This “CARFAX for Properties” Could Change EVERYTHING

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Real estate investing is about to get much, much easier. Up until now, buying a property has seemed like a guessing game. Your real estate agent, inspector, and title company do their best to ensure you’re buying the right home, but a few months, or weeks, into owning it, something breaks. But not something small—something huge. Now you’re on the hook for tens of thousands in repairs, and this is just one of many things that could go wrong.

What if there was a way to see EXACTLY what a home has been through since it was built? What if you could know about every past owner, system malfunction, renovation, repair, or addition to the home? And what if you could access it in seconds when analyzing deals? Sheila Fejeran and Teresa Grobecker from Consortia are building the technology that lets you do just that.

Consortia is real estate on the blockchain. But before you start thinking crypto, know that this is something MUCH different. Consortia gives interested parties—lenders, agents, buyers, and more—access to information you would have NEVER known about a home. But that’s not all. Consortia makes closing and lending quicker, so you can buy a house FAR faster than ever imagined.

David:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 808.

Sheila:
I think everyone realizes there needs to be a change. I think David mentioned earlier about the archaic system that has never changed since the beginning of real estate.

David:
Right.

Sheila:
And we are actually bringing about all of that change.

David:
What’s going on everyone? This is David Greene, your host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, here today with my co-host, Rob Abasolo, bringing you show number 808 like Hawaii’s area code. Rob, when’s the last time you were in Hawaii?

Rob:
It was about three years ago. Oh, no, no, no, no. It was like four years ago. It’s been a while. It’s been a while. It’s actually why I read BRRRR, by the way. It fun fact for you, my friend.

David:
Was in Hawaii.

Rob:
Was in Maui.

David:
Nice man. That’s maybe where it was conceived, actually, if you think about it. I spent a lot of time there too.

Rob:
And who knows, maybe I was just minutes away from Brandon Turner the entire time, and I had no idea.

David:
You would know if he was. Everybody sees him. He walks around, and it just, he’s super noticeable. Well, guys, we have got a fantastic episode for you today. You are going to see why we are the biggest, the best, and the baddest real estate podcast in the world. Today, Rob and I interview Sheila Fejeran and Teresa Grobecker of Consortia, a company that is using blockchain to revolutionize the way that real estate changes hands, information is recorded, even currency is moved around.
This is a fantastic episode. And it’s another reason why you’re listening to the BiggerPockets Podcast because every week, we are bringing you stories like this, how-tos, and answers that you need to make smart real estate decisions now in today’s current market, as well as the future market, which is where we’re headed. Rob, I’m sure that your quiff is shaking right now. What are some things that investors should pay attention to in today’s show to help them with their business?

Rob:
Well, first of all, let me say I’m particularly excited about this episode because I love future stuff. I love futurey stuff. I love change, especially in the real estate world, where a lot of practices are a bit outdated and archaic. I think that when a county website is modern, I get all excited because I’m like, “Oh man, I don’t have to look at a website from 1990.” So this is the complete opposite end of that, where it really feels like we’re walking into 2050, you know.

David:
Absolutely. This show will get your mind racing and your thoughts running. It’s very fast. You might have to listen to it twice, but I want to make sure that you let us know in the comments on YouTube what were some of the things that caught your attention the most or maybe gave you a little bit of a mind-blown moment.
Before we bring in Sheila and Teresa, a quick tip for everyone. Never close on a Friday. If you’re an agent, don’t just put 30 days on the contract. Actually look at the timeline and avoid closing on a Friday. And if you’re buying, tell your agent this. Listen to today’s show to learn why.

Rob:
Oh, I’ve got another quick tip, another quick tip. Quick tip number two is always call and verify your wire instructions. You may think that it’s an extra step. It’s annoying, but I promise you, if you listen to this episode, you’ll understand why it’s actually 100% necessary for every closing.

David:
All right, let’s get to it. Sheila and Teresa, welcome to the show. To kick things off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your personal background with real estate?

Teresa:
Yeah, I grew up in real estate, I would say. When we talk about interest rates being what they are today, one of my first memories is being at my sister’s development, and interest rates went to 18% while she was redoing a property. So I grew up managing property with my parents. I bought, I think, 23 doors in the dead of COVID. That’s such a dad joke. But the world was shut down. We didn’t know how we’d get a notary out. The title offices were shut down. I bought 23 doors when the world was shut down, so that’s fun. I’m kind of crazy.
I did my first two fix and flips with a baby on each hip and just drywall everywhere. Somebody was burning laminate flooring or as they were laying new flooring in one of the properties and trying to nurse a baby. So yeah, I’m kind of hardcore about just doubling down on investing in real estate. I do believe that it’s the secret to unlocking wealth. I think that… I believe in the American dream, like so hardcore. I’m an immigrant. I was left to die in the hospital in my country because I was half.
I was half American, half white, and half of that origin. And so my parents… my mom left everything to come to the United States, and for me, there’s nothing more important than protecting that American dream that inspires me every day. It’s the reason why I took a week out of my life to go help with Fair Housing last week in DC and really what drives me with Consortia. So that’s just me and my story and investing and why real estate is important to me.

David:
Thank you for that. Where’d you buy the properties at?

Teresa:
I bought in Illinois. I have an atlas in front of me and then in Kentucky.

David:
All right. Thank you. Sheila?

Sheila:
Yeah, I actually started out on the… working for Jerry Jones. He is a big developer in Dallas, and so I started working for his office, which is how I got into real estate, learning that end of it and then wound up running the Custom Classic divisions and neighborhoods for David Weekley. My gift is structure. I love construction, and so I can walk into a house and tell you exactly what to do to fix it. I can tell you what walls to take down. What to change. I can see it in my head.
So I would actually draw floor plans for homeowners, hand it to the CAD operator to load, and then worked with the builder to build it. So I did that for about a decade before I became a broker and then started buying and flipping or buying and holding and gutting and renovating properties ever since then. So I still do that, not as much. I’ve done so many of them that I’m at the point where I’m like, “Okay, I think I’m going to buy something I don’t have to actually gut.”
I think I’m at the point where I just want to be able to paint it and maybe [inaudible] change the carpet or something or change the… Just hardcore renovations just do… take something out of you, and the older you get, the less you’re willing to do that. And then helping investors. Multifamily or apartment buildings and just helping people look and buy and what to do and how to make sure you can get your money back, how long are you going to hold it, that kind of stuff.

David:
Sheila and Teresa run a company called Consortia. We’ll get into [inaudible] of what Consortia does. But in short, this company has put the world’s largest asset class on the blockchain, and it just may be the future of real estate. Teresa and Sheila both invested real estate personally, so they can speak to the benefits for other investors. So nice to have you two on today.

Sheila:
Thank you.

Teresa:
Awesome to be here. Thank you.

David:
Yeah. Teresa, can you share with our listeners what Consortia does?

Teresa:
Consortia is CarFax for the house on blockchain. So think of blockchain as a spreadsheet. Everyone’s used a spreadsheet before, right. We put in numbers, details about a transaction or something that we need to organize in a spreadsheet. Sometimes I create a spreadsheet, and I share it with Sheila, and I’m like, “Sheila, can you add to my spreadsheet because you’re super smart? Please add in information details.” Right.
We’ve all done this with business partners, spouses. Other times we make a list of things, and then we send it to somebody like my kids, “You have no opinion about this. No one cares what you think. You’re only allowed to read this. You’re not allowed to write into the spreadsheet.” So that’s how we use blockchain. It’s just a spreadsheet. It’s an XML file to log details about a piece of property.

David:
Rob, what do you think about this so far?

Rob:
Yeah, I have a question. So when you say the CarFax for properties, CarFax typically… Basically it records all of the history of a vehicle, right. So when the vehicle was sold, when the vehicle was damaged, there’s an insurance claim. It even gets down to if someone ever crashed a vehicle and got it repaired at an auto shop, right. Is that effectively what you’re saying here? It’s the CarFax for properties in that you are basically transcribing the entire history of the property onto the blockchain.

Teresa:
Yeah. You nailed it.

Rob:
Okay. Great. So good, good, good. So you mentioned the blockchain, and we’re used to hearing blockchain in connection with crypto, but Consortia is not crypto. Can you explain how crypto and blockchain are different?

Teresa:
Yeah, so blockchain is the underlying technology that crypto is based on top of. And the big difference between Consortia and a lot of protocols that are out there is Consortia decided never to be a crypto. We never did a raise. Nothing that we’re built on is public chain. So there’s this big divergence, I would say, in the blockchain space, public versus private chain.
And if it was public chain, that means everything about my information, consumer’s information would all be publicly available or at least a key, a hash, to go and then reference information that needs to be private. So I’m licensed in a bunch of different ways from the state to federal government, and in my line of work and Sheila’s line of work, because we’re similar, we have to take care of the consumer. So protecting their information is paramount, and that’s what Consortia does is protect the integrity of the house and the information about the person who owns the house.

David:
So let’s maybe take this to a higher level and then scale down into some of these details. If I’m understanding you correctly, this is replacing what a title report would’ve done in the past, right?

Teresa:
No, we don’t replace title. For us, we have a very different opinion. I think there are a lot of millennial enthusiasts about blockchain. I’m a millennial. I get it, and I’m in blockchain. But the business use case for title being recorded with a title plant being handled by attorneys and having an insurance product behind it is fundamental to the integrity of the world’s largest asset class.

David:
Okay. That helps. So we know what it’s not. It’s not replacing title disrupting the industry like you keep hearing everybody screaming from the rooftops whenever new technology is introduced. Can you give me some examples of what would appear in this spreadsheet?
So would this be, in the inspection report, the roof shows that it’s only got four years of useful life, or there’s a plumbing leak, and these pipes were changed, but these ones weren’t. The electrical system was upgraded in this part of the house, but it’s not somewhere else. You’re saying this is information that a home buyer would want to know, but you don’t necessarily want the lender being privy to this because it would blow up the whole deal the minute that they saw it.

Sheila:
Exactly. And also, keep in mind that a home inspector is doing an over… flyover of the asset. They’re not necessarily a licensed contractor. They are not a professional plumber or a professional HVAC company. They’re just trying to give you an idea of things that could potentially be of concern.
And then you are supposed to then call those other companies to have them actually tell you what’s going on with that part of the house and if there is an issue and if it does need to be replaced. That’s not the home inspector’s job. Home inspectors to do based on what code is today versus the condition of that part of the asset. So I think a lot of people look at home inspectors as if they’re this guru construction person that’s going to tell them everything going on in the property, and that’s not true.

Rob:
So I have a question about this. I’m really interested in this use case. Effectively, if we’re stashing away all the data and all of the repairs and all of the things from the homes pass, right, 80 to 100 years, do you think it’s possible that that would make the house seem like a much scarier and riskier purchase to the everyday buyer?

David:
100% it would. Yeah.

Rob:
Okay. And thus disrupting how often homes are actually sold or resold. I mean, it seems like it could have a pretty drastic effect on market value, right.

Sheila:
Let me just kind of put a pin in this because Teresa and I were on a meeting earlier today with one of our partners, who is a company that is actually giving a true AVM valuation through his product. And he has created something that he can AI scan the photos of the property and tell you what a standard AVM would be, i.e., what capital markets would normally see, versus, based on the pictures, what the actual condition of the property value is.
And then the cost to actually renovate that property and what the value would be after you renovated it. It was an $80,000 difference between what a standard AVM that capital markets uses of the value of that asset versus what the true condition was based on scanning the pictures. So will this make a huge difference for capital markets, secondary markets? Will it make a huge difference between what you can get for the property? Absolutely.
So Teresa and I aren’t working on just one piece of this. We’re working on every piece of this. So we have every single part of the asset, every single thing having to do with that asset, location, flood, maps, pictures, condition, appliances, major mechanicals. We have companies in every part of the industry nationally that we are ingesting data on to be able to then go give the true condition and the true value of that asset.

Rob:
Okay. So really fast for the people at home. What is AVM? I’m sure a lot of people are like, “Well, what is that?”

Teresa:
Automatic Valuation Model. So when you go to Zillow, here’s the best example. Debates aside, whether Zillow is accurate or not. You talk to a broker or a homeowner, they might be like, “Hmm, I don’t know about that.” And actually, it takes many different AVMs to come up with something where you think you’re in the ballpark.
So that’s how it’s used in the real estate industry, and that’s how a broker goes to a consumer and says, “We’re going to list your price at, say, 570.” You might get a ballpark range from anywhere from 650 down to 525, but somewhere in the middle is the price that you come up with. No different in capital markets. They want to know what is the value of this asset that’s being traded in these mortgage pools.

David:
Okay, this is dense and rich like German chocolate cakes.

Sheila:
Exactly.

David:
[inaudible] see if I can… Let me see if I have a good understanding of what you’re saying. Try to paint as clear of a picture as I can, and then we’re going to dive into how this can change the real estate market. If I’m hearing you correct, we are going to be able to store information that the home inspector found, the HVAC company that came to look at the air conditioner generates a report. It goes to the homeowner. That person now does not have to disclose that to the buyer. This would be a place where it’s all stored. Here’s the roofing report, the HVAC report, the plumbing report, the pest report. At one point, they had termites. At one point, they had roaches. Anything like that is now a database where this is stored that people can see.
And I think you mentioned earlier, the reason this is valuable is because not everyone can just go in there and see it. They have to have permission. So the capital markets and we say that we’re talking about the companies that buy loans from somewhere else. It’s not necessarily good for them to be able to see that right off the bat because who knows what they’re going to do with that information and how they complicate it. So I understand now why you were saying this’ll be private, and if you have permission, you can see what was in there. The automated valuation models are things that these secondary markets that are buying tons of paper, tons of loans on these houses, they can’t hire a person to individually look at every house and say, “Let’s see the pictures.”
So what happens in those situations, because I’ve worked with these hedge funds or private equity, is they just rate an algorithm that sort of accumulates all of this data together. They throw it in there. Like, “The average of these 700 homes, they should be worth about whatever.” This is a way to actually bring some specifics to the property so that they could know what they’re getting and give you a more accurate idea similar to what the Zestimate does on Zillow. This would be a way that you could get a more accurate understanding of a home without having to go get the professional to go visit the house, look at the pictures. Okay. I see where you guys are going with this whole thing.
And it would change the way, Rob, to your point, people would be scared to buy houses. They will at first because every buyer assumes they’re buying a brand new construction home, even though it’s 50 years old. And the minute because I know you two both invest yourselves. This blows up deals all the time. As an agent, we look at the house, and there’s a crack in the bricks leading up to the home, and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to buy it. The bricks are cracked. I need a $10,000 credit.” What you’re proposing, the CarFax for a home would put all of this together in a database. We could actually come up with algorithms that would factor in, “Hey, plumbing, that’s 30 years old. Takes this much off the value of a house.”
Things like roofs, dry rot, all these things that actually do make a profit less… a property less profitable could be evaluated, giving somebody a much more objective understanding of what a home is worth. And a buyer would then get used to seeing this so they wouldn’t freak out every single time they see there’s a leaky toilet because every house they’ve looked at, there’s a list of this stuff. Is that an overall understanding of what you guys are putting together here?

Teresa:
Yeah. I think that it’s most useful in capital markets. I think that’s… And if we can dial down the risk in capital markets, so work from the end and work my way back. So if you create more efficiencies over here in capital markets, it’s going to trickle down to the consumer benefit.

David:
All right. So when you say the capital markets, what you’re saying is this would give lenders more confidence in lending on specific assets, which would theoretically bring more money into that world because it seems less risky for them.

Teresa:
Not just the lenders secondary markets. So the money behind the lender.

David:
Okay.

Teresa:
Because it’s not just the lender that has the money. It’s the guy with the money behind that. And then it’s not just the insurance company. It’s the reinsurance company that’s behind the guy. Like Liberty Mutual has a reinsurance company, if not two or three behind them that’s diversifying risks.

Sheila:
And the other thing that most people don’t realize, to your point David, is that most people, when they think about the real estate industry, they just think about the sales. Like, “What does the National Association of Realtors say the number of sales were for the year?” A couple of years ago, it was 6 million. Last year is about 5.2. This year it’s going to wind up somewhere around 4.5 million. So most people are only thinking about the sales of properties for the year.
But to your point about you as a lender having someone who gives you the loan that they sell that most people don’t realize when you get a loan, that loan’s going to be sold five to seven times. So instead of Teresa and I thinking about 4 million properties or 4 million sales a year, we’re talking… we have people trading millions a month with the people that we’re working with that are doing the mortgage-backed security.
So there are, as she mentioned, trillions of dollars being exchanged every year on the mortgage-backed security side with just the loans moving hands. So if we fix that, how then will that not impact this end of the spectrum, not only from the cost to originate a loan, the consumer costs, [inaudible] goes down to the consumer. Because if we can save the money over here, then we have the ability to impact every part of the process and everyone involved.

Rob:
Well, this is all very fascinating. I can see the use case. It’s very clear to see where you’re going, right. What the trends that you’re trying to set or trying to fix. But can we just back up and go to the origin of why we’re doing this and maybe talk about some of the pitfalls of the state of property data now in transactions?

Teresa:
Oh, sure. Yeah. So there’s some pitfalls in doing a transaction. In the way transactions are handled now, there’s just so much information about the house that we don’t know. I don’t care if there’s a nail hole in the wall because I’m an investor. If there’s a hole two feet wide, I’m like, “Hmm, that’s a piece of…” I got to document that one, right. But if it’s a small error, that’s so subjective.
So there’s all this past history about a house. It could be something as simple as like, “What color paint is on my wall? I’d like to know that color paint so I don’t make five trips to Home Depot to figure out what paint to match.” But it’s more than that. It’s like, “Where are the pipes in this house? Do I have to break apart this entire wall just to figure out how to make some kind of an edit in my kitchen dimension?” So this really comes from frustration of buying houses, selling houses, getting yelled at my customers, like, “You lied to me about this.” It’s personal self-interest. Actually, the whole project is very selfish, I guess.

David:
Well, it’s a result of somebody somewhere didn’t disclose something, and then, especially, in California but everywhere. We all rush and say, “Let’s make a law or a new rule-”

Sheila:
Exactly.

David:
“… to stop this from ever happening again.” No one asks the question of is this actually practical or will it work? It just makes us feel safe that there’s a rule. So they say, “All right, sellers have to disclose everything they know that’s wrong with the house.” But sellers don’t know everything that’s wrong with the house. And if they did, how hard… how easy is it to prove you knew that, and you didn’t tell me? I mean, it happened 15 years ago. Or, “Yeah, we used to hear a weird noise at night, but I didn’t think about it.”
And then, like you said, Teresa, the agent visual inspection, disclosure is a joke. You walk through, and you’re like, “The paint’s discolored over there. The cabinet squeaks when you open it.” What? You’re not a home inspector. You don’t know what you’re looking at. It’s a way that people check a box that makes a consumer feel safe that is absolutely useless. It doesn’t do any good. And then it leads to off people, right. They move into the house, and the cabinet doors are falling off, and the faucet is leaking, or there’s a foundation problem that didn’t show up in the report, and then they’re angry, and they want to go sue somebody.
And then, “Well, those sellers knew about it.” It just creates a big ugly scenario. What I see, what you guys are saying is your product would be a history, just like with a car, of everything that went wrong with it so that consumers can make educated decisions. I mean, I think that’s brilliant, and I’m speechless. This might be the first time on the podcast. I don’t know what to say other than I think that this is brilliant.

Rob:
Yeah, it’s a really cool product. So I know that one of the other big pitfalls probably of the current way that we gather data or disperse it is wire fraud. Is there a use case for stopping wire fraud sort of through this new, I don’t know, processing of data?

Sheila:
Absolutely. I mean, that’s one of the things that we’re working with the Fed on because if you think about not too terribly long ago, wire fraud was in the million, 100 million range. Now it’s 2 billion.

David:
Can you guys describe wire fraud briefly so that people know practically what that means?

Rob:
Yeah. To like an everyday consumer?

David:
Yeah.

Sheila:
Well, if I am buying a house, a title company says, “I’m going to send you wiring instructions.” They email it to me. You don’t think people are hacking people’s emails.

David:
Right.

Sheila:
And then, I can choose to either physically go to my bank and send that wire. But what happens is you get verification by email, which is normally not secure, about the amount of money that’s going to be wired and the day it needs to be wired. So you don’t think that people are interrupting that wire? And we’ve had so many people tell us stories that 600,000 was sent, and it never arrived at the title company. And somehow, in that 24 hour period or whatever period it takes to get that wire to that title company, it somehow disappears.

David:
Yeah. So you’ll have people that will call my client and say, “Hey, I work for ACME Title company. I’m Candace. You never met me, but hey, here’s the wiring instructions. We need you to… When you go to the bank today, here’s what you’re going to send. Or when you go, here it is.” And it’s not the instructions from the title company. It’s their own account that you’re sending the money to. Or, like you mentioned, they’ll send you an email that looks like ACME Title company-

Rob:
Wow.

David:
… that says, “Hey, here’s your wiring instructions. Send it here.” And you have no idea. So us as agents, this is so common that we would have to verify with our buyers, “Yeah, this is the real thing that you should be sending.” You almost have to get everybody on the phone at the same time and say, “Yep, this is the title rep. This is the correct…” It’s very easy for this to happen, and there’s no recourse. Where do you go to say, “That’s not fair?” Is there an insurance company that’s going to cover you? Is the government going to cover you? You just lost the $600,000.

Teresa:
So people don’t realize but the title company’s on the hook for. That title is more than just title insurance on the house. Actually it covers the whole transaction and the wire fraud that happens.

David:
So that means that your title becomes more expensive because they have to cover their losses when these things happen.

Sheila:
So you have wire fraud. You have [inaudible] fraud. Teresa and I had a situation where we know someone that a piece of land got sold and found out that that person selling the land wasn’t actually the owner. The real owner showed up at the courthouse to pay their taxes, and they said, “Well, you sold that land.” And they’re like, “What? What are you talking about? I didn’t sell that piece of land.” You even have people that present on foreclosures that they own that foreclosure hold open houses and sell a house that is in foreclosure that they don’t own. There’s so many ways people defraud other people.
So some of the things that we’re working on are verification of the human, verification of the documents that human owns that asset. We have the ability with different companies… We haven’t implemented all of it, but we have the ability to do bifacial scans, hand scans, ways to verify that your identity is truly your identity, and how do we make sure that you are the true owner? Because we had someone that made a driver’s license, made all of the records showing that they were the owner of that property, and defunct the title company because they had sent a notary that they weren’t in the title company.
I mean, it’s just such a big problem at so many levels that when you have an immutable ledger, number one, you have a record of ownership that you can then secure more than any other way. I’m not going to say it is not hackable because, sadly, with a lot of the smart people in this world that are fraudsters, I’m sure they’re working on ways to break through blockchain. So as much as possible, currently, it is the most secure way to prevent these things on an immutable ledger and to validate the human and to validate the asset.
And when you think about what we’re going to be able to do to ward off or prevent or hopefully decrease the fraud in all of the different ways that we’ve discussed, this is a huge, huge benefit to the consumers and to the industry and to our economy from all of these people robbing people on every level. And then the new Fed Rail that Teresa mentioned that just came out this week, that’s instant settlement. So a lot of people think if they send a wire that their money’s gone, that they don’t have to worry.
And that’s not true. So if you send a Zelle, there’s still a delay. If you send a PayPal, there’s still a delay. There’s a chance for someone to steal that. Where on the Fed Rail, they’re attaching your bank to that title company directly, and it’s immediate. So with the Fed Rail, the goal is to be able to prevent the fraud because it’s instantaneous from the federal government and the banking institution to that title company. That’s the goal.

David:
So if I’m hearing you gals correctly, there’s two different problems that we’re discussing here. One is the actual information about the property itself that will be stored on this blockchain. The other is a form of identity verification that will stop the fraud, and Consortia provides both.

Teresa:
Yes, you are correct. Yes.

David:
Okay. Anything else that this wonderful product is offering? Can it also slice and dice and make Julienne fries?

Rob:
I also want to just say really quickly on the wire fraud thing. I’m actually really glad that y’all are talking about really this specific problem because I will say that every time that I close on a property and they send me the wire instructions, and they say, “Please call us before you wire it,” I’m always a little annoyed because like I can read the account number.

David:
Now you know why they’re doing that.

Rob:
Now I know why. Yeah. I mean, I do it every time because they say to do it’s always in bold exclamation marks, and you got to listen to that.

David:
And you think you’re doing them a favor. You’re like, “Fine, I’ll call you guys. Robuilt, hey, this is me. Are you happy now?” Having no idea what they were saving you from.

Rob:
And they’re like, “Yes. Can you send 10,000 more?”

Sheila:
And you bring up a good point, Rob because this is the other thing that happens that Teresa has brought up in the past to me is that… And because we have a lot of investors listening, this is a really crucial point. If you have paid cash for your asset, it’s easier for them to steal.
So Teresa has friends, and she has advised me to have a small loan on the asset because it’s harder to steal it if it has a loan because if you think it’s cleared, if it’s cleared and I’m not checking on that title status, and I’m not… I don’t have checks and balances that I have in place to make sure if somebody’s pinging or doing something or trying to create fraud on that, what am I doing to make sure I’m protecting that asset? And a lender, if there’s a loan, the lender has to be contacted in order to cure the loan in order to release that asset.

David:
Right. Right. And then you have to sign documents that say, “Yes, pay off the loan to the lender.” So this has happened to me before. I own properties free and clear that people have stolen, and that’s exactly one of the ones that’s able to happen is-

Sheila:
Oh my goodness.

David:
… you normally would have an extra level of communication where a lender would say, even if it’s a $10 note or whatever, “Hey, do you want to pay off this $10? What? What are you talking about?” That alerts you that somebody is transferred title or is in the process of that from you to someone else, which happened to me at a pretty large scale a couple of years ago, and it actually created absolute chaos in my life for the last few years.

Teresa:
Oh, no.

David:
It triggered a lot of big problems, and I was amazed at how easy it was to do. And when I went to the actual county and said, “Hey, do not let any of these properties transfer to anyone else.” The employee’s literally are like, “We can’t. If they show up with a deed, we are going to record it. There’s no red flag system. There’s nothing you can do to stop this. That’s just the way the system works.” And that is a great piece of advice. There’s also, I’ll add, not that you guys need me to add to it, but when there’s not a lot of equity in a property, there is less incentive for someone to try to steal it because a loan’s going to have to be paid off.
So [inaudible] you often hear paying off properties, that’s the safest way to invest, but in certain situations, it’s not. I love your recommendation there. Have a small lien on the property. But you guys are also addressing this fact that we have an archaic system of transferring properties. Have we got into yet, or would you guys like to talk about just when there is title insurance that needs to be issued, you can buy a property, and six months later, you’re still paying for title insurance when nothing has happened in the last six months, and it’s the exact same amount? Have you guys sort of taken that into consideration?

Teresa:
We actually partnered with a title insurance company that allows you to have a title policy that’s active or good for four years. So that’s great if you’re house-flipping. That’s available through Boston National Title. So if you guys want to keep that in the show or edit that out but that’s one of the rare cases where I’ve seen something that’s just very pro-investor, pro-consumer, and really saves on costs there. So I think that’s a pretty cool feature.

Rob:
I mean, the way I’ve always viewed title insurance, maybe I’ve been viewing it wrong, is you’re buying a property, you get the title insurance to make sure that the owner of the property is actually the owner and that you’re actually owning the property and everything like that. Why would you need it for four to six years after that?

Teresa:
Well, if you’re going to flip the property, then there’s… you’re going to need that title insurance for the next purchase and sale. And so you can kind of… by using that same company and the policy, they’ve done a lot of the work. So it’s easy for them to continue the policy because every time you switch companies, they have to do the research from start to finish.
We’ve been very well-schooled up on the title industry because of the nature of blockchain tying into title. So there’s just so many nuances. I think we’ve gone through two years of schooling with our friend TJ Harrington about title, and just became… he became an advisor to us and then we became an advisor to their Blackstone portfolio of companies.

Sheila:
I think the other thing, Rob, that a lot of people, especially investors, don’t think about because I’ve had so many investors say, “Well, I don’t need title policy. I’m paying cash or whatever. I don’t need that. I’m just going to buy and hold or buy and flip.” But people don’t realize there’s two types of title policies. One is going to be the policy that covers the lender. That if you, by chance, foreclosed, the lender is able to file that insurance claim and get their money back. The second is the owner’s title policy that would cover you.
And so owner’s title, policy, the title company does a search from the last time a reputable title company did a search of the property, up until now, and they cover you in case somebody comes back against the property. And this is very important when you think about. I was in the development business before I became a broker, and I built lots of homes for a large national builder. That builder went bankrupt, and all of the trades put liens on every property in the neighborhood because they weren’t paid by the builder. And none of those people could sell their houses because they had to cure those liens on their properties before they could sell.
So title policy would then cover you if you were a homeowner if you had title policy to make sure you were protected against any liens from builders or whoever that tried to be filed against your property. And then it covers you into the future as well, like Teresa mentioned. And so when you go to flip that property, or even if you’re holding that property, it gives you coverage as the owner. So I would never, as an investor, buy a property without title insurance ever. Just that little bit of money you spend is so worth it for the peace of mind that anything that happens, you’re covered, and the title company’s on the hook to cure that.

Rob:
Wow. Okay. So you mentioned, all right, so there’s the title insurance benefit. I mean, there’s a lot. You also mentioned sort of the financial automation in that if you send a Zelle, it would take a long time, but on a ledger in the blockchain, it can be a lot faster. Does that also influence how fast one could actually close on the property?
Because obviously, with title companies being a little bit more archaic, you have to work around their older systems. The fact that they aren’t open on weekends. The fact that they close at four or 5:00 PM There’s a lot of things with title companies that I’m always like, “Okay, I guess I’m on your time.” But does the blockchain solve any of that?

Teresa:
Well, I think the new payment rails really solve this issue of the closing timeline, and it’s because the payment is made securely, safely. All parties are verified going into it. And this is with one of our partner companies called Paymints like mints, like gum, paymints.io, and they’re working with Fed because their bank is on board with FedNow. So the first 50 banks just launched with FedNow yesterday. So the benefit here is all the parties have been verified, and then that money settles instantly.
So, for example, Sheila and I are waiting for a wire that was initiated on Monday. I actually have to go check and see if it actually hit. I think that wire is lost. That’s awesome. No one’s as concerned as maybe we should be that the wire is just missing. So instead of that annoying question that brokers and agents always ask of the title department, we always ask this, “Did the wire hit? Did the wire hit?” Just like Sheila and I are asking, “Did the wire hit?” That issue goes away because we’ll instantly know if the money was deposited. Was it sent and initiated? Was it received?
So then if that happens, say, the morning of, we can go to the closing window at the county assessor’s office, the county recorder’s office, and go and record and close the deal. And that makes a huge difference. It makes a difference to the lenders because the lenders are paying interest per diem, which gets rolled down to the consumer. Then that Friday closing, no one should ever close on a Friday. Never write that into your purchase agreement. “We’re going to close on Friday, July 21st.” Bad idea. So you never close on a Friday because if you miss that window, your clients are homeless for a weekend.

Rob:
Oh, yeah.

Teresa:
And then they have to take off work during the next week to go move into their house. And then their little children have no place to lay their head at night and eat breakfast. And then the realtor gets his call saying, “Are you going to pay for my hotel because you missed closing?” Who pays for that, right? The consumer does. So this gets rid of a lot of that friction that happens in the transaction just because of the wire. Did the wire make it?

Rob:
I don’t think that fear ever goes away. I’ve sent a few wires just last week, and I sent them out early first thing in the morning before the cutoff, and the people called me, and they were like, “It’s not here yet at 3:00 PM.” And I was like, “Oh no, I should have called and verified.” No, I’m just kidding. I’m always like, “Oh, what am I going to do?” And it always ends up hitting, but there is a little inconsistency there with wire, so I’m glad to hear that.
Whereas with blockchain-type stuff, particularly some crypto. I’m not going to really get into that. That is a lot more instantaneous because it is on the ledgers. So that, to me, seems like a very, very good use case. You mentioned a little bit earlier that the title insurance, you see some people not getting insurance, and that’s a really big mistake. I can see that now. But are there any other mistakes that you see real estate investors making now in the world of transactions of properties?

Sheila:
I think it depends on the investor. It depends on their experience. It depends on whether they’re already trained as a professional in the industry, or they’re just coming into it straight out of the gate as someone who’s just interested in purchasing real estate because, for any of us who’ve been in it a while, there’s a lot to learn.
And you can make mistakes by buying too high. You can make mistakes by not assessing the cost of repairs. You can make mistakes by overbuilding for the neighborhood. You can make… I mean, I could go on and on and on about the mistakes investors make. And so yeah, that would be a whole show by itself to be honest with you.

Rob:
Yeah. So what are some of the products that you guys offer that you’ve developed specifically for the investors and consumers? Because you talked about the use case, especially in the banking world, right. You’re helping the secondary markets. The lenders approve of the property conditions before they’re taking on these new loans and everything. Is there anything as it pertains in the world more just on a smaller scale for the investor consumer?

Teresa:
Yeah. So if you go to ReConsortia right now and you’re a consumer, you mint your property token. We just charge the cost of minting the token. We will do a free property tax lookup for you to see if your house is eligible for property tax savings. The average amount of the savings is $4,600. And that work, that appeal work, is done for free upfront and then paid for upon success. And there’s 93% success rate. So that is just one example of product that’s layered into Consortia.
I think my mic cut out for a second. That’s just one of the products that’s layered into Consortia. Another one is an appliance inspection report. So that appliance inspection report will tell you exactly the status of your appliance if there were any recalls, and the useful life of that appliance. So now, as a consumer… And all these products are meant to help the consumer in times like this, where everyone’s trying to save money. So as a consumer, do I go and fix my washing machine, or do I just go buy a new one?
That’s kind of you’re playing Russian roulette with your own checkbook all the time. Like, “I don’t know what to do. How would I know what’s… We’re debating that, right.” Well, at some point, there’s a breaking point where you say, “I’m just going to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s, and I’m going to go buy that new appliance because it’s not worth it to spend that service fee of 250 or $500 to repair this item.” And so, that’s just another example of what we’re building into the system. That’s there. Once you unlock and you get into the system, all those goodies for the consumer are there.

Sheila:
And it’s appliances and major mechanicals. So we included in that HVAC, and it’s the useful life. I think David mentioned this earlier in the show. What is the useful life? If I’m a buyer and I’m looking at a property, you can use this technology and scan all the appliances, the hot water heater, the HVAC. We even included the electrical panel. We wanted to make sure all the major mechanicals we could were included because that’s a big deal when you’re buying a home, and all the investors on here could use this because then they could see, “Well, am I going to have to replace that item or is there a way or less expensive for me to repair it to be able to resell this property?”
That’s incredibly useful to investors or consumers. And then, for a seller, it’s really good for them to know what’s going on in their home so then they can be prepared for negotiations. When someone comes of… So they may ask me to replace this, or I need to be prepared. And it actually tells you the age because you’re scanning the barcode. So it actually gives you the exact age of that appliance based on the barcode of when it was produced. And then it gives you the estimate of what is the useful life or how many years left. And so, as a seller, it’s actually very beneficial as well.

Teresa:
But wait-

Rob:
Okay.

Teresa:
… there’s more. There’s home warranty-

Rob:
Ooh.

Teresa:
… that’s rolling out for $100. If you’ve done this, we call it the AIR report, or that was redundant, the AIR on the appliances, Appliance Inspection Report. So once that’s done, $100 for home warranty, which is amazing, especially if you’re an investor that’s in September.

David:
So you’re saying that the home warranty is cheaper if you can show that the things are less likely to need to be replaced?

Teresa:
Exactly. So when you buy home warranty, you just pick a package. I’m going to buy the silver, the gold or the platinum package. What does that mean? They don’t know anything about what’s inside my house. So one of my best friends in the whole world. He’s the managing partner at the investment bank. I was an equity partner at a global investment bank.
So he bought the founder of Pixar his house. Every appliance he owns is like $10,000 or $20,000. So how does that insurance company know what their underwriting in Charles’s house? They have no idea. But if you can actually document this is Teresa’s house where every appliance was built… was bought from Home Depot on a weekend special, like open box special, you know the risk is significantly less. And I think that information is gold to the insurance companies.

David:
So how long before it turns into, “Well, we know this demographic of people runs their dishwasher every two days instead of every day, so it’s going to have 14% more useful life than somebody else’s.” You can see how big data making their way into homes is only a matter of time because it’s inefficient.
A home warranty costs what it costs because of all the people that are going to use it when you don’t. Those inefficiencies create things being more expensive than they would normally be. And I can see that what you guys are trying to put together is something that will solve for some of those inefficiencies and overall bring the cost of all of this down. So what about rent rolls? Is that something that Consortia is working on as well?

Sheila:
Oh, my goodness.

Teresa:
That’s funny. How’d you know that?

Sheila:
Oh my goodness.

Teresa:
Yes. Yes. Look, there’s something coming. It’s called the Central Bank Digital Currency. Yeah, we’re working on that. It’s coming. I think in Europe, they’re just so much more progressive. They’re centuries older than us, thousands of years older than us, than our economy here.
But they’re just more progressive in every way, and it’s just common knowledge that there’s something new that’s coming in the currency there, and all of this is transparent there. And yeah, we’re building for that over in Europe, and we’re going to bring that here. So that’s part of our work with the Federal Reserve to map out what that looks like.

Rob:
Well, I love all of this. And I mean, it seems like y’all are pioneering a lot of what I consider to be the future of real estate. I’m on board. Obviously, someone like David is on board. We can see the benefits of it. But I am wondering because you talked about how the real estate lobby is, I think, what, the fifth largest or top five…

Teresa:
Title.

Rob:
… title.

Teresa:
Title NAR is the largest lobbying force on Capitol Hill, which is a National Association of Realtors. Consortia is an NAR portfolio company, not by mistake.

Rob:
Got it. Okay. That’s what I was going to ask because it does sound like you are disrupting a lot. And so, given that title companies in this world tends to be a little bit more archaic, what’s the actual adoption of this whole thing looking like? It feels like, honestly, I’m impressed that y’all are able to do this, but is it something that is met with a ton of opposition from 99.9% of the real estate community?

Sheila:
No, actually, Teresa and I were on a meeting this past week with all the heads of the largest title companies in America presenting this.

Rob:
And what did they say?

Sheila:
Well, you have a few people, like every group, that are pushing back, that don’t understand it, that are scared. And then, you have everybody else saying, “I want to do this. I’m going to call you after the call.”

Rob:
Oh, okay.

Sheila:
So I think everyone realizes there needs to be a change. I think David mentioned earlier about the archaic system that has never changed since the beginning of real estate.

Rob:
Right. Right.

Sheila:
And we’re actually bringing about all of that change. So we’ve met with everyone from the White House to senators to governors to all the major players in each part of the space, to all the data companies that are data pieces that are missing in the files that would be valuable to capital markets or secondary markets. And we already have all of it actually in place, and we are launching.
I mean, we’ve launched part of it, but we’re launching the next phase of it right now. So it’s already live. We’re already doing this, and we have countries that have signed with us. We’re building products for different countries. So this is not a small project, which is why we’re involved with the White House and the Federal Reserve, because no one else that we’ve met anywhere in the world has thought of or built what we have built.

Rob:
Okay. Yeah. So the adoption really is not as slow as one would think.

Sheila:
No. We thought it would take us five more years.

Teresa:
Yeah.

Rob:
That’s pretty impressive.

Teresa:
So it took a hot second, not because people opposed anything that we’ve proposed, especially here on this podcast. As you can see, more transparency helps everybody from investors, capital markets to the consumer. So that wasn’t the opposition. It was more of humanity getting their arms and their brains around this idea of a spreadsheet.
Although spreadsheets and ledgers have been around since 500 AD from the YAP Islands. That’s a fascinating story, and credit to our business partner over in the UK for teaching us that. It’s just a matter of people being okay and comfortable with this idea, and here we are today. So it’s now picking up steam. I think Sheila joined the company, and then people were like, “Wait, Sheila? Sheila, who did $50 billion of business last year, she’s been in the company now? We get it. Okay.”

Rob:
Wow. Okay. Yeah. So I suppose it’s not necessarily replacing title companies, and you guys did mention that at the beginning of the podcast. It’s more like, I don’t know, a supplementary service or a way to kind of bolster and make the services of a title company stronger and more modern.

Sheila:
Just to be clear, we are not replacing anyone. We are merely the platform. We are moving data. That’s it. We’re the copper piping that’s moving the data from one group to another group. Except instead of us getting one… having one focus, like many tech companies, you meet focus on one piece of product or one product, and they’re very siloed. Teresa and I are actually bringing all of them together. Think about building a city, and we’re the foundation, and all these different companies are built on Consortia, making their data available to run through our piping to the other companies that are interested in that data.

David:
Kind of like what Elon Musk talks about his plan for Twitter. He wants it to be the app that everyone goes to for basically everything.

Sheila:
Exactly.

David:
It’s a way of making it easy for the end user or the capital markets to have a place that we go to. There’s so many things in life that need something like that. Just again, when I was in law enforcement, it was amazing how many different data systems that we had for warrants. The dispatchers would have to run the same person’s information through four or five different systems sometimes, and the stuff would slip through the cracks because there’s not one place you could go to.
I always wondered why you couldn’t have a database where all the warrants are. So if somebody killed someone, we could find it out quicker. But it’s very difficult when it makes everyone’s jobs harder. Now, the more difficult it is, the more people have to be hired to do it, the more they have to charge for their time and their risk, the more that that gets passed on to the end user. So I can see how valuable this is. You’ve obviously been building this company with a long future in mind. What do you see for the future in terms of currency?

Rob:
Just like a little light question there for the end of the podcast.

Teresa:
Thank you, David, for the heavy, heavy. So everything is going digital. Consumers have already voted with their money, pun intended. We have adopted Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, all the Braintree companies that are out there. We already do that. We expect online banking. We expect instant settlement. Like what we were complaining about earlier, like the hiccup in title and closing, we’re spoiled, and we asked for it. We asked for currency to move faster. And so here we go. The central banks of the world are issuing that. So all of this exists now. It’s just becoming more transparent and more clear. So it’s going to come out in two different ways, this new currency.
It’s going from the top down, which is, for example, real estate, large transaction items, and it’s going to be a flood-up effect, which is from the consumers who are receiving social welfare, the underbanks, the unbanked people, the people using check cashing. So all those people who are… Did you know people who pay for check cashing spend up to a third of their income, a third of their top-line revenue just to get access to move money? That’s insane to me. These are the poorest of the poor. And so we’re solving for so many social issues, social justice issues, and we’ve already asked for it. We’re already on credit cards. It’s just the next iteration of that. I think what we have to be careful about is what’s fact and what’s fiction.
There’s a lot of fiction, for example, that is on Twitter right now about what all this stuff will do. And I do think we need more clarity from the Federal Reserve. And Consortia’s push the Federal Reserve for more information for consumers to make sure that this transition really happens without a hitch, without causing civil unrest and fear out there in the economy. So it’s been quite an honor for us to be part of that conversation and to then share what we know of how it’s going to change economics and the transference of money with the general public.

Sheila:
Can I add a couple of things to that? Number one, I don’t think most people realize. Most of the world doesn’t have banking. Most people in the world don’t have the ability to have a bank because they can’t afford it. But oddly enough, most people have a cell phone. So the ability to transact on your phone with digital currency is going to change the world, Teresa mentioned, social economically because you’re going to have a lot of these unbanked people being able to now have bank accounts through their phones that they did not have the ability to have before now, number one.
Number two, Teresa was mentioning the Fed, and one of the things we’ve talked to them about specifically is the education that we’re working with them on to push through NAR through the entire real estate community and to consumers because people are scared about what they don’t know. And it was awesome to hear the gentleman who helped… We’re working with the multiple Fed offices around the country who are involved in this project and the person who is running it and created it out of Boston. And one of the things that we were told by one of the heads of the Chicago Fed is that the banks asked for this. That we created this because a lot of the smaller community banks or the independent banks couldn’t compete with the big boys in the services they offered or the fee rates that they offered because they didn’t have the size and the money and the systems to be able to compete.
So this is going to level the playing ground for all of the other banks around the country to be able to offer the services and offer the fees so that people aren’t overcharged to level the playing ground between the big boys and the smaller people. So we loved knowing that the Fed is doing this, again, because they’re trying to serve everybody. They’re trying to make sure everyone has access. Everyone can have a bank account. Everyone can be protected and move money quickly. So I thought that that was important to mention.

David:
Well, ladies, thank you for your time today, Sheila. If anybody wants to reach out or learn more about you, where can they go?

Sheila:
Well, they can reach out to Teresa and I on reconsortia.com, R-E-C-O-N-S-O-R-T-I-A.com. Or you can Instant Message us on Facebook or Instagram. We’re on all of those platforms as well. But probably reaching out to us through Consortia is the easiest and fastest way to get ahold of us.

David:
Awesome. Teresa, anywhere additional that people can find out about you?

Teresa:
LinkedIn and my whole Facebook page is completely public, so you can stalk me there.

David:
That’s Teresa Grobecker, G-R-O-B-E-C-K-E-R?

Teresa:
Yes, that’s correct.

David:
Wonderful. Rob, if people want to stalk you, which I’m sure they will, after seeing all this weight that you’ve lost and how nice that t-shirt fits you, where would you recommend your stalkers go?

Rob:
You could find me over on Robuilt on Instagram threads and on YouTube if you want to find me teaching you how to do real estate and short-term rentals and entrepreneurial and life and all that kind of stuff in about 15 to 20-minute wacky, weird, fun, informational videos allegedly. What about you, David?

David:
I’m very stock able to tell you the truth, and you can find me @davidgreene-

Rob:
He’s America’s most-

David:
… 24.

Rob:
… stalkable bachelor.

David:
100%. That’s exactly right. I welcome all stalkers, stalkees, stalkettes of any flavor. Yes, please come check out my social media what I got going on. It’s DavidGreen24. You could go to davidgreene24.com, and this has been a fantastic episode. You two are both a blast. You’re very well-spoken. You have a great business idea. Thank you for being so humble and sharing it with us and just using the experience that each of you have.
It sounds like you crushed it in your previous careers if we’re being honest. Both of you have been through the wringer. I can tell from the way you speak. And you didn’t just give up and ride into the sunset. You’re still pouring yourself back into a project that, as you said, will make the world of real estate a better place for everybody, and I appreciate you taking that approach. So thanks to the both of you.

Teresa:
Thank you so much for having us. I’ve watched you guys and listened and followed you for a decade, or just seems like so long, and you’ve done so much to shape my life, and it’s really an honor to be here. Thank you so much for having us.

Rob:
It’s our pleasure.

David:
It is our pleasure just like Chick-fil-A. This is David Greene for Rob, my favorite stalker, Abasolo signing off.

 

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