One of the most lucrative areas of real estate investing is probably non-performing notes or distressed mortgages. As such, comparatively fewer people venture into this side, making it one of its advantages since there is less competition. While that is the case, it is still important that you understand how to take these distressed mortgages and turn them into an actual asset and make money out of them. Monick Halm invites Jasmine Willois, an expert in non-performing notes and the managing director of The Note Assistance Program. Here, Jasmine shares with us the things we need to know about investing in distressed mortgages as well as the performing notes side. She also talks about her journey in the industry, her biggest mistake, her proudest moment, and her secrets to success.
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Investing In Distressed Mortgages – Interview With Jasmine Willois
I am here with another incredible Real Estate Investing Goddess interview. We’re going to be talking with this woman who’s an expert in one of the most lucrative areas of real estate investing, nonperforming notes or distressed mortgages. Jasmine Willios is an advocate for responsible investing and a real estate agent with extensive experience in turnkey below market value properties. She’s the Managing Director of the Note Assistance Program, which provides expert guidance and opportunity to both self-directed IRA and nonperforming note investors. Her company provides additional security and education on real estate investing, specifically with nonperforming notes and retail flips. From time to time, her firm’s services are also procured by the IRS to do note appraisals as she has gained quite a reputation in the nonperforming note industry. I’m excited to have her here. Welcome, Jasmine.
Thank you for having me. I welcome everyone to the show. I’m excited.
I’m excited too. Before we get going into your story, that’s what most people are interested in, can you define what a nonperforming note is? I bet a lot of our readers may not be aware of what exactly that means.
That’s a wonderful place to start. In nonperforming notes, we’re specifically talking about mortgage notes. Notes are all over. I like to tell people, “If you’re not in or on this side of the nonperforming note business, you are in the note business somehow.” A note is simply a promissory note. We have them all over, whether it comes from your cell phone bills. Nowadays, with your $1,000 cell phone bills, they wanted to have monthly installment payments all the way down to what we’re dealing with as a mortgage note. For those of you who have traditional mortgages, walked into a bank, and took out a mortgage from Wells Fargo Bank of America, you know that you’re filling out a promissory in addition to the other paperwork, 1003, etc. That’s what we’re buying. That’s what we call the mortgage note. We’re buying first position. We’re buying mortgage notes, notes secured by the real estate.
We’ll get more into that. Before we dive deeper into the notes, how did you get started in real estate investing in general?
That was interesting. It’s almost one of those things where you are raised to do things. You fight for a while, rebel out and then you get back to the basics. My family, in general, has always been interested in real estate. My family owned a lot of real estate and rentals locally here in San Diego. They were real estate agents and property managers. My first start with real estate was the child who had to clean up all the rentals in the summertime. That was my first exposure to real estate as an investment and as a property manager. My parents would send us out to clean up when people moved out. That was always interesting. That carried with me for all the other stages of my real estate investing career as they came about.
You were quite lucky to be born into it. Many of us start much later and we don’t know. You’re born into it. At what point did you decide to get your property, your first investment?
It’s interesting because, much like many of you, it sounds like it was all great. You were born into it. The traditional side of real estate didn’t interest me. I know many of the guests who’ve spoken to you. For those of you who know me, I’m an entertaining type of person. I like to have fun. The traditional side of real estate didn’t interest me so much. I went and started my career as a stockbroker. I was a day trader out in Wall Street for a couple of years. Right around the time, when they blew up the World Trade Center, which I worked on the 75th floor, I had a change of heart and wanted to get back to real estate if you can imagine. That’s when I decided it was time for me to do it my way. Instead of driving people to pick out homes and look at the kitchens, I wanted to do something a little fast-paced. That’s when notes caught my eye because this is something that I’m able to bring to the trading side of real estate as well.
When you started investing, did you begin with notes?Like anything else in life, if there's ever a crowd, you're probably in the wrong place. Click To Tweet
No, it was a long path. It seemed quick when you look back. I started out with my first piece of real estate in New Jersey, believe it or not. When I lived out in New York, I started doing investments with a few friends of mine. We ran a halfway house. That was my first piece of real estate that we got without any parental help. When I started getting into turnkey real estate, that’s when I started getting hot and heavy into it. I took a lot of my clients from Wall Street and I learned that they all were well-educated on real estate. The majority of them got their success from real estate.
When I left, I started calling them with products they were familiar with and that would be a turnkey product. I started getting heavy with turnkey products. I did a lot in Indianapolis and Mississippi. That’s where I got my name. I started getting traction in the industry and being heard of. Right after that, I had a club called Lady Landlords of San Diego and then Lady Landlords of Orange County. I was making a name for myself. About years into that, I met a hedge fund guy who got me into notes. That’s how it all happened.
We have a similar philosophy, your Lady Landlords, about bringing women into this game. I love that. For those of you who don’t know what a turnkey investment is or turnkey property, normally, it’s an investment into a property. It’s usually a single-family, but it might be 2 to 4. That’s how these turnkey deals work. The turnkey operator will find the house, fix up the house, put in a tenant for you, and manage the property. All you have to do is you buy it and then it’s run for you. You don’t have to do all the work. That’s turnkey for those of you who aren’t familiar with that. You’ve done quite an extensive amount of experience in real estate. Now, your focus is on notes. What is it that you liked so much about notes?
It’s more of a personality thing. I always like to start by letting everyone know what a note is. It’s not for everyone. What I like about it is I found it to be one of the only true forms of passive real estate investing. I was able to replace my tenants, toilets, and trash with collecting mortgages. For those of you who have a traditional mortgage, whether it’s at the big bank or a small bank, you know that if your faucet breaks or what have you, you don’t get to call Bank of America. When I own a note, they don’t get to call the Bank of Jasmine either, if that makes sense. I love the fact that it was passive. When I started buying performing notes, I purchased those as well. It’s a smooth transition to get in. It’ll take about 90 days for you to get all the paperwork transitioned.
After that, if you have some aid papers as we like to say or some responsible buyers, I might have some performing notes that are in Houston, Texas. You become the bank. They send their mortgage payment to the servicer and I’m collecting a mortgage instead of a rental payment. Another thing I love about it is that I’m dealing with a servicer or not a property manager. With all due respect to property managers out there, I was raised by a few. I feel it myself. They’re costly and it was a lot to deal with. Every time something breaks, they call you. Every November there’s bills and that’s 10%. Services are going to cost anywhere from $65 to sometimes $15 a month, depending on who you’re working with. There are a lot of benefits, not to mention the return. I love the passivity of it and then the returns.
I interviewed a couple of people here that have done distressed mortgages or nonperforming notes. You’re the first I’ve spoken to who also invests in performing notes. Tell me about that as an investment. What do you like about that?
The nonperforming notes is where I got started. They’re a different beast. I like them because the percentage of return is substantial. That’s where you can get good discounts. It’s like anything else in life. If there’s ever a crowd, you’re probably in the wrong place, at least for myself. At a minimum, your margins have been decreased. The number of people you can probably count in your hands that know how to take a distressed mortgage and turn it into an REO or an actual asset and make money out of it. The first thing is that you don’t have that much competition. Not many people know how to convert it, if you will or as I like to say, we have a note paper. A lot of people have houses. I’m busy fixing titles and things like that. That’s a lot better for me, especially with children and my lifestyle I have in mind for myself.
The nonperforming notes, that’s what it is. They’re nonperforming for a reason. It’s probably title issues. You have to learn how to fix those. That’s mostly a time game depending upon what type of bank you have and loss mitigation options you want to offer. You have something that you’ve purchased from a bank. If they don’t want, you’re going to get a substantial discount. By substantial, I’m getting most of my nonperforming notes about $0.33, $0.40 of the after-repair value. If it’s a $100,000 house, when it’s all said and done, I’m usually getting around $33,000, $40,000.
When you buy things that low, it’s important to start talking to the borrower if they’re inside. If they have means to come clean, whether they know it or not, they don’t know what my cost basis is. I’m flexible. I have room to be, at the very least. You’re looking at double-digit returns are loan-to-value. Also, the risks for me, I like it because it’s something I’m familiar with. I was a stockbroker. There are not many people I know who understand the underlying products but everyone understands the underlying product of a note, which is real estate.
That’s the nonperforming side. You also invest in the performing side. Tell me about that. I get the value in buying a note, $0.33 or $0.40 on the dollar. Tell me about the performing note side.
That’s also great. A lot of people are shocked to even hear the banks will sell a performing note. The truth of the matter is banks will sell anything. I always joke that bankers are bankers, so they’ll sell anything. That even includes your performing notes, whether it’s in California, Michigan, or Hawaii. A couple of things that you have to understand is that the majority of the mortgage, if not 100% of them, have written language saying that this is a transferable instrument. I don’t know a bank that would write a mortgage that does not say that. With that said, at some point, as long as you offer the right amount of money, they’re willing to get out of it.
Without getting too deep into the lesson of the performing notes, the bottom line is the Truth in Lending Act, the TILA. For those of you that have sat down and taken a traditional mortgage out, when you sign up for a mortgage, use some round numbers, $100,000 in maybe 30 years. No matter what your interest rate is, for the most part, give or take, the truth and lending and the reason they have that is because you’re going to end up paying over 30 years about 3 to 2.5 times what you are borrowing. You borrow $100,000. It was all said and done. You’re going to pay back $250,000 to $300,000. Ladies and gentlemen, that is why there’s a bank on every corner and why they will sell it.
If you think about it, the first ten years of the mortgage is all profit. Even if they hold it for one year or two years, they’re willing to sell it to me because they’ve already collected the points upfront. That’s where they’re making money in the first place. Every year they hold it, they’re collecting a profit. Performing notes are going to trade a little bit higher. You’re not getting that discount. Here’s the cool thing about it. If you have a house that’s worth par and depending how many years they paid it down, if they haven’t paid it at all, they probably are going to ask you to pay anywhere from $85,000 to par if you buy it in California and Hawaii. Why would you pay a $100,000 for a $100,000 note? It’s what I told you.
It’s worth $250,000 or $300,000. You don’t have to say anymore. I got it. Thank you for that. I was like, “We get it.” I’m assuming it’s’ much less work on the performing side than the nonperforming side. It makes sense. One of the questions that I always love to ask my guests, because I find that we learn much more from our mistakes and when things don’t go well than we do when things are smooth sailing, what was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Truthfully, if I were to tell you what my biggest mistake was, it was not jumping into notes when I first had the opportunity. It’s nothing to do with business. It has to do self-reflection. Not to get too far off on that course, but many of you may be in the same situation for a long time. I thought I needed a partner for everything. Some partners are good, but you’ve got to know your value and your worth. I was within an opportunity to get into notes about 3 or 4 years before I got into them. The partner I was with did not grasp the concept of it. It’s not for everyone.
It’s something that kept me from getting beyond the scope of his imagination. It made a lot of sense to me because of my background. It snapped right away. Because of the relationship that I was in, I decided to keep doing what we were doing, which is a turnkey investment. We kept hammering away at that. At the end of the day, I got involved. You want to take action. My lesson is to take action. The sooner you deal, the better. I couldn’t imagine if I did it three years later than I started. I’ve been doing this for years. That’s it.
The biggest mistake was not getting started when you first had the chance. That’s good advice. There is a lot of people who wait. What are you most proud of?
On business and a personal level, I’m most proud of my children. They’re doing well. What I’m most proud of in connection to that is the fact that the industry that I’ve gotten myself provided me the opportunity to provide for my family. I’m independently employed. I own my own company. I have my own portfolio. Before this call, I picked up my youngest from school. I do that every day unless I’m going out of town. That’s what I’m most proud of. I’m able to be there for him in that capacity and watch him grow. It’s hard on all of us to drop our children off anywhere. That’s what I love.Take action. The sooner you deal, the better. Click To Tweet
To what do you attribute your success? You’ve had quite a lot of it.
It’s funny because I often think about that because I’m that person who wants to include everyone all the time. Everyone’s like, “It’s not for everyone.” The reason why it’s not for everyone is the timing and time in. That’s something that we say in Wall Street, “It’s not about the timing. It’s about time in.” Going back to starting as soon as you can, I attribute my success to how much time I’ve put into it. I haven’t stopped. I’ve been persistent. You want to pick a strategy. I know a lot of us have that shiny ball syndrome. We go to these REIAs, which I love. It’s how I got started. Every month they have a new person. You got to pick something and stick to it. Don’t find yourself juggling through different real estate segments at a time. Find something you love and jump into it. That’s what helped me in finding notes and then having a real strong love affair with it.
What advice do you have for a woman starting out in this field?
As soon as you said, that I exhaled because, believe it or not, it’s a lot easier and lighter. There are more opportunities, like the one I’m on. This is a woman-to-woman thing. This was exciting for me to have that opportunity. I’m not sure how long you’ve been around, but when I started years ago, the reason I did the Lady Landlords of San Diego club, is because I was sick of going to these meetings and being shut out. My advice, as a woman specifically, is don’t let it stop you. If you can’t find what you want, then build it. That’s what I ended up doing. Even now that there are more opportunities out there, not every group is for every person. Find what you’re looking for. If the internet has taught me anything, it’s that there are others like you out there, no matter how weird you are.
I resonate. That’s why I started Real Estate Investor Goddesses. Going to all of these real estate things, I felt like a unicorn. I was like, “I got to bring my ladies together.” We’re kindred spirits in that way. What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
I wish I would have known how successful I would have been and how lucrative because when you’re doing new things, you worry. When you look back, you think like, “This happened because of this one.” I’m prepping for some huge opportunities that I didn’t have before. I still get nervous about it. I wish, even still to this day, that I knew not to worry. That’s it. You get nervous and you want to try to keep your butterflies down. There’s an exciting opportunity out there, regardless of what’s going on personally and in politics, I got to say. Go for it.
There’s so much wisdom. That was awesome. If people want to find out about you and what you’re doing, how can they connect with you?
We have quite a few exciting things to communicate with us through because of all this new technology. First and foremost, I have a phone number that you can text, too. I know a lot of people are text-friendly. We can be texted at (855) 541-6683. We’ve also got this new live chat thing, which I thought was fun too. If you go to our website, which is www.NoteAssistanceProgram.com, you’ll see a little chat bubble in the right-hand corner. My trusty assistant is there on standby. You can go ahead and chat with her and get some live communications there. For us, we’re about that. That’s one of the things that we’re doing differently in our training programs and trade desk. We’re communicative and we like to talk to people when we can. Although a lot of this animation is going on, you’re going to find that you can get through us through the live chat and through our phone number via text or phone. That’s one of the best ways to do it.
It’s time for our famed end of show trinity. It’s a brag, gratitude, and desire. That’s how we conclude every podcast. What’s one thing you’re celebrating? What’s your brag?
I feel like I’m celebrating getting through the year if anyone can relate. I’m celebrating another fantastic year. I did not know how great the year is going to turn out, especially the way it started out was chaotic. I didn’t have an assistant for a couple of months. Things were up in the air. We got a lot of successes. I’m celebrating the website being up and the growth. The nationwide tour, we’re going to be doing. For those of you who are out in areas like Baltimore and Texas, we’re going to be in those areas with Think Realty. That’s what I’m celebrating. I’m grateful for all the opportunities that have come this year, 2019.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for?
I’m grateful for the opportunity that all the women and myself are having. Timing is everything. With my age, I’ve seen the age of everything, the dragon, you can name it. I feel like it is the age of the woman. I’m grateful to be a woman. Even though all the stuff that we see going on, this is what it’s about. It’s time to get vocal and be heard. I’m grateful to be a part of the struggle with the rest of you ladies out there because that’s how we build the companionship. When we look into our future, that’s how we’re going to be supporting our children. That’s what the other guys are doing. I’m grateful to be able to build these relationships with you guys.
Lastly, what’s one thing you desire?
I desire the ability to help as many people as I can with my hand-on training program while I’m still around. It seems like everything is moving fast. We’re growing tremendously. We’ve got some great trainers. Natasha is on board. We’re looking for some new ones. I desire to be around as much as possible and as long as possible ingrained in the program. I’m still taking the first client calls with those of you who sign up. That’s still exciting for me. I spend the first 1.5 hours with you when you sign up. Getting to meet the people and changing their lives and watching them change. You would be amazed at how notes can affect someone’s life over a short period of time. I’ve been doing this for years. I can tell you, within the first three years, I saw my net worth change. It’s something to say where I’ve finally had more debt owed to me than I owed outside.
That’s a nice thing. Your desire is to help more people.
I want to get more people into this. When you change other people’s lives, that’s how I changed mine. I want to get in there and being a part of it is fun and I make many good friends. I’m able to even bring on more partners. That’s how I met Natasha, who’s a good friend of mine as well. This is what life is about, not to be stagnant.
So shall your desire be or so much better than you can imagine. Thank you. That was awesome. You can connect with Jasmine at NoteAssistanceProgram.com and at the email she shared with us. You can connect with me at RealEstateInvestorGoddesses.com. You can connect with me live at our wealth through real estate events happening in Los Angeles. This is our premier event. Women are coming from all over the country to be together and to learn. You’re going to learn the exact steps you need to take to start investing in real estate. We’re going to have incredible speakers, women that are kicking ass in different types of asset classes that you’ll be learning from. We’re going to be getting together in community because magic happens when women come together in sisterhood. I hope to see you there. Go to WealthThroughRealEstateEvent.com to sign up. If you use the code WEALTHY, you’re going to get our early bird pricing and it is big. Join me there and check out Jasmine. Jasmine, thank you. It was such a pleasure. I hope to talk to you again soon.
I look forward to it. Thank you.
Join us next episode for another Great Real Estate Investor Goddesses interview.
- Note Assistance Program
- Think Realty
- Lady Landlords of San Diego – Facebook
- Lady Landlords of Orange County – Facebook
About Ms. Jasmine Willois, MBA
Jasmine R. Willois is the Founder and Managing Director of the Notes Assistance Program©, which offers a proven, proprietary system for educating entrepreneurs on how to buy nonperforming mortgages from big banks and hedge funds and turn them into working assets.
Ms. Willois’s unique approach is informed by her more than two decades in the fields of economics, marketing, real estate and work as a Wall Street trader. As a result, she makes the process of buying distressed mortgages transparent, uncomplicated and replicable including:
• An exclusive trade desk that features an inventory of prequalified, delinquent loans nationwide that Jasmine’s community of clients can purchase.
• A step-by-step coaching program that goes beyond basic information to guide Ms. Willios’s clients through the entire process from the successful buying of a note to generating a profit.
Prior to founding NAP©, Ms. Willois worked as an equity trader and investment banker for Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter. After losing close colleagues on 911, she left the industry and worked as a loss mitigation specialist with GMAC Homecomings. Bit by the bug, Jasmine left corporate America to chase the freedom and returns of real estate investment.
She firmly established her reputation as a licensed real estate agent and investor by starting Lady Landlords of San Diego© and Lady Landlords of Orange County.© Today, Jasmine enjoys keeping her hand in the field by working with a small group of private clients on traditional and short sales.
Jasmine earned her BS in economics and MBA from California State University at Long Beach A passionate advocate for responsible investing, she is an in-demand speaker and serves on the board of Hope Ranch and the National Association of Black Professional Golfers.
When she is not busy working on nonperforming mortgages, Jasmine can be found playing Texas Hold’em and spending time with her 2 kids and traveling.
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