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Focusing On Your Note Investing Goals with Note Mastermind Member Wylea Griggs
I’m excited to be here with you. We have a rock star in the making as a guest, a lovely lady who’s doing some great things out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. We have the one, the only, the lovely Wylea Griggs join us on the show. You have an honor. You’re the first person in the Mastermind to win back-to-back Social Media Superstars of the event. Did you not know that?
I didn’t know that.
She’s kicking butt and taking names.
You’re doing a great job. Thank yourself there. For those that don’t know who you are, share who you are.
I am the owner of Eleesee Solutions. We’re a local Grand Rapids note investing company. We invest in nonperforming and we’re getting some performing notes as well.
Are you 100% in this? Is this a side hustle after your regular job? What’s going on with that?
This is on part-time as a note investor. I do have a full-time job. I’m a counselor for the State of Michigan, which I love that as well. I do want to branch out and become a regular note investor full-time.
What’s your real estate investing experience prior to becoming a note investor?
I started real estate investing in 2015 and it was the first home that I bought. Instead of selling it, I’m a natural helper, so I wanted to help homeless single mothers stay in their home. What I did was I partnered with a nonprofit agency and I rented my property out to the nonprofit to help homeless single mothers. We kept that going for a year-and-a-half. Eventually, I wound up selling the home and the nonprofit wound up getting a new building because they were getting too big for my home.
How many people stayed in it?
They had four people staying in it. When I sold that home, I bought it originally for $55,000 and I wound up selling it for $110,000.
You doubled your money on that one. I would want to sell it too like, “Get out of my house. I’ve got to make some money on this.”
After I sold that home, it was an a-ha moment. This is what I want to do. I want to be a real estate investor. From there, I started investing in fix and flips, I also did wholesale properties and then I became another landlord. I bought another property and wanted to help the younger population to prevent homelessness. I did rent out my home for maybe a few months, but the couple didn’t pair out. They wound up splitting up and I sold that home for a great profit as well. It was a foreclosed home that we always target. I bought that home for $30,000, put $20,000 in it and sold that home for $110,000. From that point on, we started looking for more homes, but we got into bidding wars and things like that. That’s why I wanted to switch to note investing.
You’re living up in Grand Rapids, a great area. One of the first note deals you did was also in your backyard?
It was at Muskegon Heights.
Let’s talk about that. I remember you saying that you would drive-by the house almost every day.
I do and I still do.
Let’s talk about the numbers on that one.
The UPB for the Muskegon Heights is $35,000. I wound up paying $9,900 for the home. I put the bar on a forbearance payment plan.
This is an occupied contract for deed. Is that right?
Correct and the borrower is still paying on time $400 a month.
$400 a month times 12 is $4,800. You’re getting a 50% annualized return on your money on that one. Do you like the cash aspect of that?
Yes, I love it.
How many deals have you closed so far?
I’ve closed five deals so far.
Is it over what timeframe?
In July of 2018 is when I bought my first note.
It’s about several months. It’s one every other month for the most part. What goals do you have for yourself when it comes to note stuff?
I want to become full-time in notes. I’m trying to purchase 50 notes in 2019 at least. That’d be in the next several months.
You like cash flow. Do you want to do any fix and flips on those or prefer not to have to worry about rehabbing property?
I prefer not to rehab property unless it’s cosmetic and in my backyard. If it’s somewhere locally in Michigan, somewhere where I can get to and monitor, then I’ll do a quick fix and flip of something cosmetic. Other than that, I’ll be selling homes as an REO.
What’s been the biggest surprise of coming in the note space with the previous deals you’ve done? What’s been the biggest learning curve for you?
The biggest learning curve for me in the note space in which I’m used to because I am a counselor is the paperwork for fix and flips. You don’t have to do any paperwork. You can have your realtor do all that and we just worry about managing the different contractors. For the note space and which is something that I love and something that I like to do is the paperwork and the documents. It’s making sure that I have all the contracts, mortgages, BPOs, collateral files and things like that. That’s one of my strengths.
You like looking at the collateral files. Have you found any surprises? I know you can often find some weird stuff in the collateral files. Is there anything that stood out?
This Logansport, Indiana property that was up for sale, when I bought it and as I looked through the collateral file, I saw that it was an older woman in her 60s. She had help where they paid off her mortgage but formulated a contract for deed form. As I was looking through everything, my biggest thing was how you get their perception of someone taking advantage of an older woman. My heart sunk because I was like, “I bought a note that it appears like the woman was being taken advantage of, but in reality, no. The sellers who I bought it from helped the borrower from going into foreclosure. They paid off the mortgage and then they created a contract for deed in which I bought that contract for deed.
Had she been paying on time or did she not pay in?
She did not pay in. It’s because my business model is how many homeowners can I help. I’m trying to help at least 50 homeowners remain in their home. Unfortunately, this one, the borrower did not pay. She flaked out on me. She said she was going to pay them with MIA, so I had to send her to the forfeiture process through my foreclosure attorney. We gave her ten days to pay or get out. She called on the ninth day to set up a payment arrangement and she went MIA from there.
You gave her a payment arrangement on the ninth day and then she disappeared from there?
It’s because she’s an older borrower, I was trying to do as much as I can to have her remain in the home, but eventually, my patience wore on and we proceeded to the foreclosure. That property is on the market right now in Logansport, Indiana.
If there are any Logansport, Indiana buyers out there, check it out. One of the things that I like there definitely is the last two Masterminds. You’ve walked away with one of the awards for doing well in marketing. We do a point system and a quiz to see what you’re doing post wise and things. What’s been the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to your marketing?
It’s getting out to my local Grand Rapids community and joining Meetups. I created the Grand Rapids Note Closers Meetup group where I attract different real estate investors as well as IRA holders to educate them about notes. It’s getting out in the community. I also attend the different Meetup groups that are not real estate investing. I attended the Wine and Women and met some wonderful women.
That’s a great way you got it going outside the traditional box of attracting potential investors for you. Are you raising capital from Wine and Women?
I did. I actually have a meeting with them.
What other Meetup groups have you started attending that aren’t your traditional Meetup REIA groups?
This next meeting is a business where you go and you market your business. I’m going to go there and I’m going to present to market my business.
It’s like a business builders Meetup then. With your Grand Rapids Note Meetup group, how many people are coming out to your monthly events?
The first one, fifteen people came out. The second, it’s been leaning off because of my marketing. I haven’t market enough. When I market enough, I do have people that join in the Grand Rapids Note Closers Group, but I need to market enough to make sure that I have the fifteen people coming back.
Is this on Facebook or is it on Meetup.com?
I have it on both Facebook and Meetup.com.
You’d probably get more people to join the group from Meetup than the Facebook group, but it’s a good thing because you can still send an email out to those members even if they show up or don’t show up. You’ve got their information. Do you remember how many are on the Meetup group?
I have maybe seventeen.
That’s a good start. Out of the fifteen that have come, have you raised capital from that or build some relationships with those people?
Yes. It’s more than seventeen. I think it’s like twenty-something people because someone just joined. Out of each and every Meetup group has been valuable. I’ve been able to raise capital. Like the first Meetup group, I have fifteen people. Three people want to invest in the nonperforming notes and they have money in their IRA. The second one, his wife is a financial advisor, so they want to do some joint venture deals with me as well on the nonperforming notes. The third one, I met and one of the Mastermind students brought the president of the Grand Rapids RPOA. It is our local Grand Rapids real estate investing group, our local REIA. From that, I was able to get on a podcast. As long as I stay consistent and have my monthly Meetup groups, I’m getting my name out there, the business out there and I’m meeting some great people.
You’re still working full-time. This is really a sideline. You’ve got three lovely girls. I got a chance to meet them. They’re doing great stuff at different ages.
Yes, eighteen, twelve and five.
Is the eighteen going on 30?
She’s there. She is ready to go with her career and head on.
Is she helping mom out with any of the deals going in the market there or not yet?
Not yet. I haven’t got her into it. She wants to be a surgeon and she’s also into beauty. She does a lot of my makeup and my hair.
What’s been the biggest a-ha for you or the biggest surprise from a wholesale or fix and flip or a rental side coming into the note space and transition? What’s been the biggest thing that’s stuck out the most for you?
The biggest thing for me is I can raise capital. I can get money and do what I love. I can go to work. I can wake up in the morning and market. I could come home, do paperwork, do due diligence and I can do all this from my home or a vacation somewhere where I don’t have to spend all day going to fix up a property or going to look at contractors. I can literally work from my home.
Where have the deals been? Is it all in Michigan? The one was in Logansport, Indiana. Where are the others at?
I have two in Illinois in which those are some great homes. Those are both reperforming. I have two in Illinois, one in Michigan, one in Indiana and one in Missouri.
What’s the biggest advice that you’d give somebody who’s a fix and flipper or struggling with dealing with overpricing? The markets are getting squeezed, values are going up but people are overbidding or overpaying for assets, looking outside of their neighborhood or looking for alternative ways. What advice would you give to somebody who’s reading this?
I would say find a note investor because most of the time we may have any REOs. Look outside the market because I do have an REO up for sale in Logansport, Indiana and I will have a Missouri note up for sale. In Missouri, it’s not even on the market.
What part of Missouri?
St. Louis, Missouri.
How has been a part of the Mastermind helped you?
It has been a tremendous help because we’re able to evolve just by attending the mastermind. When I came in, my biggest thing was, “I know how I typically buy the notes, but now I need to evolve so I can buy more notes and do more marketing.” The Mastermind has helped me a lot with marketing. Knowing the hidden clues of marketing and knowing how to track and bring in more revenue.
You’ve evolved. Your market has changed. I remember we’d sit down and help you with your logo, help you with your first email. Besides going out to your local community, are you emailing out your database on a regular basis or just every once in a while? How’s that working for you?
The asset managers also make phone calls. I’ve been slacking off of making phone calls to the asset managers because I’ve been getting tapes in. I’ve been bidding on tapes, doing due diligence and contacting my network, my team. I haven’t reached any asset managers lately.
You’ve got tapes coming in. That’s a good problem to have. When you are calling asset managers, are you doing it during the day, during breaks or stuff like that? What are your hours for your job?
My hours for my job are from 8:00 to 5:00. At night, I’ll already have the list of who I want to call, what number. On my breaks, I’ll go ahead and make phone calls.
You’re on East Coast time being out of Grand Rapids. 5:00 there is 4:00 Central and then 3:00 Mountain and then 2:00 PM Pacific Time. It does give you a little bit of an advantage to call if you get off of work. You’ve been doing some of that. You want to close 50 deals, what’s the long-term goal for you besides the next several months? We talked about three-year goals and things like that. Do you want to share what your three-year plan is?
My three-year plan would be to vacation a lot with my kids and being full-time as a note investor.
What’s it going to take you to do that?
I would say start off with 50 notes, see how that goes and then branch off into 100 notes. I was thinking first within the next year I would want to retire but being realistic maybe the next couple of years. If I have 100 notes up under my belt, I’d be able to retire.
Will you stay in Grand Rapids or somewhere else?
I will stay in Grand Rapids. I love the schools. My kids love the schools.
Do you have some big vacations planned? Where are some big trips planned for you?
We want to do the Disney Cruise again.
You’ve been on one before?
We’ve been on one before a few years ago. We went on the Magic. I do want to do that again as well as going to Disney and going to Florida. We always go to the Dales and we love the Dales, but we’ve been going there for years. Now we’re ready to go to Florida and go on the Disney Cruise.
For the next several months, you’ve got your number set of what you need to have coming in to be able to leave working as a counselor, but it transitions. Are you talking to any of your borrowers or are you using a third-party like Madison Management or Singer Law Group? Are you passionate enough like, “I want to talk to the borrower themselves?” What’s going on when you’re buying a note when you see the paperwork? “It’s me taking advantage of.” Are you talking to them or you’re letting somebody else do it?
I like to send it and let the professionals do it or let the attorneys do it. I’ve had borrowers call me. Some of my borrowers call me and I’ll talk to them and understand where they are. I like to understand where they are and how we can help them stay in their home. The majority, all the work is done through my loss mitigation and my attorneys.
Do you have a good BS meter?
Yes, I do. Being a counselor, I have a good BS meter. Ultimately, I will love to transition some of my counseling skills into the note business in order to help as many homeowners as I can.
What’s the best advice you’d give to somebody out there that’s reading this?
Get educated, get to a team together, get a great mentor and be persistent and consistent. If things aren’t looking the best, sit back, regroup and start again and do not give up.
Do you have ups and downs?
Is it normal?
Its solutions to the problems. For instance, when I was going through this forfeiture process, it was a problem for me. I did not want to foreclose on her, but the solution was if I foreclose on it and go ahead and sell the home because she really didn’t want to stay in the home.
Sometimes we struggle with we want to help people and they don’t want to help themselves. It’s hard sometimes. You’ve got a big heart. If you are counseling, you’ve got to have a big heart, otherwise, you’re not cut out for the job. How many years have you done that?
It’s been several years.
You’ve got a little bit of tenure there, but still, it’s a good idea. One thing to keep in mind is you don’t run a charity. You’d like to help people if they can, but you’ve got your own charity with three kids and some big goals to do for yourself long-term. If you give people an inch, they’ll sometimes try to take a mile. You’re doing amazing stuff. What’s been the biggest nugget that you’re taking home from the Mastermind?
It’s marketing, reaching out to the different real estate investors and more marketing.
You’re probably taking some of the tools, so you do not have to spend as much time using some of the tools that we’ve discussed to help you maximize your time. We’re excited about what you’ve got going on and jacked up. We expect big things from you over the next several months. Fifty deals, that’s a big number, but I think you’re capable of it. You’ve got your learning, you’ve got your systems down, now you’re bidding on more deals and you’re ready to rock and roll.
I am ready to rock and roll.
What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
For the local Grand Rapids group, I do have a local Grand Rapids Note Closers Meetup group. You guys can find me on Meetup as well as Facebook. I can be found on Eleesee Solutions on Facebook as well as LinkedIn. My email is EleeseeSolutions@Outlook.com.
If you’re in the Grand Rapids area or want to learn more about that neck of the woods, check it out. Check out our website, drop her an email. If you’re okay if people reach out to you, ask you some questions and things like that.
Wylea, thank you so much for being on the show. You’re doing great stuff and just plugging along. Keep rock and rolling.
Go out and check out what she’s doing. If you need some help with the Grand Rapids area, she’s there to help you out with it. Go out and make something happen. We’ll see you at the top.
- Wylea Griggs
- Eleesee Solutions
- Grand Rapids Note Closers Meetup group
- Eleesee Solutions– Facebook Page
- LinkedIn – Wylea Griggs
- Lea Griggs – Facebook
About Wylea Griggs
I am the Founder of Eleesee Solutions, LLC. We purchase Performing and Non-performing` notes secured by real estate. We partner with banks, hedge funds, and other investors.