Is the Charter Financial note brokering opportunity legit? Can you really make as much as they say? Is it a possible scam?
I first came across the opportunity after stumbling upon an ad on Google, which you can see here that claims you can "Earn Extra $3,000+ Per Month"...
Being able to earn $3k+ per month, working whenever you want... sounds pretty good.
Additionally, they claim that the average amount of time spend on each deal is only 1-2 hours!
Again, sounds good... but it also sounds a bit too good, which raised my suspicions and is the reason I decided to do a little investigatory work.
In this review I'll be going over what exactly Charter Financial is, how the business opportunity works, why there is no good way to estimate potential earnings, complaints and more.
What Is Charter Financial?
- Company: Charter Financial
- Websites: brokeringnotes.com, charternotes.com and possibly others
- Founder: Leland Von Syring
- Opportunity: Brokering notes
- Cost to Join: $195+
Charter Financial is a company that makes money purchasing privately held notes. It was founded by Leland Von Syring in 1997 and has grown to be "one of the largest buyers of privately held notes in the world" (self proclaimed).
The company is based in Houston, Texas and has an A+ rating with the BBB...
This rating isn't always a sure-sign of a legit business, but the lack of complaints I was able to find on this company all point to it being such.
The Business Opportunity
What they offer is a work-from-home business opportunity where anyone can join as an agent and make money by referring note sellers to them.
The good news is that you can set your own schedule and work when you want. The bad news is that it is commission based and there is no guarantee you will make anything (more on this later).
1. Is Charter Financial Legit?
Yes, they are. I can say this with confidence after reviewing their business opportunity (not saying it's worth joining though!).
In addition to this, there are other signs of legitimacy, such as how they have all agents sign a referral agreement, which is for your own benefit. Basically it is an agreement that says Charter Financial will pay referral agents what they are supposed to.
2. Is Charter Financial a MLM?
No, they are not a MLM in any way. There is no pyramid commission structure of any kind. Agents help the company make money and keep their commissions, similar to affiliate marketing.
3. How Much Money Can You Make?
They tell us that their agents make $3,000+ per transaction on average. However, this doesn't give a very good view of how much you can actually make regularly, which I'll talk about more.
4. Do You Need a License to Become an Agent?
No, there is no need for any special education, certificates, degrees, licenses, etc.
5. Does It Cost Money to Join Charter Financial?
Yes, and I'll go over how much in this review.
6. Is There Training Provided?
Yes, but it costs money.
How It Works
So you know that when you join CF as an agent you will be searching for notes for them to buy, but what are these notes exactly and how does this all work?
1. The Business Model
Charter Financial operates in the owner financing industry. Basically what they do is make money in areas where people need large sums of money, such as when home buying. They also make money with annuities, lottery winnings, court settlements and more, but we'll just focus on the home-buying area because this is where they are most involved.
You see, when people purchase houses they have 3 main options:
- They can simply pay for the house themselves
- They can get a loan from a bank
- They can have the owner finance the home (this is the option you'll be able to make money from)
Basics of Owner Financing:
The 3rd option of owner financing is the least common, but it does happen... usually when the person looking to purchase a home cannot qualify for a bank loan and doesn't have the money to make the purchase themselves.
With owner financing the seller will give the buyer the house as a loan and sign it over with a contractual agreement (via a promissory note) that the buyer will make regular payments... and if the buyer defaults on the loan then of course the seller can take back their property. So basically the seller extends credit to the buyer and collects monthly payments from them.
Where Charter Financial Comes In:
As you know, CF buys notes... and in this case, mortgage notes.
Home sellers that are engaged in owner finance and have promissory notes from buyers may look to sell these notes, usually because something has come up in their lives and they are now looking to have the money right now.
This is where CF comes in. They look for home sellers with promissory notes that are looking to sell those notes in exchange for quick cash. They buy the notes off of the home sellers for less than they are worth and then collect the monthly payments from the home buyers.
Example: John owner-financed a home and has a promissory note from a buyer that has $50k left on it. But, John is looking for quick cash and is willing to take an offer of only $40k for the note.
As an agent you will scout out these opportunities and earn referral fees for every opportunity that Charter Financial decides to jump on.
You can watch the explanatory video here to get a better idea of how everything fits together...
What You Have to Do as an Agent
#1 - Locate Sellers - The first step is to find people who are willing to sell notes. There are a variety of different ways to go about doing this, some of which include:
- Posting free ads online
- Researching courthouse records for notes
- Finding newly owner financed homes that have notes
#2 - Make Offers - After you get a lead and receive contact, you will want to ask the client a series of questions, which are in the Mortgage Quote Sheet that Charter Financial provides.
#3 - Refer the Deals to Charter Financial - Next you will refer the deals to CF and, hopefully, they will want to take the offers. After this your job is pretty much over if you want it to be, and CF handles the rest of the transaction.
To join Charter Financial you don't need any experience or special knowledge, which is one of the reasons why this business opportunity is so luring. They provide training on what you need to know, such as different methods of finding notes.
The different elements of training provided are as follows...
- "Building Wealth Together" Study Manual - This is a manual that goes over pretty much every part of the business opportunity. It will provide overviews of how everything works as well as training on techniques you can use to find note sellers, such as advertising online and so on.
- Online Training Materials - New agents that buy into everything will be given 30 days of access to the members-only website. This provides forms/documents, sample ads, sample letters, and more. Advanced training is included in doing courthouse research, things like purchasing only a portion of a note, handling more than one closing at once, and more.
- Ongoing Training - In addition to the library of educational content available on the website, they also regularly host webinars and tele-seminars with experts in the field. In these sessions topics such as locating notes and promoting the business are covered.
- Support - New agents also get a free month of support, which is provided via telephone, email and text. This support can be contacted for answers to any questions regarding the business and, from what I've heard, is very helpful.
Cost of Getting Started
Of course they aren't just going to provide all that training for free. Getting started will cost money, and there are 3 different options for getting started that you can choose between...
- Options 1 - $195 for the Building Wealth Together Program
- Option 2 - $249 for the program + a professional note website
- Option 3 - $329 for the program + website + 500 leads
Option 1 includes the "Building Wealth Together" study manual along with 1 month of online training via the members website and support.
Option 2 provides all of this + you get a professionally made website. The website will make you look more professional and will be set up with submission forms so that clients can easily submit info through you.
Option 3 includes all that mentioned above + you get 500 leads, which consist of names & addresses of note holders that you can contact to get your business rolling.
In addition to the one-time payments for the different package options listed above, you will also have to pay $14.95/mo for ongoing access to the training & support after the first month is passed. Additionally, you will have to pay another $14.95/mo if you decide to have them create a website for you, which will go towards hosting the website.
- $195 - $329 one-time payment for different package options
- $14.95/mo for ongoing training/support
- $14.95/mo for website hosting
- money going towards postage! (if you use direct mail to contact your leads it can add up!)
- And more
But... You Get Your Money Back After Your First Transaction
Once you make a referral to Charter Financial you no longer have to pay the $14.95/mo membership fee for ongoing training/support and your initial program purchase price will be refunded to you.
They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is great to see. This means that if you don't like the program for any reason, then within 30 days you can get a full refund.
I haven't seen any complaints about people not getting refunds, so I'm assuming they do indeed honor this policy.
*If you did purchase the program/products and would like to request a refund of your money you can do so at 800 566-1609.
How Much Money Can You Make?
They tell us that you will be able to average $3,000+ per referral that you make. This is a heck of a lot of money. However, it all depends on how many referrals you can actually make.
If you're able to make 1 referral a week then that is an extra $12k per month. But if you're only able to make 1 referral every 3 months then this is only an extra $12k per year.
This is the tricky part, because the amount of opportunity available depends greatly on where you live, and there is no good way of knowing how much there will be beforehand.
Owner financing isn't a very popular way to purchase property and people willing to sell their notes are even much less common. So it's not like this is going to be "easy".
You, as an agent, actually determine your own pay
This is how it works: When you find a note that a seller is willing to sell, then you bring it to Charter Financial. They will then look things over and decide how much they are willing to pay for the note. THEN, you can subtract your commission from the offer.
- You find a seller with a note for $100k that they are looking to sell
- You bring CF the note and they decide that they are willing to pay $90k for the note
- You decide you want to earn $3k from the transaction and then offer the client $87k
You determine your price, but of course you can take too much or else the client will never accept the offer.
Additionally, I was also able to find some information on performance bonuses that CF gives out.
- $195 bonus for your first deal
- $250 bonus for your second deal
- $500 bonus on your third deal
So, how much can you realistically make?
Unfortunately there are no good numbers I can provide here. This is one of those jobs that is very unpredictable.
There is almost no information on the opportunity that you can find coming from agents who are actually doing it. I've done quite a bit of research into things and only was able to find a couple reviews online.
That said, this is probably a good thing. If this opportunity where a scam, or just downright horrible, then there would more than likely be loads of complaints and negative reviews to find.
On the BBB's website, which let me remind you Charter Financial has an A+ rating on, these are some of the reviews available...
The top review is from an independent agent. Here, the agent claims that the training & support are great. The bottom review is from someone who had their notes purchased by Charter Financial and was pleased with the smooth transaction.
In contrast, I also stumbled upon a complaint on Ripoff Report, which claims the company is a "very well disguised fraud". This person claims that the company will bombard you with promotional emails trying to upsell you on more expensive services, and they also claim that if you purchase the pre-made website from them you won't be able to see the leads you are getting through it because they go directly to Charter...
That said, I don't see any reason to actually call them a fraud. They do have some more expensive services offered that they will likely push on you, such as the website and leads services, but this doesn't make them a fraud by any means. And it would be nice if you could see the leads your website generates, but still... not enough to convict of fraud.
It's also worth mentioning that there were several rebuttal comments to the complaint shown above, such as this one where the author refers to the complaint above as "slander" and claims that Charter Financial is an honest and legit company...
All things considered, Charter Financial has a very low number of negative reviews and appears to be legitimate in every way.
It would be nice if they would tone down their marketing material a bit, because advertisements telling people they can make $3,000+/mo from this might be somewhat misleading, but overall the company and opportunity are definitely legit.
Pros v Cons
- Flexible job, can work on your own schedule
- Low startup cost
- No experience or special degree needed
- Potential for high earnings
- No need to deal with paperwork of transferring a note
- Charter Financial has good BBB rating and reputation
- Cost to join is refunded when you make a referral
- Refunds available if you don't like the program
- No guarantee you will make money
- Almost impossible to estimate the earning potential here
Conclusion - Worth Joining?
The answer to this question is completely up to you and depends on what you are looking for. Charter Financial is a legitimate company that provides a legitimate opportunity, but this doesn't mean it's a good fit for you.
The most important thing to realize if you are going to join this opportunity is that you can't expect to earn a certain amount. There are no guarantees here and I would suggest going into things without expectations. You have to get your feet wet to get a feel for things. There is no way to predict the potential of getting referrals this way, which will largely depend on where you live.
So... anyways... hopefully this review helps and provides a more clear picture of the opportunity at hand.
And, before you go, since you are looking for a home-based business opportunity you might be interested in how I make a living working from home. It has nothing to do with note brokering, but I'd suggest taking a look.
Take care and be sure to leave any comments/questions below 🙂
Related: 70+ Ways to Make Money From Home