I originally posted this on another forum. I am posting this after reading Australian spruikers/wholesalers selling and securing houses near dumps, selling houses that are over 30k more than necessary in dire locations and just all those issues that were the reason I got involved in the first place in trying to help people….
I am a licensed US real estate agent in 2 states and I can honestly say I haven't recommended a foreclosed property in either Nevada or Georgia in over a month to any of my investors. This market is the dregs for SFR (GREAT for phase 2 but SFR is a foreign feeding frenzy) Brits, Israelis, Arabs, Chinese… oh and yes, us Aussies….. OCCASIONALLY a great deal may come up and I promise you, I, and 400 other "on the ground" agents will look at it, each representing at MINIMUM 20 clients and I can also SWEAR that there will be about 38 bids on it and all will probably be stupidly over list price and quite frankly that will in 99% of the cases alone make it a stupid buy.
Heck, I even read someone bought a property and had extra bills because they couldn't have utilities on before closing for due diligence. WRONG.
SO ARM YOURSELF WITH THE FOLLOWING
How to find properties in the US –
Firstly – DO contact a licensed buyers agent within the US – they ARE there to work for YOU – part of US real estate law is CLIENT ABOVE SELF. How many "buyers agents" selling US property in Australia can seriously say that they would lose their livelihood for ignoring that LAW and how many do you SERIOUSLY believe are putting YOU as a client above themselves.
Buyers Agents will send you a list of every available property in the entire market that meets your needs – which might be, younger than "x" year, minimum 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, double car garage in only one zip code – but you will get EVERY property that comes out that meets that criteria! FOR FREE WITH NO OBLIGATION TO BUY.. ASK FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD SALES, COMP SALES/RENTS ETC – FOR FREE, ASK FOR HISTORIC SALES DATA – FOR FREE…. ALL THIS IS FREE FREE FREE…. IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR FREE WITHOUT USING A REAL ESTATE AGENT….. just might be more time that you don't have to spend.
A buyers agent is NOT someone who buys a property and resells it. That is a wholesaler or a flipper. Have a very healthy skepticism of someone selling bulk as to their ongoing concern with your property or even how likely it is your property will rent by location. SO DO YOUR RESEARCH.
http://www.redfin.com – without contacting any real estate agent, this is probably the best of the tools.
Sadly once you buy a property you can change the purchase price if you are the owner….so be aware of skewed prices…HOWEVER it is great for seeing how MANY properties have sold in your area in the last 6 months – if a lot, in this market under 80k? Yep, they were sold to investors – how will your enclave look in 5 years time if foreign owners have a tenant majority populated zip in an area that wasn't crash hot to start with?
http://www.listingbook.com – like Domain on steroids for Atlanta at least… you need a login but you are more than happy to use my random one to get a feel for it – it has random suburbs in there…..
Go to area sales of a house you are looking at – find the same subdivision and go from there.
Never buy at the back of a enclave – if any house is at the front of the enclave for rent, they will have to drive past your house to find it… common sense – be the one at the front of the enclave and you will have free advertising!
GOOD SCHOOLS, GOOD SHOPS, TRANSPORT – be walking distance to these….you will always, but always have a tenant.
ALWAYS IGNORE WHAT A PROPERTY SOLD FOR DURING THE PEAK OF THE MARKET
How to find out what your property might rent for
Type in the street name of the subject property – don't type in the actually number as obviously that house isn't actually for rent! If there aren't any on the precise street then google map where in the zip your house lies and find the same area.
You can use this as well – fabulous tool for those for sale and rents.
Pretend to be a tenant looking for a house in the street of your location
CALL A HOUSE FOR RENT ON THE STREET YOU ARE BUYING – OFFER THEM $100 less and see if they will take it – if yes, maybe you don't want to to buy there!
UNDERESTIMATE INCOME OVER ESTIMATE EXPENSES
IF current rents look like you can get $1000 – do your maths off $900 a month. If you come up with $200 per month in expenses – do your maths of $300…..
A/C quarterly inspections
Filing fees for taxes
Asset protection – LLC setup and ongoing business licenses etc
Vacancy, tenant move out and changeover repairs….
DOES YOUR PROPERTY MANAGER CHARGE A FEE FOR TENANT CHANGEOVER – OR RENTING A PROPERTY
IS THERE A FEE TO EVEN INSPECT THE PROPERTY
Hyperinflated repair costs
HOA Fees if applicable
Property management fees
Renewing or reletting fees for leases (most don't charge this but some do)
Utilities if you are paying sewer or trash etc
Then think again because I will have missed some from the above … then pad it and pad it some more
IF THAT STILL MAKES SENSE THEN GREAT….
Total Outlay = purchase price, plus repairs, plus closing, plus facilitation AKA amount you will not be divorced over.
Obviously buying a property that needs less repairs will allow you to buy a property at a higher purchase price!
Process for purchase
Any real estate agent can step you through the purchase process. Ask a million questions.
You write an offer on the property to buy it.
The offer is accepted, rejected or you are asked to submit a "highest and best" offer – ie there are multiple offers and you get a chance to revisit your offer price… (hate that – you could be the highest already)
You officially exchange contracts – ie the seller accepts your offer and you exchange contracts.
Once contracts are exchanged you enter due diligence. This means that your agent will liaise with the seller and listing agent to ensure all utilities are on and you conduct your home inspection – it the utilities are NOT on, you will get an extension or have the right to back out of the deal……!!YOUR CONTRACTOR SHOULD BE THERE AS WELL TO GIVE YOU A QUOTE FOR COMPLETE REPAIRS WITH UTILITIES ON!!
If something comes up at due diligence during the home inspection and your home inspector makes "strong recommendation" for further evaluation by a licensed and certified technician, you can have your HVAC tested, your roof tested, your plumbing inspected further…. (plumbing is never that expensive – but a new roof can be a few thousand)
IF YOU SEE ANYTHING DURING THIS TIME FRAME YOU DON'T LIKE OR THE QUOTE FOR REPAIRS IS GOING TO BE OVER THE ??5k YOU BUDGETED…. BACK OUT AND GET YOUR EMD BACK – you will still have had to pay for your home inspections but that is all….
Assuming you proceed to closing… you then have anywhere from 10 days – ?? a month before closing occurs – title is cleared, liens are cleared, your title insurance is put in place and then YAY, closing – and you get sent the wonderful title deed for your hot little hand!
VERY ROUGH OUTLINE OF AVERAGE CLOSING WITH 5k OF REPAIRS….
Please be very aware that many wholesalers and flippers use this area to "rape" you…. if you are receiving a quote at over 10k, be dubious -ask for a breakdown and get a breakdown by line item….if very suspicious – get 2 quotes from any other contractor in town.
Why do I include project management and renting the property in my fees? Because every cent counts to me as an investor and every second counts and this area is where we are most open to being completely ripped off on. If your property manager is trying to rent 30 properties at once – what are they doing to promote YOURS ahead of everyone else's.
5 days before closing = order utilities (they will be switched off after due diligence), line up the tradesmen
2 days before closing = walkthrough verification of all supplies (you're making a list and checking it twice!)
Day before closing = buy all supplies – love the shopping trip
Yay……Closing…..for rent signs up put up around neighborhood, advertising in full swing…
Day 1 – morning = carpet rip out, floor prep, new tacks laid as needed, doors hung that need hanging, anything that needs removing before painting needs removing – faceplates, light fixtures being replaced etc…sheetrock patching occurs whole day as needed. Afternoon = tape off and prep for painting
Day 2 – painting (yard work/roof work outside)
Day 3 – finish painting/garage door installed if replacing
Day 4 – finish fit off/carpet laid/appliances delivered
Day 5 – cleaning – Quality control
Day 6 – pest control
… and on the 7th day…..lol….
Day 8 is quality control and haul back of anything that might even vaguely have issues.
BE VERY VERY VERY AWARE THAT TIME IS MONEY – just like Australia – if your property doesn't photo well at move in, you HAVE to have this work done as quickly as possible.
Move in date is the 1st in the States pretty much across the board so you do try if you can to strategically close properties when possible around best rental dates…however realistically if you close on the 25th – the 1st of a month, you are probably not looking at a move in until the 1st of the next month…you can fluke it… but rarely. Most make their mind up to move by the 18th of each month for a move in on the 1st.
Two other fun websites:
(I ALWAYS seem to forget to put that one in)… I love the little icons for theft and burglary!
I am looking forward to hearing how it might go once they allow you to post directly – another FAB resource..
If you are renting your own properties (or "helping" in the rent – do remember in many states if you have multiple rentals you require a licensed agent to rent your property)…. gosection8.com now has an automatic link to Craigslist… remember that you need a US phone with text abilities…NOT IF YOU LIST THROUGH GO SECTION 8…. I thought that was a GEM to learn!
The second you are using a buyers agent VIA a third party, that agent is representing one person and one person ONLY…..the person who secured your property whose name is on the contract of offer. It is NOT you. NOT. You must understand that the licensed agent is thus NOT affording you ANY rights beyond honesty if asked a direct question… Their fiduciary responsibility starts and stops with your spruiker. Further, if your spruiker is using a real estate agent … Um….has it occurred to you that you might as well just cut out the middle person if all they are offering is an introductory service?
I don't care what market you are in, I don't care where you buy… I desperately care that you know though WHO you are buying through and that you have learnt enough to find the right buy FOR YOU and to survive in this market. If you memorize the websites above, you don't need these people. You don't need me and pretty frankly you SHOULD learn how to survive on your own two feet.
Can you get good deals through a spruiker? Maybe but just KNOW what rights you are giving up for that pleasure and be VERY aware of it….Buy from the open market through a licensed real estate agent, get comp rents, get comp sales, interview 6 property managers, ask for referrals, ask for rate sheets, get 3 quotes for a repair over $200…..Right there you will have saved $4k.
Learn and go and use Red Beacon by Home Depot for repairs… Be very very specific. HECK – In Georgia you could have them price the whole house for repairs!
This isn't hard to do (if it was you wouldnt have 2000 spruikers sitting in Oz selling US real estate they themselves have never seen) but please don't get ripped off. These people mostly disappear after the buy anyway. What have you REALLY paid money for?
For example – if you are in Atlanta then you know that there are spruikers leaping on properties on top of the dump in DeKalb… they either have such little clue or are that greedy. Which is fine if, as a buyer you know that, are waiving future capital gain for yield and are aware of it….Stucco faced houses being snapped up etc etc… There is an enclave around the corner from my home in Atlanta and I counted 19 houses up for rent and sale in it….. OUCH. 19. 4 months ago there wasnt one. Can you say rental fight? These are NOT owner occupied. Are you seriously saying to me you couldn't do just as well yourself?
The spruikers sell the fear that you couldn't do this alone. I have maintained that a) you probably could and ultimately should and b) for those that don't know where to start, a spruiker who is focussed on sales and not YOU is NOT the place to start. A real estate agent can sell you a property. This forum can help you with where to buy and what to buy. Help each other NOT have to spend $4k for an introduction to a real estate agent, a general contractor and a property manager. Google does that for free without charge. 20, heck, even 40 hours of research would be a better investment.
If still in doubt – ask Jay Hihnrichs what he thinks. Ask anyone you TRUST implicitly who has at least 8 investment properties here Stateside and then interview 20 real estate agents. If they all agree you have an incredible buy, GREAT.
I kinda stopped reading after you said stay away from wholesalers / flippers. Technically, most wholesalers are flippers. I am a wholesaler and I "flip" product and there are a lot of us out there, yes some ripoffs I have seen. As a wholesaler, I'll take a loss on one property just to clear my books to earn it back the following week. Something wrong with wholesaling? Did you get ripped off or maybe you just don't have the funds to make it work? I don't know but I've been successfully wholesaling for years and making money for myself and putting buyers into a position of equity and upside. I also don't do warzones.
Our company has the capital and resources to buy in bulk. We have a good relationship with a National Credit Union where we have been buying a lot of their bulk packages. In most cases, we have to buy properties we don't even like just to get the bulk of what we do want. It's a numbers game and profits here and losses there result in a net positive for my business.
Furthermore, I also have the funds to rehab the properties and allow the investor to hold off their closing until we place a tenant in the property at fair market rent done by a third party property management firm. I have disclosed my formula for selling. This is how it averages:
Purchase price of A …. Rehab cost of B…. A + B x 8% = Profit………Profit + A + B = Net Sales Price. Bad deal? It's not. I don't get 60% off on bulk purchases. I don't even get 40% off. I get about 20% off on most cases. At the end of the day, my buyers pay about 8% under retail prices in an improving market.
Your Zillow reference I also disagree with if I am understanding what you're saying. A dominated investor – owned area under $80k would at least to me, be considered war zone or getting close to war zone….OR, Section 8…which I do like. If you go to warzones like these, ie…Detroit, parts of Atlanta, parts of FL, etc… most homes ARE owned by investors because these areas NEED the rental stock where most people ARE renters. Many have Section 8 vouchers. Some have different subsidies. I am an investor for the past 8 years in a high crime area in NJ. All of my tenants are Section 8. I bought cheap and get high rents. Section 8 has increased rental rates over the years which increase the value of my property. My entire street is almost entirely owned by LLC's or investors of some type.
Sorry to point that out, but I am a wholesaler and I had to defend your comment. Nothing wrong with you looking out for people, but there are tons of wholesalers who do very good business and have benefits more then those that are licensed. I am also licensed in 3 states (FL, NJ, NY) for the record.
Should have read farther then = )
I do believe Jay may well be someone who I would ARDENTLY recommend as a wholesaler…. but I think Jay exposes an exception that proves a rule on this website… I write this from the horror stories – there are enough. Jay pointed to one US based wholesaler that spruiked on here for a while and then robbed someone blind…. I come from the "how can you possibly protect yourself so that doesn't happen"????
Start by understanding that wholesalers work for themselves to make money – when/if we, – even as licensed agents, sell a property for wholesale we are not representing the buyer either.
For a first investment? Cheeves, seriously? Not to have anyone acting independently for you, the buyers interests in a transaction? To waive that person who is there FOR you specifically? Buying from someone who, as you state, is "offloading" property?
We all will "flip" at some point……this is about the basics for someone who is looking to enter investing in the US for the first time – in many instances their first foreign investment and in some, their VERY first IP.
They need to know. If you choose your first investment to be on the other side of the planet in a city have never been to and buy through a licensed US buyers agent and were BLATANTLY lied to or had ardent misrepresentation – aka "Fantastic opportunity, lowest price ever achieved, yield – net 12% today" etc they could pursue legal recourse if that proved to be gobbledygook.
300 million odd people who live in the US, 25 million? have investment homes? Of those maybe 250k of them would and could buy comfortably through wholesalers….. how many of them bought their very first investment property through a wholesaler using 100% of their own cash in a city they have never been to? Now how many of them bought their first property in Siberia without ANYONE representing their interests in the transaction?
The point is to do DUE DILIGENCE. IT IS NOT A NO.
No, I don't think all real estate agents are ethical or fantastic or even half decent – but at least you have recourse.
One further – this is about consumer rights when you are lied to. Cheeves – do you realize that an Australian espousing FABULOUS deals but who isn't a US citizen can rob blind and completely get away with it.
Caveat Emptor – which is why the post was written – not a "no" – just a VERY VERY VERY CAREFUL. It may be the best flipping deal (love that pun) on the planet – then GO for it…….. but make sure you know – lemon or lemonade.
RE ZILLOW COMMENT
Differentiating for a sec…. the above is angled at SFR btw …as such…Zillow on SFR – I absolutely reiterate.
No, I don't buy in predominantly investor owned SFR enclaves and subdivisions because I know full well that 2 years down the line the overworked and seriously underpaid property manager with the foreign owner is highly likely not to care as much about that area/house as I do.
I want to buy the house that is the exception that is tenanted in an owner occupied area and find someone who seriously wants to buy the property from me down the line…..Someone who will maintain it and love it because everyone else on the street has loved that street for the last 20 years and the kids have all grown up together. Whether that be a Section 8 tenant or not.
Not buying in a potential ghetto where the first foreign investor who drops rents leads to a potential downward spiral in rents and quality of tenant.
Each to their own and each risk level to their own – but I do think it is important to differentiate SFR form MFR/Comm.jayhinrichsParticipant@jayhinrichsJoin Date: 2011Post Count: 1,177
Emma and Cheeves
from my point of view there is ethical then there is those out to make as much as they can make and if the investor has a bad day they could care less and are just down the road.. I suppose that is the definition of the term "Spruieker"
My main pet peaves have and will always be the same.
1. Super low end properties can be cash cows but are not suitable for out of area investors.. That means you must live within an hour of the property, Remember Californians already have been nailed to the Ghetto stake before the latest round of OZ investors buying in the Ghettos not knowing what the heck they were getting into.
2. Operating expense's.. Rule of thumb for safety and capital preservation is 40 to 60% of your gross rent will need to be allocated over the course of a 3 to 5 year ownership of virtually any rental in the US… Unless you are the rare and lucky one that gets a tenant that stays 5 years and does all sorts of fix up jobs for you because thats the kind of person they are.
If its sec. 8 those folks by and large will not fix anything period. And because its almost all single mothers with 2 to 10 kids the houses are lived in very roughly.
So those two things War zones and realistic running cost that filter down to realistic NET returns. Ah My 49 ers are playing football today got to run
Sorry Emma…Can't dignify your response. It is entirely wrong. Caveat Emptor is for everyone including buying through a local agent like you. Sellers are sellers. You just happen to represent a seller or have the audasity to say you represent a buyer at a seller's expense. Either way you are looking to make a commission, right?? Only a stupid buyer cannot perform due diligence to realize they are or are not being ripped off. Come on…we are all adults here. Do your homework. During the GFC, there was a major disconnect between buyers and sellers. Now there is a better connection. Isn't that what can help rebuild America?? The American economy can be built on a win-win situation, not a one sided war. Wholesalers AND investors can in fact win, together. Don't try to play a hero here for buyers against wholesalers. Smart people know there is enough good business to go around if done the right way.
Your statement is harmful to the effort of reconnecting buyers and sellers. I'm not talking about ripoff's here either. I'm talking about a balanced connection that you seem to be so against.
Lol… No, I have never earnt a commission in my life. I am a real estate agent because to even play in real estate you should be. Too funny. I will take the above as a compliment.
I have never, to this day acted as the agent in a single transaction thus I am a bit overqualified ?…however to even VAGUELY talk about real estate in the US you need to be licensed. I make very sure that if I am talking about property people are represented by a separate agent. It is a safety guard I built in to protect people against me…. If I talk abut what I guesstimate a property might be acquired for, I had DARN well better not be earning a commission out of that.
If I was earning a commission, what would prevent me from bidding up??? No, greed is the greatest danger, I built in the safety clause.
A great deal is a great deal wherever you buy it from. I assume you are US Cheeves because what you are missing is that in Oz, we don't have access to data like there is in the States. There is no zillow, trulia, Redfin. You can't go to a county website to find out who the neighbors are. Freedom of information just isn't there for us. Further…. If you have investment properties in Oz, you generally have great tenants, a property manager that does a great job, conducts inspections etc. you get your monthly statements etc. inspections are done etc. it isn't utopia, it isn't positive cash flow in general but it is NOTHING like the issues you HAVE to contend with stateside. Not right, not wrong, just different.
however to even VAGUELY talk about real estate you need to be licensed.
I must have missed when Donald Trump, Robert Kayosaki, Steve Wynn, and others who seem intellectual in real estate got their real estate license.
I am a real estate agent because to even play in real estate you have to be.
Huh? Why? I spend a ton of time in NJ and FL and am in a marketplace where there are millionaires upon millionaires buying real estate and doing very very well with it. They aren't licensed. I have a guy who I am friends with in Jersey City NJ. You would think he would hire me as his sales agent. We get along, have the same business concepts, etc… But he does it alone, and I'm cool with that. He's not licensed and he is probably top 10 in inventory owned as an individual in this area. He never took a real estate course in his life.
I make very sure that if I am talking about property people are represented by a separate agent.
You mean a single agent. You don't consider a transaction broker an honest way of going about things? How about 2 people just having a "meeting of the minds" to make a deal. Why does there have to be 2 separate single agents? I see your point, but not necessary in my opinion. Go back to the textbook when you became licensed.. What are the things they hammer into your brain?
- A deal is made after a buyer and seller have a "meeting of the minds". I believe that is verbatum.
- One of the three types of representation as a sales associate is a "Transaction Broker".. This is the preferred way in all markets. If you work for a big brokerage like a Coldwell Banker, Weichert, Century 21, there is a good chance that product could come from within your own company. So, the solution is TRANSACTION BROKER.
- A buyers / sellers market is defined as the real estate activity of sales volume resulting from a connection or disconnection between buyers and sellers.
I only say this because it was in all 3 of my real estate books in NJ, NY, and FL. I'm guessing most courses are similar.
I'm not trying to start a fight with you here. But this is an education forum. I have never pitched product here, maybe once accidentally But I firmly believe that a buyer can make a deal with a wholesaler without single agency representation. Ok, if someone is going to buy sight unseen, but I think that is stupid anyway. I can speak for myself and for my clients. We have made money and lost money on instinct. I think a foreigner needs to visit the area, look at homes, speak to PM's about rental rates to verify them and vacancy rates and make a deal on their instinct.jayhinrichsParticipant@jayhinrichsJoin Date: 2011Post Count: 1,177
I think the point Emma is trying to make is this.
1. Many of the wholesalers and OZ resellers DO NOT HAVE AN OWNERSHIP INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY THEY ARE PITCHING.. And by definition one needs a real estate license in the US if they are making fee's bringing buyers and sellers together.. Its the wild west with these OZ resellers. And since they arent licensed when a deal goes Pear shaped like Poor Gavin.. he has absolutely no recourse.. Licensed agents have E and O insurance.. You get a bummer deal you sue the agent they turn it over to their E and O carrier and you will usually get some financial consideration. Unlicensed middlemen well those guys are down the road your only recourse is to Sue them personally in Superior court. Very expensive and the way they move from country to country next to impossible to nail them down. Not to mention the very large majority have nothing.. they are no better than used car salesmen.. spend every dime they make own no real estate and just pull up stakes and go to the next deal.
2. So to further the point, someone like myself I own every property I sell or sell a note on. And so do some of the bigger turnkey guys in the country, I know because I lent them money over the years. Now they all participated in the pass through or double escrow that was standard pre GFC.
3. so by definition a wholesaler should be someone who actually wholesales his OWN property, not just list on his website and charges a fee. Those folks are bringing buyer and seller together for a fee, and as such should be licensed.
Of course hundreds get away with it until they are turned into the DRE.
Right Jay, but I was confused when Emma said she has never earned a commission in her life, but is a licensed agent. I agree with your definition of a wholesaler. By your definition, I am still a wholesaler
I am also licensed and carry E & O. Thankfully I haven't been sued yet
Yes, I carry E&O, and yes, thanks Jay you hit the nail on the head.
For Sale By Owner would sum up your main point Cheeves but I am talking about those of us in the profession representing properties to 3rd parties. Taken absolutely literally and you are correct but rights are being waived and possibly not knowingly. Australians CALL themselves buyers agents and they aren't. Literally their signature reads it. They aren't licensed, they aren't insured and they are ripping people off with ZERO recourse. You would only discover it too late.
Commission… A percentage of a sales price is what I meant. I have intentionally never written a contract of sale for another person. I assumed people would think that if I was earning a commission I would be biased to the offer price, what type of property etc. Degree of separation etc.
I never wanted to be tempted to help anyone buy crap or be perceived that I might be tempted to. As we know, the buy isn't 1/10th of this. My focus has always been helping people not get ripped off… For the buy, for the repairs and for 5 years after the buy. When the <moderator: delete language> Oz agent/wholesaler/flipper etc is long gone and suddenly you are stuck in Australia and on your 3rd property manager. Buying a 40k house is pointless if you get raped with 15k of repairs, charged a fee of up to $1k to rent it and then takes 3 months to find a tenant who then proceeds to destroy your house.
Blissfully US people who can help are now on the forums and many have great stories and many can also pass wisdom on.slowachieverParticipant@slowachieverJoin Date: 2006Post Count: 34
This has been a fantastic insight into the USA market and examples of what can happen .
Thankyou for these posts .
Perth Western AustraliaPrecise PMMember@precise-pmJoin Date: 2012Post Count: 5
I think you should mention that in my opinion the inspector must be independent from all parties involved he/she is only working for the buyer and that is it. Many people know each other in the industry and you can't stop that but I've have seen things pass inspections that should of never passed and I am a licensed agent but I do earn commissions…..just sayin LOL