Note Investing Club: Automated Due-Diligence

Due Diligence is the second most time-consuming part of the note investment business (right after finding them). Scrubbing tapes and verifying mortgage details can take many hours to complete and add days to your investment process. On today’s podcast you will find out how to successfully automate that entire process

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Podcast Audio:


Brecht Palombo: Welcome back everybody to another episode in the Distressed Pro Professional Interview series. Today I have Liz Brumer-Smith and if you’ll just give me a moment, I’m going to get her profile right here. She’s the principal at Seasoned Funding, LLC, a privately funded real estate investment and note buying company, who specializes in finding first lien, residential, non-performing notes for the company’s portfolio. They purchase one-offs and small and mid size pools nationwide with preference in Midwest, Southeast, and Florida. Liz, you’ve been doing this for how many years?

Liz Brumer-Smith: We’re going to seven years pretty soon.

Brecht Palombo: Wow. Going on to seven years, and over that time, Liz has developed some systems for her business, like any good entrepreneur should. And today she’s going to share one of those with us. In fact, she teaches more about this, and we’ll talk about that in a little bit, but she’s going to share with us how to automate your due diligence. And I don’t want to hold everything up here. I’m going to ask you, Liz, if you would just go ahead and let’s dive into it. I’m really looking forward to this. We hear a lot about folks who are looking for due diligence information. It’s one of the things they think, “Well, geez. If I … ” We really focus on helping people find the notes, but a lot of people get nervous and say, “Well, after I find it, then what?” And, hopefully, this right here will help to answer that for them. I’m really looking forward to it.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here and to be able to share the systems I’ve created for my business and hopefully be able to help other note investors improve their systems, especially in regards to due diligence.

Brecht Palombo:

Liz Brumer-Smith: I’m going to share my screen with you guys, and this presentation will be available. We’re gonna have lots of information that I’m going over. As you’re watching or listening to this, please make sure to take note, and at the end, I will also give you more resources for a place you can get more information about this entire process.

Brecht Palombo: Cool.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Great. Okay. Today I am going to be talking about automating your due diligence. I have two companies that weren’t quite mentioned in the intro, and that’s because we were going to introduce them here. Note Investing Club and are both of my due diligence support systems, or the programs that help you and other note investors with their due diligence. I’ll be talking about the difference between the two, but just so you understand what those two companies are, they are companies for due diligence.

Liz Brumer-Smith: This is me, Liz Brumer-Smith. I am the owner of Note Investing Club, Tape Techs, and I obviously am a note investor myself. I purchase non-performing notes and have purchased them for about six years, almost seven years now, and like he mentioned before, like Brecht mentioned before, we do purchase nationwide.

Liz Brumer-Smith: I am a full time note investor. I was previously a kindergarten teacher. If a little of my old teaching habits come out in today’s presentation, forgive me, but hopefully it’ll actually be an advantage, making this easy to digest and understand as I move forward. I do now also teach how to invest in non-performing notes. We offer an online program with two fellow note investors, Kimberly Banks Fawcett and Chase Thompson, at Note Investing Academy. Let’s get started with due diligence.

Brecht Palombo: Let me just say … Let me jump in here for one minute, Liz, and just say that I’m going to go ahead, I’m going to put my side on mute so we don’t have any background noise. I want to bring up … Liz, is it okay that we mention that you’re traveling the country full time?

Liz Brumer-Smith: Oh, of course.

Brecht Palombo: I think this is something that we should just bring up here because a lot of times, people start thinking about the note business. I get a lot of questions like, “Can I do this from anywhere? Can I do this from home? What if I don’t have any experience?”, and that sort of thing, and one of the things I think is so attractive about the note business is that you can do it, like you’re doing it, from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a phone, a computer, and an internet connection. As someone who traveled full time for more than a year, I can say that the rewards of having the kind of business where you can be wherever you want to be at any time is really something special. Tell us a little bit … Where are you today?

Liz Brumer-Smith: Okay. Today I’m in Bainbridge. I’ll do a little spiel and build it up.

Brecht Palombo: Okay.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Okay, okay. Something that’s noted here is actually that I am a note investor and I have all these companies, but I actually live on a RV full time. I’m able to invest in mortgage notes throughout the nation, no matter where I am on my RV, and my business is running for me as long as I have an internet connection and a phone connection. Currently right now, I’m actually in Bainbridge Island, which is just a small, calm, beautiful island across from Seattle, and yesterday I took the day off from doing notes and went into the city, and today I closed on a new deal all from my couch in my RV. If you’re interested in note investing, or maybe you want to travel, this is a business that you can totally do from wherever you are. It is definitely attainable and achievable.

Brecht Palombo: Yeah. Cool. Well, thanks for sharing that with us. Now, for the impatient folks who want to get right down to business, I suppose we should do that and talk about due diligence.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Yes, yes. We will.

Brecht Palombo: I’m going to put my microphone on mute here so I don’t mess anything up.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Okay. Sounds great.

Brecht Palombo: Alright.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Also, just to kinda add to why we’re talking about due diligence is whether they started traveling, or as I actually had a full time job beforehand, I got really tired of doing due diligence myself. It was a really time consuming aspect of my new business, and if I was at work, or maybe I was an example, yesterday in Seattle, and I got a tape and I needed to go through it. If I wasn’t physically the one doing it, it wasn’t getting done.

Liz Brumer-Smith: As I go through due diligence, I just want you to keep in mind that you can choose to do this yourself a hundred percent, but the reason I created a system for this in the first place is because it is time consuming. It is extremely important for your business, and time is of the essence. If you could have someone else do it for you and do it well, there’s no reason you should have to do it yourself.

Liz Brumer-Smith: I’m sure you guys know what due diligence is. It’s not just a note investing term. Due diligence is done for businesses across the world in all different fields. It just means that you’re actually taking a really fine toothed comb and looking through whatever it is you’re purchasing, whether it be a not, a first lien or second lien. Maybe you’re investing in a company. Whatever it may be, you should be completing your due diligence, and doing a very careful audit investigation of the asset itself just to make sure this is a good investment for you.

Liz Brumer-Smith: There’s actually two types of due diligence with notes. You have preliminary due diligence, which is the beginning phase where you’re actually going through a tape or looking through an asset and gathering all the information that you can to tell you what to bid. Then there’s the second stage of due diligence which is called your formal due diligence, and that’s actually after your bid has been accepted and you’re going to be purchasing a loan, and that’s when you shell out a lot more money, possibly for an O&E, have a realtor go by or pull a BPO. You do much more of the hardcore investigation of the asset itself; verify what you found in the preliminary phase.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Unfortunately, there’s lots of systems for the formal due diligence stage, but not so much for the preliminary stage. What I’m gonna be talking about today is what goes into preliminary due diligence, that first process that you go through when you get a tape or an asset.

Liz Brumer-Smith: The most important, I think personally, the most important thing is the condition of the property, and that’s because you’re buying, technically, the paper behind the asset. But if the asset’s not quality, or in a condition that’s worth purchasing, then why are you even looking at the note? Verifying the property condition is important, and you’re going to have someone go by and take a picture, or do PBO if you get it accepted. But in the initial stage, you don’t really wanna pay anyone to have to go out there. That would be a lot of money shelled out for a lot of notes not being accepted. It’s not sustainable.

Liz Brumer-Smith: We gather the property condition as best as we can with the information available to us, and that is Google Street View. I know that sounds ridiculous, because a lot of times Google Street View can be very outdated, but it does give you good information. This examples is actually a picture from about, just now, about two years to go. Overall, the property looks like it’s in rather good condition. It’s that brick home right in the center. The roof doesn’t look bad. The lawn’s clearly being more or less maintained. At least the yard is mowed, which for some properties is not the case.

So I can tell that someone is likely living in the property. I do notice it’s two years old, but at least it’s worthwhile for me to continue forward. Now if I looked at a Google image and it was a complete wreck, why would I continue moving forward? Because, if two years ago it was a complete wreck, it’s probably gonna be in even worse condition now. That’s why we like Google Street View. If it’s available, this is 100 percent the way that we like to gather our initial property condition assessment.

Liz Brumer-Smith: The next thing we look at is the crime or the neighborhood, and this includes, actually, demographics for the zip code or the county. I wanna make sure it’s in a neighborhood, or an area, that is growing or potentially already thriving. We wanna make sure that there is motivation for people to live there, there is jobs and businesses that are growing and employment opportunities. If that’s not met, then we probably wouldn’t be looking into the asset further, but there’s a few websites you can use for this. The one we really like to use is actually Trulia.

Liz Brumer-Smith: They have a heat map, or a crime map, that if you go to your asset that you’re looking at, it will actually tell you the type of crimes that are in the area. Now, a lot of the time the heat map will actually show you the total. It’s red if it’s a really high crime. It’s green if it’s low crime, but what they’re actually analyzing is the amount of crime reported with that heat map. While the heat map or the colors is great, it doesn’t actually give you what you’re looking for. What you really want to see is the type of crime.

Liz Brumer-Smith: So you can see to the left where it actually tells you the different types of crime. I’m looking for really high, intense crimes like murder or rape or drug use or robbery with a weapon. So things like that tell me it’s a higher crime area, even though it may be green. So when you do use Trulia, just know to always look not just at the colors but at the actual crimes, and you’re gonna determine what crime neighborhood you’re comfortable with. That’s different for everyone. If it’s a really high crime like murders happening like everyday, I’m probably not buying in that neighborhood, but that’s totally your choice.

Liz Brumer-Smith: The next thing you wanna look at is the actual asset itself. If you like the property, you like the neighborhood, you’re moving forward to find out more information, and you’re gonna wanna find the actual property card, or property appraiser’s information for this. You don’t wanna just go off of Zillow or Trulia, because a lot of the time, that information is incorrect.

Liz Brumer-Smith: So you’re gonna actually verify the bedroom and bathrooms of the property. You wanna see the build type. That means if it’s wood frame, brick, whatever it may be, the square footage and the year built. We like to gather this information, cause for us personally, there’re some assets if it’s under 1000 square feet, unless it’s in the neighborhood I know that it’ll sell like hotcakes cause I know that market well, we typically don’t buy anything under 1000 square feet. It’s a personal preference. It’s a personal choice, but this information helps us move forward in if we want that asset or not.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Next you’re gonna wanna find the current market value, and this is, I’d say, as equally as important as the property condition if not just the very second most important thing, is making sure that your value is on point, and you’re looking for the current market value not the after repair value, or the ARV, which a lot of people talk about. You want now, and it’s hard to estimate right now, because one you can’t get inside the property, and two, you don’t exactly have the most updated picture of the property. Whenever we value our properties, we typically assume the worst, and if we get inside, if we do take it back after foreclosure or whatever it may be, a deed in lieu, and we find out it’s in better condition, awesome. It’ll sell for more, but we almost always price current market value considering that it’s probably not in great condition.

Liz Brumer-Smith: And we love using Zillow for the current the market value, and I know you’re probably thinking that this estimate is ridiculous, and you’re right. It is so far off so many times from the actual property value, and what we like from Zillow is the map, the ability to search with certain parameters -excuse me- for comps, and when I say comps I mean properties that look like they’re in similar condition. They’re in similar bedroom, bathroom size and they’re similar in sold range.

I’m looking for something that’s sold in six months or more recent, typically within about a half a mile to a mile from our property, and what I love about the map too, is if you see there’s a big highway, or possibly a railroad track or something like that, that is blocking a major part, and maybe it cuts your one mile radius in half, and you can tell one side of the railroad tracks is really nice homes and then your side of the railroad tracks are not so nice. You don’t want to take the just arrogate of all of those comps within the six months. You really wanna find something that looks like yours and is in similar condition and area.

Liz Brumer-Smith: You can do that with Zillow. We like to just look around the map. There’s ways to filter all this information, and you can find the at least three comps that appear to be as similar to your property as possible, and just really take into consideration the condition of the property again. And then we just average that out and that’s really what we go off our current market value for, and again if your note is accepted in that formal due diligence stage, this is where you’ll verify that information, but this helps you get a pretty good picture right away.

Liz Brumer-Smith: The next thing you’re gonna do is identify the annual taxes and the unpaid taxes. A lot of times, if you’re buying a non-performing note, you’re going to realize quickly they have not been paying their taxes either, and this is very important for you to know, because not only if you do take the property back you’re gonna be responsible for those taxes, but there’s also potential tax sales that can happen that can jeopardize your position as a first lien or second lien note holder, and this is important to know if it’s already in that process of a tax sale or not.

We locate the actual tax collector or tax assessor’s website, which typically can tell you how much is owed, and we also take into consideration the annual tax rate. Because if you do go through foreclosure, not only are you gonna have to pay the unpaid taxes, but you’re also going to be responsible for the current tax rate. If it takes you a year to foreclose, that’s a year of taxes you’re now responsible for. It’s definitely important to take both of those into consideration.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Okay. Here’s an example of some past-due delinquents. Obviously this is an example from a while ago, cause 2015 was the most recent tax year due, but often times the websites make it very clear as to what has been paid or what is currently owed.

Liz Brumer-Smith: And then you’re going to identify possible liens or judgements in public records, and now this is a really tedious part of due diligence, and I know there’s a lot of investors out there that invest in notes that don’t actually research this up front because it’s something that they can discover in their O&E or their title search in their formal stage, but for me, I find it very helpful to see if there’s other liens or judgements that would make that note unappealing for me, because sometimes, if there is, let’s just say, there’s an IRS lien that was recorded before my mortgage.

That can actually jeopardize my position and they have the right to claim if I do sell any overages. While I suggest talking to an attorney about all of the specific details about that, there are certain liens that are important for me to know about, and may make it so that I have to adjust my bid to a lower amount because I’m going to have to pay a judgment or a lien, and I like to gather this information beforehand if possible.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Public records are not available in every county or every state. It’s not always something you can do, but if it is possible, I suggest always looking in public records for anything that may impede your title. I say this is tedious because typically, if it’s a common name, you may have hundreds to thousands of results for this, and you’re gonna have to figure out by looking at the legal description, which I have highlighted here, how to make sure it matches your actual property that you are researching so that you’re only finding liens or judgements that are applicable to your property. So this shows you here there was a Lis Pendens on this specific property, but there’s also a lien and a judgment specifically tied to that property as well, and this is a great example.

Liz Brumer-Smith: I mentioned the IRS lien, and this one here is the internal IRS lien that’s recorded here. So, these things matter, and if you can find this beforehand, it helps you weed out deals that just aren’t worth while, or at least make an educated bid so that you’re not having to fade out on the back end.

Liz Brumer-Smith: The last thing that you’re going to want to research in your preliminary due diligence stage is bankruptcy. We use It is a paid membership. You actually have to go on and register with them if you aren’t already registered now, and I believe it’s ten cents per page view. If you are below, I believe the threshold of like ten dollars per quarter, they do not bill you. If you’re not doing an extensive, extensive amount of research, you probably won’t be billed from pacer. We do do a significant amount of research each quarter. So we actually do receive our over bill, but it’s pretty insignificant in the bigger picture.

Liz Brumer-Smith: But you’re actually gonna log onto, and you’re going to make sure that you search for the borrower’s name in whatever county or area of the state that they are in, and it’ll tell you if they’re in active bankruptcy. You can see all different documents on the bankruptcy. You can see if they’ve surrendered their property, if they’re keeping their property. If they’re on their plan, you can see their plan. It’s really useful information, and we found that a lot of times the seller’s information about in the tape is not always accurate for this. Even though they may have a column that said BK and yes or no or if they’ve been discharged or not, I always verify this, because we’ve found I can not tell you how many times that it’s inaccurate. Trust but verify all of this information, and this is where you’re doing that in that preliminary due diligence.

Liz Brumer-Smith: You may be thinking, “Holy moly, that is a lot of stuff to do.” Especially if you are like I was when I first started off, possibly with another job full time and you’re just doing this as a side gig in the meantime until it can be something that replaces your full-time income, or maybe you are traveling like I am and you just don’t wanna dedicate this much time to doing all of that for, let’s say, possibly one asset, or you could get a tape with 50 assets that you have to do this on. It can be a lot of work.

Liz Brumer-Smith: When I first started off, I was spending a huge bulk amount of my time on due diligence. I mean, you can see I was equally contributing my time to finding sellers and raising capital which really those two should be the bulk of, I think, your effort, because that’s where you’re gonna be getting that money from, and once I outsourced that entire process I just talked about, I now am spending a very small amount of my time on due diligence. Really I have my virtual assistants, that now do this for me, do all of that research and then I just actually just look at the tape, and say, “Okay, I like this asset.” Put it in my calculator, and then I make my bids based on that, but it really doesn’t take up a ton of my time like it used to.

I can actually focus my efforts and my business on getting more deals, getting more money and obviously working out the deals to make my profit. That’s why I love outsourcing. It’s why I’m here to talk to you guys today, not just about due diligence, but about how to accurately outsource that entire process, because it is a lot and you can’t just hire someone and say, “Here you go. Do it.”

Liz Brumer-Smith: Because due diligence, especially preliminary due diligence, it takes a skilled eye. They have to know what they’re looking for. They have to know how to look for it, and sending a few emails with instructions may work. If it does let me know, because that would be amazing. I’d love to hear someone’s success story on that, but normally you’re gonna need something much more involved to accurately train someone to do this well.

Brecht Palombo: I’ll just support your statement there a bit. We’re an entirely remote team, and I have some people overseas and some people here in the states, and whenever I’ve hired sort of the more low cost data finders, people who do contact gathering and that kind of stuff for us, I can’t agree with you enough about how essential it is that you have your process and your systems really well documented where you’ve got a standard operating procedure where you’re not giving them an idea of what you want them to do, but you’re really spelling out exactly how you want things done and why, and often we’ll do it internally with videos and checklists and screenshots and full court press, because there’s really nothing, I don’t wanna say there’s nothing worse. There are lots of things worse, but going through hiring somebody to do the work and then paying them to do it, and then paying them back and having it not be satisfactory or up to your own level of quality is a very frustrating thing.

Brecht Palombo: And when you consider the difference in the value of time, of your own time, versus what is available out there in the world market for people to do this kind of work for you instead, really makes a lot of sense but only if you’re doing it right. It can either be a real investment, and you’re getting leverage out of more people, or it can be an expense where, if you don’t do it right, where you’re just blowing money on things that don’t work. That’s my two cents.

Liz Brumer-Smith: You hit the nail on the head there. It’s so true that we know from actually our first virtual assistant. We kinda tried to do it just figuring it on our own where we just sent lot of emails. I didn’t really do the detail process like you mentioned, and it ended miserably. Luckily, it wasn’t with due diligence. Thank God. That would have been even worse, but we tried outsourcing another task, and that’s when I realized: Okay. If I’m gonna outsource due diligence, I need to do this right. Because a lot of the times, if you do get something where it’s unsatisfactory, a lot of the times the misconnection there, or where there was an error, was from how you portrayed the information to them. There was some miscommunication there that caused them to not be able to perform to the standards you were expecting.

Liz Brumer-Smith: So, automating and outsourcing. The first thing you’re gonna wanna do, if you do decide to do this yourself, it’s 100 percent achievable if you do do it yourself. I was able to do it myself. As Brecht mentioned, he was able to do it from his own systems with his business that’s completely remote. So it’s … No matter, even if it’s not due diligence, if you do wanna create a program in general, this would be what you go through. Luckily, I’ve done it for you, if you are interested in due diligence, but you’re gonna create a training program, and you need to create the content for this. So he mentioned screen sharing earlier, making sure that you are actually doing detailed checklists where you are giving step by step guides. We love doing all of those things in addition to recording videos.

Liz Brumer-Smith: So instead of just doing a screenshot, we actually do screen shares where I go through the entire process of going through a tape so slow and so detailed, and I give them every scenario that can happen. Especially with due diligence [inaudible 00:24:35] since every county has a different website. It’s not one of the things that you can outsource. I show them if it’s a difficult county what does it look like, how to get over those hurdles in my videos so that they can live up to my expectations of completing my assets.

Liz Brumer-Smith: And there’s lots of different websites and softwares that you can use that record or screen share for you. One that I like is EasyVideoSuite. They actually, you do have to purchase them, and they’re on the more expensive side compared to others. If you’re not gonna be doing this for on a large scale, it may not be worth your investment. Another one that’s much more affordable is Camtasia, and I think they even have a free version that allows you, if you’re just doing this for your own internal use, or you’re doing it from a smaller scale, this could definitely be a good way to screen share.

Liz Brumer-Smith: I record every single thing that we do, that we’re outsourcing. I’m sorry, Snagit is another one. They also have a free version I believe. And we just screen share every single thing that we do, so detailed, and we try and use a slower pace as well, just because if you are hiring, sometimes they might be English as a second language. We try to be very clear and we enunciate and we just go at a slower rate to make sure they really understand.

Liz Brumer-Smith: We also do visual guides because some people like to listen and watch. Other people like to be able to read. It’s easier for them to understand that way. We like to give them both opportunities, and it spells out and just gives them one more way to check something before they actually have to come to me asking questions.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Here’s an example from one of our guides that we use for our due diligence program. I actually show them where to click. I highlight examples. I show them where I got the perfect comp. I give them examples of past due taxes. We highlight the areas in net or online that they should be looking. I give them the links to the websites that they should be using. It’s all right there for them.

Liz Brumer-Smith: The next thing you do once you’ve created your program, is actually finding your assistant. We like to use Upwork. It used to be, I believe, oDesk is what it was called, and they’ve switched to Upwork not. They have the largest platform and the largest number of virtual assistants available, and I think you can find an extremely highly qualified virtual assistant that you can put in your preferences for where they might be location wise. You can put in your preferences for how much you want to pay, any prior experience, all of those things. That’s our suggestion for who to use, and you’re gonna create a job post. You’ll receive tons of applications right away. Some of them will be really good candidates. Others are not so great, and you’re gonna have to review them and figure out, based on their qualifications and experience, who seems like they’re gonna be the right fit for you.

Liz Brumer-Smith: We do have a special process that we use when we find and hire our virtual assistants, and if you do end up becoming a part of our program, we actually give you the job posting and we tell you what our secret is for finding out or weeding out, rather, the ones that aren’t gonna be the best fit for our types of business.

Liz Brumer-Smith: And then you’re gonna interview your best applicants, and I like to narrow it down to just three, because if you keep too many, it just becomes overwhelming and it makes your decision harder. I interview them either with Skype or you can use Google Hangouts, and you can virtually chat with them if possible. I think that’s best. You get a feel for their ability, their english language, their ability to understand and speak, and in addition to asking them questions to get to know them better and really see if they’re gonna be the best applicant for you.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Then we like to start a contract on Upwork based on a trial basis. One of the questions I ask the applicants in my interview, is if they’re willing to work during their training period for a lesser amount then what we actually contract them to pay once they’re trained, and most of the time we haven’t actually had anyone say no to that, but it gives them a way to still have them paid off, obviously for their time and effort of learning, but that we’re not paying top dollar for … I mean you are gonna have to work with them during a learning basis.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Alright. You’ve created your program. You’ve found your VA. Now you have to train them. As you already mentioned before, detailed instructions are key. If you can house this all in one place, those videos, all those download guides, and checklists with the detailed instructions, you wanna do this once so that you don’t have to do this over and over again. If you do have to hire more virtual assistants. Rather than having to recreate this every single time, we do suggest housing it all in one location. So you can either put that on a training platform or a free website like Wix.

Liz Brumer-Smith: This is where we house ours. We are on a platform called Teachable which we absolutely love. It makes it really user friendly for our students, our clients, and it also make it really user friendly for the virtual assistants. As you can see, all of these are different modules that teach the student different aspects of note due diligence, and it gives them all of their guides and checklists in one location, and the videos are embedded right there in the website. That’s what we use. We love it, and it also has a spot for people to comment and ask questions. If your VAs have questions, they can get their answers there.

Liz Brumer-Smith: And we even give them opportunities to practice. If you’re gonna do this on your own, we highly suggest actually giving them real time tapes or real time assets to do what they’ve learned. They need to actually prove to you that they understand how to do this, and we give you a practice tape, if you do join the program, that has an answer key for your virtual assistants to go through. That way you’re not having to do the work yourself. We even give you the email templates to send to them with the practice tape and things like that. We really make it as easy as possible for you. You will still have to make sure they’re following through with things. They are your virtual assistant, but we give you everything you need to make it as simple as possible. There’s an example of a practice tape that we would send them.

Liz Brumer-Smith: And then the answer key will have everything inserted into it directly including the links, images, everything you would expect for them to provide for you. What you’re really having to do, when you have your own virtual assistant, is you will … I’m sorry that we can’t do this for you, but you’re gonna have to give them feedback and make sure that they’re following through with their tasks with you. It’s an essential part of having a virtual assistant. You have to keep that communication open and be very clear with what you expect, the timeline in which you expect things, and also give them feedback based on the results. If it’s not up to your standards, you need to explain exactly why and how they can improve upon it moving forward. So I’m sorry we can’t do that for you, but that’s on you.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Oh, I don’t know why that was there.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Okay, so the … Oh, that must’ve been … Okay, yeah. Here’s an example of an email I sent back. That’s why. I’m sorry. Here’s an example of en email I sent to one of our virtual assistants. Here’s some things I noticed if you’re having trouble. Based on this example for property number nine, this is where I found this information, and adding up the total. This was before I had the complete program when I was still doing it kind of step by step for each VA I hired, and figured out that’s not the smartest way, but being concise with what you want and what you’re expecting is so important.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Alright. Then you get them working. Once you have them hired, and once you have them trained, they’re ready to do due diligence for you, and that’s what you hired them for, to have more time to be able to work on your business instead of in your business. Maybe you just wanna travel or be with your family. I mean, the time opportunity that utilizing what you can actually pay someone else to do this work for you. Your time is more valuable than that, and now that you’ve trained them on this process, utilize them.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Note investing club, as I mentioned before, gives you all of this. It’s the only, I’ve found, it’s the only virtual assistant training program specifically for due diligence. We give you everything you need to not only find, hire and train your virtual assistant, but to give you that feedback we talked about. We give you the job posting we talked about. We give you all of those videos and guides and checklists so that you don’t have to create them yourself, and you can get them hired and trained on this entire preliminary due diligence process in a really short period of time.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Well, I already just went over all of this. We pretty much just give you everything you need. If you’re thinking, “Well I’m not sure. I’m not ready to have my own virtual assistant. Maybe I don’t have enough assets to support the need for having my virtual assistant quite yet. I’m still just growing my inventory list. I’m just starting to use Brecht’s program.” Whatever it may be that you’re not ready for your own virtual assistant, we actually have two companies: Tape Techs and Note Investing Club.

Liz Brumer-Smith: So Note Investing Club helps you if you want your own virtual assistant. We give you everything you need to make it as easy as possible to tain them, but if you’d rather just upload your tape, or upload your one asset to be scrubbed, you can have my virtual assistants do it for you, and my virtual assistants, at this point, I hired my first virtual assistant back in 2014. I’ve had her now for four years, and she’s the same one I had from the beginning. She’s incredible, and if she leaves me now, I’ll be so sad. But, I now have four virtual assistants who help us with the due diligence process, and they are extremely experienced. They’ve done thousands and thousands of assets at this point in time, not just for myself but also for clients. They know what they’re doing, and how to look and how to research, and they know the preliminary process from start to finish, and you can pretty much upload the tape, and we will give you everything that we talked about, in addition to the picture of the property right into the tape. We give you the link to the property appraiser’s website.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Here’s actually a video that kind of shows you an example of a client’s tape.

Video: is an asset research company that saves you time by outsourcing the preliminary due diligence process to a highly trained virtual assistant. When you go to, you are able to upload your inventory to be scrubbed by a trained virtual assistant.

Video: First, you’ll choose if you’d like the tape to be completed in 24 hours or in 48 to 72 hours. Next, you can choose to filter the tape to your specific buying criteria or choose to have the VAs research the entire tape.

Video: Our goal is to make the bidding process as easy as possible. We provide you with all of the information you would want to make a quick and informed bid all in one location.

Video: The spreadsheet. Here’s an example of a completed tape for a past client. Our virtual assistants start the research process by providing you with the property’s county and population size. They then find, or verify, the borrower information and evaluate the property condition. We even provide links to the property appraiser and Google images right into the spreadsheet. So there’s no additional searching on your end. This helps you save time and submit your bids faster, beating out the competition.

Video: Virtual assistants know how to verify taxes, search for potential bankruptcy cases on Pacer, and search for liens or judgements given the information is available to the public or available online. You will receive the property information such as the bedroom, bathroom count, age of home and property type, square feet, as well as the area’s crime rate.

Video: The best part about Tape Techs is the current market value. Our virtual assistants have been trained to find a true evaluation, not just use estimates from Zillow or Eppraisal. Our VAs know how to find similar, nearby sold or for sale homes in similar condition and area in order to derive your value. Not only do we give you our value based on real comps, but we back up our value by linking those comparable properties directly into the spreadsheet so you can easily access the properties that helped our VAs come up with that number.

Video: Our virtual assistants have been highly trained using an extensive training program from our sister company, They have completed asset research on hundreds of assets and have been tested with challenging properties to ensure they are able to find the best and most accurate results. What are you waiting for? Free up time by outsourcing your due diligence to today.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Alright. That’s actually an older video. Obviously, we’ve switched platforms in this past year. You can see that if you go to our actual website at Note Investing Club. That’s the old platform. We redid everything when we switched. We figured if we’re switching platforms, we might as well update all of the videos and content guides to make them even better for our clients.

Liz Brumer-Smith: If you do go to Note Investing Club, I just wanna let you guys know it is completely revamped. We’ve added more videos than we used to have when we first started the program, and we have a lot of clients that signed up when we first started the program, and we got feedback from them, and we’ve improved the systems based on their feedback as well. It really is a brand new program, and it’s an amazing amount of content that’s in there if you are deciding to outsource your due diligence.

Liz Brumer-Smith: If you do wanna do Tape Techs, you’d rather just upload and go, these are the things that we actually research for you. We put the property picture directly into the tape for you, which the video didn’t show you but that’s something that we’ve added based on feedback from our clients, and you can either do it in 24 hours, which is seven dollars per asset, or if you’d prefer 48 to 72 hours, it’s five dollar per asset. There’s really no other program out there that will do this for you. There are some click and go due diligence programs that you can kinda download where it kinda gives you aggregated results based on … it just finds like the Zillow’s estimate and puts it into a spreadsheet for you, and that information’s good, but it’s not the full picture. It’s not gonna be able to always find liens and judgements. It’s not looking on Pacer for that information, and it’s not just using the real estate website’s values. It’s actually, I think it’s more through information than you can get anywhere else.

Liz Brumer-Smith: These are our programs. We offer both to note investors like yourself. If you want to outsource your due diligence, I highly suggest it. It is changed our business. It’s changed the amount of time that I have to focus on my business. We do have all of this information and more. If you actually go to this link right here, . You can actually get a foolproof guide to outsourcing your due diligence to virtual assistants in your note business. We don’t just talk about due diligence there. We also talk about other ways you can utilize virtual assistants in your note business. I go into more details on the processes we use for finding and hiring VAs. We talk more about different ways that you can create these programs and how we created our first program. It’s a ton of free information there. If you go, we will also give you a discount if you do decide to join Note Investing Club. The discount will only be if you go to this link. I suggest if you’re interested, it is well worth it, and this discount is not offered anywhere else. This is just because we are a part of this program here today.

Brecht Palombo: Well, I really appreciate that, and I know anybody who’s getting started would really appreciate that as well, and I think I said at the beginning of the call, I really get a lot of folks who ask about this, and so I expect you’re gonna have a lot of clicks on that link. Can you tell us what the discount is?

Liz Brumer-Smith: Yes. I believe you’re gonna be getting 75 dollars off.

Brecht Palombo: Okay.

Liz Brumer-Smith: I believe it’s 75 dollars off, if it’s not, write to me and I will make sure that you get 75 dollars off, and yes. The program is 499 normally. If you actually go directly to the website, there’s no place that you can find a code or anything like that. The only place you’re gonna get this is through ** Sorry this offer is closed **.

Brecht Palombo: Cool. I appreciate that. Well that was really insightful for us, and so you’ve, it sounds like you’ve really nailed this and you’ve done a lot of work to get your systems and your processes in place, and it sounds like you’re, on Tape Techs there, it sounds like you’ve probably had thousands and thousands of assets go through there. Yeah?

Liz Brumer-Smith: Yes. We were actually even, for a short period of time, scrubbing them for a hedge fund. The hedge fund ended up using Note Investing Club to start then training all of the new assistants that they hired. They started using the Tape Techs service because they had access to our other program.

Brecht Palombo: Yeah.

Liz Brumer-Smith: But, so yeah. For them, we were scrubbing hundreds to thousands each month for them.

Brecht Palombo: That’s cool.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Yeah.

Brecht Palombo: As somebody who has been able to achieve enough success in this business to be able to leave their job and travel the country and all that, what would you say to somebody who is just now sort of investigating the note business and trying to make some decision on whether or not they wanna go in on this and do it?

Liz Brumer-Smith: I would say it’s going to be a challenging ride. Nothing you ever do that’s out of the norm, it’s just gonna be super, super easy the whole way through. So there will be challenges, but it is a hundred percent worth it. It is totally attainable and totally achievable if you’re willing to put in the work and be able to get over those challenges, those hurdles, and keep moving forward, because so many times I see somebody starting off, and everyone make it sound like it’s this big easy complete process and there is a lot of work that goes into it, and you have to be able to put in that time, but also be able to … gotta have a little bit of grit to get through some of the tough times, but if you focus on it and you learn and keep doing it at a hundred percent, it is attainable. I’m living evidence of it, going from a kindergarten teacher to now living in an RV doing this full time.

Brecht Palombo: Well that’s awesome. Well Liz, I really appreciate you coming on here and sharing your knowledge and laying that whole process out for us here. I’m fairly confident you’re gonna have a lot of clicks on that link, and it was insightful for me and really helped me kinda get my head around some of the ways that you’re doing things over there. I appreciate it, and I know anybody who’s listening to this today appreciates it too. Thanks very much.

Liz Brumer-Smith: So glad I could be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Brecht Palombo: Yeah. And enjoy your travels.

Liz Brumer-Smith: Thanks. Bye.

1 thought on “Note Investing Club: Automated Due-Diligence”

  1. Great information. Very helpful. What is the price for the Tape Techs program? Is $499 a one time fee? For how long? For one search?
    Please clarify.
    Thanks Liz and Brecht for this extremely helpful presentation. We are all struggling with the Due Diligence process.

    Thanks Brecht for all the podcasts you are sending us. I download all of them to watch when I have time.
    You are such a humble and devoted educator.
    I am sincerely grateful for all your efforts.

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