Buying notes for your own account- best practices

Profits from brokering notes can be substantial, but investing in notes for your own account should be the ultimate goal of any note broker. That’s where the big money is.

Far and away, the best way to learn about the process of investing in notes is by brokering notes to institutional investors and watch what they do. These are professional buyers who are national in scope and buy notes originating in many different states every day of the week. In short, they know what’s good and what’s bad, and they can save you a lot of trial and error and prevent you from making dreadful mistakes. When you’re brokering notes to an investor, you have rights to receive copies of the document package. I’d recommend you keep a file on every note that you broker so that you can become intimately familiar with the chain of paperwork. This way, you’re preparing for the day when you will invest in your first note. Not only that, but you will learn what not to buy as well as what to buy. Every time an investor “no quotes” or declines to make an offer, you will learn why that is. On notes they do purchase, even if something goes bad down the line, i.e. if the investor makes a mistake or the note goes into default, etc., it’s the investor that’s assuming all of the risk. For these reasons, it’s best to broker a least a couple dozen transactions before you even think about buying a note for yourself. Because every note is different, at least two dozen transactions brokered will give you a very good “round robin” look at a whole range of different situations.

You’re also going to get a good feel for what a competitive quote looks like by working with institutional investors. You’ll take note of what sort of a discount the investor is taking relative to the current terms as written on the note. All the while, while you’re brokering notes, you should be learning about the investing side; that is, learning about investment formulas, strategies, and ideally forging relationships with partners who will help to fund your future transactions. You can structure some incredibly high returns (and actually lower your risk at the same time) with notes when you bring partners, but for now don’t do that because working with private investors initially (before you know what you’re doing) is a sure way to get into trouble. That’s why working with institutional (that is, national) buyers is key. You’re gaining experience on their dime, and you’re getting paid referral fees for the notes that you send to these investors when they close. In short, you’re learning all of the intricacies of the business from the experts.

I would recommend that you learn how to use the five basic keys on the financial calculator so that you can quickly figure interest rates, rate of return, terms etc. You can do this while you’re brokering your first notes. To broker notes, all you need to know how to do is find them, but while you’re brokering them you can be learning about the investing side– both from your own studies or potential formulas and also by watching investors do their thing. I think it is always very good practice to go through the exercise of performing all of the calculations yourself when going over the quotes you get from the investor. This way, you can see how they arrived at their numbers and this will help you greatly in the future.

Where do you find these investors? Well they don’t typically advertise, except that they often solicit the broker community directly through industry circles. Some of them (not many) offer help and guidance to newer brokers through a number different programs like this one. You could also go to the note conventions every year, where they’re lining up to get your business and will even give you complimentary cappuccino coffee if you stop by their booth. Much like a tradeshow atmosphere, they set up exhibits and offer broker incentives to woo you.

Above all, have fun! It’s extremely rewarding to make money while training and learning how to build your future wealth through notes at the same time.

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