The note profession is full of challenges — don’t let disconnection from the note holder’s needs be one of them! To help clear the fog between note professional and note holder, I’ve compiled a list of things the note holders are thinking — but that they are either: too embarrassed, unsure or polite to tell you about. Keeping these points in mind will help you answer questions proactively and ward off problems before they occur.
Note holders don’t think they need you. In the era of the internet, the online-savvy note holders think the biggest part of the note professional’s job is simply negotiating with them for the lowest pay price (largest discount) because locating the best (highest) price can be accomplished on their smartphones. They do a search for note buyers and over 2 million results pop up leading them to believe there are an unlimited number of note buyers to sell their note to and they will try every single one of them if they have to. They are unaware of the intricacies involved in selling their note, and the many advantages of working with a note professional who has access to multiple true end note buyers and note investors.
Note holders think they are note and real estate experts (all of them). Whether it’s from watching too much TV or because the seller has owned, used or lived in the property they sold for years — everyone thinks they know more about the property, area, payor and note than you, the note professional. Sharing your expertise involves a delicate balance between letting the note holders know you are in fact the expert they can fully rely on and being mindful of not coming off as abrasive or arrogant. Remember: you are there to educate the note holders about all that they need to know, not use your service to flaunt your knowledge.
Note holders think your discount is too much and price too low. Tagging along with number one and two, the note holder might be tempted to pursue the other 1.99 million note buyers rather than hand over a percentage of their note balance to you, their note professional. They might also try to negotiate your discount down, to get you to raise your price, which is uncomfortable at best. But agreeing to a discount reduction (offering them a higher price than initially given) is a slippery slope and sets a negative precedent which indicates your skills and expertise are not truly worth it. Instead, show the note holder all the extra steps you’re going to do (that they won’t and can’t) to get their note sold faster and for the most money.
Note holders have a natural distrust of salespeople. That includes you! A Choice Home Warranty poll conducted in 2013 found that 68% of the public distrusts real estate professionals of any kind, according to the Los Angeles Times. If they distrust real estate professionals that they usually meet face to face how much do you think they distrust a note professional who they usually never meet face to face? Further, a study by Baylor University suggests real estate professionals are likely to lie in their dealings with their clients to protect their fees. Do you think there are some unscrupulous note professionals that might do the same thing with note holders? It’s up to you to be completely honest with note holders (and note investors too), even when it might put your fee in jeopardy. It’s much better to fully disclose facts and keep your hard-earned reputation than to have a disgruntled note holder who you weren’t upfront with disparage you in an online review.
Note holders want you to keep it simple. The note selling process is complex. While you certainly need to make yourself available for questions, there’s little need to explain every option available. For example, you don’t need to explain every single option available before you even receive the response from the note holder on your first couple of options. Too much information at once can cause confusion and become overwhelming for the note holder. Read the temperament of each particular note holder to find that perfect balance of transparency and oversharing.
Note holders want you to be available 24/7. While this isn’t a real possibility, it’s still good practice to treat each note holder like a top priority. To them, this transaction represents what is likely the biggest investment of their lives, and that deserves respect. As a rule of thumb, you might want to let note holders know when they can reach you. For instance, tell them you will always return their call within 24-48 hours or the next business day. Or, request they if they email you before 3pm you will respond on the same day or first thing the next business day morning. When necessary, it’s better for them to anticipate a delay in response rather than become impatient and feel neglected.
Note holders are unsure of the timeline. Smooth the process for the note holders — especially first-time note sellers — by providing an anticipated timeline of steps that will occur. This will prevent confusion and frustration down the road when the note holder finds out there are title issues and it will take time to clear them, etc. However, remember to be clear that estimated timelines are just that — estimates. Like all things in the note business, things are subject to change. Thus, give the note holders the benefit of best estimation, but don’t over promise or set unfillable expectations.
Note holders have no idea how much completing their transaction will cost. Giving them a net price that already covers normal costs alleviates some of this discussion and allows you to explain it as included in the discount.
It has taken me 26 years to develop these conclusions and I will be studying the mind of the note holder for at least another 26 years. It is my hope that some of these conclusions will help you close more transactions. Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)
Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital has been a note broker and investor specializing in the seller financed note industry since 1991. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. For more updated and current information on how he can help you with your note business, your note investments or to request a quote on a note you currently have visit www.armstrongcapital.com.