GDNIP Ep 28: Three Signs To Spot A Joker Broker
There has been an influx of what the real estate industry calls joker brokers. Joker brokers are basically people that receive big tapes from all the usual sellers but then turn around and send it out to their list pretending that they are direct to the seller. The sad thing is that you usually only find out that’s not the case when you start asking for collateral files and more information. In this episode, Chris and Gail talk about the proper way to broker a note, how you put tapes out when you do have loans to broker, and the three signs to know if somebody is a joker broker trying to sell you assets.
Listen to the podcast here:Gail Anthony Greenberg & Chris Seveney Three Signs To Spot A Joker Broker
Three Signs To Spot A Joker Broker
Gail, how are you?
I’m very well. Thank you, Chris.
No jet lag?
I didn’t go that far. I was in a different world. I stepped out of the world of notes to be in the world of rehabbing a property I got from notes. It was a very interesting departure from my normal routine.
As part of what just happened, why don’t you fill people in on where you’re at on that deal because I’m sure people are interested to hear more about the process of taking a note into a rehab?
I had a contract for deed in a fabulous Southern City where I rarely see any notes, distressed loans. I don’t know where they all go. After a torturous process, where I was on the edge of my seat because I found out very early after I bought this, that even though the borrower reinstated immediately, I sent someone over to have her sign some paperwork and he discovered that the house was literally falling down. From that moment on, it was a terrifying waiting. Honestly, I was gunning to get the house away from this woman, not because I had anything against her but because the condition of the house was so frightening. This experience now that I’d been inside it and I realize how bad it is. We’re talking about renovating it. It’s a wooden construction house. It’s wooden cladding on the outside with normal framing and then plaster walls on the inside. We literally cannot remove the plaster walls without risking the whole thing falling down. The strength of the plaster is what’s keeping it and keeping the framing from falling outwards.
It reminds me of the cartoons we used to watch. There would be a hole in the wall with water coming through and you plug one and another one pokes through and you’re trying to change it.
This has gaping holes on the side like raccoon-size holes so they can easily go in and out. I had a lot of different thoughts. First of all, a normal person would look at this place and think I was insane to be trying to do anything to it because it looks like it’s beyond all help. Going inside and being inside there, it’s got twelve-foot ceilings. It’s very narrow and long. With these twelve-foot ceilings, it’s soaring. It has such a wonderful feeling inside and I have to save it. The thoughts I’ve been having first, and this is a real question for all of us who are in this business and buying these contracts for deed, there was not a legal mechanism to remove this borrower for reasons of the house condition. There is a provision in the law but it is so rarely done. What would I have done if she had not defaulted when she did? There was a clear and present danger to her, her kids and everybody. It’s terrifying to think about. We get some bad houses, but this is by far the worst. Even the contractors are like, “I’ve done bad houses, this is in my top five.”
I’ve got two situations where I have borrowers leaving abandoned cars in the yard. It’s personal property. A city comes by, they issued a fine. I talked to him. I’m like, “I want to help you. How can you help me? Because it’s like a tenant in there. I’m on the title but they’re there. You’re going to keep fining me, which I got to pass to them.” There’s no mechanism in some of these instances in a timely fashion to try and execute something to get the person to abide by the laws. One of them is in Ohio where only headaches in Ohio is what it stands for. They are basically threatening to take you to court. I’m on the phone with the inspector. I sent her a copy of the letter my attorney even sent. The land contracts recorded so it shows up on there. They’re like, “You’re still a deed holder. If we file a civil case, it’s going to go against you.”
It’s like we’re trying pretty hard most of the time to work things out with borrowers. You would think that the municipalities would be more cooperative and interested in working with us. Sadly, we’re perceived so often as the enemy of borrowers where really we’re all on the same page. I cannot literally believe these people were living in this house. It’s such a head-scratcher. I’m thanking my lucky stars that it happened the way it did because now it is like a ten alarm, emergency to get in there and start shoring up this place. What would we do? What ability do we have to do things for the benefit of people?
I’m sure we’ll continue to hear more. For me, I’ve got a lot going on like usual. I did from my nice comfy chair was able to wire money to a seller without having to go to the bank, which is very nice. Typically, banks now have limits on being able to wire money. I’ve got relationships with my lender to allow them to increase my limit and so forth. It’s nice not having to spend an hour out of my day running to the bank. By the time you get there, wait for the business line, the people that come get you and send the wires, it’s an hour process.
Is this the first time you’ve been able to do all of this from your office?
In this amount, previously I had limits of $20,000 is what you could wire. I can do it from my phone, which is awesome. I can wire from my phone. Previously it was limited and now based on technology with certain types of encryption, thingymajiggy and so forth. Doing it and then getting on the phone with somebody to confirm your identity, to make sure it’s you after you put it in the system. Basically asking me everything up to my blood type and the last time I had peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I’m glad you knew the answer to that because they had the records to match it up.
As you know, I enjoy simplifying things and technology. It’s one more thing that gives me an extra hour of my day to spend, whether it’s with the kids, working on notes, sleeping or whatever it is. It was done before I went to work. It was great. I hopped in the car and on my way, I didn’t have to worry about. It saved me from, basically during lunchtime, at work to run out the door and go do it, where now I can go to the gym or do other things.
I’m very happy for you. I’ve had that ability for a while. I’m glad you finally did yourself a favor and got it sorted out with your bank.
It’s challenging nowadays with the banks and so forth. In certain banks that I’ve used in the past don’t have limits. It’s business accounts and stuff that some of them don’t allow or whatever it may be. There’s been a lot of grumblings and rumblings online. I’ve seen an influx of what this industry calls joker brokers. Gail, do you want to define what a joker broker is for everyone?
Joker brokers are basically people like us only in the sense that they receive big tapes from all the usual sellers. Unlike us, they then turn around and send it out to their list pretending that they are direct to the seller. You usually only find out that’s not the case when you start asking for collateral files and more information. In one case, I made bids and they couldn’t even get them accepted or rejected. I don’t even know how these people plan to make this a business because when you take them seriously, they are like, “I’m ready to buy your thing,” then they’re like, “Now, what do I do?”Joker Broker: Joker brokers are people that receive big tapes from all the usual sellers but then turn around and send it out to their list pretending that they are direct to the seller.
I was wondering where you were going with that when you started talking about it’s people like us and I was like, “Where are you going?”
We’re joker brokers but not at the same time.
What we want to talk about is the proper way to broker a note because brokering notes is not a bad thing. People do it. There are certain steps you should take in order to broker a note. There are different levels that you can progress to. If you’re starting out, I would almost say start at the highest level, which we’ll talk about. As you build a reputation, you can start to change some of your business practices, which we’ll talk about. I’m in the process of brokering a few notes. What I’m doing as part of that process is first it was a seller who I haven’t bought from in the past, but they had a decent list of assets. They had asked if I would take the whole thing down and I agreed I would.
How many are we talking about?
I think it’s between twelve and eighteen.
What is the total UPB?
Total UPB is about $280,000.
Going by the standard formula, if it’s 55% roughly that you’re going to get.
Most of them are performing.
We’re talking bigger bucks.
Most of them are performing. It allows me to do several things, keep some in my portfolio, maybe do some partials and then also possibly sell some off. When I use the term sell them off, it’s essentially brokering them. One of the first things that I did, with this tape, is I understood what the asset was. That is mistake number one by people who try to broker is they don’t know what they’re selling. Would you agree?
Yeah. They are just putting it out there and seeing what sticks.
First thing is I have already reviewed the collateral to make sure that everything looks pretty decent. I’ve checked the taxes because they’re performing. There are no taxes owed. I am going to buy these and then transfer them over. That’s one thing that I’m doing is they are put into my name because if I don’t sell them, I’m going to keep them. I ordered BPO and O&E reports. Gail, when you’ve sold your notes in the past, have you seen a difference when you have a BPO and O&E versus not having one when you’re trying to sell an asset?
Obviously, if you’re a prospective buyer, that’s a big expense. You could spend $400 to $500 getting that stuff before you even know whether you’re going to buy it or not. Providing that information right from the get-go, it makes it safe for people to look seriously and make offers. It’s good for you. You never said to the seller, “How about if I broker these for you?” You were like, “I’ll buy them.” Now, your plan is to broker them.
Could I have done that? I could have. If I was a seller and somebody is like, “I want to broker some of these.” I’d be like, “No, either buy them or don’t buy them.”
If it’s someone with a big list of note buyers somehow. If you’re new and starting out, you don’t necessarily have a big list. Even if you have a big list, you may not have a lot of buyers in it because we’ve all discovered giant lists can still be a very small group of buyers. It’s obviously great if you don’t have a lot of money to be able to broker something legitimately for a seller. People who don’t have the cash probably don’t have the list also. Would you agree?
I would agree. People usually get that list and forward it off and post it on Facebook. I’ve seen somebody take posts from other groups and then post the assets under his or her, I’m not sure because they don’t have a picture on Facebook. Post it under their posting as well as put it on their website as if it is their asset. If you posted 123 Main Street, “I’m selling this performing note,” they’ve taken it, posted it themselves under their name. Put it on their website with all the information you provided with their contact information. The thing I’ll mention to them is one, they don’t even know what the price is. It’s one of those things where sometimes I scratch my head.
Their plan is to get your bid and pass it along and see if it flies.Joker Broker: People who don’t have the cash probably don’t have the list also.
They mark it up or whatever. The thing is I ordered BPO and O&E reports, which you don’t have to go to that extent. I would recommend you put eyes on the properties at least or truly get an understanding. There was somebody on Facebook putting out notes that were from a hedge fund that most of the houses had already gone to tax sale. The person was marketing them. What the person even went to the next step is I made a slightly sarcastic post about, “I’ve seen these from four other people. I find that ironic.” The person says, “I own these. These are under my name. I’ll send you the assignments.” I thought, “Let me have a little fun,” which I did. I went and I took pictures of the assets. I had somebody that I know in one of the locales. Basically I said, “Can you drive by these properties for me?” He was like, “No need to. I already know that they’ve been demoed.” I went to Google Street View and the houses have been demolished already. I took the photos from Google Street View, post it on Facebook and the grass was high and this and that. I basically posted on Facebook, “If these are your notes, I want to give you some sound advice that they’re already demolished. I’m not sure if you’re paying servicing fees on them, but you may want to have de-board it. Also you’re starting to incur fines because the grass is too tall. You might want to get a preservation company out there.”
It’s very funny that you mentioned that because speaking of joker brokers, I’ve got a tape from one, which was a Harbor tape. We all know there’s only one person who brokers this. This guy was saying like, “I’m direct to the seller.” That’s what they always say. I said like, “I know the guy who’s direct to the seller like and it’s not you.” It’s ridiculous how easy it is to get caught. In that case, Google Street View pictures are usually a couple of years old, unless they’ve been through that neighborhood. It sounds like the ones you’re talking about for the Google Street View to have the demolished pictures, they were demolished a while ago probably.
I’d seen this tape. This was literally assets that were so horrible. There was three of them that were going to tax sale next month. I posted the tax sale listings as well and said, “If you want to keep, they’re going to tax sale with the addresses on them and everything. A lot of people probably got a good laugh out of it. The person who posted it, I probably embarrassed them. I wouldn’t usually do that 99.9% of the time. The person when they come flat out, blatantly lied, saying that they own the assets, that’s what put me over the edge.
The reason why they put me over the edge is there are people on there who I know who are asking about these assets. They may have gotten them under the agreement. All of a sudden, they order an O&E or BPO and they are $300, $400. For somebody who’s out there lying, for me that’s bad business. I don’t tolerate that. People can make mistakes. I work with people all the time that make mistakes. I make them all the time, but it’s when people are being dishonest that gets me going. Sometimes I’ll get a little cynical like I was in this case. If he did own them, which I know he doesn’t because I know who the seller was. If he would have owned them, I was trying to help a brother out by letting them know they’re going to tax sale.
I know what you’re all about. They are giving us all a good laugh at the same time. I have a couple of things to say about this. This is probably an excellent time to mention that on our Notes and Bolts Facebook group, we do have a list of joker brokers. We invite everyone to add to it. It’s a crowd-sourced list. The other thing that I wanted to say is I made a mistake recently in a tape. I had the wrong PI number down, principal and interest payment monthly and someone did make an offer that I accepted and they went ahead and bought the O&E report and a BPO. Once we clarified and corrected the error, the number’s no longer worked for him. He didn’t want to buy it anymore. I reimbursed him for what he had spent because it was my mistake. A legitimate broker would totally do that.
One thing I’ll mention, I may have already mentioned it once or twice. There are legitimate brokers out there. I’ve bought from several and they’re a good source. Sometimes they’ll work with you and they might get paid $1,000 to $1,500 and I don’t care who the money goes to. If the numbers still work and you can shave $1,500 off the price for yourself, I’m all for every other people making money. Some of the first notes I bought were from a broker down in the Southeast. I’ve bought probably twenty-something notes from the guy over my course of career. The other thing I’ll mention is if you use a broker and they set you up with a hedge fund that they’re getting the assets from, please do not ever go behind that broker’s back and try and get assets from that funding as well because two things will happen. One is that fund is using the broker for a reason because they don’t want to have to deal with it. Two is you’ll get blacklisted faster than you can shake a stick because it will get back to that broker that you tried and went around them.
If you find out who the actual owner is.
You do because you’ll get an assignment from XYZ Fund. It will be signed by John Doe or Jane Doe. You can go on LinkedIn and maybe connect with them. Three weeks later say, “You got any more assets or I bought some assets from you through the broker.” Don’t go around the broker.
I would say Harbor was okay with that. I don’t think many funds would be. It’s best to avoid the whole situation. A lot of things in this world because it is such a small world and everybody knows each other. If you do something wrong, it’s very easy to find yourself on the outside. Preserving your reputation and behaving with a lot of integrity is the key.
Talking about getting eyes on the property and I went the extra step ordered a BPO and O&E. When I’m putting these assets out to people, I can talk intelligently about them. I can even do a video to market an asset. The more you know about something and the more confident you can talk about it, the better chance you have of selling it. Think about going into a car dealership. If you walk into a car dealership and ask the person, what size of the engine, does it have to power this or that, does it have navigation? If the person’s every answer is, “I don’t know, let me get back to you.” Your first thought is, “This guy is a freaking idiot.” The first thing that goes through your mind is, “Are you buying that car?” No. It’s no different with a note, a refrigerator or a house. When you go to try and buy something and you were looking for information from somebody, if they’re not giving you any information or service, if you’re trying to find out information about it on a service and the person is like, “I don’t know.”
If you want to be a successful broker, add in that cost of the BPO and the O&E. It’s not a lot of money when you consider the upside in what you can do as a successful broker. I was pretty shocked to find out how much money one of our favorite brokers makes every month.
It’s all about volume too. A lot of the CFDs are technically brokered. That person makes money off of each deal. They don’t provide the BPOs or the O&Es. They’ve built a reputation where they don’t have to provide that information. They’re legit and direct. That’s one of the things that starting out, if you want a broker, you need to understand notes. That’s one thing people miss out on is they think, “I can get a tape and flip it to people.” It doesn’t work that way. You need to know what the price is, what the price should be, what the expectations are and understand the collateral. There’s a lot that goes into it. You should buy a note before you ever broker one.
Know something before you start running a business in it.
Gail, from brokering, you mentioned costs and stuff and making money off of brokering. One thing that’s out there is people sometimes think it’s like wholesaling houses where, “I can make $5,000 to $10,000 wholesaling a house.” I don’t believe notes is that way, you may agree or disagree. What do you see or what are your thoughts on what the fees are when brokering a note or what people should pay? Other times people might be trying to use a broker, what’s fair compensation for that broker?
The brokers that we’re most familiar with basically the sellers tell them what price they want. If they see the opportunity to make, they’ll determine how much more it could go for and still be a good deal for the buyer. They add about $500 to $1,500 per. If they get the seller offering it to them at amazing prices, they could go even higher. That’s the typical range. Unlike you and I were saying, I don’t care who makes money as long as I can make money, I’m interested. I’m very happy for them to make a good living, keep offering a great product and I’m fine with that. I don’t feel any on principle indignation if someone makes money. What does happen sometimes is that after you make a bid, they will counter at a high number. You asked, “I don’t know how much of this is the broker’s fee?” They need to be realistic if they want to sell things or maybe not. Maybe there are plenty of people out there who’d overpay. I hear people complaining that they think people are overpaying.
You brought up a good point because I was going to say typically it’s about 3% or $1,000 on average. You said $500 to $1,500, which middle is $1,000. That’s pretty much where it lies or where it falls. It’s not, people are making $5,000 wholesale fee per asset. It’s very minimal. When I tell people if I’m wholesaling something or I’m selling it to them, I’ll tell them, usually 99% of the time, “I’m making $500 on this or I’m making $1,000 on this. I’m not making much if anything.” $1,000 is real money but it’s not going to allow somebody to quit their full-time job. It’s not going to allow you to retire. You need to do twenty of them a month and then maybe you can start changing your life and stuff. I want to reiterate to people, wholesaling notes, it’s not like this cash windfall of you making thousands of dollars on each asset. Anything else, Gail, you think we should touch upon on the joker broker and the proper way to broker?
Why don’t we talk about how you put tapes out when you do have loans to broker?
Typically, what I’ve done is I usually start with my database. I’ll send it out to my database first and say, “I’ve got these loans that I’m looking to move.” I’ll typically offer them to people in my database first because those are the people who have got me where I’ve gotten to date. I’ll usually start with them. From there, if there’s still availability, then I will typically start either in a Facebook group would probably be the next place I would go. Lastly, depending on the size to try and maximize possibly things, maybe I would go to a true legitimate broker like who we buy our CFDs from or other people. I would say based on the number of people already on the Facebook groups that you have in your database from meeting a lot of people, then typically they’ll be able to sell. For people getting started, I would first start with maybe some Facebook groups because if you only have one or two, brokers typically not going to broker that for you. You’ll need to probably have five to ten minimum for them to do it. If you’ve got one or two, then I again suggest some of the Facebook groups.Joker Broker: If you want to be a successful broker, add in the cost of the BPO and the O&E. It’s not a lot of money when you consider the upside in what you can do as a successful broker.
I’m waiting to put out a tape of ones that I want to sell. There’s a glut right now, isn’t there? Everyone keeps complaining about not being able to find things.
There’s a glut. There were 500 assets from a crowdfunding fund. Those were pretty hairy, the bottom of the barrel assets. I haven’t heard anything yet. I also heard from somebody that they were expecting to sell them at par or above UPB is what some of the pricing was on them.
Hairy assets that you get to buy for a full price.
It goes back to you have these people now touting the total payoff and trying to sell things off total payoff.
For people who may not be that experienced, you can have a very high total payoff. I’m in the homestretch of this foreclosure in Pennsylvania, which this was my second anniversary of buying this note, which is like insane. The total payoff is $69,000. This thing might go for $40,000 at the foreclosure sale. It’s one thing for me to be owed all that money but there are like back taxes. There are other liens. It’s ridiculous. There’s no way I’m ever going to get the full payoff. That’s true for many of those assets that you’re talking about as well.
There’s been a typical CFD list that has been coming out as well. From SNS Security National, Dave Pollio has been putting a lot of stuff out lately that I’ve seen, some twenty assets and then some dribs and drabs of seven assets, five assets here. I’m starting to see some of that stuff. It seems like when a tape of 500 comes out and another tape of 300, people get analysis paralysis of, “There’s a lot out there right now.” You’ll find probably the dust settles and things dry up. That’s probably a good time where people might start to be looking again because I’m in the same boat where I’ve got some assets that I’m going to be looking to move. For the people reading this, if you are looking for assets, feel free to reach out to us as well and give us some criteria of what you’re looking for because we may either have it or we may know somebody who’s also looking to move it.
Please go to GoodDeedsNoteInvesting.com and sign up for our mailing list. Chris, let’s make that another list where we send out juicy tapes. Maybe we’ll even give people on that list first look at some of it. That would be fun.
That’s a very good point to get people out there because everyone is always saying, “They’re looking for this or that and can’t find it.” A lot of times by word of mouth can find stuff like these performing notes that I have right now that I’m going to broker for you. This is by word of mouth that I’ve been talking to this person randomly at some points in time. They reached out to me and said, “We’re looking to downsize our portfolio and looking to get rid of some of these. Are you interested?” I was like, “Sure, absolutely.”
Everyone should write to us if they’re looking for things. If you don’t know our normal email addresses, you can always reach us through the Notes and Bolts Facebook group or the Good Deeds Note Investing Podcast Facebook group or write to [email protected] or [email protected]. One way or another we will try to hook you up with what you’re looking for.
There would be no excuse for not being able to get in touch with us.
We’re everywhere. How can you avoid us?
We’ve covered a good amount of topic on the lovely discussion of joker brokers. My last advice on it is don’t be one.
If you know of one and it’s not on our list, on the Notes and Bolts Facebook group, please add it because we enjoy learning about new people.
For our final Notes and Bolts, I’m going to tag along on this topic and talk about the three signs to know if somebody is a joker broker trying to sell you assets.
I love that you boiled it down to three things.
Here are the three things to look for. If they want you to fund within 72 hours and/or they want a deposit, that is the first sign, don’t even bother with them completely. Just forget it. Fund that fast or if they want a deposit, it’s not going to happen. Typically, if they want you to sign an NDA along with a no compete and all this other stuff, or they ask you for proof of funds. That’s the next realm of things they’ll ask for as well as show me proof of funds. Typically, this is a small business. I’ve never had a legitimate seller where I’ve had to show proof of funds.
I don’t even understand that because you have the money doesn’t mean you’re going to hand it over when you’re supposed to.
In this world with Photoshop, I can go and show a bank receipt from the people who show, “My bank has a $1 million.” I can snap a picture of that and put an entity name on the top of it. They don’t even know what my entity name is. It’s a joke from that. The third is back to these three questions you can ask, if you asked them directly, they’re going to tell you it is, ask them who services the note. Ask them the name of who owns the note because you can easily find out one who owns it by looking at public records on, who the assignment is or if it’s a CFD, who’s the deeds name. Then the servicer, if they don’t know who’s servicing the note, they have not seen any of the collateral or seen the pay history or know anything about the note because you would know who the servicer is. If they don’t know who owns a note, then they clearly haven’t seen any collateral as well. Another question you could always ask is, “When was the last pay date?” or “Tell me a little bit about the note or even ask what the color is, which is the pricing expectation of discount.” I rambled by more than three, but the big three are proof of funds, money down in 72 hours and not knowing anything.Joker Broker: A lot of times, you can find performing notes by word of mouth.
My note and bolt, it’s a singular note and bolt, is also drawn from this broadcast, about banks. Whether you’re starting out, setting up your entity, getting ready to rock and roll in the note business or whether you’ve been at it for a while, look down the road to that time when you may indeed want to do a lot of wires from home. Choose a bank that will give you that ability. It’s amazing how much time of high service bank that lets you do that and how valuable that is in terms of your business. I always told my kids and try to live this rule myself, create the setup for what you want to happen. Don’t be where you are now but lay the foundation where you want to go in your business. More often than not that helps you to move into that bigger reality and bigger business.
Typically, I would say credit unions give more flexibility than banks.
I know some credit unions are limited to the memberships of certain organizations and stuff. We don’t have a lot of them where I am. Are they easily found in most of the world?
In DC, there’s a ton of them because a lot of them are based off of either military armed forces or other organizations but you are right. You have to have some type of in where somebody has to work. It could be a family member. There are some others as well. The one thing you got to check with credit unions is a lot of them don’t allow business accounts. That’s the key. I tend to bank with a nationwide bank. If I need to go there, there’s one down the street from me. There’s one close to work. I’ve had very good luck with them. I use Wells Fargo. I know they’ve been in the news for many things of wrongdoings and so forth. For what I’ve had with my business accounts and everything, they’ve treated me great. The customer service that I’ve experienced has been wonderful. I can’t say anything negative about my experiences with them, but it’s nice that I can find them anywhere.
It’s helpful sometimes if you’re in Facebook groups that have a lot of note investors to periodically ask these questions in the group. I remember doing that when I was looking for a bank. It was very interesting to find out very quickly and easily that way. What kinds of things were allowed at different banks, what the service was and that’s very cool. It’s like having your own Yahoo Answers of people who are in your business. Is that where people go to ask questions? Is it Quora or whatever? It’s our own little group of experts ready to help you.
We’d like to thank you. We highly recommend you reach out to us and get on our lists as well as go out and do some good deeds.
We love to interact with everyone. We love to see people grow in their careers as note investors. It’s very gratifying to see people do well and we want to be part of that. Go out and do some good deeds and join us.