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Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate Investors’

Wisely Putting Down Payments on Single-Family Rental Home Purchases

One House too many? There's no such thing when investing in your future! - Down Payments

A few times a week I talk to investors planning on putting a large down payment on the purchase of a single-family rental home. The goal is to have a better “cash flow”. It may sound logical – the greater the down payment, the smaller the loan, and hence the monthly payments. However, the foundational piece of buying rental homes in the United States is the “gift” called “the 30-year fixed rate loan”. This loan sounds like a miracle to most foreigners, since neither the monthly payment nor the mortgage balance EVER keeps up with the cost of living around the world, while everything else does.

The magical 30-year fixed rate loan

The 30-year fixed-rate loan is at the heart of life transformation for investors when the homes are held for 10 years or more (preferably over 15). The loan keeps getting eroded by inflation (or CPI– the cost of living), while the home, rent, and everything else keeps requiring more dollars to buy (hence in dollars, their value goes up – even without intrinsic appreciation). The 30-year fixed rate loan starts looking quite puny after 12, 14, 16 years. It may be years before it is paid off, but since it never keeps up with the cost of living, inflation hammers the real value of the loan.

These loans are a great financial gift, with future-changing potential. Why, then, would you want to make the gift smaller? Especially at today’s low rates? The answer is, you don’t. A larger down payment will mean the magical loan will be smaller.

May be wise not to exceed 20% down payment

This is not fully utilizing the power of the fixed-rate loan, and it means the borrower has expended more of their scarcest resource: cash! Even very wealthy people, who can afford to put down a large down payment or buy for cash, choose to put down less money. They do this to leverage their cash with the 30-year fixed-rate loan.

I think that in normal cases, a 20% down payment should not be exceeded. The small additional cash flow due to having a smaller loan is insignificant at the present time. Right now, your main “cash flow” should come from your own earnings (salary). It is later in life during retirement that the rental homes can replace your income.

In cases of big 1031 exchanges, with not enough properties to identify, or in cases of not being able to get the FNMA loan anymore, then larger down payments are merited and that is a different blog post. I still think the down payments should be less, rather than more, in any circumstance. Currently, in our Membership area on our website, we have podcasts and a webinar that discuss loans and cash flow in depth. You can learn more about it at icgre.com/members

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You Think You Can’t Get Loans?




Many investors have almost given up on getting loans to buy investment real estate. It may be that their credit was ruined during the recession. It may be that they own over 10 properties and exceed the FNMA guidelines. Or, it may be that their income is not sufficient or their loan to income ratio doesn’t work.
Nowadays, securing a loan from a lender is far more difficult and a lot of very good people get left out in the cold. However, there are alternatives. One such alternative is the Asset-based loan. This is a loan based on your stock portfolio (as a bonus your foreign friends can also get a loan against THEIR stock portfolio in 30 different stock markets worldwide).
At our ICG 1-Day Expo this Saturday, one of our expert speakers will be Mark McKay, who specializes in Asset-based loans.

Take a look at the descriptions of these loans by Mark:
SecureLoan™
Still the best and easiest way to finance your real estate investments.
·         Loan is leveraged against your stock/securities portfolio
·         Lowest interest rates in the nation
·         Not a margin loan and generally several percentage points lower than margin loans
·         Not credit score driven
·         No limit on number of properties owned
·         You maintain ownership of your stock/securities portfolio
·         You continue to receive all the dividends
·         Fast and easy processing – generally 2 or 3 weeks
·         So low doc almost NO DOC
·         Established as a line of credit, you only pay interest on what you use
·         Dual appreciation

Come hear Mark THIS SATURDAY near the San Francisco Airport (details at www.icgre.com/events). Send us an email at info@icgre.comand mention this blog and you and a guest can attend FREE.


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Younger Renters Turn to Buying

In a Wall Street Journal article from May 11, 2017 by Laura Kusisto and Chris Kirkham, we read that millennials  and other younger buyers are becoming much more focused on BUYING rather than renting in the past year. This trend is likely to continue.
It is not surprising with lower unemployment, still-low interest rates and FHA loans with 3.5% down payments available to home buyers (*buy to OWN not as an investment). What effect does this have on us as investors?  Seemingly it will drain the rental pool.

In reality, however, there is a great shortage of good single family homes since housing starts have not yet made up for the gap in new construction created during the recession. Thus renters are still likely to be quite plentiful. Prices, however, are likely to get a boost from this increased buying activity. The home buyers using the 3.5%-down FHA loan are less price sensitive and willing to pay more for a home they like (after all the difference for them is only 3.5% of the extra amount which is negligible).

Appraisals will track higher as sales prices increase, creating a virtuous cycle of appreciation, also fueled by the inaccurate, but popular sites like Zillow, Trulia (etc.) which reflect the increasing prices in their estimates.
In some of our markets, it may not be a bad idea to sell and take profits. Some markets have already appreciated quite a bit in the past few years, markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Dallas. In other markets, as prices increase our equity builds up faster.
Another benefit is, since the younger generation of buyers seek less expensive homes, the builders are creating more and more of those see in the WSJ (article below). Since these homes have exactly the kind of size and price we seek as investors, it will widen the inventory pool from which to buy, as investors are sometimes faced with tight selections.

We will discuss this issue, as well as much more, including the improvement in FNMA’s loan guidelines affecting investors, during our 1-Day Expo on Saturday May 20th near the San Francisco Airport. Mention this blog and you can attend free. There will be market teams, lenders, expert speakers on issues critical to investors, and lots of networking. To see some detail, please go to www.icgre.com/events. To register or contact us, please email info@icgre.com

The Wall Street Journal article is copied in its entirety below:

The Next Hot Housing Market: Starter Homes
Millennials are buying homes, steering builders toward lower price points
Home buyer Darin Fredericks and his wife Summer Fredericks in the kitchen of their new home in Ontario, Calif., last November. PHOTO: PATRICK T. FALLON FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Chris Kirkham
Updated May 11, 2017 8:09 p.m. ET
First-time buyers are rushing to buy homes after a decade on the sidelines, promising to kick a housing market already flush with luxury sales into higher gear.
Tracking home sales to a particular age group is hard, but a series of data points form a mosaic of a generation of young people ready to buy: The number of new-owner households was double the number of new-renter households in the first quarter of this year, the share of first-time buyers is creeping back toward the historical average, and mortgages for first-timers are on the rise.
 “They’re crawling out of their parents’ basements, they’re forming households and they’re looking to buy,” said Doug Bauer, chief executive of home builder Tri Pointe Group Inc., which operates in eight states.

In a shift, new households are overwhelmingly choosing to buy rather than rent. Some 854,000 new-owner households were formed during the first three months of the year, more than double the 365,000 new-renter households formed during the period, according to Census Bureau data. It was the first time in a decade there were more new buyers than renters, according to an analysis by home-tracker Trulia.

Home builders are beginning to shift their focus away from luxury homes and toward homes at lower price points to cater to this burgeoning millennial clientele. Demographers generally define millennials as people born between roughly 1980 and 2000.
In the first quarter of this year, 31% of the speculative homes built by major builders were smaller than 2,250 square feet, indicating they were in the starter-home range, according to housing-research firm Zelman & Associates. That is up from 27% a year ago and 24% in the first quarter of 2015.
“There’s an increasing confidence level in that part of the market,” said Gregg Nelson, co-founder of California home builder Trumark Cos. “The recovery is finally starting to take hold in a broader way.”
The shift reflects a reversal of a pattern that has driven the five-year housing-market expansion.
Up until now the luxury market has soared, while the more affordable end of the market has struggled. Tough lending standards, slow wage growth, growing student-debt obligations and a newfound fear of homeownership have combined to crimp demand among millennials in particular.
Now, the return of first-time buyers is allaying fears that millennials might eschew homeownership permanently. But it also provides an infusion of new demand while housing supply is tight and home price growth is significantly outstripping wage gains.
Home prices in February increased by 5.8% over the same month a year earlier, according to the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.
The return of first-time buyers is accelerating. In all they have accounted for 42% of buyers this year, up from 38% in 2015 and 31% at the lowest point during the recent housing cycle in 2011, according to Fannie Mae, which defines first-time buyers as anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years.
While economists and builders said lending standards have started to ease, getting a mortgage remains challenging for young buyers with shorter credit histories and, in many cases, student debt. Mortgage rates are also expected to rise further this year, posing an added challenge. Rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage have risen to 4.05%, up from about 3.5% in November, according to Freddie Mac.
In Orange County, Calif., Trumark’s Mr. Nelson said he has been selling entry-level homes at nearly double the rate of his higher-end ones. He is even gaining confidence to build homes in more far-flung locations. The company is about to begin construction on a 114-home project in the Inland Empire east of Los Angeles and another development in Manteca, Calif., about 80 miles east of San Francisco. Both areas were hard-hit during the housing crash and were among the slowest to recover.
Builders largely avoided the exurbs after the bubble burst in 2006. But because land there is cheaper, they can build lower-end homes more profitably.
“Most builders really preferred to stick straight down the fairway, right at the corner of Main and Main. They were afraid to go back into the rough where they built a lot of homes in the prior cycle,” said Alan Ratner, senior home-building analyst at Zelman.
Outside Las Vegas, Tri Pointe has introduced a new-home design that is specifically targeted to millennial buyers, featuring indoor-outdoor patios and deck spaces, as well as a separate downstairs bedroom-and-bathroom suite that could be rented out to a housemate. Mr. Bauer said the homes, geared toward first-time buyers, have been selling more rapidly than pricier homes.
Joey Liu, a 28-year-old technology worker, purchased his first home in San Jose, Calif., earlier this year. He said it is more expensive than renting but that he is getting to the stage in life where it was time to buy.
“A lot of friends of mine bought a home so I started thinking maybe it was time to buy a home and stop paying rent,” said Mr. Liu, who settled on a three-bedroom townhouse for $690,000. He plans to rent out a room to help with the expenses.
He had three housewarming parties to celebrate his newfound status. “This is my first house, so it definitely feels different,” he said.
Builders say their return to the starter-home market shouldn’t invite comparisons to the fevered construction of the mid-2000s.
“One of the misconceptions is that, here we go again, this is another 2005, 2006 where all these builders are going to build hundreds of thousands of homes. We’re not going crazy,” said Brent Anderson, vice president of investor relations at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Meritage Homes Corp. Mr. Anderson said that last year the company was building four to five speculative homes per community and is now up to 6.4 on average.

Building executives said one challenge is that many people are buying first homes later in life, meaning they have higher incomes and greater expectations molded by years of living in luxury downtown rentals. Such buyers also appear wary of driving farther out to get more space.
Sheryl Palmer, president and chief executive of Scottsdale-Ariz.-based Taylor Morrison Home Corp., said to cater to this demographic the company is building more three-story townhouses or single-family homes on narrow lots. She said about one-third of the company’s buyers this year are millennials, up from 22% last year.

Even Toll Brothers Inc., which typically builds homes for the top end of the market, is venturing into lower price points. In Houston, the company is building homes starting in the mid-$300,000s range, while a typical Toll home in the area costs around $850,000.

Write to Laura Kusisto at laura.kusisto@wsj.com and Chris Kirkham at chris.kirkham@wsj.com
Appeared in the May. 12, 2017, print edition as ‘Generation of Renters Now Buying.’
















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Historic Decline in Home Ownership affects Economy, Bodes well For Investors

In a Wall Street Journal article form March 27, 2017 by Laura Kusisto, as well as in a few blog entries on WSJ, the point is made that home ownership in the US is at a historic low. At 63.7% home ownership, it is the lowest such number for the past 48 years!
Reasons given for it include more strict lending practices following the recession. Perhaps another issue is that the recession is still fresh enough to have taken the belief away that your home will “always appreciate “ in value and will serve not only as a residence, but as a major lifelong investment. Some people may no longer think so.
Add to that the natural desire of people to be free to move at will, and we have only 63.7% homeowners in the US as of the 4th quarter of 2016.
As investors, of course, we are quite familiar with the powerful financial effect owning houses can have on our future, especially if we finance them with the incomprehensible 30-year fixed loans still available, and at still super low rates.
Having 63.7% homeownership percentage means, of course, that a full 36.3% of the population are renters! That is about 117,000,000 people!
Those of us who know the value and power of investing in houses and holding them as rentals, can only look at this statistic as a positive – obviously these renters need a place to rent and we will have a larger renter pool available for our homes. Sure some single people may want to rent an apartment, but families usually prefer renting a single family home.
Coupling this data regarding the highest number of renters available to us in nearly 50 years, with the still-low interest rates available on 30-year fixed rate loans, means this is an excellent time to stock up on single family homes as investments.
Interest rates are on the way up. The fed keeps reminding us they will continue to raise rates. Having a period of such low rates (despite the small “Trump Bump” we experienced recently), makes it a special time to buy and hold.
If you are under the FNMA allotted 10 loans per person (20 per married couple if they buy separately), it is high time for you to go out there and purchase brand-new single family homes in good areas, finance them using these great 30-year fixed rate loans, which will never ever keep up with inflation (thus they will get eroded by inflation as to their real dollar value). The homes will be managed by local property managers we use ourselves in the various cities in which we invest.
We will discuss this as well as many other important topics for investors, at our quarterly ICG 1-Day Expo near the San Francisco Airport on Saturday May 20th. We will have experts lecturing on important topics, lenders, market teams from the best markets in the U.S., and lots of Q&A, networking and learning. Just send us an email at info@icgre.com. Just put in in the subject line, “Saw your blog on home ownership” and list your name and those of your guests. We will confirm!  See you on May 20th. 

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Loan Resets to Start Kicking in – Will Your Payment Jump Up? What Should You Do?

In the period between 2006 and 2008, a large number of interest-only loans were taken.

These loans are not really interest-only for all eternity. These are typically loans that were interest-only for 10 years, and then were due to become fully amortized until the end of the loan period. One detail that many borrowers may have missed, is that if the total loan period is 30 years (the most common), and the loan is interest-only for 10 years, then the amortization that follows the 10 interest-only years will be amortization OVER 20 YEARS!

Thus when the loan resets to being fully amortized after the first 10 years, the borrower will experience the high payment jump of going from interest-only to going to a 20-year full amortization. For a lot of borrowers, this will be a shock! Of course the “silver lining” is that principal is being paid under the new fully amortized schedule, so the loan balance gets lower every month. However even when the loan was interest-only, inflation was constantly eroding it anyway.
What is the borrower to do?
If the borrower can afford the increased payment with no problem, there is not much that needs to be done. Let the loan be paid off and just continue as before. If the payment load is too heavy, and the owner’s credit and income are good (especially if the owner has under 10 properties with loans on them), a refinance would a be a logical step – good credit can get 30-years fixed rate loans at a bit over 4% – fixed for 30 years. The payments will be higher than the interest-only payments from before, but the low interest rate and the 30-year amortization (as opposed to 20 years), will likely make the payment far lower than the alternative. Another benefit – the old loan is likely NOT a true fixed-rate loan so as interest rates climb in the future (if they do), the already-high payment is only going to get higher still. With a 30-year fixed-rate loan, such a thing cannot happen.
If a refinance is not possible, the next thing to look into is the possibility of selling the house. In some markets, over the past few years, much equity was built as home prices appreciated significantly. A sale will pay off the unpleasant loan, and most likely will generate a profit (perhaps a handsome profit at that).
One thing to do if a sale is not possible, if the house is underwater (can still be the case in some markets), or if the equity is thin so the sales expenses will create a net shortage, is to consider selling to an investor for essentially no-money-down on a contract-for-deed in states that allow it. That investor may be attracted to the no-down (or low down) purchase and may have the resources to pay the 20-year amortization loan while increasing his/her equity via doing so.
Of course, an option of last resort is to simply walk away. There are lots of investors whose credit is still damaged from the aftermath of the recession, so the credit hit is not devastating to an already-low credit score. Nevertheless, such an act will increase the time it will take for the investor’s credit to bounce back and start the count from zero again. This is not a recommended action to take.

Most important is to be aware of the upcoming reset, and prepare before it hits.
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The Ideal Properties for Real Estate Investment for The Busy Professional

As a busy professional, it is likely that your income will be sufficient to qualify for loans on investment properties – especially Single Family Homes – in most of the U.S. markets.  A high percentage of busy professionals also have good credit scores, which bodes well for getting good financing.

I maintain that the ideal property for real estate investment for the busy professional is the Single Family Home (SFH). SFHs are almost a perfect property for the individual investor who also has a regular job or business. SFHs are still the “American Dream” for most people. They are also a relatively attainable dream in many large metropolitan areas in the U.S. where prices are quite affordable, even in 2016.

SFHs are essentially the “liquid” real estate since when it is time to sell your potential buyer pool is the largest – effectively all home-buyers in the marketplace.  These homes are the real estate investment on which you can get the most powerful loan in the real estate universe – the magical fixed-rate, 30-year loan. 

Technically this loan is available on 1 to 4 residential units so duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes also qualify. However, SFHs are usually superior to the 2-4 unit properties. In good areas you will usually find only SFHs, while you may have to travel to another part of town to see the “plexes” and they will usually be surrounded by many other “plexes.”  The “plexes” are more likely to present management challenges, have more short-term tenants (statistically) and to top it off, may not necessarily provide as good an appreciation over the long term. 

One exception is new duplexes in white-collar areas, but overall the SFHs are superior. I have been buying homes for well over 30 years, and helped people buy nearly 10,000 homes in dozens of markets. During these decades, I have witnessed many “plexes” and their performance as well as many thousands of SFHs. My experience, and the experiences of thousands of investors, leads me to favor the SFHs over the “plexes.”

Buying larger residential properties – apartment complexes – can be a good investment, but there are areas where the investor needs to be an expert. The optimal apartment complex size, based on the experience of most apartment complex investors, is between 100 and 300 (many say 150-300) units, so economies of scale can be utilized to improve cash flow. 

For example, you may need one full time on-site manager and one full-time maintenance person for a 110-unit complex, but if you have a 60-unit complex, you may STILL need to use one full-time on site manager and one full time on site maintenance person – but with 50 less rents coming in! That is NOT using economies of scale very well.  There is a lot to discuss on the subject of large apartment complexes, but for the scope of this article, they require deep expertise to run properly.  
They may take up much more time than a busy professional has available; they are NOT financed with the magical 30-year fixed rate loans, and they usually call for a large investment upfront. For the busy professional, Single Family Homes present a simple, effective, and very powerful investment, with outstanding financing that cannot be found anywhere else and a time commitment, which is relatively low. 
We will discuss this topic, as well as many other crucial topics for investors, at our Quarterly 1-Day Expo on Saturday May 21st near SFO. We will have market teams present, including a new exciting market. We have also invited top-notch experts to speak on Property Management, 1031 Exchanges and Proper Insurance – the first and most important barrier in protecting your assets, including nationwide umbrellas. Everyone mentioning this blog is invited to attend free, with associates. Just email us at info@icgre.com to register, and in the subject line write: Saw your blog! See you there.

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