How Not to Do It- - Posted by Rene Perrin

Posted by Rick Vesole on April 01, 1999 at 02:07:42:

Going after him in a civil lawsuit might work, but he probably doesn’t have a pot to p*ss in. It might cost you more to get the judgment than what you could collect. However, this avenue should definitely be explored.

Perhaps if you would contact the local prosecutors office, they might pursue him for criminal theft. If convicted, he might be required to pay restitution as a condition for any probation or parole. i suspect that this guy may have a criminal record, and if so, it might not be so hard to convince the prosecutors to go after him.

How Not to Do It- - Posted by Rene Perrin

Posted by Rene Perrin on March 31, 1999 at 17:53:53:

Well I learned a very hard earned lesson today. (Actually I learned it over the past 8 or 9 months.) Back in July of '98 I met a very enterprising young man named Robbie Browning online. I am in NJ and he is in GA. I “partnered” with him where I funded the purchase and rehab costs of 7 older MH’s to the tune of $11,500 that were located on a dealer’s lot (trade-ins.) I also funded the purchase of one MH that was located in a park for $1,500. The deal was that I was to supply the financing and he would supply the sweat equity to turn these older homes into profitable Lonnie Deals. I was to get a return of all of my cash first and then we were to split the “profits.”

To make a long story short, my “partner” never rehabbed the MH’s. He has disappeared off the face of the earth except to collect the $200 per month coming in off of the MH that was located in the park. I found out some more news when I talked to his mother and also to someone at the dealership this afternoon. (I was planning to take a 1,000 mile drive down there to see what I could do to salvage things.)

It turns out that there are not 7 MH’s anymore. My “partner” traded the 3 best homes for a motorcycle, a car, and free rent somewhere. So I am left with 4 MH’s in very bad shape that the dealer said were worth about $300 each but, would cost about $800-$1,000 to move and set up. Additionally, there has been $200 per month coming in for the last 8 months to my “partner” to fund his existence I suppose. (Title went in his name.)

I am sure there is something that could still be done to protect my legal rights but, I was very trusting i.e. stupid, and did not formulate a partnership agreement. So I would be going on verbal contracts. In addition, since the MH’s were at the lot, we were going to have the title transfers passed on to the end buyers. (We never took title.)

I’ve learned a very frustrating and expensive lesson here. My father used to tell me to “trust everyone but, always cut the cards.” Shoulda, woulda, coulda… Think I’ll stay in my own backyard for awhile. Hope you guys can learn from my stupidity.


Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Tim (Atlanta)

Posted by Tim (Atlanta) on April 01, 1999 at 06:39:44:

I live in Atlanta, if there is anything I can do to help you in your situation, please e-mail me and I would be glad to help.

Well - Posted by Dirk Roach

Posted by Dirk Roach on April 01, 1999 at 03:06:46:

Hi Rene,
I, like everyone else, am sorry to hear about your situation. I think that you are bearing it GREAT though, you have followed the number one rule, which is never get emotional about deals.
With everyone I deal with I always tell them that I don’t play baseball, one strike and your out with me.
However, hindsight is 20/20. Yes you should have done 1 Lonnie deal with the guy, to see if it could even be done. You should have gotten things in writing etc.
Anyhow a point in your story which disturbs me is that being someone who deals with investors, all it takes is one bad apple to sour the basket.
Myself I offer to guarantee the notes etc. This seems to help. And I involve investors through the process, by phone, email, whatever.
However most importantly I tell them to check out my reputation first and foremost.
It’s quite apparent in this business that rep is very important. Whether you’re doing a Lonnie Deal or buying a 16-story office building.
I’ll tell you the thing about this whole matter is really, here you are trying to help out this young buck, while putting a little coin in your pocket, a true win/win.
I wish that the park were closer to home, mine that is, I would be happy to check things out for you. However wish in one hand…
Anyhow best of luck,

Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by JOHNMAN

Posted by JOHNMAN on March 31, 1999 at 23:27:58:

You’re not alone on the “trusting” part. I too was taken but atleast I know these people are here and I will be taking them to court real soon. My ex-contractor just left me hanging. I paid them the money with the understnding work is being done. They did enough to keep me away. I found out they didn’t hook-up my plumbing and electrical. These were all paid for plus other stuff. I am out another $8,800. This is paying for the work they should have completed. I also trusted them but I do have a contract. They will see me in court!

Don’t feel bad! You just got knocked down. GET BACK UP, LEARN FROM THIS AND MOOOOOOVE FORWARD!!! HOO HOOOOOOOO!! Sorry! I got carried away!

See yah,

Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Nick

Posted by Nick on March 31, 1999 at 21:23:55:

This is amazing. I am sorry to hear of this unfortunate
incident. I remember Robbie Browning, he was quite a
successful real estate investor. Why would he do
something like this?

Re: Can someone help Rene? - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on March 31, 1999 at 21:00:07:

Is there anyone living close enough who can check out these MH?s and figure a way to make a deal out of this? Can they be moved into a park, fixed up and sold? Can they be sold “as is-where is?” Could the dealer find a buyer and Rene finances the deal?? I?m sure Rene would be willing to listen to any suggestions. How about it folks, put your thinking caps on and let?s see if we can help Rene salvage something from this.

Who lives in the area of these MH?s and wants to give it a try? This is your chance to get some experience and I?m sure Rene would be willing to share in the profits. Let?s hear your suggestions and ideas.


Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Lee

Posted by Lee on March 31, 1999 at 20:30:40:

I’ve got assess to a truck, Know where the bike is?
I’m ready, U ?


PS U-Haul rents car dollies.


Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on March 31, 1999 at 20:28:20:

Hi Rene,

Sorry to hear about your expensive “seminar”. It?s always sad to hear stories like yours, but if it?s any consolation, every successful investor has made their share of costly mistakes. But rather than letting your mistakes turn you off from doing deals, look at it as a learning experience and look for the next deal. Mistakes are where we learn our most valuable lessons.

I?ve had the same thing happen to me more than I care to tell. And I don?t really know how to protect yourself against every person you do business with, unless you simply stopping doing business. And that?s certainly not the answer. I?m sure I don?t have to tell you not to do business with someone you don?t really know and trust. But even then, you will get burned from time to time. I once partnered a MH deal with a man in NC. This was a man I had known for years and who had one of the best reputations of anyone I had ever known.

In this case, like you, I put up the money to buy a MH. The home was placed in his park, he kept it rented, and we split the profits. For several years, everything was just as we agreed. My checks were always there on time. Then for some unexplainable and still unknown reason, he did 180 turn. He stopped paying his investors, wouldn?t answer the phone and turned into a thief and a liar. And all the time he was still collecting payments from his tenants, but he just wouldn?t pay anyone.

Fortunately, I came out all right because at the time we did the deal, I had the title in my name and I held the title. When I made plans to have the home pulled out of his park, he paid me up, and bought me out.

Frankly, I?ve never liked partnerships, and what few I?ve been involved in, turned out bad. So I don?t do any more. If I can?t do the deal without a partner, I don?t do it. So how do you protect yourself in a partnership? I wish I could give you a fool-proof plan, but I can?t. But I will give you a few suggestions that I?ve learned over the years.

  1. If the deal requires me to put up my money, then I maintain complete control and make the decisions. If the other party wants control, they put up their money.

  2. Always do your “due diligence”. Check and verify everything you?re told, BEFORE you write the check. That?s why I don?t do deals more than 30-60 minutes from my house. I can check everything before I do the deal, and if I should have a problem, I can be on top of it quickly. If it?s a 1,000 miles away, I either have to go there, or find someone I trust to handle the problem for me. I don?t like either choice.

  3. Don?t get greedy, or to lazy, to take care of your business. Greed is what causes most people to get burned and lose their shirts. And I?ve been guilty of that, also.

  4. Regardless of what the fancy calculators and computer programs tell you, your gut feeling is often your best indicator of what you should, or should not do. Looking back, I can see that most of my mistakes happened as a result of going against my gut feeling.

  5. Don?t look for business partners on the Internet There?s an old story I often tell. Two men went into a partnership. One had the money, the other had the experience. After a short time, the one with the experience had the money, and the one with the money had the experience.

Rene, I hope you can salvage something out of your bad deal, but more importantly, I hope you will learn that making a mistake it?s the worst thing that will happen. In my opinion, the worst mistake people make is to do nothing. Now, go do a good deal and report back to us when you?ve done it…

Best wishes for a great future,


Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Stacy (AZ)

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on March 31, 1999 at 18:59:53:

This sounds like a fellow that used to frequent this board about a year ago, and ripped-off some of the regulars here. Any of you who have been around this board for a while probably know who I’m talking about. I wonder if he’s just moved and started to use an alias.

Anyway, I’m sorry about your misfortune. I hope your post will help some people. Thanks for sharing it…must have been a little hard to do.


Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Dave

Posted by Dave on March 31, 1999 at 18:46:28:

Sorry to hear of your misfortune,it’s loosers like your “partner” that make things tough on the beginning investor trying to gain peoples trust. Trust is important in this business, but like you say “Cut the cards” Hang in there don’t let him steal something even more valuable-opportunity!Not all are ripoffs, And you know in the end it’s he that really lost out!

Re: How Not to Do It- - Posted by Kellie

Posted by Kellie on April 01, 1999 at 15:51:01:

When having remodelling done on your own house or when hiring a builder to build a home, you are advised to pay as you go and check the work before signing any checks. Seems this would be the only way to go with investment deals, too, no?

Re: Can someone help Rene? - Posted by Rene Perrin

Posted by Rene Perrin on March 31, 1999 at 21:39:09:


Thanks for the kind words. At this point, I am chalking it up to “experience.” The problem I am having is that he went and put the homes in his name which was contrary to our oral agreement.

When I spoke to his mother this afternoon, she told me that he said that I’m s.o.l. because the homes are titled in his name. So even if I could finance the remaining ones (and believe me…I’d finance just about anyone at this point,) I doubt that I could get title.

I am considering trying to pursue him for fraud, getting a judgement, and then seeing if I can get something in the future. At this point the guy doesn’t have a phone or an address for that matter. His mom is going to try to help me any way she can. The only thing I have verifying our agreement is some e-mails that were sent back and forth but, nothing formal.

I’m not disheartened by this at all. Ticked off? You bet! Glad I learned this as a relatively cheap lesson.

Thanks to all who have responded- Happy Investing!