John Beck - Free & Clear Real Estate System
Page last updated April 28, 2009
Images added January 20, 2007
All links verified January 14, 2007
Please be sure to read my DISCLAIMER
NOTE: This page Under Construction/Conversion
This page has not been completely converted to OFPv2 Standards.
When this is completed, this paragraph will go away.
Meanwhile, all external links on this page open a new window.
John Beck's Free and Clear
Real Estate System Infomercial
John Beck's "Free & Clear System" or "Free and Clear Real Estate System"
Two fairly attractive people (Debby Rosenthal and Jeff Mirasola), show fantastic-looking homes, giving extremely low prices. They ALMOST complete each others' sentences as in other infomercials, but they are excitedly showing these pictures and telling you that someone bought that home for literally a few hundred dollars. Then they introduce John Beck, a grandfatherly man, who tells them about this system.
John explains that taxes are the way local governments pay for their infrastructure, and when they are not paid, most states and counties have priority over the mortgage companies to recoup the taxes before the home is foreclosed.
All three go through numerous pictures of homes, with John stating for how much they were purchased, the others incredulous that properties like the ones shown can be bought for the dollar amounts mentioned.
FYI: Debby Rosenthal is an actress and voice-over personality. (Click her name for her website.) Jeff Mirasola is the Public Relations Manager and a spokesman for Qwest Communications International Inc., usually in Arizona.
As with many of these Biz Opps (Business Opportunities), the owner/author/CEO/whatever has usually be extremely successful in what they are selling. In this case, John Beck says he started out buying and selling tax sale/auction properties, and his business "took off". And then (of course), he learned an amazing secret that boosted his sales even higher. And he wants to share his "secrets" with us.
Again, as with others, John Beck became an expert, started doing seminars, and writing books to go with them. He's expanded the books he originally wrote by adding new ones to the mix.
The package includes: Amazing Profits; Free and Clear Real Estate Directory; Free and Clear Properties By Mail; Pennies On The Dollar Tax Lien Edition; Pennies On The Dollar Tax Deed Edition; Making Money On The Internet; Free and Clear Making Money on the Internet CD-ROM; Quick Start DVD; Tax Sale Property Vault Membership (1st Month Free and thereafter, you will be billed $39.95 [a month] after the 1st month [$39.95 is also the cost of the media]. There is no mention about being billed $40 a month for the membership in the infomercial. This may be in fine print I missed, but it is stated on the website.
From my understanding, most of this information is at least 2-4 years old (a life-time in Internet-land), and most of the details don't really apply in today's world. The principles, of course, are still valid, and if you've never done anything in real estate at all, it MIGHT help.
There are numerous sites on the internet with free articles and information to help you start a business. There are MANY real-estate-specific sites out there. See my Shams/Infomercial Info Links and other links on that page for some of these sites.
From the Original OFP Infomercial Info page
From all I've read, John Beck's Free and Clear System is a way they can get rid of poorly written books, which some people called "pamphlets with large print and wide margins", and some say that most of the information is hopelessly out of date. It sounds like it could be one of those books you get at lectures where they show slides or PowerPoint Presentations on the screen, then give or sell you the same presentation in book form.
John Beck's system has to do with Tax Sales, where the people who own the property have not paid their property taxes and the state or locality has basically threatened them with putting the property up for sale for the back taxes, or for auction for possibly MORE than the taxes.
Don't forget there's still a mortgage involved. The infomercial states that the government has priority to collect the taxes over the mortgage. This is true. However, after talking with my father (who just recently retired from almost 30 years in the real-estate business, and who owned a bunch of properties in Lafayette - and still owns some, to his chagrin) and reading a few websites, I feel I need to point out a few things:
Let's say YOU own a house worth $100,000 and you're selling it to someone under contract (read mortgage, here). They are to make all property tax and insurance payments. If you don't get the bills for these yourself, you're the fool. If and when they fall behind on the taxes, the state MAY give them one more chance. If this is not paid in a "timely manner" (and this can vary, state to state, locality to locality), they will put the property up for sale to recover those taxes.
Now, if you knew about this (found out they hadn't paid taxes on the property), would you allow the state to sell YOUR $100,000 house for $252.55 (made up number, but the amount is close to some of what John Beck says you can buy houses of this or higher value)? No... You'd pay it yourself and charge the contractee, or you would pay it yourself and foreclose.
Well, guess what banks do? Duh!
In almost all states, there is a "recovery" period, where the current mortgage owner of the home is allowed to pay the taxes and penalties. These range in time - I saw one message that said their state allowed up to THREE (3) YEARS.
What this means is that while you may be able to get a lien on the property, meaning they must pay you first when they sell it, you must wait that period of time before you can take ownership of the property. And at any time during that period, if the mortgagee pays those taxes (or you, if you have the lien), you no longer have ANY interest (financially) in that property.
In other words, if you DO buy a property this way, you CANNOT "flip it" or sell it to anyone else until you take complete ownership. Again, at any time during that period, the bank and/or owner can pay that tax and it's over.
In other words, the only properties that you can do what the infomercial(s) say you can with tax certificate properties are those that have "slipped through the cracks" at the bank, the original owner of the property, or even those who are paying on the mortgage. DO NOT COUNT on it. Most of the properties on which this would happen are ones NO ONE wants.
Also, think about this... What if you, yourself, "fell on hard times" and could only pay for the house and not the taxes for a short time. What would you think of the people who attempted to "buy" your home for "pennies on the dollar", right out from under you?
Yes... They may not care because they are making money, but...
Now, if the house or property is empty and has been for some time, that's a different story. But THEN remember that not only will you pay the "back taxes", but the current taxes, and you will be responsible for those taxes until you sell it. This is true in all cases where you purchase a property.
As for the insurance I mentioned, above...
MAKE SURE, if you are selling a property on contract that the buyers HAVE and continue to carry insurance on it. What happens if they don't and the house burns down? You can no longer collect from them, therefore YOU may no longer be able to pay the bank or taxes and be in the situation of the people, above. AND, in this lawsuit-happy age, what happens if someone actually falls and gets hurt in the house/on the property? They will not only sue them, but YOU (since you are ultimately the owner of the building), and anyone else they can, and ... You get the idea?
Mentoring of America
Something else, John appears to at least partially OWN Mentoring of America. A couple of weeks after you receive your package, you will get a call from them. They will ask numerous questions, and tell you that you need the information they give you to succeed with the system. (Apparently, any "free support" in the package doesn't include this coaching - It's probably more access to the sites, you were "also" given.)
It's also my understanding that many of the questions have to do with how much money you have available on credit cards. If you tell them, they will charge almost the full available amount. Otherwise, they are looking for a certain dollar amount, and, if you can't manage it on your current cards, they will point to you online credit card companies with free or low-interest introductory rates and a limit of about $5000, most of which they will then ask for.
Please be sure to check out my Business Opportunity Coaching and Mentoring Services page. There's more about this scam, there.
I suggest that even if you decide to purchase John's system, DO NOT under any circumstances accede to Mentoring of America, and pay for "coaching".
Following are links to what appear to be "main" sites for the product.
- John Beck's Free & Clear Real Estate System - John Beck's Official Site
- The Official Site of John Beck, Free and Clear Real Estate Investing for Pennies on the Dollar
- John Beck's Amazing Profits Official Portal
- JohnBeckRealEstate.com - John Beck will help you buy Real Estate for pennies on the dollar!!
- among MANY others. (John Beck may also be affiliated with the mentoring company (he SHOULD be), the tax company and various other companies they "recommend".)
Question: How many "official" sites can one man/product have?
(All found & reviewed January 28, 2007)
All of the following information found using the www.bbb.org Company Search, looking for "Jeff Paul".
Record: Satisfactory ("... no customer complaints ... in its [the BBB's] three-year reporting period")
- John Beck Free & Clear Real Estate
- John Beck Free and Clear R E
- John Beck Free and Clear real
- Marketing Solutions International
- Mentoring Institute
- 12843 Muscation Street, Arleta, CA
- 582 North Volusia Avenue, Orange City, FL
- 582 North Volusia Ave., Orange City, FL
Record: "... processed a total of 0 complaints ... in the last 36 months"
- Mentoring of America, LLC
- None listed
Record: "... this company has an UNSATISFACTORY RECORD with the Bureau due to unanswered complaints. The company has RESOLVED some complaints presented by the Bureau, however, the Bureau did not receive a response to OTHER COMPLAINTS."
- None listed
- None listed
(Los Angeles, CA) BBB - Company Report Details - John Becks Free and Clear - P.O. Box 570 / Van Nuys, CA (not a member)
We strongly question the company’s reliability for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law’s licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations, or the company’s industry is known for its fraudulent business practices.
[January 27, 2007 - Source: LABBB (see above) -BS]
- John Becks Free and Clear
- John Beck's Free & Clear Real Estate System
- Amazing Profits
- John Beck Free & Clear
- None listed
Records: UNAVAILABLE (being Updated)
- None listed
- 14183 Minuteman Dr Ste 201 / Draper, UT
- 2202 N Main St Ste 103 / Cedar City, UT
- 1071 E 100 S / St George, UT
- 404 W 5050 N / Provo, UT 84604
- 752 E 1180 S / American Fork, UT
Las Vegas BBB - John Beck's Free and Clear Real Estate 1841 Whitney Mesa Dr. #100 / Henderson, NV (not a member)
Records: "... processed a total of 3 complaints ... in the last 36 months ... 1 was/were closed in the last year"
- Mentoring of America, LLC ("John Beck’s Free & Clear Real Estate d/b/a Mentoring of America, LLC is physically located in Salt Lake City")
- None listed
This section lists the sites where I found "negative" comments about the people and company, and/or the product. Some of the terms "sham", "scam", "scams", "flim-flam", "complain", "complaints", "rip", "rip-off", "fraud", "warning", similar words, and maybe just "review" were used in searching for negative comments.
WARNING: Be aware that some of the following sites may be attempting to sell their own or lead you into buying another product. If you consider their (or others') offers, at least do as much research on them as you would in looking for a new house, car or doctor before buying anything. Also, be sure to read and understand any company's Privacy Policies and Terms/Conditions, too. A "$$" indicates these sites.
PLEASE be sure to check out this site before you even THINK of ordering this system - TWELVE (12) PAGES (01/14/2007 - up from NINE (9) page 07/2006) of complaints at:
- INFOMERCIAL SCAMS.COM - JOHN BECK FREE AND CLEAR COMPLAINTS (defenses link, too)
Apparently, there are SOME cases where they don't have problems, but there are many others who have found/stated that though the infomercial says you get everything you need for $39.95, apparently, they mean $39.95 A MONTH!
Here's there start of 15 pages (as of 07/14/2007) on the RipOff Report (BadBusniessBureau) forums:
Rip-off Report.com - badbusinessbureau.com - Search results
for "John Beck"
- John Beck Free And Clear Real Estate Seminar Aka Mentoring Of America Aka ... ripoff, deception, scam, will not take ownership of problems Van Nuys California - One of the (longer, more detailed) items
- J.C. Sbicca's Wealth-Building Program Cirtiques - John Beck Scam (WARNING: Audio/Video item - $$)
- Mazu Publishing - John Beck ($$ - hasn't reviewed, but makes some good points)
- John T. Reed's view of various real estate investment gurus - John Beck (Says Beck was formerly very good guru... Now... .No)
- Foreclosure information - Real estate investing advice - Foreclosures.com ($$)
- Intellibiz.com - A Simple Man's
Guide to Real Estate - John Beck Review
($$ - Read what they say that Beck never states in the infomercial...
Be at least a little leery, because they are attempting to sell their own books and programs.)
It DOES "appear" they are more honest than the TV gurus are - See:
- Intellibiz.com - Tax Certificate Liens & Sales for info about tax sales/auctions/certificates
- Intellibiz.com - Secrets of Preforeclosures for info about foreclosures and preforeclosures
- Intellibiz.com - Techniques in A Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate for info about some of the things they cover in THEIR course(s)
- Taipei Times - archives - Quacks, scams and infomercials (Originally from the NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, NEW YORK - Beck is mentioned, among many others, and interviews with a few of the sites I reference and quote)
- Inside Edition - Real Estate Infomercial Investigation (Airdate: 04/28/2009 - I've had this page up for over a year, and Beck's been doing infomercials from well before that. Why'd it take them so long?) In case the link disappears, here's the transcript I saved as a PDF from the site. (Inside Edition - Real Estate Infomercial Investigation. NOTE: They own the copyright to the transcript, not I.)
- None found - John IS a lawyer, so I'm sure everything is technically "legal", if not ethical.
by Bill Sanders © 2007 - email: