Category Archives: Roberta’s Blog

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During our career as investors, and now as a note servicing company for the private cash flow industry, one double-sided lament we continually hear is the constant complaint about the shortage of business opportunity – and the competition spawned by the proliferation of new cash flow entrepreneurs and now, the state of the financial market. 

Our own experience as a note servicing company gives us “first-hand” perspective dispelling this myth. Statistically, we can verify the existence of billions of dollars in notes and cash flows available in the marketplace – it is true that there is a lot of competition… and the real estate and financial market is in tatters. It is, what it is!  

The competition is always intense (or “in tents” – joke!!).  Anytime you have an excellent product or service, is it highly competitive and this goes for he cash flow business as ell. The discovery of a secondary market for the purchase of notes secured by real estate, mobile homes and other non-public traded cash flow investments has birthed a vast and growing economy. 

However, as a participant in the cash flow, real estate and financial industry; we know that a note broker, or note finder can out pace, outperform and out live most of your competition… simply by making a personal decision to adopt an age old, but still cutting edge philosophy from the day you initiate your business – a philosophy that will keep you on the straight and narrow path to success and financial freedom! 

The “TRICK” ingredient guaranteeing your success in any business opportunity is the “Practice of Persistence”… a commitment which must be inculcated and practiced from “day one”, until it becomes an integral element of your daily business function.  

This “Practice of Persistence” alone, will leave your competition in the dust.  

Why?  Because most people will try something once – but when they don’t get immediate gratification they fold.  Or, at the first sign of a problem, or the first bump in the road, they typically give up, throw in the towel… and quit. Or, at the first discouraging word, most of your competitors will question the wisdom of their decision to be in the business, and they run for cover by blaming someone else, or burying their head in the sand – rather than face the fact that they just didn’t tough it out. 

Take this as gospel.  Most of your competition will be wiped out in the first few months of business!  This is not because the cash flow business is unprofitable or the training is inadequate.   It’s because the preponderance of most prospective note professionals do not even attempt to develop primary attributes of success, or recognize that attributes such as the “Practice of Persistence” are essential to success. They may have started out well, but then something happened – they encountered a difficulty – a problem they just couldn’t find a detour around, or couldn’t take the time to check out their map for success.  

Persistence coupled with goal orientation generates creativity and produces resourcefulness.  Persistent behavior, practiced to the 9th power insures success.  In business, persistence is one of the qualities prerequisite to success. It gives you staying power. It stares adversity in the face; finds a way over, under and/or around difficulties.  Persistent action will build your business through cultivation of prospects. It doesn’t take “no” for an answer and when partnered with the honest belief and knowledge that the product or service you are delivering will result in abundant success.    

There’s a difference between persistence and aggressiveness. Yet, the words are often used interchangeably. There is something repugnant about aggressive people – they can make you mad – you want to run from aggressive people. On the other hand, persistent behavior is admirable.  There is something heroic about persistent people. Aggressive people are typically angry and loud. Persistent people are typically gentle yet, quiet confident plodders.  

Been There, Done That! 

Let me give you a practical example how “practiced persistent” behavior can and will pay off and set you apart and heads above your competitors. These practical words to the wise comes fresh off the pages of my two decades of experience working with and carefully planned and executed marketing for business.   

When I call note holders to obtain note servicing accounts, many note holders tell me they have received anywhere from 10 –15 calls, and their mailboxes are cluttered with “junk” mail, post cards and letters from prospective brokers and buyers.  

Now, here’s the good news!  Within 30 – 90 days, typically the marketing calls cease and the mail drops-off almost entirely. This is where your competitors “exits stage left”. But, not you, right!  You remain one of the few who routinely, religiously, persistently and consistently hang in there.  

Try this strategy.  Why not contact the prospect after the “honeymoon”.  You know, the first few payments are usually on time, then get a few days later and later. Or as the remorse settles in (about taking back paper) or they find a toy to buy or an emergency pops up.  Then, where are all the swarm of cash flow and note buyers who started out well, but something hindered them? Where is your competition??  I’ll tell you where… I hear from them all the time saying, “Hey, I sent you’re a post card and called you a year ago…..wonder shy they hung up?    

Make sure your correspondence or call includes something like “You may not need our service today, but keep this card with your closing papers and call me anytime”.  Then develop a database and follow up with a “Practice of Persistence”. 

Don’t be discouraged.  Just keep moving forward, keep learning and growing, surround yourself with successful positive people, try not to be influenced by people who are discouraged, are critical; or who have tried something once and failed for whatever reason. They will drag you down and put you out of business.  Develop a plan of action and work your plan on a daily basis… and above all “Practice Persistence”.

Yes, 2010 is winding down very quickly and when asked the question, where are we now?  The answer by many is simply “Somewhere”.  I asked the question to a group of Real Estate Brokers recently who answered quite simply “We are at the end of our Rope!  

Considering the headlines, news groups, political scandals, panels and pundits, it’s a small wonder we’re not all blithering crazy. Reports range from the latest unemployment figures hovering over 10% (if you count the people who have given up looking it is more like 17%); stock prices are either falling or bouncing around like a yo yo; the explosion of millions of foreclosures now plague the nation at a viral rate and to top it all off, government bail outs and mortgage fraud is rampant. When you add all this to the din of roaring printing presses in Washington signaling inflation just around the corner and the tax increases looming on January 1, 2011, it’s not hard to believe the validity of the question, “Where are we now, and What shall we do?”  No wonder the answer coming from the cash flow specialist, real estate or a loan broker; builder,  Exchangor or investor is simply: “Hey, we’re over here dangling in mid air…We are at the end of the rope”.  

If History is a telescope to the future, we try to reach back to the 1920’s and 1930’s to recollect through reading and documentary to see if there has ever been an economic landscape that even mildly resembles the current political, economic, social and financial picture standing on the premise that history repeats itself, and thereby getting some kind of a clue. No such luck. The answer to the question of “Where we are we now” given the state of financial health of our country appears to be universal and that is: “Somewhere”.  We know the economy is in tatters and most of our investments and those of our clients are worthless.  There is no doubt; we cannot depend upon business as usual. “Somewhere”, unfortunately, is the best answer I can offer as well. 

Almost over night, banks and private lenders and brokers have gone from “almost no regulation” to “massive over regulation”. With the SAFE Act no law, regulation has even reached down to restrictions on seller financing. Over 150 new government bureaucratic agencies are being established as we speak, for the purpose of establishing, publishing and distributing rules and regulations to oversee the financial, economic and social laws oozing out of congress on a daily basis.   Yet, new politicians appear every week, stumbling over themselves to get into the game of getting elected into office (to make a change) while those in office find themselves in a stew of ethics violations and allegations of fraud. 

We do know Real Estate is a leveraged investment with built in tax benefits. It makes sense then without equity all the formula used by the Real Estate Professional is blown away. Declining values has wiped out the equity required for sales, leasing, exchanging or financing.  Liquidity has dried up with banks refusing to lend, private investors have taken the “wait and see” approach and are stashing their cash under the mattress.  The affordability required for end buyers to purchase is virtually wiped out based on unemployment and high taxes and now it appears the tax benefits will soon be history  and the increase in inheritance taxes give us another reason to try to keep on living.     

How we got here is not totally subjective with opinions flying around at high speed over the airways and internet on forums, films, blogs, face book and twitter. As an individual, most don’t have a clue where they are except in concept; but the feeling is universal: We know we are in trouble. But then maybe I am wrong. I do after all recall a documentary film in the mid 1990’s entitled, “What the Bleep do we Know”.  

I was encouraged by one answer found recently in a Post on www.creonline.com  posted by David Butler, President and founder of Nascent Equity and Hotspur Investments. To many of us in the business, David has been a friend, but also an astute business man, author, presenter and mentor for the cash flow industry. The post is rather lengthy but worth every minute you invest in the reading. It gives us all at least one viable answers to the penetrating question of “What can we Do Now”.  The post is entitled “Sound and Fury” Posted by David Butler on November 19, 2010 at 18:38:43: http://www.creonline.com/wwwboard/messages/95938.html  

In the meantime, one thing we know for sure is “the only way to move through this unprecedented economic fog and era of uncertainty is to keep moving.  “Hang in There Baby, and don’t let go!

 The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS. The receiver can determine the user’s position and record it on an electronic map. Certain atmospheric factors and other sources of error can affect the accuracy of GPS.  They tell me GPS satellites are powered by solar energy, but have backup batteries onboard to keep them powered up the event of a solar eclipse and rocket boosters keep them flying in the correct path.

Did you know you have an internal GPS that works in a very similar fashion?  Just as with the GPS Tracking System you can use your GPS to experience unprecedented success regardless of circumstances, weather, other environmental interference; atmospheric factors and other sources of errors or circumstances which may slow you down. It will keep you on tract, power you up, guide you to success and record your progress on a daily basis.  No subscription fees necessary to turn on your personal GPS which consists of:   

G – etting Started,  P – ersistance,   S – etting a Goal.

Getting Started – From Inertia to Activation 

Most individuals have a problem with getting started.  To activate your GPS your have to get moving.  In the words of Albert Einstein, “nothing happens unless something moves” and he got that right for sure.  Unfortunately in the note business or any other business for that matter, you just can’t wait for something to happen.  A moving object usually stays in motion.  I just returned from a marketing and exchange meeting where everyone was talking about why nothing is happening!  My answer was simple but not very popular and that was, “What have you been doing in the last week to put together a transaction?  How many people did you network with? How many calls did you make? How many responses to preliminary proposals did you execute? How many ideas did you brainstorm with associates? How many good ideas did you implement?  

Trust me; nothing is going to “happen” until you take the knowledge, the ability and the training you already have to GET STARTED. So do something, even if it wrong.  I have learned more from my mistakes and errors than I have with my successes – so Start doing something today, but certainly no later than January 1, 2011.  Get up to bat and if your afraid you might strike out, let the last ball hit you and walk the base, but at least you’ll get somewhere. From second base at least you’ve moved and have the opportunity to run to second when someone else hits the ball. You’ll be moving by default, but at least you’ll be moving. 

Persistence – Keep moving  

You have no use for a Tracking System, if you’re not persistently moving in the direction toward success. I know about the problems you will encounter, they tell me even the GPS can get screwed up by changes in the atmosphere and the environment.  You will encounter some of the same situation. There could be volcanic action to your transaction, at least one earthquake mostly due to unexpected shifts in the plates of your negotiation or a slight movement in your plan of action. Things either won’t come together, or come together with at the wrong timing or just not quite fit situation.  But, you will find a way over, under, around or through with practiced persistence.  During a trip from LA to Miami a few years ago we experienced a dreadful detour in El Paso, TX.  It took us a half day longer, cost an additional night in a hotel and untold aggravation. But, I will guarantee you; we didn’t settle down, get a job and set up housekeeping in El Paso. We didn’t turn around and go back to LA either. We got out our map, found a new route, got back on track and kept moving.  Why?  We had a goal – a definite purpose, a commitment, a destination and we had made a commitment to be there. No emergencies or problems could stop us.  We not only arrived but with enthusiasm, and thankfulness to have arrived on time at the designated location.  You can do the same in 2011, but you must Get Started, be Persistent and Set a Goal.    

Setting the Goal – Determining your Destination  

Every pilot is required to file a flight plan and a part of that plan is to determine the destination.  Built into the GPS system for your business there must be a definite “destination” clearly indicated.  The system simply cannot TRACK your progress or keep you tracking without a predetermined destination. In the Global Tracking System the Satellite rotates twice in a 24 hour period.  It is no different in our personal GPS.  Before retiring for the night, mentally review your plan for the next day and when you get up, take another look at the daily planner and prepare for your presentation, your appointment or your phone calls for the day. Your flight plan sets the course in the development of your plan of action. Without a clear-cut direction in business or in life for that matter, we are an easy prey and target for buying into someone else’s belief system and allowing others to plan your course. 

Life without a goal is like entering a jewel mine, and coming out empty handled. Successful people are Goal Oriented People – they know what they want, they are happy people because they know where they are going. They have enthusiasm that surmounts every obstacle that finds a way around, over or under the obstacle.  In fact, they consider every obstacle as simply an opportunity turned upside down.   This enthusiasm keeps them optimistic. Goal oriented people are enthusiastic people, they are fighters, they are doers, and they are creative. They think in terms of possibilities and learn to “Color outside the lines”.  They have a burning desire to get to where they are going. They have the attitude, nothing will stop me. They detour at times, but keep ever moving forward motivated towards what it is they want to achieve. 

The New “hand held” GPS System

I hear there are Hand Held GPS devices available in stores everywhere these days. Get the kind you can put together yourself as there is no standard one size fits all type. There are no fees or subscriptions – you simply put you own together piece by piece. Don’t delay. Keeping this devise in your hand or in your pocket each day will guarantee success. Put yours together early in 2011.  Take it with you everywhere you go to stay on track. Get started working your Plan each day; Persist regardless of interference and it will keep you goal orientated.

Anyone endeavoring to embark upon the “Great American Dream” of being in business for themselves are faced with the same set of circumstances, have primarily the same challenges, typically have the same opportunities afforded them and have purchased in one way or another the training and/or tools of the trade. Additionally, all are obviously allotted the exact amount of time. Why then, the high ??? What makes the difference??? Let me tell you what I have learned and believe to be true, but first let me explain.

In the past 35 years I have sold everything from Cemetery Lots and Cosmetics to Commercial and Residential Real Estate. At one time I had over 350 Consultants working for me and I have trained more than 400 real estate agents for my own company plus taught at a Real Estate Licensing School serving thousand of “wanna be” real estate agents. The drop out rate in the schools is astounding and the attrition rate of real estate agents is unbelievable (and may I add, very disheartening to the Brokers who spend countless hours and thousands of dollars training and endeavoring to motivate them).

What makes the difference? There’s really nothing new here, it’s as old as the hills of the Sierra. The difference is: The successful have a clear vision of what they want (Goal), they have a clear understanding of the path to get there (The plan) and a drive to work the Plan (by paying the price of time and effort) Once this is agreed, then the only question that remains is: Is the cost in time and effort worth the achievement of what I want (the Goal)?

In High School Economics 1A, we learned about the Economic Trilogy: Utility, Choice and Cost. The hypothesis is as follows: Everything has a Use, but you can only use it for one thing at the same time. (Example – you can use a table to eat on, play cards on, dance on, BUT you can only use it for one thing at a time.

That brings you to the next thing: Choice – You must choose which activity you will use it for. And last is Cost. The TRUE COST of your CHOICE is the “GIVING UP” of the next highest alternative.

So the application here is quite simple. We all have the same amount of time, we can only use it for one thing at a time, and the true cost of taking the time to do the things you have to do in the business to be successful is: the giving up of the next highest alternative i.e.: what you could have done with the time.

I have heard every excuse in the book why people do not succeed in the business and to justify their lack of achievement. How about this, “ I had to spend too much time, the material was not complete, the (broker, boss, manager, trainer, mentor) did not give me the help I needed, the market was off, the potential business did not exist, I was sold a “bill of goods”, the weather was too hot, cold, rainy etc., I didn’t have the support of my wife, husband, family, friends, etc, This is too stressful, I lack the education, I don’t have the background, I need more experience. Here’s the big one – “I met Joe Blow the other day, and he said he tried it once and it didn’t work”.

But the REAL reason is: they didn’t want it badly enough to do the work, take the time, and expend the effort to do what they had to do. Another thing, there’s no such thing as a “free lunch”…. a good lunch that is. As in any other field of endeavor, you must invest in yourself to learn the business. You can only nibble around the edges of the real meat when you demand to be spoon fed at the public trough. To really learn this business (or any other business for that matter) you have to bite the bullet, dig down in your jeans and spring a few bucks for a training seminar and/or manual. It may mean a “sacrifice” but remember the Economic Trilogy? If you fail to invest in yourself, your next highest alternative surely will be mediocrity or worse yet, failure to even start!

I am not a note broker or investor. My company services and collects cash flows of all sorts including notes. We work the same market as the people who look for notes to purchase. I have to tell you, it takes a lot of time and effort to build a business, but let me assure you that the notes and cash flows DO EXIST. We work direct mail and calling, referrals and through professions who have clients with notes. We make hundreds of contacts each week (one at a time). Not everyone wants our service, just as not everyone wants to sell their note, but you just keep going and by all means, let me advise your readers to “leave the door open”. If someone doesn’t want to sell now, why not try this language “O.K.”, but your situation may change tomorrow, and if it does, please keep me in mind” and then leave them information of how to contact you…. and cultivate your market data base.

Lastly, remember, this business is “a Contact Sport”. Without making contacts on a regular, systematic basis, you can be a smart, as beautiful, talented and prepared as can be possible, but if you fail to CONTACT the prospects you will surely fail. And when you do, may I suggest you have the guts to look in the mirror and say: “O.K. pal, you screwed up, why not you and I get up, brush ourselves off, and try this one more time only THIS: Set a realistic Goal, Develop a Plan of Action, and then let’s Work the Plan – consistently and with perseverance. I wish your readers luck in their endeavors. Funny thing though, the harder you work, the luckier you get!!!

There has been an enormous amount of chatter, prognostications and articles written about the cause, effect and the long and short term fallout of the current economic downturn. The slippery slide into recession lead by the housing market continues to raise havoc on Wall Street and on Main Street. Even with the bailout approved by Congress to the tune of billions of dollars to prop up the mortgage industry and now the auto industry, one cannot help but question if we have yet to experience the “eye of the storm”. The question haunting the minds of everyone and anyone experiencing the day to day challenges surrounding the credit crunch and lack of liquidity is: “How do I and my family survive the ravages of this Financial Storm and can our business emerge successfully from this economic environment?”

Fortunately, we have available a perspective enabling us to not only survive in the midst of the storm, but to soar on the wings of opportunity rising above the storm and landing safely at the Port of financial prosperity. As a Real Estate Broker, Developer and Entrepreneur, allow me to encourage you by sharing my perspective and experience of living above two significant recessions (and a child of the 1930 depression) to show that not only can you survive this downturn but you CAN COME OUT STRONGER THAN EVER BEFORE. Opportunities await you even while those around you remain focused on doom and gloom. You may be asking, “How do I find opportunity?” The answer is quite simple – You relentlessly and consistently seek it out like you would a lost coin. Be aware of it at every turn instead of being frozen by fear and anxiety expecting a bogie man around every corner.

Tom recently bought me a 2008 bright red Cadillac CTS. Except for the one as shown in the TV Commercial where the girl says, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor”, Tom said he had never seen one and questioned if GM actually had any in production. But, guess what? In my zeal to show him they actually did exist, I spotted one at the next stop sign and then another on the Freeway and before we reached home, I had seen a dozen, although not all were red. Why? You may be asking. They were there all the time, but he just wasn’t looking for one (and maybe were hoping it didn’t exist). One of my favorite quotes was authored by Dr. Paul Chappell, Pastor of the Lancaster Baptist Church, “Opportunity often swings on the hinges of Adversity”. And there you have it, the key to wild success even in this most difficult financial crisis is the unwavering understanding that Opportunity does in fact exist and the sensitivity to recognize opportunity and then search for it with diligence and muster the courage and confidence to seize it when you find it.

Without getting into detail, let me touch upon just a few wealth building opportunities that by necessity is an expression or symptom of the tough times we are experiencing. First, in financially troubled times, real estate investors often fail to pay property taxes. With cash flows drying up they put off paying the taxes recognizing they have up to five years to redeem the property. Tax Certificates are typically a sure fire way to invest fairly risk free for a respectable return typically in excess of 10%. There are publications, books and Seminars available on this subject.

Here’s another opportunity: The difficulty for buyers to find financing especially for loans of over Five Hundred Thousand has motivated many sellers to offer Owner Financing even though they would really rather not. Did you know that many sellers would welcome the chance to sell that loan to an investor at a significant discount often resulting in a yield in excess of 12%? Did you know you can purchase “a portion” of that note if you don’t have the cash to buy the entire note? There exists an entire cash flow industry specializing in the buying and selling of many varieties private cash flows and debt instruments.

The opportunity to Lease/Option so prevalent during the 1980’s recession has somewhat lost its’ luster based on the issue of “equitable interest” in some States. This strategy still remains a somewhat viable method of “laying away” property with the right to purchase or assign the option at a profit. Classes, seminars and workshop opportunities for this methodology are all over the internet.

The participation by purchasing a beneficial interest in an Illinois Type Land Trust as an Investor Beneficiary still excites me as a strategy to build wealth. Sometimes used as an alternative to the Lease/Option or Option Agreement, the strategy of using a Beneficiary directed Land Trust to acquire property with little money down is a unique opportunity that exists around almost every single corner in the USA. Information on this type of investment can be found at www.landtrust.net

In closing, let me share with you my formula for success to soaring above this Economic Storm. You must make an investment in capital to get the traction you need to move your business out of a rut; invest in knowledge by reading books and articles and attending carefully selected seminars on the subject you want to specialize in and then do not fail to invest time in “networking” with associates, entrepreneurs and successful business people who are not afraid of taking risk and moving forward. You will emerge strong, blessed and thankful for the experience of surviving and thriving in the face of adversity and most of all you will be able to encourage others with your first hand experience of surviving one of the toughest perfect economic storms in recent history and have lived to soar above it and tell about it.

Something was definitely wrong with my car.  It wobbled, shook and vibrated. I could hardly keep in on the right side of the road as I traveled down the two lane road leading out of the Mountains for a shopping day in the City.  The faster I went, the worse the situation grew. You guessed it, the tires were out of balance – not an unusual situation considering the narrow winding roads (that are great fun on our motorcycle, but treacherous on our tires at $125.00 a pop.)

Anyway, I began thinking how similar this situation closely resembles how most of us run out life – totally out of balance and wonder why life is wobbling, bumping, at times almost impossible to control.  Sometimes we don’t even recognize it until we end up in the ditch. Balancing our life between businesses, marriage, personal health, family, community and church activities and at the same time, taking time for pleasure and fun seems just way too much to manage.

I am painfully aware that one of the most difficult tasks facing independent business entrepreneurs in their quest for financial independence is organizing a plan to balance  life and keeping it all together. That is why I emphasis so often in the workshops and seminars to prioritize your time.  One internet article (author unknown) indicated that people who enjoy long term success in all areas of their live have instigated a balanced program for their life.  It is important to feed your own spirit, mind and body and then  time – quality time,  for family, and include friends and community as well as leisure time and fun time.  Ask yourself, what is most important to me?  I often overhear Tom saying “he has never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse” – which brings into perspective our overemphasis on the importance of material things.

Here are a few tips others suggest to keep yourself “on balance”.  Write things down and schedule all your priorities. Consider writing goals daily, weekly and monthly.  Set personal rules with respect to the number of nights your plan to work or overtime hours you currently do or plan to do. Create a “Sacred time” for yourself to do whatever you enjoy. When people call for an appointment, tell them you “have a prior commitment”.  Yes, with yourself!  Here’s a great rule: Create pockets of time for family, that cannot be compromised. We used to call it “family night”.  All our married life (58 years this October) we set aside a “date night”.  Then when our four sons left home, we didn’t look at each and say: “Who are you?  Or, I don’t even know you.  Or worse yet, I don’t know you and I don’t like you, either” Yikes!!

Get in Balance and Keep in Balance.  Maintain your body as you would your car. It needs nutrition and exercise.  Include Spiritual and Personal Growth; Do not neglect Family and Friends; Take time for Fun and Pleasure and of course for your Professional Life and Finance.  Even with a good plan for balance in your life, there still will be times life will begin to wobble, vibrate and shake. It happens to the best of us. No one is perfect. Cut yourself some slack, and then get busy to get back on track.

This morning I received a call from George, the Coldwell Banker Broker now managing the office I sold ten years ago. In our discussion he said, “Thank you for the time and effort you made to open our minds and teach us about seller and private financing and exchanging”. He went on to say, “the application of these transactional and negotiation  methods and on counseling with our sellers, is putting us light years ahead of our competition – allowing us to not just survive, but thrive in this difficult real estate market”.

For many years now – thirty five to be exact, I have noticed that a few homeowners, real estate brokers, investors and buyers have been almost secretly, but certainly  quietly using this real estate financing technique that saves time and money.  For sellers it moves property quickly or at least quicker than with any other method. Additionally, wise brokers have been emptying drawers of expired listings and turning them into closed transaction while earning commissions using the plan and investors have been cashing in on purchasing private notes as a result of this methodology. For buyers, it works perfectly. It’s cheaper with savings of a variety of fees typically charged by banks and mortgage companies such as application fees, points, lender fees and appraisal costs.

Fast Forward

We were introduced to Owner Finance decades ago as a survival mechanism while owner/brokering a real estate company in California. Interest rates exceeded 20% in those days; anxious and often relocating buyers couldn’t qualify, disappointed frustrated sellers were left with no sale and one by one our office escrows were cancelled. We were desperate and started looking into and attending classes and workshops on seller financing.  Boy, what a lean two or three years accompanied by a long and steep learning curve.

It wasn’t only sellers needing to move there property and agreeing to a seller financing proposition; but also real estate investors needing to move their commercial properties were in a bind also. Motivated to survive we also learned the art of real estate exchanging, not primarily for the Section 1031 tax benefits, but simply as a solution for our investor clients.  Inasmuch as these exchange transactions almost always involved the principals to execute a private note….we were in our glory with our new found ability to put together transactions using private financing.  Though the years, we, along with thousands of others have quietly, consistently and without pomp and circumstance regardless of interest rates, credit crunches, liquidity challenges and/or changes in the economy, been using seller financing often as the method of choice.

Win/Win for all Seasons

Seller financing, the win/win situation for all seasons whether it is the best of times or the worst of times….but whoa, let’s back up here and answer the question many may be asking: What is seller financing  – exactly?

Seller financing is sometimes called “owner financing” or “owner carry back”. It is a type of transaction where the seller acts as the bank and agrees to receive regular payments from the buyer instead of one lump sum. The seller transfer the deed to the property to the buyer and in return receives a mortgage or note and trust deed (depending upon the state) which places a lien on the property and obligates the buyer to make regular payments.  Although this kind of deal offers high flexibility with the arrangement negotiated privately, it is important the seller and buyer seek professional help in setting it up to ensure the validity.

For sellers, carry back notes are negotiated at greater than market interest rates and therefore receive top value if and when the seller decides to sell the note to a note investor. Recognizing the benefit of the transactional and closing savings as well as other benefits, buyers typically have no problem with paying a little more in interest over the life of the loan.  However, a word to the wise here to sellers is appropriate. Hedge your bets and minimize risk by requiring a respectable down payment. If the buyer has nothing or little to loose, what’s to stop them from simply walking away.  Insist on a credit report and references and by all means have the documents professionally prepared and professionally serviced.  Hmmmmmm, “Professional Service”, well that’s where we enter – “stage left” with our two cents worth.

The Servicer – Enter Stage Left

The Note Servicing Center has been servicing seller carry back notes since 1984.  We set up an impound trust account to make sure the taxes and insurance are paid in a timely manner by the buyer and also provide the buyer with payment coupons, collect the monthly payments and disburse to the sellers bank account or wherever directed. We take care of the statutory year end reporting as well as the 1098 and 1099 required by the IRS and offer other benefits – many absolutely free, such as, On-Line password protected viewing of client accounts are available 24/7.  Check us out at www.sellerloans.com . Whether you’re a buyer, seller, broker or just plain curious about Seller Financing, contact us to find out how we can help you successfully put together your seller financing transaction.

Years ago I helped a friend who was a Missionary in a Skid Row Rescue Mission in San Diego. I helped her off and on for about three years. My task consisted primarily of playing the piano for the Sunday evening services. About 100 men and woman, most homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, and others considered a drop outs in general, sat silently listening to the preaching after which they lined up to get a free meal. I was surprised to find during discussion with them, that they were from all walks of life. Some were married, others not. Actually many were educated college graduates, others had resumes as successful business men and professionals. The thing they all had in common was that all of them had lost all hope; something happened that beat them down and conquered them. They had given up. Their excuses were along these lines: “My wife or husband walked out on me. I lost my job. I lost everything in the stock market or a bad real estate transaction. Familiar justifications included “Someone framed me or I’m a born looser”.

At the time, I was working as a Sales Director, and it amazed me at the similarity between the sales people and those on skid row in terms of the excuses they had to justify their situation. Among sales agents excuses were: I don’t have capital to get going, if only I had a better car, I don’t have enough time, the market is off, my office is not in the best location, it’s my brokers fault, I need better clothes ….and the list goes on. In the winter it’s too cold or too wet and snowy. In summer it’s too hot and muggy or windy. Strangely enough one of the big ones was, “the cards are stacked against me”. Without exception, all just couldn’t get past some experience or problem so they threw in the towel and over time developed a case of “Excusitus” – the failure disease.

Then there are those who simply are unhappy with who they are and don’t think they deserve success. They are simply unhappy in their own skin. The tall want to be shorter, the shorter taller. The heavy want to thinner, the slim want to be curvier. The rich boy, born with a silver spoon in their mouth and Dad did everything for them, long to be able to start a business or a venture all on their own; the poor boy, born in poverty and living in the ghetto with little or nothing wish they had a Dad to do something for them to help. Fortunately, there is a law of compensation in the world that evens the odds. All any of us need to look inside ourselves, evaluate what we DO have – our talents, our abilities our opportunities and recognize that each of us, in our own way are as good as anyone else in God’s green earth. We have the innate God given ability to become anything we want to be, if we want it badly enough and are willing to “pay the price” in terms of time and effort to get there.

The pages of History shine brightly with the success of plain ordinary people who rose to greatness from the ashes of poverty and the depths of misfortune. They took inventory of their situation and then an inventory of their individual physical and mental assets and they looked for opportunities. They capitalized on their strengths, had great ideas, shared their passion with anyone who would listen, refused to take “no” for an answer, surrounded themselves with positive successful people and went out to rise to incredible heights of success. Making excuses was not in their vocabulary and they didn’t wait for “something to happen, instead, they made things happen.

You can too – it’s up to You! Successful people approach life differently: When they fail, they get up, brush themselves off and get up one more time than they fall. When things didn’t go right they learned from every mistake and recognized that opportunity almost always swings on the hinges of adversity. They suffer loss but go on to profit. They understand that success is not always sure, but neither is failure final. So, they just keep on keeping on.

“We are who we are by the events of the past. But we can be whoever we want to be by how we choose to shape our future” James Dicks

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, it is exhilarating to look out and contemplate what we might be able to accomplish in the next 360 + days that lay ahead.  In reality, even though we are invigorated with the idea that we may have a fresh start and a clean page, we know in our heart of hearts that today is simply another day wedged snuggly between two other days: yesterday and tomorrow.

So, with this in mind, I remind you there are two days in every week that we should not worry or fret about and from which we should keep ourselves free from fear and apprehension.

The first of these days is yesterday. Yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its’ faults and blunders, its’ aches and pains. Yesterday has gone, along with it’s failures as well as successes; it’s disappointments along with its opportunities; it has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back “yesterday”.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrows’ sun may never rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds. Until and if it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, as it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day. Today! I submit that any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of those two awful eternities: Yesterday and Tomorrow that we buckle under the load. There are no re-runs; this is not a rehearsal; and in case you haven’t noticed yet… time is an un-renewable resource.  You are only great tomorrow because of what you do today.

We have found that most unhappiness is nurtured by putting off living. Unfortunately, most of us live our whole life, being happy when something happens. We seem too eager for the future so we pick up bad habits of expecting something is always approaching, until we find ourselves habitually and mindlessly saying, “I’ll be happy when” How often have we said: I’ll be happy when we  get a new car, when the baby comes or when they buy a house.  Then they will be happy when the car is paid off, the house is furnished and decorated or when the kids leave home.  How about – I’ll be happy when the credit cards are all paid off, when I don’t have to work anymore, when we leave for vacation, when we are able to get new carpeting. You can probably easily fill in the blanks here, right?

Happiness is NOW!  Although some days may seem dull and useless, many from trivial to profound but, to quote Gloria Gaither who wrote: “We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand”.

Tom and I have never been people who have spent much time “looking back”.  I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to measure progress, review and evaluate the decisions made, and/or determine your current position in light of the progress you have made toward tomorrows’ goal.  I’m not even suggesting it’s a bad idea to acknowledge your mistakes and errors, and learn from them.  Certainly, we learn much more from our mistakes than we do our successes. It’s also not a bad idea to review your successes and bathe in the glory of your great performances.

However we believe that about three minutes is all the time anyone should spend evaluating yesterday. We find little value in looking over our shoulder rehearing past blunders, hashing over mistakes and wallowing around in the guilt of yesterday. These situations usually turn out to only be a “boogie man” anyway and not important, serving only to slow you down. Whatever you do, “don’t look back” who can forget the story of Lot’s wife who “looked back” and turned into a Pillar of Salt!  Oh my!

So, as we move through 2007, I suggest you make a concerted effort to live in “Day Tight Compartments”.  Try this – before you rush headlong into the business of the today, consider this anonymous poem I found in the pocket of a pair of old jeans (circ 1975)

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAY.

God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.

What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be a gain not a loss, good not evil, success not failure
in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.

Notes don’t have problems. As I used to tell the Real Estate Agents when I owned and operated a Real Estate Company, “Real Estate doesn’t have problems” it just sits there as an inanimate object. It’s the people, the owners who have the problem(s). When you “contact” the people with the problem, and you can solve it with the service or solution, you will be a “winner”. The same goes for Notes. Notes don’t have problems; it’s the owners who have the problems. They made the choice to take back a note and now need cash for any number of reasons: Medical, credit cards, overspending at Christmas, house repairs, car repair or replacement, a new toy or serious stuff like bailing a kid out of jail. Who knows, but they have problems!

The point here is, you have to “contact” them. Your ship won’t come in unless you sent it out, it’s just as simple as that. So, where do you find them to contact them? That’s the sixty four thousand dollar question. Almost all note consultants are falling over themselves looking in the same place and typically at great expense.

Here at the Note Servicing Center, we are continually looking for notes to service and have found the most effective way to mine for notes is to develop a strategy whereby you multiply yourself though others. You do this by developing relationships with Synergy Partners. If you have been in the note business for any length of time, or even for a few months as a new note broker or consultant, you probably have discovered that searching for that one illusive “note” can be not only time consuming, but can also require a ton of money for collateral materials like brochures, flyers, postcards, stationery, business cards, printing and ads, to say nothing of telephone bills and endless postage.

We Service

  • Pension Fund IRA
  • Intra-Family Loans
  • Seller Financing
  • Mobile Home Notes
  • Mobile Home
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Land
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