3/13/11: Commercial Lending Challenges and Opportunities – Be the Brainer

When we went to the National Hard Money Conference in Las Vegas, we met a guy who had over 30 years in commercial hard money lending.   Based on that alone we wanted to talk with him.

But because we’re busy prepping for our Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar, we were especially anxious to get perspectives from a 30 year vet.  After all, we think it’s a great time for real estate entrepreneurs to step in and help heal a decimated economy by getting capital flowing into properties and projects.  But what does an industry insider think?

Before leaving Las Vegas, we set up our mobile studio.  We wanted to make sure that what happened in Vegas didn’t stay there.  Behind the microphones for this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show:

  • Your hard money host, Robert Helms
  • Your semi-hard money co-host, Russell Gray
  • Special guest, founder and CEO of Blackburne & Sons and C-Loans, George Blackburne

Just like in the grocery, hardware and car part businesses, the financial industry has suppliers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.  But the product being distributed is money.

Most people are familiar with banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and the types of retail transactions they engage in.  Some people (like small business owners) are somewhat familiar with local business banks and other institutional sources of commercial capital.  But most people have only a vague understanding of private capital and the term “hard money” – especially when it comes to small commercial businesses and properties.  So we open the show with a quick overview of the term “hard money” and a quick discussion of how it fits into the financial food chain.

But we don’t take long to get our guest talking about his 30+ years in the business and what he sees going forward.

George Blackburne has been helping guide private money into local projects and properties three decades.  Along the way, he’s seen a lot of changes.  Being an entrepreneur, he saw a need in the commercial funding business which emerging technology could solve.  So fourteen years ago, he founded C-Loans, an on-line directory that matches borrower and brokers with sources of funding.  We thought is was such a cool idea, we’re adding it to our Resource Center.

In addition to being a money guy and an entrepreneur, George is also a lawyer licensed in two states.  In other words, he’s a pretty sharp guy.  So we were very gratified when he told us he thought 2011 would be “the year of the hard money lender”.   It just made us all the more certain that now is the time for all good real estate entrepreneurs to come to the aid of their country and consider getting into the private capital business.

While many are frustrated waiting for corporations to create jobs and banks to start lending to small business, entrepreneurs can create a job for themselves and others while getting into the game of investing private capital.

There are tons of distressed assets available for pennies on the dollar, and deserving projects just waiting to be funded.  And while banks are only interested in the “low hanging fruit”, (the “no brainers” as George calls them), there are lots of “outrageous profits” waiting for those are willing to “be the brainer”!

We think this era will be remembered not only as the “year of the hard money lender”, but as one of the greatest opportunities to build wealth with real estate that we may see in several decades.  Check out this episode and see what you think!

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7/25/10: Entrepreneurs in the New Economy – Getting Paid to Solve Problems

Do you remember the old “new” economy? That was the one where technology companies could go public without profit.  In some cases, they didn’t even need revenue. Ahhhh, those were the days.

The new “new” economy (the Great Recession one) hasn’t been nearly as fun – unless you’re an old school entrepreneur.  That’s the kind who looks at problems as opportunities.  Guys (and gals) like that are having a lot of fun right now because there are opportunities galore coming out of the Great Recession.

The Real Estate Guys™ headed off to Freedom Fest in Las Vegas a few weeks back.  We heard that money manager / economist / author / Senate candidate Peter Schiff would be there (among many other people with very strong opinions about the U.S. economy) and we wanted to do some interviews.  We’re happy to report we got lots of great stuff, including Mr. Schiff and the CEO of Forbes Magazine, Steve Forbes.  Watch for those interviews in future broadcasts.

So we fly into Las Vegas in our private jet (the one operated by Southwest Airlines), and get to the convention venue and start setting up our booth.  Before the event had even started, a man stops by and sees our banner for Belize (we were promoting our upcoming field trip to Belize) and asks a few questions.  The short of it is that we find out he’s working on a very exciting project in the Caribbean – one that solves a problem we’ve been trying to figure out too.  Russ gets so excited that he hugs the guy. Very weird.

After the appropriate apologies and some follow up male bonding, our new friend agrees to do a radio interview.  And that’s what this broadcast is all about.

Manning the microphones for this edition of The Real Estate Guys™ Radio Show:

  • Your host, the Larry King of real estate radio, Robert Helms
  • Co-host, our “I love you, man” booth babe, Russell Gray
  • Special Guest, Investment Banker, Entrepreneur and assault victim, Jeff Villwock

Any time we get around smart people, we jump on the opportunity to talk with them. In this case, Russ literally jumped on Jeff.  When Jeff recovered, we got him on the mic, so you can listen to what he’s doing, where he’s doing it and why.  There’s lots of lessons to be gleaned!

Freedom Fest is an event that attracts people with strong political opinions.  In many of the interviews we did there, those opinions come out.  Great!  We think the world works better when people respectfully debate important issues.  Sharing ideas is among the most sacred of our freedoms, especially if you’re radio guys.

We also realize that the U.S. (the bulk of our audience) is pretty polarized right now.  Now, we love our entire audience and our show isn’t political.  However, policies affect economics and economics affects real estate. There shouldn’t be a serious student of real estate who can look at the last several years and deny that.  So politics are going to get into the discourse from time to time, which is a very good thing.

We think these Freedom Fest interviews are great.  If you disagree with the political views of our guests, don’t let that get in the way of hearing what’s being said.  Here’s why:  a big part of real estate investing is understanding demographics and human nature. How people think and believe affects where they (and their money) will be moving.  Even if you disagree with them, if they believe it, it will affect their actions. So YOU need to understand them (even if you disagree) if you want to anticipate their behavior.

Did we mention that Jeff’s project is in St. Kitts?  It just so happens that St. Kitts is one of the stops on our upcoming 9th Annual Summit at Sea!  So we ask Jeff if we can visit his project as part of our already planned real estate shore excursion in St. Kitts. Not only does Jeff agree to allow us to visit, he says he’ll meet us there and show us around.  Awesome!

Once again, we’re reminded of the importance of getting out of our cubicles and into the world where real people are. No doubt that virtual networking is powerful, but just as phones did not replace face to face meetings, neither will social media replace conventions as a great place to make important connections.  This is one of the reasons we attend trade shows and promote our field trips and the Summit at Sea™.  It’s a great way to get to know great people in the real world.  We hope to see YOU at one very soon!

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