Doesn't Waste My Time With Renturly's Urly Bird Vetting System
While trying to do a deal I came a across an Acquisitions Manager of a $2B hedge fund that operates as a real estate investment trust with a full due diligence team, CEO, budget and goals to provide yield to their shareholders.
The buyer is interested in some notes that I have for sale and wants to introduce what they are doing. As a transaction facilitator you just need to take the buyers purchase criteria and order and match them with a seller.
The buyer is looking to make a purchase worth over $100M in notes and says that they can provide proof-of-funds for up to $2B. I even repeat the figure to make sure that I am hearing him right as the buyer continues to say that they could get more if they need it. “Of course” we have it! REOs are their favourite to purchase. The buyer expresses concern about bringing forward packages to their board because it could be too risky to buy these so this makes me think that they are a legitimate hedge fund that is concerned with risk-reward. Their business model and exit strategy include big banks and charities. So, at this point the buyer sounds exactly like what I am looking for and that we can close a deal if he is real. “Our company has existed for 28 years so we have a few ties,” says the buyer. “If you bring us a note, we’ll buy the whole thing.” Wow this is great! “If you are talking REOs, those are easy. We’ll buy anything.” The buyer says that his organization is looking for 70 cents-on-the-dollar. I ask what else he is looking for and he says “he is pretty easy going.” He states commission can go "as high as 10%" depending on whether it’s a “home run”. “If the numbers are there than, oh my gosh, I don’t mind paying you guys,” and but he doesn’t seem concerned with re-iterating the fact that he needs to get approval from his due diligence department.
He seems highly motivated to show me what his organization has “on-the-books” when I ask what assets his organization currently owns because he says “I’ll have to introduce you to my CEO”. His comment “I’m just one cog-in-the-wheel” make me think that he potentially deliberately painting the picture that he belongs to a large organization capable of purchases. Since he buys “all over the world” and “in all of the major cities” it makes it sound like he really wants me to believe that this is my dream buyer. He has an easy to work with purchasing criteria. His charming demeanor as he backtracks to state that he just purchases “all over the US” because “international is a different beast” makes me go along with his story. “Since we are getting it for so cheap, chances are there’s a deal.” “Everything that we have right now is paid for cash."
When I asked can you sign a non-circumvention non-disclosure, letter-of-intent, and proof-of-funds he said, “One day I got my own proof-of-funds back. I just need to know that the person on the backend is real. People will take the information that I give to them and run with it to try to find assets.” He then did say “I’d have our bank say our fund is good for $X” while I had him over the phone. “This is all about trust. In my world, business is done face-to-face. I don’t know what proofing-up is but we’re real. I don’t know if you have a specific form for your LOI but I’ll have them document that up. Shoot me an e-mail; I look forward to doing business with you."
When we move our conversation over to e-mail he is deciding whether he should trust me when he says your “site is clean.” One of his first comments in the e-mail thread is "Again we are use to speaking directly to the seller and all products are displayed prior to that conversation. Highest and best use of my time.” This makes me think that he is just a tire-kicker trying to get free access to my supplier.
If I have a seller, and he’ll “buy everything”, why doesn’t he submit the rest of his documents?
I think this “buyer" is just trying to get to the source — the seller of these notes — through me because he "has relationships with banks and usually buys direct with them"; I see him dealing with transaction facilitators all of the time. He said we can sign a non-circumvention non-disclosure and get the seller on the phone, which is really risky for a transaction facilitator to do because once the “buyer” has the seller’s contact information they no longer have to become “real” by submitting proof-of-funds.
I think that there is a large chance that this “buyer” is really someone desperate enough to create a fake web presence as a wealthy, a large hedge fund by using a fake website, built connections on LinkedIn, and a cheap Skype account in order to try to "pillage the daisy chains” that are so prominent in the industry. The best thing that you can do in a situation like this is save the interview with this “buyer” into your Renturly Urly Bird vetting system and keep them as “Private - Non-Matching” until they “proof-up,” which has become the norm in the industry.