BiggerPockets Podcast 019 with Tracy Royce Transcript

Link to show: BP Podcast 019: Short Sales Tips, Starting Out in Real Estate, & Working w/ Virtual Assistants with Tracy Royce

Josh: This is BiggerPockets podcast. Show 19.

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Josh: Hey everybody, thanks for listening to the BiggerPockets podcast show number 19. I'm your host, Josh Dorkin, along with my co-host, Brandon Turner. What's going down Brandon?

Brandon: Hey good morning, Josh. Things are going down quite well around these parts. What about you?

Josh: Oh I'm doing, man. Doing real good. Excited about show 19. Excited about things on BiggerPockets. Looking forward to summertime, you know, things are good, man. Things are good, but enough about you and I. Why don't we jump right in and hit today's quick tip.

Brandon: Quick tip. I changed it a little bit, do you like that?

Josh: Yeah, you got a little bass-y there, man. I didn't realize you could get that low.

Brandon: Yeah, you know.

Josh: I bet the ladies love that.

Brandon: You know it. 

Josh: Well for today's quick tip which is, admittedly self-serving quick tip, you guys listen, we've got 229 five-star reviews in iTunes right now for the BiggerPockets podcast. We're just a couple dozen short of being the top-rated real estate podcast in all of iTunes, so if you appreciate the work that we put in to this show, and I know that I put in far more work than Brandon...

Brandon: Far more, far more.

Josh: Yes, yes. That's actually not true. If you appreciate the work that Brandon puts in and me showing up as just somebody to gab with, please head over guys, please head over to iTunes. Leave us an honest rating and a review. Of course while you're there, if you don't mind please subscribe to the show. The ratings, the reviews and subscribing to the show help us out quite a bit and helps us get more visibility, bigger audience, more people on BiggerPockets, more possible opportunities for you. Of course, rating us, helping us get more people to the show, will ultimately help you out. Not totally self-serving, but it's self-serving in a roundabout way for everybody. Anyway, with that we will move on and get right into the show. Today...

Brandon: Yeah, to the show. More jingles, right? That's what we need, more jingles.

Josh: Yeah. Today we're really excited to introduce you guys to Tracy Royce. Tracy is a real estate who's been involved in real estate in the Scottsdale area, not to be confused with Phoenix. The Scottsdale area, which is a suburb of Phoenix I believe, for over a decade Tracy runs royceofrealestate.com and she's also a weekly columnist on our blog, the BiggerPockets Blog. Today she's got a lot of advice for us on getting started, organizing your business and learning how to master short sales to get more deals. There's a lot of really great tips today on short sales, for sure. Make sure you pay close attention... so without further ado, Tracy Royce, welcome to the show, how are you doing?

Tracy: I'm doing really well guys, thanks for having me on.

Josh: Thank you.

Brandon: It's good.

Josh: Thank you. Yeah, yeah. Well, so let's jump right into this thing. You are a somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades here. Why don't we just get into how you got started into the world of real estate?

Tracy: Sure. Well, I think what makes me a jack-of-all-trades is not necessarily that I am, but how I got started in real estate was working for a lot of other investors, so I've just been exposed to a lot of different types of strategies and single-family residents and I got recruited out of the health and fitness industry. Did loans for a few years and decided that wasn't really my calling and started a business working and for investors and it really just grew from there.

Josh: Wow, okay so, loans, working for investors. Were you an agent? Are you an agent? You are an agent today, correct?

Tracy: Yeah, I got licensed a few years ago. I was really hesitant to get it, to be honest, that just wasn't what I felt like my highest and best calling was, but just with the advent of short sales that really just melded the agency and investor world, so I had to, but I think the majority of the people that wanted to stay in the industry doing what it is that we do, it was a necessary evil, so to speak.

Josh: So what is your main business today? What do you do mainly?

Tracy: We still buy and sell pre-foreclosures and just short sales have been so popular that that was the largest modality that we really focused on, but certainly any sort of pre-foreclosure, you know, some market changes we just shift what we buy and how we sell, but business model really hasn't changed that much.

Josh: Got you. Who is we, is that you and your spouse, or do you have a team?

Tracy: Yeah, it's my team. Like I said, I worked with and for investors. Typically I would earn a salary doing some sort portfolio management, and they would be buying and fixing and flipping and I would participate doing that. Now I've just started doing more of it on my own, just because at some point it's like, "Okay, how much effort can I put in to working for everyone else's business and can I parlay that into working on my own."

Brandon: Okay. Tracy, how did you go from the actual job you had to running your own business? You said you worked in the health and fitness industry, like how did that transition take place?

Tracy: Well, that transition was pretty much like, "Hey, do you want to be a loan officer? Do you want to get out of this and do something that might be a little bit more lucrative and have the chance to make a real career out of it?" Because the only way that I saw, I mean I'm just really business-minded, so the only way I really making a go and having a full-blown career with the sort of goals that I had set for myself as a personal trainer was own my own business. I just didn't really see a way for that to happen at that time.

One of the guys I worked with, he had some family that worked in the loan industry and he's like, "Hey, you're pretty good at this. If you ever want to do something else, I think you should try to be a loan officer." And so I moved into that and did that for a few years, but like I said it just didn't really fit me, I was 20 years old at the time telling people what to do with like hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I just saw the writing on the wall that a lot of these people just can't afford this.

Not that I wasn't participating in those types of loans, but you just see it. I'm like, something's got to happen with this, and that just naturally gravitated me towards working with investors and so really, what I think of this like the job which is working with and for investors, for me it was one and the same. I usually got to participate with them on deals. Really the job transition wasn't much of one for me. My job was to work with for them.

Josh: Okay, let's talk about two things really quick. On the loan side, as you went in to be a loan officer, I'm just curious, how much training did you actually have?

Tracy: Not much, and that was the scary part.

Josh: Yeah. That's my point. It is scary.

Tracy: And that's good that you bring that up Josh, because here we are so many years later that it's like, now you have to have more certification. Now you have to have more formal education. Now there's more regulations. I'm like, "What the heck am I doing telling people what to do?" I don't have a background in Finance, this isn't my place to be here. I just bowed out after a few years, but the education that I got it really helped me learn that side of it, so it's made me a stronger investor and agent, so I don't regret it. It led me to where I am, but it was scary and obviously we've seen the fall-out.

Josh: Yeah. Yeah, yeah for sure. I wasn't raising that question to make you look funny or anything.

Tracy: No, not at all.

Josh: It was one of these things where you could, you know, you could literally walk into an office and say, "Hey, I want to be a loan officer." They're like, "Cool, you're hired."

Tracy: Right.

Josh: Yeah, that's kind of a scary thing. You've talked a couple times about working with investors. Can you get into that a little bit? Explain exactly how that happens? What's your role and how did you actually getting, going, doing that?

Tracy: Yeah so, one thing that I'm really, really good about it being organized and efficient and it drives my fiancé nuts because everything around the house has a place and it's like perfectly located.

Josh: So [inaudible][09:07] people.

Tracy: Right, right. However it's wonderful for business. The average client that I would work for is just a guy that you wouldn't normally think is this millionaire real estate investor but has a portfolio of anywhere from 25 to 30 houses, doesn't really know how to expand his business, doesn't necessarily want to make it a huge conglomerate by any stretch of the imagination; but either holds another business related to real estate or has a career in something else.

It's the kind of profile that you would think of the millionaire-next-door. I have enough that I can put on someone else to pay the ma salary or pay them on a file basis the sort of stuff to really help out with the marketing, administration, portfolio management, operations, anything like that.

It was really a huge round of behind-the-scenes, and helping out with acquisition, re-sale, anything and everything, and I know that's pretty broad spectrum but when you work for one person, you guys know you run a small business, it's like you wear so many hats and you just dive in. Really the business was helping these sorts of investors of all their behind-the-scenes, executive, administrative stuff, to help them take a lot of that stuff off of their book, or off of their shoulders, so that they can run their business better.

Josh: That's great, and it's an interesting path because the question we get all the time on BiggerPockets is, "Hey, how do I find a mentor?", "How do I learn how to do this?" you know beyond obviously, "Hey, read, read, read."

Tracy: Right.

Josh: That's probably one of the best ways you could possibly go about doing it is, "Hey, let me find an investor who's successful and end up working for them and doing their grunt work." Do all the dirty work. Do what you have to do because you're going to learn everything there is to know about running a business.

Tracy: Right, and I think a difference too is I was paid to get this education and they were happy to pay for my education. A big thing I want to mention here too, is if you're just someone off the street, a lot of these guys and gals are operating out of their house, they're pretty protective of their information. I don't blame them, but it's usually whenever I ended one contract with another investor, I was always recruited somewhere else and it's just because I was very respectful of their information, not sharing stuff with other people and just making sure that I did a really good job for them and that they could trust me; but when the contract was over, it's just like I had done my position to automate some of their systems, save them or make them and then just move on to a different contract.

Josh: Well, I think that one thing you said that's really, really important is, a lot of people when think of, "I'm going to go work for an investor," all they think of is, "I'm going to go sling a hammer for them, or, "I'm going to go to demo work for them," but I think it's cool that you found what you are good at, which is organizing, and that kind of side of things, and the business side of things, and you apply that to working for investors. You don't have to be guy slinging the hammer to know where to help an investor. There's a lot of ways...

Tracy: No, not at all. That's the thing, it's if you have no experience, if you have, you know, "I don't know how to find deals," or, "I don't know how to raise money and I know that's what investors want," so it's like what are you good at? Like I said, I know my talents and I know how they can benefit an investor. You know, someone's out there and they're like, "Well how do I find someone that might pay me to work for them?" What are you good at? Can you start with something as simple as stuffing mailers? That's a super, super low-paying job but on the other spectrum, how can you walk into an organized business, let's just pretend it's a larger one where there's a CEO and an HR department, and everything's put in place and say, "Well, I want to be the CEO." You got to work in the mail room first.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Absolutely, absolutely yeah. It's interesting you say that because I used to work in the world of Hollyweird.

Tracy: Oh yeah?

Josh: Nobody unless you were loaded came in to that business and was an executive. Everybody kind of worked their way up from the bottom. You started in the mail room, exactly. You were a grunt. You worked for somebody. You got them coffee. You worked horrible hours. You got yelled at all the time and eventually you got to be the guy yelling at somebody else. You got to take your lumps in this world and I think the thing that I think is so important for new investor to understand is don't expect to get rich tomorrow. Don't expect to be running somebody else's company in two weeks. You need to put the work and you need to hustle. If you do that, it'll come. Wealth comes with hard work.

Tracy: Yeah, and I think that that's part of what people don't understand. You know, my path doesn't work for everyone, I mean certainly if you do have the backing or ability just to step in and be more in a partnership role, so be it. I mean, that's fantastic, however, for the most part even if you have to start stuffing mailers for someone that might be two hours of exposure in their office that you just overhear stuff and just really start getting real-world experience. You can't gain that paying a thousand bucks over the weekend going to someone's shop, or workshop I mean.

Josh: Yeah. Besides working for people, do you have any other good tips for new investors who want to break into this game? They might not have a lot of money or experience or deals. Any other good tips for that?

Tracy: Yeah, I think a lot of it for me, at least just because of my experience, I'm certainly biased as to trying to find someone to help pay for your education. Again, even if it's just something as small as helping them out with marketing or door-knocking or anything like that. If that's not the route that they can't take or they can't find an investor in their community, just even getting a job in the industry, I mean, I don't know if you can just step into a title company if you don't have relatable experience just to do that; but just something related to the industry that you can get paid for just to put you in the sort of circles that you need to be to meet other people and gain any sort of real-world experience because that might lead you to the conclusion that, "This isn't as fun as I thought it was going to be."

Josh: Yeah, that's great. Speaking of circles, BiggerPockets.com is a great place a circle of real estate investors. Actually, really quick this is show 19 of the BiggerPockets podcast and for our show notes and any other information on this particular show, check out BiggerPockets.com/show19.

You know, you're right. It really is about networking and knowing people and through your community you're going to start to get a better understanding of what happens. With that said, the market is kind of crazy right now in a lot of places. Prices are rising fast, inventory is very, very tight. What are your thoughts on that? Do you have any feedback, advice, tips on finding opportunities in a tough market?

Tracy: Yeah, so I thought about this a little bit last night. One thing is I don't like to just give people answers. I'm really about being hands-on and then teaching people to be resourceful and find their own answers, because I feel like I'm better served by creating people around me that think and are resourceful. So without just away the barn, one thing that I really want people to think about is what are the market indicators that are happening wherever their money is being put. It doesn't necessarily have to be in your own backyard if you're not investing there, but wherever you are investing.

Look it like, "What's happening with the population? Are there more people coming than going?", "What's happening with prices? Is it going up? Is it going down?", "What's happening the foreclosures? Are they only upswing or are they actually starting to climb?" Once you start to really learn what these market indicators are, you're like, "Oh okay, so probably this is sort of stuff is going to die out." For example, if you think about maybe like a few years ago, maybe like five years ago, when REO was basically unheard of. Wouldn't have that been a wonderful time to pick up the phone of some people on your area that are starting to get some REO listings? Then you're like, "Hey, this is Tracy and I'm just seeing if you have any properties that you might want me to take a look at?"

So you start to develop a relationship with REO managers. What happens a couple years after that when they're so inundated with inventory and then all these other investors come in and like, "Oh man, I'm going to go straight to the person." Well, guess who beat them to the punch? You did because you understood the sort of indications where the inventory would be coming from. Now that REO might be dying off and traditional inventory is coming back, it's like if you really just ponder what's happening, if you work on pre-foreclosure but like where the inventory's going to come from, that's going to lead you to your lead generation sources.

People like to think of whatever's happening, the market that they're in investing is a microcosm of the inventories. You know, this has happened before. What happened last time? There's cycles that are specific no matter what year it is, it's happening now it's going to happen again, and if you learn how to look for what's going on and how things are shifting, you'll know how to shift with it.

Josh: That's great. Yeah, plan ahead.

Brandon: Where do you see things going just in your area?

Tracy: The thing is, here, on any given day, in a healthy market quote un-quote, there's still thousands of people that are in foreclosure and my niche and background is in pre-foreclosure, so I'll probably always target that; but that fits my business model. It doesn't fit everyone else's, depending on what your business model is and if you're looking for a specific type of inventory, meaning like the year build, the bedrooms, bath area, this sort of stuff minds more towards pre-foreclosure and yeah, there's a witness beyond that.

I think if people are really still looking for good deals, I think the more public something is, the less viable it's going to be for them to be able to convert it.

Brandon: Yeah. Yeah, and we've been talking to a lot of people about direct mail lately and that seems to be becoming more and more popular because you can't just look up on the MLS anymore.

Tracy: Right.

Brandon: It's finding the ones that are not as popular is definitely kind of the way to go, it seems so.

Josh: Well, cool. I think it's the methods that require more work. The folks who just want an easy win, so to speak, aren't go through the effort, right?

Tracy: Well, not to cut you off Josh I'm sorry...

Josh: Aw you cut me off.

Tracy: It's one of those things where you keep having these redundant conversations it seems like with people that they're like, "Man, it's so tough right now." You know, I look at these people and like, "Well you got in a few years ago when it was just hand over fist and you didn't really have to do much of anything. I don't fault people for taking advantage of a market, you know, good for them. However, I think if you want to be sustainable in real estate, especially as an investor, you have to be willing to, like you said, work for it sometimes; and I'm like, "Man, if you want an easy job, go sell kittens at PetSmart or something."

Josh: That's a perfect job for Brandon by the way.

Brandon: Yes, I do have three cats so we…

Tracy: Nice. Now this just isn't an industry for the faint of heart, and you know nothing attracts more people wanting to get in other than an appreciating market, but gosh, you know, that's got to attract so much more competition too. Unless you're really willing to dive in and just dirty and stay with it and do the grunt work and know that it's tough sometimes, I mean, people are pretend that it's so easy and it's really pretty arduous sometimes.

Josh: Yeah. For sure. I remember early 2000s when I was an agent in L.A., the number of agents in L.A. grew to some explosive numbers. It was insane. It was crazy. All these people were complaining, like, "Why can't I get listings?", "I used to just put out a sign and suddenly I got them. I'm out of here. I hate this business." Like, okay. Well, if you don't want to work, you don't have to.

Tracy: See you.

Josh: You know, there's more for other people and other people are going to do well. In anything in life, if you work hard, things are going to come to you and I think that's something that I really try to impose upon our listeners and people on BiggerPockets. This is not an easy thing. You got to try and you got to be smart and you got to plan and you got to run your biz like a biz.

Tracy: Right.

Josh: Let's talk about your business in particular a little bit more. You talked about having systems and things like that. Maybe you can explain a little bit about how you actually have your business set up?

Tracy: Well, the business model's pretty much the same. We target and buy and resell pre-foreclosures. I've gotten to the point where my assistants are virtual. There's still some things that I don't want to put on someone else. I just feel like that I'm the one that can navigate through some of the data the best; but for the most part I still have people, I still have one of my assistants process the paperwork, put it together, send it to the owners, go over things. I'm there of course, for deal structure. I just decided that all these other stuff that I put in place for other people, obviously I'll keep them placed for myself.

My goal and my mindset is, I don't want to make this harder than it needs to be, but I'm also very oriented towards like, "What are my ultimate goals here and am I meeting them?" That's really macro of what a day to day is; but other than that I just spend a lot of time looking over deals and analyzing deals and other than that I'm just working on looking over crews for the rehab and re-sale.

Josh: Okay.

Tracy: Is that too broad?

Brandon: I do want to actually dive in a little bit deeper on one of those things you said.  You just mentioned virtual assistants. I'm wondering how does that work? Are you talking like, you hired somebody from the Philippines do work for you, or are you talking like somebody you just know? How does that work?

Tracy: One of the things that I really embraced a few years ago, probably like three or four years ago, was virtual assistance. I used oDesk, I think there's a Find a Freelancer.com and a couple of other ones, but I was lucky enough to find a couple of people on oDesk that have just really worked well for me, and I've worked with them for years.

People think, "Well, I'm sitting here in my home office. I don't do a ton of deals. Why would I need to hire an assistant? I can just do it all myself?" but part of it is like, "Well, some of these assistants are like dollars. You can pay them a few bucks an hour. I think even some of the more expensive ones are still under 10 bucks an hour. I mean if you can find someone that can take anything off of your plate, even if it's just a couple of hours a week. You don't have to pay them employment. You don't have the minimum hours of employment that you have to give them. It's really up to you, so even if it's just a couple of hours of your time, just the thought of that and the efficiency factor of it in training someone that you don't have to take on all the extra liability on, I just really took that and ran. It's worked really well on the businesses.

Brandon: You know I used to feel kind of weird that I was paying, I hired a guy one time, and I paid him $3 an hour. That's what he was asking and I felt kind of bad like, "Man, am I ripping this guy off?" but he was from Bangladesh and he was just doing some data entry and then I read an article a few days ago, and it said that the minimum wage there, I think was 0.19 cents an hour or 0.29 cents an hour, something like that, and the average wage was like 0.50 cents an hour.

I realized that this guy was making a really, really good income for his area and it was a really good deal for me, and it worked out really, really well. I want to get more and more into that and kind of get more of my day to day stuff outsourced. Anything you can, I guess, offer or suggest, I would love to know more about that.

Tracy: Yes, so specifically, even if you're just starting out, like even if you've just picked up your first deal. Go to Google Documents, and pretty much everyone has a Gmail address, if you don't, just make one. [email protected] Then you get Google docs as a free part of that whole database. Just open up a Google doc and say what did I do on this to make this a deal? "Okay, I've sent out mailers." Okay, that's part of the process, right? "What did I do when I put the contract together?" I had to do XYZ.

Even if you don't really know exactly what it is that you're going to groom to make into a process, just write down what it is that you do on each deal, and you'll start to notice because even if you're buying X acts, acquisition strategy over Y acquisition strategy, a lot of it is still going to be redundant. You still have to get the contract signed. You still have to put a deposit in Escrow. You still have to deliver the docs back to the seller. Make sure that they're signed.

So all of this stuff, a lot of it is just redundant. Writing down what it is that you actually do on each deal, so that way if someone else steps into your business in you’re like,"Okay, assistant, this is what needs to be done on every single thing. This is the stuff that can be done remotely," and teaching someone else those administrative parts of your process. Even if you don't know how to work with an assistant or you're like, "I can't see them. I can't work with them. How do I actually hire a virtual assistant," Just write down exactly what it is that you do and then they can refine the process.

The second part of that I find, Brandon, is people think like, "Well, if someone's in the Philippines, they're not going to know about real estate and Georgia or in Arizona. How does someone know how to work in my business?" What's surprising is there are assistants on these like Find a Freelancer.com or oDesk.com that are specific towards real estate. I mean, they've worked for other investors and are still working for other real estate agents and investors. Some of them even work for the banks, like the major lenders. They have a lot of experience.

One of my assistants is from the Philippines, she speaks English probably better than I do. She has an accent but who cares about that? I think that's another big hurdle that I hear people say is, "I don't want to hire someone that maybe doesn't understand real estate or speak the language." Well teach them what I need to know for your business and find someone that is obviously proficient in English.

Brandon: I really want a VA just because of what Tim Ferris kind of popularized a lot of that.

Tracy: Yeah, I mean they are pretty life-changing. The fact that it's like someone else can work while you're sleeping and it's like they're just dedicated to your business and what's cool about oDesk too is, I don't if this specifically addresses it, I've just never had a problem with any sort of information sharing. I mean, knowing that even one of the assistants that I worked for works for other investors, you know, throughout the country, but it's one of those things were a lot of their getting hired with other people depends on their feedback. If you have anything negative to say or if you feel like they've shared things, there's a lot of things that you can do to complain and change their rating and eventually it will cost them work, but none of them want that, of course.

Brandon: Yeah, because it's all very public.

Tracy: Yeah. Like you said, if the average wage is 0.50 cents and they're making 3 bucks, what's their advantage to try to share their information versus continue with you as a contractor.

Brandon: Yeah. Yeah that's definitely true. Well, cool. Let's transition a little bit over to something else that you and I have talked about before and I want to kind of get your take on, and that's goals. Goals, we talked about them all the time in real estate, especially in the new year. Everyone's talking about goals. Let's just kind of talk about why that's important and what makes a good goal? What are your thoughts on that?

Tracy: Yeah, I think why it's really paramount to be clear is just knowing that as market cycles change, your time-frame to really take advantage of something is closing. Okay, so if you step into a market cycle, it might be three to five years, and it's specific to what you want to accomplish during that time, knowing that some landscapes of opportunity are more primed than others. It's like, "Okay, I'm rand new to real estate. I want to step in right now. I want to buy a hundred houses over the next two years with no money down."

Okay, well that's probably not going to happen. It's something that I think people really need to look at and say, "What is it that I want to accomplish? What does it look like here? Can I do this on my own backyard?", "If not, where do I need to go to do this and how long is it going to take me?", because I think otherwise it's like, "Why are we sitting behind the desk?", "Why are we out in the field looking at deals?", "Why are we overseeing contractors?", "Why the heck are we even doing this?" What's the end-all be-all for you to either retire yourself or transition into something else, or meet a financial mark?

It really has to be actionable and it has to be reasonable, because otherwise it's like you're just a pilot getting into a plane and you only have so much gas, and maybe it's windy out and there's a storm coming. Well you can still get there, it might take you a little bit longer, but you just have to navigate a little bit differently to get to the same place, in a certain amount of time.

Brandon: Can you potentially give us some examples of good goals and bad goals?

Tracy:Yeah, I think a really good goal is, "I want to buy, for instance, enough houses to cover my monthly bills so that if I wanted to quit my job I could." Let's just say you're a teacher and you make $45,000 a year. What would it take for you to be able to go in one day and say, "You know what? I can get early retirement. I don't have to do this anymore. I can sit at home and eat bonbons and take some rental calls and I'm good to go."

Josh: They still have bonbons?

Tracy: I don't know, but those are...

Josh: I love those things.

Tracy: They're disgusting.

Josh: What?

Tracy:You know, depending on where you live, it's like, "Okay, let's say on average if you can cash flow $300 a month on each house, and each house costs $50,000, well do you have credit? Can you start putting them in your name? If not, you need to figure out something else. Or where's the down payment money going to come from?

Some of that stuff might take some time to actually put in place, like if you need to get your credit fixed or work on getting down payment. All of it again has to be actionable and if the end goal is, "Okay, looks like all I have to buy is 10 houses to be able to cover my monthly expenses," then how do I work backwards from there that really sets a pace and vision for what it is that you're going to be doing every day.

Josh: Now that's great. Well, listen, so you talked about goals, we talked about all these other things. In particular adjusting strategies, let's take an example of an investor who may not have the budget right there. They're get ready to get started and they want to get out there and they want to spread the word of what they're up to. Is there a way for these guys to do that? I know you're thinking social, BiggerPockets, we are obviously a social portal, but maybe you could talk a little bit about that and how you use it and how you think others might best use online?

Tracy:Sure. I think as micro business, even if a large company, the larger companies they might have a huge outreach and have billions of dollars that they can spend every month, and if you don't have that, you can still use that strategy, not necessarily against them, but if that's their only strategy, you can still find ways to be able to cultivate leads. I think that that's impart by attraction, okay. It's like you're inviting a conversation, if you do stuff through Facebook and Google, Google Plus and Twitter, I mean, people are going to Google or look you up, or want to know more about you. Just know that, this is a real person, they're not here to rip me off, that they have good reputation. The more that you make yourself available online, I think it really helps build credibility versus just seeing a billboard on the side of the road with a recognizable picture.

If you don't have the sort of marketing budget that they do, you can still build brand awareness and it's still very much an organic level; but I think you know, as more investors come in to the market and there's more money spent on the larger scales stuff or these nationalized companies, people just want to know, after all these mess in the banking industry, "Who do I trust? Where can I go? Is this person ripping me off?" Building that sort of online reputation through videos, that's becoming more paramount. If you have some time to spend, and not doing a bunch of deals, start posting a bunch of videos. Just tell people what you do, and how you can help them, and why it's a benefit to them and just talk about yourself. Talk about the marketplace.

Not only that, by providing information, and just probing information, seeing what's going on and giving that back to people. I think BiggerPockets especially is just a wonderful platform because people come back to it for the information. You could do something for your own business on a micro scale, for instance, in your own backyard. Like, what's happening in the Phoenix market or whatever market that you're in.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah for sure.

Josh: Gotcha. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. Alright well let's go to something that I, in particular, want to talk to you about, and that's short sales. There's a lot of people who are hush-hush about the whole short sale world and short sale process. Maybe we can start with first, what exactly short sale is, and then if you can explain into some detail how does short sale work? What's the process?

Tracy: Sure. In the easiest terms, short sale is just when the homeowner, who's a lot more on their property that it's actually worth. The process of completing a short sale is when the bank will take less that what their actually owed and then everything in between is just negotiating and getting all the parties together to agree on final terms. Really, it's just when there's more owed than it's worth and you get the bank to take less than what's owed.

Josh: Okay. I find an opportunity, some guy wants to get out of his house. He says, "Josh, the problem is I'm under water on this mortgage. What do we do?", and I say, "Oh okay, well I can help you out." I don't know what I'm doing, how do I help him out? What is the beginning, what is step one for me as an investor? How do we get from there to actually closing a short sale?

Tracy: If you're talking about yourself actually helping them through the short sale, if you don't have much experience in it, I don't know if that's the best use of your time; because if you're not proficient in what it takes to work with certain banks or government programs, you could end up screwing it up, basically. Not only losing the deal, putting the homeowner in the position that they might not have otherwise been, and that puts a lot of liability on you.

If you're approaching pre-foreclosures and they are under water, you might want to hook up with someone in the area that knows what they're doing, and just participate with them somehow.

Brandon: Okay. You think like a real estate agent, or another investor?

Tracy: No, they have to be licensed.

Josh: Okay, fair enough. So they hooked up with this license real estate agent, walk me through the process from I'd find somebody who's under water, who's in trouble, and I want to take advantage of the opportunity to help them obviously, potentially make some money for myself. How does that happen? Including what the will do in the process.

Tracy: Yeah, exactly. Touching on that, if you have your license and you're able to do that, so be it. If you're not really experienced, you're not comfortable with it.. you really want to filter the agent just as much as you do the deal. I've written a blog post about this a while ago. I really implore the listeners that are looking to do short sales with someone else, like as a listing agent, if they're finding short sales off the MLS or wherever they're getting them, to really go through to ask a listing agent, "How many short sales have you done and who are the lenders on this property?" because that right there, like, "I just do not want to work with this lender", or "I don't want to work with this investor on it," meaning like Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. "Is there an HOA and where are they standing on that? because back it in to biting you in the end too. Is the seller cooperative, are they motivated?

Just like any other deal, if the seller's like, "Yeah, this sounds great," and then they're like, "Forget it," won't answer their phone, you really need their participation. Where are they are with the bank? If you're getting this off the MLS, like, "Okay great, you started this short sale. Where is it at? What's the communication? Where are you at in the process? Have they pulled title?" Because oftentimes the sellers like, "Yeah, I got one lien with Bank of America and that's it." Well come to find out they have a second, they might have a HELOC. They might have an HOA lien that you don't find out until about months later in the process. Has the bank done valuation? 

As an investor, that especially is important too because if there's valuation already done on the property, most banks are going to need a percentage of that. If they'd had to re-do it two or three times, like for instance, I had a short sale that I was looking at and I called the agent and he was like, every single time they do valuation they demand more and more. I end up getting buyers that'll pay that, because we're in an appreciating market, and then we it goes to approve, they're like, "Actually, we need even more now."

I mean, this poor guy had been working on this short sale for over a year and he just could not get valuation in line with what someone was, you know, he'd get it to where they're willing to pay that, and then when they want to close, they would end up upping the value again. Just starting off with a precedence of you know what you're doing, you want to work with someone that's experienced, that's not going to totally flop up the deal for you and then just making them accountable, but also you participating, I think is what the necessary platform is to be able to really not learn to hate short sales and actually have a better experience with them.

Josh: Okay so that all said, take me through in five steps, seven steps, whatever it is. One, find short sale. Two.

Tracy: Find a listing agent if there's a proficient one in your area.

Josh: Three.

Tracy: Turn in the offer and let them know. Be very upfront about the fact that I'm trying to make a deal out of this. My intention is to either keep this as a rental or sell this at a profit. If you have any sort of issue with that, you need to know now; but here's my disclaimer: I'm sending it in to the bank. The seller needs to sign it. You need to sign it. I need to sign it. Everyone that breathes on this file needs to sign it; but if you're cool with that, here's the cash offer. I need to see the property before we close, but otherwise I'm serious. I'm patient, I know how short sales work, and I'm probably one of the best buyers that you'll work with.

Josh: That's awesome. Great. Then what happens? The file goes to the bank?

Tracy: Then you make the listing agent accountable and ask for weekly updates. No update is still an update. Just ask them, "Okay, has the valuation come in?", "When is the valuation going to be done?" I'm sorry, "When is the valuation going to be done?" Because you don't want it to come in without you knowing about it.

Josh: Just to clarify really quickly?

Tracy: Yep.

Josh: The valuation is the bank going to actually value the property to make sure that they're happy with your offer and they're willing to actually take less than the note is worth, yeah?

Tracy: Yes, so that's a great point to bring up. The valuation is, any lien that's on the property, they want to know what it's worth okay? If a property is worth, let's just say, $100,000, you send them an offer for $75,000. "Well, that's great. I'm glad you're willing to negotiate with us. However, we don't know what you negotiate starting at," so they're going to go out and send a BPO which could be anything from an agent down the street for $50 driving by the property, taking pictures, spending 10 minutes pooling coms and valuing it at a $150,000... or it can end up where they pay for an appraisal and do a full-out appraisal but it tends to be a little bit more accurate.

Either way, any bank that's involved will get their own valuation to couple with your offer and then they'll come back and say," Okay, we're a little off." Any other offer they can counter, they can accept or they can reject; and the seller of title is really a signatory at that point, it's the bank that they're going to be negotiating with on the price.

Josh: BPO is Broken Price Opinion, right?

Tracy: It's opinion. I mean, an appraisal is still an opinion too. It tends to be more thorough and more expensive. Like I said, BPO is just someone potentially just driving by and taking a couple of pictures.

Josh: Let's say I want to go buy a house from this guy, Bob, and Bob owes $150,000 on it. I know, as an investor, I would not pay more than $100,000 for it. If I were to go offer to the bank $100,000 and their valuation came back at $120,000 let's say. Am I just out of luck, or is that something the bank will be willing take a loss on just like they would in a foreclosure?

Tracy: Yeah, that's a perfect question to ask. I think that's one of the missing links why investors or buyers might despise short sales after a while because they're like, "Man, these banks. I just can't work with them. Their values are far too..." Well, you can contest the value and most people just don't utilize that. It's like the listing agent might not know that either. Depending on who the bank is, the investor, some of them are a lot harder to work with, but like any other negotiation, show them why. It's worth $100,000. Don't just say, "Well, gosh darn it, they need to know what's happening. Why don't they understand what's happening in my market?"

Well because they're sitting in a call center, like four states away. They don't understand. If there's an e-mail address that you can send pictures to, if you can send in an inspection report, I mean, for god’s sake, spend 300 bucks, 500 bucks, but whatever it is in your area to get an appraisal. If you can show an appraisal at $100,000, they might take that over their own. They're just trying to do a valuation on such a high scale that if it comes back not necessarily in your favor, or it's not reflected accurately, show them why and spend the money on inspection to be able to try to create that sort of profit for yourself.

Josh: Got you. Why then would a bank actually agree to take less money on these short sales? Let's say the notes are valued at $125,000 and the house, according to one guy's worth $150,000. Why would they take a hundred grand, what is it in their interest to actually take less money?

Tracy: Sure. In most cases, I'm somewhat hesitant on this question, in most cases it's financially advantageous for them to accept the short sale because they're still gaining a premium over what they would if they took it REO. REO stands for Real Estate Owned, meaning real estate owned by the bank. When people say jargon like lender owned, real estate, that just means that after it actually went through the foreclosure.

It's not the case in every position because I've certainly had short sales and of course heard from tons of other agents that still short sales, and it's like, "Man, I brought them a solid offer and they still didn't take it. They took an REO and they made less on that." It's like something behind-the-scenes makes more sense for them, but to the sellers I can still say, for the most part, a short sale is a lot less expensive.

For the banks, it makes more sense to them to recoup more money than they would on a short sale versus foreclosure; but unfortunately that seems to have shifted. Again, there are certain banks that you know, that you could work with, that are easier to work with, that the chances of that happening are less likely, then filter through those. Again, asking questions to the listing agent from the get-go, then your success rate will continue to be higher, than if you just throw an offer at anything and everything and just hope for the best.

Brandon: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense.

Josh: Another question for you, just kind of a basic. If I want to do a short sale with somebody, do they have to have a lot of mispayments and stuff? Will a bank not even look at a short sale if the person's been paying just fine?

Tracy: Yeah, they actually don't and I think that's another misunderstanding too. Not necessarily in the investor community, but if you're like, "Oh, I bought a home out of foreclosure," people are like, "Oh man, that's disgusting. It's trash. It needs a major rehab." The thing about it is, the stress can tie itself to the sellers. If they're in a distressed position, the bank might accept their short sale without them ever having missed a payment. If they have an imminent default coming.

If you talk to someone like, I've had several short sales where the seller has a medical condition, it's not bad yet, but the doctors have said like, "Hey, this is your prognosis. This is going to cost you X amount of money most likely." I mean, they're just like, "Man, even though I have savings, this is going to cost me so much money over the next few years. I can't continue to make my payments after X date, so I'm approaching my bank. I'm getting a listing agent now to try to bite this thing in the butt, or you know, before I can, or before I actually default."

I mean, if you can even target people like that, they absolutely do not have to be behind on payments, and in that way they can save their credit, recoup the bank more money and it becomes a win-win-win all the way around.

Brandon: What is credit? What does a short sale usually do to credit?

Tracy: It tends to be less damage than a foreclosure but the biggest thing that's really going to hurt people is the mispayment. If you're behind on everything, I mean, if you have car payments, revolving credit, credit cards, all these other stuff, and you're behind on everything, I mean your credits crashed. If you miss payments, if you have a foreclosure, it's going to take you a handful of years, if not the full seven years to really get back on track; and that's with good credit payment history again.

With the short sale, if you miss, let's just say two or three payments, and completed short sale, it tends to be a little bit better; but if you do a short sale and, for instance, if you work with like one of the major banks and they waited a year to be able to take your home to short sale or foreclosure, your credit's pretty wrecked at that point. What I try to tell people is if you can stay on target, stay on payment with all your other obligations, and if you have to miss the house payment, so be it because it's easier to recover from that than if you just miss everything.

Josh: Say, I'm under water, I've got my house I paid $300,000. The market's terrible, it's worth $250,000 and I'm paying on time every single month. Is the bank going to let me go and do a short sale or do I have to show some kind of stress or strain in order to get out of the house?

Tracy: Yeah, there's some other strategic things that people can do. In Arizona, we're a non-judicial state. If the bank files the notice of trustee sale, within 90 days if absolutely nothing happens, the home is sold. Either to a third-party buyer or back to the bank. However, because we're also a non-recourse state, the debt is tied to the house and not necessarily the person.

Depending on the liens that are in place, if the bank has the right to be able to only take back the house, then there's not going to be any liability on the seller; but that's a caveat that's specialized to Arizona. Depending on which market the listeners are in, this could be totally different. If they're in a judicial state, in a recourse state, it's completely different.

However, in Arizona, those two things work for us, so if someone's able to say like, "You either accept this short sale, or you might get a fraction of this, plus at the auction. Plus, I have absolutely no liability. I'm going to live in the house as long as feasible and who knows if the house is going to be in the same condition when I move out." Usually in those cases, if you can show them, and prove to them numerically that it's still in their best interest to accept the short sale, they don't necessarily have to be as distressed as , you know, for instance the same people that had a medical condition or where it’s imminent that they're going to end up missing payments or defaulting. Does that make sense?

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Absolutely.

Brandon: Just to clarify then. A person probably is not going to use a short sale just to get out of being under water, right? It's not just an easy out for a homeowner, right?

Tracy: It's not necessarily easy, but what I try to tell people is talk to your bank, the sooner the better; because if you already have the notice of trustee sale or some default or whatever it is in your state that's posted, here it's a pretty quick time line, other places it might be longer so they might just want to hangout for a little bit. But the closer it gets to the auction date, the less options that you have.

It's really, really, really hard for me if someone calls up and they're two weeks away from auction, they haven't discussed anything with their bank and they're like, "Hey, I heard you can do a short sale for me and stop foreclosure. Can you bring me an offer and make this happen?" I can sometimes do miracles, but I can't work on water in two weeks usually. It just makes a lot more difficult, so I think it's a strategy, and if you link up with professionals in your area that know what they're doing and know the scope of what you can probably do, even if you're not necessarily distressed as much as the next guy, yeah, it's still possible. I wouldn't say it's easy to get out it. It's like unwinding everything that you put in place to get the loan. It still takes participation, but if you can numerically show them and negotiate with the bank for them to accept it, then why wouldn't you at least try it?

Josh: Yeah, so let's talk about the time line then real quick, you brought that up. How long does a typical short sale take?

Tracy: On average, I think a national averages are on six months. There's ones that still could take up to a year just because it just is what is it, but unfortunately, there's a few things that are still taking a while but in my experience it seems like they're trying to cut down on stuff; but I think average like six months and under is pretty reasonable time frame. Again that's going to depend on the area that you're in.

Brandon: What's the shortest you've seen? Or the quickest?

Tracy: Couple of weeks.

Brandon: Oh wow.

Tracy:Yeah. 

Josh: So you've got this process that takes six months... I'm somebody, I'm an investor. I find opportunities, these potential short sales. That's an awful long time to be hanging out and waiting for an opportunity deal to close. Am I trying up any of my money to make this offer? It seems like a big stressor to be locked in for so long for that process. Are there outs once you kind of get started making offers on short sales while you're waiting for the bank to make a decision for six months?

Tracy:Yeah, there's two different ways to look at that. One of which is if you are in an area like Phoenix, where the inventory has gone down and it's a lot more competitive, you might look at that as an opportunity to get into the sort of realm that a lot other investors don't want to touch. Just like you said, I don't want to deal with something that might take six months. The pricing may shift again, I might have a bunch of money out on the line for a deal that's not even going to work out. Well, you know, my opinion of that is don't make short sales and end-all be-all. However, if you put more fishing lures out there, so to speak, you're more likely to catch a couple of things.

Now with the money being out, that depends on if you're working with different listing agents, if they're really proficient, or depending on what their broker wants, they might say, "I don't want you to leave, so I'm going to tie you to the deal. You're going to put X amount of money in Escrow from Day 1, and you don't get that back until we get an approval and you have to close on the approval, and if you don't close on it..." So they really try to tie you to it. In some part, I really can't blame them, because after a while the buyer's like, "Forget this. I bought the house next door that went REO and I might not have gotten a 15% discount, I got a 10% discount; but god I need to put someone in there and make money on it, so be it. I just want to keep my money moving." 

Not all agents do that. If you have to put 500 bucks, 1000 bucks in there, that's something that you can negotiate too. Like I said, some brokers will require it and there's no if's and but's about it; but you're like, "Look, I'm a serious buyer. I bought an X amount of short sales. I'm patient, but this is my intention with the property. We're either going to rent it out or sell it at a profit, so I need to buy it at a certain price, so if we can work together just know that you can hold me accountable, I can hold you accountable. I'm more than happy to put earnest money once we get an approval. And after the inspection period, it can go hard, meaning you can't get a refund on that at that point, so you're committed to the deal."

Josh: Gotcha. Gotcha, gotcha. Would you say then, for somebody like me, my risk aversion is probably a lot higher than somebody younger, not that I'm old. It sounds like you're saying that it's a good strategy for somebody to, you know, "Maybe I'll work on one short sale while I'm doing a couple of other things, but I'm not going to go out and put offers on six different short sales at once because that's potentially pretty challenging."

Tracy: Well no, I'd actually recommend the opposite. If you feel pretty comfortable with it, if you have six offers out there, one might get accepted, another one just the pricing will not work even if you contest valuation, and the other might just fall off the cliff, okay. It's just like, if you put six offers out there, one of them might work out; but you know, don't sit there and hold your breath and bank all your money on it. Try to negotiate what it is that you have to do to commit to the deal in the first place and have the agent accountable to you as well, and make sure they're staying on top of their process and procedures in a timely manner. Go out there and do direct mailings and everything else that it is that you do in your business, knowing that one or two of these deals might actually come through.

Josh: Okay. Yeah, definitely. We talked about way earlier in the podcast about the inventory is dropping and markets are crazy all over. How does that affect these short sales? Should investors pursue them today just as much or where is that going?

Tracy: Well, when you say just as much I mean, I guess what they were doing with them before. Some people just have an absolute aversion to them or they're like, "What else that I'm doing is working for me?" These things are just too bureaucratic or whatever the case may be that just makes you not attracted to them. I think if you're still actively looking, I would say why not? Because what excites me about short sales is there's not much else you can do in the marketplace to really negotiate your equity spread in the deal.

If you can actually have some sort of influence over what it is that you're buying this property for, other than like a seller's, "I'll take $100,000," and you're like, "Okay well, what's the best you'll take?" and they're like, "$100,000." They don't need it. There's no distress there, I mean, being able to walk into a short sale, the sellers are like, "I don't care. I can't make any money off of this. There's really nothing in it for me. You're solving my problem by bringing me a cash offer. I just want to get out from under this thing." To me, I guess, if there's not a ton of inventory out there, it's still nice to know that there's certain type of deals that you can try to create a profit out of.

Josh: Hey Tracy, so to couple...

Tracy: An influence over the profit I mean. What's that?

Josh: Sorry about that. You said a couple of times, including just now, you've mentioned cash offers. Can an investor buy a short sale without a cash offer?

Tracy:Yeah, of course, but if you were in distress and you held a note, would you want someone to bring you a finance conditioned offer or would you want to know that you could take a little bit less and have them pay you off quickly? Without any of those sort of contingencies. It's really like, not unlike if you're approaching a distressed seller, they want to know that the less contingencies, the faster cash talks.

Josh: Gotcha. Gotcha. Do you have any quick tips on setting yourself up for just a better experience with your office, other than obviously the cash versus finance? Less contingencies? Are there any tricks of succeeding?

Tracy: Sure, I do. I do. One thing that I've seen start to happen more which I find pretty enlightening actually, is the fact that I have buyers' agents calling me and just saying, "Hey, I'm Mary from so and so, and I sent you an offer, but I also wanted to let you know a little bit about the borrower." And even if it's a cash investor, they're like, "This guy's bought 15 homes in the last 30 days. He's very serious. He'll stick with the deal. He's buying this as a rental and he owns three others on the street. I just want to let you know that we'll stick to the deal, he's putting $10,000 down."

So XYZ over what I can actually see out of the contract, and to the opposite effect it's like these poor financed buyers that are just trying to find a home to live in, they're like, I've had buyers' agents call up and say, "Hey, I'm Joan or you know Mike from so and so company. This couple has been looking for a house for the last three months. They're putting more money down. They're both educators. They have two kids," and the whole story about what these borrowers really are and why they're the best and why we should pick their offers of the others, so I mean, anything that you can do to gain a competitive advantage, even if it's calling someone like me that's on the other end of the deal and saying like, "Hey, I know you got 10 offers on this thing, or 5 offers, or 2 offers; but this is why should take an extra look at ours and why we're the best qualified, not only quantitatively but qualitative as well, and I'd love to work with you."

Coming from them they're like, "I'm an experienced buyer's agent, I'll stand on the buyers to keep their end of the deal and I'm committed to this just as much as you are." Just hearing that bit of information, because at the end of the day, the best offer is still the best offer, but it's something that you can do even if it's just a simple cover letter. Just send with your offer, just say, "I'm a serious buyer. I'm going to stick with this deal. I'm experienced, patient and this is why I'm the best."

Brandon: That's awesome, Tracy. I know short sales. I really want to know it. That's kind of why I've been asking a lot of questions on this because I want to start direct mail. I want to start direct mail more and more and more. For those people that are listening who do a lot of direct mail, you probably know that majority of the calls you get, or at least a good portion of them are people that are under water. I've never had a way of dealing with that. I don't know anything about short sales, hardly at all. I'm excited to kind of add this to my tool belt, so very cool.

Tracy: Well.

Brandon: Yeah. Well, cool. Why don't we kind to start to wrap things up here. Before we go, I just wanted to mention to everyone again that this is show 19 of the BiggerPockets podcast and you can check out the show notes and you can comment on this and you can ask Tracy questions at BiggerPockets.com/show19. Before you go, I have a few questions for you. First of all, what is your favorite real estate book?

Tracy: The first one that comes to mind for today's market, even though it's more oriented towards agency, but I still think it's applicable is the book Shift by Gary Keller. Like I said, it's more towards agency but it's like what do you do in a changing market and where do you find your leads? So there's still enough information in there that I think investors could a lot out of it, because you know he touches upon the whole thing I was saying before is, if you've been in real estate for 20 years, you've probably been through a couple of cycles. You're still going to find leads from somewhere, but how do you shift as the market shifts to stay sustainable?

Josh: Gotcha. Gotcha. Brandon did forget to say that this is the famous four.

Brandon: Oh yeah, famous for it is.

Josh: Famous four. What about your favorite business book, non-real estate?

Tracy:Yeah, it's kind of hard to pin down my favorite. I love nonfiction. I'm kind of a nerd like that. I think, I don't know if it's like a business book, but I'm finishing Atlas Shrugged right now, and I have to say I'm enthralled with it. If that changes your opinion of me, I'm sorry, but I really find it...

Josh: Can we get another guest?

Brandon: I watched the movie. I haven't read the book but I was bored to death from the movie. I just have to say I could not get into it, I don't know but maybe the book's better.

Tracy: I haven't seen the movie. I don't really care to it, it just doesn't seem like it really does it justice. Other than that, I really like kind of the normal stuff, like Think and Grow Rich. I thought that E-Myth Revisited really struck a chord with me just because that's kind of my mindset anyway, but yeah, and then Winning by Jack Welch, I thought that one was pretty good too.

Brandon: Winning. Cool, nice.

Tracy: No, Charlie Sheen jokes?

Brandon: I was going to think of a Charlie Sheen joke.

Josh: I don’t want to.

Tracy: The Trainwreck?

Brandon: Yes. Well, yeah.

Josh: No comment. Charlie if you're listening...

Brandon: Yeah, he might be listening, you know, he's an avid investor.

Josh: Because you know he scares me a little bit. Yeah, I don't want to anger him. Do you have any hobbies outside of real estate?

Tracy: Nope, this is all I do. No, I'm just kidding. Yeah, I'm super into digital photography. I've done that for a while as a creative outlet, other than real estate. Although, you know, staging properties and remodeling, that has a creative part too. And deal structure can be creative, but photography I was super into last few years. Traveling, I try to make a habit of that every year and at least get away for a couple of weeks. Scuba diving. I've added to that. I don't get to do this as often as I can. There's a bunch of reefs in Arizona, so I try to do it when I go out of town though.

Josh: Alright, cool. Last question then. What do you see that those real investors who really last in this business, what sets them apart from those who just come and go?

Tracy: You know, it may seem like a surprising answer, but the first thought that pops into my mind, the first word is that they're very thoughtful, not in a customer service sense like, "Oh I really care about your feelings," or this sort of stuff, but like thoughtful of about like what it is that they're really doing in the business, and the landscape and the temperature of the market when they enter it; and then just being opportunist with that, and being able to stay level headed throughout the market shifts, to be able to say, "Okay, this is our ultimate goal. This is how we're going to set it up," and then just really taking advantage of that, and really spending time on data and information.

Not just saying, "Hey, I've heard it's a fixer and flipper's market, I'm just going to quit my job, go all in and fix and flip and become a millionaire overnight." They're a lot more caustic about this, but they're cautiously optimistic. Just very thoughtful, like there's not a ton of bravado, that there's, what's the word I'm looking for, like I said, the cautious optimism, but they do take calculated risks. I think that that mixture is what I see is like a really savvy, sustainable investor.

Josh: Gotcha.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Gotcha, gotcha. Well, listen. Lots of really good information in particular on the topic of short sales. I think you answered lots of Brandon's pending questions and obviously questions of lots of our listeners. I just want to thank you so much for having you on the show. Really quickly, how can people find you? I know you're on BiggerPockets, we'll link to that. Do you have a blog of your own? You do write for the BiggerPockets blog each week, but do you have your own site as well?

Tracy: I do, so it's just my last name which is Royce. R-O-Y-C-E like the car. So royceofrealestate.com. It's pretty easy and my blog's there and that one's the one that's specific to helping distressed sellers but I do have a pretty cool blog there that talks a lot about real estate and market updates and information, more specifically to Arizona, but it covers a little bit of A to Z.

Josh: Very cool. And otherwise, Facebook, LinkedIn, anything like that?

Tracy: Yeah, I mean really, all my social networks are under the same name, so if you go to Facebook it's Royce of Real Estate. Twitter is @royceofre. LinkedIn, I think is just under Tracy Royce. I'm pretty easy to stalk online unfortunately. I think if you just Google Voice real estate, most of my social networks should show up.

Josh: Awesome, awesome. Well, listen thank you so much for being on the show. We really appreciate it and we will see you around on BiggerPockets.

Tracy: Thanks so much guys.

Brandon: Yeah, thank you Tracy.

Josh: And now is our show with real estate investor...

Brandon: Tracy Royce..

Josh: Seriously man? This is a serious show. What are you doing?

Brandon: I don't believe in seriousness.

Josh: Alright, hopefully you guys can use a lot of the advice that she had to offer, to help your take your real estate investing to the next level. As we mentioned in today's quick tip.

Brandon: Quick tip.

Josh: We love ratings in iTunes, it's a great way to pay it back, pay it forward, I don't know. So if you have not yet left one, please do. Also, we'd love connecting on other networks. Facebook being one, if you're not yet connected with Facebook.com/BiggerPockets. On YouTube, where we've got a ton of really good videos and there's actually some really fun videos with Brandon, and a couple really fun and stupid ones with me from back in the day.

That's YouTube.com/BiggerPockets and of course we'd love to have you in BiggerPockets. It's an amazing network, an amazing site. We are really all about trying to help you be successful. Find deals. Find opportunities. Learn. Improve the way you function, not you personally, but you and your business function.

Brandon: Moving on.

Josh: Yeah that's it. Listen, thanks again everybody for listening. This is Josh Dorkin, signing off.

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