Craig Hill with The Norris Group #227

This week Bruce is joined again by Craig Hill. Craig has been with The Norris Group since its inception in 1995. He has helped The Norris Group invest in approximately $40 million worth of trust deeds.

Many investors do not understand the concept of putting up money for loans. This is a very unusual idea for many investors, and mentioning it to investors may make them feel like you are asking them to take a suitcase full of money to Vegas and spend it.

A trust deed is attached to real property, and that property covers a large gambit and many different lean positions. Many people falsely assume that a trust deed is the worst case scenario. Trust deeds have different yields and different risk rates. Bruce and Craig have been investing in trust deeds for a long time. Craig has found it is very difficult to persuade people to invest in trust deeds. Bruce feels that trust deeds are a better investment than a stock or a bond, because trust deeds allow him to have some control over the outcome of his investment.

Craig has been monitoring TNG’s investor base for a long time, and he has noticed that the longer these people work as investors, the more money they invest in trust deeds. The longer you invest in trust deeds, and the more you understand them, the more you appreciate them, because they have a great risk vs. return rate.

When trust deeds are mentioned, many people assume that you are investing in a second or third position loan. The Norris Group only invests in first trust deeds. Trust deeds can be used to lend on anything from a single family residence to raw land on a slope. TNG only lends on single family residences. These residences will be fixed by an investor, and then either sold or rented.

Borrowers interested in using TNG’s 12% return program are borrowing to flip a property. TNG also has a 9% yield to investor program. Borrowers using the 12% program will receive a larger yield, but their money comes out of the property, so they do not receive any more interest until they find another trust deed. If the 12% program users do not have a trust deed investment for just 2 months out of the year, then their yield will drop to the 9% level. Craig uses the 9% program almost exclusively, because his return remains consistent over multiple years, and he doesn’t have to waste time searching for more investments. Also, many of the trust deeds being invested in right now are at the bottom of the market, which provides a safe LTV. The LTV ratio will get more absurd later on.

Craig loaned a $40,000 trust deed on a $65,000 house in Apple Valley. During the peak of the market, that house was selling for approximately $250,000. This means that Craig now has a $40,000 loan on a property that was once $250,000. Even if this property only went up to half of the value it once was, that value would be $125,000.

TNG’s trust deed program has never had a property come back, but if a property did come back, there would still be many profitable options for TNG, because renting is very profitable in the current market. If a property comes back in today’s market, you then own a home free and clear, and you can collect rent from the property, which is even more valuable than the original trust deed payment.

People who are new to trust deeds are very concerned about what happens when they do not receive payments. When a new client comes to Craig, he shows the client all the loans TNG has, so they can see how few of the loan payments are late. If you went to Bank of America and asked to see their list of loans, you would find far more delinquent loans. People get too concerned about “what if” scenarios. They think of trust deeds like stocks that can dramatically devalue very quickly. When the “what if” scenario is a free and clear house, your level of risk is significantly lower than a stock.

Typically, people who invest in trust deeds have established some wealth. At some point, you don’t want to risk principle, and you want to get a safe return. Bruce does not know of a safer and more passive way to get a good yield.

90% of TNG’s trust deed properties are bought with cash, and then refinanced. Generally, TNG loans 60% of a property’s worth.

Craig always checks to see if the title on a property is ok, and he always purchases fire insurance.

If Craig is working with a new investor, he sends them a copy of the appraisal. Once the new investor looks at the appraisal, Craig will allow them to ask questions about the deal.

Some trust deed investors like to try and work on their own. This is hard to do if you do not have experience. The Norris Group has performed 2,600 loans, which have come from 20,000 conversations. This is the one industry where working with a broker makes more money than working on your own. Also, people who try to work on their own often come across legal issues due to usery.

Craig had the good fortune of being contacted by another lender who was going out of business. The lender was contacting Craig because he thought Craig could help his former clients. After receiving a list of 200 clients from the lender, Craig decided that only 2 of the listed clients were capable of fitting in with The Norris Group. The people who invest with The Norris Group are not speculators; many of them are full time investors and are highly educated.

When you invest in a pool, the leader of the pool can attach any property they want to onto your pool. This can be a good or a bad thing depending who is leading your pool, and their motivations for investing your money.

The Norris Group’s website is

You can download our trust deed investment booklet and other investor training material.

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 550 podcasts in our free investor radio archive.

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