Posted on: January 11, 2021

Today’s guest is hailed a legend in the real estate space. Aaron Norris is the VP of Market Insights at PropertyRadar. PropertyRadar helps users research commercial and residential properties using enhanced public records data.

Aaron is also the co-host of the Data Driven Real Estate podcast for PropertyRadar. A lender and licensed real estate broker, he’s been a part of the family’s hard money load business, the Norris Group, since 2005.

In this episode, Aaron tackled many interesting topics. He also shared his thoughts on the iBuyers business model, franchising, and what the future looks like for the real estate space.

Aaron also talked about PropertyRadar and what it can do. You’ll definitely learn new and interesting things in today’s episode so don’t miss it!

Key Takeaways

  • What he’s seeing when it comes to wholesaling
  • What the iBuyer model is
  • His thoughts on franchising
  • Why wholesalers need to get better at niches
  • What the next decade might be like
  • What PropertyRadar is all about
  • What you can get from PropertyRadar
  • How you can get properties before they get to probate
  • Different types of lists you can pool
  • What the best way to start is
  • The tool PropertyRadar comes with
  • How people can get ahold of him

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Lauren Hardy:
What’s up, guys? This is Lauren Hardy and you are listening to the Wholesaling Inc Podcast. Today, I am so excited for the guest I have because he’s a legend. His family is a legend. His company is a company that is just so dear to my heart, The Norris Group. His father, Bruce Norris, has been an influential person in my life and Aaron, who we have today, his predecessor, is doing huge things in the space. We have so many really interesting things to talk about. Aaron, welcome to the show.

Aaron Norris:
Thank you for bringing me on. It’s very lovely to be here. I’ve never been called a legend, and just so everybody knows listening, I don’t take myself that seriously. I’m here for Main Street.

Lauren Hardy:
You don’t know what kind of impact you guys had on my career and, honestly, a lot of people in the Southern California area, so you are.

Aaron Norris:
Well, and now being with PropertyRadar, it’s a cool opportunity to hopefully impact a lot more investors and Realtors and mortgage professionals nationwide. It’s really exciting.

Lauren Hardy:
Do me a favor and tell everybody a little bit about you and get into some of the history, because, I mean, let’s paint the picture of how big time you guys are.

Aaron Norris:
Well [crosstalk 00:02:23] I was a professional artist, so for any of you newbies out there, yes, I did start flipping houses starting at five with Dad for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Lauren Hardy:
I believe it.

Aaron Norris:
Apparently, I didn’t think that was too sexy and I was into art, so I lived in New York City for seven years. I never thought I would be in real estate. I came back out to California when my mom had cancer and I decided to take a break and a lot of things just fell into place, including my body giving out. I have back arthritis. I have like an 80-year-old body, so what I was doing in New York, I had to switch. In New York in between gigs, I fell into a Wall Street gig, doing a lot of research, doing mortgage… Sorry, acquisition and merger presentations on Wall Street, and really fell in love with the data and the process and analytics. I fell into marketing and PR more, so my life, when I came back out to California, completely went into the marketing and PR realm.
Then, I was about to go back to a Wall Street company in, I think it was ’05, and had a really weird interview and Dad said, “Why don’t you just come work for me? I want to right the California crash.” I did. I came to work for the family business. All of that Wall Street experience transferred over and we created a 400-page book with 800 charts of why he thought people should leave the state of California and get out of the way of some damage. He saved a lot of people money and he’s made a lot of people over the years. I have been very lucky to be a small part of that.
That’s actually where I met Sean O’Toole, CEO of PropertyRadar. He was one of the few people who saw the writing on the wall. He stopped flipping houses in Northern California and he created ForeclosureRadar at the time. People thought he was nuts, too, and sure enough, he’s helped make billions of dollar for real estate investors on the five states on the West Coast that we serve that have been involved in trustee sales and foreclosures. ForeclosureRadar became PropertyRadar and here we are. We went national last month.
If you’re not familiar with PropertyRadar, the easiest way I can say it is it’s property, people, and mortgage data in one space. Especially for wholesalers and real estate investors, you’re able to identify really interesting niches with over 200 fields. If you throw me a strategy today, we can even play this game. You can throw me a strategy and I will tell you some unique data points that you might not even know are available, and that’s not just direct mail.
We can append emails and phone numbers, so depending… I have some people who just call from the system. I have people who love direct mail. I have people who use it door knock. It’s pretty cool. I’ve been a longtime user for seven years and I’ve been a raving fan of Sean for a number of years, so it’s really fun to be able to be in the tech space, to be part of a company going nationally. It’s pretty neat.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. I love it, and you got me really excited when you mentioned this 400-page book that was… Basically, the idea was telling everybody it’s time to get out of California. I don’t know how much you know about my story, but I coach the virtual coaching program with Wholesaling Inc-

Aaron Norris:
Yeah, yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
… because I used to flip houses here in California. It was I remember it was like 2015, 2016. I’m sending direct mail and all of a sudden, I’m not getting as many leads and the sellers want these crazy prices for their home and in fact, they’re getting it. They’re getting it, so I can’t even argue with them and the deals were drying up and I said, “You know, I’m either going to be out of this business or I need to go to another state where this is still working.” I did not know very much. I just kind of picked a place on the map. That was my first go at it. I’ve since refined my territory choosing as far as the boxes the territory needs to check, but at that point, I just threw a dart on the map. I got out of California around 2016.

Aaron Norris:
Okay.

Lauren Hardy:
If I recall, I think I had seen that your dad, The Norris Group, was starting to talk about doing deals in Florida and so it might have been maybe a little bit earlier than them or around that time, but that was-

Aaron Norris:
That was the time.

Lauren Hardy:
… when… It was? Okay, so that as when that was what… When I saw that your Dad was going virtual, I was like, “Yep. I’m going virtual.” Anything your Dad published, put out, I listened to everything and I’m telling you this is why I’ve never lost money in this business. Never, never had… I’ve never had that horror story that you’ve heard some people do and the cycles and whatnot. Yeah.

Aaron Norris:
Mostly, this is my first full cycle as well, so going from a professional actor, I’ve only owned physical real estate as a landlord since about 2010. Before that, I was doing private notes, but I completely switched gears. There’s room for beginners in here too and I don’t want people to think that there’s not opportunity in California. The Norris Group still lends in California and Florida, and it really depends on your career. Dad, one of his goals was to move… His stuff was 1980s Marino Valley and Inland Empire in Southern California in not the greatest areas. He wanted the 1031 exchange in one of his last moves. Real estate of him was a means to an end.
He was going to brand new rentals, so the build-to-rent model in Florida, and that’s what The Norris Group has been doing out there, but there’s really opportunity anywhere. It’s about finding a niche and where you’re comfortable. Some people will never be comfortable going remote, and that’s okay. That’s totally okay and it’s really important to know who you bring to the table because, man, that’s why I love this business. There’s so many different ways to do this business. You can find yourself in it. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made coming into the business thinking that I had to be like my legendary father, who was renown for flipping. I suck at flipping. I overimprove.

Lauren Hardy:
Sure.

Aaron Norris:
I really love being a landlord. It wasn’t until I read a John Schaub book that it all made sense for me. I’m like, “That’s it? I just can buy rentals and rent them out and be happy?” It’s changed my life, and so we can just go so many ways, so I’m excited to tackle whatever you want. This is fun/

Lauren Hardy:
I know. Yeah, I know and it probably is going to. California got kind of tough. We’re talking now like different niches. What’s going on in the current space with like seller marketing? This is primarily a wholesaling podcast.

Aaron Norris:
Right.

Lauren Hardy:
Our listeners are wholesalers who are doing a lot of direct-to-seller marketing. What are you seeing from the standpoint of being in the tech business? What are you seeing for us wholesalers? How is it changing

Aaron Norris:
Right, wholesalers. I’m going to nerd out on you a little bit, but you have to know this is coming. You have some big competitors and some of it’s good and some of it’s going to feel a little bit scary. I just want you to know that it’s out there. Let’s talk about a few of the players that are in the space that you’re going to have to compete with. It’s going to depend on what market you are. They may not be there yet, they may be coming. Let’s cover iBuyers first.
iBuyer model is the fast cash backed by technology. That’s really the innovation in the space is they’re popularizing something we’ve been doing for years. They do direct mail, digital ads. You’ve got Zillow, Opendoor, Knock, Offerpad, Redfin. Those are the five big ones, but you’ve also got realtor groups talking about throwing in their different spin on it. Realogy, which owns ERA, Coldwell Banker, Home Gardens, all of those different brands. They last month announced they’re rolling out their version. Keller Williams has been threatening to roll out their version, and that’s the I’m most excited about is that local real estate investor. You’ve got that hyper local knowledge no that has in their back pocket a branded version of a real estate investor.
It’s not going to be in every market. The thing that’s really interesting, I’ve been following the data for years is that you really have to get good at the buy box, and that just simply means, what are they after? Well, come to find out it’s changing. Here in California, if I look at the Inland Empire, the buy boxes, 1500 square foot, three bedroom, two bathroom, it’s very formulaic, where if I go to L.A. or San Diego, they mostly buy condos. It’s something very specific that they want and it looks like more and more they don’t want heavy [inaudible 00:10:46] and that’s great news for you. You just have to know that easy ones, they’re probably gone. Unfortunately, what they’re going to be doing is driving up your cost for digital ads for the foreseeable future.
If you’ve noticed your digital costs for advertising on Facebook and Google going up, that’s probably why. I experienced this on the hard money space several years ago when Wall Street money got into the hard money lending business. They were totally driving up our costs. They played dirty. They were using our brand names in their marketing. If you’re busy in the market, I have a local real estate investor up in Sacramento who told me, “When COVID hit and all of the iBuyers disappeared from her market, her digital cost ads went down significantly and as soon as they came, her keywords came back and her brand names tripled. They were advertising against her name because they had targeted her for somebody who was buying.

Lauren Hardy:
Wow, so you’re saying now to like drive home the point, for digital marketing, the costs are going to drive up in areas where iBuyers are targeting, so it’s probably wise if you are a wholesaler to say, “Are you wholesaling in an area that’s very iBuyer heavy?”

Aaron Norris:
Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
Right.

Aaron Norris:
Here’s also the opportunity there. As a [crosstalk 00:12:02] marketer and a business guy, I just want to know the market intel because we need to make some decisions. Am I at a point to avoid the category because it’s too competitive and they can lose money? I can’t do that. I’m not a billion-dollar unicorn that can afford to do that, so do we avoid? Do we leverage? Or do we mimic? Do we want to compete in the same space? Completely avoid it? Or figure out how to completely leverage them?
What’s really interesting is you’ve got a lot of Wall Street money that has a hole burning in their pocket that they have to spend. I have real estate flippers who flip to them. Where you’re going to win, they’re going to go after the easy ones. I did an interview on our podcast with David Hicks. He’s the CEO of HomeVestors. He says, “No, HomeVestors is after a very different category,” which I’ll get to in a second because they are also your competition. HomeVestors and other brands that go after the heavy fixers are doing something very different than these iBuyers. It looks more and more like these iBuyers are going to go after the real easy ones.
In the Inland Empire, I am cracking up because they will paint like 1970s cabinets and put on brush nickel pulls and call it a day. They want to get in and out in like two months. That works now because things are really hot. People just want and you don’t have to fix. However, that does not work in years when you and I were busy doing other inventory, the REO market. It’s not a hot market and you want to be the next yes answer.
It just doesn’t always work, so we have just to be very tuned into our local markets, be paying attention to the competition, the buy box, if you will, of these technology players. Learn what they’re doing. Don’t avoid the data. I’ll send you links so you can post. I’ve created a short way to open up in PropertyRadar. We have a three-day trial. If you’ve never used it, one of my favorite features is I can build criteria just for you and when you click on the link you’re locked in. It’ll automatically populate and you just have to change where the map goes. It’s really nerdy and cool. I’ll give you some links so people can see because all of the iBuyers in different market.
In the Inland Empire, for example, we have four here. We don’t have Knock. If you’re in Phoenix, you’ve got five that you’re up against-

Lauren Hardy:
Wow.

Aaron Norris:
… and they’re buying thousands of homes a year, so-

Lauren Hardy:
Wow, yeah [crosstalk 00:14:08]. Yeah. I guess you could look at it for the opportunity and see like you could sell to them. They could be a buyer for you, or you could go virtual. I did and went virtual. I’m all about going virtual and picking markets that are a little bit less competitive so you don’t have to work as hard.

Aaron Norris:
Yes. Bill Allen and I talked about that. He runs the 7 Figure Flipping Group and-

Lauren Hardy:
Yep, love Bill.

Aaron Norris:
… you know, that… Yeah, Bill’s great and he talked about that very thing as sort of getting a little bit outside of those major markets where the competition is really heavy. I hate to see real estate investors get frustrated because they don’t know where to start. It gets overwhelming and then the cost of marketing has… it’s gone up.
The other category that we need to pay attention to is I’m going to call it the professionalization of wholesaling. You’ve got the HomeVestors brand, the We Buy Ugly House. They’ve been around for years and they do some market buys that the average real estate investor might not tackle, TV, radio, billboards, that kind of stuff. You’ve also got brands like Sunday.com that’s here in California. I got ahold of one of their mailers that I sent you today.
Hopefully, you can post that link showing the mailer where they actually throw local real estate investors under the bus, discrediting their officers. What’s really interesting is that they’re doing a lot of the marketing, but they’re not closing all their own deals. Their assigning it to other real investors and wholesaling it to other investors who are going to do the fix and flip. Looking at their numbers, they’re buying at the margins you would expect as a wholesaler to be able to leave enough room for it on the other side. Their tactics, do you really need to see the [crosstalk 00:15:45]-

Lauren Hardy:
They’re fighting dirty, they’re fighting dirty.

Aaron Norris:
You [inaudible 00:15:47] the mailer. I think it’s really interesting and it’s in the community [crosstalk 00:15:51]-

Lauren Hardy:
Wow.

Aaron Norris:
… you’ll have the link because I think it’s a really good case study in marketing, too, is, how are they writing their letters. We’ve come a long way from the day of the yellow letters, and because they are professionalizing the space and making that cash by a little more mainstream, we just have to play harder. We just have to get more savvy.”

Lauren Hardy:
Right, right. I know for me, I do think, though there are still so many… There’s other markets where people can still flip houses and be-

Aaron Norris:
Oh yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
… profitable where these iBuyers are not a problem. That’s why my go-to is, well, on virtual. Another thing on the topic of like franchising the wholesale business. I firmly believe it is impossible. I do not think you can franchise a wholesale business because McDonald’s is a great franchise. Why? You can train somebody to put three pickles on a sandwich and one slice of cheese and you get the same product. You can standardize the entire operation. Minus like there’s small human error, but you can pretty much standardize the product.
The problem is with our business is there’s no standard. Every deal is completely different. There is a huge human component. When you’re doing the acquisitions, just right now, I had to yell at a team member on my team because I saw she wasn’t following the rules and it is very difficult to catch it in time. She had… Well, I saw in her queue like 260-something leads that she puts in this category and I have to go in independently and see her notes and see what she wrote and I go… It took me a couple of clicks to go, “Why didn’t you send this one through?
I look at that and I look at iBuyers’ businesses. I go, “It is so hard for me and I am here physically with my team watching them. How are they doing the acquisitions? How is it even possible?” I know franchisees, like I’ve seen some of the… I know HomeVestor franchisees. I’ve talked to a lot of them. They don’t all know what they’re doing.

Aaron Norris:
No. You know what’s funny?

Lauren Hardy:
You’re paying [crosstalk 00:18:06] a lot of money for that franchise.

Aaron Norris:
Well, and part of it, they have no excuse because the HomeVestors brand backs you with a lot of resources and, honestly, after talking to David Hicks, he actually prefers you don’t know what you’re doing because he can train you and you don’t come with baggage.

Lauren Hardy:
Right.

Aaron Norris:
Actually, that’s a much more efficient way probably to be a franchise is just you come in with an open mind and you adopt the systems.

Lauren Hardy:
Sure.

Aaron Norris:
Now, the iBuyer model, you really have to look in further, so I’m glad you said it that way. For those iBuyers like Zillow and Opendoor, who are about to go…. Opendoor is about to go public, they’ve already admitted to losing money. Zillow [crosstalk 00:18:44] is on average… They lose-

Lauren Hardy:
No.

Aaron Norris:
… 11 grand a deal. We can’t do that. Where are they making money?

Lauren Hardy:
Mortgages, right?

Aaron Norris:
They’re vertically integrating their services, exactly.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. That’s what I heard. They’re just vertically integrating all of their services.

Aaron Norris:
Right [crosstalk 00:18:54]-

Lauren Hardy:
So-

Aaron Norris:
… that’s why it’s going to be harder if you don’t understand the buy box. If you’re competing in a market where they’re at, if you don’t leverage them or figure out ways, categories that they don’t want, and it changes in every single market. If somebody quotes you a buy box at the state level, ignore them. It doesn’t mean anything because it changes drastically depending on the market. If you get really good at understanding that, there’s a lot of opportunity there, and for wholesalers that are targeting, you need to get better a niches. You need to be diving into that local market and go, “Hey, you know what? I know these iBuyers want stuff that’s over 1990, so I’m going to focus stuff before that.

Lauren Hardy:
Right.

Aaron Norris:
I need to focus on homeowners that are over the age of 55 because they are net sellers of real estate. I want to focus on people who purchased between 2009 and 2013 because they’re sitting on a buttload of equity, and I could have conversations with them about creative financing or seller carrybacks. I mean, there’s over 200 fields to do really niche opportunities. Maybe you’re really good at construction or adding square footage or accessory dwelling units. One of the biggest challenges that I… My brother and I are very different people. He is introverted. He has a construction background and he is amazing. I am more extroverted.
In 2016, like you were saying, he was buying at trustee sales. Then, Wall Street got into that and they drove down margins to the point where it didn’t make much sense, so he transferred to Florida to do it there. He decided he wanted to go back to school to be an attorney, but for a while, he was trying the website, the SEO, Call Me If You Want To Sell Your Home, and I don’t think he really enjoyed it-

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Aaron Norris:
… so it’s important to know that kind of stuff because it’s not always easy.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. No, it isn’t, it isn’t, and I think it’s just so fascinating, this stuff, because we don’t talk about it enough in our podcasts, although this is a very, very unique episode, but we don’t talk about the iBuyer stuff. It was funny. Believe it or not, my neighbor works for Redfin in their iBuying department. I just met her recently and I look at her with like big eyes and I’m like, “Yeah, you’re my competition.” I’m like, “Tell me more about how do you guys do it?” I’m like… She runs a sales acquisition team and-

Aaron Norris:
Wow.

Lauren Hardy:
… yeah. I haven’t had a chance to dive deep into the processes, but I basically did [inaudible 00:21:22] and all. I was like, “Yeah, we’re [crosstalk 00:21:22]-

Aaron Norris:
Really?

Lauren Hardy:
… into similar [crosstalk 00:21:22]-

Aaron Norris:
And asked her like, “What are you looking for?” Because-

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Aaron Norris:
… they don’t want people problems. Their whole goal, especially if you’ve got more than one iBuyer in a market, think about this, they’re not only running up costs against us, they’re running up costs against each other. Bill Allen was funny. He was like, “Yeah, I don’t mind. They’re popularizing the concept.” I’m like, “You’re right. You know what? We just need to shift our mindset, not allow it to be fear-based, and just understand that they’re there and figure out how to work with them or around them.” I think there’s room for everybody. There is a good chance that we’re going to have to focus on more of the people problems and the uglier stuff, but okay, that’s the stuff that they’re just not going to want because it’s not easy to scale.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah [crosstalk 00:22:05].

Aaron Norris:
Yeah, so-

Lauren Hardy:
It is a very difficult business in general to scale, so I do think that they will start working with us. I do like Bill’s approach or thought about them popularizing.

Aaron Norris:
Yeah. It’s like CarMax. It’s just you roll up to CarMax knowing you’re going to leave some equity on the table because you don’t want to post it on Craigslist and have a whole bunch of dudes checking out your used car. It’s weird.

Lauren Hardy:
For sure.

Aaron Norris:
Yeah. It’s solving a lot of problems and I think the real estate industry, not just real estate investors, realtors, mortgage professionals, we just really have to grow up. We don’t deserve a 3% commission for not providing any value. If you’re working with a realtor who thinks access to the MLS is the gateway, the barrier to excellence, we have a problem.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. Yeah, but I will tell you in some markets, they really are fighting that. I mean, I’m in a market, they’re trying to make it… I know they can’t make like a contract assignment illegal, but they are trying to make it illegal to be able to market properties that you have an equitable interest in, which essentially what wholesalers do. There are several markets… I never can remember in the U.S. like which states there are. I know Idaho was like the first one that did this, but they’re trying to do it in Oklahoma. I’m not sure if you’re aware of any other states.

Aaron Norris:
No. I follow for me personally California and Florida and I’m starting to plug in a little bit more, but you’re saying assignments are going to get more tricky?

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah, so they cannot take contract assignments, but what they can do is regulate and create laws against how you market properties that you no longer can market a property that you only have an equitable interest in, which is what wholesalers are doing. The marketing a property that they have a contract on and they’re putting it in a public forum, they’re putting it on a website, they’re doing whatever.
Now, there are workarounds. If you were in one of those states, I’d consult with an attorney to make sure you properly… Some of the workarounds, or what I’ve heard, is just putting on like your marketing contract for sale and you don’t put any photos of the property. You don’t allude that you’re marketing a property. You are marketing a contract, which is legal.

Aaron Norris:
Got it. Okay.

Lauren Hardy:
You can do that. There’s just some workarounds. I’m personally not afraid of it happening in my market because I think what happens when this happens is the newer investors are the people that aren’t that serious about it. It kind of deters them, which now helps with the saturation problem of competition in my work, so if anything, it might do a little purge where people might not, “Oh, this isn’t as easy, so I’m going to not do it here.”

Aaron Norris:
Yeah. I think just in general, the next decade’s going to be-

Lauren Hardy:
Purge-y?

Aaron Norris:
… it could be very purge-y. I mean it’s not [crosstalk 00:25:02]-

Lauren Hardy:
They’re purge-y.

Aaron Norris:
… it’s never been an easy business. It’s work. It’s a business-

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Aaron Norris:
… you know? If [crosstalk 00:25:09] everybody could do it, everybody would. It’s [crosstalk 00:25:11]-

Lauren Hardy:
Right.

Aaron Norris:
You know what? We are in one of those times in some markets where you show up and you just have your realtor’s license, you’re just making money. It feels like ’04-’05 again, right?

Lauren Hardy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron Norris:
All of a sudden, I’ve gone through three people who cut my hair because everybody’s becoming a realtor, so-

Lauren Hardy:
Okay, your Dad always would say this. He goes, “You always know when you’re at the top of the market when your hairdresser wants to become a house flipper.”

Aaron Norris:
Exactly, and then can be [crosstalk 00:25:38]-

Lauren Hardy:
I love it.

Aaron Norris:
We have a lot of real estate investors that are reporting that they’re getting more money on the sales side than they expected. Very experienced investors saying, “Hey, I got $50,000 more than I thought I was going to.” Well, we just can’t get spoiled. Can that last forever? Probably not, so [crosstalk 00:25:52] you know-

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah, that’s exactly the… I’m telling you I am so glad I stumbled upon the Norris Group when I first got started because, to me, I’ve spoken to investors that are flipping 50 houses a year a week ago. 50 houses a year or more and he… Exact same statement. “Oh my gosh, no. I mean, I’m getting 50,000 more and my flips are fine off the market right now. I don’t think this is going to end. I think we’re going to have a strong market for the next two years and I’m like-

Aaron Norris:
It’s possible.

Lauren Hardy:
It’s [crosstalk 00:26:25] possible, but you might not want to like… We’re also in a pandemic and evictions are up or they’re going to be up once they can be. You need to be smart and-

Aaron Norris:
Yeah [crosstalk 00:26:36]-

Lauren Hardy:
Plan for that.

Aaron Norris:
… and different cities are going to have very different experiences. L.A. and New York are going to have different experiences than Westchester is very close to New York versus the Inland Empire right outside of L.A. if work from home is a thing. Yeah, really pay attention to demographic moves. The longer we do work from home, I think that’s maybe a long term play. Rural might get more popular. It’s just identifying those opportunities and really paying attention to the local level because that kind of thought process isn’t easy to scale. Wall Street’s going to go after volume and ease. They don’t want that.

Lauren Hardy:
Right, right, totally.

Aaron Norris:
They don’t want that part of the business, so I think that’s where a good opportunity lies. I follow the foreclosure data every day. A lot of the moratoriums end at the end of this month, so we have no idea. The media’s going to probably pick up in the January and February when the moratorium pre-COVID foreclosures to finally process that should have happened in March and April of this year finally get to go through. That’s not COVID-related. Anything COVID-related probably is not going to happen till summer, if they’re allowed to go at all.
In a worldwide pandemic, I don’t are if you’re Republican, Democrat. It’s clear that more assistance is coming and as a landlord, I’m uncomfortable if a wave of evictions happen, you’re the next on the list. It’s an interesting time, so-

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah, it is. Tell me more about PropertyRadar. I actually used PropertyRadar for a while until mine went virtual and you guys weren’t in my market.

Aaron Norris:
We are now, and it’s so exciting [crosstalk 00:28:08]. I’ve been begging Shawn for years. When I first started working with my father, we were paying over a thousand dollars a month for distressed data in one county in California. Now, PropertyRadar, even if you’re on a month-to-month, that’s under a hundred dollars a month. That’s crazy.
Democratizing data that way and allowing public… Public records are free. You could go down to your recorder’s office, your assessor’s office and get some of these things, and you probably should, so you can truly appreciate what PropertyRadar is-

Lauren Hardy:
Right, right.

Aaron Norris:
… because it’s all in one spot. It’s got, again, property, people, and mortgage data so you can find your niche and really back into really opportunity. As an instance, just really making it simple. Marketing to somebody who’s an owner-occupant versus an absentee owner, very different process. I have real estate investors who have been able to take the Dow in an entire portfolio because talking to somebody who owns real estate as a business is a very different process than… Do you really want to send a yellow letter to that person? Maybe not, maybe you approach them a little differently and it shows that you’ve done your homework.
Maybe they’d be more willing because they’ve been a landlord. Do they really want to give up all of that income? Would they be willing to do more creative deals with you because of that probably? We’re an owner-occupant, that’s a different process. What other cool opportunities would you explore? I don’t know.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. What can you get from PropertyRadar? Can you get probate lists?

Aaron Norris:
Probate’s on our list, but can I tell you a secret? How to get there before it ever enters probate?

Lauren Hardy:
What?

Aaron Norris:
Follow the obituaries in your local market and look them up on PropertyRadar.

Lauren Hardy:
Oh.

Aaron Norris:
Hire a virtual assistant to go through and identify the property.

Lauren Hardy:
Wow.

Aaron Norris:
There you go.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Aaron Norris:
That’s a huge deal. You have to remember, PropertyRadar is public records, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use it before it ever enters the domain of public record. Here’s another way that people are using PropertyRadar. You’re in California. Accessory dwelling units are a really big deal and the state’s really been pushing for things like upzoning.
If you’re paying attention down to the local zoning rules and the cities that are upzoning specific areas and lots, you can… I was pulling data for a major media source that was looking at in L.A. things that were zoned R-3 but had a single-family home on them and how many more opportunities there are. You’re talking about lots that maybe have one property, like a single-family home on it, that could turn into six units-

Lauren Hardy:
Whoa.

Aaron Norris:
… just by… Sometimes before it ever enters the domain of public record, if you pay attention to the local level knowing that they were doing those things, you could get there first, which is really cool.

Lauren Hardy:
You can find… Okay, tell me more stuff that our listeners can use PropertyRadar? Basically, from my understanding, it’s list pulling for like, I would say, signs of distress or motivated sellers. If you’re looking for a motivated seller list, whatever that kind of niche, what are the different types [crosstalk 00:31:06] of lists that they can pull?

Aaron Norris:
Well, one of the easiest things is we have something called Quick Lists. It’s the easy button, so if you’re a real estate investor looking for landlords that are located out of state, located out of the county that have 50% equity. There’s a lot of different ways you can slice and dice the opportunity based on the kind of field. The best way to start is always doing what’s worked for you now. If you give me five of your current deals and we walk through them, who was it? How old were they? Were they moving? What was the distress?
There you go, but some of it’s just based on the properties, so it’s age. Like, “Hey, I only want to market to people where they’re sitting on a home that’s over 50 years old because I know it’s uglier and has a lot more potential to where they’re not going to have the money to rehab it or want to go through that process. You could market based on age. I think one of the powers of having demographic information in there, it’s being able to really slice and dice based on age group or family events, kids on-site. What are some of the other demographic data in there?
One of my favorites that makes me laugh is charities that people give to. In the presentation that I do with different clubs, I pull up how many people in the local market give to animal charities. I’m like, “You can send a lot of cat postcards.” I mean, imagine being [crosstalk 00:32:27] able to change your marketing visuals, which can be very profound and impactful based on those kind of things.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Aaron Norris:
Variable marketing is very real. We have some partners, too. Partners, I think, are one of the things that people don’t plug into Print Genie. Let’s say I set up a list of my market where, “Hey, I want to market to anyone over 65,” so that very first mailer I do, but in the future, anytime somebody ages into it, I can send a one-off postcard automatically and I don’t have to think about it.

Lauren Hardy:
Oh, okay.

Aaron Norris:
You can set up-

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Aaron Norris:
… lists that are dynamic to where when life events happen and demographics just happen, or even if properties sell, the dynamic list takes people out when they also can hit specific moments in time.

Lauren Hardy:
I recall you guys have your notice of default and like you foreclosure information is what’s really, really fire because that’s where you guys started, right? It was ForeclosureRadar and then-

Aaron Norris:
Then we went to PropertyRadar because he saw the writing on the wall, that foreclosures weren’t going to be as much.

Lauren Hardy:
Right.

Aaron Norris:
Now, I want you to think about it. Right now, go to your local Association of Realtors and see how much equity people have gained since January. It’s hard to have distress when people have options, so in our mind, when as a real estate investor, I think short sell, foreclosure, well, if you’re sitting on equity, people have options. It just means they’re going to sell, so the stress is going to mean something different in 2021 than it did in 2009, where people are upside down by 50% and you basically have to pursue foreclosure. This is just going to be a sale.

Lauren Hardy:
Right, right. Does PropertyRadar have like a comping tool? Or no? Is [crosstalk 00:34:07] it-

Aaron Norris:
Yeah, we have an ABM tool, so some of the things that people do… I’ll send you a link. I’m on this kick where I have a trove of mailers from real estate investors. In the last two week, I’ve posted on from the tech, the proptech companies, and one is… I think I sent you… I did. I sent you a mailer from Opendoor today, their newest one. It has more color, it’s not just a blue. That’s why I love to see the generations of the marketing and what they’re doing and tweaking. One of the tweaks was there’s no website and no email address anymore on their mailer. They want-

Lauren Hardy:
Wow,

Aaron Norris:
… you to call. That’s news. I like following that kind of stuff. I got sidetracked, though.

Lauren Hardy:
Oh, I was asking you about comping, the comping tool.

Aaron Norris:
Comping? Oh, on the mailer it’s got a price range where it’s like, “Hey, this is our offer value, so you can export like our avium or what we think the property is worth and sort of plus and minus. There’s ways that you can do it in Excel to create that range to where a mail merger can be very specific to the area and the property, which is really cool.

Lauren Hardy:
Well, it sounds very, very interesting. Why don’t you drop where people can find that. I’m going to guess, is it propertyradar.com?

Aaron Norris:
Propertyradar.com. There’s a free three-day trial and what I’d really love… Wholesalers can actually be very big power users of the product, and it can be overwhelming where… Where it can be overwhelming for newbies getting into the industry. Another resource I’d like to plug is community.propertyradar.com. I monitor that, so if you get lost or have questions if you post in there, I’d be happy to respond.
I produce The Data-Driven Real Estate Podcast where we’re interviewing… This week, we got to interview The St. Louis Fed, the FRED Team, because I’m a nerd. We produce a lot of really cool content. If you sign up for the three-day trial, make sure to sing up for a one-on-one with the support. A lot of times it’s just you have in your mind what you want to do, you just don’t know the product enough to know exactly where you will need to get to. A 15-minute phone call can plug you in and make it valuable.

Lauren Hardy:
Awesome. I love it, I love it. Well, this was super interesting. We covered a lot of really interesting topic today that I don’t think [crosstalk 00:36:12]

Aaron Norris:
I hope so. I try to be the nerd.

Lauren Hardy:
You did. You delivered, you delivered. How can anyone get ahold of you? What are your socials? Drop it all here.

Aaron Norris:
Aaron Norris on Twitter. You can email me at aaron@propertyradar.com. If you’re from the East Coast, Aaron, A-A-R-O-N, so yeah [crosstalk 00:36:30] so yeah-

Lauren Hardy:
Awesome.

Aaron Norris:
… glad to help wherever I can.

Lauren Hardy:
Are you on Instagram?

Aaron Norris:
I am on Instagram under Aaron Norris. It’s mostly personal stuff, so see pictures of my cat and weird things I do out and about, speaking engagements, yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
Awesome, awesome. Well, you guys, we’ll put that in the show notes, and Aaron, it was so great to have you today. Honestly, it is an honor to be able to interview… I told my brother I was interviewing you. He’s like, “I can’t wait to listen to that.” He’s a big fan as well, so-

Aaron Norris:
Hopefully, we didn’t disappoint. I tried to nerd out on you.

Lauren Hardy:
Loved it. Loved every minute of it. All right, Aaron [crosstalk 00:37:03].
You guys want to learn more about taking your business virtual, I am coaching all things virtual. Check out www.virtualinvestingmastery.com. I have an awesome coaching program, so if you guys are interested, check it out. Hope you guys liked the episode today and we’ll see you next time.

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