REO Mentor Tony Alvarez joined Bruce Norris Part 1


Tony Alvarez has been a successful Real Estate Investor and Certified General Appraiser in Southern California since 1981. But more importantly, Tony made over $10,000,000 buying, renting, and selling properties while working with professional real estate agents that specialize in selling lender-owned (REO) foreclosure properties. And, he did it all in seven years in one of the lowest-priced most depressed Southern California real estate markets.

Tony has bought, rented, and sold hundreds of properties from vacant land to condos, single-family residences, apartments, and commercial properties. As an appraiser, Tony worked as a staff appraiser for Great Western and Glendale Federal Bank and is approved by hundreds of Lenders, Insurances Companies as well as Government Agencies. He has worked with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, the FDIC, and the RTC (Resolution Trust Corp). He has in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of Lenders and their REO (foreclosure) departments. Tony’s knowledge of real estate, appraisal, finance, and investing is vast and varied. He brings a unique perspective to the real estate investment community. Tony is 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 Clubs in Southern California.

See below for the full video and resources.

Episode Notes


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  Thank you for joining us. My name is Bruce Norris. Today, our special guest is Tony Alvarez. Tony is a real estate investor, property manager, teacher, mentor, and, most importantly, a good friend of mine. Tony, how you doing?

Tony Alvarez  I’m doing great. Actually, I cannot complain about anything. Everything in my life seems to be exactly where, it’s just. I can’t even say exactly where I want it to be. But it’s like I’m being ushered along, you know. Regardless of whatever else is happening in the world, my life seems to be just fine.

Bruce Norris  Oh, you’ve gone through some stuff in the last couple of months.

Tony Alvarez  Oh, yeah.

Bruce Norris  You’re feeling? How are you feeling? You had open-heart surgery for god’s sake.

Tony Alvarez  Well, yeah. And it was you know, a lot of people when you say open heart surgery, they immediately think it’s bypass surgery, which nowadays is pretty much like getting your teeth cleaned. But that was not my situation. My situation is what they call an aortic aneurysm caused by a bicuspid valve in my, my, my aortic valve was bicuspid. And that’s, and that’s an issue that I had since I was born. It’s instead of having three little flaps that had two little flaps, and so the blood comes out of my heart into my body with force just like when you put your hole down at Foster’s, I mean the holes you put your thumb on,

Bruce Norris  Right.

Tony Alvarez  

That caused some damage, but it was caught by accident. It was caught during physical that I, a yearly physical that I have which included an echocardiogram, which is like what they do for women when they’re pregnant, you know, to find and see the little baby and all that. And they found that had this issue. And they went back into the test before a year back and found that I had it from 12 months before.

Bruce Norris  Yeah.

Tony Alvarez  But was never caught by the cardiologist. So, it’s, it’s been, you know, I had everything done, I traveled down back to California and I had everything done at Cedars Sinai and all that with a marvelous surgeon, Dr. Trento, and so far, so good. You know, it’s a series of thresholds that I have to go through that, you know, they if you pass the surgery, and then you get the first 30 days in the first year, and then five years and but with the exception of some limitations that I had initially, you know, and, and I still have some, which are just, you know, due to the surgery itself, because it’s, it’s pretty serious stuff. Yeah, I mean, if, if I explained the surgery to you, I mean, when I pop it, I try not to think about it too much. Because the, the procedure I have actually has a name, it’s called the Bentall procedure, Bentall. And you go online, and you just Google Bentall procedure, and there’s a nice little graphic of what it was, you know, with color and everything and like a little animated thing. And it shows us.

Bruce Norris  Well, you had the one that your they purposely stop your heart, right?

Tony Alvarez  Well, yeah, they do that, yeah, they stopped my heart, it was almost like between four and five hours, and they get you hooked up to a heart and lung machine. And I think that’s so typical of when they do some serious, more serious surgeries. And, and it affects you, you know, I mean, they tell you, it’s, you’re going to have some emotional ups and downs. And that’s, that’s a side effect of having this type of surgery for many reasons. But also, because your blood is going through this machine, which apparently even cause some damage to the platelets, you know, temporary. And so, when it goes through your brain and stuff like that, you know, you went you know, you end up having some, some weird, you know, little things I was watching myself and it was quite an interesting process. Yeah, but among, the among the men, you know, I mean.

Bruce Norris  Well, I’m glad you’re.

Tony Alvarez  

Four to five inches of my aorta were actually you know, cut in both places and they put a piece of Dacron and this is a funny thing, okay, I’m reading up on study because I can’t help myself after analyzing everything, right? So, I’m studying up on how they came up with this idea. This idea, a surgeon came up this years ago, when he was, he was sitting in his, in his living room looking at, looking at him frustrated because he couldn’t figure out a way to help his patients that had this issue. And he looks up and he sees his wife’s curtain rod, and he looks at the curtains. He gets up there and tears the curtain down and decides that there’s a piece of, you know, it’s Dacron. It’s his piece of the deck and he decides, he gets the idea from the curtain thing the sleeve, that this is exactly what they need to do. And so, he got the idea from looking at his white skirt. So, I basically have a curtain thing in my heart somewhere.

Bruce Norris  When I, when I think of you, I just want you to, you know, what comes to mind first is your ability to garner people’s support and love. I’ve seen you do that, you know, when you, when you deal with REO agents. That’s a very competitive environment. I guess I, I’m wondering, do you feel some of that is by a lot of training? Or do you feel some of that is innate to who you are? I’m really curious because I have a buddy named Alex, who happens to be Cuban, too.

Tony Alvarez  Yes, yes.

Bruce Norris  And he’s just, he’s very similar in that he gets people to do the most absurd things willingly like their team partners. And it’s hilarious to watch him operate. But it’s not. It’s not really like it’s a, it’s not even a game to him. It’s just, it’s almost an expectation that he has that, of course, they’ll help. So, I just wondered, what were your, what was your perspective on that, because you get people to do things,

Tony Alvarez  You know, this year, with political stuff that we had, that I got to see this, this Cuban guy who somehow made it to, to one of these gatherings that they had, and was pretty public. And, and he stood up and spoke and he actually spoke, I think at the, at the Republican convention or something, he was up there had a really heavy Cuban accent. And the guy actually brought me to tears, you know, he was speaking about his past and this and that, and Cuban and all that stuff. But when I, when I got to see, because I asked that, I asked that same question to myself over the years, and you’re the one who got me started on that trip thank you very much. When you asked me to speak for the first time, and yeah, and I had to become very introspective. Because I’m thinking I haven’t done I never thought of anything that I’ve ever done is anything out of the ordinary, except just work hard, you know, and kind of know where I wanted to go and deal with the bumps along the way. But this man got up and he was speaking and he had such a clear thinking and determination and in his thought process, and in, and in his actions, as he’s explaining about his past, and what he’s experienced in this. And I realized that’s a theme that runs through Cubans period, I hate to generalize it that way. Because, you know, anytime you generalize anything nowadays, people think you’re nuts. But, um, I don’t think I’ve ever met too many Cubans, that went through some of the things, you know, that Cuba is a very, the island is in its history, it’s just very tumultuous, you know, I mean, if you didn’t have a revolution every so many years, you know, it’s like a hurricane that comes every season. It’s just expected, you know, so there’s, there’s a level of survival is a survival instinct, and then also one of camaraderie. Because when whenever you deal with any kind of a lot of people or adversity, though, you know, you either expect everyone to be on your team, you know, and yet, or, or, or you’re going to have a really hard time getting through whatever it is that you’re getting through. You know, I remember, I remember when Reagan had been shot, you know, and they said, he went into the, they wheeled him into the operating room or whatever, at the hospital, I forget the name of the hospital and the military hospital. And the first thing he said, when he looked up, and he saw these guys with masks on he goes, I hope you’re all Republicans. So yeah, so the assumption is, and everybody laughed, of course, is, hey, you’re all, you’re all here to help me accomplish my goals. And, and I and, I think that, that runs through me very, in a very natural way. And I think if I think back, I think that’s a, it’s a cultural thing, I, you know, but it also starts with your own family dynamics. You know, my mother was extremely supportive. And she, she told us, and I’ve commented this on before on stage, and it stayed with me forever. I mean, my mom is still with us, and I speak to her every single day so, and my mom would tell us, we’d be leaving for school for Catholic school first thing in the morning, right? And this is we’re living in a city where there’s absolutely no Cubans, this just Italians and Irish and everybody else. Our family, no one else speaks Spanish except for the pastor at the Catholic Church at the school that we got that we were allowed to attend. And, and she says, ‘Remember, this used to bend down towards us. And remember, in this life, you could be friends, you can meet and make friends with anyone, no matter how rich or powerful, or whoever they are, as long as you learn to love people first’. And, you know, when we were kids, we used to think mom’s nuts, you know, because to us, you know, you’re a kid, loved me to kiss the girl on the mouth or whatever, you know, we didn’t cry. We didn’t quite settle in. But as, as time went by, my mom would take us with her wherever she went, she went to speak to the priest, she would take us with us. And she always would point her face before we walk in, she would turn to us, we’re all standing there. And she’d go like this. And so, we would ask, you know, we all smile. And she would say, oh, ‘whenever you go to visit someone, always bring something. But if you don’t have anything, if you’re poor, bring a smile, bring an optimistic attitude. You don’t want to walk in and go, ooh, we’re poor, you know, can you help us’, you know, yeah. And she says, that doesn’t go anywhere. So, you bring, you know, you, you bring the best of your, of yourself. And so, you can’t get hammered with that every single day, every single day, every single day as a kid. See your mom do it everywhere she goes. She’s friends with everyone. I mean, I want to tell you something. Just briefly, I get bounced out of high school one time for skipping too many classes. Okay, I just want you to know, I walk in, I get called down to the, to the, to the guy’s office, you know, the I forget what they call it. And, and I go down there. And then what Mr. Kennedy, I walked in, he goes, ‘You’re out’. I said ‘What?’ he goes, ‘You’re out of here. You’re suspended. You’ve been late for your first homeroom class’. I was so dumb that I would be late for homeroom or I would skip it. And then I would go to my class, you know, so, I’m showing like 300 days absent, right? So, I said, ‘You can’t do that my mother will kill me. You know, I know that she’ll be disappointed’. ‘No, You’re out of here. I don’t want to see you again until I speak to your parents. I leave and across the street from the high school was this park, the Alora’s Common. I go there and I’m sitting there and I’m thinking what am I going to do? I can’t tell my mother I got bounced out of school like that, I’m dead, right. So, I look, I raise my eyes and I look across the street. And I look and I see City Hall. Well, I said that’s it. I’ve made a beeline for the city hall. And I went straight up and asked to speak with the head of public safety. Mr. Donovan. I want you to know, we knew that man. My mom was involved in his, in supporting him for politics and, and, and the guy who was there Luigi Russo. I knew him I went to school with his son. I walked in, I said, I need to speak to Mr. Donovan. He goes, ‘Tony? what are you doing out of school?’ I said, ‘Listen, that isn’t a small town, that I got to speak to Mr. Donovan. I just got bounced out of school’. He said you can pass it he smiles at me and he goes ‘Sit down’. There he goes and disappears into this big awesome, you know, room and all this. And he goes inside and then it comes out and goes to Mr. Donovan’s going to see you but I don’t know about you, and I go and I sit down. This is the man behind this desk. It was so I mean, it was so overwhelmingly ominous to me at the target. So, I’m sitting there and I and he says, ‘Tony, what’s happening? How’s your mother?’ I said ‘She’s very good’. But I said ‘I have I have to ask you a favor’. And he said ‘What?’ I said, ‘I had a problem in school and I got thrown out’. He said, ‘Why did you get thrown out of school?’ He said because I said ‘Well, you know, I skipped classes’ or ‘You know, I was late enough’. He says ‘Kennedy? Mr. Kennedy?’ I said yes, he goes, Well hold on a second and he picks up the phone. He starts dialing this guy. Okay, so I want you to know, this guy on the other hand answers the phone right finally gets on the phone. He’s got him on a speaker thing in the, in the room. And this was years ago where it was like a box, you know, and you can hear everything from a mile away. And he says, ‘Joe, this is this, is uh, this is Mr. Donovan’. ‘Hey, how you doing? How’s it going?’ ‘Yeah, I got this. I got a young man in here Tony Alvarez.’ ‘Tony Alvarez? He goes ‘Yeah, he says he just got bounced out of school and you know, and his, I know his mom, you know’. He’s got ‘Oh, my goodness. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, that’s a fake thing’. He goes, ‘Well, you know, I know his-‘. No, no, just get him back we’re fine’. ‘Joe, I’m not asking you for a favor here. I’m not asking you for a favor.’ ‘No, no, no, that’s not a favor. No, no, I get it. I get to send him back’. So, he hangs up the phone. Now this man is in shock because he was a really fine man. He did not anticipate; he wasn’t really asking God for a favor. And he was and the other guy on the other phone. He never said anything to him. He just said, ‘Hey, I got this guy, this young man and my I know his mother’. And he just assumed everything else. Now I go back to school. I walk in and Mr. Kennedy looks at me with a big smile on his face. He goes, Well, I didn’t know your family knows Mr. Donovan. Well, he goes ‘Go back to school. We’re okay. All right, go back to school. Just don’t skip your class. When you get home, you’ve given me a headache. Okay, go back’. Okay. Now, I cannot tell you what in me possessed me to think that I could walk into that office and speak to a guy who really had a lot more important things to do than to deal with something like that. But I didn’t think anything of it. In other words, I thought nothing at all. Because, in my mind, there was some kind of injustice that had been done to Tony Alvarez to the matter.

Bruce Norris  I get, I get it, let’s put it on a scale disappointing mom, or facing like the Mayor, oh, I’ll pick the Mayor.

Tony Alvarez I could not disappoint my mom, there was no way I was going home, I rather sleep out in the park for the rest of my life. So, that in all honesty, that’s, that’s, that’s run through my life, just like when I came up to Oregon. And you had, you know, you had discussed at one of your, one of your seminars about, you know, checking out doing new construction and stuff like that, well, I really didn’t have a lot of experience doing any of that. And I, and you mentioned Florida and Oregon is two states that that at the time, had net migrations, you know, positive net migration. And so, I thought, wow, I’ve been coming to Oregon for 20 some odd years, you know, and I had I never thought of really investing in real estate up here, except my own home. It was like my retreat, it’s a place I, you know, get away to, to get away from real estate and all that kind of stuff. So, I started looking around for, you know, an older home on a larger lot or something, you know, to see if I did get it split up. And, you know, next thing I know, I’m you know, I don’t know anything about this, nothing. I don’t know, I don’t know, the first thing about developing anything, I had only built two houses in Southern California. And I didn’t build anything I just hired a contractor had a lot. I said, Hey, get out there and do whatever you guys do. And he had a plan from a previous house. He was building, and he’s building two houses, and they were fabulous. We made some astronomical amount of money, like $160,000 on each one or something. Anyways, I get up here before you know it. I’m asking the guy who was my property manager at the time, and that didn’t last very long. I said, ‘You know, do you know anybody?’ ‘Oh, you got to get an engineer’. I said, ‘You know, anybody?’ ‘Yeah, I got this guy’. You know, girl, it’s, I go see him, wonderful person. I said, ‘Do you know I got to get a contractor?’ ‘Oh, yeah, I got these guys that are contracts’. Next to that he’s referring me. Of course, these are people that are established here that are the cream of the crop in this town.

Bruce Norris  Right.

Tony Alvarez  And they all know each other, right? I mean, birds of a feather, right? So, I’m being introduced, these doors are being open to me one by one. And I walk in, I’m passing through saying, ‘Hey, you’re up’. Now I got this team. I never forget the first meeting we had at the engineer’s office, all these people in there. And I actually sat back while they were talking among each other, I sat back. And I, you know, I looked at them. And I took a moment where I was actually out of that room. And I was thinking about all of this stuff ran through my head. You know, living in Lawrence coming from Cuba, my mother talking, I mean, all of it just, it was like it all came together. And I’m thinking, I’m sitting in this room, and I’m really doing nothing. I just brought these people together because I had an idea that you put in my mind, to be honest, to develop something. And all of a sudden, I got this team of guys in my office that are making this happen. Now, I’m pushing that card along, there’s no denying that it’s my level of determination that’s going to get this started and it’s going to get completed because believe me, we’ve run into some, into some stuff where, you know, I discovered granite, granite, in the middle of what we’re supposed to be developing and I had to bring in a crate they were talking we might need dynamite. And I’m you know, and, and I can’t tell you how many people said you need to shut this down. You need to forget about this. This is too costly. It’s going to make the project. Now, something in me the minute you say that something in me goes. This is exciting. This just became really fun. And finding a way to get it, to get it done. And we got it done. And we found a company out of Portland who said you don’t need dynamite. We’ve got new technologies. We can hammer that thing out, it’s not as costly as you think. And we had set aside, thank goodness, due to the great contractor that we had, we had set aside contingency funds for whatever, and it was fine. And we get those things are done right now. 11 lots, you know. So, it’s, I think it’s a combination of things, you know, what the type of heart someone has, that they bring to their, to whatever it is that they’re doing, you know, the level of determination, but the heart behind it, you know, I, we, we’ve often talked about that, what’s the steam behind the engine that drives someone to, to fulfill the dream that they have? Or the desire that they have. You know, because then you might have a certain level of desire to get started in the race. Right, right. And then and then your trip, or something happens along the way. Well, what keeps you going? What keeps you going? It’s got to be a certain level of belief or confidence that you’re going to get this thing done, you know, it’s got to there’s a way to get it done. And, you know, I think that comes from dealing with historically, dealing with adversity. I mean, how difficult do you think it is, for me to deal with something that comes up in business or something, and, and sit back and realize, we just need to find a way to get this done, when I compare it to my parents, who have been the two biggest mentors in my life, deciding to come from Cuba, which by the way, just deciding to leave Cuba at that time was a huge risk. Because it was, you know, you could just as easily get the visa to leave or approve, to leave with nothing in your hands, you know, you had to just the clothes you’re wearing, or you could be arrested, and thrown into political prison and stay in there for the rest of your existence, to be honest, because we have members that suffered that. So, and it was a total gamble. And you got all your kids with you, you don’t speak the language, you got to live in a place you don’t know, the only thing you’re looking forward to is the freedom of knowing when you get here, you don’t have to worry about speaking your mind and getting shot the head, you know, for just speaking your mind. So, that’s why a lot of you know, you’ll see films of people that come to this country that the minute they land here, the first thing they do is kiss the ground. So, you know, you come through all of these things, right? And now you’re looking at granite in the middle of it. You know, whenever I’ve confronted something that at the moment may seem like it’s insurmountable or whatever, I go back, you know, I usually go home and I end up thinking of my parents, and I end up reminding myself where I came from. And all of a sudden, it’s like it puts it right into place.

Bruce Norris  Have you ever had a like, I used to have a card for just like that, what you’re saying, you know, where those, were those instances where you were sick, you were successful. When there was no, no way that you were supposed to be I and the power of somebody in your life is really important. I’m going to tell you this story. I had to take a Firemen’s test. Now I come from a family of very skilled athletes. My dad was a very skilled athlete, my brother was a world-class black belt in karate, while he was taking karate and already a black belt. And I was basically the pacifist in the family. But the expectation was there, that if you were going to play athletics or whatever, you were serious. Well, there was a fireman test, physical agility firemen test that I went to go take. And probably three, 400 people took it, but it was pouring rain that day. And 100% of us failed on the first go around, because you couldn’t hold on to these silly bars that were hanging down. Well, one guy decided to hold on to both bars with two hands by the bar with two hands and then go to the next one. And by the way, I didn’t leave after I failed because I couldn’t go home. Same reason. I couldn’t walk up to my brother and say I failed the physical agility test. It wasn’t a sentence that could be uttered at my house. And so, I, I literally sat on the on the against the fence, looking at that obstacle for the two or three hours that before I could retake it, and I did it. And when I came home, he says ‘So how did it go?’ And then ‘We’re for like, 400 people took a 25 pass it’. he says ‘You were one of them, right?’ I was like ‘Yes’.

Tony Alvarez  That’s it exactly.

Bruce Norris  It was, but he, I wish I could have said a sentence like to, to embellish the outcome but the outcome for him was of course, yeah. And when you.

Tony Alvarez  It’s an afterthought, you that, that your, your, that you have to pass that thing.

Bruce Norris  That’s right. Well, that’s why, that’s why you went across the street. Rather than the face your mom, the expectation was, there’s no worse trip than going to see Mom, I’ve got to go some other way. That’s cool. I like that. Well, I don’t know, if you-

Tony Alvarez  I think.

Bruce Norris  I don’t know, if you, if you don’t have that embedded, it seems like it’s, it’s possible to garner it, you know, you’d really have to concentrate and say, Okay, I’ve got these instances in my life where I really did something that was unusual, and difficult. And I’m going to, I’m going to make sure you remember that about me. Here’s another one, you know, like, here’s another one, okay, I look at this.

Tony Alvarez  I want to, I want to just inject something in here, because I want to make sure that I’m clear about what I’m at what I’m explaining. Because sometimes I can get, I get so, so hyper-focused in my mind, and I see, no, I see things in very vivid pictures in my mind, in my imagination, I’m able to go back and see these moments with my mother or this or that and there, and it’s almost like they’re happening right now, I’ve always been very grateful to have that ability within my own mind, you know, but, but I want to know because I realized, I forget that people will hear this conversation. It’s not just speaking and, and, and that thought just came to mind. And I have to share something because my mother’s sharing of this with us, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re five brothers, you know, I mean, you know, you have five brothers in a family, you’re going to have a variety of outcomes. Right?

Bruce Norris  Right.

Tony Alvarez  Not everyone is going to grab the brass ring, so to speak, and not everybody wants to, you know, they I have brothers that heard the same words I heard, you know, that are not that, then, you know, they’re not that they’re not, they don’t have such big dreams or any, you know, they, they’re okay, you know. But the most important thing for people to understand is, what is the inherent potential that we are born with. That’s what my mother was reaching into. She was looking at all of us, not because we’re the same, but because she knew me from her own life, whatever she had already gone through, and all the adversities that she had overcome, that we are all endowed with the potential to do whatever it is that we choose to do. Bar, whatever occurred, it doesn’t. And you see this all the time we see this and sometimes we look at it, we’re entertained by it, or we’re impressed by it. You see, a young man who goes off to the military, I love the military, it does have such an impact on they go, the young strapping guy, you know, married has maybe one of the first child or whatever goes off to some war or something that we have going on, comes back with no legs, no legs, I don’t care. You know, no Ark is faced destroyed from a fire. I mean, it’s just, and you compare that to granite, mining granite on your thing?

Bruce Norris  Right.

Tony Alvarez  And now these guys have to confront their lives. You know, they the stories that you read and go, because I really, I really get, you know, I did. He speaks to his wife and says, honey, you didn’t sign up for this. You don’t have to stay. You know, I mean, this is real stuff. This isn’t like somebody wrote this, like a, like some Christmas story. This is real life stuff. And you see these guys overcome this. And they say they go through depression, and they can’t, and then they finally decide to do it. Now you want to talk about deciding to do something for financial reasons. Wake the hell up.

Bruce Norris  Yeah.

Tony Alvarez  I mean, do what, what limitations could we possibly as individuals have, when you see these young people, and when you see one after the other, after the other different backgrounds, different religious beliefs, different family structures, different placements within the families, whether they’re born the youngest or the oldest, or the guy in the middle of whatever it is. Male, female alike, right? And they choose in the moment, to become more than they’ve been up until that point of their lives. This is not just our limitations. There are really no limitations, except the only ones that something in our minds brings up, and then we accept it. And we say, Okay, that’s it. I’m parking here, you know, I’m getting off. I’m not gonna that’s it. That’s as far as I can take it. So, I think that’s the that’s the beautiful part of our lives is that you know, people, you know, say, I’m trying to, you know, I want to how do I get financially free or financially independent, or, listen, that’s minuscule compared to what you can accomplish in this life. And you’re right when you say, do people have an impact? You know, you see a guy grab the bar with both hands, and you go ‘Hello?’.

Bruce Norris  I’m a fan of that one.

Tony Alvarez  Okay, okay, that’s it. I’ll say to him ‘Later!’. So, Bruce Norris says to Tony Alvarez, ‘Hey, I know you out there busy working, you know, would you like to speak at this thing? I’m doing?’ ‘What’ I never spoken to anybody. I don’t even do lunches. I don’t tell any. I don’t talk not because I didn’t want to share what I said because I would stop, I’m going through a drive-thru restaurant and some guy says, Tony, your, or sees me reading something about real estate, ‘Oh what do you do?’ ‘I’m a real estate guy’. Next thing you know, I’m doing a seminar on the drive-up window in Carl’s Jr. Right? And the people behind to start honking. Right? For that reason, but, but, but you, you know, you brought something into my life and you, as you always have, you know, ideas that you bring and I and, and you recognize if you’re smart enough, if you wake up, you’re, you recognize these people have put into your life. You know, Bruce Norris was put into Tony Alvarez his life for a very specific reason. And not by accident. I don’t believe that at all. And, and, and, and may I say, at this moment, the reverse is also true. I remember when Bruce Norris was not such a big hugger, okay? But Aaron Norris was, I remember meeting Aaron, myself, the first thing he ever did when he saw me, he opened his arms to give me a hug. And I thought, wow, this guy’s related to me. You know? So, yeah, so so, isn’t it, isn’t it funny how we all you know, we intertwine somehow into each other’s lives. And we make we help each other to be more than what we were at that moment, somehow, we find but where do we find these things? We may see them outside of ourselves, but we find them within ourselves, you know?

Bruce Norris  There’s a Christmas present that I get my family every, every family unit gets a box of a tin of candy. Whop.

Tony Alvarez  No, I’m here.

Bruce Norris  Okay gets a tin candy from a military man that lost, that lost limbs, and so forth. And he started a candy business. And so he has his story on his website. So, I print his story. And it’s like four pages of his story. At the end of it. He basically says, I just want my children to know that anything is possible.

Tony Alvarez  Oh, wow.

Bruce Norris  Yeah, it’s pretty powerful. So, and he’s got his great candy too, by the way.  So yeah.

Tony Alvarez  Where do you get that?

Bruce Norris  Yeah, I’ll send it to you.

Tony Alvarez  All right. Thank you very much.

Bruce Norris  I got 20 boxes have been sitting about to go on an airplane trip, Friday.

Tony Alvarez  That would be marvelous. I would love to follow suit on that.

Bruce Norris  Okay. Yeah, that’s, uh, that was pretty cool. When I saw his story, he was on like, Squawk Box or something. Tell him is telling his story. So, I thought oh, my gosh, okay, well, I’m going to, I’m going to support that. I’ve done it ever since every year, so.

Tony Alvarez  Very cool.

Bruce Norris  Um, you know, Jim Rohn taught me a long time ago, he says, the ‘How is easy if the Why is big enough’.

Tony Alvarez  Right. Right.

Bruce Norris  And that that’s kind of what you’re saying. Every, everybody has, like I said, the beginning question which we’ve been on for a while, but it’s important because you’re able to gain, garner people’s support. Part of it is that you’re the, you’re probably the best time they ever have. When, when you walk in, they know we’re about to have some fun. We’re about to laugh. We’re about to smile. That’s not normal. Right?

Tony Alvarez  I agree. Yeah. Yeah. Most of them even, even, even the, even the, the business people you know and it’s different because doing business in Los Angeles. You know, like when I was in Santa Monica and Burbank and all that and then I went out to the Antelope Valley and the valley was a much smaller market but yeah, comparatively speaking it you know, it was pretty good compared to here you know, and then you come up here and it’s uh, you know, Grants Pass is not Medford, Oregon Medford is more like the San Fernando Valley, Grants Pass is a very tiny market and, and what I found was is that people that do business in Grants Pass don’t go to Medford they just jump to, then go into metros like drive into the big city. That’s where the Costco is. You know, it’s like a 20-minute drive. Okay.

Bruce Norris  Oh my god.

Tony Alvarez  Right. Yeah, no, that’s a once-a-week thing. You know, they only do that once in a while. And so, you start very sensitive, you start realizing they’re very sensitive to their reputations. What somebody says what doesn’t say you know, the bank and who you who you’re dealing with, and, um, I’ve had some experience here and I don’t want to get into all of them, but I had some experiences here that work really good. Kind of unsettling sometimes I at the beginning, you know, brought my California mind up here and I’m at the local bank. And I chose specifically chose Evergreen bank, by the way, that’s where I actually borrowed their name years ago from my company. Yeah, I saw, I thought it was a lovely name. And I thought, you know, this will work really well in the Antelope Valley because everything there was high desert and desert this and that I thought evergreen that’ll bring a new picture to someone’s mind, you know, and on my card will have little trees and stuff going up. And I actually, you know, that I had an experience where when I get up here, and I was doing a lot of 1031 exchanges, and I was very demanding. Now, this is supposed to be the oldest and biggest bank here in town. They actually, there was a moment in time where the manager there asked me to take my business elsewhere. Now, Tony Alvarez, the person who sees himself as the loving hugging friend of everyone relationship making guy that was a shock to the system of monumental proportions. Well, I can tell you, I was beside myself. And I came home, it took and he and he did it. He sent me a text; I need to see you right away. I went by, I saw him I walked in, he said, I think we need to make a change. This isn’t really working out for us. That’s not the other thing. And I and he didn’t get into specifics. And I walked out of there. I said, ‘Are you asking me to leave?’ He goes, ‘Yes, I think it’s better if you find yourself another bank. I don’t think we have you know; this relationship isn’t going in the direction we thought’. I walked out speechless. Now, I leave that bank. And I’m driving and I’m in shock. I tell you, honestly, Bruce, I’m shocked, and I drive and I see this new building I’ve been looking at being built all summer long. And it was a new bank. And I go into that bank. And it’s called People’s bank just so you know.

Bruce Norris  Okay.

Tony Alvarez  And I, and I, and I drive in and I get out now I’m thinking hey, what the heck with it, you know, I’m not gonna if they don’t like my business, I was hurt by, honestly, I was heartbroken. Because that’s never happened to me. Okay.

Bruce Norris  Right.

Tony Alvarez  I’ve never, I’ve never been fired as a client, though. So, I walk in. And I, and I asked to speak to someone and I get to speak to this to this wonderful guy. And, and I go in there, and I always, you know, I always carry all my notes with me of all the properties I own, I always carry my spreadsheet, I haven’t changed. Okay, I’m still, I still carry. And I have that with me, right? And it shows my loans, my interest rate, you know, everything. And I walk in and I sit down with the guy says, Look, I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I’m looking for a new bank. And, and I really, you know, I need I need to make a change. Because, you know, and I said, Well, let me just show you this. And I show him the spreadsheet. I said, this is what I got these projects and all this stuff. And he and he say, ‘Yes. Wow. You know, is what, Tony, I just have one question’. He said, because you knew the bank. He said, he asked me I said yes, the bank. He goes, ‘I, you know, I don’t know if I can even touch these rates. It says, why would you ever decide to leave? You know, that they’re, they’re good bank, you know?’ I said, ‘Look, I’m going to be honest with you. I, I was just asked to leave’. And, and he said, ‘You were asked to leave?’ I said, ‘Yeah’. And he, oddly enough, is good friends with the guy who fired me. He said, ‘He asked you to leave?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with him’. Well, what ends up happening is and I ended up developing a relationship. And by the way, there was many years ago, just to show you how this town is. Many years ago, I had, I was being interviewed by you like this on the radio show. And, and someone had called into the radio show and said, ‘Hey, they wanted to speak with me’. I remember Aaron calling me and saying someone called into the radio show and wants to speak with you once you’re good. Do you mind if we give them your contact? That’s a you know, give them my number, whatever, you know, and this is wonderful man calls me and it ends up sending me a book that he had written about himself and his wife and they you know, they were in the real estate business up here. Turns out that his, his, his father had also written a book about his, his father had just started in the business many, many years ago, wonderful man who’s since passed, but I got, I got the opportunity to meet and then and make a long story short. I get a call after I meet that guy at the bank and all that I get a call from that same guy. Okay, who calls me one day and says, hey, these are the messages. I heard you went by and visited with so and so at the bank, and we’d like you to come back. I’m like, ‘How did that? What the hell? How does he know that I went, I mean, I just, I get I get on the phone?’ I call him up. I said, ‘How did you? How did you know that I was at that bank?’ He goes, ‘Listen, it’s a small town. Here’s the thing. We want you to come back in and talk to us again about, you know, your business’. And I said, ‘What?’ but he said, he can’t even touch my rates’. ‘I’d appreciate it. If you go back and speak to the guy again’. And said, you know, ‘You’re the type of person we’d like to have as a customer, as a client’. I said, ‘But he said he couldn’t. He goes, ‘Listen, I don’t know if you’re hearing me, but I need you to go and talk to the guy again’. I said ‘What?’ He said, ‘Look, let’s just get down to brass tacks. My father is a largest shareholder in that bank and I’m on the board of directors now where you get yourself back over there, and I just can’t.

Joey Romero  That’s gonna do it. For part one of Bruce’s interview with The Outspoken Investor Tony Alvarez. Please be sure to check in next week for part two. Thank you.

Narrator  For more information on hard money, loans and upcoming events with The Norris Group, check out For information on passive investing with trust deeds, visit

Aaron Norris  41:20

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 to and click the hard money tab.


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