On October 14, 2011, The Norris Group returned with its award-winning event I Survived Real Estate. An expert line-up of industry specialists joined Bruce Norris to discuss current industry regulation, head-scratching legislation, and the opportunities emerging for savvy real estate professionals. 100% of the proceeds support the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This event would not have been possible without the generous help of the following platinum sponsors: ForeclosureRadar and Sean O’Toole, Housing Wire, the San Diego Creative Real Estate Investors Association and President Bill Tan, Investors Workshops with President Shawn Watkins and Angel Bronsgeest, Invest Club for Women and Iris Veneracion and Bobbie Alexander, San Jose Real Estate Investors Association and Geraldine Berry, Real Wealth Networks, Frye Wyles, MVT Productions, and White House Catering. The event video can be found on isurvived2011.com.
I Survived Real Estate started just four years ago. For those who had been there for a long time, it has gone by fast. It started with a simple formula, a conversation, and a cause. The last four years in real estate have been particularly difficult. Many who attended the live event would be considered survivors. Long gone are the days of condo hotel investing in Las Vegas, a realtor in every household, stated income loans, and 10% price increases every month. True professionals working in the environment today stay on top of trends, challenges, and all different facets that makes up the market. The event featured six special guests from all over the nation. Some have or soon will be representing their national organizations in Congress trying to influence change. The conversations on stage covered what we should expect in 2012 and how our businesses might change. 100% of the proceeds went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and this year alone they raised close to $80,000. The walkers alone raised $15,000. On September 30 several people walked in a breast cancer walk, and some joined the walk to earn a seat at I Survived Real Estate 2011. Over 50 people participated in the walk.
Rebecca Hultquist thanked the Norris family and everyone at the event for their support over the past three years. Over all the years they have raised over $250,000 for women in need in the Orange County area and other surrounding areas. Rebecca recently had a friend who was diagnosed, and because she was under the age of 40 was able to have a mammogram through the funds that Komen offered her. In turn, these funds came from the supporters of I Survived Real Estate, and with their donations they became advocates, volunteering and becoming a part of the movement. Rebecca herself is breast cancer survivor, which she first had when she was 33. She was a wife and a mom with three daughters, and if it wasn’t for a life-saving mammogram that she had that year, she would not be here today. It was stage 2 invasive breast cancer, through which she endured chemotherapy radiation and surgery. Through this, she became involved with Susan G. Komen for the cure. 75% of the funds raised stay in the area to help women in need through treatment and clinical mammograms. Women can get the treatment they need. Early detection was what saved Rebecca’s life and what will save the lives of the future women. Through the science being funded, we look forward to a day when our daughters, children, and granddaughters live in a world without breast cancer.
Aaron talked about his mother, Marsha Norris, who passed away last January after a 17 year brave fight against cancer. The first three years of I Survived Real Estate were launched with a radio show between Marsha and Bruce, and each of the past events really showed her spirit, her stubbornness, her unwillingness to give up, and her faith.
Bruce took a moment to talk about his wife Marsha. She started every day by doing two things. She said prayers for everyone in her family every day, and she took time to think of all the things that were blessings in her life. The one thing you could not mistake about her was that she was thankful for the smallest things. If you took her out for coffee, you never failed to hear her say thank you. Marsha was an amazing blend of stubborn determination and kindness. She had an iron will when it came to some things, and one of those things was dealing with breast cancer. She decided early on that breast cancer was not going to rule her life and that she was going to put it in a little corner and tell it to stay there. There were times she was afraid and was hurting, but that was dominated by her wanting to go on cruises and live a life. If you know somebody who has cancer, it’s a choice on how to handle it. Marsha handled it with such grace and dignity that it was amazing. The people in the audience put a smile on her face constantly during her 17-year journey with cancer. She received cards, calls, flowers, and she felt everyone’s love when she came to meetings.
This year’s I Survived Real Estate was the most important meeting they had, as there is a lot at stake for not only investors but collectively as well. Sometimes as investors we think of ourselves as the lone Mohican, but all of a sudden there is legislation that really deals with the entire industry, how it affects how people buy property, and how much down payment they have to have. We have a common enemy with everyone in the industry. On the other side of things, there is a lot going on in the world that Bruce never thought he would have to think about as a real estate investor. All of a sudden, Bruce found himself staying up late at night watching Europe to see if Greek is going to default. The goal at the event was to bat it around with people at the top of the industry. We had to have a lot of respect for the journey it took to have the positions the speakers had. It’s a lifetime commitment to get to where they are in the industry. They have dedicated themselves and therefore we have a lot more in common than not.
During the presentation, Bruce showed a property that The Norris Group had bought that sold at the peak of the market for $436,000 in Moreno Valley earlier. About two and a half years later, The Norris Group bought it for $64,000. They put $35,000 into it, and they rented it out for $1,400 a month. The property was much nicer when they fixed it up, and Bruce said this was exactly how they fixed their rentals. One of the things Bruce wanted people to realize is sometimes there is just an assumption that when you have rentals, then you are a slumlord. Not true. The reason The Norris Group does what they do with rentals is because they do not have any competition because no one is going to put granite into rentals unless they think like The Norris Group. The way they think is they are going to get the best tenant, the most applicants, the least amount of people to move out, and fix everything nice right now since labor is on sale right now.
Sometimes cities are worried about there being too big a percentage of rentals, but there were most likely a lot of people at the event who fix the houses the same way. One of the problems is someone bought the house across the street for $436,000, and they still owe this same amount. This house may be worth $150,000 or $170,000, but where the problem lies is we have a very large percentage of people who are upside down. In California, we have about 30% of the people who are upside down with another 4-5% who are very close. This is a big problem, and some of the cities are a lot worse. In one particular city, Hesperia, people owed twice as much as the house was worth on 9,000+ households; while 5,793 owe 120%-200%. If you add the entire negative up, you have 76.9% of the people in Hesperia who are not going anywhere; they cannot move up or out. This is a problem when 76% of your city is stationary and cannot go anywhere. This is an extreme example, but the whole state has problems.
One of the things that is occurring is we are having a decent volume in sales in California. This is a historic look at volume in the brown line. In 2010 there were about 500,000 sales, and in 2011 there were similar sales. The difference is the mix of sales. You look at the mix of sales released by the California Association of Realtors for August of 2011, and you see that you have about 43-44% of all sales either being short sales or REOs. If you think about a short sale or REO, the person that leaves that closing has damaged credit. They are not buying another house, so you have just lost 43% of your former owners to non-ownership status, which has never happened in the past. This is the average for the state of California. If you go to areas such as Riverside, it’s 65% combination of short sales and REOs. For every 1,000 sales, 650 buyers no longer emerge as an owner-occupant. They have to be sold to an investor, or you have to have new people migrate into the area.
In Riverside, we have about 15% unemployment, so the likelihood of them showing up is not as good as it once was. This is the dilemma because we have some dominoes to solve, so one of the things we have to ask is how we fix unemployment. In our area, you don’t fix unemployment without fixing construction; and you can’t fix construction until you have a price per square foot that makes a builder a profit. Unfortunately, we are a tad away from this. We have to figure out how to move a lot of properties to another group of people. CAR also released data showing a portion of sellers planning to repurchase, and it showed about 37% of people when they close escrow are saying they will buy another property right away. You have the damage group, but you also have the people who are mentally beat up. This could include people who just closed escrow who used to have a $400,000 house that closed for $190,000. These are the people who do not want to participate in another one right away. You have this lag effect that goes on when you are not too excited about real estate. Consequently, what is going on is the cash sales have exploded. You have people buying properties, but the problem is when we buy properties for cash we eventually run out of the cash. Therefore, we have to shove the same property in a better condition on the market. Instead of it being able to back up the truck with the REOs and unloading a lot of them, you are constantly competing with very nice inventory that is coming back around. If we can get financing, we would not have to do this.
33% of loans in foreclosure have not made a payment in over two years. 41% of the people have not made their payments in a year or more. People stay in foreclosure for a long time. There was a news article in the Riverside Press where a family being interviewed said they were actually pretty delighted about how their lifestyle had changed since they stopped making their house payments. They believed life was so much better: they had extra money for the business, went on a vacation, and bought a barbeque. The problem is eventually this inventory might show up, and this is the ball of inventory that is turning behind the scenes; 90 days late all the way through properties already foreclosed is 4 million properties. This is about 8% of the entire inventory in the country. If you think this is over with, it’s not. The question is why we are letting this happen and why this is the best strategy that is going on right now.
One of the things that is happening right now, and this is important for everyone in the industry, is there is trying to be a retooling of our minds toward ownership of homes. On the recent cover of Time Magazine, the title was “Rethinking Home Ownership: Why Owning a Home May No Longer Make Economic Sense.” They could have said anything else but that. You have half-priced real estate and interest rates at 4%. This is economically a bad idea. People need to call up their landlords and see if they can get a 30-year fixed rental rate. This is not going to happen. It’s not economically infeasible; it’s actually the smartest thing you could possibly do. However, what is interesting is we have decided that, media-wise, we are going to say that we have had it wrong the whole time about owning a home since it has damaged so many people recently.
Bruce was married when he was 17, and he did not catch on to work very well at the time. He was fired 5 times very quickly because he did not know how to disagree with an owner. The first time he came home with cash, Marsha was really happy, but after that she knew it was severance pay. When they were 21, they had a chance to buy a home in Mira Loma, and he had rectified his problems with working. They bought a house, and they did not know what they were doing at the time. The toilets flushed the wrong way, the windows did not work. The Sunday morning they fixed Sunday dinner, they had a swamp cooler that coughed dirt all over their dinner when they started it up, so they had to eat out. However, the next day Bruce got to mow his own grass for the first time. This was the first day he felt like a man.
To find out more, tune in next week for I Survived Real Estate 2011, part 2. The Norris Group would like to thank their gold sponsors for the event: Adrenaline Athletics, Coldwell Banker Pioneer Real Estate, Conaway and Conaway, Delmae Properties, Elite Auctions, Inland Empire Investors Forum, Inland Valley Association of Realtors, Keller Williams of Corona, Keystone CPA, Kucan & Clark Partners, LLC, Las Brisas Escrow, Leivas Associates, Mike Cantu, Northern California Real Estate Investors Association, Northern San Diego Real Estate Investors Association, Pacific Sunrise Mortgage, Personal Real Estate Magazine, Raven Paul and Company, Realty 411 Magazine, Rick and LeaAnne Rossiter, Southwest Riverside County Board of Realtors, Starz Photography, uDirect IRA, Wilson Investment Properties, Tony Alvarez, Tri-Emerald Financial Group, and Westin South Coast Plaza. Visit isurvived2011.com for more details.
For more information about The Norris Group’s California hard money loans or our California Trust Deed investments, visit the website or call our office at 951-780-5856 for more information. For upcoming California real estate investor training and events, visit The Norris Group website and our California investor calendar. You’ll also find our award-winning real estate radio show on KTIE 590am at 6pm on Saturdays or you can listen to over 170 podcasts in our free investor radio archive.