07/28/2014 (press release: CouchFinancial) // Ambler, PA, USA // Matthew N. Couch
What do seller-owned mortgages, business loans, pension payments, and settlement payments all have in common?
They’re all investment opportunities.
At least, so says Matthew Couch of CFS Global, LLC. Last year, he launched a mortgage note brokerage firm out of his aunt’s spare bedroom with a laptop, a few books, and the drive to succeed. Today, the firm he launched has agents in 3 different states, a few troops on the ground locally, and countless more services in his tool box.
“For me, it was a two-fold motivation,” Matthew says of his venture. “Firstly, all of us who try to start something from the ground up are wired a little differently. We want to make money, of course, but it’s about the dream, too. Fire your boss, work when you want, live your life. The process of starting scratch projects and seeing them develop becomes an addiction!
“But second, it’s about the clients we help. And I’m sad to admit that this motivator really didn’t set in until later, after I realized how much we could do here. We’re not just making money providing services. For some of our clients, the help we can give them—whether or not we close a deal–really makes all the difference in the world to them.”
CFS provides services that aren’t useful for everybody, though. “Our real market—seller-financed mortgages—is a small one, a real niche market.” Last year, only about 111,000 homes were sold in the U.S. with owner financing, the kind of debt that can be bought and sold as an investment. “That’s plenty.” Matthew says. “These kind of sales have been steadily up for years, as it becomes more and more difficult for buyers to secure financing from a bank. We have more note packages sitting on our desks than we can handle, and the only comfort we take in that is that every other broker in the country is probably in the same boat!”
How does that kind of financing work? “Well, the mechanics are largely the same as a traditional house purchase with a bank mortgage. Except here, the seller takes back the debt themselves and receives the payments monthly until the debt is paid off, or—as we like it to happen—sold to an investor. The seller owns the right to the debt, can foreclose if the buyer stops paying, has all the rights that the bank normally does. Except here, the seller and buyer can work out terms that work for both of them. It’s a win-win sale, if done correctly. Then, down the road when they need the mortgage paid up quickly, we can get them bought out. That’s the Win-Win-Win scenario, and it’s what we love.”
Logistically, CFS is still getting set up in Ambler—they’re still looking for the right office space in town. But that hasn’t slowed them down. Over the past few months, CFS has been diversifying its services to reach more clients who don’t fit into the Real Estate market but still have similar cash flow issues.
“Pensions are huge,” Matthew says. “With all the retiring veterans collecting government pensions, civil services workers, teachers, doctors, hard working laborers…the list goes on. Many of these folks are at a time when they really need more money at once than they can sock away from their pension—they need to buy a home, they need to settle a divorce, they need to pay for medical bills. One of my clients really just wanted to go on a vacation with his family. For some of these folks, we can help them get some money up front.
“There are a lot of companies out there who promise no-recourse pension advances, and end up charging ridiculous fees and interest. We take a different approach. We’ve fully vetted a few different [Pension] buyers, and make sure their morals and ethics code line up with ours. Their rates and repayment terms are completely manageable, and if we think that repayment will be an issue down the road, we probably won’t approve your application. We refuse to put people into positions that are bad for them. Instead, we may work with them and provide them a different service to get their life together, like an attorney referral, credit consulting, or an appointment with a financial advisor that we trust.”
So why Ambler? Matthew says that the up-and-coming town is promising for any business owner. The opportunities for investment and potential clients in the area are exciting.
CFS provides several other services as well, including small business financing, start-up funding, and credit consultation services.