tv Bob Massi Is the Property Man FOX News October 3, 2015 9:00am-9:31am PDT
mpany... the only medicare supplement plans that carry the aarp name, and the ones that millions of people trust year after year. always have a plan. plan well. enjoy life. go long. >> i'm bob massi. for 32 y ears, i've been practicing law and living in las vegas. i help people with all sorts of real-estate problems, from trying to save their homes to closing major deals. eight years ago, 6,000 people a month moved here, looking for employment and affordable homes. little did anyone know that we would become ground zero for the american real-estate crisis. now, it's a different story. the american dream is back. we're gonna meet real people who faced the same problems as millions across america, and we'll dive deep into a city on the rebound because las vegas was a microcosm of america, and now vegas is back. [ woman vocalizing ]
thanks for joining us. i'm bob massi, your property man. about 8% of all u.s. households own time-shares, and the industry generated more than $70 billion last year alone, and it continues to grow. now, a time-share is a piece of property for which you own a specific amount of time, usually one week per year, and you use it as your vacation home. if you're thinking about buying one, well, i'm gonna give you some of the dos and don'ts and take you inside the latest project, from time-share giant westgate resorts, right behind me, the old las vegas hilton. but first, david siegel, well, he's the founder of westgate, and his story is amazing. in 1980, david siegel owned a small tourist attraction called the mystery funhouse in orlando, florida, and an orange grove. well, one day a man approached him and offered to buy part of the grove. >> i said, "what are you gonna do with it?" he says, "i'm gonna time-share it." i said, "what's that?" he explained the concept to me. i fell in love with the concept. i didn't sell him the property.
i decided i'm gonna do it myself. >> so, did you know what time-share was at that time? >> no. no. so, i built 16 villas in the back of the orange grove. >> those 16 villas would grow into westgate, the largest privately owned time-share company in the world. two decades later, his time-share empire was still expanding. and in 2004, david and his wife, jackie, decided to take on another project, building themselves the largest home in america. most people would say, "why?" >> why build this home, or...? >> why build this -- i don't think they'd call it a home. >> it's really the palace, right? >> why build this palace? >> we wanted a large home. we were planning on, like, maybe a 15,000-square-foot home. but by the time on paper that i got what i wanted, like, a huge ballroom, and we started having more kids, we needed extra bedrooms. it just became the largest home in america. we weren't trying to build the
largest home in america. it just happened. >> it just happened. >> yeah. >> the 90,000-square-foot house was set to contain 13 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms, a bowling alley, two movie theaters, of course, and a 20-car garage. >> we went on our honeymoon in france, and when we went to versailles, he says, "i want to build versailles in america." when we were on the airplane coming back from france, he designed the house on the back of a napkin. >> of course he did. >> he wanted, like, a 10,000-square-foot spa, and i wanted bowling alleys for the kids. and he wanted a movie theater. >> the estate was about 60% completed. and the economy crashed, almost taking westgate with it. >> in 2008, when lehman brothers went under, and the banks all froze, it was a terrible time for my company. it was a terrible time for the country. necessary to see that the company survived. we cut our expenses.
we cut our sales. >> but cutting expenses and worrying about revenues was really not enough. they also had to put the versailles house on hold, and eventually they listed the half-built mansion for sale. guess what? $100 million. the whole thing was being captured by a documentary filmmaker, who was profiling jackie for a movie called "the queen of versailles." did you enjoy doing that? >> i hated it. [ both laugh ] >> that wasn't a maybe, right? >> i did not like it. >> he hates it because it makes him look like he's mean, upset about business, like we have a bad marriage and all that, where really he was just mad because the camera people were always around. we had no privacy. he's a businessman, and business goes up and down. he's very smart, and obviously he's bounced back so much more than he was even a few years ago. >> indeed, david and westgate did bounce back, and the company became profitable again, and versailles was never sold.
what's the present status of the house? >> the house is free and clear, completely paid off. construction is going on at a very fast pace. we still have two more years to finish it. it's coming out beautiful. because it's taken so long, we've been able to add features that we weren't thinking about. >> in our great room, one thing i would like to do in the design of the floor is to mirror our beautiful, intricate, colorful dome that's in the ceiling. we might have to use semiprecious stones, like onyx, things like that. >> it's all beautiful marble, exterior. the inside, we're putting in gorgeous ceilings. it's gonna be like walking into a french palace when it's finished. we're not rushing it. >> we're going to live there for the rest of our lives, and it's not only gonna be a palace, but it's gonna be our home. >> how much longer till it's finished? >> it should be finished in about two years, i think. [ both laugh ] >> the date's never the date,
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night after night. in the crowd for those first performances -- guess who? david siegel. >> first time i saw elvis perform, we sat in his booth right in the front of the stage, as close as you and i are. >> yeah. >> he sweated so much that during the show, i kept thinking, "oh, god, he's gonna get sweat on me." but he would pull out a scarf, and he would wipe it off, and the women -- well, they stampeded the stage. i'll tell you. it was like a mad frenzy. >> i remember the first time i saw him, which was in the '70s. i couldn't believe the lines. they wrapped this huge facility outside and around to get in to see him. >> 837 consecutive sold-out performances. >> unheard of. >> it'll never be matched again. >> "the king of rock" played the international for eight years straight, until his death in 1977. >> never had an empty seat. i saw elvis perform maybe 15 times. i saw him when he was thin, when he was fat, thin, fat.
and always gave a great performance. >> fast-forward a few decades, and the international becomes the las vegas hilton before the recession unfortunately forced it into foreclosure. with westgate also losing its las vegas property, david siegel, well, he knew exactly what he needed to do. >> my husband bought this hotel. years ago, he came here, and he couldn't afford to rent a room for one night. and now, with all his success, he comes back, and he bought the hotel. he just bought it. >> there were a half a dozen other companies that were also looking at it at the same time. i was the only one that was gonna keep it open. all the others -- some of them were gonna knock it down, which would have been a tragedy. >> yeah. >> others were gonna close it for two or three years, reposition it, then reopen it. i would not have bought it and have on my conscience lain off 2,200 people and affected their lives.
so, even though it's costing more to do the renovations, that's the way i'm doing it. >> and now elvis is back in the building. westgate has teamed up with graceland to unveil the first permanent elvis exhibit outside of graceland. there are hundreds of never-before-seen artifacts, and the elvis experience, which re-creates his performances with live bands in the very same showroom where it all began 59 years ago. guess what? there's even a wedding chapel. >> we made a deal to basically make this graceland west -- a 30,000-square-foot museum where people could come see pieces of history from elvis that they've never seen before. graceland has warehouses full of items that have never been on display. so, we're gonna be an extension of graceland.
people will be able to see elvis performances with 40-piece orchestras and backup singers and just like if they were here back in the '70s. >> and the towering building itself -- well, it's slowly being converted from the hotel to a giant time-share complex. >> there's 300 beautiful suites included in 3,000 rooms. it's very unusual that 10% of your rooms are suites. we have three sky villas on the roof that are 15,000 square feet each. we took a couple hundred hotel rooms and suites. we're converting them into 80 time-share units. ultimately, over the next 30 years, we will have converted every room in the hotel into a luxury time-share villa. >> what do you think attracts people to time-share? >> during the recession, a lot of people had beachfront homes and condominiums in the
mountains, and they would use them a few weeks a year. and then they would pay the maintenance and taxes for the whole year. time-share -- it's like an airline ticket. you don't buy the whole plane. you buy a seat. you can go anywhere in the world at any time and stay as long as you want or the least amount of time you want. and when you leave, you let someone else worry about it. >> mr. siegel, what do you envision in the future for this hotel? >> we're not gonna have the wealthy people staying here, although they're more than welcome. we're not gonna have the kids staying here. we're gonna have the middle america, the people that shop at wal-mart, people that have basically been ignored. they want to feel like v.i.p.s. >> and, clearly, there are a lot of people who want to feel like v.i.p.s, particularly in las vegas, and westgate's sales have never been stronger. up next, i'm gonna introduce you to a couple who's struggling to save their home, and i'm gonna try to give them some tips to help them save it.
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basis. >> for years, karen and dennis lived happily in their home and never fell behind on their mortgage payments until the first problem popped up. >> we unexpectedly got a message from the insurance company that they would no longer insure the house because they didn't like the roof. in order to keep the house, you have to have insurance. so, we had to take out a loan against the house. >> then their luck turned worse. i lost my job in 2009. they eliminated my job position. >> and not long after that, dennis lost his job, as well. >> things got really bad there for a while after dennis lost his job. we let go of all the pool service we had. we had to let go of the landscaping. >> we cut out the tv. we cut out cellphones, absolutely everything down to the bone. >> we got rid of everything that we could to make the payment. we're selling everything we can. we've sold the motorcycle, sold the treadmill. we're just waiting for the
people to pick it up. >> making their mortgage payment was the top priority. they tried repeatedly to reach someone at the bank who could work with them. >> their staff have a certain script that they read, but you can't really get into actually sit down and speak with anyone. >> we have a record of having been here for 18 years, all of this time. we're not going to all the sudden abandon our property and run off somewhere. we're, i would think, a very good risk. >> this is our home. and it's small. it's only 1,500 square feet -- a household of things that we've collected over our lifetime. it would be almost impossible at this point and time to just pick up and move. when you're trying to contact these people to get a loan modification and get refinancing, you feel unstable. you feel just like you're out there and nobody cares about you. >> your individuality and integrity is not being taken
into consideration by the institutions, and all of a sudden it's being yanked out from underneath you. >> we have always stood up and done the right thing, and we always pay our debts eventually. >> it was time to check in with karen and dennis and help them save their home of 18 years. >> how are you? >> good to see you. >> when did you actually move into this home? >> 1995. >> at some point a few years ago, i think you told me there was an issue with your roof. tell us about that. >> the insurance company sent us a notice and said, "we can no longer insure your home because your roof is too old." >> even though we had had no problems with it before, maintained it. >> and then we tried to get the refinance. >> so, you get approved for your loan. life at least at that point was good. >> yeah. it was right after that when i lost my job. >> right. >> when did you go default on your payments? >> it was right at that same time. it was within one month. >> 2012. >> yeah, one month to that point. >> up to that point, i'm assuming you were maintaining the property. tell us. what has this forced you to do
financially? i see what looks to be a wrapped treadmill over here... >> yes. >> ...a motorcycle.>> well, thed to sell in order to... >> and the treadmill, and we have some other things, like some things in the house that are worth some money. >> how were you treated when you tried to contact the lenders yourself? >> like a number. all they wanted to hear is, "well, when are you getting back to work, and how much money can you pay us, because if you can't, we're gonna find somebody who can pay us." when we had this landscaped, the whole thing looked like a beautiful beach area, and all of that grass that you see that's growing in over there -- none of that was there. it was all sand, all white sand, and the pool. >> a pristine pool. obviously, regardless of the condition, you love your home. >> yeah. >> when people come to me with these kinds of issues, the first question i ask them, regardless of age, i say, "do you love your
home?" "yes, i do." here's the tough part. those who have the gold make the golden rules. and the gold is with the lender. >> yeah. >> and what you have found out is that there is no loyalty. you are nothing more than a spreadsheet of numbers. >> yes, correct. >> in some tower somewhere, you're a spreadsheet. at this point in time, the short sale is not an alternative. bankruptcy is not an alternative. foreclosure is not an alternative. so, we got to go with the loan mod. >> got to go there. >> so, understand that if your loan mod is approved, 9 times out of 10, whatever your arrears are -- penalties, interest, things like that -- they will take that, and they'll put it to the back of the loan. >> right. >> but it sounds like you're close, and you deserve it because you've lived here 18 years, you're good citizens, you're great americans. i'm going to explain exactly what karen and dennis need to do to save their home, when we get back. and we're gonna follow their story and check back with them
♪ >> welcome back. i'm bob massi, the property man. and now it's time for the massi memo. earlier, we met karen and dennis, fighting to save their home of 18 years. now, they have a few options, but the only thing i see really that's gonna work for them is a loan modification. they need to get the bank to understand their situation and that it's in their best interests to keep them in the
home and do something with their mortgage so they could afford the payment. so, i'm gonna help them with that, and in a few weeks, we're gonna update you as to how it worked out. we also looked at westgate time-shares and their beautiful, new property in las vegas. you know, there are different types of time-shares, and before you buy one, you have to decide which one's right for you. so, let's look at them. the right to use -- buyers can lease the property for a specific time each year. if you have points, buyers can consider staying at various locations. you redeem your points after they've been accumulated. also, what we call floating -- the buyer reserves their own time during a specific time of the year. and a fixed week, which is pretty common -- the buyer is buying the right to use the same unit, the same time every year. but there's always things to think about when you're buying anything. first of all, if you purchase it... this is a contract, just like when you buy a home. understand it. make sure you understand the terms of the contract. it's a long-term commitment.
make sure you understand what costs are involved, maintenance fees, things of that nature. also, ask if there is an owners club or some type of an association, almost like a homeowners association, because what it does, it lends credibility and protects you as a time-share owner. by the way, don't get hustled by a slick salesperson -- i mean no disrespect -- because when you're buying this, make sure they explain to you exactly what you're buying and explain to you all the costs. make sure there's no hidden agenda. and, finally, make sure you understand what cancellation terms are of the contract. most states have a cooling-off period because when we buy a time-share, we're excited. usually, there's a cooling-off period. if you're a creature of habit, well, time-shares will probably work for you. they're meant for people who like to travel, take vacations, and plan out. so, if you take a vacation every year, i think it makes sense for you. you should look into it. that's it for today, but we have much more on our website... foxnews.com/propertyman. and be sure to send me your questions or property stories at