Days of get-rich-quick property consultants are numbered


Every cloud has a silver lining and for many the benefit of today's downturn will be the demise of get-rich-quick merchants who, during boom times, have exploited the desire of many less-informed investors to put their money into bricks and mortar.

Good riddance, I say.

The most exploitative of them all in Britain, a company called Inside Track, has just gone into administration blaming the dip in prices. The company, which was set up in 2001, ran investment seminars for prospective buy-to-let investors who were encouraged to purchase property off-plan with the intention of 'flipping' – that is, selling the property before completion at a profit.

It was not an amateur organisation, as its slick sales techniques – which bordered on bullying – persuaded literally thousands of people to sign up for its training sessions.

In reality a 30-minute search on Google would tell people everything they needed to know. But Inside Track ruthlessly charged about £2,500 (Dh18,000) for seminars and then persuaded the most innocent of its clients to join a 'property club' for a further £10,000, which would lead to you meeting developers.

Most countries have their versions of Inside Track, praying on what seems to be an insatiable appetite for property investment. Some of the firms advocate buying in the home country, others abroad. But they all have one thing in common – they appear to over-charge clients and play down the risks. By late this year many of them will have gone.