Risk Associated with Selecting Third Party Vendors

By Dan Harkey

Where does risks begin in commercial real estate lending business?  It begins with your process of hiring highly competent third-party vendors.  Your job is to assemble the most qualified real estate support professionals to eliminate costly mistakes and to ensure the best quality closing.

This includes service providers who originate new loans, process, underwrite, appraise, and eventually close the transaction. This sounds like a broad statement since the process also requires your participation in marketing, to procure the transaction.   Your competency is displayed throughout the process by understanding the borrower’s wants and needs, the loan programs and requirements, property types and characteristics, underwriting skills, geographic locational differences, government regulations, and then hiring professional service providers to match.

  1. Appraiser(s)

It is your responsibility is to identify a well-qualified, licensed, and insured appraiser who is familiar with the geographic location and property type, and various methods of valuation. Hire someone who follows the requirements of Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). USPAP can be considered to be the quality control standards applicable for analysis and reports for appraisal of real property, personal property, intangible assets and business valuations in the United States and its territories.  A state licensed appraiser must adhere to USPAP standards.  USPAP provides the body of knowledge and performance standards for the appraisal process as authorized by the US Congress (this was part of FIRREA in the early 1990’s and arose from the Bernard Amendment). As noted above, this legislation contains standards for all types of appraisal services, including real and personal property, business enterprises.  It is reviewed annually and revised and updated every two years.  The Real Estate Broker/Mortgage Loan Broker must establish that the appraiser is qualified by license and specific certification to accept the assignment and must be sure the appraiser is state licensed for the type of required appraisal.   This is a mandate by the Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers in California and their equivalent in all states and required in California pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 10232.6.  In most cases the appraiser must also be approved by or acceptable to the lending source.

The first document you will use is an “order form”, which will document the type of appraisal, by whom and when the appraisal will be paid and “what parties rely on the appraisal”.  If you, as a mortgage broker/lender, are acting as an agent on behalf of private investors/lenders who intend to fund the loan, or you intend to sell or assign the loan following funding the loan with our own capital, then the appraiser needs to be informed that the private investors/lenders have a right to rely on the appraisal report.

You must identify all intended users of the appraisal report or you need to specifically direct the appraiser as to whom the report should be addressed.  To comply with appraisal standards and requirements, and depending on property type, the appraiser will typically conduct a rent survey and an absorption study and will additionally research various market rates for additional indicators such as capitalization rates and discount rates to establish market conditions applicable to a subject property.  In appraising the property, the appraiser typically will research market rents for the property type, research market rent trends in general and analyze historical lease-up or absorption rates for the subject property type.  Depending on the type of subject being appraised the appraiser may also need to include personal property value or may find that the appraisal requires a going concern valuation for an operating business wherein there may be additional value elements such as FF&E, good will or intellectual property.

Choosing an appraiser for a federally insured home loan differs.  It is important to note that neither mortgage brokers, loan officers nor homeowners may select the appraiser for the property on which they want to lend/borrow such funds.  At the current time all such appraiser selections and appraisal orders are handled by Appraisal Management Companies (AMC’s).

“Assumptions and Limiting Conditions” are sometimes thought of as the “legalese” or “boilerplate” of appraisal reports. The “assumptions” relate to the concept of scope of work identified in the appraisal process. The appraiser will lay out in writing assumptions such as the correct legal description, that the zoning is correct for the property use and that the information furnished is true and correct. A “limiting condition” is one that limits the use of the appraisal, primarily by specifying the use and intended users of the appraisal report. That is, who may rely on the contents of the report. However, each assumption or condition must be reasonable and supportable in the context of the appraisal, and not conflict with the “Extraordinary Assumptions or Hypothetical Conditions.”

It is important to review the appraisal section, “Extraordinary Assumptions and Hypothetical Conditions”. This means the appraiser has taken some action or used a method that departs from USPAP standards. The appraiser may have made assumptions that could render the appraisal of little or no value by following outside standards. You may find this when the property is zoned incorrectly for the neighborhood or the property’s intended use, or when comparable are extremely difficult to locate. Some examples of extraordinary assumptions may be: whether all entitlements are complete for a construction project, there is adequate absorption for lease up, that the building conforms to zoning and usage ordinances, that the property construction will be completed timely and on budget, and that there are no environmental concerns.  The appraiser may need to invoke certain hypothetical conditions under some directives by the client.

Extraordinary Assumptions are specific assumptions made and utilized in the development of the estimate of value and which, if found to be false, could alter the resulting opinion or conclusion.  Hypothetical Conditions are assumptions made which are known to be contrary to fact, but which are assumed for discussion, analysis or formulation of opinions.

As a final comment, it is important that you read the entire appraisal. There are issues such as the amount of area vacancy, the applicable capitalization rate, and a discussion regarding verification of zoning or permits that you may want to personally verify. These are not always clear in the first reading. For example, the area vacancy and the application of a capitalization approach may be different in Riverside, CA. than in Newport Beach, CA.

  1. Documentation/ Legal Counsel

I have combined these two together for this reason, some lenders farm out their legal documentation preparation to a third party. Since it is the lender who is responsible for state and federally required documentation, a third party legal counsel or knowledgeable consultant is advised.

Commercial lending is sometimes characterized by loaning to entities such as trusts, corporations, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies. There is a required technical understanding of the laws relating to these entity types, and the documentation differences that each will require. There is another matter of the issue of lien priority. Documentation complexity can be compounded when the issues of lien priority and tenancy are added to the mix. Your borrower may own a property in a family limited partnership, occupy the same property as an operating business which is a corporation, and have other unrelated tenants, who may also own their businesses in different forms of entities.

  1. Escrow Companies

All escrow officers are not alike. A competent, experienced, and highly technical escrow officer is a must. Escrow acts as an intermediary and dual agent, between the principal parties to ensure that instructions and agreements are carried out correctly. The lender’s final closing instructions to the escrow officer should summarize all the conditions that have been met and under what conditions he/she may close the transaction, using the correct title insurance policy and endorsements in place at the recording to ensure lien priority.

  1. Commercial Real Estate Broker(s)

In metropolitan areas, finding a real estate professional who has the background, knowledge and experience of the product type and geographic area is a matter a good referral or inquiry. If the subject property is in a sub market or a rural market, the time should be taken to locate a broker on the front end while the loan transaction is being processed. Brokers in these areas tend to be generalists who list and sell whatever kind of real estate is available. Your job is to locate that one broker who has the specialized skills you may need.

  1. Environmental Engineer

As a lender you have the option of a quick public records search to identify any properties around the subject that may have used contaminants which could affect the property or that would call attention to the need for further inquiry. An example, a data base in California is the State Water Resource Control Board is known as a “Geotracker”. The lender also has an option for a limited phase I, or full phase I to determine whether the property contains or has ever contained identifiable contaminants. The environmental engineer will report that information and will comment on how it may affect the desirability and salability of the property. For properties built before 1978 the issue of asbestos arises. Also lead based paints were commonly used in construction before 1978. Today, the common approach is to do nothing about asbestos or lead based paint if it appears that they are contained or sealed. Adverse findings by the environmental engineer may lead to the need for soils borings, a phase II, or a phase III. Some properties are purchased with the knowledge there is known environmental issues, and that the purpose of the loan may be for mitigation.

  1. Credit report and credit reporting agency

Very little needs to be said about credit reporting agencies. They all use the same data bases to accumulate the historical credit background of a borrower. However, Real Estate Brokers who make or arrange loan transactions in California are subject to 10232.5 of the Business and Professions Code which consists of a summary of disclosures and requirements to investors who may purchase a portion or all the trust deed investment. Section 10232.5 subsection (4) states that the Real Estate Broker must provide the “identity, occupation, employment, income, and credit data about the prospective borrower or borrowers as represented to the broker by the prospective borrower or borrowers”. This is easy to comply with when the borrower is either an individual or a seasoned entity with years of financials, history, and credit. A standard credit report should provide all the information you need. However, loaning to an entity newly formed for the sole purpose of purchasing or holding a property creates an additional question. Do you need to run a credit report on the entity knowing that nothing will show up? The answer is “yes”, and as an abundance of caution, you should also run a credit report on the individuals who created the entity.

  1. Property Inspection/Property Condition Assessment

Some lenders will require a property inspection by a third party who is trained in that field. The Property Condition Report (PCR) is used by purchasers and lenders who take property back in foreclosure, as part of the assessment of value for resale and limiting liability on resale. These reports tend to be very detailed and may require several specialists to evaluate the various components of the property, both real and personal. The process can be expensive costing from $20,000 to $100,000. This form of third party assessment is rarely used in private money loan transactions because of the nature and purpose of the loan request. Limited condition assessments may be available for much less expense.

There are many risks associated with commercial real estate lending, many of which will be written about in subsequent articles. None, however, quite rise to the level of the need to use highly competent and highly skilled third-party vendors. You are the one who has the option to search and hire the most professional vendors. You, your company, and of course your investors, will also be stuck with the results if substandard vendors are used.

Yield Hungry Investors Discover New Real Estate Opportunities Online

High yield seeking investors are finding exciting new investment opportunities in a $200B online landscape

JP Maroney and his investors have found a new form of real estate online. So, far this new frontier has been delivering strong double-digit returns, with no signs of slowing any time soon.

While the massed has been desperately searching for yield, a few has discovered high returns in the new digital economy. Bonds and CDs may be paying negative net yields, and the stock market as a whole may be so over bloated that price to earnings ratios are a joke. Yet, there are opportunities out there. At least for those willing to adapt to the fast-changing world we live in now.

From Aging Technology to Albert Einstein-Like Epiphanies

JP Maroney started his first company at 19 years old. In the 90s, he was running successful magazine companies, which he successfully exited in 1999. He and his wife went on to launch a video training company for franchises and trade associations. In 2004, Maroney upgraded to the arena of online coaching, and began generating leads online. Out for a walk one evening, JP was thinking over a recent news show on MSNBC or CNBC, in which a top fund manager was talking about the importance of embracing alternative investments, providing they could put a dollar in, and get a reasonable yield out.

This was JP Maroney’s “Eureka!” moment. He gained a new perspective, which has paid off handsomely. He realized he was already investing in online real estate, with great success. He was investing in online lead generation to the tune of around $2.50 per lead, and was easily able to sell those leads at $3-$5, and flip his money for outsized returns and a big IRR every 30 days.

The $200B Online Investment Landscape

The importance of the internet, and the ability to effectively and efficiently get in front of, and connect with consumers, with measurable results verifiable for every dollar spent in marketing is obvious. At least 19 of the biggest and best-established retailers in America are either going bankrupt, or are at least slashing stores and staff, and are cashing out their brick and mortar real estate. They just started marketing online too late. Then we have Amazon, who is leveraging its online prowess to dive into brick and mortar assets, becoming the largest landowner in Seattle, and taking over Whole Foods with a $14B bid.

Digital marketing is already a $200B business and growing. It’s already bigger than TV advertising, including the Super Bowl. Most entrepreneurs and VCs look for at least $1B to $2B markets as a measure of a good industry to be in. This is already 100x that.

43% of respondents in the State of Digital Advertising 2017 survey and report said they increased paid search advertising between 2015 and 2016 alone. eMarketer estimates growth in US digital ad spending to accelerate at 9.9% to 28.4% per year between 2015 and 2020.

Getting Responzive

From realizing he was doubling his money every 30 to 90 days in digital advertising, and realizing he could do it for investors too, JP has delivered double digit returns for others for 4 years straight. His biggest problem has been having to under-promise, as the returns on digital marketing make current bond, stock, and fund yields look like a joke.

Maroney’s B2B facing portal, Responzive, eliminates the need for ‘hope and pray advertising’, and enables businesses from real estate to insurance companies to obtain ready to buy consumer leads, on-demand. JP says that the service is for serious businesses and those serious about scaling quickly, and have an appetite for 5k+ leads per month.

The New Frontier

JP Maroney’s investment firm Harbor City Capital has appeared in Inc. Magazine, and many other major news sites. Harbor City Capital is the investment engine which fuels Responzive, and other digital marketing arbitrage ventures, as well as branching into acquiring and monetizing big data and data centers.

Via an exclusivee phone interview with Realty 411, JP broke the news that the firm is currently acquiring a high profile $100M retail domain, complete with its trademarks, and data on 15M active users. As of July 2017, the firm already had in excess of 1.2B data records in-house, and is generating 4/5M leads per day in different niches and verticals.

Opportunities for Accredited Investors

Harbor City Capital continues to grow quickly, and has just announced a unique opportunity for accredited investors to participate in its success. This is via a 506c filing and seeding funding round. Investors receive preferred shares via a convertible note, with a 5 year redemption period, offering a minimum of 17% returns. However, an IPO could be quite likely within the next 12 to 18 months.

Accredited investors are able to diversify their portfolios into this industry with a minimum of a $50k investment. Though the opportunity closes once the funding round hits $25M.


Investors are still hungry for yield, and there aren’t many places to find it these days. Digital marketing is one of the biggest and most vital industries today. Those that do it well stand to gain sizable market share, while others fade out. Digital marketing arbitrage and big data offer an exciting apex where these trends meet. One which could dwarf the returns and performance of many other business and investment models.

For more information about online leads for your business visit Responzive.com. Visit HarborCity.com and fill out the contact form for more details on the investment opportunity.

Following Up with Motivated Sellers Can Make You Millions

By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)

Let me ask you a question; are you properly managing your prospects? Are you taking the time to follow up with the sellers who didn’t initially accept your offers, or the sellers you still need to make offers to? Did you know that you are leaving thousands of dollars in potential income behind if you aren’t following up with sellers? One of the easiest ways to make a fortune in the real estate business and gain the advantage over your competition is to take the time to follow up with motivated and semi-motivated sellers. You’ve already got the seller in your pipeline, you’ve already done the marketing and spent the money to find this person, now all you need to do is to follow up with them until they either sell you their property or tell you to go away. How much simpler could it be?

There are two types of sellers we are going to follow up with, those we’ve already made offers to who haven’t accepted our offer and those who have not made any decision after our initial contact with them. Quite often, you will need to make multiple contacts with sellers before their situation changes and dictates that they sell their property to you. If you stay in touch with these sellers, you build credibility with them and when it comes time to sell they will contact you first, even if they have been contacted by someone else in the meantime.

There are a lot of investors in the market these days, and most of them have a very limited knowledge of how the whole follow-up process works, not to mention the inability to create successful deals. What they don’t realize is that many of the sellers you will be dealing with have a variety of problems they aren’t sure how to solve until they are contacted by you.

Some of those may include divorce situations, estates or health issues where there may be emotions tied to the property. With these sellers it may take a little longer before they make that final decision to sell. Most of your competitors will simply throw these potential deals in the trash when they don’t get the property under contract after the initial contact or offer is made. I have made deals many months after the initial contact with the seller was made simply because I took the time to follow up. Not only did I build credibility with the seller, but now they like me better and trust me more than the next investor who may come along.

These are the types of sellers I will place in my follow-up system and follow up with at least every thirty to sixty days if not more often. I have made thousands of dollars on deals other investors would simply have thrown in the trash because I took the time to follow up with a semi-motivated seller. Probably half of the deals I do in a typical year come from following up with these sellers.

In addition, with the help of a fellow investor who is also a software developer, I now have an incredible software system that does all the work for me. It reminds me when I need to do my direct mail campaigns, it reminds me when to follow up with sellers, it has a section to track potential buyers and build a buyer’s list, and it keeps all the information on the properties stored including a photo.

In fact, once I have followed up and purchased the property, my system will match the property with one of the buyers on my buyer’s list, so now; even that part of my business is automated. And once again, isn’t that the whole point to this business, to automate as many things as you can so you can work with the sellers and make the deals happen. You don’t need software to get started with this type of a system. You can simply use an auto-responder and a folder system to begin following up with motivated sellers.

Here is a recent example from my files- I contacted a seller who had inherited a property in Florida where I live and he lived in Michigan. The home belonged to his aunt who had pretty much raised him his whole life. When she passed away the home was left to him and he just couldn’t bring himself to sell it right away. I actually met with the seller and made an offer on the property. He had initially accepted my offer, and then he decided to hold onto the property for awhile and use it as a vacation home. After a year and a half, he got tired of having to deal with all the maintenance issues on the property and ended up selling the property to me for the initial offer I made because I took the time to follow up with him every thirty days or so.

I actually ended up making even more money on this deal than I would have in the first place because the house had appreciated in value during the period of time that he kept it and he had made improvements to the home. Most investors would have thrown this deal in the trash as soon as the seller said no to their initial offer, but because I took the time to follow up, I purchased the property and made a significant amount of money on this deal. I still get holiday cards from that seller.

I’m sure you’re already aware of how important it is to follow up with sellers. It only takes a few minutes each week to follow up with these sellers if you have a good follow-up system in place. I use my follow-up system to follow up with sellers I have made offers to but who haven’t said yes or no to my offer, and with sellers who own homes in areas where I want to buy. I do this by using both direct mail and e-mail to follow up with these sellers. Sometimes if the situation warrants it, I will call them. My system even reminds me to do the follow up. How much simpler can it be? AND…since the seller has already been getting contact from me for a few weeks, if their situation has changed they are ready to sell to me. This is a pretty typical scenario.

With sellers who specifically have properties in areas where I want to buy, I do repeat mailings to a specific list with specific parameters in mind such as out of state owners, quit claim deeds or old sale dates. Each time I do the mailings I continue to clean the list I am using by taking out bad addresses, deals I have purchased or folks who tell me not to mail to them again. The more I mail to these folks, the more credibility I build with them. If you are using a follow up system in your business it is very easy to track these mailings. This is an absolute marketing machine because not only are you doing deals day after day, you are constantly planting seeds for future deals.

If you take the time to follow up with motivated and semi-motivated sellers, you will make more deals and buy more properties with absolutely no competition for these properties whatsoever. It’s a win-win situation for you and the sellers.

For more information on following up with sellers, check out my website at www.marketingmagiclady.com. While you are there be sure and sign up for our free newsletter and get $149.00 in bonuses absolutely FREE.

Feeling a Little Lost? How to Get Your Groove Back

By Sharon Vornholt

Do you ever feel a little lost? Like you just can’t get your groove back?

That’s not too surprising. The world is full of amazing opportunities. There are so many ways to make money in real estate investing, it’s easy for us to jump from one thing to another. Generally speaking, shiny object syndrome is not your friend when it comes to business.

However, know that you’re not expected to have it all figured out right out of the gate.

If you’re like most people, you will go down a lot of different paths before you figure out your investing strategy, and how to be your best and most authentic “you” and that’s OK. It’s all part of the process. When you’re finally in the place where you belong; the place that’s right for you, you will know it. That’s when you get your groove back, and you’re ready to rock and roll.

How to Get Your Groove Back

So how do you find the right balance between jumping from one thing to another while you’re finding your way, and staying on your predetermined path? (The path you decided was right for you.)

You slow down a look at the big picture as you begin the adventure of building a business.  This is a little like following a map to get from place A to B.   When we take a trip, we almost always take little side trips along the way.  When we look back when the trip is finished, there’s rarely any regret over these detours and unplanned stops.  It’s all part of the process in travel and in business, and it makes for a much more interesting trip when it’s all said and done.

Building a Business and a Brand that Stands Out

You’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with building your business and your brand”? 

A lot more than you think. 

It’s important for your potential customers AKA motivated sellers, to see authenticity in your brand.  All of these little detours and side trips you make along the way while you’re growing your business, influence who you ultimately become. That person you become will be the face of your business going forward.

This is the time that the collection of experiences you had along the way begin to pay off. It’s also one of the ways you become different from your competition.

Be Bold

My advice to you is to be bold when it comes to chasing your dreams.  Take risks along the way.  Dare to be different.  Go out on a limb when you need to take a stand.

Remember the movie, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”? Let’s just say Stella had to really go out on a limb to find it.  She had to get way out of her comfort zone.

What will happen when you do this, is you will start to build your tribe. People will be attracted to your authentic self. These are the people that will follow you along on your journey. They will be your best cheerleaders, and they will refer people to your business.

Remember, you won’t be a fit for everybody.

This confidence you’ve gained will shine through when you talk to motivated sellers, and people will trust you to help them get where they need to be. They will feel confident that you are the one to help them with their problem.  When you can’t seem get your groove back, it’s almost always because you aren’t being your authentic self.

I love this line from the book Fascinate by Sally Hogshead.

“Different is better than better”. – Sally Hogshead.

Dare to be different.

How Will You Be Remembered?

According to Brendan Burchard, there are only 3 things anyone will ultimately be remembered for:

Character, relationships and contribution, so let’s talk about these a little bit.


There is little to say about character that hasn’t already been sad a million times.  Your character will determine your long term failure or success in this business. You will be quickly found out if you’re not an ethical business person. You will become invisible to people that should be part of your tribe.


Real estate is a relationship business. Whether we are taking about other investors, contractors or motivated sellers, this business is all about relationships. It’s about having conversations that build rapport with people you do business with.

If you’re one of those folks that struggle with this particular thing, contrary to what you may believe, this is something that you can get better at with practice.  Full disclosure here: you’re going to need to be prepared to spend a lot of time outside your comfort zone in the beginning.


When I think about contribution I immediately think about giving back. How can we make the world a better place? There are so many ways.

  • We can do volunteer work for someone like Habitat for Humanity or other charity
  • I know an investor that wrote a book and donated the proceeds to charity
  • If you are a rehabber, maybe your mission is to revitalize neighborhoods
  • How about sharing your expertise with others?

Contribution isn’t just about money.  It’s finding a way to leave the world a better place when you’re gone.  It’s how you will be remembered, and it’s up to you to decide how you will be remembered.

Giving back could be as simple as mentoring folks just getting started in this business. Be bold, get involved, take a stand and get your groove back in the process!



The Number 1 Risk for Real Estate Investors Now

By Fuquan Bilal

What’s the top risk that investors in real estate are facing today?

There is still a lot of opportunity out there. There are great deals to be made. Yet, it is also true that it is taking more attention to detail and effort to find the really profitable deals. Market well, in addition to buying, structuring, and managing right, and you’ll be okay if you have good deal sources. However, there’s real risk.

The number one risk in the real estate market today is that 90% of investors have no plan for sustainability. None. Some may not even know what that means if you ask them.

The vast majority of real estate agents and investors in the market now are very green. They’ve only experienced the business during the great bull run we’ve had since 2008 and 2011. Honestly, while I’d like to say I’m pretty smart or talented, the truth is that you couldn’t really not make money in real estate for the past 10 years. It’s been so ridiculously easy. Anyone could do it, and they have.

That’s great for them. I love to see people succeed. There are a lot of guys and gals who have gotten into real estate in the last few years and haven’t only flipped houses themselves, but have been building spec homes, doing Airbnb, amassing a few hundred rental units, and then either offering turnkey properties or teaching others as newly minted gurus.

Some of these people really do know their stuff, but most have just been riding on luck. Worse, they either don’t believe a correction is coming, keep saying we’ve got another 12 to 18 months (which they’ve been saying for more than 18 months), or are seriously minimizing how impactful the next correction will be.

Here’s the real problem. They have no plan to hold things together when the market corrects, and if you’ve been watching the data, some markets are clearly correcting already, and have been for over a year. So, many are paying too much for properties, are basing their values and business models on rents and a resale market that isn’t there, and don’t have the reserves to survive a temporary crunch. They owe too much, and are only a month or a few away from going bankrupt if cash flow tightens up.

Now, it’s no secret that you can both make money at the top of the market, and that our most famous billionaire investors are those who made their wealth when everyone else thought the market was at its ugliest. The difference is in being prepared and pricing things right.

What can investors do to beat this risk?

  1. Before investing with anyone, ask what plan they have for sustainability
  2. Know your real estate and economic cycles (history repeats itself)
  3. Stay in tune with the market data, and what’s really happening out there
  4. Know the value before you invest
  5. Look for value, don’t speculate

Investment Opportunities

Find out more about investing in secured debt and real estate, go to NNG Capital Fund


The 3 Things Investors Need Most in 2019

By Fuquan Bilal

Do you have the three things you need most out of your investing for this year and beyond?

Many are finding it hard to make sense of the market right now. The media headlines proclaim the economy is awesome and supercharged with growth and low unemployment. Yet, the hard data and other signals suggest there are some corrections in the works. The bottom line though, is that you need these three things to get you through.

1. Passive Income

Time is the most precious and scarce resource we have. The only way to really get more time is with passive income. We can only become so productive. Then it is up to passive investments to make money so we can spend more time on other things. That’s true whether you are already making millions a year, or are in a high paying career, but are still trading your time for a wage. This is going to be even more critical over the next couple of years. And it doesn’t matter whether or not you own rentals right now, or you think your company is well insulated from a recession. If you’re not getting truly passive income, then it may be time to consider a fund or other vehicle.

2. Downside Protection

Who knows, we may really be in the best economy ever, and real estate prices, stock values and incomes might just keep going up. Of course, the odds are that there is some type of temporary correction in the works. That means it’s just smart to have some tangible, underlying hard assets and to be overcollateralized in order to protect wealth and capital during the months and years ahead.

3. Stable Performance

No single asset is going to perfectly and consistently perform the same forever. And it’s those fluctuations that are really tricky and usually come at the worst times. By diversifying and harnessing great management, we can keep our total portfolio performance steady, and yet without being so over-conservative that we end up with negative yields.

We believe we’ve achieved all this, and the ability to future proof your portfolio through our hybrid fund. Check out how we’re doing it today…

Investment Opportunities

Find out more about investing in secured debt and real estate, go to NNG Capital Fund


12 Steps to the Closing Table and the Big Check

By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)

Okay, so your property is under contract, you’ve pre-qualified your prospect; they are working with the lender and everything is moving right along, right? Not necessarily. There are several steps to a successful closing and we are going to cover those one by one. Now remember, once you have your dream team in place, you will have the people available who will handle all of the details for you. In the meantime, you still need to know what all the steps are so you know everything gets handled properly.

  1. Make sure you get a big enough deposit from your buyer so they have some real dollars invested in the deal. Even if they are going for one hundred percent financing I still get as much as I can in order to secure the deal better. If your buyer puts down a larger deposit they are usually more committed to going through with the closing, so this is a requirement for me. I won’t even consider a deposit less than $1,000.00, but I always try for as much as I can get. The higher dollar the property is, the more deposit I require.
  1. Make sure that the lender or the mortgage broker orders credit and an appraisal on the property immediately. Usually, I will not consider a buyer who has not already been pre-qualified, so usually the credit check has already been done. Many lenders will try to wait until they get the contracts and other paperwork in before ordering the appraisal. This is a no-no. If you wait on the appraisal, it can hold up your closing by two to three weeks. Plus, if this buyer doesn’t end up buying the property, the appraisal can be used for the next buyer. Most appraisals are good for six months and now you have an appraisal that has already been paid for.
  1. Follow up with the loan processor to make sure the appraisal has been ordered and that the other parts of the closing are moving along. Many times your title agent or your Realtor or your sales person will do this for you, after all they want to get paid too. Make sure they have everything they need from the buyer regarding loan documentation.
  1. Follow up and make sure that title work has also been started. You want to make sure that everything is done in a timely matter so that there are no holdups when you go to close. Every once in awhile you may discover some small glitch in the title work that needs to be addressed, such as a deed that wasn’t done correctly. There would need to be an additional quit claim deed done to correct the mistake. Make sure the title agent understands the contract paperwork and what entity the funds are to be paid to. You also want to make sure they do the 1099 correctly so the right entity gets taxed. You will also want to provide the title company with a copy of the existing title policy. This means that they will be able to come forward from the date of your policy which takes less time and this may make the title search cheaper. Make sure the title agent understands who is going to pay for what regarding closing costs.

  1. Call the loan processor to make sure the property appraised for at least the amount of the contract. Make sure your buyer has ordered a termite inspection, a survey, a radon inspection or whatever else is required by the lender in order to close. Is there anything you can do to move things along? If you have a copy of a fairly recent survey, you can provide a copy. This will also save time and move you closer to the closing. Has your buyer’s deposit been credited? Have they gotten the paperwork they need to the lender including employment verification and rental history? These are all things you need to stay on top of.
  1. If your buyers are using city or county funds to supplement their loan, there will need to be another inspection done by the city or county. This is a stipulation of their program. Make sure this gets done quickly in order to address any issues that could come up with the inspection. If your buyers are having a home inspection done, make sure it is done right away. Not getting it done in a timely manner can hold up your closing.
  1. Does the lender have your information in order to be able to order a payoff on any underlying loans on the property? Have they received the payoff yet and have you reviewed it to make sure it is correct? Don’t just assume that just because they have been given figures that those figures are correct. Make sure they fax you a copy of the payoff for you to review. Double check the per diem amounts and make sure you aren’t being charged a prepayment penalty if there isn’t one due. Make sure the most recent payment has been credited against the amount due. These are problems I have had to deal with. If the loan is with a private lender, sometimes it takes even longer to get a payoff from them. Some of them don’t know how to prepare one, so they need the help of the title company or their real estate attorney for this. This is also the time you might be able to negotiate a discount with them. This works especially well if it was a seller held mortgage. We have gotten private lenders and sellers to negotiate discounts on loans on several occasions which just made our paycheck bigger.

  1. Has the buyer’s loan been approved? If not find out what the problem is and how to fix it if it can be fixed. If the loan has been approved find out what the proposed closing date is going to be. Has your buyer ordered insurance yet? You need to check this out and it needs to be done as soon as possible. This is another area where you could have a glitch. Sometimes the age of the property or the location of the property becomes an issue. For example, here in Florida where I live, if there is a hurricane brewing, we end up in a “box” which is a period of time where you can’t buy insurance until a hurricane passes. This can hold up a closing for several days unless the insurance is already in place. A buyer must purchase a homeowners policy for one year and it must pre-paid at closing.
  1. If you are selling a condo or a home with a home owners association, make sure the lender and the buyers have a copy of the home owner association rules and documents and that the buyers have set up their appointment for their meeting with the condo association or home owners association. If they are not approved by the condo association or homeowners association, the rest of the closing is a mute point. You need to make sure your buyer’s get through this process successfully.
  1. So now we have a set closing date. Make sure you contact the closing agent to make sure you get a copy of the HUD or closing statement before the closing takes place and before you arrive at a closing. Very recently we had a closing that didn’t take place because once we got the HUD all the figures including the asking price and seller assisted closing costs had all been changed. The closing price listed on the HUD was several thousand lower than the contract had called for. I have never seen anything like it and the deal never closed. Check the numbers! If there is a Realtor fee involved make sure the percentages are correct. Check the pro rated amounts you are being charged for property taxes or association fees. When you close on a property during the year, say in June and property taxes are due in October; you have to reimburse the buyer for the property taxes from January until the closing date in June since they didn’t own the property during that time period. The same would go for any association fees there might be. You will have to reimburse the buyer for the period during the month that they did not own the property. Double check to make sure these figure are correct. In my contract, if we are assisting the buyer in any way with closing costs, the buyer can’t walk away from closing with more than five hundred dollars. So this is another figure we check. Any amount over the five hundred dollars is credited back to our side on the closing statement.
  1. Call your buyer and make sure they have gotten a cashiers check for any monies they have to bring to closing and make sure they know where it is and what time the closing takes place. Make sure they bring a photo ID with them. The lender will require this. Believe me when I tell you that these are all lessons learned from experience.

  1. Now, Show up at the closing and don’t forget to bring the keys or garage door openers. Take several deep breaths and try to relax. Once you get through the closing take another deep breath, call your spouse and go out to dinner to celebrate.

Here is another point for you to consider. In my business, it is rare that I go to closings anymore since the whole closing process is outsourced. The funds from the closing are directly wired to an account for us so we get paid right away.

If I do go to a closing, I don’t go at the same time as the buyers. I usually go right after they are done with all their paperwork. The paperwork on a closing for a buyer is fairly time consuming and needs to be explained to the buyer by the title agent. I don’t like sitting at closings for an hour or more until I need to sign my documents. If you have done your due diligence and followed all the steps in the closing process, there isn’t really anything that can go wrong at the last minute, so breath easy but expect the worst.

Then when you get through the closing, cash your check or make sure your wire has arrived and go to dinner to celebrate!! For more information on Real Estate Investing tools and Marketing to Find Motivated Sellers, Buyers and Lenders visit Kathy Kennebrook’s website at www.marketingmagiclady.com. While you are there sign up for the free Monthly Newsletter and receive $149.00 in real estate investing tools absolutely FREE!


Due Diligence – What it is and Why it Matters!

By Laura Alamery


Buying real estate is not as simple as having enough money to purchase the property. It requires time and effort to check and make sure that the condition of the property is good and the title is valid before making the final decision. That is what you call due diligence.

In case the buyer discovers that something is wrong with the property, he may give suggestions to the seller so that the latter can act on it by addendum to the contract, or the buyer can decide not to buy the property.

Contractual Due Diligence

There are certain elements within the sales contract or purchase agreement which are critical to the ‘satisfaction’ of due diligence. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Contingencies – Any contingencies which the buyer wants performed prior to finalizing the purchase must be stated on the sales contract. Some examples of these conditions may include: inspections, partner’s approval, financing, research of code violations or permits – and, of course, a clear and marketable title. At the end of the contingencies timeline, the buyer must either release the them and proceed with the sale or cancel the purchase.

Time is of the Essence – Due diligence supported by contingencies comes with a definitive timeline in the sales contract. If the buyer cannot complete his/her due diligence by the deadline, he/she will have to renegotiate with the seller. The seller has the choice whether or not to agree to the extension; which in turn may compel the buyer to follow through with the purchase regardless, or cancel the contract.

Title Discovery – Whenever you purchase real estate (especially as an investor) a marketable title is the most crucial element. Without it, an investor cannot sell or transfer the property. There are several types of title discovery searches which look into a chain of title; as well as liens or judgments against the property. The following are 2 main types of searches performed; keep in mind these may go by different names according to the title company and location:

  1. Full Title Search – the most complete of the two, this search checks into everything affecting the property’s history. It is the only one that will be used prior to issuance of title insurance, and is of course the most expensive to perform.
  2. Letter Report – a summary of what’s on the title; which reveals any possible liens and judgments.

Please note: Securing title insurance is an important step. Though title insurance for cash transactions is optional, it is mandatory when the buyer must obtain a mortgage to purchase the property. In my professional opinion, an investor should always acquire title insurance. According to Wikipedia, “Title insurance is a form of indemnity insurance predominantly found in the United States which insures against financial loss from defects in title to real property, and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage loans.”

Due Diligence Questions & Answers


Q: Should an investor perform due diligence on every property before purchasing?

A: Yes, and no. When an investor is looking at several possible deals at the same time – and not sure if they will go through with a specific contract, holding back could be wise. For example, it would be prohibitively expensive to perform even a Letter Report (average cost is $150) on every single property. These actions are also time consuming: even a title report will take 3 business days to be issued.

With that said, there are times when some basic due diligence is an important decision factor; for instance, when an investor is considering a property coming online at a foreclosure auction. The investor will want to know what potential issues there might be on title (liens, judgments) and whether the title would be marketable.

Q: Is it necessary for a title company to perform the due diligence for any sales contract?

A: The investor can actually perform a lot of their own basic due diligence without hiring a title company or spending any money. Checking with the appropriate government offices (most of them can also be accessed online) for some basic discovery is the simplest way to gain confidence in proceeding with your purchases.

Q: Which government agencies do you recommend searching to complete due diligence?

A: I don’t check with all the government offices for each property. If my discovery at the Recorder of Deeds Office comes out clean (with no red flags) I will stop there; unless I see a spotty history of liens and releases on title. This is also a useful means of locating properties undergoing issues that have kept them off the MLS. Here is a list of searches available in the public domain, and what you can expect to find:

  1. Recorder of Deeds Office – Will have record of liens such as: Mortgages, Federal & State Income Tax Liens, Sewer, Water, Judgments, HOA (Homeowner’s Association); and other property document history.
  2. Collector of Revenue – Lists any Back Property Taxes and Tax Liens
  3. Building Inspections Office – Data on any building violations and inspections.
  4. HOA – If the property is within a subdivision or a condo development, there are probably Homeowners’ Association Dues.
  5. Clerk’s Office – Mechanics Liens (filed by contractors for unpaid work on the property).
  6. Comptroller – City liens, for unpaid taxes and fees.

Due diligence is a must when it comes to purchasing real estate. Though a preliminary search can be performed at no cost before making your decision to proceed – it is my opinion that a full title search and insurance are necessary prior to final purchase.



This is the Best Day of the Year for Real Estate Investors

By Fuquan Bilal

What is the best day of the year for real estate investors?

I think Mother’s Day is a strong contender. It’s hard to beat from both a business point of view, and in being personally meaningful.

If you’re not a mother yourself, then you’ve got mothers in your life. Either they work with or for you, rent from you, support you in your investing, or are your grandmothers, daughters, cousins or just your neighbors. Everyone can relate.

The Start of a New Season in Real Estate

Mother’s Day really marks the start of a new phase of the market each year. New property listings are popping up to get ahead of the peak buying season. Serious buyers are coming out to sign contracts and set up their summer moves so they are all settled before school starts again in the fall. It can be a fantastic time for Mother’s Day themed open houses.

What Real Estate Investors Can Do For Mothers

The first and most obvious thing we can all do is celebrate and honor the mothers in our lives. That can be in your office, at home and out in the community.

Housing them is a huge deal. One of the best benefits of being in real estate for me is what I can do for my mom. I can house her, and recently bought her a car. I’ve also really enjoyed just taking time to intentionally spend quality time with her to learn from her years of wisdom.

Housing and keeping a roof over their family’s heads is a top concern for moms out there. It keeps them up at night, and working hard. I love giving them a chance to put their families in a safe, healthy and attractive looking place in our rentals and when we sell properties.

As a real estate investor, I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give is sharing your knowledge and experience, and giving the mothers out there the chance to own those benefits for themselves and their children. Host an educational lunch, or turn them onto the PFREI podcast, or take them to an industry event with you.

The workforce and housing market is changing a lot in many cities. That can mean some transition time while getting reskilled for modern jobs, and trying to hang onto homes, and keep up with all the mail and mistakes that some lenders, insurers and tax authorities make in their paperwork. This can all lead to loan defaults and distress, that could have been avoided. If you are investing in mortgage notes this is a great time to do a cash for keys deal, or to modify loans and help moms have a fair chance to get back on track and have a fighting chance to keep their homes.

Let us know what you are doing in real estate around this Mother’s Day on your favorite social media networks and tag us so we can like your posts!

Investment Opportunities

Find out more about investing in secured debt and real estate, go to NNG Capital Fund


Approaches To Real Estate Negotiation

By Bruce Kellogg


Negotiation, unfortunately, is not taught much to real estate professionals, or to investors. International, corporate, and purchasing courses exist, even to the extent of Master’s degrees, but real estate has not received the same coverage. This article aims to help that.

Start Out Early

Negotiations begin at the first encounter (e.g., phone inquiry). Many people think the initial pleasantries are just that, and the formal negotiations will begin later. Not so. The superior negotiator will have already begun gathering information and setting expectations. Start early so you don’t have to catch up.

The Three Elements

There are three elements to any negotiation: 1) Information, 2) Time, and 3) Power. These will be described below.

Gather Information

The negotiator who gathers the most information usually has an advantage. Interview people, obtain reports, do inspections, use the MLS (Multiple-Listing Service) and other online resources. Hire a private investigator on the seller if the deal is large enough, looking for vulnerabilities (e.g., bitter divorce). You can’t know too much.

The Factor Of Time

It helps to know if the other party has any time constraints, along with your own, of course. Pending foreclosure, divorce, condemnation proceedings are some examples. If the property is “a steal”, scoop it up fast. If it’s priced at or above “market”, then “grind real slow”. Use time to your advantage.

The Factor of Power

In some negotiations the power levels are uneven. One party has more leverage over the other. Seasoned negotiators assess power levels and devise strategies to take these into account. Then, even the weaker party can optimize its outcome.

Be Generous When Selling

Some sellers believe in “Win-Lose” negotiating. They want “top dollah”. This apparent greed and intransigence grates on everyone involved, sometimes to the extent of legal action or retaliation. Be generous when selling. Paint that bedroom. Purchase a Home Protection Plan for those first-time buyers. You’re on your way to wealth. Don’t be cheap!

Keep Your Word/Perform And Smile

Keep your word. Perform everything you’ve agreed to do. And smile as you do it, even if the deal is going against you and you are taking a loss. Don’t whine. Smile. Builds character….and your reputation.

The “Concession Pattern”

In the back-and-forth of negotiations, your “concession pattern” is very important because it sets up expectations in the other party. Always negotiate fairly tightly. Don’t concede too much because the other party will see that as an opening to seek more. Go back-and-forth more times if need be. Try to set things up so you take the other party’s counteroffer rather than force them to take yours. This way they will feel they won, and you will have less trouble with them the rest of the way. And, please, don’t arbitrarily “split the difference”. Amateur negotiators do that.

“Sharp Practices”

The day will come, if it hasn’t already, when the other party will bring “sharp practices” to the table. If these are illegal (e.g., undisclosed money back after the close), call them on it, and refuse to participate. If these are not exactly illegal, then counter them as best you can, or walk away. Life is too short, and your reputation is too important. Always “take the high road” in negotiations.

Re-Negotiating After Inspections

Y’all know to re-negotiate after property inspections, right? ‘Thought so.

Reading List

Included here is a list of Recommended Reading. Buy all of them, used. Read and highlight them. Then, once a year, re-read the highlights. You owe it to your clients, and yourself, to be in tip-top shape a as a negotiator.

Recommended Reading

Negotiate This, Herb Cohen, 2003

Everything’s Negotiable, Eric Wm. Skopec and Laree S. Kiely, 1994

Guerrilla Negotiating, Jay Conrad Levinson, Mark S. A. Smith, and Orvel Ray Wilson, 1999

The Negotiating Game, Chester Karrass, 1992

The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need, Peter J. Stark and Jane Flaherty, 2003

Seal the Deal, Leonard Koren and Peter Goodman, 1991

You Can Negotiate Anything, Herb Cohen, 1980

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, 1936