090: Building a Successful Real Estate Brokerage through REO with Rochelle Jones

Listing REO and HUD properties was a huge boost to my career as a real estate agent. It was also a huge boost to Rochelle Jones’ career who is my guest on this week’s episode of The InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. Not only has Rochelle become very successful selling REO and HUD properties, she has also built a fantastic business working with real estate investors including large hedge funds. Rochelle left her corporate career to become a real estate agent and loves every minute of the real estate business.

How did Rochelle become a real estate agent?

Rochelle was working in the corporate world when she had a couple of bad experiences with real estate agents. She realized that she could do a much better job, and knew a lot of people who were buying and selling houses. In 2006 Rochelle obtained her real estate license and started working with Keller Williams. She was not planning to go into the REO business, but she ended up with a short sale deal for her first listing. She started working with a real estate team who specialized in REO listings and was hooked.

How hard was it for Rochelle to break into the REO listing business?

I started listing REO properties around the same time as Rochelle in 2008. I was told that there were already too many agents listing REOs and it was impossible to get into the business. Luckily I ignored those people, because I was selling over 200 houses a year shortly after that. Rochelle was in the same boat, and was also able to become very successful as a REO listing broker even with a lot of competition. Eventually Rochelle was selling 400 houses a year with only three people on her team! That is a lot of work for three people and Rochelle admits now it was a little too much to take on, but they got it done.

How can being a REO agent help with real estate investing?

Rochelle is also very involved in the real estate investing world. She does not buy many investments herself, because she feels it is a conflict of interest, but helps many others invest in Texas. Rochelle thinks being a REO agent has helped her tremendously with investing, because of what banks require from REO agents. REO agents have to complete many broker price opinions (BPOS), which are reports that give the value of properties. Completing BPOs is a great way to learn market values, how to value properties, and to learn how appraisers come up with their values.

Being a REO agent also introduced Rochelle to many real estate investors large and small. Rochelle has many large institutional investment buyers who have bought hundreds of homes in her market. Rochelle’s connections with banks and REO organizations helped her network with large companies to bring in a lot of business.

Why did Rochelle become a managing broker?

Rochelle helped start a brokerage with a Hedge fund: Alta Realty Company. She manages over 30 agents across multiple offices. Rochelle has also opened a property management branch, which is used by many of her corporate clients. Rochelle is always looking for successful agents to join her team, and gives some advice for new agents.

  • If at all possible, start out full-time. It is very difficult to be a part-time real estate agent and serve your clients well.
  • Learn many different ways to make money as an agent, but only focus on one or two that you like the most.
  • Always learn and expand what you know about real estate.

How can you reach Rochelle?

Rochelle loves to help real estate agents in Texas with residential and commercial projects. She may be looking for new agents to join her office as well. You can reach Rochelle at 832 637 3700 or Rochelle.jones@altarealtyco.com.

[0:00:58.3] MF: Hey everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with InvestFourMore. Welcome to another episode of the InvestFourMore real Estate Podcast. I have a very cool guest on for today’s show, someone I’ve known personally for a while, Rochelle Jones, who’s the managing broker of Alta Realty Company in Houston. Rochelle has been an agent for a very long time, a broker, and her specialty is REO, listing properties for banks, like mine is as well, or was before the market went crazy in Colorado. She also has a ton of other things going on in her business. Really happy to have Rochelle in the show. Thank you so much for joining us. How are you doing?


[0:01:37.6] RJ: I’m great Mark, thank you so much for the great introduction, and I’m excited to be here.


[0:01:42.5] MF: Nope. No worries. I know you have a lot going on, so I appreciate you taking the time out to do this. I like to start out every show just kinda getting some background. What first got you interested in real estate and how did you get into the business?


[0:01:56.8] RJ: Wow! That’s a great question. What initially paved my interest was the transaction experience that I had in my first home purchase. The agent that we selected was not a great agent and I found myself doing most of the work. After doing so and sharing with other people my experience with buying a home and trying to help them do the process, I realized that I was eventually bound to eventually have a career in this business, but I had rejected it for quite a while.


After working with another agent, Sineen, I found an agent who really had great lip service and talked about all of the service that they provided that I sent my friends and family to. I found myself yet once again doing all of the work for that agent. I decided that it was time for me to pursue further action in real estate.


[0:02:47.7] MF: What were you doing at the time? Did you have a corporate job? What was your occupation?


[0:02:53.8] RJ: I was in performance management in telecommunications, so I had worked in cellular, and in paging, landlines. I kinda group up in telcom. Specifically, I was more in the training and development field. I did performance management. After several acquisitions and mergers I decided that it was as best of a time as any to go ahead and take the plunge.


[0:03:18.1] MF: How rough was it when you first started as an agent? Was it what you thought it would be? Was it harder, or easier?


[0:03:23.9] RJ: You know, all of the above actually, Mark. This is a great question, ‘cause it’s making me relieve some of my courageous time in real estate. I was licensed in 2006, so I’m sure you recalled that there was quite a unique transition going on during that time. I had immediately joined Keller Williams, which was a phenomenal brokerage to start my career path with. Shortly after that, I actually got pregnant and I was doing some consulting for some other realtors that were specializing in REO, and as much I didn’t want to get into REO, it was just really a good blueprint.


Short sales were not at the peak in Texas as they were in California, but my first close transaction was actually a short sales that have been foreclosed on by the HOA, and I became an intermediary on the transaction, so I was baptized by fire. Like any abusive relationship, I keep coming back for more.


[0:04:21.7] MF: That’s quite the first deal to get into. Man! Obviously, your career progressed pretty quickly. If you got your license in 2006, and I know how successful you are, did you jump in all the way into REO or did it take some time to really get your feet into that business?


[0:04:38.8] RJ: Within the first year, I was pretty knee deep in it. I started supporting other brokers that had an REO business doing BPOs, doing drive-bys, and then because of my previous experience in corporate America with training in development, I started consulting for some REO teams.


Around 2007 and 2008 is when I really decided that I was going to fully commit myself to the REO pillar of business, and that’s when I started direct building and developing my own source of business and relationships.


[0:05:09.4] MF: I know we’re in a completely different market now for REO, and HUDs, and short sales than back then, but for those — I get a lot of questions for people who want to get into REO, maybe if the markets change, or depending on where there are in the country. How different is it now trying to get into the REO business than it was back in 2008?


[0:05:28.1] RJ: It’s probably quite similar, because in 2008, in 2009, many of the networks were maxed out. They had their preferred agent networks. It really took an aggressive knock at the door. It wasn’t just signup and get assets. Whereas in 2006, 2007, that certainly was the case. It was certainly more refined.


Today, the challenge is not so much getting into the network, but it’s validating; number one, your work, your resources, and your abilities. Whereas before, you could get an asset and they’d give you a try. If you did a great job, you got more asset. Today, you have to go in and you have to be shinny and sparkly. In many cases, you have to have an affiliate, be an affiliate, because the inventory levels are just not there at a nationwide perspective.


I would equally weigh them. One was getting in the door, just getting the table, just getting the opportunity. Today, you can get to the table, but you’d have to really state your claim and your importance. Even with that, you have to give them bonafide reason of why to pick you, because they’ve got one asset with 20 vetted agents that are already within their network.


[0:06:43.2] MF: Right. That’s a great answer. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with REO, and foreclosures, and listing, back in 2008, 2009 was then a lot of assets were going to foreclosure. That’s about the same time I began my REO career as well. I ran to the same thing where other REO agents would say, “You can’t get into the business. It’s already shutdown. They have enough agents. There’s no room for more.” That wasn’t correct. You just had to work a little harder than maybe they did. We’re already in it to get into the REO. Yeah, it was not easy to get into REO back then because there’re so many agents trying to get into it. Now, there’s a lot less agents, but there’s a lot less property. It’s kind of a similar situation like you said.


What about BPOs? That was how I first got into the business. You think that’s still a great way for agents to kind of get their foot in the door?


[0:07:33.1] RJ: You know what? I’m going to say yes. It may not necessarily be with a direct assignment, but I was told that same thing and I actually paid for REO coaching. I was really hungry and really wanted to be in this business. I was really a gopher. If you need me to do anything at all, I was willing to do it. The reason why I say yes to that is the foundation of real estate as a whole, whether it’d be residential, commercial, traditional, institutional, it’s based on valuation.


What we learned in real estate school and what we learned through the process of compiling a CMA is not the same as facilitating and completing a BPO. When you complete a BPO, you have to give variants of opinions of value; what’s the as is value? What’s the after repaired value? We even take it a step further and give a recommended value which is going to be something that says, “We recommend not only repairs, but updates, upgrades. Things that are going to make this property top of the market,” that things doesn’t always ask you that. They just want as is, 30-day in ARV.


I think that the BPO piece is critical to any practitioner of real estate because it gives you the fundamentals and the grounding to really be the best at providing value. That’s going to take you a long way in any segmentation of real estate.


[0:08:58.0] MF: That’s an awesome answer. You’re so right about the whole CMA thing producing those for — What a CMA is a comparative market value analysis. It is supposed to give a value for a house. You’d create one for people who want to sell their house, but it’s not detailed. They’re created for you through MLS systems, and a BPO is 10 times more accurate and detailed and it really teaches agents how to value properties. If you’re an investor, it really helps you determine values in your market. It’s helped me a ton. Nikki, who’s my project manager on flips, she first started the business by doing BPO, so she’s an expert on values and backs me up on my things.


Yeah, BPOs, which are broker price opinions is what they stand for, are what many banks use to value their foreclosures. They hire agents to do them. In the past, you did a bunch of BPOs, it might lead you to get into their REO business and get REO listings. Now, it’s kind of tricky on if you get those listening from doing BPOs. I think one thing for sure is it gives people experience, at least, on the default side a little bit. If you’re trying to get into an REO company and they see you’ve done BPOs before and you know how to complete a BPO, you’re way ahead of someone who has no idea what they are.



[0:10:12.9] RJ: Absolutely.


[0:10:14.2] MF: Awesome. Besides the REO side, I guess I’ll ask you now, at your peak, how many REO properties do you think you are selling a year?


[0:10:23.3] RJ: About 400.


[0:10:25.4] MF: Yeah, pretty good amount. How big was your team to handle that many properties?


[0:10:31.6] RJ: You know what the funniest thing Mark, is it was small, actually. There was three of us at that time, and my team grew with the need to diversify business and to identify different opportunities within that. We were really too small to handle that type of volume, but we were capable and we would have been a lot less stressed out and probably even a better service provider if we had just had one more man on deck. Once I realized that as a leader of the business to say, “We really need more hands-on. We need to really be able to core focus on each portfolio, each client.” That’s when the business started to fall off a little bit, but I never went back to the model of do as much as you can with as little as you can, because I have things that you should be to scale. To scale does not mean working with the most minimal standards, because you’re not in a position to where you can receive or execute better and more efficiently if you’re working completely to your capacity.


[0:11:37.5] MF: I imagine it adds a level of stress to yourself and your family as well.


[0:11:41.5] RJ: It does, and there’s no off space when you work like that. It has to be balanced with many things.


[0:11:48.4] MF: Yeah. When I first in the business and going crazy, we take vacations, and I spend have the time doing BPOs, talking to banks, and it drove my wife crazy. I know exactly where you’re coming from there.


[0:12:01.2] RJ: Exactly.


[0:12:02.8] MF: With REOs, I know, it took me a while to get this, but that’s how I built my retail team was using REOs and getting more agents. In the beginning, were you using buyers’ agents and taking advantage of the leads that came in from those REO listings?


[0:12:17.0] RJ: Initially, yes. I did have buyers’ agents and then I realized that they need training as well. They need someone that can provide them ongoing support. I went to a model of where I actually sourced out all of my leads, and utilized many agents within the Keller Williams network, but also used agents outside of the Keller Williams network. We were on the referral basis, so they paid me a referral for the lead. I have them accountable for giving me feedback and it allowed me to focus more so on the operation and the daily function of the business.


[0:12:52.4] MF: That makes sense. Eventually, you started your own brokerage. How soon did that happen, and what was the reasoning behind that?


[0:13:00.2] RJ: I did. Actually, also, it’s unique, because I’m not the owner of Alta. We are actually owned and backed by a hedge fund. A couple of years ago, one of our clients, a capital partner, which is a hedge fund, decided that they wanted to venture into the brokerage services, and it was going to happen whether or not I became their partner for Texas in doing so.


Looking at all the opportunities and looking at what my contributions would be to helping them build and launch this brand as well as being able to launch a team and a brokerage on my own, I felt like it was the right time and the right platform for me to do that, and we’re in year two of that now.


[0:13:42.0] MF: How different is it managing an office besides just kinda having your team within Keller Williams?


[0:13:47.7] RJ: It’s very similar together. The reason why is because I believe in training. I believe that whether your team lead the Rainmaker, or the sole entity, you have to keep your saw sharp. Managing a team of individuals who have their core business, you get to share their dreams more so than just having your one vision. I think that that would be the key difference is that I get to be a part of the dreams and visions of 30 people versus just those, the output of my own.


[0:14:20.9] MF: Very cool. Is your brokerage now — Is it mostly traditional retail agents?


[0:14:26.2] RJ: It is. I have an office in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and a partnership in Northern California. We are probably about 60% of what I refer to as organic business based on lead generation and traditional efforts. Then, about 40% across the board, in regards to institution. For Texas, our numbers are a little bit different. Texas were heavier on institution than we are in traditional. The reason for that is because of the different pillars that we operate in with different hedge funds, private equity firms, traditional homebuyers and sellers.


[]0:15:02.0 MF: Very cool. For those who aren’t too familiar with it, what do you mean by an institutional buyer? What does that look like for you as an agent or broker?


[0:15:12.3] RJ: Institutional buyers, they can be an independent entity, they operate as an LLC, a trust, a fund, private equity, hedge fund, and we have them in multiple capacities. We represent them on the buy side where they’re looking for properties to acquire either as a whole strategy or for them to flip and sell for a return. The same thing on the selling side, we have some hedge funds, private equity firms equally that are liquidating their portfolios that we assist them in the disposition of their portfolios as well.


[0:15:44.2] MF: Right. How many properties — Are they buying more than they’re selling right now still?


[0:15:49.1] RJ: This year has been unique. This year is off to a very unique start here and we’re trying to identify and pulse it out. Over the couple of years, Texas as a whole has invited many of the large, what I call, the big boy club, your multibillion dollar hedge funds that came in and bought a lot, especially for the Blackstone calling me. Everyone you could think of that had a billion dollar to spend. Texas was certainly within their footprint to buy and hold.


Those holds were initially intended with a five to seven year hold strategy, and we’re at the maturity of that, and we’ve even seen some of the funds actually fully mature, some of them have distribute, some have reconvened, some have redirected. We’re seeing that at large scale. Initially, what happened is they were bringing some of those homes to the public market and selling it. You saw some of the funds suspended selling — Suspended buying, and they started selling.


Then, you saw them pick up buying again, and so everything that makes it doesn’t make sense right now. It’s like, “Okay. Are you in disposition? Are you in acquisition?” I think that a lot of it is with the anticipation of what’s going to go on with Wall Street, whether or not there will be stabilization within stocks bonds commodities, or if they should continue to invest in real estate or redirect.


What we are seeing often in our market is an increased focused in multifamily. Multi-families just kinda been there, say, for those that love to play in that sandbox, but we’re seeing peaked interest in some of our institutional clients that we’re seeing. Can you give me data in returns? What’s it look like? Because they all want to come to what we refer to as scale. Having one property in Houston is not good performance for them unless they actually bring it to where they have hundreds of properties in Houston, so that it makes sense for them to actually geographically identify that is an area of investment.


[0:17:47.9] MF: Wow! They’re still not going on down there. When these hedge funds are buying, you mentioned buying one house versus a hundred, they have to manage those properties. If they have tenants in them, are they using local managers? Are you helping out with that? How are they handling that?


[0:18:03.5] RJ: A little bit of both. We’ve seen that, normally, the once that enter the market, they’ll utilize our services for a local property management company services until once they reach about 100 to 150 doors, it makes a lot of sense monetarily for them to internalize that process. Some of the funds — Most of them will go that route. They’ll either; a, internalize it completely within their own house, or they do a JV with a property management company that helps reduce their cost in doing so.


Then, there’re a couple of funds out there who absolutely have no interest in it. It just really depends on each client. More commonly, we do see that once they reach 100 doors, that they internalize their process.


[0:18:49.3] MF: Okay. That makes sense. I guess another question I’m sure many people have is how did you meet these hedge funds and how did you start getting business from them?


[0:18:58.0] RJ: It’s a combination of things. One, being aligned in the REO, you become a magnet for investors, period. They start seeing your listings, they want to bark with you, they want to bark with you, they want to bank with you. The other thing is that I attribute Mike Krein who is the founder of NRBA with giving us the future several years ago. He kept saying, “This is going to change. This is going to change.”


To further research, I was looking at where the assets were going. We start seeing that pulls were being traded before they hit the foreclosure at the trustee sale, and so I started following that data. I also started attending a lot of hedge fund type conferences. I wanted to become familiar with their entity. I didn’t know, really, outside of collecting money and making returns the function of a hedge fund. I wanted to become more aware of their functionality, pros, the cons, the good, the bad, and so I started attending investment conferences.


A lot of them came to me by way of referral or reference from some of my asset management companies, different things that I’ve posted on the internet. My greatest source of reference has been through networking and at conferences.


[0:20:11.3] MF: Yeah, and I’ve been to a few of those conferences as well, I’ve seen you there. I’ve seen you all the time at the NRBA conferences, and I think there’s a misconception, you go to those conferences to gain knowledge, and learn, or meet clients, which does happen, but almost always the biggest benefit is meeting other agents and networking and just meeting people is just such a huge part of those.


[0:20:32.2] RJ: Absolutely, and the data is really great, because we don’t speak in cap grade, and performa, and ROI on a daily basis and traditional real estate.


[0:20:41.7] MF: That’s very true. Going to those conferences will open your eyes about seeing how the big institutional investors who owned thousands of homes, or tens of thousands of houses talk and how they look at returns, and cap rates, and ROI. It just really opens your eyes on how they’ve scaled their business to just be massive with one house at a time kind of — It’s pretty amazing how they’ve done it.


[0:21:05.5] RJ: Absolutely. Absolutely.


[0:21:08.0] MF: You’ve obviously had a tone of success with the hedge funds, the REO business, starting your own brokerage. Are you doing any of your own investing right now, or are you just focusing on the brokerage right now?


[0:21:19.9] RJ: You know, a little bit of both. More so focused — Like the last couple of years has been building Alta. The irony of being so loosely spread amongst all the different pillars of real estate is that when you represent clients that are buying and hold, buying and sell, they’re flipping, they’re renting, you’re kinda pitching yourself out, because you never want to put your needs or your desires before those of your clients and you have fiduciary responsibility.


As far as Texas goes, I don’t stand the chance to really be able to pick anything up, because I have the needs of my clients before my own. This year I’m really taking interest to doing some out of state investing in states where I don’t represent clients so there’s no conflict of interest.


[0:22:04.9] MF: I know what you mean. I will be totally honest with investors, ‘cause they see my blog, and my site, and rentals or flips and they ask me to help them find flips. I’m like, “I want to buy the same properties you want me to help you buy. I don’t think I’m the person you want to work with. I can send someone on my team.” Yeah, it’s definitely going to be conflict of interest if you’re investing yourself and helping other investors buy if you want to buy the same properties. You do have to be very careful with that.


What states are you looking at, if you don’t mind me asking?


[0:22:36.1] RJ: Tennessee keeps coming up. Missouri is one of interest. I don’t want to do the hotspots like Georgia, Florida. There’s some opportunity in California. I know I read recently that Forbes have identified Central Valley, California, it’s one of the best places for investing. That’s an area that’s peaking my interest. I really want to find that next big thing before anybody knew it was a big thing.


It takes a little bit deeper dive outside of even just the housing statistics. It’s like what’s going on anywhere that employment is certainly increasing and the cost and affordability of lifestyle is still at its best of a minimal standard. Missouri is a great one of that. Then, of course, municipalities and things like that. The things that we don’t all have straight line of site to, because each local area is governed by different municipalities.


Obviously, the northeast is going bananas with foreclosures right now. I would like to take that next layer of due diligence to understand what the potential threats area with that. I don’t mind holding for 10 years and waiting for the bubble to increase, decrease, and then shipple up to a reality, but it’s got to be balanced with economic and geographic structure. Tennessee had ebbs and flows but the one thing that’s consistent are employment rate. Even though their housing market keeps increasing, decreasing, their employment rate has maintained stability. Same thing like the St. Louis area has experienced the same thing. I’ve got those — Those things are certainly on my radar for potential opportunities.


[0:24:19.1] MF: Great information. I’m curious, bringing up Summer Pointe. How did Texas handle the housing boom and bust? From what I’ve seen, it didn’t look like it jumped up nearly as high or dropped nearly as high as many other places.


[0:24:32.1] RJ: Exactly. Texas is very solid and stable within that. If I didn’t represent so many investment clients here in Texas, I would certainly look at Texas to be a phenomenal place to invest. Especially, all of the major metropolitan areas; Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, which is why we setup officer in those locations.


When the national average equity was jumping at a hundred times, California, being the trend setter of 100% equity in 90 days, if you were building out phase one, you had 100% by the time phase two was complete. We never experienced that. Our greatest peak of equity was at about 22%, and then our greatest loss was at 18%. We’re very, very stable.


What’s appealing about that is you have a safe bed. What a lot of investors will look at if it’s at that level of appreciation, half is not there. They want something that in a years’ time I’m going to be able to tell you that you’re going to have 10%, 15%, 20% growth yield. It’s not going to happen. Likewise, nor you’re going to lose that type of money.


For someone that’s looking for a large span or a large yield, Texas is not the market. For someone that’s flipping, we get calls all the time. People that want us to work with them. The first thing I ask them, “What are you looking for? What are you looking — At the end of the deal, what are you looking for?” “20%, 30%,” then I’ll tell them we’re not the right team for them, ‘cause those deals are far and few between. We represent clients that are looking anywhere from 10% to 15%. We would show your offer up every time. There’s no motivation in us working with you, because we would be looking at the same properties offering a more competitive offer.


Liking into that is we want to assist as many people as we can to help build or stabilize your portfolio, but it has to come with balance of logic and then truly understanding a market place. We’re not here to find the needle in the haystack. If we lucky and find a lucky charm along the way, that’s fantastic. If we spend our time looking for the needle within the haystack, then we’ve missed the purpose of the haystack.


[0:26:36.9] MF: Right. That’s a great information, insight. We’ve been extremely lucky in Colorado, our prices have doubled in four or five years, and I’d love to do that again, but I think it’s kind of an anomaly that that happened with the housing crash and employment here going crazy and different things. Yeah, I’d love to find that in other areas as a market. Really, I think 5% to 10% appreciation is really good no matter where you’re at if you can also cash flow in a property, but I always like to say, invest for cash flow, hope for appreciation. If you want those huge returns, you’ve got to be prepared for huge loses as well, ‘cause that’s what happen in a housing crisis too.


[0:27:17.5] RJ: Exactly.


[0:27:18.4] MF: Awesome information. With your investing, your brokerage, everything, do you have any big goals for the future? Are you trying to buy a certain number of properties? Are you trying to grow your brokerage to a certain amount, or you just kind of real happy where things are going with steady growth? What are your plans?


[0:27:34.8] RJ: If every day stayed like today, I’d still be blessed. Now, if I put in a prayer request to say, “Lord, if you’re serving up special requests, this is what I would love.” My future plan, if it’s my own desire and in my own fulfillment, I believe in the next 5 to 10 years, I’ll be more bound in the development arena. I really would love to get more involved with commercial development and take on some larger scaled projects. Do some metro lifestyle conversions and things to that nature. Hopefully, God has the same plan for me, and the next 5 to 10 years I’ll be embarking on new adventures.


[0:28:17.9] MF: Awesome. With those, are you looking to kinda take those on yourself, or would you be using some hedge fund partners? How do you think that would all work out?


[0:28:26.3] RJ: Initially, I would probably partner with a couple of capital opportunities for funding and hopefully they would take flight and return the equity and the returns that’s anticipated and I’d be able to take down more of the projects myself. Eventually, I’d like to fully be able to fund them myself, and I believe that that’s an area, especially,  for women that’s really untapped.


[0:28:53.3] MF: Yeah. That’d be awesome. You have to keep me updated on that and how that works out.


[0:28:57.5] RJ: I certainly will. I certainly will.


[0:28:59.8] MF: Plus, with that, I imagine that you’re not going to be competing with your investors very much. It sounds like a pretty one-off thing that you’d be okay with doing in your area, right?


[0:29:08.6] RJ: Absolutely. We’ve had a couple of our capital partners that have already declared that they would assist with funding anything and everything that’s presented. They like the returns that we provide them. If I had a bridge in Manhattan to sell them, if I could put the marketing plan together, they certainly would subscribe to it.


[0:29:29.1] MF: Awesome. That’s a pretty good partner to have on your back if you need them. That’s for sure.


[0:29:35.7] RJ: Yes, absolutely.


[0:29:37.6] MF: Awesome information. Thank you for sharing all these. It’s always intriguing hearing how people have built their business and what they’re doing and all the different things you’ve kind of been working on the last few years. One last thing, of course, I want to give you a chance, is how can you help people either in Texas or even other states, what services can you offer them and how can people get in touch with you to have you help them with those?


[0:30:01.1] RJ: Thank you. We would love to assist. We’re certainly looking at growing additional basis and identifying key partners along the way. My office line is 832-637-3700. You can also contact me by email, which is rochelle.jones@altarealtyco.com. Out best fitted partner is someone who’s looking — We prefer — Especially in the Texas market, as we talked about the appreciation and being able to gain good equity. We believe that the long stride of that is actually going to be more so for the investor that likes the whole.


We do work with flippers, many of flippers, but it’s a congested space, so we like to build specific portfolios that are going to return the equity and the principle that they are looking for, so that we’re certainly in an ironclad and a performance agreement. What we offer is the knowledge experience. We utilize multiple tools to make sure that our investors’ needs are met, because often what we also come across is the investor who doesn’t necessarily have a performa, or a calculator that they’re utilizing. They’re just analyzing each deal as whether or not it’s a good deal or a bad deal.


We actually have someone on staff that will speak with them about their financial returns, what they’re looking for, and we actually establish for them their own calculator, but that does have a minimum performance requirement. We have to be in a relationship where we’re looking to take down at least five units per month for you.


We customize a calculator for your returns, whether you’re buying, holding. We have hybrid investors who like both, and so we have calculators that will say, “This is what it will return for you if you decide to hold it. Here’s what it will return for you if you decide to move it.” That’s, I think, a unique proposition that we’re able to offer to our investors.


In addition to that, because of our commercial foundation, we do have commercial tools as well. We have two fulltime commercial analysts. They analyze deals, so that will be both for buy and hold as well as resell opportunities. We’re members of LoopNet as well CoStar. We have all of the latest and greatest things that would make sure that the investor’s decisions and there are details and information needed to make a sound decision that’s provided upfront.


[0:32:25.0] MF: You’ve got quite a bit going on for sure. One last thing, since you’ve got your own brokerage, are you looking for new agents?


[0:32:32.4] RJ: We never say no. We’re always looking for the right fit. We are a boutique style brokerage. We’re very rich on our offerings, so in addition to offering leads and things to that nature, we offer custom marketing plans, we offer signs, business cards. We give a lot, but that’s because we believe that we handpick and select the right agents. We’re just not the brokerage where you hand your license. We’re the ones that you’re a member of the team. Someone that’s going to be equally committed and open to new idea, new concepts, and to trying different elements of real estate.


[0:33:07.4] MF: That’s great to hear, and there’s a big difference between brokerages. You know that. I know that. A lot of new agents may not know that. They may go for the lowest possible amount of money they have to pay their brokerage, but it’s so important, the training, and the team concept to be a successful agent. I always like to say, earning 100% or 95% of zero commissions is not better than earning a smaller percentage of a lot of house sales.


[0:33:32.7] RJ: A lifelong skill. Yup, exactly. Exactly.


[0:33:35.3] MF: Great information. Thank you so much. One last thing. I’ve got one last question for you. It doesn’t have to be too in-depth, but for anybody looking to become an agent, maybe they’re brand new, what’s one piece of advice you can give them to be successful in the business?


[0:33:48.5] RJ: First piece of advice — I’m going to give you two. The first one is, is that I’m a strong believer and advocate that real estate should not be something you consider doing part-time, or even transitional. I know a lot of times we’re still used to having an 8 to 5, or a paycheck, and we’re scared to let that go because real estate is commission only. This is commonly the single most expensive investment that your clients are going to make and they deserve more than someone that’s just a part-time. That’s just a pet peeve of mine. That one was for free.


[0:34:19.9] MF: I agree.


[0:34:22.0] RJ: For the new agent that’s really trying to find their place, it’s kind of like college. You’re going to change your major four times before you get it right. Expose yourself and learn about everything so that you can identify what you’re best at. When you identify what you’re best at, do that a lot, do that most, and continuously be a student. Don’t ever get to the point where you know everything and that you’re no longer valued as a student. Always be a student.


[0:34:51.9] MF: That is awesome advice, and I agree with everything you just said wholeheartedly. Rochelle, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate you taking the time to do it. A lot of awesome information on a lot of different subjects. You’ve got a lot going on. I’m so glad to see you being successful in so many different things. Yeah, good luck to you in the future. Hopefully you can get some development going, and I want to hear about it. Yeah, thank you again for being on the show and I hope you have a great rest of the week.


[0:35:17.3] RJ: Right. Thanks Mark, it’s a pleasure spending anytime with you my friend.


[0:35:21.8] MF: All right. Thank you. All right, we’ll talk soon.


[0:35:25.0] RJ: Okay. Sounds great. Thank you.

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