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How to Start a Note Business with No Money

Starting from scratch in this lucrative real estate niche

More than most real estate businesses, the mortgage note business is all about data & information. If you have a smart phone or computer and the motivation to learn – the time is now to create a work-from-home career in this industry.

The FIXnotes website has everything you need to learn how to invest in mortgage notes but to learn how to get started without any capital to invest, this is the page for you. Although you could use the knowledge you gather from this site to start raising investor capital to begin building a portfolio of mortgage notes, we’ll share a more methodical approach that will avoid the major pitfalls and disadvantages associated with borrowing money from friends & family.

Bootstrapping & Hustle Culture

In the entrepreneur’s journey, there is certainly a place for the grind. Start-up founders know that the heavy upfront workload doesn’t ease until you implement automated systems or can afford to hire help. Putting in the hours in the early days is critical to establish a foundation of processes & procedures that your company is built upon.

To start building a note business with no start-up capital, the bootstrapped launch is the name of the game. This method of growth is based on your efforts & ingenuity as the founder without the use of anything other than the resources you have access to (with the course and other free content on this website being some of them!)

In addition to the device that you are reading this article on, a few other resources to leverage that you may or may not have access to. None of the below are necessarily required but as a bootstrapping you should be brainstorming the assets & abilities you have at your disposal.

Assets
  • social media presence to share your journey
  • transportation to visit prospective properties and meet with like-minded entrepreneurs
  • local network of real estate investors to learn from & collaborate with
  • PC, camera/microphone or other technology to create content
Abilities
  • business savvy (marketing, negotiating, management, real estate, etc)
  • technical experience (coding/programing, problem solving, data analysis)
  • creativity (graphic design, writing, vision, imagination, video editing)
  • people skills (charisma, public speaking, networking)
  • organization (processes/procedures, delegation)

For more information on assessing your abilities, finding your specialization & establishing your brand, see Episode #15 of be.the.bank: Finding Your Niche in Notes

Lifestyle Business for Financial Freedom

Eventually, the goal with your note investing career is most likely to obtain financial independence and enough passive income to finance your lifestyle. Without any funds to start, it will take quite a bit of work but it is certainly possible and the benefits to taking the slow-and-steady, solo-entrepreneur path are great

If you’re anything like me, raising funds and answering to investors doesn’t sound like an ideal situation. As entrepreneurs, most of us are in this for freedom (no boss, answer to yourself!) and being on the hook for other people’s money isn’t true freedom (many bosses, answer to them all!)

We debated fund structures on Mastermind Call #8 when we heard from members Lisa Lemire (Kamini Bay Asset Management) and Bill Bymel (First Lien Capital) sharing their opposite strategies (for access to all of our recorded member’s only Zoom calls, join the mastermind here)

Here are my thoughts on the subject from Episode #25 of be.the.bank:

Using the general guidelines I shared in the episode above, you can start to hone in on what it takes to develop your note business from the ground up. Now to get more specific!

How to Start your Note Business with No Money

Ok, we’ve established the framework. We have brainstormed some of the assets & abilities that we have to leverage and we have defined our goal of a lifestyle business the affords us the future our families deserve. Now let’s get to the good stuff – the actual strategies to implement today. The first key is to build and offer a service to the industry that makes you an indispensable part of other investor’s processes.

Earn & Learn in the Note Business

When you are first starting out in the space, you need to be willing to do the “grunt work” the sometimes tedious tasks like data-entry and monotonous asset research projects. As you will hear in the time-stamped link below from Episode #12 of be.the.bank, here are some ideas of different services you can become an expert in:

Acquisitions & Due Diligence
  • “Bird-dogging” – finding & analyzing asset opportunities
  • Secured Scrub – protitleusa.com/order
  • MLS details, recently sold comps – Zillow, etc
  • Property tax & ownership research
  • County public records AOM verification, etc 
  • Credit report data-entry: FICO, occupancy, senior details, etc
  • “Boots on the ground” – drive-by property photos
  • PACER.gov bankruptcy review (schedule D, etc)
Portfolio Management
  • Collateral image review – prepare exception reports
  • Property tax audit – monthly/quarterly scrub
  • Senior status audit – automated call-in for details
  • Bankruptcy monitoring – notify when POC required
  • Performing loan verifications, confirm consistent seasoning
  • Modification checklist – confirm additionally insured, ACH, etc
  • Triage assessment – priority NPL work list
  • Local Pre-REO marketing (Craigslist, etc)
Marketing & Capital Raise
  • Social media engagement
  • (Virtual) event attendance for education & networking
  • Data-mining for exit metrics, portfolio stats
  • Preparation of investor case-studies & track record
  • Pitch book presentation slides
  • Blog posts, industry commentary
  • PPM offering docs proof-reading
  • Investor relations & expectation setting

There’s a lot to learn about the various tasks & activities you can perform as a service provider to the industry but the goal is simple – make yourself indispensable! Offer a high-quality service that pays for itself for your clients. When you are first starting out (if you can afford it), you might even offer your time for free as an intern to establish yourself with a new client that you want to learn from.

Learn more about how to start with no capital in Episode #12 below:

Starting a note business with no money isn’t going to be easy but it’s certainly possible. With the ideas and resources we’ve provided in this article, I hope you’ll be able to hit the ground running. Please leave a comment below with any questions!

Free Content to keep Learning

As continued reading on this subject, check out DistressedPro’s article on buying notes with no money. There you will find 5 ways to acquire notes without using your own capital:

1. Partnerships
2. Cherry Picking Notes from Portfolios you source
3. Raising Money and Flipping Notes to Existing Note Investors
4. Earn Commissions & get paid in Notes
5. Raise Debt & Equity to Buy Notes

Episode #18 of be.the.bank also included some helpful advice on starting a note business side hustle from scratch. See the time-stamped link from this segment of the episode below:

And if you haven’t already, make sure to complete our free course, watch the rest of the YouTube live series be.the.bank and read our other articles on the note industry.

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