No one ever really learns how to invest by the book. You need to face the real world, get hands-on experience, and learn as you go. Taking us to his note investing journey, note investor Steven Burke joins Chris Seveney and Jamie Bateman in this episode. Together, they discuss the path to becoming a note investor, the critical skills when starting in note investing, and maximizing your strengths in growing your note portfolio. Steven then shares what he has recently been doing as a new note investor, how he does his due diligence, what sites he is looking at, and what are some things to check out. Join them in their conversation that would give you some help to increase your learning curve in note investing.
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How To Increase Your Learning Curve In Note Investing With Steven Burke
We have a special guest, Steven Burke, who is newer to the note scene. How are you doing? Chris, how are you?
That’s not what you were just telling me.
I’m going to say good on the episode. As I mentioned if I carried firearms, my clips will be empty now but it’s been a challenging day. I feel like I’ve been bit by a vampire in both arms and it’s been one of those days.
Steven, how are you doing?
I’m doing well. I got a half–day at my regular job now so I’m taking the afternoon to be here.
For those reading, how much notice did we give you for this?
Roughly five minutes’ notice.
Not even just five minutes that we were going to schedule it now but that we were ever going to have you on the show.
You texted me, “Do you want to be on a show?” I said, “Sure. How about after the first deal?” You texted back. You’re like, “How about now?” I was going to text back, “Right now or before the first deal now?” and then I got a call and here we are.
Jamie and I were going to do our 2021 predictions for 2021. Jamie texted me, “Can you be ready for this afternoon?” I rattle off three of them or whatever and when we get here, Jamie is like, “I don’t have any.” Jamie typically comes prepared like he’s giving an inauguration speech. He asked me, “How about having Steven on?” I said, “Sure,” and he’s like, “Right now.” He did the same thing you did, Steven. We adapt.
For those who don’t know, which is most people, Steven’s been helping me out at Labrador Lending over the last few months or so, wearing a lot of different hats. My wife has been less involved. She’s essentially a homeschooler with my son but Steven has been taking on a lot of the asset management, doing CFD conversions, automating a lot of our systems through Podio and otherwise. You’re closing in on your first deal at some point here shortly.
I submitted two offers so far but neither one of them I’ve panned out. I’m searching for the first one.
Jamie, can I just mention one thing because in past episodes, you and I talked about people helping and ghosting us. Steven is not that person. I want people to understand that.
Although I think Steven is doing a fantastic job, part of my perspective could be that I’m comparing him to that other person and my expectations were extremely low at that point when I started working with Steven. Steven did not ghost us in any way, shape or form. He’s responsive. He replaced that unnamed individual.
I just wanted to clarify that because we did mention it a few times. I’ve had people reach out and say, “Do you need help? I know someone ghosted you.”
At this point, if you ghosted us, I think the cat will be out of the bag, Steven. You can’t do that.
That’s a good point. Make it public.
Why don’t you walk us through, Steven, what’s your exposure to the note world in 2020 or so? What have you learned in the last few months working for us? What is your outlook for the future?It is wise to walk before you run. Click To Tweet
I’m relatively new to the workforce in general. I graduated from college in 2016. Initially, I was just investing in 401(k)s, doing the passive route and not taking control. I started doing more research around investing in personal finance in general and realized that I wanted a little more control over my finances and over investing. That led me down this whole path of research, all different options, ultimately leading to real estate and notes. Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing research and reading books. I’ve been a part of the Facebook group, The Good Deeds, for some time, podcasts have been huge for me. As far as reaching out to Jamie, I had to do it two separate times.
I reached out to him early in the year, probably in March 2020 or April 2020 timeframe. At that time, things with COVID-19 hadn’t escalated and at that time, Jamie was like, “We don’t need your help right now but thanks for reaching out.” I said, “Okay, whatever.” In my full-time job, I ended up getting laid off for three months. I had the summer off, which was nice to spend time with family. I went back to work and out of the blue one day, I was like, “I wonder if, Jamie, anything’s changed.” I sent him a text and said, “We touched base back in April 2020 or whatever it was. Do you have any interest in revisiting the needing help aspect?” At that time, Jamie, I think your wife had recently transitioned to homeschooling or to help your kids at home. It was good timing. I think we had a call even that day to discuss what we were thinking and how we can maybe support each other. It took us a month or two to iron things out. I started coming on board and not working twenty hours or anything, it’s ten hours maybe a week. It’s been a great learning experience for myself just to see how an actual note business functions. It’s not a book. It’s the real deal. I’m getting hands-on experience, at the same time learning for myself.
Your approach was about trying to add value. You initially approached me, offering to help with due diligence or anything we needed help with. The circumstances were that my wife was doing most of that. At that time, we had the unnamed individual also helping us and I didn’t need help then but my point is you’re not approaching me trying to take. Although I am paying you now, your approach was much different than some other people where it’s like, “What’s in it for me?” I’m hoping that it can be mutually beneficial in that you are learning and that I can help you grow your note portfolio. I wanted to point out for people that you approached it by trying to offer help and add value.
Steven, I know you don’t know this but Jamie hit the nail on the head with that of you trying to provide an alternative or assist people because that’s one of the ways getting this business. You sent me an email on April 6th asking me the question as well. You put in there, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.” There is stuff which it doesn’t and it’s great that you reached out to a few people. When people ask me like, “How can I grow in this business?” I use that email as an example. I don’t say what it was but I say certain people will reach out and you might get said no by many people but all you need is one person to say yes in that perspective. When you do, I’m sure and you can tell us. Your education level probably increased significantly because you’re able to roll up your sleeves and do what you hear on either podcast or read in books or wherever you might see it.
That’s a great point. There are trainings that I’ve been through in the past where it’s just information training sessions on whatever investing. I won’t go into the details but sometimes those training don’t highlight everything and I know that’s part of this show, the good and the bad side of note investing. I’ve been able to see that in more detail being hands-on within and helping Jamie in an actual business, not just going through training examples. It’s been really helpful. One more thing I’ll add to that is in my W–2 job or my full-time job, I’m not involved in this industry in any way, I’m an engineer. Chris, I think you’re an engineer too. It’s coming from a different industry even though you may be in the real estate industry more than I am, I’m in manufacturing. There are still skills that apply across fields. I am very familiar with Excel. I would say relatively detailed. If you’re out there looking to help someone and you’re not directly related to the field, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a value that you can bring to that individual or investor at all. Think of things that maybe aren’t traditional or even being timely or communicating well with other people, those are all strengths that you can utilize.
I would say that’s critical as being responsive. It’s not like you need to respond to every text or email within five minutes but pretty much you’re up early working on our stuff for a little bit and then every evening. You communicate well. These are things that are effective across all industries. To me, the huge factor is communicating, being responsive, organized and analytical certainly helps in the note space. Why don’t you tell us where you are with your learning and looking forward to the next few months?
I have submitted 1 or 2 offers and one of them got accepted and then some things came up during the initial due diligence or the post–offer due diligence that I really wasn’t comfortable with the risk that particular. Those are nonperforming CFD, in this case, had with it partially probably because of lack of experience. I haven’t been through the process enough to be comfortable with whatever risks might be out there. This one had maybe a little too much hair for my initial deal. Now, going forward, I think I’m looking for performing notes mainly. I would say $30,000 and under. I’m fairly capital limited as being a new note investor but I just want some skin in the game. Jamie, we’ve done a partial together so I do have some experience with partials but now I’m looking for the first deal for myself.Asset management is a piece that people overlook before they get into the note space. Click To Tweet
You’ve mentioned taking some training and I agree in many instances especially these weekend warrior courses where they throw so much information at you. It’s impossible to grasp everything. I do a lot of webinars and stuff and research says you only retain 20% of what you remember from the day before. That 20%, how much of it was the stuff that was important? Between that and some of the stuff you’ve been doing, what has been for you the biggest a–ha in the sense of, “This is a lot more complex than I thought it was,” also, on the flip side, “This isn’t rocket science. It’s not as difficult as people make it out to be?” I know as you grow, it’s going to change. I’m just curious as somebody newer to the industry, what are those two things?
The first, maybe the one that answered both that’s more complex would-be insurance. I’ve been helping Jamie quite a bit on the insurance piece and being a first-time homeowner, I haven’t got a lot of exposure to all the insurance options. I naively thought that everyone had homeowner’s insurance so this whole forced place insurance world is all new to me.
You probably thought everyone paid their mortgage too.
That’s a good perspective too but I’ve been helping Jamie a lot with insurance. I think that there are just many details that go along with it and making sure you’re on top of everything and having copies of the homeowner’s insurance applicable. That’s been more detailed than I would have expected from the outside. Maybe something that’s more simplistic. I’m an engineer by trade and seeing some of the due diligence aspects of even initial due diligence before the bid and then post–bid, I think you can get caught up in due diligence a lot. You can go to the nth degree to figure out if this is exactly the numbers you should bid and whatnot. That’s a good excuse for folks like myself to not take action and to die by analysis. There’s a term for it that I can think of.
Paralysis by analysis.
I think there is a lot of opportunity with that and due diligence. Some of these deals that come on Paperstac or even other exchanges are time–sensitive. If they’re priced correctly, you need to be fairly quick in submitting an offer and doing your due diligence. I would say, don’t make it more complicated than it has to be is my takeaway on that.
To piggyback on that in a similar fashion, licensing, regulations and legislation can vary throughout states and even counties. If I remember correctly, you were concerned about that upfront and rightly so. I’m not trying to brush that off as a legitimate issue but I think that’s another thing that maybe had caused you to slow down a little bit in the beginning because you were maybe overthinking some of the, “Do I have to have a debt collector license? Do I have to have a lending license?” You only pick 2 or 3 states to focus on. It shouldn’t be too big of a hurdle in my opinion.
It can be because you get different feedback from different attorneys and then you see people on Facebook. I saw a post, “If you own a note, you do not need a license.” I started laughing. Of course, you do. They’re like, “Here’s who I’m learning from.” If I was the person teaching, I’d be pissed because you’re telling somebody you don’t need licenses for a noteholder.
What state was that in?
Anywhere. I posted the one in Georgia. I’m like, “Here’s just one example, here you go.” Matt Kelly and a bunch of people and even Kevin from Madison chimed in like, “You probably should speak to an attorney and not just somebody training you.” One of the things you mentioned too about the analysis paralysis, I’ve helped some people looking at numbers and stuff and like, “I’m going to be $13,000 on this.” I’m like, “What if they counter at $14,000?” All of a sudden then they get paralysis analysis again because it’s like, “What should I do?” I’m like, “There’s no finite note. Sometimes you may feel it and say like, ‘I’ll pay $14,000 for that.’ Other times you’re like, ‘I thought I was stretching it at $13,000. I’m not.’” I had two that one of them I think I bid $20,000, it came back at $24,000. Another one I bid at $19,000, they came back at $20,500. The one that was $20,500, I was like, “I’m stretching that one. I want it $24,000.” I’m like, “I can still make the numbers work. The risk level increases a little bit but in the same token, I still think it’s a good deal at that price point.” That’s the fluidity for people as you continue to put more bids in which I was going to ask. How many bids have you put in so far since you started?
I would say total probably only four so far. That one got accepted at the price.
Have you been looking at Paperstac and other online sources trying to network? What’s your criteria? Where have you been trying to source?
The first would be other noteholders. I have reached out to a few folks through the Facebook group mainly have said that they might have some notes available. I’ve gone that route. Paperstac is something that I look at. I was looking at NotesDirect through their assets. I am on a couple of tapes that get emailed out as well. A couple of different sources.
I’ve probably told you that I’ve got performing loans coming out and that’s probably months ago and I still haven’t put a tape on yet. It’s like one thing after the other. The problem is, I’m just speaking for myself, when you have these performing notes, they pay you every month. I don’t need to sell them. It’s one of those things where I got some hairy ones and I’m like, “These I want to get off my books and let someone else deal with some of the hair.” Try and sell it to them at a price that they can still make a dollar but it’s not worth my time. Maybe it’s worth theirs.
I’m sure it will come up quickly for you soon. I do think those two sites, in particular Paperstac and NotesDirect, are good sites too. You can run some initial due diligence even if you don’t close on those sites. I’ve said before but I’ve underestimated the other noteholders and investors as a quality source. My guess is that might be where you end up finding your first deal.
You’re doing it right in the sense of, I know some people starting out just want to call all these banks and everything but you realize, “I’ve got $25,000 to $50,000.” A bank will laugh at you more than likely. What’s the best source instead of spending hours upon hours chasing all this stuff? It’s like, “I’ve got a servicer who’s got somebody who sends me some lists I can go on. A direct source may send you a list. I can go on NotesDirect. I can get Paperstac and maybe some other noteholders in some of these groups.” If you provide you an opportunity within the next three months to get you something that fits your buy box it sounds like, which is the right thing to do. You’re not looking to pull in 100 assets at one point in time. You are looking to walk before you can run, which I think is wise.You might get said 'no' by many people, but all you need is one person to say 'yes' in that perspective. Click To Tweet
I think that’s a really good point and ties into what I was going to say. Having this experience or hands–on experience helping Jamie out has helped me recognize the types of things that I would want to look at because before I didn’t know any better. It was just from the books. The funny story back in April 2020, I reached out to a couple of other note investors with some of the assets that they were selling and I did run some initial due diligence on one but I decided not to pull the trigger. When I came on to help Jamie already, I know where this is going. When I came on to help Jamie, I was looking through his assets and I was like, “That one looks familiar.” I go back in my emails and sure enough, Jamie was the one that ended up buying the one that I did initial due diligence on and backed out.
Is it the Birmingham one?
Yeah, and it looks like it’s going to turn out to be a good deal. It goes to show that experience in the industry is valuable when you’re looking at deals. Jamie was comfortable with the level of risk that asset showed and that he had an extra strategy in mind that looks like it’s going to work out well for him.
We bought that from Gail.
You know what asset that is.
We modified it. It’s a joint venture with my sister’s IRA, which is legal. Honestly, maybe the one I’m most optimistic about as far as a profit on the tail and she’s paying and she just needed a mod.
Are you saying that Gail sells you good assets and the other host of this show sells you questionable ones?
I was not saying that.
Is Steven involved in the Tar Heel State or the Empire State assets?
He’s involved with all of ours. I don’t know what’s going on with the Tar Heels State one but I gave her until January 1st to fully reinstate, which is only $2,300. I know that’s a lot for some people in certain circumstances but otherwise we’re just going to have to go forward with the forfeiture.
We talked briefly, Steven, bidding a little bit about due diligence as well as helping Jamie. Are you involved with some of the day-to-day management or seeing some of the servicer stuff that comes back as well or some of the attorney emails or correspondence? I’m curious to get your reaction to the quality of attorneys, quality of servicers, that perspective.
I would say a decent amount of interaction with all the servicers that Jamie uses, definitely some more responsive and helpful than others. Being involved in the amount of time that I am, ten hours a week, let’s say. I found it challenging to get up to speed with the role of everyone at the different vendors. That’s taken me a little bit of time to adjust to but there are some different levels of service. The portals are sometimes very different so it’s been a whole learning curve for me to understand what information is out there. How can we get it? As far as asset management, Jamie uses a program in Podio to organize everything and that’s been helpful. Bringing all the information from the different servicer portals together in one spot in the same format has been helpful for me to export, slice and dice data and come up with some reporting that we might be interested in. I think that piece has been helpful as well.
Have you found managing your clients, the servicers or the attorneys and stuff? If you laid back and thought, “I want to be a note investor. Here’s what I’m going to manage and stuff,” now you’re living that dream. Do you find it to be easier than you thought it would be to manage these consultants or harder?
I would say more difficult, more challenging. There are a couple of folks out there that I deal with that are very helpful, responsive and will help whenever they can. I don’t know what names we can or can’t use so I’ll stay away from it but you send to these request emails and weeks go by with nothing. I guess this might be a surprising point about being in the business as it requires a lot more follow up than I thought. It’s not you send one email and then you wait for a month and they’ll get back to you. It’s if you don’t hear maybe back in a week or even a few days, you better keep following up and keep following up until someone responds. I found that piece surprising because that’s not something I’m used to in my full-time job.
That is your experience. Every single investor has that experience. Just because somebody has a certain title or has been in a business for a certain period does not mean they have a professional response rate that is something you think was quick. Also, remember that you may be a very small person compared to somebody who they’re doing 50 loans for. It is constant chasing. One of the things that we could talk days about is having systems in place, which people know I’m a systems guy to make sure you’re tracking that when you send that email to make sure, “Did I ever get a response on this?” You want to get a demand letter out the door and you need a payoff, you send it to the servicer and it’s an adjustable rate loan and then they take two weeks to get it to you. It’s like, “Did I get it? Did I not get it?” That is the most important thing anyone could take out of this episode.
It’s a lot of follow-ups. I told my wife the other day, I just bug people. It’s fine, I don’t care. I’m relentless like that until I get an answer. I get it. I’m a small fish in a big pond but eventually, they’re going to want me to go away. I’m not trying to be polite about it but you can’t assume that attorneys or anybody else is going to have your project front and center.
Steven, you send an attorney an email. How much time do you give them if you don’t hear from them? Do you hit the button again to say, “Picking on the status?”
I’m pretty impatient. It depends on the attorney. I hate to cop–out but I would say a couple of days max because I figure if they’re not responding at least with something saying, “I got it, I’m working on it.” That’s all I want to hear. I don’t need to know it’s complete but honestly, 48 hours is enough. If it goes past that, then probably I’m too low in their queue at that point.
Do you know anyone more impatient than me?
I don’t know. I send you a lot of emails too.
You’re probably more impatient than I am. I typically do 2 to 3 days. If I send something on Monday, I’m typically checking either Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning. Certain things are more of a weekly basis but if I send somebody, “Can I get a demand letter out the door?” The thing people don’t realize with attorneys is they may be in court that day or for a while. They might not be responsive and so forth. I say that because you need to manage these people but you also can’t be waiting outside your door, looking in the windows like, “When are you going to do this for me?” type of thing. There’s that happy medium of, you don’t want to be a pain in their ass because then things will take a lot longer. You’ve been in the full-time world for a few years but Jamie has been in pretty much as long as I have. Those people who were real pains in the asses, sometimes you see the email, it’s like, “I’ll get to it whenever I get to it because they’re such a pain in the ass.” People who say they don’t do that, you shouldn’t but let’s be honest, we’re all humans and we do it.
There are a couple of people out there.
You start to learn how people respond too. I’ll throw Erin Quinn under the bus. I might send her an email and then she’ll send me a text or a Facebook message. It doesn’t mean she hasn’t read my email if she doesn’t respond through email. Everybody has different ways of operating. You start to learn, “Give this person some more time because they will get back to me. This person, if they don’t respond in two days, I need to poke them again.” It is a lot of work. This business and I’m not the one who came up with this by any means, but it boils down to sourcing deals then managing the assets and sourcing money. Asset management is a piece that people overlook before they get into the note space. It’s like, “I have to run this like a business?” Steven’s been a huge help there. Anything else, Steven, that you can think of for someone who’s even newer than you that would benefit them from what you’ve learned in the last few months?
I would say you can only learn so much by books. I know I’ve said this before, the research is great but at some point, I think now being in the position I am, it is very valuable to see the insight or to help my note investors. My biggest suggestion would be to try and find someone out there who needs some help that you can assist with to see if it’s even up your alley. Because reading a book, everything is going to sound pretty good coming from a book. You don’t necessarily see the ins and outs. You don’t see the details of the asset management. I’ve done quite a bit of research on investing in personal finance to begin with, and without having hands–on experience, it’s hard to say that I want to do that as a side business. It’s given me the information that I have or that I need to be able to say I’m still interested in pursuing this as a side business and maybe scaling up to eventually do it full–time. I would try and take action and get hands–on experience to see if it’s even something you want to do.
Steven, you mentioned books, seminars and so forth. For the people who may tell people, “You can go make $100,000 in your first year in note investing whether you have other people’s money, $20,000, 50,000 of your own money.” What do you think the odds of that occurring would be?With note investing, you better keep following up and keep following up until someone responds. Click To Tweet
I would say very slim. Chris, to your point, I think there’s a lot of benefit to starting slow. You mentioned systems. Let’s say you could source all the capital and you could source the deals. You’re not going to be able to manage all that volume and inventory. I would say it’s not feasible. There’s a lot of benefit to starting with your own money, starting slow, learning the business and what it takes and building new systems up from there. Once you have the systems, then you can expand however you see fit.
Dave Van Horn had the quote, “How many deals could you handle if they were all free?” At some point, you can’t handle it anymore.
The first time I think I may have spoken to Steven on the phone or maybe had a conversation on the past one. What happens sometimes is people get excited especially when you hear people talk about all the successes and everything on the weekend. You get all ramped up and you send all those emails out on Monday and started raising all this money and all this other stuff because you’re jacked. Back in college, I remember you go drinking with people I went to school with and we said we were going to do all these stupid, ridiculous things. All of a sudden, you sober up and realize no. It’s like that high you get and so forth. Some people, it’s not that it can’t be done but the odds are low. People shouldn’t be making significant life decisions based on something that is such high risk from somebody who they’re paying money to show them something. It’s something to be aware of.
This show will likely come out right after the Rod Khleif one I’m guessing. I did the interview. He is motivational and inspiring. I don’t want to put that down in any way but you do have to balance the reality of it can be challenging. He certainly had a lot of losses as well so you’ve got to be careful. You need that why, that drive and that passion but you also have to be careful.
You need to walk before you can run. You can have the motivation, everything, and inspiration is completely awesome to have and everyone should have it. The thing is you need direction. You need a plan. You can’t put blinders on and start running and hope that you don’t hit something when you do bounce off and keep going. It’s much easier and it’s a lot less painful if you can walk and see where you’re going.
Chris, do you want to pivot quickly and finish with your top three predictions for 2021? Do you want to wait?
We’ll wait. I want to add as we wrap up, did we do trials and tribulations? Let’s have Steven start, just something over the past week that you’ve been involved with and it doesn’t have to note investing. Something that’s been eye–opening, unique experience or whatever it may be.
I did post this in the Facebook group but we’ve been trying to coordinate with a mobile notary to a certain borrower to convert from a contract for deed into a note mortgage. That’s been a learning experience and just the mobile coordination. I didn’t even know if I could give borrower information to the notary so I’m trying to figure out all these things. To be honest, I was drafting an email to everyone when I got the Zoom invite. I’m not quite through it yet but hopefully, we can wrap that one up, schedule everything and get everything coordinated. With this borrower, we’ve been communicating through the servicer for the most part so the feedback cycle has been a little challenging but going through that for the first time has been a learning experience. I think we’re better armed now for the next one.
In that case, we already prepared the docs and sent them to them months ago. They’re on board with the conversion, the borrowers are. Steven redid them but it’s a matter of making it happen with COVID-19 and everything.
I did a whole episode about online conversions, how many times you have to send it and all the stuff that you’re going to go through. I guarantee you if you told us we could just go back and do the same thing because once I left the other and that’s the other thing most known investors don’t realize is this business is such a rinse and repeat business. The same thing happens over and over again.
That was a good question. I hadn’t even thought of those ten. We’re not sending it because there’s no Social Security number on the documents or anything but there is some personal information. Can we send it to a random notary? No, we should probably get the borrower’s permission first. Even coordinating that email has been a little more challenging than you would have thought. Anything else, Steven?
Other than that, no. It’s been pretty good.
I have grown a little bit. I had an issue with a certain company I was using and I tend to get extremely fired up and sometimes I cut off my nose to spite my face and I’ve tried to get enough plastic surgery to put everything back in place. I worked to a resolution on an issue that I don’t think either party won. It was a fair settlement where both sides got the short end of the stick. It was good and had a follow–up call with them on what went wrong and almost like how to fix it. If it’s somebody who I liked them and would continue probably to still work with them, but it’s something that we had to work through some things, which we worked through. In the past, I would have probably sworn at them, screamed at them, went nuts on them, which I didn’t. I was calmed down and I got on somebody else but that’s okay.
Sometimes it feels good just to type an email and never send it. As they say, when you’re upset, you never hit send on an email for six hours. One of those things in business is you learn that this is a small business so you try not to cut people out of the industry. That’s good and I did get to pay off the week so that’s nice as well. Steven’s whole episode was a Note and Bolt, I think. We’re not going to ask him for anything. What’s your Note and Bolt for the week?
My Note and Bolt is that the note industry is very small. If you are tempted to be dishonest, don’t. I’m not going to get into too many specifics but I had been on an asset and asked the seller if there were any issues that I was going to come across assignment–wise or in the title search. He said, “No,” that he was unaware of any issues. Come to find out that there were issues and there’s a very high chance he was fully aware of them. It’s always good to ask other note investors about someone’s reputation and whether they’ve worked with that person before. My Note and Bolt is to be honest, first and foremost because you should. Secondly, because the note space is really small, I know we’ve mentioned it before, but it was front and center for me when it looks like we’ve been working with somebody that maybe tried to hide something from me.
That just goes back to, as Steven mentioned and we touched upon, trying to build a relationship with a few sellers, not trying to get from everyone. It’s you build a relationship with a few then you don’t have to deal with that stuff and then you’re not out $500 for your due diligence and all these other things. It’s important. I’ve got a pool that I’ve got I’d say $8,000 to $10,000 in due diligence then and unfortunately, there were a lot of assets on the tape that had values that were way off. Some of them were seconds when they should have been first. Somebody bought from all the time and it’s a little heartache for both of us because he’s like, “I’m being told I’ve got to put this back on the street because many are falling off.” I’m like, “I hear you but in the same token, some of the data was wrong and I’m out about $8,000.” We at least close on twenty of them that I’ve already got numbers on, twenty are the good ones in the other ones. We’re trying to work the happy medium. When you have built that relationship, you’ll typically come to resolve. Whereas if it’s a one–time thing, the person is like, “I don’t know, screw you.”
My Note and Bolt is I’m going to go back in time but I’m talking about systems. This used to be the biggest thing that I always used to yell at Gail for. Gail would use Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, many different ways to reach someone. I strongly recommend you go out and get a URL, pick something. Nobody’s ever going to buy or sell you a note based on your name. Pick something, get a URL with that address because here’s the other thing that I find. People who use Gmail, 90% of email from investors goes into your promotions or other tab and you never see them. Even if you white label the email or whatever, it still goes into that promotions tab or the other tabs and you don’t know it’s there. I would strongly, highly recommend you go out and get a URL that doesn’t have all those other places that can hide. In that way, it makes you also look more professional but also you’re not going to miss out on deals.There's no finite note. Click To Tweet
When I need to send some tapes out but when I used to send tapes, you never send something and go in my system and say “I sent you seventeen different lists in there.” You are like, “I never got one.” I’m like, “You’ve got Gmail because it’s probably in your promotions.” I use G Suite and so forth and I have a personal Gmail account. It’s not I’m knocking Gmail or any of these providers. It’s a fact that way they separate email, it’s important. You want to make sure that you get all your email. That’s my little Note and Bolt.
I agree with that for sure. I think it also just helps you get in the right mindset if you want to run this like a business. It costs me $12 or $15 a month for that to have the @LabradorLending.com. It’s not that big of a deal.
I’ve got two email addresses and $6 per. I used to able to cover that with some DataTree accounts but unfortunately, you can’t do that anymore. Steven, how can people reach out to you and get to know you for people starting? I would recommend reaching out to Steven because if you’re new, Steven’s got a 3, 6, 9–month head start on you. Your bus is right behind his inline. You can try and tee off of him and learn a little bit from him as well.
I’d say the best place is probably through Facebook. I’m in the group pretty actively. Shoot me on Messenger and we can connect.
Thank you for joining us on this episode, where we try and provide you content, the good, the bad, the ugly in your note investing career. Please join us at our Facebook Notes and Bolts group as well. We can be heard on Stitcher, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, pretty much anywhere you can listen to a podcast. As always, go out and do some good deeds. Thank you.
- Steven Burke
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About Steven Burke
Steven is a full-time engineer that found his passion for investing and personal finance after he and his wife found themselves with close to 6-figures of student loan debt. On his journey in understanding how wealth is created, he discovered the niche of note investing that sparked his interest just enough to want to jump in.
He reached out to a few note investors to offer his assistance with their business so he could learn whilst helping another investor. So far Steven has purchased one partial and, by the time this podcast aires, one contract for deed (CFD). He resides near the Twin Cities with his wife and son, counting down the days to their second child!
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