    And once this free service gets well known, how much will it cost to use?
     
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  5. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    Exactly who is behind the website? There are no details on the site about who is operating it.
     
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  6. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi Dave,

    Precisely zero bucks - while we admit there is not a lot of money to be made in doing things for free, making money is not really our aim with this service. It does not really cost us a lot or consume so much time that we need to charge for it. The wonders of the internet!

    If we can help even a few prospective investors avoid getting sucked into a bad situation because of dodgy, conflicted advice and hidden commissions then we will consider it mission accomplished.

    Hope that answers your question, and happy to respond to any others you might have.

    Cheers!
    OBP
     
  7. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi Simon,

    The operators are a group of uni students who have had a pretty good look inside the industry - and didn't like a lot of what they saw. The reason for the anonymity is simple - we have had hands on experience dealing with some of the parties engaged in the dodgy practices which we would like to see gone from the industry, and we know that they are not going to be too happy about what we are aiming to do - helping to bring transparency to the space.

    We have seen what happens when individuals put themselves in front of these kinds of things as a face - usually, it gets pretty nasty. Instead, we aim to offer a free service based on an idea - not individuals - to the benefit of investors and the broader community.

    We hope this provides a bit of an insight and we are happy to answer any other questions you might have.

    Kind Regards
    OBP
     
  8. willair

    willair Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Welcome to the site,maybe work out first what you want to become a thinker or have the characteristics of a defender both can be very successful , but the truth is more complicated and more unknown ,and as I said for a long time social media can put anyone on the social media bbq plate,but first be very clear-eyed what else you intend to get from what you intend to get from something like this..
     
  9. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi willair,

    We appreciate the advice. Our answer: It is all a bit of an experiment, hopefully for the better. We want to see if it is possible to use the powers of the internet to clean up an industry so that only the honest players with their client's best interests at heart survive. A bit of a challenge, but what is life without one!

    We will admit that going up against some fairly entrenched vested interests is a bit scary - wish us luck.

    Cheers
    OBP
     
  10. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    Hardly transparent if you are hiding behind anonymity isn't it?
     
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  11. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi Simon,

    We are aiming to bring transparency to the industry - not to showboat and draw attention to individuals. We are a team of uni students working together on an idea - to rid the industry of dodgy operators. We can't imagine that anyone needs to know the name of each individual student (what on earth would they need that for?! We shudder to think!). We are mostly from Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology.

    The benefit of what we are doing for investors is clear - there is no real point that could be argued against helping people to understand how the advisers they are dealing with get paid (there is no point at all, in fact). That this is not already mandatory is pretty much just a regulatory loop-hole that we have confidence will eventually be closed (then we will have to find something else to fill our free time with, drat!). In the meantime, the group of students behind the project will probably change from week to week, but the idea won't.

    We hope that helps you understand Simon. We would offer to send a spreadsheet with each student's name to you on a regular basis so that you could keep up to date, but we think that would be pretty iffy from a privacy standpoint.

    Let us know if there is anything else we can do to help - we are happy to (especially if you are thinking about dealing with a property adviser!).

    Regards
    OBP
     
  12. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Its a potentially good idea. But secret commissions are generally kept a secret - disguised as marketing fees or some other way. If you ask someone if they are receiving one they may deny it - how do you really know though.
     
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  13. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Agreeing with the comments above. You need to be more open especially on websites like this one as we are a cautious lot.
     
  14. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

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    I'm not selling anything
    At least stump up for a domain name if you want to be taken seriously.

    Anyway, I'm really not sure what the result is going to be, make people answer the survey and then hope they feel guilty?
     
  15. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi Chilliblue,

    We just wish more people were as cautious as you when they deal with so-called property 'advisers'! Wouldn't it be great if they had that wary instinct and could avoid getting ripped off - but in its absence, we are going to try and do our little bit to help.

    Regarding posting the names of the individuals working on the project - not going to happen in the short term - we take your point though, and will look to have a bit of background info (e.g. "A group of students, mostly from QUT and Griffith").

    At the end of the day though, we are fairly confident the good, honest players in the sector are going to strongly advocate for the same changes we do - and from our initial enquiries, they already do. The more we can get on-board the better!

    Regards
    OBP
     
  16. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi S. T,

    The survey in our blog is just to kick things off - we admit that we expect the take up of that particular offer to pretty low (maybe even zero). It is intended partly as a signalling device as well - we are serious about reducing the level of nonsense that goes on so we explicitly call out some of the practices we would like to see gone. More to come in this space!

    As a bit of a fun project, that we are also quite passionate about, we will look to make things better as we go along (take it easy! Uni students live off two minute noodles as it is - and when you are doing things for free you don't make a lot of money!).

    As far as how we expect to influence the industry, we will do our best to call out bad practice where we see it - and let individuals take it from there.

    Cheers!
    OBP
     
  17. Peter_Tersteeg

    Peter_Tersteeg Finance broker and strategist Business Member

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    @Open Book Property the concept of what you're doing may be well meaning, but you're potentially walking a dangerous line. Whilst property isn't a regulated financial product, other aspects around property such as real estate, finance, accounting and conveyancing are heavily regulated.

    At this point what you're doing appears to be fairly benign, but if you get too far into this, you probably are going to have to get properly organised and appropriately licensed. The people you're going after do have the appropriate licenses. In any formal argument (legal or regulatory), they win, you loose.
     
  18. Open Book Property

    Open Book Property Member

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    Hi Peter,

    We are basically a blog and news service that makes public our opinion of information that is freely provided to us, or where we made an enquiry and none was provided. There isn't really a blog license as yet, but we will be sure to sign up when they do become available!

    Regarding what these people are doing - there is no significant licensing or regulatory oversight of the people we are going after. We are talking marketers and spruikers here. There is no requirement to be licensed to provide 'property advice', so not quite sure where you are getting your information - feel free to forward it at your convenience! Regarding lawyers, accountants, RE agents etc. - not really interested in helping to over regulate these spaces - we are going after the unregulated end of the spectrum - spruiking and dodgy, conflicted property 'advice'.

    Hope that clears things up for you Peter.

    Regards
    OBP
     
  19. Excalibur1

    Excalibur1 Well-Known Member

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    why dont you start your investigations on "property advisers / spruikers" now. So that you can build a database of people that are doing dodgy things instead of waiting for people to email you and ask about it.

    Anonymity doesn't work when you are "dealing" in transparency. Surely you can understand how people can be skeptical of the service you offer?

    Lets say you write some nice things about Henry Kaye, how can we know Henry didn't pay you to do that?

    I think the idea is good, but it is already covered in here and any other property investment forum. You just need to google the name and you are sure to find it on one or two forums. I still cant see how it is you are contributing? The only thing I can see is that you collect information and creating a database of "naughty" people.

    How will you investigate those supposed property advisers? who determines what they are doing is right or wrong?
     
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  20. Peter_Tersteeg

    Peter_Tersteeg Finance broker and strategist Business Member

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    I'm kind of suggesting that you might want to look into some sort of real estate licensing. I'm fully aware that property education is not regulated, which is what most spruikers are peddling, but most do have an REI or an association with one.

    They also tend to have finance components to their business, such as an in house mortgage broker. This requires a finance license (I hold one of these myself).

    Frankly even if there was a license for blogging (it would fall under journalism), it's utterly worthless these days.

    One of the most vocal voices against property spruikers is Neil Jenman. There's a lot he says that is also somewhat self serving, but he does have the credentials to be able to actually make the statements he's making.
     
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