CASCADE FUNDING, INC.
WARNING! (Updated 08/21/11) There has long been a troubling practice in our field of investment: companies and individuals offering note or cash-flow brokering seminars, courses, books & tapes, and the like. Judging from the large number of calls we've been receiving lately from "graduates" of these programs, there seems to be a substantial increase in these activities. The entities selling these programs are often seen on television infomercials, frequently employing pseudo-celebrities to hawk their courses. Some of them send out unsolicited tickets to introduction seminars held at hotels; some offer so called on-line note or mortgage networks or exchanges; some say they are mentoring programs. Many of the graduates of these programs have told us that they have spent literally thousands of dollars on some of these programs. This is outrageous. Make no mistake about it, the people selling these courses are really in the business of selling dreams: the old get-rich-quick, be-your-own-boss, work-at-home diatribe. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is applies well in these cases and should be heeded. Our advice is to stay away from anyone offering these programs. If you've gone through one, and paid the promoters a lot of money, we suggest you do everything possible to get your money back. These programs often provide inadequate training, inaccurately represent the businesses they claim to teach, fail to inform students of legal pitfalls, and generally are in the business to take your money.
The FTC actions described above give much validity to the arguments presented below. The various claims made and practices used to sell note brokering, note buying, or cash-flow courses are very similar regardless of the company or individuals selling them. We were/are confident that the FTC has/will prevail(ed) in the above cases and are further confident that they will expand their efforts to other individuals and companies engaging in these practices.
The sections below present our opinions on some of the claims we've heard made by those selling cash-flow (note) brokering or investing programs. We will expand this list as more are made aware to us (Press the key combination Ctrl-D to add this page to your browser Favorites. If you have a web site, you may provide a link to this page also.).
1. Buy our program now and get in on the ground floor of this amazing industry!
The Truth: Investing in and brokering cash flows has been around for a long time. We work with people who have been doing this for over 30 years. This is nothing new. You should recognize that by the time the infomercial, seminar-giving class of people start touring the country with any type of program, the information has been widely circulated for many years.
2. You can make $10,000, $20,000 or more per month!
The Truth: While it is possible to make that much in a single month, it is extremely rare. Very few people have ever done it. Like investing in the stock market, you can get lucky by stumbling across a highly profitable transaction, but almost no one actually does. Most people working this business full time are doing well if they make enough money just to cover their monthly expenses; in fact, the vast majority don't make enough to cover expenses and therefore quit very soon after starting. An exhaustive study a number of years ago found that less than 1.0 % (one percent) of people going through the most highly publicized (= expensive) cash-flow brokering program were still working in the business 12 months after completing the program. Think about it, if it were possible to make $10,000 or $20,000 per month, do you think the people selling you these programs would spend their time promoting them?** Obviously, they find selling these dreams more profitable (and easier!) than working the businesses they're promoting. And that's usually because the people selling courses and seminars are unsuccessful brokers themselves. They are often people who have tried to broker cash flows for a living, failed, and instead took their limited knowledge, skills, and experience, packaged it into a slick marketing program, and took it on the road to sell to unsuspecting people who are looking to better their lives. It's a real shame. Don't fall for it. If you have already, demand your money back.
**Promoters of these programs often field this question. Their response is that they have made their money in this business and are now giving back to you the benefits of their success by sharing their knowledge and information. Aren't they wonderful? This is baloney. Do you really think the person standing up there all day on a Saturday afternoon is doing so out of the goodness of his/her heart? Do you really think they've made all the money they want to in life? Don't fall for this. It's a lie.
3. You can do this business part time!
The Truth: No you can't. This claim is geared largely toward stay at home moms. They tell them they can do this business from the comfort of their own homes -- even while looking after the kids! This claim is also geared toward retirees looking for something to keep themselves busy. Some seminar hucksters play these angles to the hilt. To make any money brokering notes you need to be available (and working hard!) in the day time, during normal business hours, all day every day. You need to be able to communicate with title companies, appraisers, attorneys, accountants, investors, banks, court houses, realtors, and so on. These professionals are not available after hours or on weekends for your convenience. Our advice: don't quit your day job and don't think you can close these difficult transactions with part time efforts.
4. There are more notes in the United States than you could ever hope to buy!
The Truth: That may be true, the problem is that many of them are not investment grade. That is, there is no shortage of high risk notes that no one would purchase. You can't buy them or broker them. These notes probably make up the majority of all notes created, but they are worthless, or the price anyone would pay for them due to the risk is too low for most note holders to accept. Most note holders don't understand the risk in holding their note. This is understandable since it's not their area of expertise so they don't have the knowledge or experience to assess the risk.* Therefore, note holders often only compare the note's balance with what a note buyer will pay for it, ignoring the risk. If the offer to purchase the note is too low, they will not accept the offer. Notes that are investment grade, that note buyers will purchase at an appropriate price, are highly sought after and competed for. The bottom line is that of the great many notes created, most are not worthy of purchase. Of those that are, only a fraction of the people holding them want to sell them at a discount. In the relatively rare event that a note holder with a good note does want to sell it at a discount, there's a huge number of note buyers trying to buy it. As in any business, when competition is keen for a limited resource, the profit potential is low. Clearly, anybody stating that "There are more notes in the United States than you could ever hope to buy" is dealing in half-truths (to put it kindly).
*For more information on assessing risk in different kinds of notes, see the Note Holder's Handbook. We sell this handbook for $22.50. This is not a profit center for our company. The cost of the handbook covers our printing, shipping, and promotion cost -- no more; and we will give you your money back if you don't find it useful.
5. You will experience little or no competition!
The Truth. This may have been true twenty years ago; today there's nothing further from the truth. However, most of the competition is not real. That's because 99 out of 100 so called note buyers are really just people who have gone through one of these cash-flow brokering courses. Therefore, the net effect of these programs is that they've produced an army of artificial note buyers all competing against each other. This has greatly frustrated note sellers in their efforts to sell their notes to real note buyers. To illustrate, most web sites on the internet claiming to be a purchaser of real estate notes and other cash flows is simply a seminar graduate. In fact, we have been told that more than one of these course promoters actually gives (or sells) a template web site to their students instructing them to replace their own name for "John Doe" (or whatever) in the template. These web sites usually have an on-line form to fill out where they ask note holders to provide all the information on their note and, in some cases, themselves.** This is a real disservice to the public. Actual note sellers have no idea these people are not professionals. Very often we get calls from note sellers who have dealt two or three times with these seminar graduates, never getting their note sold. Or, they are promised a price for their note that is not at all realistic. The note seller doesn't know that these people don't know what they're doing and that they can't perform at the price they were quoted. Weeks later, the deal doesn't close and the otherwise sellable note is taken off the market. The note seller doesn't get the money they were after and legitimate note buyers lose a good investment.
**If you are a note holder, do not complete any on-line forms with information about your note or yourself. Note sales are not boiler-plate, commodity-type transactions. You need to thoughtfully discuss the unique terms of your note, the type of property securing it, and your specific cash requirements with an actual investor (note buyer). This is the only way you can obtain a meaningful understanding of your options. Whatever you do, don't broadcast your personal note information over the internet!
6. Our on-line note exchange puts buyers and sellers of notes together!
The Truth: These so-called on-line exchanges or networks are often just marketing devices used by unscrupulous brokers to locate notes. To make matters worse, they often promote these web sites to other unsuspecting brokers! They tell them they can use this exchange to find notes and broker them to investors. It's amazing anyone falls for this. First of all, any note listed on these web sites has probably already been screened by the web site promoter. If the note is worthy of purchase, the broker has already tried to buy or broker it. Therefore, the note seller hasn't gained anything special by listing their note on the exchange since only the site promoter has seen it. They haven't exposed their note to many investors, as the exchange promotes, unless their note is no good. That is, if there's something that makes their note very risky and, therefore, not investment grade their note will be listed on the exchange. Then you get hundreds of seminar graduate note brokers all running around trying to find an investor to purchase these poor notes. Note buyers will look at them but will not make offers to purchase these kinds of notes. The result is that everyone has wasted their time and money. Many times brokers will simply email us a link to these exchanges asking if we'd like to purchase any of these notes and if so to send them a commission check if we do. Or, they'll print off page after page of information on these worthless notes, directly from the exchange's web site, and fax them to us for any offers we can make to purchase them. Serious note buyers do not respond to requests like this and will never work with brokers who waste their time in this manner.
7. Upon completion of our program you will be a Certified Cash Flow Consultant!
The Truth: There's no such thing as a Cash Flow Consultant. It's made up. And there is no nationally recognized note or cash flow organization therefore there's no generally recognized note buyer or note broker certification. Some of the course promoters hand out a certificate they get printed up for you once you've paid them thousands of dollars to go through their program. So what you have essentially done is paid them to print you up a certificate! Neither their training course nor the certificate they give you is recognized by anyone outside of their company. In fact, at least one of the course promoters actually gives out a three or four letter designation much like those given out by legitimate trade associations to Realtors®. Their graduates are then instructed to put these behind their name on their business cards and other correspondence in an attempt to give them some sort of distinction. However, real note buyers now recognize that anyone using this designation is a cash flow broker and won't work with them! Therefore, the designation has had a reverse and detrimental effect on those using it. Related to these bogus certifications is that at least one company is out there promoting themselves as "the official trainers of certified cash flow consultants." Whew! Ever wonder who makes them the "official" trainers?
8. Buy our MENTORING program and we'll provide you hands-on, one-on-one training!
The Truth: This is a more recent twist on the same old cash flow brokering training programs. It's designed to convince potential victims that someone will hold their hand and guide them through the process of brokering notes and other cash flows. The problem with these is that they are almost always sold by people who themselves swallowed a cash flow seminar's promises and went through a course. Now they're turning around and promoting themselves as experts! We just heard recently that one of these scammers is selling a so-called mentoring program for $8,000.00! This is robbery. Don't fall for it. If these people were indeed experts in the field of brokering or investing in cash flow products, they would be busy working and not spending their time mentoring others. More often than not, we've been told, once the people selling these mentoring programs have your money, they are not available as readily as promised and the quality of the mentoring is sorely lacking. Not a big surprise.
9. There are over 60 different types of cash flows you can buy or broker!
The Truth: No there's not. Not really. Actually, if you included all of the slight variations in the underlying securities (i.e., notes secured by real estate, mobile homes, cars, jewelry, cows(!), and so on), you could probably come up with hundreds or thousands of "different" types of cash flows. The reality is that they are just that, variations on the same thing and not materially different. There's really only 3 or 4 unique types of cash flows commonly purchased by investors.
10. There has never been a better time to get into this business!
The Truth: It's interesting that they make this claim all of the time - year after year. The fact is we've never seen this business as bad as it is right now (August 2011). The amount of investment grade notes created and/or available for purchase has never been lower. Additionally, those people who are holding notes are having a hard time figuring out what to do with a lump sum of cash right now. They used to put it the stock market or invest in other real estate or just put it in the bank and earn a safe return. However, since many people lost record amounts of money in the recent stock market crash, and with real estate values still plummeting, and with the dismal rates of return on bank savings, few people are selling their notes to invest that money today. Therefore people are not selling their notes unless they have some pressing need to do so. The bottom line is that the greatly reduced amount of notes available combined with a lack of investment alternatives for the average person has led to the worst environment ever in the note business. Anyone claiming different is uninformed, not really in the note business, or simply lying to sell a course to you.
11. Our comprehensive list of note buyers alone is worth the price of our program!
The Truth: Usually the so-called note buyers they list are just other note brokers. Some call themselves "Master Brokers." It's an oxymoron to be sure. In fact many real note buyers want nothing to do with being included in the course promoters' lists. That's because we don't want to be inundated with calls, faxes, and emails from people who have gone through these programs. Trying to work with these people always ends in futility. All real note buyers have been through it. We end up spending a huge amount of time providing well thought out offers on notes presented to us only to close very few transactions, if any. Usually what happens to people using these lists is that they end up in a daisy chain of brokers. That is, the new course graduate calls one of the "note buyers" or "note funders" on the list with a deal. The note buyer (really just another note broker) then calls another note buyer (another note broker) who may have a real investor they've worked with in the past. That's three brokers in the line, each one trying to earn a commission. By the time the offer gets to the seller, it's too low for them to accept and the whole deal falls apart. Once again, everyone has wasted their time and the note seller never gets the money they were after. These note buyer lists are pretty much useless; at best, they are not a good representation of the real investors in the market.
12. Buy our program NOW and save big off the regular price during this special, one-time only promotion!
The Truth: This is the old "create urgency" high pressure sales tactic that scammers always employ. The fact is they will take your hard earned money any day of the week. They will take your money at the "low" price they offer you in the seminar and any time in the future; they will take your money at the higher price too if you want. Actually, we've been told that they will take nearly any price you offer them as long as you have cash! Clearly this is a money making scheme with little real value. It defies logic that people are so willing to give these people their money. We were told recently that after one of these introduction meetings, people were lined up and literally throwing their money at the course promoters trying to insure they get in while the price was still low, $5,000.00! It's a good bet, however, that this person was actually witnessing the sleaziest of all tactics: the use of "shills." That is, the seminar promoters pay people to line up and frantically write out checks to make it look like many people are interested in buying this valuable program. It's all designed to stimulate the herd mentally to make you a buyer. Yes, it is disgusting. Especially if you think later that yours may have been the only real check they took in that day. Don't let these people separate you from your hard earned money.
13. We'll provide you with our proven system for only $125.00!
The Truth: This is one of those TV infomercials that shows expensive boats, cars, and huge houses as if to say..."buy this program and all of these riches will be yours." We've all seen this type of commercial. The price of $125.00 would not be too bad if they indeed delivered all that was promised. We were skeptical that someone with this type of commercial would be selling anything for a reasonable price. As it turns out, we were right to be skeptical. We've recently learned that the individual, and his sales people, selling this program employ the old teaser technique. That is, they start out by selling what is supposed to be their program for a modest price ($125.00). Once you've purchased this part of the program, they bombard you with very high pressure telephone calls and emails in an attempt to back sell all of their other materials at much greater prices. One person just notified us that all of the other information and programs they were trying to sell him totaled over $5,000.00! This is really the price of their program. And this is not a new technique. They sell you part of the information at a low price, just enough to convince you that this program could work! You may even try to make the program work with just this information, but of course it doesn't -- not the way it did for the people you saw on TV. So then they tell you that if you want to achieve those fantastic results, you really need to buy these other programs and materials. It's sleazy. And after you've purchased all of the other materials and you still don't have the big boat, cars, and house, well, you just must not have been trying hard enough.
14. Our note buyers have millions to invest but need a sales force to put them in contact with note sellers!
The Truth: This is really an attempt to justify their own existence. Make no mistake about it, there are way too many people already who have gone through these courses and are out there looking for notes they can broker to note buyers. Some note holders have told us they have received over 60 letters from these people after selling one property! There is no "sales force shortage," as they suggest, and there's no need for these cash flow brokering courses.
15. Our rebate program will refund part or all of your tuition cost!
The Truth: This is smoke and mirrors. Here's how it works: First, they give you a rebate certificate. Then they tell you that their "note funders" or "note buyers" will rebate back to you some amount, say $1,000, for each transaction you close with them. Sounds good doesn't it? The stipulation is that you must notify the note buyer up front that you will be using your certificate on the transaction. The problem is that their "note buyers" are mostly just other people who have gone through the seminar course before you. They aren't investors at all. Second, and most importantly, don't you think they'll just lower the dollar amount to purchase the note you're bringing to them by the amount of the rebate? This would explain why you have to notify them that you're using the certificate! In other words, if your rebate is $1,000, all they'd have to do is offer you $1,000 less to buy your deal. That's bad enough, but it gets worse. What if a real note buyer will pay you more for that particular note than anyone in their "rebate funders group?" This is almost a certainty since you would be dealing with an end-investor rather than just another broker. Therefore, not only would your commission be greater but you would have no reason to do the transaction with their rebate funders. Therefore, the entire rebate program has no value.
16. Our lead program will provide you with 7 leads to get your business started!
The Truth: Ok, this one is probably completely true and accurate. But so what. On average it takes thousands of leads to produce one closed transaction. Could one of the 7 leads they give you result in a closed deal? Yes, but statistically it would be a huge long shot.** Also, you can get all the leads you want, thousands of them in just a few hours, from any court house in the country for free. So this too has no real value.
**We recently were told that one of these companies is giving 250 to 300 leads to its students "to get them started on their path to success." A test performed by one of the students revealed that the leads he received were years old and that they had been given out to students over and over.
17. Don't listen to negative people who will tell you that you can't do this!
The Truth: This is a very common ploy used by nearly everyone involved in selling get rich quick or easy money schemes. It's very powerful. It removes all rational input from anyone else. Anyone offering any objection will be labeled as a "negative person in your life who is holding you back." Therefore, they only need to convince one person to give them their money: You.
18. The cost of this program is only $7,000; compare that to $40,000 it takes to buy a franchise!
The Truth: Sometimes the seminar promoters will compare the obscenely expensive cost of their programs with the cost it takes to start other businesses, such as to open a McDonald's franchise. Don't fall for this. A McDonald's franchise has the backing of millions of dollars of national advertising and 40 years of name recognition behind it: a McDonald's owner has absolutely no advertising budget at all because everyone in the country already knows what s/he does and what s/he sells. By far the greatest single cost any note buyer or broker has is marketing and constant marketing is extremely expensive. Comparisons of this kind are simply absurd.
Some Important Final Words
All of the cash flow programs talk about being a "success" in this business. This is an interesting concept. What is success in this business? Who do they point to as a success? If getting rich is their definition of success, you're not going to find it in this business. Why do you think people have been doing this for 30 years? If they are the successful ones, and they're rich, why are they still working? Everyone we know who has been doing this for more than 10 years wakes up each morning wondering if they are in the right business. There's an opportunity cost to doing this business every day. The cost is that you could be doing something else and earning a paycheck with benefits.
We were recently asked by someone who was considering getting into this business: "How long would it take before I can make $4,000.00 per month in this business so that I can quit my regular job?" This was our response to him:
"There's absolutely no way to answer that question. It depends on how hard you work, how well this business suits you and your likes, abilities, and so on. The other thing is this: even if you do make $4,000 in a month, can you do it every month, year after year? This is what most people overlook and what the seminar promoters never address. Also, to make $4,000 profit, you need to generate revenue of about $12,000! This is rarely possible. You'll have to pay large advertising/promotion budgets, your salary, taxes (state & federal), health insurance premiums, fund your retirement account, pay your accountant & lawyers, office supplies, phone/internet charges, and so on, every month whether you generate income or not. Also, while you do this, you're giving up a consistent monthly salary and benefits that you enjoy with employment. This is the other side of the coin."
This is valuable information to anyone planning on getting into this business. Closing a couple of deals and earning a few commissions is only a small part of what you need to do to run a business. It's all up to you. No one can help you with this aspect of your career. The course promoters often point to some of their "graduates" who have closed a couple of deals and say "See? Here's proof of success in this business!" Nothing could be further from the truth.
The bottom line is that this is a viable business like any other. It is a fair business to be in for a very limited number of people who are particularly well suited for it. It's a way to make a living, nothing more.
Another question we were recently asked: "If we don't go through one of the cash-flow brokering courses, how do we get into this business?"
This is a question actually generated by the activities of the cash-flow brokering course promoters. In other words, no one would ever think to ask this question if the course promoters weren't out there promoting the business of buying notes as investments. Calling a professional investor and asking this question is like calling a lawyer and asking how one could get into the business of practicing law. However, since the question was asked, we should address it. Our response to this person was to get an education in either real estate or lending. That is, get a real estate broker's license or become a mortgage broker. This training and experience will provide a good background to enter into the seller-financing arena in time. It will also provide the best information on what NOT to do. That will keep you out of legal trouble. Real estate transactions and lending on real estate are two of the most highly regulated industries. Don't buy some TV infomercial program and start working in these markets. There's a long line of people who have done so and have faced very serious legal problems as a result. It should be obvious to those who have read this far that this business is not a game. It is not to be dabbled in as the seminar people suggest. It is a serious business for professionals.
We understand that the above information is not what many people want to hear--especially if you've gone through one of these programs and paid a lot of money. There is no shortage of people who want desperately to believe that these promoters have the answer they've been looking for. It's a wonderful dream they sell. When people finally discover for themselves the truth about these programs they are usually too embarrassed to tell anyone that they fell for the stories they were sold. In fact, they are led to believe that it's their fault they didn't achieve the results they were supposed to. They are told that they didn't work hard enough, or led to believe that they're not smart enough, or that perhaps they just don't have what it takes. This is what keeps these course promoters in business. Don't blame yourself when the dreams they've sold you don't materialize. Blame the course promoters for selling you pie-in-the-sky promises. Hold them responsible. Get your money back. Then, if you feel you've been deceived, report them to the FTC. See below.
The sections above describe some of the reasons we object so strongly to the cash flow brokering courses. We've been told how the promoters of these programs respond to anyone exposing their outrageous claims. Usually they state that we are afraid of the competition their graduates produce. That's just not true. Honest and ethical competition is good in all business. In ours, it makes real note buyers more efficient and more professional. This raises our overall capability and in turn actually increases the amount of quality business we do. Also, the more we are able to provide meaningful, professional service to the public, the more our form of investment is looked upon favorably by society. This decreases the need for government regulation which could profoundly limit the liquidity we're able to provide. Cash flow course promoters destroy the goodwill professional note investors establish. By making the above (and other) questionable claims, they often bring to the market people of dubious ethics and motivations. Many graduates of these programs, like their promoters and instructors, have a short-term focus on generating business profits. This is not good for our industry as a whole. These people often skirt around the law. Sometimes they don't even know they're violating the law due to their inadequate, or incorrect, training. In either case, the more arrests made and lawsuits filed against these cash flow broker graduates, the greater the scrutiny our industry comes under from government regulators.
We'd like to hear from you. We'll discuss on this page more claims made by the infomercial, course promoters. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with claims you have heard and we'll discuss them here. Please use the subject line "Bogus Seminar Claims" in your emails to us so that we don't mistakenly delete your message. Or call us directly at 1-425-820-5562.
Read what others have written to us concerning the information on this page: Testimonials.Many people read this entire web page and then contact us asking if we know about a particular company or program and if we recommend it. Our answer is always the same: if any of the claims above were used to sell the program, you should have your answer. If they made other claims that sound too good to be true or if you're just not sure, email them to us and we'll give you our opinion. We don't rate specific programs or companies. It's not necessary. Focus on what they're saying in their sales pitches. Evaluate their claims closely for reasonableness and compare them to the information here. You should be able to determine a great deal about the merits of the business opportunity and the people and companies selling the program by doing so. Then make your decision to buy or not buy accordingly.
Very often people will not trust the infomercial course promoters and/or the quality of the program offered; however, these same people will believe everything these same course promoters say about this "wonderful" business opportunity! Why? These people will then contact us for a recommendation on a legitimate company and good program that they can purchase! It's just amazing the way people think.
Finally, if after all of this you are still considering taking an infomercial note-brokering course, at least check the company out first with the Better Business Bureau. If you find more than a couple of complaints lodged against any company, beware! All you need is the company's name and the city and state they're located in and enter that information on the BBB website: Better Business Bureau Complaint Report.
Want to make a difference? We've often been asked what can be done to stop certain course-selling companies from ripping people off. If you feel you've been hurt, report them. Complete both a Better Business Bureau Complaint Form and an FTC Consumer Complaint Form. If enough of these are processed, it will definitely put a crimp in their operations and could even shut them down. More serious legal pursuits are another option but are definitely more expensive, time consuming, and probably very difficult to win.
Good luck to you!
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