It is the network’s goal to provide both consumers and real estate professionals with as much knowledge about the property industry as possible The educational component of GREEN means not only getting to know the subjects that fall under the umbrella of real estate, it means getting to know just who is holding the umbrella.
Company co-founder Steve Chaisson is a familiar face to many in the Middle Tennessee real estate community. An auction specialist whose techniques of “sniping” properties will be discussed thoroughly in his course on auctions on the GREEN educational platform, Chaisson’s diverse “bag of tricks” covers fixing, flipping, and holding various kinds of properties to help him get as much from an acquisition as possible. His interest in sharing his knowledge has now developed into the GREEN mission statement. Our interview with Steve is below.
GREEN: What is it you specifically do in real estate? What’s your background in real estate? What qualifies you (in your opinion) to be a teacher of such a subject?
Steve Chaisson: Along with building the education platform for GREEN and running the company as we prepare to launch, I currently attend auctions and buy properties for resale. I’ve been a broker for 16 years in the Nashville area and I’ve purchased, renovated, and flipped hundreds of homes. When I was an active real estate broker, I became the top RE/MAX agent in Tennessee with 270 homes sold in one year and personal commissions of $1.4 million.
GREEN: In terms of buying, there are differences in each state. What differences should people be looking for state to state in terms of buying real estate?
Steve: There are different ways to make money in each market. You need to network with people in the business to find out what works and what’s hot. Some markets are very active and will have plenty of inventory to purchase for rehab and resale. Other markets may have inexpensive cash flow properties to hold and manage for long-term rentals. Some markets may have active new construction opportunities. It’s important to build relationships with other professionals and bring together what works locally with your individual strengths and passions.
GREEN: Let’s discuss “constructive notices” and “non-judicial foreclosure processes,” and how these affect the acquisition of property in the state of Tennessee.
Steve: This could be a longer discussion, but for the purpose of brevity I will say that you need to locate the sources of public notices (e.g., the local newspaper; www.publicnoticeads.com; or local public records site) locally for homes that are going into foreclosure. These may represent opportunities to purchase before auction or at auction. They represent a segment of the market with fewer specialists and therefore more opportunities for active participants.
GREEN: What options for funding real estate purchases at auctions are there? Are there ramifications/consequences/ legal issues specific to each one? Discuss?
Steve: The first source I recommend is cash partners. You have to network and build relationships to find these people. They are everywhere, and there is always money available for a good deal. I tell people that come to our GREEN Investor Club meetings to call me, and I will gladly partner with them on a good deal. There are other hard money sources available that are generally local in nature. You have to get out and meet those people and find out what their terms are and if you need a partner to qualify for financing. As you progress and build stronger relationships you will find more sources available.
As far as legal issues go, you need to work with a local attorney or title company that is investor friendly. You should always defer to an attorney for legal questions.
GREEN: How and when should this financing be lined up?
Steve: You need to arrange for financing prior to any deal you do. One thing I can promise is that if you really have found a good deal, there are plenty of investors out there who will give advice on how to structure your deal and take it to the finish line. Get a viable partner who has flipped property before, and bring the deal to them. Unless you are coming into the transaction with your own cash, this is usually the best bet. Even if you have your own cash, developing relationships with their vendors will help you build your real estate business. If you are the type of investor who has plenty of cash but little direct experience in real estate investing, it may be best to partner with an active investor who finds plenty of deals but is limited on funds. There are many varieties of partnership and installment agreements used to structure deals. We will discuss them more specifically in our GREEN Investor Club meetings and in our education platform at www.learnfromgreen.com.
GREEN: How can one go about looking for such properties at auctions? To what resources should readers “keep their eye?”
Steve: Run an internet search for “public notices” and “foreclosures” in your area. Network with people who are in the business. Auctions are often held at the local courthouse steps or some local government department premises. Attend the auctions and talk to people. Take phone numbers, and sit down and have coffee or lunch with them. You will find that people love to talk about the deals that they are doing and that’s a great way to learn about what is happening on a local level.
GREEN: What qualities do you look for in a property of interest? What “seals the deal” for you, and what “breaks the deal” for you?
Steve: I like properties that have a broad market appeal for a quick sale at the price point I purchase. I prefer finding the types of deals I can call a friend to unload the same day or possibly list and know that I’ll have a profitable sale in a short period of time. Deal breakers are going to be based on the combination of my assessment of time and resources involved for the return received. I’ll buy a $20,000 property to turn it in a day for $25,000, but I would be hesitant to purchase a $500,000 property with a market value of $600,000 and an average sale time of 90 days. It’s simply a matter of assessing risk versus reward.
GREEN: Is there proper protocol for entering an auction? If so, what are those?
Steve: Anyone can attend an auction. Sometimes you register or sign in. Occasionally you may be required to provide identification if you are the winning bidder. Otherwise, it’s wide open. The terms of the auction may vary greatly from sale to sale.
GREEN: You’ve said that “more options are always better.” Discuss.
Steve: We are all in this business to make a profit. That requires an assessment of options for minimizing risk and maximizing profit. If someone offers you $20,000 more than you just paid for a property the same day, and you want to hold out because you think it’s worth $50,000 more, never simply dismiss the other offer immediately. We all make mistakes, and if you have made a mistake with your value estimate you may want to come back to that offer. Likewise, you may want to maximize your profit through a full renovation and retail resale, which could take much more time, but is easy for you because you have the contractors and resources in place for the long play on the deal. Creating “win-win” scenarios is a creative process, and you can’t bind yourself to linear thinking. Always remember that getting out of a deal profitably and quickly is a “win”, even if the profit was not what you expected. Learn to adjust your strategy according to adjusting your expectations.
GREEN: You’ve also shared that people shouldn’t get stuck in “linear thinking?” Let’s explore that.
Steve: I can promise you that there is always more than one way to create a deal. You need to learn to think like an entrepreneur. A real entrepreneur is a person who finds solutions in the market-place. This requires passion, confidence, and an active energy. These are the qualities of a person who doesn’t let obstacles get in the way of success. Every person has patterns of thought and action rooted in their experiences and their personality types. You need to actively model successful people who think in patterns that do not limit themselves to prescribed linear paths of action.
GREEN: What are the “pros and cons” of fixing, flipping, and holding a property?
Steve: We talked about this in one of our investor club meetings, and it will be archived on our website at www.learnfromgreen.com.
Dr. Molinari, Mark, and I will be actively assisting everyone out there who wants to either start a GREEN Investor Club or introduce the GREEN education platform to their investor group as a profit center and to help build membership. We want to stress that real estate education is as much about culture and relationships as it is facts, figures, and systems. Besides providing valuable online resources for coaching, education, and training, we want to provide a platform for building your local network of people to grow your real estate business. This isn’t just one voice or system — it’s a gathering of many voices and specialties within the field of real estate. We look forward to sharing our passion for real estate with everyone who joins our company.
Those wanting to learn more from Chaisson’s expertise are invited to check out the weekly GREEN Investor Club Meetings, as well as reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org