REPLAY: Bruce and Aaron Norris: Is Florida right for everyone? | Part 1




Bruce is joined by Aaron Norris.  Aaron is VP of Market Insights for PropertyRadar where he tackles insights into public records data to help Main Street small businesses disrupt disruptors. Starting July 2020, he’ll be co-hosting the Data-Driven Real Estate Podcast for PropertyRadar. You can catch Aaron speaking and writing nationally on topics such as technology and its impacts on real estate (accessory dwelling units, 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, zero interface XR, shared economy, fintech, etc.). You’ll also catch his contributions on Forbes, BiggerPockets, and ThinkRealty Magazine to name a few.

He’s been in the hard money lending family business, The Norris Group, for over 15 years. There he created many award-winning resources for investors merging timing and strategy with his “Pops,” Bruce Norris. He’s a mortgage broker and California real estate broker.

Bruce and Aaron talk about The Norris Group’s new dynamic in the office.  Bruce’s move to Florida and if investing in Florida is right for everyone.



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.

Joey Romero  Hey, everyone, it’s Joey with the Norris group and want to just jump on here. And thank you all for coming out to celebration of life for Aaron, that we had last Saturday, this week, just in remembrance of Aaron just run a, an old radio show that Bruce and Aaron, just to reminisce a little bit and just hear them banter back and forth. I thought it would be appropriate. So, please enjoy the show this week. And we’ll get back to it live next week. Thank you.

Bruce Norris  Hi, thanks for joining us. My name is Bruce Norris. And today our special guest is Aaron Norris.

Aaron Norris  Howdy!

Bruce Norris  There he is. Aaron, how you doing?

Aaron Norris  I’m good. And this is the very first show that we are taping with you in Florida.

Bruce Norris  That’s right. I am, I am sitting in what will be my office surrounded by boxes that have not yet been unpacked. So, it’s definitely, it’s definitely new feeling. But I’m I’m actually really excited to be here. Alex Serato is the builder that you know, I’ve used in California for many years, and he’s building homes very successfully here we’ve got something like 20 some going on in most of the homes when they’re done or pending in a day. So, I’m excited about what we’ve got going on here. So, they stepped in and painted the, painted the home that we moved into. And so now after we, all have to do is get get these boxes put away and feel like it’s, feel like it’s home.

Aaron Norris  You know, you’ve been talking about moving to Florida forever. I think it was one of those moments where we’re like, yeah, yeah, yeah. He is always saying he’s moving to Florida. And then July you guys said ‘we’re moving’. You went to Florida. Very typical to Dad fashion. He puts a home in escrow while he’s there. And then within a month he’s gone. it’s, It was the craziest thing I ever saw.

Joey Romero  That was after bluffing about Vegas for a couple of times too.

Aaron Norris  Right! You psyched everybody out.

Bruce Norris  Well, part of you know, part of the bluff there, of course was the attraction of not having a tax bill. So, they just wasn’t a very attractive alternative though to me, because I’m not a big fan of Vegas, and I’m not a big fan of a one business town. And so that’s kind of playing out, actually. You have this Coronavirus Alex Navarro who I drove back from California to Florida with him in the car, he stopped off in Vegas. And it’s ghost town. And, and when you, when you have a town wrapped around one business, it’s kind of scary.

Aaron Norris  Yeah, they had one of the highest unemployments rates, that’s for sure.

Bruce Norris  Yeah, well, that’s, it’s still, as long as they’re gonna shut those down that’s going to be true. So, you know, I’ve dealt with business in Florida ever since Alex moved to Florida. And we had one of the large hurricanes, Hurricane Andrew. I think that was 92. So, ever since 92, I’ve had money in Florida doing something. Either building new houses, or most recent round, I built my rental. And then Sandy, my wife has started having rentals. So, it’s truly been a move that was long in the tooth, and then an immediate, of immediate interest to make a decision. But that’s when I buy houses. It’s not uncommon that I find what I’m looking for in a day. That is not uncommon.

Aaron Norris  It really isn’t. That’s what I know you’ve asked for. It’s just like, Yep, I did it, I bought it.

Joey Romero  Well, it’s not just buying houses is ideas, too. It’s like, we have an idea of what we got going on in The Norris Group and then all of a sudden, I’m doing this, and it’s like okay, fire drill.

Aaron Norris  Yep. We call it the Norris fire drill. Well, I think there’s some I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people already because I posted on Facebook that final picture that actually Kaaren Hall and I were doing lunch in Riverside and she just happened to be here when you were literally getting in the car to go to Vegas and everyone was probably the post I’ve had the most engagement with ever. So, I think people were a little bit shocked and they’re like oh my gosh, was The Norris group shutting down and I just you know.

Bruce Norris  Oh, that’s that. You know, my, first of all my part in the Norris group on a daily basis is not what everyone thinks it is. I mean, the reason I’m not busy this is the conversation I have a lot of times, ‘I know you’re so busy, I don’t call,’ I’m probably the least busy person at The Norris group on a daily basis because I don’t really have anything to do with processing the loans or talking about to people about loans. That’s all been handled for years by Craig and Robin, Rhonda, you, Aaron, you set up all of the technical things that I couldn’t do. So, that’s I never really had a part in that what I’ve had a part in, and what I will continue to do is stand in front of an audience and talk about the California market. And part of the conversation of the California market, is maybe you don’t want to keep all your stuff here. That’s a pretty natural transition, because I did it myself. And that’s, you know, usually what happens is, when I get involved in something like even the timing reports, I had to figure out the timing stuff for myself, because I just, you know, I didn’t understand why it changed so much. So it’s a pretty natural conversation to have, well, maybe you should move some of your assets to Florida, because it’s what I did in advance of that, you know, flex three or four years ago, it’s really made my life very sane. And I feel like I don’t have all my eggs in the basket of a state that I think is going to be searching hard for revenue. And that makes me nervous because of the power that they have, you know, the, because of the recent developments, they seem to have more power than I realized they ever had. And so the way you get revenue as a state is you chase people that make income or you chase people that have assets. And that’s just a little a little uncomfortable to have all my eggs in that basket. So, I’m really glad I don’t.

Aaron Norris  Yeah, maybe there was a misconception that number one, you weren’t going to be back very often do you weren’t going to speak anymore been a little slow on the loan side? That’s actually been not true. We’ve been very busy. A lot of our Wall Street competitors were out of the market very quickly when the Coronavirus first happened. And I don’t blame them for being a little bit more tepid as they come back into the market. Because how are you a lender nationwide, some of these Wall Street companies and in states like California with the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures tied to the local state of emergency. It is very difficult to have a business where that’s the case. So, it’s going to be really weird to watch, watch this as it plays out. But you know, we’ve The Norris group is still doing loans in california you moving doesn’t mean that we’re shutting it down. Yeah.

Bruce Norris  No, no, that’s crazy. I mean, I own the I own the building that we’re in. I collect rents. I certainly hope The Norris group still continues to pay that. And it of course it will. It’s a very sound business. We have a very loyal customer base. I can understand the, the misconception. But you know part of why I wanted to go to Florida, it doesn’t hurt to have eyes on what’s going on. So, I can do that. I can do that one day a week. I literally live in, you know, an area around Sarasota. Take me about an hour and a half to the furthest point of where we’re building. And I can do that on a in a day. Go see what we got going on. Talk to Alex Serrato on the way back because he’s in another area. So, I’ll have activity but you know, I intend, I intend to come in quarterly and speak. So, when, when we do have those talks available again, I missed that. I missed that. But you know, what it’ll mean is that maybe more people will come because they realize, okay, he’s not available every, every week like he was before, so we’ll probably be able to reach as many people. We’ll just put it in maybe four weeks a year. You know, come out once a quarter and see everybody and, you know, hang around with you. And my brother Dwight’s already told me last night he wants to move to Florida. So, I think that’s going to be some of the transition that happens is that the numbers just makes make more sense here. So, I mean, I’m, I don’t mind retiring in Florida. So, that was part of it. That was a little early. No, I’m not retiring. I think I’ve landed in a house that I will retire in an area that I’ll retire in.

Aaron Norris  Make sense.

Bruce Norris  So, yeah, yeah, it does. To me, it makes sense. And it’s been long, it’s been a long process too this isn’t happened just because I bought a house to live in one day. The process to move assets to Florida was a kind of a long drawn out process. And it’s been an ongoing process, getting to know local people and that’s still in progress. I’m not an expert on Florida. And you know, like the more I became knowledgeable about California, the less expert I felt about it. You know, we’ve had really good, even though we’ve had really good reports and projected things, you know, nothing like putting 2% mortgage rates on the front of a cover and having it actually become true. Yeah, and that 40 trillion in debt just might come true too.

Joey Romero  Remember what Doug told you that don’t look surprised. Don’t act surprised.

Bruce Norris  Well, I’m grateful. You know, I’m grateful. That’s been a, it’s been that part of my real estate career, I never even thought would occur because I was just trying to figure out stuff for myself. And then Aaron, when you came along with your expertise in being able to put reports together, it started looking like Goldman Sachs was putting it together, which was, you know, that was the big kick. Those those reports, you know, when you sit there and you line them up, that’s probably the coolest set of reports about what’s next for California ever done. And you, you were a major part of that, for sure. So, that’s been so much fun to create with you.

Aaron Norris  Oh, yeah. And it’s been fun. You know, the last couple years with us bringing people to Florida. I think there’s a misconception there that Florida is right for everybody. And I for the people that don’t understand, we’re not telling people you know, Florida is the place is just is a specific strategy. It’s buy and hold the numbers make more sense. And I’ve done it as well. You know, would you still flip in California?

Bruce Norris  Well, again, I would I still flip in California, as if I was there full time. Sure. I mean, there’s always opportunities to do that. I don’t see a big downside in real estate. I don’t see a glut of foreclosures, I don’t even see the willingness to foreclose period. They’re like, let’s have a moratorium on payments and, okay, that’s kind of what I thought the spirit would be. It’s hard to have a price hit when you don’t have a glut of foreclosure. So, I don’t see much of price damage. And I actually saw, they’re going to charge a couple of points when you get the loan, but there’s interest rates floating around now. 1.99.

Aaron Norris  I saw that.

Bruce Norris  For a 30 year fixed loan, they got a two point.

Aaron Norris  Well, that looks a lot prettier in Florida.

Bruce Norris  That’s right. 1.99% on 30 year mortgage. Yeah, well, you know, that’s the thing about what the product that we’re building, it depends on the finishes. And if it has a pool and stuff, but the rental product comes out, maybe it’s worth we got one of those, and it’s probably going to get put up for sale here in a week or so at 245. We fully expect it will be pending in a day. If we put the pool and all that stuff in that salt, we thought that was going to sell for 340. And it’s sold for 355. We have another one that’s a little bit bigger. Again, with the pool and spa, we thought it was going to sell for 389. And they went out at 420. So, we’re having really good profit spreads and we’re having a market reaction that’s really positive. So, we have a lot of those going on. So, it’s just I’m glad I’m here. Because the prices are just different. You know, when you put together the pieces, Okay, how much does the lot cost for that 400 grand house? Nine grand Are you kidding me? It’s just, it’s just crazy. The builder that’s building the stuff in Florida that we’re flipping, we built a house in Riverside, last one was on a dirt road, I think a lot costs 85 grand dirt road was so rough that if you went 10 miles an hour, all the change would fly out of your holder. Well, we sold that in the day too. But it’s just you had 150 grand in it before you had anything that was structural into the permits and the dirt and it was just that’s California. So, that just the numbers are better. And the business model. So, I’m big on a business model that’s going to be ongoing. I see, what was really crazy until we mentioned this and one of the shows we recently did I had an aha moment on a chart that I’ve looked at for 30 years, which is a little silly to wait that long to figure out something but I did. And the population gain in California is still an impressive number. But then you say one day I thought I wonder what it’s made up of. That’s silly to wait this long, but I did. Well, what it’s made up of is almost 100% babies being born over people dying. So, 100% of the game for California is made up of that. And the adult world is leaving California. We were getting boxes and wrapping stuff at U-Haul and they had a sign on the door. No walk ins allowed. And that wasn’t about the Coronavirus that was about we have no trucks. Wow I never seen and and people are leaving California that are adults. So, that’s, that’s the demand side of rents and buying, to me. Now go to Florida. If you look at the migration game, it’s about 90% migration within the 50 states and immigration from other countries. That’s what makes up Florida’s population gain. Well, that’s a great business model. You have people coming that are adults ready to rent, ready to buy. And they have a population that’s over 20% senior, when you go from 65 to 85, your caretaker number goes from two to seven people. That’s a big deal. That’s a like a locked and loaded business model to attract high paying jobs in the future. I liked that. And that’s why Florida, I mean it’s got a coast, it’s got reasonable lot prices. Do I think it’s going to turn into California exploding price? I don’t, I don’t care either. This is the you know, you asked the quote, good question. Is it for everybody. The answer is no. And that’s why when we, when we do those Florida bootcamp is that I have an hour interview with each, each person, and I help them determine if Florida is right for them. And there’s been any number of cases where I’ve said, I don’t, I don’t want you to go on the bootcamp because if this isn’t for you, I can tell you that even and some people fight that. And then what I heard from them, it’s a bad idea for them. For most people, most people have a lot of real estate that has exploded in price, you know, we bought it in the last downturn. So, 2009 and 10, we were loading up on stuff for 80 grand, now it’s magically worth 250 plus. you can’t tell me that 250 house or three hundred grand house is better located than what’s brand new in Florida. And the numbers would be better for you know, for you. So, that’s, that’s kind of why Florida was of interest to me, I had the lousy Marina Valley area houses and transfer that to a new house, new houses in Leesburg. And my life’s been really pretty boring, very regularly cashing those rental checks, and very low maintenance on new houses. So, that’s what attracts me to it. And that’s why we suggest it to others.

Joey Romero  And that migration game that Florida is gonna get, you know, they’re not like you where they’re going to just show up and buy houses, either. So, they’re gonna rent for a year or two till they figure out where they’re gonna stay where they where they where they like, and that’s why the the rental portfolio looks good there too, right?

Bruce Norris  That’s right. That’s a very common thing to do. As a matter of fact, let’s say you’re a nurse, oddly enough, you might get a cold call. From a place like Leesburg, you could be in Texas and say, how about you migrate to Leesburg, we have a need for an RN. And we’ll pay you more than normal just come in. And that’s exactly what happens, Joey, people come there, they rent for a year or two. When I lose renters. It’s nearly 100% of the time. They just found the house, they’re gonna buy they know the area now. And they’re gonna buy a house. That’s exactly right.

Aaron Norris  I’ve definitely, I haven’t sold everything in California. Partly, it’s just because I bought them for so low. I’ll never, I know that I’ll probably never be able to buy them at that rate again, I’ve got a sub 4% interest rate, you know, it’s hard to give those things up. Would I make a little bit more on the cash flow in Florida? Yes. But I wasn’t ever planning on bringing everything over to Florida either. But it’s good, because I think some people just think that we’re giving up on California. And it’s it’s not the case. You know, we’re still funding in California.

Bruce Norris  No, that’s not even, that’s not even the case for myself. I’ve got a building obviously, I have a rental house. I’ve got five building lots, and I’ll probably sell at some point. But I have if I was worried about this, I was worried about the future of California and the decline in price. And I’d be hesitant to be aggressive doing loans. I don’t feel that way at all. I really don’t, I don’t, I don’t think real estate is going to take a hit this cycle because of the interest rates. And because you can just tell the Fed policy is not going to be aggressively going after people that can’t make their payment because of this Coronavirus. They’re just going to be very patient and it’s very smart.

Aaron Norris  It’s going to be fun to follow the trends over the next year as people realize that they can work and educate from anywhere. So, I’m as far as the California schools at least it looks like they’re going to be out till at least January. I know some friends that are employed at universities and they’re just talking about 2021 also being a dead year that they’re not planning to return until fall of 2021. So, the winners and losers and across county borders across inventory type across areas with specific job categories. You know what if you have a city like Riverside with 4 universities that aren’t going to be seeing those 50,000 students, there’s just so many things that I’m watching and I’m fascinated.

Joey Romero  Hey your ADUs going to turn into your office or your or your classroom now.

Aaron Norris  Right. You might not rent those out, you’re like, Man, I’m going to be able to get it right off. Now I’m going to be working from home, I’ve got my own space. I think Sean, Sean talks about that. It’s like, I’m looking around and saying, I really don’t like this place. I’m gonna move and then you look across to him and be like, I’ve been quarantined with you, and I don’t like you. So, demand through divorce. That’s weird.

Joey Romero  I like my wife, just in case you’re listening, Jenny.

Bruce Norris  Well, I mean, it’s really a strange thing that living in Florida becomes less of a big deal because of the tools that you have. And that you can pass on to me, so I can sit on my desk, and we can have a conversation. You know, once I get internet in my home, it will seem just like normal.

Aaron Norris  Yeah.

Bruce Norris  It really doesn’t matter.

Aaron Norris  Let’s get into that to how I ended up at PropertyRadar and all sorts of started because of the Coronavirus. But I guess first let’s let’s cover the power of goals. I think you taught me the power of goals at a very young age and I just shined it on. I think you, I remember you give me a book while I was in New York City and like Dad, I’m gonna be a Broadway guy and I don’t need this goal stuff.

Joey Romero  I’m a star!

Aaron Norris  Exactly. And, and was funny as I wrote down, I use something called the full focus planner. I’ve been using it for years and it’s completely changed my life. I had no idea I was so obsessed with checking things off and then magical but one of the goals was that I was going to start a third hustles so The Norris group, my rentals and then I wanted to challenge I wanted something just on the side. So, so.

Joey Romero  Herbalife, Herbalife was out of the question?

Aaron Norris  Herbalife was out of the question correct. No Cutco knives, I yeah, that’s not my scene.

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  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 and click the Hard Money Tab.



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