Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Behind the Boom and Bust in Real-Estate

This is a case of business people yelling ot the government: "save us from ourselves."

A firm that acted as a middle man in a popular real-estate-investment strategy has closed its doors, leaving investors scrambling to recover millions and pointing to flaws in the largely unregulated industry.

Emphasis added to make a point. Here's another point:

Vesta was founded in 2004 by Chicago businessman John Terzakis and his partner, Robert Estupinian. Prior to starting Vesta, Mr. Terzakis had a history of failed real-estate deals and soured relationships -- information Mr. Terzakis isn't required to disclose to potential clients.

Not required to disclose he had a history? Why? Should not that be considered material?

Californian Christina Pappas was seeking to carry out a 1031 exchange when, on the advice of her escrow company, she handed over $2.5 million to Vesta in April from the sale of a property. She soon found another building to purchase within the IRS-mandated 180-day time frame. But a Vesta representative failed to wire her money to complete the property exchange by the June 16 closing, and still hasn't done so, she says.

The 57-year-old Ms. Pappas filed suit against Vesta last month, but she fears she won't recoup the money, which accounted for much of her retirement savings. "If I would have known any of this, I would have paid my taxes instead" of attempting a 1031 exchange, she says.

If she had known? She handed over 2.5 million, and didn't know? Ouch.

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