About 3 weeks ago I found myself -- yet again -- ripping my hair out over another listing agent who wouldn't call me back. And this is on a property that I was fully prepared to submit a kick-ass offer on.
I go through this phase where I think I'm being ignored because I'm a minority (a woman...in case you didn't know) and that, playing the "man's game" of commercial real estate, very often I come up with resistance. (Once I buy my "male voice disguising device" from the Johnson Smith Company, I may finally have the advantage in this business that I've been looking for. Hey, while I'm at it, maybe I can try some of my penis growth pills in the back of my warehouse...)
I had to send my bulldog in.
Who's my bulldog?
Why, Ron Espinoza, of course.
Ron Espinoza has been my commercial finance guy for...forever it seems. Since 2009 to be exact. We were married for a short time, now divorced due to the impossible distance factor between Michigan and California where we each live, but none of this has interfered with our business relationship (as hard as that may be to believe).
If any of you have met him or talked to him on the phone, he's a short little guy but he's got a very intimidating voice. He actually sounds like Anthony Robbins a bit with that overpowering raspy voice.
I had Ronnie call 3 of these listing agent fools on 3 different deals that I not only knew I wanted to buy but I already had prepared offers on all 3 of them.
So, here's how it went:
Listing Agent #1: Completely ignored Ronnie just as he had completely wrote me off by simply not returning anyone's phone call. I'm thinking (or rather hoping) that this idiot is dead in a ditch which is why he didn't have the respect to call either one of us back. (Here it is -- 3 weeks later -- and still no phone call back to either one of us!)
Listing Agent #2: Answered the phone and started arguing with Ronnie about how he needed to come in with POF (proof of funds) and a "pre-approval" for the property before he'd release any details about the numbers on the property. Ron has been a commercial broker for over 10 years and can tell anyone the reality of how commercial lending works and this is how it works: you cannot get a pre-approval on any commercial property without knowing what the numbers are. This isn't residential lending. A bank isn't giving you a pre-approval to buy any house because it's based on what you can afford. A bank for commercial mortgages has to look at (and approve) each individual property based on its cash flow because it's essentially lending on the "business" of the property generating a cash flow. No numbers = no pre-approval. Period. Needless to say, Ronnie had to "school" this fool and the conversation didn't end well.
Listing Agent #3: Called Ronnie back after he left a message and said he (1) wouldn't reveal any numbers about the property unless (2) we were putting in an all-cash offer for their "firm" asking price. Ron's argument (as well as mine) was, "What if the numbers don't support our asking price? Doesn't that mean I can get a discount of 25% or more so that I can make my numbers work AFTER you give me the income/expense sheet?" And then the comment, "You do know that the seller gets the same amount of money at closing regardless of whether it's an all-cash offer or if it's financed, right?" Moron. He told him we'd come back in 6 months from now after he gets no offers when he's ready to sing a different tune. And usually they are after this amount of time passes.
Here's a nifty set of tips for you:
1) Get yourself a Premium Loopnet.com subscription. I know, I know...you're whining that it's expensive. But, if you've already had this "conversation" with yourself about how you want to become a successful real estate investor no matter what then the upgrade on your Loopnet.com account will be well worth it.
2) Keep tabs of the properties that you want in your "Watch List" in Loopnet. Keep them there AFTER they go "off market" (because this means the listing expired). Then hit up the seller/owner after they failed in selling their property. There is a link called "Property Record Data" located right under the Bing map in the listing profile. Click on that link and you'll have access to the owner's information under the "Owner & Mortgage" tab. (If you don't have a Premium subscription, you can't access this). This is where you can contact him or her for the "offer you can't refuse" and you'll probably make out with a big discount and/or owner financing (or both) when you send out your letter.
3) Get yourself a buyer's agent. It doesn't pay to try to contact listing agents anymore because they all suck, they're rude and disrespectful, and they're all so full of themselves that I believe scum-sucking ambulance chaser lawyers are 10 cuts above these losers.
How do you get a buyer's agent?
This is sort of the hard part because you kind of have to weed through a lot of these jerk-off listing agents to find someone you have a rapport with.
And this brings me back to my story of what happened to me recently...
I have a buyer's agent. In fact, I've had one in the Michigan area for years. His name is Chris and he's with a fairly large commercial firm.
So...why did I waste my time trying to contact these listing agents directly?
For one, these properties I'm going after right now didn't seem worthy enough for my guy to work with (even though he'll negotiate on anything for me) and (the real reason), back in the day you used to be able to gain traction with a listing agent because he or she knew they'd be getting the full commission if you didn't bring in a buyer's agent.
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, if you deal with the guy (or gal) who listed the property, they don't have to share their real estate commission with another agent if you buy directly through him (or her).
But...since all these listing agents want to be assholes and jerk-offs these days (even more so than years ago), maybe their punishment needs to be that they get to split their commission with somebody else until they're able to get off their high horse.
That somebody else is your buyer's agent. Look at this person as being a heaven-sent personal assistant who gets to deal with the trials and tribulations of communicating with the jerkiest of jerk listing agents multiplied by however many deals you want to be doing at once.
And if I taught you anything so far, you should be jamming your pipeline full of at least 10 deals at a time since this business is a numbers game.
Imagine not having to deal with 10 different loser listing agents for 10 different deals you're working on. (And if you don't believe me on how tough this is, try doing it. If you live until the end of the week without jumping off a bridge to your voluntary demise, my hat's off to you!)
So, back to my guy, Chris. He's my listing agent.
And he can be yours too.
You see, for those of you coming to Detroit, you'll get to meet him. In fact, this is the first time I'm allowing my students to meet my buyer's agent. For any of you interested in investing anywhere in Michigan (and you will want to do this once you see what I present in Detroit), Chris is fully willing and prepared to be your personal buyer's agent too.
Don't you love it?! I'm giving you a buyer's agent so you don't have to get one yourself. (And they are difficult to find!)
Chris kicks ass, by the way. He's super nice and he's got a very powerful firm behind him. And when Chris was reaming my ass last week for bothering with contacting these listing agents myself, he reminded me that when he leaves messages, they ALWAYS get returned. Plus, Chris never has to battle the demands of providing POF, preapprovals, and all the other bogus crap that these listing agents demand in an effort to weed out the tire-kickers (and everyone else out there; I'm shocked that any of these listing agents actually make any money these days).
Another thing about Chris: his firm is also an in-house lender and he'll be having one of his lending guys come down to talk to my students about the latest programs including getting a 3.44% fixed rate on a commercial loan.
I have so many powerful people coming down to meet my students at my 2-day event in Detroit on November 14th and 15th that you'd have to be crazy (or have a damn good excuse) as to not make this seminar!
This week is your last chance to get the early-bird pricing before it goes way up. Way waaaayyyy up!
See you at the top!
P.S. I have so many kick-ass people coming to this event including lenders, brokers, my personal buyer's agent, investors, and even someone who can completely rehab and manage your properties for you! Don't miss this!