Bruce Norris, How I Got Started

By Christina Suter on Mar 28, 2020 at 07:00 AM in Business Issues
Bruce Norris, How I Got Started

I recently spoke with my industry-colleague and good friend, Bruce Norris about what it took for him to break through from who he was as a young man to the guru he is today. Bruce is an active investor, hard money lender, and real estate educator with over 30 years of experience. he is the founder of The Norris Group and has been involved in more than 2,000 real estate transactions as a buyer, seller, builder, and money partner. Bruce has dedicated himself to understanding the economic field in southern California and it shows in his work.

Bruce was married at 17, was fired 5 times in a row, and eventually got the hang of getting a job. After reading, How To Win Friends and Influence People, Bruce says he learned about avoiding the acute angle-- which is finding a way to find an argument in everything-- and the book taught him to diffuse it and to enjoy the skill of learning to diffuse it. He then got a job in sales selling electrical supplies for 6 years. One day he was invited to join a man to watch his attempt to buy a house wholesale. After the house was purchased, Bruce realized his life experiences could translate into the real estate buying business. In his electrics business, Bruce was selling supplies to people who already had suppliers. In real estate, he convinced people to sell their house to him because he had cash and people could close in a few days. One of the skills Bruce has mastered is the power to be able to close. When he negotiates with a seller, he lets them know that based on his experience, things work or they don't, so his offer leaves with him. He tells sellers if they call him back the next day, he will let them know that he's no longer interested because he wants the power to be able to close and know he's telling them the truth.

Bruce has earned a reputation in the industry based on his integrity. He will often spend the first 15 minutes of speaking with an owner just suggesting things for them that have nothing to do with him making a profit. He will ask their situation and make recommendations that don't always lead to him, as a cash buyer, closing the deal. Bruce once got a referral from someone who told a couple to go talk with him. Bruce visited the couple for two hours and during that meeting, the husband impressed on Bruce that he desperately wanted to move to another state, Tennessee, where he had a job waiting for him and his wife. The husband wanted such full price without commission that he basically got in his own way, Bruce says. There was an underlying desperateness to the man's situation so Bruce told him he could sell his house to him that night if he was willing to take less for his house. Bruce closed on their house and ten years later, that couple's 21-year-old son visited his office and informed Bruce that he was the kid who was causing trouble in their house, due to his gang involvement. He told Bruce that had he not bought their house they wouldn't have been able to move and that kid would have been dead. He asked Bruce to teach him what he knew and how he was able to purchase his childhood home. That kid went on to open an office on Magnolia and Riverside and bought houses. 

The first foreclosure Bruce ever door-knocked was an elderly woman who had $13,000 of debt on a $64,000 house and because he didn't want to make the woman homeless. Bruce was able to get the lender to arrange a loan for her, largely thanks to the equity she had in the house, and she was able to keep her house. Bruce says he wants both sides of that when he's a buyer. He wants to be able to look across the table and if he can help the seller make the decision he'd make if he were in their situation he also wants to be kind enough to let them know when they're making a mistake. 

I asked Bruce how he switched from real estate as a job to having freedom and creating financial stability. "It really wasn't a priority to me, so I kept very little inventory for rentals for the first 15 year plus years, I just flipped." Bruce says Jack Fullerton was influential in saying, "that's great, but what happens if you get hurt or sick, how are you going to have income coming in?" Bruce says he took that question to heart and while on vacation in Maui he listened to Robert Kiyosaki's 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' and there was a four ways to make income quadrant. Bruce said he was always working for someone else or self-employed (the left side of the quadrant) but on the right side of the quadrant, he was attracted to the two that involved running a business that didn't need him and collecting checks from investments. From that vacation on, Bruce changed the way he made income. He says he's not self-employed (when he goes on vacation his business can run without him) which instead means he runs a company. Bruce's loan business, education business, and rentals all started to run without him and he says he's probably the least needed person at The Norris Group. Bruce says it took him until late 2005 for his rental income to allow him to feel financially free. He had to think long term and at age 33, a $30,000 profit from a flip was more appealing to him than cash flow of $200. He says it took him a while to be and want to be methodical with the rental income. 

Bruce and The Norris Group can be reached at 

Sign Up for our Newsletter!