Wondering what it takes to survive in the note business for 20 years?
Read our interview with NoteWorthy Newsletter!
Fred and I have been going through work and personal items in an attempt to control the ever growing amount of “stuff”. While sorting through the memories there were a few definite keepers. One of these was the plaque I was honored to receive from Jon Richards, founder of the NoteWorthy Newsletter. The inscription reads:
INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Hereby bestowed this day to:
NoteWorthy National Convention
June 28, 2002
For her willingness to provide leadership, guidance and steadfastness in an industry experiencing turbulent times. Tracy would have excelled in any industry, we thank her for choosing ours.
Jon Richards, Publisher
Receiving this award was a real honor. Jon was an inspiration to both Fred and me. In fact Jon introduced the note business to Fred in the early 90’s and if it wasn’t for that the paths of our lives might never have intersected.
Later in 2009 I was asked to participate in an interview with NoteWorthy Newsletter for a series they were running on successful Note Buyers, Note Brokers, and past award recipients. The focus was how to be successful in the note business and the information is as timely now as it was then.
Interview With NoteWorthy Newsletter
(Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted with Tracy Z. Rewey in May 2009 by Clint Hinman, acting Editor of the NoteWorthy Newsletter at that time.)
Clint: How long have you been working in the note business?
Tracy: I’ve been making my living in the note business since 1988. That’s over 20 years (but if anyone asks I started when I was 12).
What led you to choose this line of work?
The flexibility and creative problem solving make the note business both fun and challenging. It provides an opportunity to work for yourself while also helping meet the needs of the note seller.
Ultimately it was the ability to harness the power of compounding interest and the time value of money that hooked me for good. I was blown away the first time I learned to run a HP12C financial calculator and finally realized WHY investors bought notes.
Tell us about the first job you ever had.
I started out like most kids eager for cash – anything that paid. I took jobs babysitting and cleaning up behind parade horses. But my first “real” job was in 1983 when I started with a local attorney’s office.
Since it was a rural area the law office handled many transactions with owner financing providing my first introduction to the note business. I learned real estate closings, title searches, servicing, and documentation. Eventually I moved to the “big city” and my position with Metropolitan’s note buying division from 1988-1997. Metropolitan provided an unmatched intensive hands-on education in the paper business.
You were part of the production team when Metropolitan was at its strongest. You went on to start your own company, Diversified Investment Services. What is your current focus from a business perspective?
A desire for financial independence led to the creation of Diversified Investment Services, Inc. in 1997. We continue to cultivate our business from a three-prong approach by developing long-term income as a private investor, immediate income as a broker, and educational materials for referral sources.
A primary focus has been adapting to the changing economic environment by developing alternative note funding sources. During the past year we have dedicated significant time and energy to providing educational resources at www.noteinvestor.com.
What was the most significant event in your life?
It was the moment I decided to be the driver rather than a passenger in my own life. To borrow a line from the movies, “You can get busy living or get busy dying!”
Who has been the greatest influence on your professional life?
That is a tough question because there are many that have contributed to the tapestry of my professional life. At Metropolitan I was thankful to both Irv Marcus and Mike Kirk for sharing their investment knowledge and believing in my abilities. My husband, Fred Rewey, has been instrumental in pushing me to embrace new challenges outside my comfort zone, including leaving the security of a corporate job to start my own business. Over the years many other greats in the industry have generously provided their expertise and insights. The willingness to share really is one of the incredible things about the note business.
What do you feel is the single most important characteristic one needs to have to be successful in the note business?
Persistence, persistence, and more persistence. Be ready to adapt and change the approach but don’t give up!
What do you see as the biggest threat to the seller-financed industry? How can we mitigate that threat?
If you had asked that question two years ago my answer probably would have been a few unscrupulous professionals bringing unreasonable regulation. However, in light of today’s economic challenges it seems the seller finance industry became too dependent on the cheap money provided through conventional funding vehicles. With the collapse of the mortgage backed securities market we must come full circle and return to the days of reliance upon independent and private investment funds.
Seller financing is helping to fill the void left in the wake of the credit crunch. As the use of owner financing increases there is a demand for note buyers to help educate the sellers and real estate professionals on the safest and most profitable methods to carry back paper.
What kinds of mistakes do you see new note brokers make? What kind of advice would you give a new broker?
The note industry is similar to most businesses. First, you need to provide a service or product that is in demand. Second, you must effectively market to get your message out to the customer. Third, you must work hard every day to meet, satisfy, and exceed the needs of your customers.
Unfortunately many new to the note business fail to treat it like a long-term business. Frequently this is first evidenced by the failure to consistently implement a proven marketing plan. Growing discouraged many give up. It comes back to persistence, persistence, and more persistence!
You and your husband Fred produced the Personal Profit Series on Notes – how would someone new to the industry benefit from this product?
From marketing and negotiations to funding and investment strategies, we share the knowledge we have gained during our 35+ years of combined experience. The Personal Profit Series allows people to avoid expensive mistakes and profit from the note business. At over 475 pages, it is the most comprehensive system dedicated to the private mortgage business. The goal is to take someone from broker to investor at a price that doesn’t break the bank. (Editor’s Note: This is now an online course entitled Finding Cash Flow Notes!)
What has been your greatest personal achievement?
The creation of a stable and nurturing family environment has been one of my greatest challenges and achievements. My path has not always taken a conventional route but I’m fortunate to have shared it with Fred, a fellow adventurer. This year our daughter is graduating and it is with a sense of wonder and satisfaction that we send her out into the world to discover her own path.
Give an example of something you do every day that contributes to your success.
Making a list of what I want to accomplish each day helps prioritize my efforts. There are always more things to finish then sufficient time to complete. A list helps keep my focus on the best place to expend energy. Oftentimes I’ll start with the least desirable task first and everything else seems seem easy after that! Envision your goals, commit, develop a plan, write it all down, and then prioritize your actions to reach the goal.
Source: NoteWorthy Newsletter 2009