Saturday, March 29, 2008

Biggest Money Mistake - CONTEST!!!

Over at Millionare Money Habits there is a contest for your biggest money mistake. I encourage you to go check it out. Even if you don't enter, read through the comments and save yourself some heartache. Here is my story. May it save someone else from going through the same thing.


Our biggest money mistake happened over ten years ago, and we are still paying for it.

We were newly married and had just moved to Colorado after being Texans for all our growing up years. We received a letter in the mail asking us to come out and get free money to spend at a casino. My husband and I are not big gamblers, but we sometimes like to go and spend $20 each, keeping all our earnings, and usually break even. We would also get an elaborate dinner just for going. We thought why not.

We went, and it was requiring us to look at land to get the stuff. No problem, right? WRONG. They used words like "mining claim" and "soon to be ski resort" and got us hooked. We thought we were doing well by talking them down a few thousand off their asking price.

We paid full price out of our savings account - $12,000. After three years (when they said to keep a hold of the land for profit and that ski resort was coming), we tried to sell the land. No realtor would even help us out because they knew it would be a waste of time. One realtor even asked if this was part of a family plot. I asked why, and she said all the land in that area was bought by people with the same or similar last names. :(

It is nearly 10 years later, and we are still having to pay taxes on land that cannot be developed (we knew nothing about land or terms, and turns out that a street cannot even be made to the plot of land we have - something about public access). So not only have we lost $12,000 from our savings account, but we have lost $1000 on taxes, and who knows how much longer we will have to pay on land we cannot get rid of. The company closed shortly after selling all the plots. And the people who sold us the land, no longer have their realtor's license.

Lessons learned:
*Don't EVER respond to ANYTHING you get in the mail. It is a rip-off! Even if they offer you free stuff STAY AWAY!
*Don't EVER make a BIG purchase without sleeping on it. We now always pray and wait until the next day, even if it means missing out on a sale. If they really want to sell it, they will sell it to us the next day (or two) at the same sale price. If not, we take our money to someone who will.
*Don't EVER buy land without a) a realtor or b)full knowledge of EVERY TERM in the contract you are signing.
*Keep your feet firmly planted and don't get taken away with the THOUGHT of making money. We were assured that a ski-resort was going in near where we bought out plot. They fabricated it and the newspaper clippings.
*Don't EVER buy ANYTHING from a company unless you know all you can about them. This was a fly by night company that came in, set up, ripped-off a lot of people, then closed up shop and moved on.

If anyone knows how to help us out of this, feel free to contact me via my blog. Thanks. And prayerfully, you will learn from my story and not make the same mistake.


Teri in CO said...

Okay... I've found out you live close to me... and now I find out you are a native Texan????? (Did I know this?) How cool is that... I grew up there too!

Okay, now I'll finish reading your post... =)

Kacie said...

Ouch! That's an expensive lesson to learn.

I'm wondering how come the tax bill is so high. If the property is worthless, then it makes sense that it shouldn't be assessed so high, ya know?

I have no idea what to tell you, so I'm going to toss some ideas out there in case one might work.

Perhaps you could donate the land to the local municipality. Maybe you could write that off on your taxes, and then you won't have to pay property taxes on it anymore.

Good luck with it!