Tony Alvarez is a well-heeled, seasoned, knowledgeable, and successful Real Estate Investor, licensed Broker, Developer, and Certified General Appraiser; and has lived and worked in the real estate business since 1981.
Tony has built, purchased, rehabbed, rented, and sold hundreds of properties from vacant land to condos, single-family residences, apartments, and commercial properties and is well-versed in the risks and requirements for success inherent in different types of real estate investments.
Tony is also a sought-after speaker and has previously spoken at The Norris Group’s Multi-Millionaire Maker in 2005 and 2006, as well as other Real Estate Investment Clubs and events throughout Southern California and Nevada.
Narrator This is The Norris Group’s real estate investor radio show the award-winning show dedicated to thought leaders shaping the real estate industry and local experts revealing their insider tips to succeed in an ever -changing real estate market hosted by author, investor, and hard money lender, Bruce Norris.
Bruce Norris That’s why you were that unique person on that, in that group of speakers is because you did it, just, you did it differently. You connected with the human being who actually kind of fell in love with you.
Tony Alvarez Well, and…
Bruce Norris How could it have been a group of real estate investors want to line up and hug you with tears in their eyes? Unless that was, that had to be true. I knew that was going to happen. That was so cool. But it was cool for you to experience and see that.
Tony Alvarez Yeah, I had no clue that any of that would happen. As a matter of fact, had we had that. Let’s say you had that conversation with me. ‘You know, this is what’s going to happen to me.’ Honest to God, I would laugh in your face and say you’re out of your mind. I know what you’ve been drinking, but you need to get off in those pills. But, it was, it was a shock to me and I have to say one thing here because as you’re speaking, you know, I’ve often asked myself those questions,and it was you really, because you’ve always done this for me as well. It was you who who made me become introspective. I had never, I’m out there making money. You know, you can do it. I gotta make some money. I want to you know, I was doing my pizza job. But I didn’t want to be at Chickies pizza for the rest of my life. And I certainly had no high school diploma, I had nothing. You know, what am I going to do janitorial services for the rest of my existence? I had to find a way to free myself and be independent and not be under the thumb of somebody else. I just, I had this weird combination of I don’t want to work for anybody. I don’t like to work for anybody. I never got, I really never got fired. I heard you say that. And I thought oh my god, my dad would have killed me if I got fired. But what is it? What is it that that helped me to create, whatever it is, that in my character helps me to reach out to people because Tony can sometimes be a royal pain in the butt, you know, I mean, so when I looked over my history, the only thing I have in my character is I will work my, myself to the bone to accomplish what I want to accomplish. Once I decide I want to do this, and I my determination locks and loads. And I don’t compare myself to anybody else and stuff like that, you know, my brothers the same way my younger brother, he’s, you know, he’s got to companies, about these three companies now that he’s about to sell got into it, you know, from nowhere, and it’s over $150 million, or something they’re offering, it’s just unbelievable stuff. And but the other part was, that was from my dad, my dad would tell us, you know, and in the smallest of ways, you know, we sit down and eat is all boys, all of us in this big table, you know, and my mom was she was cooking at home, she put the food down. And my brother would dig in, you know, I’m looking at his plate my what? Maybe my dad, keep your eyes on your own plate. What do you care what he got? Okay, so now, years later, how does that translate into something Tony’s an adult uses. I never learned to pay attention to competition. Who cares? Because then the minute I start thinking about anybody else I feel, psychologically, it’s like, okay, that I get it. Focus your attention. And over the years, he got me my first job at a factory and stuff like that. It was like, focus your attention on what you do. Don’t worry about what anybody else does. You’re not going to improve yourself by that you just focus on what you’re doing, do his best job and tomorrow, do it better, try to get faster, better, whatever. Okay, my mom, my mom, you got to understand we came here as immigrants, right? So she’s got to get us into Catholic school and all that she’s got to go talk to the priest and this and that, and all these people, she would take us all with her. And before we went, we fall we went we had no money, we have nothing to bring right? My mother would tell us you always have never, never visited anyone without bringing something. And sounds like we got nothing, Mom, she says yes, you do. And she’d go like this. She said you bring a smile, don’t don’t come in there complain about all we’re broke, you know, we need your help. Can you help us? You know, we got a place to stay, you know? No, don’t do that. Go in asking what can we do to earn our way? What can we do? What can we do here? Because we’ll do whatever it takes. And so so you know, early on in life, you know, that was our situation and so you know, so everyone we met I watched my mother, you know interact with people she barely spoke English, you know, she she found a way to communicate with people she would find a way to get her point across. And she got us into Catholic school into the best school you know, in our, in our in our city. She she got a she had a story written up about her in the in the local paper, believe it or not, that said a woman of indomitable spirit, ad it was her story about coming from Cuba is the first time they ever used Colorful color in the paper. And she was in her story was highlighted in the human, whatever the heck it was section, you know. So, I got those two things my dad taught me to stay focused, they determined, you know, just improve on your own, on your own best keep improving on that. And my mother was all about the one statement, the resounding statement from her is you can make friends with anyone, you can meet and make friends with anyone in this life doesn’t matter how rich, or how famous, how important they are, as long as you learn to love other people first. Now, I’ve mentioned before several times, I, we never understood that as kids. And she told us that a billion times, we never understood that as kids, as we grew up, as we started growing up, we knew what that meant. It meant to care about the success of other people as much as your own, to realize that, you know, everyone that you’re going to meet in your life has the same desires as to one extent or another, they have the same concerns, they have the same desires, they have the same dreams as you do, they may be a little bit different here and there, you know, but we all, we all want to live a fruitful life, you know, when that we’re not worrying about that wolf coming to the door, we all worry about the same thing. So we’re not that all that different. So, and that’s, that’s what happened that day, when you invited me to speak, I realized, and the one thing that really cemented me when I was on that stage, I remember, I remember finally losing my nervousness. And it was when I realized, I get it. You know, because of the reaction of the audience you’re looking, you could see all their faces, you know, and I could see that what they were really hearing from me was the truth of, of what I had experienced in my life. Which is, you know, that’s what really, success is what’s bestowed on us. As we live our lives correctly. That’s it, you know, in every decision that you make, it doesn’t matter if it’s a business decision about money, or whether it’s you’re having a conversation with somebody who’s in distress, you know, don’t think, don’t, don’t look to yourself for some way of manipulating that situation, you’re in the wrong place. Look to listen to that person, and then respond in that moment with the best of yourself that you possibly can. And you know, what, 9 times out of 10, it was something I learned from my parents, it wasn’t something like a real estate book. You know, I learned strategy from other investors and from real estate education. But my conduct was 100% What I learned from my parents, and that’s how I got to recognize it in you, Bruce, and then other investors as I met, and then people when you would meet people like that guy at his house on Fourth Street, he was no different than I was. And you know, what, I had already felt failure in my life. You there by the grace of God is Tony, you didn’t the only difference between him and I was a very thin line. So, so yeah, you know, and I’ve I’ve that that day speaking for you on that on that stage was, was a great experience for me, because it introduced me to the things that have actually helped to make me financially secure, you know, for the rest of my life and for my families. You know, I mean, that I had never asked myself those, those, those questions I never asked, you know, what is it that, that you brought to the, what is it a Tony brought to the table? You know, because we bring something, all of us bring something to the table, whether it’s worthwhile or not, that’s another question. But what we’re all going to deliver something, you know.
Joey Romero I’ll have a comment for you. You know, the last time we had Tony on, I get a text from Tony. And he’s like, I hope that was okay. He’s he’s so worried about delivering content that people want to hear. And Tony, I’m here to tell you on air and live and for everybody, that we’re the lucky ones. I feel like I’m listening to couple of Hall of Famers, you know, and that’s, and that’s what the real estate investment world hears right now when they hear a radio show. They’re listening to a couple Hall of Famers, you know, talk about their story. And believe me, it’s beyond valuable.
Tony Alvarez Yeah, and I you know, I do worry about that stuff. You know, I mean, I, I always worry about that because I’m with myself, you know, all these years. I’m 67 years old, right? I’ve been with Tony and I know Tony is a boob you know, I don’t think of myself as a genius or anything like that. I can’t, those thoughts can’t stand they have no room in my mind. So, I’m basically an idiot who figured a way to work hard and to, and to do the right thing as often as possible and we’re all human beings you know, I’m not I’m not you know, you think I haven’t had you know, a greedy thought, this or that, or you know, you know, he’ll come tax season I’m thinking what else can I write off. But you know, over the years, you you just, you repeat certain behaviors, and they lead you to someplace else here in Oregon right now. And the last time that we’ve spoken, the people that I’ve met the friends I’ve made in the same manner, as a result, it’s like an extension, my life has just become an extension of those same behaviors that that brought me a success in one way or another. You know, I have lunch, not lunch, breakfast, which is my favorite thing to do, get up really early, get out to meet the restaurant opens at eight o’clock on the first guy walking in the door. And everybody knows Uncle Tony, wherever I go, I introduce myself as such. And you guys, I don’t want to, I don’t want to come in here one more time and not hear you say good morning, Uncle Tony. I’ve been here 17 million times already. And and so I have, I met, I’m having I’m going to my dentist. I’m having my teeth work. The guy says what do you do a young guy? I said, I’m a real estate guy. Oh, really? What do you do? I will build some duplexes in town and Oh, who do you rent to? I’m rent to. I’m doing some stuff for nurse for traveling nurses. Oh, my God, you need to meet my dad. Who’s his dad? His dad turns out who I said why he says gonna my dad’s got a house. He wants to build some a triplex behind our old rental house. And he wants to rent the nurses and stuff. And he owns by the way, he owns this center that we’re in and stuff like that. He says, You should talk to him because that bank building is coming vacant, and they will run across from the hospital. And he wants to figure out how to, how to do something with that. I said, tell your dad anytime he wants to get together with me. Here’s where I go for breakfast, if he wants to show up. Here’s my number. Tell me to text me, he can show up. I do. Most of the time. I’m sitting there. I mean, I’m either with Sabrina or somebody else or, but that’s where I do my business meetings. Okay. Consuming something at the same time. And he said no problem. I get a call from him. We meet, one of the best friends I have up here now. And this guy has got I mean, he owns vacant commercial land here. He’s asking me, Tony, he says why don’t we partner up, I said, I don’t want to do partnership I love you will, God forbid we get into a disagreement. I don’t want to get into that. I said, but I will help you in any way I can, we’ll go see the property I give you. I hooked them up with a contractor guys. And he’s lived in this town, way longer than me. He knows everybody in town. But oddly enough, since he’s, he hasn’t really been active and doing anything with that real estate. So, I lead them to the, to the bank, also that I’m that I bet People’s Bank, which is one of my favorite banks in town. And in Evergreen bank, he already had a relationship, which was the first bank that I started here with, and I’m still with him as well. And I you know, so there’s people I knew that he didn’t know. And there’s a ton of folks that he knows that I that I you know, and I get to leverage in a, in a different way. And those relationships show. So, we spent, we spent a lovely time together and now I suppose, you know, dentists guy could say, hey, what do you do? Well, I just, you know, I just do whatever, you know, I’m in the real estate. Oh, really? Yeah. Why don’t you know, we’re here to work on my teeth, are we here to do an interview? You know, I mean, you can bring your attitude in the morning or whatever to somebody else, or you can pay attention. Because life and this is these are some of these things bought around made, you know, religious or spiritual beliefs or whatever you want to call it. Although, you know, life is constantly asking you to come forward, to expand, to do something more than what you are right now. Whether we accept that invitation or not, is 100% in our control 100% Whether you recognize that or not, regardless of what takes place in your life, things are happening all the time, all the time. But life is always saying, are you willing to come another step? Are you willing to grow a little bit better? Are you willing to to impact other people’s lives because you have this certain amount of knowledge or you or you experience? And regardless of everything else, you know, we want the best of what you can do because other people need to hear it or other people need to see it or so. I learned that lesson on your stage that day. That’s one of the things I got the things that I thought were only important to Tony were, haters, I hate when you do this to me.
Bruce Norris And I love when you’re being real then it’s so cool.
Tony Alvarez The. it was it was it was an awakening, you know, it was an awakening because you realize, wow, this 300, whatever the hell it was in that, in that room and all of these people, I mean, all of them needed to hear something in that whole conversation. They all there was some words. So, what do you what do you realize? That life works in in certain ways were. It’s working through us all the time, through us all the time, through us all the time if we’re willing to accept that. I mean, you do the same thing, Bruce that the life I mean, myself my own life, you know what, what, what your words have done for me, you know, so, Bruce could have just stayed home. He could have just made his money quietly by himself. Because, you know, could have just been a lone guy.
Bruce Norris Oh you know what? Jack Fullerton did that for me.
Tony Alvarez Right.
Bruce Norris That’s how, that’s how he put me in front of an audience. Kind of have the same attitude. I’m like, I don’t want to do this. And then it turned out to be my, my, my biggest passion. I get to do that tonight, by the way in Cape Coral.
Tony Alvarez Well, that’s Oh, that’s wonderful. I and I, you know, after I went through, you know, 2020 I had that issue, that medical issue and stuff like that it really it was it’s been, you know, I met a guy who had almost not exactly the surgery I had but but but similar. And he actually had it up here. He was the doctor up here that I didn’t go to and stuff like that. I chose to go back to LA. Six months. This guy is a cabinet maker, and he does the cabinets for our for our duplexes. This guy is carrying cabinet. I mean, you don’t want cabinet to like he’s carrying cabinets back and forth. Six months after his surgery. I’m like a year later, I’m still not back. You know, I’m still I’m still trying to get back. You know, I’m like, What do you want? He goes, Tony, I just had to get back to work. I couldn’t take it anymore. That stayed at home thing and it’s, I couldn’t do it. I just had to get back to work. If I’m not gonna be able to do that I’d rather die. I’m like, okay, you know, but I thought you know what? Yeah, maybe I need to switch it up here a little bit. Because, yeah, I’m not paying attention. If he could do that. He’s carrying cabinets. I mean, I can certainly get myself back to doing something that’s that means meaningful to me. So that’s when I started thinking, okay, you know what, I’ve been hiding out long enough. I need to really kind of embrace things a little bit. And I’ve done I’ve been doing well up here financially with the things we’re building and stuff. I’m looking at a 20. I just had lunch with one of the Karcher folks you know, Carl’s Jr. Right? guy, the one family member up here. Joe Carter that owns he owns all the Carl’s juniors. He owns a Jersey Mike’s in the and the human being franchise all that stuff. I drove up to Eugene because he owns some lots across from some stuff I sold. They’ve been sitting there for a while. So I have a friend of mine in town, knows who the oh, he’s a he’s a he’s an engineer guy called him. I said, Justin, you know who the owner is. He knows everything. You know, he’s like one of these guys. It’s connected to everybody. Oh, yeah, I know who that is. That’s a Karcher guy. I did some designs for him. He’s got he’s planning to do 32 units on there. But the numbers don’t work out and blah, blah, blah. And I said, Can you get me in touch with him? He said, Yeah, I got his number. I think we’ll call them up Tom, I want to meet with him. I don’t care if I have to drive up to Eugene, I’ve never been it’d be a wonderful ride for me and Danna to go do my with my wife. And sure enough, the guy responds. He says, Yeah, tell him to come up. 33 minutes I timed it. The shortest meaning Tony Alvarez has ever been involved in the least amount of words that have ever come out of my mouth. Okay, but the most profitable meeting. Okay. We he said to me in that conversation, I said, Listen, I did and I brought I brought Tupac because I had girl it’s the the engineer do two designs. One was for 16 units. And the other one is for 28 units if I buy another lot that he’s got next to it, which I could really care about. So as I’m walking into this Carl’s Jr. to meet him there, I’m thinking should I show him this in my mind, I tell you why I’m human like everybody else. Don’t show him that because if he sees the how he can do it profitably, he’s gonna steal the idea. He’s got plenty of money, he doesn’t need you. Bla bla bla bla bla bla, and I got these plans under my arm, you know? And I go in there and go the bathroom come out. There he is. And I can tell it to him. He looks just like the original cartridge, you know, the father. And, and he said, Tony, I said, yeah, it says, oh, let’s sit down right here we sit down. He said, What do you want? What do you want to talk about? He said, You know, I got an agent. Listen to us. I said, Yeah, but I want to speak with you as it because you know, I got an issue here. I said, you got these properties listed twice as high as what they’re really worth to be honest. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna speak to you, honestly, I’m not up here to do anything else. But tell you exactly what I’m thinking. I don’t want you to think that I’m some guy. If I make an offer through your agent and what I think it’s worth, you’re gonna think I’m some low baller guy or whatever I want you to know the type of person you’re dealing with. I’m going to tell you the truth about what I see. I don’t want you to get upset with me. You know, if we have different ideas, we shake hands, we’re okay. And it’s enough. It’s important enough. He says, You drove all the way up here to have this kind of a conversation. I said, Yes, I did. Because that’s, you know, as a small area. I don’t want to get a reputation of being somebody who doesn’t care about what he does. And I want you to understand, here’s what I’ve been doing. I did this, this this. Here’s what I’ve been paying for lots. And I want you to understand that I I love your property. I’m not gonna pretend I don’t love it, I love it. And it’s right where I want, I got another vacant lot across the street I’m trying to buy from Paul true and other guy in town that he knows, I said that I’m in, but I want to control that little area. And I want to build something that’s decent, that complements what you’ve done. But But by the way, this is some loss on the back portion of a whole commercial development that he’s got there, that he that he did a beautiful job on. I said, And, look, I want you to know the kind of person I am and what my ideas are. And And the minute I said that, I said, Okay, I’m gonna be honest with you, I wasn’t going to show you this because you know, I was afraid you’re gonna steal it from my idea, whatever. But here, here it is. And I put down the thing I said, here’s one layout I got, if I only buy these three lots, which by the way, this lot here, you can split up into two lots, I don’t know if you know that, you can get four duplexes on Okay, so, and here. And if I buy this piece of commercial thing in the back, which is basically worthless, even though you have it listed for like 500 grand, I said, it’s only gonna be parking. For me. That’s all it is, in case you don’t know, unless you can get somebody to build these little tiny commercial building, you know, you haven’t been able to do it. So obviously, nobody wants it. I said, so this is how he stops me. He goes, you know, the little corner, you can actually keep that as commercial, you might be able to pull like a human beings and I don’t control the franchise down there. But I can introduce you to the guy who does. And I said why? And thought of that. He goes, Yeah, so he looks at my plants. He goes, Hey, I really liked this. He goes, Okay, so here’s the bottom line. I don’t build apartments, I don’t do any of this stuff. I don’t do Residential income stuff. He said, you obviously know what you’re doing. As a matter of fact, girl is explained to me what what you’ve done, I’ve checked you out a little bit. He says, I don’t want to, he says, here’s the deal. You tell me what you think it’s worth, you make me the offer. I don’t care about that property as much as you do. He said, We’ll cut a deal. You just go go figure out what you want to pay for it. Send the offer. And I’m not going to think any ill of you or anything like that. He says, I already know who you are by you making the time to come up here reaching out to me. And the question came up right away. He said, Why don’t you go through my agent. I said as your agent is not going to convey who I am to you. Okay, as a matter of fact, he’s, he’s concerned about his permission. If he thinks that I meet you, and we, you know, he and I don’t and I’m not looking to do that. I like your age. And I actually liked the guy. Is he really defensive? He protects this guy Carter. I said, I think we’re done. I looked at him and he says, yeah, he looked at me. He goes, Man, that was short. I said, yeah, it was 33 minutes. That’s the shortest meeting I’ve ever had we. We went to shake my hand. I gave him a hug. I said, Dude, we’re family already. Okay, that’s let me go. Okay, so that’s, that’s now I know somebody who’s, I mean, talk about somebody in this town. That’s, you know, rocks and rolls. In my whole existence has been like that. Now, did I know this guy was gonna give me this reception? No, I’m telling you. I’m walking in and doubting. Like, you’d show him the point is somewhere in my mind, I have some idea. Some negative, some negativity in my mind about this guy is going to take advantage of me is something right.
Bruce Norris What’s interesting about that is I wonder in his life, how many meetings with a first time person ended in a hug, ever?
Tony Alvarez I would tell you from from his from his response. He, no.
Bruce Norris No?
Tony Alvarez That’s never happened.
Bruce Norris Well, that’s why Tony Alvarez is one special young. Well, you’re you’re young. I’m 70. So, yeah, you’re still a young man. Tony, we got to we got to put this, put a wrap on this. Thank you so much for joining us, we got to figure out how to speak together sometime later this year.
Tony Alvarez You know, I would, I would love it. I’m trying to do some of it and and juggle the thing with my mom, because, you know, we’re taking her now on a more full time basis, but I’m getting staffing and stuff to help. But yeah, I’m up for it. And I and that’s where I’ve landed is, if I have anything that I feel that I really, you know, owe it to whatever success I’ve been, I’ve been able to accomplish, you know, is that is to share with other people what I think is important, like I did that first day with you. And if I have any regrets, at all, is the fact that I died that I didn’t immediately stick with doing more of that and having more of an impact in other people’s lives because without giving it without thinking about it too much. I think any of us who shares genuinely what they’ve experienced in their life that’s been beneficial to them can’t be anything else but beneficial to other people who hear it. So, you know, and everyone else has has always the right like I said, you know, you can reject it. You can say no thanks. It’s not for me, I’m going this way. But our obligation to continue to do that is still there, you know, it still, is still relevant. So yeah.
Bruce Norris I like, I like that obligation feels like so much fun when you do it.
Tony Alvarez Oh, no, absolutely, yeah, yeah. So, like, you know, it’s not like a burden.
Bruce Norris Like a job. Oh, that’s a fun choice. Thanks. I enjoyed it very much. Okay, well, let’s get in touch soon. Okay.
Tony Alvarez Take care. Joey, thank you very much for your questions as well.
Joey Romero Thanks, Tony.
Tony Alvarez Big hug to you guys!
Joey Romero That’s his favorite emoji the hug emoji.
Narrator For more information on hard money, loans and upcoming events with The Norris Group, check out thenorrisgroup.com. For information on passive investing with trust deeds, visit tngtrustdeeds.com.
Aaron Norris The Norris Group originates and services loans in California and Florida under California DRE License 01219911, Florida Mortgage Lender License 1577, and NMLS License 1623669. For more information on hard money lending, go www.thenorrisgroup.com and click the Hard Money tab.