WARNING to anyone contemplating getting involved with this company in a ‘RENT TO BUY’ deal. ORLAFIELD PTY LTD (trading as: ANYTHING REAL ESTATE) is a company controlled by Peter NICOL and Caroline EDSON and operating out of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. nCommonly known in the industry as ‘Wrappers’ these people are dishonest and unethical operators preying on unsuspecting buyers and sellers. They suck large sums of money out of the deals they set up while always claiming to be helping people. The only people they are helping are themselves. Most of this scam is targeted at the Buyer, but there are some real traps for Sellers as well. nCaroline Edson and Peter Nicol openly brag about being students of the infamous Rick Otton, Australian spriker who teaches people how to set up these deals. Of course ‘rent to buy’ or ‘vendor finance’ deals can be set up properly so long as the wrapper is ethical. Experience tells me that many of Rick Otton’s students have been involved in rip off deals. Is this because of what he is teaching them? I really can’t say but I think he may be suspect! nThe Wrapper should be encouraging you to seek INDEPENDENT legal advice before signing into one of these deals. That means going to a solicitor (not one that they refer you to!) who has a good understanding of these deals. You should ask if you should be signing the deal you have been presented with. Is it safe for you providing all the necessary protections. If not it should be amended or you walk away. Simple! nUsing these lease option structures Caroline Edson and Peter Nicol (and many other wrappers) have found ways around having to comply with state licencing requirements and local real estate laws by claiming that they are the ‘owners’ of the property. Of course they are not ‘owners’ at all but have only obtained an option to buy at some point in the future. Surprisingly, the Office of Fair Trading appear not interested in testing this theory by charging them for operating while unlicenced. This is an offense under the State PAMD Act. nLet’s face it. Orlafield do everything that a normal real estate agent or property manager does yet they claim that because they are ‘owners’ they don’t have to be licensed as such. The OFT just claim that there is nothing they can do. B/S I say. Why don’t they charge them with not being licensed and let the courts decide. That way we would at least have some case law to use one way or the other. The spirit of the PAMD Act was to protect consumers so I’m sure that a court would take a serious look at a case that was presented to them. So why don’t the OFT do this? I’ll tell you why. They are worried about the fallout from a court decision, that says these people have to be licensed. Currently there are literally hundreds of wrappers putting these deals together and there is no regulation whatsoeever. A court decision like this would tie up thousands of man hours looking into all the others and closing them down as well. nAs a result there are absolutely no safeguards for consumers in these deals. The wrappers don’t operate trust accounts when dealing with people’s money, they are not licensed as property managers and that means they have limited knowledge of delivering property management services. nSo how exactly do they do it? nCaroline Edson and Peter Nicol start the process by approaching homebuyers. They con them into entering into very one sided lease agreements which protect the interests of Anything Real Estate but completely exploits the seller’s position. This is not always obvious. Despite what EDSON / NICOL say on their website about encouraging people to seek independent legal advice, they really do the opposite. They create a sense of urgency to get the paperwork signed, make throw away comments about lawyers being unnecessary and expensive, so that the seller ends up signing into an agreement that they have no understanding of all on the basis of trust. nIn at least two of the cases that I know of, sellers were conned into signing option agreements on their homes for 3 years with a $1 option fee being payable. In effect these people were handing control of their property to Orlafield (Anything Real Estate) for 3 years and if anything went wrong during that period, or if Orlafield decided not to exercise the option to purchase, they only stood to lose $1. Anyone with an understanding of property options will understand that this is a con. The next con is that everything that is paid in rent over the three years is credited off the agreed purchase amount if the option is exercised. Orlafield can’t lose! nOnce Orlafield have control of the property they find someone who they convince that a ‘rent to buy’ scenario is a great opportunity for them to get into their own home. Not understanding the risks these buyers sign into lease and option agreements which potentially give them the right to buy the property. However, only if all goes according to plan. nThey pay weekly amounts well above the market rent for the property and are encouraged to make improvements to the property. What they don’t understand is that Orlafield have structured the deal which ensures the tenants will lose everything they have contributed if they are unable to obtain finance at the end of the option period. They are evicted and Orlafield pocket maybe up to $200K of their hard earned money. nOrlafield will pretend to offer all sorts of help, but it’s what they are not telling the tenants and the seller that is so dangerous. I am aware that they have taken appliances from the properties they have gained control of, and replaced them with inferior products. Sometimes they will rip the owner off by telling them that the appliance had to be replaced and send them an invoice for the new inferior product. In one case they sold the air conditioner in the property to the tenants claiming that the owner was going to take it unless they wanted to buy it for an extra $700. When the tenants agreed to purchase it they said they would just build it into the purchase price at the end. (That way there is no paperwork to show what had really happened.) In truth the owner had no intention of removing the air conditioner and in fact had no idea that Orlafield had just sold his air conditioner to the tenants for an extra $700, pocketing it themselves. nThese are just SOME of the dishonest and deceitful games Caroline Edson, Peter Nicol (and their sidekick Bronwyn Bowes) they have played with Buyers and Sellers. It is only when the buyer and seller find each other, that they discover what has really been going on. This is the only reason why so many of Anything Real Estate’s deals have ended in disaster lately. nTheir latest tack since they have been exposed is to make postings on blogs and property forums claiming to be the ones warning consumers about scam operators in the ‘rent to buy’ industry. This is simply an attempt to pretend that they are one of the wrappers who can be trusted. Have you ever seen a conman who admits being a conman? No, commonly they will point the finger at others and hope that the scrutiny and attention on them is diverted elsewhere. Well that’s what you are seeing here with Caroline Edson, Peter Nicol and Anything Real Estate folks! Conmen pretending to be white knights! nSo if you are a buyer or a seller who is dealing with (or contemplating dealing with) Orlafield Pty Ltd, Anything Real Estate, Peter Nicol or Caroline Edson. Think again. If you have already signed up with them I suggest that you do some due diligence straight away and seek some legal advice. Start by finding the other party to the deal. Caroline or Peter will not want you to do this. They claim all sorts of things about the other party to avoid you having any contact with them. If you are the tenant, find a friendly real estate agent who will search their databases and put you in touch with the real owner. Caroline Edson has been known to blatantly lie about who the real owners of the properties are so don’t believe a word she says. She is such a pathological liar, she even lies when she doesn’t need to! Like all liars she never recalls what she told you previously and that’s where you will catch her out. nIf you are a tenant, don’t listen to what Caroline tells you about helping you to obtain finance. There is absolutely no incentive in the deal for Caroline to help you obtain finance at all. Remember whether you are able to get finance at the end or not, is irrelevant to them. They have worded the agreement in such a way that if you can’t, they walk away with EVERYTHING you have contributed. nCheck with some lenders yourself. You will find as I did that most lenders these days are not interested in these rent to buy deals and most tenants are rejected when they come to apply for finance. If this happens Caroline Edson and Peter Nicol will walk away with all of your hard earned money. It has happened to a number of their victims already and as far as Edson and Nicol are concerned it is good business for them and tough luck for you! nProtect yourselves and stay well away from these people or the companies they control. They are toxic!
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