October 2018

Personal Purchase Update

Newest purchase took a tad longer than I expected. As I mentioned last month we had to go back through and do some further updates before we listed it for rent. It took no time at all to get a renter in there which was great, so I scheduled the appraisal with the lender. Hurricane Florence delayed us a week, but the appraisal went through and I got all my money back! 

Purchase price – 55K

Rehab – 10K

All-in cost – 65K

Appraised value – 100K!!!!!!

Rent – $950/month 

It shouldn’t be so easy to make this much money doing so little. 

I went to Fincon 2018

Fincon is an annual conference for financial bloggers. Tons of people in the “blogosphere”, youtubers, podcasters, and content creators of all kinds come together to talk shop. It was a lot of fun, and a useful learning experience. I came away super inspired and I’ve already bought my tickets for next year!
 

Click here if you want to see my experience as told through my camera]

Fincon has an interesting history for me. I had been hearing about it for years through people involved in the personal finance community, but it’s for bloggers. So when I started my blog, I got excited that I had a legitimate reason to go! So I prepared by redesigning the site, I got the nice logo made, business cards, and tried to step up a little bit so I didn’t seem like a total slacker. 

Unfortunately when I got there I felt like a total slacker anyway. Not in a bad way, but in a motivating way. It’s good to see the effort your peers are putting into similar work, helps hold ourselves accountable. Next year I look forward to trying much harder: more preparation, better pitches and branding, more deliberate networking. 

All that said, this event is FUN. I work at a bank and bankers are BORING almost universally, I was worried that hanging with a bunch of money nerds would be similar, (and it was kinda) but it was fantastic and I already bought my tickets to go next year! 

I made a mistake by not going sooner, thinking I didn’t have anything to offer, or wasn’t established enough. I wish I would had gone far earlie. 

 

What’s going to happen in November

I have 2 podcasts coming up! 
 
Very exciting times! Late last year I started this blog to share my real estate thoughts, shortly afterwards I got the opportunity to write for the official Biggerpockets blog regularly. Next up I’m going to record a podcast with them. No idea when/if it’ll air, but I’m excited to prepare diligently and make the most of this opportunity, no squandering! 
 
I have another podcast opportunity with them in the works but it’s still in testin so don’t want to jump the gun. 
 

I’m going to buy another single family home 

I had intended to start this process in September but had a slight delay, all things considered not that big of a deal. This will be my 3rd complete purchase and rehab for the year and that was my goal, excited to hit it!

Residential real estate deals are getting more competitive these days for sure. Margins are tightening and interest rates are rising, I’m starting to develop strategies for alternative paths forward. Keep you posted on what happens. 

Books I read this month

 I only got through 4 books this month but I’m quite happy with the choices I picked, especially Yuval Harari and Richard Dawkins’ new books. I read Roger Stone’s book because I wanted to see what this guy had to say, but it was drivel unfortunately. 

The Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton / James Madison

21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari

Stone’s Rules – Roger Stone

Science in the Soul – Richard Dawkins

Want to get involved?

People are always asking to be part of our success, and we are always looking to bring in great talent.

If you are looking to provide some value and want to get involved, don’t be shy. Reach out!

House #6 Smooth as butter

Another project is getting wrapped up and I’m excited to share some details about it!

My deal processes are getting easier each time, and that’s great but the business lessons I’m learning are becoming far more nuanced. The last 2 deals I’ve done have gone very fast: this one was about 11 and the previous was just under 9. Even though the process has gotten easy, it’s not to say there isn’t still a lot to learn each time. 

This deal went very smooth, I did it long distance as usual, and by the time of this posting I’m already bidding on the next property! 

Your goal is to keep smarter people around as much as possible

When I bought this house I really thought I paid too much. Not grossly overpaid, but 5-8k grand which is kind of a lot on a $55k house. I had recently closed on a refi loan so I had capital and I wanted to buy a house immediately. The deals in my area are getting tighter, competition is getting fierce, and rates are going up, so it’s time to move.

I’ve been working with a new realtor for this project and that’s it’s always scary to rely on new people. After not finding a deal for a few weeks, she convinced me to look back at this house after we passed on it. She made a great case for this property: good location (especially for the long term), the ARV will be higher than I had originally thought, and it was a simple rehab. Not the way I usually buy, but it sure didn’t’ sound bad! 

I thought the ARV would be 80k at most and her estimated 90k was naively optimistic. 90k wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, but you should never buy a house assuming best case scenario. Luckily I knew if the value did come in a bit low we would be fine.

I also really wanted to show this person that I trusted them, and I wanted to actually put skin in the game on it. I think this is incredibly important in building a team. They must know you trust their advice

The house was a light rehab, that may sound good, but I was apprehensive that an appraiser would come look at a house that I JUST paid a total of 65k for, and give me 85k for it 2 months later. I have no idea how appraisals really get decided, but it seemed a little iffy to me. OK whatever, we moved forward and closed. 

Appraisal eventually came in at 100k, more than either of us expected. The rent came in $100/month higher than we anticipated as well.  How easy is real estate?! 

This was an eye opening experience for me in terms of how to build great teams and work with people to accomplish common goals. I literally had a partner find me this deal, sell me on it against my intuition, and it turned out to be very profitable. All the credit for this deal belongs to my team, and I look forward to relying on them more in the future. 

The money:

Purchase – $54,463

Rehab – $11,329

Total all-in – $67,487

ARV – $100,000

Equity created – 32,512

Rent – $950/mo

Difficulty  – SUPER EASY

This is the HUD, I like to put them up because it makes the process much more transparent, and not enough people share them. Line 103 is the additional settlement charges to get the rehab and insurance money back.  (I can’t find the page 2, so it doesn’t show the charges itemized).

The total cost of the project is on line 120,  this is what the lender is going to look at. 

My process for BRRRR:

Bid

Offer Accept

Contractor estimate

Insurance quote

Add these to the HUD 

Close. I paid for the house, rehab, insurance all at once, upfront. 

Rehab

Tenant placement

Start refi loan process

Close 

How could it be MORE easy?

 

In all seriousness, this was a fun deal and hopefully, this and my other deal writeups encourage people to go out and use this information to make themselves some money. I don’t make it seem easy, once you have great people it is easy.

Fincon 2018

This is a photo story about my trip to Fincon 2018 in Orlando.  This is not a real estate or finance post, just want to share my experience. I bring my good camera everywhere because I love using it to tell stories! I’m making a separate post for what I learned and how to best prepare for Fincon, but this is just for funsies. 

Fincon is a pitched as a conference for financial bloggers. To add some detail I think it’s better described as a bunch of talented money nerds at a destination high school with tons of booze and way better networking. There is serious talent at Fincon and actual money-making opportunities can be had if you simply reach out and take them, I certainly took a bunch for myself.  This is a people event and for that, I’m thankful because sometimes, some people do like me.

I flew into Orlando and stayed off-site with my friend Lee Huffman, I had met this guy on Biggerpockets.com years ago and we’ve gone on a bunch of trips together. He drove down with his awesome family for Fincon and Cardcon and we hung out all weekend. Lee runs a travel hacking site called baldthoughts.com to teach people how to use points and miles and travel for free (#shameless). 

4 days in Orlando was a message from the universe directly to me that said:

“Your hair does not belong near humidity, go west…and don’t make that duckface, idiot”

At the hotel on Tuesday night, last minute I find out we had an extra friend stay with us: Pete McPherson from Doyouevenblog.com. Pete had me on his podcast months ago and really helped get my website gain some momentum. I was super glad we got to spend some time together and I could say thanks in person

He came in and gave me that dope “Do the work” t-shirt, then he just stood around rubbing his back against the walls like a giant grizzly bear wearing thick black frames.

He brought beer though!

and we drank beer! You should expect this trend to continue throughout the weekend…

Day 1 of Fincon:

On second thought, let’s not go to Fincon. ‘Tis a silly place

 


Live podcasts at Fincon? Tight!

Nick True at the intro to Fincon workshop! Nick is a fantastic resource for Fincon and he helped make the experience fantastic all weekend. 

Yo this chick in the middle runs a site called bitchesgetriches.com and she swears a LOT.

Mindy from Biggerpockets! Fantastic friend, and a dangerous secret tyrant. Stay on her good side and the universe will reward you!

I didn’t take many pics day 1 so here we are drinking already! 


Fincon day 2:

I started the day by going to a workshop about how to start a podcast. It was useful, entertaining, and inspiring. It was also hosted by our friend Pete, here is a shot I LOVE of him posing like an evil dictator.

I intended to have fun with this:

Here is that fouled mouthed chick again!  Also, this other friend I made who swore me to keep her anonymous or else the inevitable fame will tear her life apart. Gotchu Fam!

Yo what is that face??

You guessed right. They made my face and my hair into a pancake. You shouldn’t need any more reason than this to come to Fincon! I ended up walking around with this thing just to show everyone because I was so excited. Then I had to toss the poor fella in the trash, mercy kill. 

Liz Eischen is the real deal! First, she got this killer pancake face made, then we spent a bunch of time together this weekend and told about her incredible story. She travels the world and teaches people personal finance. Look her up on kitchentablefinance. She’s also one of those Portland weirdos which were in abundance at Fincon.  

Ok back to drinking…we added children but they couldn’t hang at all. Sissies! 


Romance incoming!

The days started to blend together around now, so I’m not sure what morning this was but it was amazing. We had no idea this was going to happen, but Shannyn and Zina got engaged!!! It was magical and spontaneous and what better way to share your perfect moment than in a Plutus award tshirt at Fincon??!!

and right after that, Shannyn proposed to Zina!! They both said yes! Congrats! 

More drinks!  

It took about halfway through Fincon for me to find my real estate crowd but I’m glad I did. Great group of people, we went to the Plutus awards together and we snuck in some beer. Plutus awards are community driven achievements based on various content categories. It was actually really well produced and fun!

This is:

Dustin from Masterpassiveincome

Max and Lucas Hall from Cozy and Landlordolgy

Scott Trench from Biggerpockets

David from MilitarytoMillionaire

Saturday morning I had finally been beaten down by the humidity and I gave up on my hair and my self-esteem. Next time I’m coming to Fincon with my good blow dryer and I’m staying at the hotel where the event is so I never have to leave the building. #primadona

Terrible, but at least I have a Zelda shirt.

Had a nice lunch with friends at the steakhouse on the back of the hotel. Nice view outside. 

Ladies, did you catch this single, handsome rascal?!?!! If not, get on it! you know guys that don’t realize how charming they are? This is him! His name is Chris something-or-other. Super nice dude, I spent a ton of time with him.

Did you see the size of that margarita she was drinking?

Maybe I shouldn’t talk…

Too many drinks maybe

Look, little friend, lots of people want to be me, it’s not gonna happen. Can’t nobody be me but me. 

Dr. Jason Cabler from Celebrating Financial Freedom

These two were a blast! 

The room was definitely spinning by the end of night. Here we were getting ready to wrap the final meetup.

If you didn’t get to meet Lillian from anomalily.net you really missed out. Another Portland weirdo who dresses up as David Bowie to teach finance….and it’s incredible. Check her out! She was not excited to take this pic I don’ think 🙁


After David Bowie and the spinning, my camera fell to the wayside. About 6 hours later I was on a plane back home! Time to get back and grind! 

I got to the house and immediately got to work! Setting up lists of people to follow up with and working to maximize my time before Fincon19! 

Overall I had a blast! Better than I even had expected. Next year I’m intending to bring a much better package to the community. I want to improve my branding, my elevator pitches and be a lot more diligent about my time.

I made a mistake at Fincon that I’ve noticed I make a lot lately: I overestimated the challenge. I went with this half-assed attitude of “I’m really just a hobbyist blogger, so I’m just gonna go have fun and see what’s what”. Certainly I still got a ton out of this opportunity, but I should have gone 10x harder in preparation.

In response to these thoughts I have littered my to-do lists with articles to write, tasks to do, and projects to work on. I’m filling schedule up and planning my entire next year around seminars, projects, and how to hold myself accountable. 

Next year Fincon I’m bringing the heat, I look forward to seeing you there! 

My DYEB podcast appearance

 
 
 
 
 
Admittedly this happened quite a while ago at the time of this posting.

I’m a new blogger, I started writing for the first time ever in late December 2017. My goal was simply to practice, maybe put out some helpful information, and get some exposure about my real estate business. Building a blog was not been easy for me at all, so I went searching for help and I found a guy named Pete McPherson who has a podcast and blog called doyouevenblog.com. I learned a ton from him and he was generous enough to have me on his podcast to talk about beginner bloggers. It was a great experience and from that, someone reached out to me and offered to redesign my website, and I hired him to design the website you see now!

Here is the link to hear the podcast, it’s me and Pete talking about blogging and business.

 

 
 
 

September 2018

I’ve decided to try and do monthly updates to catch people up on all my projects at once rather than weekly random articles with no particular coherence. This will be the first of many! 

Personal purchase update

My latest purchase has finished rehab! We had finished it and tried to rent it for about 10 days and then went through and made a few more adjustments. The house had wood paneling on the interior which was quite a bit outdated. I was confident that we could get the house rented as-is, but I wanted top range of rental income, and I really wanted to make sure this house will appraise for 85K or better. So after the rehab was complete, I looked at the pictures and decided it was worth sinking some more money into. I had my team pull the wood paneling down, install new counter tops, and a few other small odds and ends. Now we are back to looking for a tenant. The pictures are before we went back to redo those items.

This project has been going a bit slower than my last one. My contractor has a ton of his plate lately (somewhat thanks to work I’ve brought him) so this has fallen a bit to the wayside. Fine by me really because we have both been focused on other mutual projects. All that said, I’m happy to wrap this one up and get it profitable.

I started my side of the underwriting for this deal 2 weeks ago! That means as soon as tenant signs the lease at this property I can go apply for a mortgage with my lender, he’s going to ask me for a laundry list of “stips”: loan documents to satisfy lending requirements. This will include W2’s, tax returns, bank statements, insurance for all my properties, hoa statements, paid tax bills, etc. I have all these documents prepared already so as soon as the processor asks me for that list I can give them to her instantly, this speeds up my underwriting immensely AND it makes the loan processor’s life really easy. Win/Win/Win

I spoke on a panel regarding long distance investing

Speaking is something I’ve always been intrigued with, and there is a TON of value in it, but it’s a talent like any other: it must be practiced. I was fortunate enough to share some of my knowledge at a local real estate meet focused on out of state investing. I was happy to share my knowledge and hopefully, I’ll get the chance to do it again soon!

Thanks to Neil Henderson of www.summerskycapital.com for snapping this great picture of me! And another big thank you to Outback real estate investor group of Las Vegas for giving me the opportunity to share what I know.

Here is an article for Biggerpockets about why it’s important to build a team BEFORE you buy a house

The link to that article is here:

Newbies, if You Want to Land a Property Within 12 Months, You Need to Do THIS Now

I started using my talents and knowledge to help other people duplicate my process

Towards the middle of the month a guy reached out to me expressing interest in replicating my process. We made quick friends and started ramping him up to understand how I make money so easily. I showed him how I buy houses, introduced him to my ground team, and on August 21st we had an offer accepted on a GREAT DEAL.

Purchase price – 34K

Rehab estimate – 25K

ARV – 85K

Rent – $950/month

This is a sick deal and very happy I could help a stranger to make money using what I’ve already learned. I certainly couldn’t do it without my great ground team in place, so I’m thankful for them stepping up so well to take on these new clients.

It seems as soon as we started making some successful progress in this area another client reached out to employ my skills in the same manner. I’ve begun to move towards this opportunity in what I’ve tentatively called “Alexandria Consulting”. I will look to expand on this new demand and try to help as many people as I can.

What’s going to happen in September

I’m going to buy another single family home

Maybe my last for the year. I really want to move into a commercial purchase next year so I’m trying to slow down my cash usage for the time being. I fully intend to spend the majority of my cash assets on a large apartment and it’s unlikely I’ll have access to that income again for a while. So I’m hoping to get one more deal done and then shift my focus on the next big obstacle, although I will continue to assist others

I’m going to fincon 2018

My friend Lee Huffman goes to Fincon every year and raves about it. My FOMO was kicking in hard this year so I looked into it. It’s a conference for financial bloggers which neat but I’m not a blogger, rather I WASN’T a blogger. I literally started this blog so I could go and network and have a reason to participate. That was in December and since then my blog has provided me with far more opportunity than just one conference. If you’re on the fence about content production then my suggestion is to just get started. Put something together and start practicing, the results I’ve had in just 8 months have been staggering. Highly recommend.

Books I read this month

Are you reading consistently? This has been the massive life changing habit for me. Sad I wasted so many years thinking I was smart rather than working hard at actually learning. I clean off books at a blistering pace these days to make up for lost ground, you can see my list of August additions here:

Never Split the Difference

Raising Private Capital

Hitch-22

Guns Germs and Steel

Change your Mind

Want to get involved?

People are always asking how they can bring value and get involved with our process, but I’m not always sure what talents people have. Here is a short list of things we could always use help on. If you are looking to be part of a growing operation and think you can help us do better, reach out!

  • Blogging/writing/proofreading
  • Finding multifamily deals in North Carolina
  • Social media  strategy
  • Photography/videography in Las Vegas
  • Podcasting

Beginners look at deal creation BACKWARDS

When I was new and trying to lock in my first deals, my approach was to try and find a deal FIRST, then put a team together to get everything done. This was a big mistake! The problem here is that when you’re new you don’t really know what great deals look like, having smart and experienced people around you can help tremendously. Another big problem is this method is, by design, destined to create bottlenecks. Hurry up and find a house, then wait to find a contractor. Hurry up and get the rehab done, then wait and find a property manager to get a tenant. We finally got the house rented, now I can’t find a lender to get a loan. This is madness! and going through that kind of annoying setbacks forced me to approach my acquisition differently by getting a team together FIRST!

Click here head to Bigger Pockets and see the full article

You Must Love the Process

Our society has built a capitalist infrastructure unlike any the world has ever seen and it allows us to create jobs nearly endlessly, at the time of this writing unemployment is at a historic low.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve been taught that in order to make good money I should go get a good job, it seemed that entrepreneurship and capital investing are considered nearly luxury methods of making money.

These things and others have compounded and been baked into our culture to create a very entitled way of thinking:

“I’m not doing any work unless I’m paid for it”

While this statement is written specific enough that maybe many people think they aren’t guilty of it themselves, it’s my belief that almost all of us are guilty of this, and we need to break free of it.

The problem is that we have set up our society in a way so that we negotiate salary at the start of employment, setting a standard of value, no matter who applies.

This runs directly counter to how investors and entrepreneurs make money, by investing capital and taking on risk up front than working to create a return afterward.

In traditional employment, the employer has to take all the risk: an unknown employee only vetted by resume and a few hours of interview, and they have to commit to putting up all the capital before a single finger is lifted by the new employee.

It would be extremely short-sighted to think that this behavior on such a large scale doesn’t directly affect the mindset and expectations of our population, of course, it does and it’s obvious if you look at how people invest their time.

Some people will tell you it’s because “kids these days are so entitled”, which is obviously false, people today aren’t different than they were 12,000 years ago.

As a country, we have been fortunate enough to create a system where we can assign a value to someone’s work BEFORE they actually go to work.

While on a whole this is fantastic for our society, but as an individual it’s misleading and a hindrance, what if a person is worth more than the set value of their job?

This “equality of outcome” style of economics strips people of having to take the risk or the burden of having to prove for their worth in the marketplace, it results in people taking less risk, and being less willing to work without a financial output guaranteed beforehand.

You don’t have to know where it will lead

If you want to make $100,000 a year, you can search jobs that pay that amount, find the credentials needed to qualify, get them, and then you’re done.

Why is this a problem?

Well, what if one day the job no longer pays $100K?

What if the industry goes into decline?

What if when you get done with all the credentials and you find out you hate that line of work?

You haven’t taught yourself how to be competitive in the marketplace, you’ve just learned how to follow guidelines and apply known steps.

At absolute best, you’ve limited yourself to the $100K salary you wanted, and even if you earn it, is that the pinnacle of your dreams?

What about everyone else who’s chosen profession pays far less?

What if you get your dream job, and your assigned salary and find out you work harder than everyone else, but can’t get a raise equivalent to your increased worth ethic?

You must take the risk of the unknown in order to succeed.

Having a job which guarantees a salary also means you’re a prisoner to that salary. Creating something new has limitless potential for income, but also self-worth, and self-respect.

Going to college and lining up a predetermined job with a guaranteed salary is EASY, and to be fair in many ways this is good, certainly for society as a whole, but it’s not good for the ambitious person who wants something out of life that isn’t pre-determined.

Jeff Bezos didn’t know what Amazon would become, but he saw potential and committed FIRST. Before he was a household name, he was grinding for his company to grow, when the probability of it failing was actually much higher.

If I didn’t start this blog unless I could guarantee an income from it I would never have written the first word, to my own detriment, even though I haven’t taken in a dollar from this site!

If we change our thinking to look at the value of the work first and believe in the value of our output, our potential to earn income will match.

When I first started building my real estate portfolio I decided I wanted 10 houses in 10 years, this would fund my retirement but the goal was way too small.

I see now that setting such a small goal is limiting, just like if someone offered me a set salary, I’ll only work as hard as I have to earn that salary.

I no longer want to get 10 houses, I’ve learned instead to just love the process of real estate portfolio building.

Now I am unshackled from my limits, my potential is unlimited, the pressure is off, and the possibility for bigger gains has been opened.

Don’t chase a paycheck, chase creating value.

If you do that, the money will work out easily.

Trying really works, who knew?

For years of my life I tried very little, I just did what my jobs and society told me I was supposed to do.

If I were to be really honest with myself though, I was doing the minimum standard of their expectations and perhaps it was even below the minimum of their expectations, maybe it was the minimum amount of effort just to keep from getting fired.

I wasn’t maximizing my value for myself, and I wasn’t maximizing my output for the employer, it was a lose-lose situation really.

Complacency runs rampant in the absence of excitement.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I picked up real estate and realized I could do a lot of work to get better at it, with no guarantee of success and yet it started to produce returns anyway: big ones.

How much work was I doing really? I was just reading and listening to other people’s’ success stories, it was nearly effortless but it changed my life significantly.

I wasn’t working very hard to improve, but I was at least trying for once. I was interested, I was loving the process, and when you enjoy doing something you don’t really care if it’s profitable.

Somewhere along that way I started putting this together: when I didn’t try at life I was not that happy, I had no growth to enjoy or look forward to, and it was unfulfilling.

Trying a little bit though, in ways that weren’t even that hard started to add up to big results.

Learning something new would ping my interest, give me an increase in intellectual confidence, and encourage me to learn more. Reaching out to people to create new relationships was easy, and the rewards were huge.

I was making new friends, learning from them, and leveraging our combined resources to get more done. I started applying this to other areas as well, my relationship, work, and anywhere else I could.

Trying to get better, all the time, at everything. It seems so obvious but the reality is most people don’t try at all, at anything, ever!

When I ask people these days “what’s new? How is business? What are you working on lately? And they answer: “not much, same shit different day” I start to worry.

How can someone having nothing new going on, and be getting better at like?

My fear is that this is not possible.

Cruising through your work day, waiting for the weekend, and not working on any big projects to invest your ambitions on is a mistake, a grave one.

It’s imperative to consistently try hard, at everything, and it has to be done without a promise of a future payout, otherwise, you’ll never work harder than the assigned value.

Small wins add up

People get better when they struggle and overcome adversity. This is the basis for how we develop competence, self-esteem, and our self-assuredness to tackle bigger tasks.

Most successful people aren’t just walking around closing big deals in one fell swoop, it’s a culmination of lots of small tasks compounded into something huge.

You don’t need big wins to get ahead, you need just need lots of small wins.

Buying houses seems like a big accomplishment to outsiders, but it’s deceiving because while closing may take a single day, buying a house takes lots of small unseen wins beforehand.

Searching for houses, preparing a lending strategy, making sure my property manager is on board and likes this unit, all sorts of stuff.

I also had to read enough books to ensure I feel confident I can pull it off.

Once the house is closed I need to find a renter, keep the place occupied over the long term, and I need to reinvest the profits to the next deal. All these tasks are a part of the small wins needed to make a rental property profitable.

The next time you meet someone who seems like they are killing it at life, try to see the small wins it took to create their success.

Try to think of things you want to accomplish not as a large daunting task, but a series of small wins you can tackle, each separately.

Don’t limit your value to what the market sets it at, forget about salaries forever.

Try hard at EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, and do it without the promise of reward.

Focus your ambitions on a goal and chase them relentlessly, don’t love the money you may make, instead: love the process.

I moved to Las Vegas knowing it would be a good move, and it’s been far better than I thought.

After considerable research in late 2016, I was convinced moving to Vegas was worthy of taking big action on, so in early 2017 I moved my family out here. We closed on a house that my wife had not seen yet, and we had no jobs lined up. Some people probably thought I was silly, some thought risky, 18 months later I’m ready to recap on how things have turned out and what the future looks like from here out.

First, it’s important to know why we looked to move in the first place. We were in a small town in the southeast part of America, in North Carolina. Metro population of about 400,000, little to no growth and few opportunities. My wife and I had lived there a while, and it was a good place for us to meet, grow, and take some risks, but at this point, we wanted to spread our wings and capitalize on some massive new opportunity. So we wanted a growing city, somewhere warm, somewhere with low cost of living, and a place where we could start new careers easily. I had been coming to Las Vegas for years (to party!) so we had some small social connections to this town already and we had visited tons of times, just so happened that it was primed to be a fantastic economic location as well.

 

As a real estate investor, it was a bit tricky for me to navigate this move. I wanted to buy a primary house to live in (which normally I consider a lousy investment) but I was convinced the market out here would appreciate greatly, and I wanted to be a part of it. Since neither, I or Nikki had jobs lined up, and my passive income wouldn’t yet allow a bank to finance the amount of house we wanted to buy we put her mother on our loan to show income. I flew out alone one weekend to check on 3-4 houses, we made a good offer on one, we set to close a few weeks later so we packed out all our stuff and drove 3300 miles across the country.

 

We closed on a great little house for $223,000 in February of 2017. I came out of pocket ~$12,000 for closing costs and a 3.5% down payment. A few weeks later we both found great jobs and we were able to get paychecks before our first mortgage was due. SO EASY. In only 18 months the house value has increased dramatically to $270,000!! That’s a $47,000 increase in value just for being here! Also, on the $12,000 I invested that makes a return of 25%! This summer we will refinance our house to take the MIL off the loan and since the loan amount has increased to an 80% LTV I can drop the PMI off as well. The house looks to continue to increase in value over the foreseeable future and perhaps might be my most profitable property yet.

 

If you’re stuck in a town with no appreciation or opportunity, Las Vegas might be a good place to check out. Now, it’s become MUCH more competitive since we moved here, further solidifying my top-notch decision-making skills, but that doesn’t mean the all the opportunity has been extracted, actually I think Las Vegas has momentum that seems unlikely to slow for quite a while.

 

Let’s go through this list in a sort of “decreasing order of potential impact”:

 

Climate change was a big one I considered and still do. I didn’t list this just for laughs, and while some people may consider it controversial, it’s important to consider the facts.. As the climate changes threats on the coast will increase, especially the east coast and costs associated with increased weather events will have to be paid, both state costs and insurance costs will go up. We were caught pretty badly in 2016 with Hurricane Matthew, which did $25,000 of damage (to my $60,000 house!) and for me that was a tipping point, we moved shortly afterward. In 2017 the Hurricane season was much worse, I was glad not to be there. While this example by itself is absolutely anecdotal, it’s still part of a cogent long-term analysis. The coasts are going to more expensive, and higher risk to live on. Storms will get worse, water levels will rise, costs of repair will burden the states (and people) who are late to adapt. Over the next few decades as specific instances occur in larger frequency people will start to move inland and upwards. I chose Nevada, anywhere far from a coastline would have been acceptable.

 

Look at the financials and compare states who have implemented a lousy economic policy which has made them bankrupt (Kansas!) and compares them to states with progressive Marijuana legalization programs that are making money hand over fist! We closed in early February, and Marijuana went on sale in July, but the law had changed back in January so I KNEW it was coming, and I KNEW it would have a significant and sweeping impact on the state’s financials. Income from this new economic industry will allow the state to fund improvements in infrastructure, education, and more. Now eventually all states will legalize, but I want to make money right now, and this is easier in a state that can afford to reinvest. It’s important to consider the margin between states and their respective economies. Not all states grow at the same rate, just like your business responds to how you invest so do state governments. Get to state that encourages new industries and reinvests profits to benefit its citizens.

 

Population growth forecasts for Las Vegas are massive. Metro area population numbers in 2017 were around ~2 million and are projected to jump to ~3.2 million over the next 10 years. This is a lot of people! Where the people go, so does the opportunity. These people will all need jobs, things to spend money on, and places to live. This will further increase home appreciation but also job opportunities will get more competitive, this might be bad if you’re a talentless slacker, but if you like capitalism this will only serve to benefit.

 

For weeks before we closed on our house I was watching the news about the potential deal for the Raiders to move to Las Vegas. I don’t watch sports at all, nor do I think the stadium itself or the franchise coming here will have a much direct positive financial effect on the city. However I do think the cultural effect it will have on this city will be substantial, and I believe regardless of how things actually shake out, the perception alone will cause beneficial economics worth capitalizing on. I also knew that once the Raiders deal closed, the market wouldn’t go up overnight, it would take time. That said, the earlier you can get in, the better, so while we were bidding on houses I was also watching the news about this potential deal. Towards the end, I was VERY convinced this deal would move forward so I did as well. I ended up closing on my house about 3 weeks before the Raiders closed. For anyone who sees this as a benefit they can’t partake in, remember the stadium won’t be complete for another 2 years. That leaves a lot of time left to get in early!

 

I wanted to consider the low cost of living in Nevada (who wouldn’t?). One thing I will say about small towns, they are cheap to live in. Nikki and I had gotten spoiled living in a town where we can buy houses for $50K, property taxes and utilities are low, cost of living inflation is minimal to none. This isn’t without its negatives as well, in fact, this is a symptom of the negatives I spoke about earlier. A town with little opportunity, no growth, not much demand to go or live there certainly can’t be expensive as well, these things go hand in hand. So a concern of ours when moving was that our cost to live would increase as the opportunity did, this is correct thinking, but it’s not a direct correlation. Meaning, different markets have a different ratio of potential income to cost of living. California for example on average can produce far higher than average salaries, but the cost to live is exponentially higher than even that. We didn’t’ want this, we wanted to keep the margin between increased income and increased cost of living to be a minimum. Turns out that cost of living in Nevada is REALLY low! Nevada is one of only 5 states with absolutely NO state tax, Nevada utilities are cheaper than you would think, property taxes are really low as well, and There are 5 states without a state tax, Nevada is one of them. The cost of living change for us was mostly in housing and transportation. Houses here are just more expensive, and by a notable margin (Though they are much newer and nicer so we were happy to pay up!). We also found when we moved here that auto insurance rates are the highest in the country, so that cost went up slightly as well, neither have made us need to adapt or change our habits. The change in the cost of living was unremarkable if not altogether noticeable. At the same time, we get paid much more than back east, so in essence, we moved to a city with vastly more opportunity, and we get paid much more to have a better life than we did previously. Easy choice

 

Have you seen the data of movement out of California? California is a pain in the ass!  This is no secret, and it will have a significant impact on the Las Vegas economic future. I’m certainly not saying that people are moving out of California in droves to move here, but rather the cost/benefit ratio of living in California is trending downwards, especially at the low end. It’s just more expensive to live there, and it’s only going up. As this happens people will move, and where will they want to go? How about a place that equivalent in weather, has a huge swing in the cost of living for similar lifestyle, has grown and is a well-established city? This is why Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, and others are topping lists for migration, now which one is closest?

 

Late last year the federal government significantly changed the tax law, and one aspect of this was eliminating the ability to write off property taxes for high dollar houses, it also eliminated the ability to write off state and local taxes. Now for most people they won’t notice really, the standard deduction was increased enough to offset this change for most people, but not everyone. People with high taxes (state, local, and property) are going to get pinched and it’s going to be expensive. Maybe they will stay and take it, maybe they won’t, certainly, some will do both. If only there was a place ~5 hours from LA that had similar big city amenities with low property taxes, low housing costs, and no state tax……….

 

I somehow missed this information in my analysis but shortly after moving here we found out about massive strip investmentscurrently ongoing. One I did know about was the Raiders stadium, but a few new casinos in the works, the gorgeous T Mobile arena, Richard Branson just bought the Hard Rock Hotel and is converting it to a Virgin hotel, and more. Total investment will be about 10 Billion and the casinos should be complete in the next year or two. You don’t have to do a lot of market research in an area to see it’s future, instead look to the market research that was done by someone with more resources and experience. Simple explanation, I don’t have to speculate if Las Vegas is a good investment, smarter people than me just recently sunk 10 billion into it, so I’m going to assume they didn’t do it on a whim.

 

Las Vegas is very proactive about infrastructure. I’ve lived in a few cities in my days, and I’ve never been to one as universally afflicted with construction traffic like Las Vegas. Now, this isn’t to say traffic in Las Vegas is bad, the opposite actually there is hardly any traffic considering the size and population. So why is everything under construction when it doesn’t seem needed? The city is proactive about the incoming population, and they are not screwing around.  We have great new, clean, wide roads that handle tons of traffic and will only improve thanks to the foresight and capital injection into infrastructure that is not reactive, but proactive.

 

Have you heard of the Golden Knights? I’m certainly not one to follow sports, I don’t think I’ve watched an entire sporting event in entirety in my whole adult life. I really could care less, but like the Raiders I absolutely care about the cultural and economic impact this has on my city. The Golden Knights are a hockey team that sprang out of nowhere with this being their first year playing, and they made it to the super bowl. To say that this was a local cultural phenomenon is an understatement, people are losing their minds. While I would never argue that this has direct economic benefit, it does change the cultural outlook of the city. Just like the Raiders coming, I think the impact will be indirect. People will look at this city differently, less as ‘sin city’ and more as a large metropolitan city with lots of opportunity, amenities, and it just so happens to be the entertainment capital of the United States. This bodes well for our future.

Where next

Feel like it’s too late to move to Las Vegas and you missed the rush? It’s certainly harder than it was 18 months ago. Houses are gone inside of 72 hours and going for well over asking price now, it’s a brutal fight to buy an average home right now. So where else is there to go?

Denver – Denver is a great choice! When I started my search it was my first choice, but it’s also on the upswing already so I couldn’t’ get in early. The second was that it was just too cold for me. If you’re looking for growth, Denver fits many of the benefits I listed and has a long road of prosperity ahead

Nashville – If I had to move again today, Nashville is where I would go. It’s in the south I know, which is horrible but Nashville is a large and respectable city so shouldn’t’ be too bad. It’s insulated from climate change fairly well, low cost of living, and poised for massive growth.

Phoenix – Similar to Vegas! It’s growing, it’s got a great long-term forecast and it’s well established. Phoenix, like Las Vegas, has a strict no-snow policy so you don’t need to worry about investing in heavy winter jackets!

Wherever Amazon HQ2 lands – What did we talk about in regards to letting other people do market research? Amazon is spending a lot of time and energy to find just the right place when they announce it, you might want to jump. People don’t all get up and move at once to capitalize on an opportunity, they filter in as it becomes more apparent. If you’re paying attention you can get in on the upswing of new developments without needing inside knowledge. Wherever Amazon chooses will likely be a good place to follow. There are exceptions however, Toronto is a current leader which I wouldn’t recommend and Washington DC as well. These places are overcrowded and overpriced, these are not underdog cities you can jump into and ride the wave. If Amazon goes to Raleigh though, I would jump on it quickly.

 

Summary

Deciding where to live is important. Most people die within 50 miles of where they were born, If you live where you were born then you didn’t choose it! It may be a good location or it may not, find out and then make a decision to live there or not, don’t stay out of comfort if it’s not lucrative. Live in a place that can maximize the strategy you build for yourself. If you live in New York City or Los Angeles and you’re struggling, LEAVE! Come back when you can more easily afford it. Paying the high cost of living for no reason other than complacency is a mistake and one that can be fixed. It’s important we all live in a city we have chosen and for valid reasons, winging it is relying on luck, and luck is fickle.

Make your underwriting EASY

Ask your lender first, fast, and often

 

People have debt and lending questions all the time and they seem to insist on asking friends, fellow investors, or the internet. Don’t be fearful to ask a lender directly because you may not be “ready” to buy yet and doesn’t want to waste anyone’s time.

You’re not wasting anyone’s time!

Lenders work by selling you a financial product; they get paid to convert you from a tire-kicker to a closer. If you want to casually call up a lawyer and ask for legal advice, you’re going to get charged. Lawyers work on their knowledge, and they charge for their time and information. If you want to be someone who takes action and closes deals, it doesn’t make sense to avoid the lender when they have all the answers you need and they want to help you close a deal.
If you have lending questions, even if they are in the future, ask someone with direct information. Use your ramp-up time to build a relationship, and get good information straight from the source. Not all banks are equal and not all have the same products, so it’s important to get correct and thorough information that applies directly to what you’re trying to do.
These days I speak with my lender at the beginning of the year to discuss everything I want to do and how I need to maneuver to match my buying strategy with my subsequent lending strategy. Imagine if you purchase a house and do some rehab, now you want to cash out and throw a loan on it, except you haven’t spoken to a lender before now and then find out that there is something restricting your approval for a loan. Don’t get stuck assuming your lending strategy is solid, get in front of your lender FAR in advance.

Smooth is fast

This is a phrase I learned in the military, the premise is that when trying to accomplish a task under pressure we often force ourselves to go fast. The problem is that going fast just for the sake of speed doesn’t always improve efficiency; it causes us to make mistakes and not think thoroughly. The end result is an overall longer time period rather than a shorter one, the opposite goal of going fast. So in the Army they say “smooth is fast” to encourage troops to develop proper habits, think clearly and thoroughly, and not succumb to pressure. This way when a similar event comes to our mental and physical preparation will serve us far better than simply trying to excel under pressure.
I admit this is a wild extrapolation of the lesson, but I think about it every time I begin underwriting and it’s helped me. The motivation is obvious; I want to close my loans smoothly and quickly. I don’t get stressed and go into a disorganized panic, I create a system to make the process easy and I prepare diligently to execute. Building upon this idea, here are some other tips to make lending easy:
Your processor is going to provide you a list of loan docs (sometimes called stips) you’re going to need to close a mortgage, and the bigger your portfolio gets, the more you’ll need. What I do to make this easier for all parties is:

I prepare all my docs before I submit a loan application. I keep them well organized in a single folder on a cloud account waiting until the processor asks for them, then I can instantly copy him/her a link to the entirety of the docs needed and then I’m 90% done with my underwriting within 10 minutes of submitting an application.

There is always some scrounging for a weird request after the fact but the bigger the bulk of stips I can get the faster my overall process goes. It also shows the processor that you actually care about getting this done while the overwhelming majority of borrowers who delay providing their stips out of sheer laziness and/or apathy. Show that you’re well prepared, organized, and quick to respond and you’ll make loan closing a breeze.

Make them love you

Your lender will love you for being organized and prepared. I’ve worked in lending for a long time and the number of borrowers who are being chased down for documents to close a loan is staggering. This makes it incredibly easy to set yourself apart and get a reputation for efficiency. This is like any other service in that your relationship plays a significant and unspoken part of the dynamic and has a direct impact on the quality of service provided. If you are disorganized, unmotivated, and a jerk, you’re going to get the worst service someone can provide. Anyone who has worked in service knows that the best service goes to the clients who are liked the best. BE THIS CLIENT. Be prepared, have a positive and helpful attitude, be proactive, and understand. Work harder to make their life easier than you expect them to make your life easier, this may seem counterintuitive but consider the end goal: a loan that is closed quickly and smoothly. This will be done by a processor and underwriter who are motivated and excited to help you in your endeavors, you must invest in the relationship.

Conclusion

You’ll never need this list without a lender giving it to you first, but as I said, I like to be extremely prepared. When I put a loan application in, I like to have the lender all my documentation within minutes, far sooner than his processor could even get me the list. With that idea in mind, I’m going to provide a very standard list of documentation required to hopefully make life easier, or at least prepare my readers for what’s to be expected. I’m taking this list from a loan I just recently closed.

2 years W-2

2 years tax returns

2 months pay stubs

2 months bank statements (all bank accounts)

All home insurance policies

All lease agreements for rentals

All recent mortgage statements

All HOA balance statements (current)

This is certainly not a comprehensive list, and it’s subject to change based on lender and market conditions, but it’s the standard majority of what all lenders will ask for. It’ll most likely be a bit less if you’re just starting out, but still good to know. Yes, the process can feel invasive, especially the first time or two, but you get used to it.
Follow these simple guidelines when considering your debt policy and I’m confident they will make your life easier, and more productive.

Rental #5 Full rehab and refi in less than 9 weeks

I promised I would update this post when the deal was complete. Since the original post is mostly just text, I’ve decided to put the pics up top here along with some context of the deal. The second part will be a detailed description of the overall strategy and acquisition process:

This deal was by far my fastest. From the day I closed on the property to the day I closed on the loan was just under 9 weeks. Why is this a big deal? Well, I used 100% of my cash and was refunded 100% of my cash while having to leave it in the market for a very short amount of time. Also after 9 weeks, I have all my original capital plus the $19,000 I made in equity and a few hundred dollars a month in cash flow. Since I pulled 100% of my capital out, that’s all free profit. Imagine if I could do this 5x per year and make $100K in equity plus $1200 per month in cash flow, without having to put any money in my deals. The dream! In fact at the time of me writing this, less than a month since this current deal has been completed I already have another house offer accepted and look to close on it soon, and hopefully repeat this process.

The house rented nearly immediately once it was complete. When using delayed financing one of the requirements is having a signed lease with tenants in place before you can close. I didn’t want to start underwriting and then have something go wrong with our brand new tenant which prevents them from moving in. The week of overlap would have been nice to have but really seemed like an unnecessary risk.

One big mistake I made on this deal was my ARV estimate came in low. I had anticipated the house would be worth 85K but in the end, the appraisal only gave me 78K. Not the end of the world, but I wasn’t pleased. This allowed me to only borrow 58.5 instead of the 59.9K I had in the deal. Luckily my rehab came in about $1300 cheaper so really I broke even like intended! I learned my lesson though, need to take my time to ensure the house will really appraise at what I need it to. Overall this was a great deal, profitable and as FAST AS POSSIBLE. EASY!

ORIGINAL POST:

I had just finished my last house refinance and received the funds on February 12th, wasting zero time I started to bid on units the next day. While going through the process there were a few unique situations which I thought would be valuable to share with those who want to buy rental properties. I decided to document the process as detailed as I could, a change from my usual ranting about high concept abstract topics.

 

The hard part of home purchasing for beginners is that it’s easy to learn the concept, but the details and the day-to-day operations aren’t often talked about. Houses aren’t lined up on a shelf like at a store; you have to HUNT for what you’re looking for, beat out competition and, and most times fit what’s available to what you’re trying to do.

 

February 14th
Bid like a madman

I bid on 7 houses today, a few that I really think will be great and a few that I’m just feeling out the activity on the property. I fully expect the good units to come back and ask “highest and best price” which is common, and most I’ll just never hear about or find myself passing on as new information come in.
My realtor is GREAT and an invaluable member of my team, she sends me properties as often as she can, but I still spend a good chunk of time looking on my own. I’ll email wholesalers or other investors and see if they have any leads, I’ll check websites like bigger pockets, Zillow, Trulia, realtor sites, craigslist, and anything else I can think of. When in buying mode I like to be aggressive.

February 15th
Highest and Best….and Pass

One of the houses I bid on came back with a “highest and best” response. The property looked great on photos and I really liked it, the numbers looked good and the location was good, but when I called my PM he told me it was a 3/2 and could not be converted to a 4/2. This is a BIG DEAL for my strategy because we use a lot of section 8 tenants, and section 8 pays by the number of rooms. So we convert 3/1.5 to 4/2 when we can to get more rent in case we use section 8. 4 bedrooms just commands a higher price point as well for a very low conversion cost. This house would rent for $900/month as a 4/2, but as a 3/2 we would only expect $750, that’s a HUGE difference and enough for me to pass on the unit. It’s important to develop a plan and then work the plan, not deviate out of excitement or fear. If I had gotten emotional (since I really like the house) I may have overpaid or made a poor decision. Hold steady and trust your strategy and your team.
On to the next deal….

February 16th
Hold on the current bid, don’t get stupid

Living in Las Vegas has a really small but impactful benefit that I often consider myself lucky for: time zone difference. When my people get to work and start doing business at 9am east coast time, I’m starting my work day at 6am thanks to the time zone change. While going to work at 6am doesn’t SOUND great, I see it as an advantage that I can start working 3 hours earlier than my Vegas peers. Plus I find nothing more motivating than waking up to text and email with information that can help me make money.
So 6am I get an email about a house I had bid on that said: “highest and best on Walnut”. Houses move quick, no time to delay. I bring up Walnut on Zillow and start looking at details to see where I want to be, I also text my PM for his thoughts on the unit. I loved the area of the house, the price was decent $34,000 list and rehab would have been about $15,000. I figure the house would be worth $80,000 when we are done and it could rent for $700-750. These are close to my numbers, this is a deal I would be willing to do, but I could tell my PM wasn’t very fond of the area, and I know that $80,000 ARV on this house could be a stretch, any lower than that and it can start messing with how much money I can pull out of the deal afterwards. Bank will only lend 75% of value, and no less than $50,000, so an $80,000 house gives me a $60,000 loan, not much room for error. Based on these factors I figured I could bid up to $36,000 but I didn’t feel much reason to stretch so I held at $34,500, and I expect not to win the bid

 

February 20th
Having no results is boring

President’s day made for an expected slow weekend, so, it also seems that most houses drop onto the MLS on Sunday night or Monday morning. Since this week started on a Tuesday after a vacation weekend, I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to bid on new units this morning that said I did find one small house I was interested in. It’s on Rim Road and I know this is a popular location, and very popular for rentals. It’s a straight shot to the military base, but far enough away to satisfy those who may not want to live close (this is common) or those who have no affiliation to the base as well. The unit was a bit smaller than I would like, I can’t convert it to a 4/2 and the ARV will be a lower than I usually like, regardless of all that I know this is a GREAT location for my strategy. I bid on this house at asking price, which may have been a little high honestly, but I would love to own a unit in this area and I want to be bidding on everything that’s even CLOSE to my goal. The name of the game for me isn’t “get the best deal of all time” it’s “get all the profitable deals I possibly can FAST”. Competition has been higher and increasing over the last 2 years here as well, so it’s not as wise for me to hang on and wait out for the best deal, it may never come. This one will make money so I bid on it.

 

February 21st
Slow week, keep prodding

Had a long weekend and a bit of slow period here, not much action or conversation for a few days. Things got back in the groove this morning with an email for another house on street I had bid on a similar house earlier this week. I came across a house on Bemwick that I got excited about but quickly remembered that Bemwick had a house we bid on last week and ultimately passed on because the floor plan wasn’t what we wanted. Considering this house is only 2 doors down from the last one, I can safely assume they are similar designs, so I passed on this one. I was also told that I’m still in the running for the Walnut dr house and I still think that one will be a decent deal if I can snag it.

 

February 22nd
Patience is not my strong suit

My realtor texted me this morning and let me know we are still waiting for the Walnut property. I liked this unit but wasn’t too excited about it, but that’s to be expected when looking at ~40K beat up forec

 

losures: hard to fall in love with them.

 

February 23rd
Moment of truth

Got one! The email came through that my offer on Rim rd was accepted. As I started diving in to see what commitment I’ve actually just made I start to realize I probably should have bid a bit lower. I call my PM to see what he thinks, he saw the property last week like I did and looked through it already. He does this a lot because myself and other friends of ours are always buying houses so stay on top of what comes on the market in case he ends up doing the rehab or PM for one of. This allows him to help us make good and fast decisions, and it’s invaluable to me since I’m across the country. Regarding the deal, he says the same thing I thought: I probably paid a little too much, but it’s still a good deal as I expected.

Before I could even print out and sign my offer letter, I find an email from the selling agent saying “thank you!” Open it up and I find the offer agreement already has my initials and has been sent to the seller agent, the realtor must have done it for me. This is the value of GREAT people, my realtor did all my paperwork for me and my property manager already has been through the unit and has an expectation of rehab costs. The value of finding and relying on great partners cannot be understated.
Next thing I did was call my lender. I want to use a program through Fannie Mae called “delayed financing” and to do it the way I want requires some critical steps to be taken BEFORE I purchase the house. Getting your team in order early and ahead of your moves is an important albeit undermentioned strategy. I don’t want to buy the house and then go to the lender 3 months later only to find out he says I can’t do the loan for some reason. Get them involved early and often to strategize both short and long-term.

 

February 26th
The devil is in the details

We are set for a 20-day close, starting on the 23rd. Lots to do in that time.
One key to real estate (maybe all of life) is to get AHEAD of your problems as early as possible. This means planning and lining up WORKING on everything you have to do as far ahead as you can.

• Pay EM (earnest money) immediately
• Prepare my settlement sheet with rehab included and get it to my lender to approve
• Talk to my rehab partner to make we have a solid estimate, and he can start as soon as the house closes. Idle time is expensive. If you don’t have a contractor lined up, waiting until you have a house to get one is a mistake!
• Speak with my photographer friend about taking GREAT after photos. This is not something that everyone needs to do at this level of rental, but I happen to find value in it. It helps make units look nicer on advertising and it’s great for before/after photos for the blog
• Get insurance estimates and prepare to have service started on the day of closing. Also, I will add this cost to the settlement sheet
• Start advertising for a new tenant IMMEDIATELY. It takes time to find tenants; I like to start telling them the unit will be available as soon as we start work on it. Sure not everyone will be willing or able to wait for it to be finished, but many will be! This is an easy and small benefit that costs nothing and can only help.

Once all this stuff is done we will close on the house. The rehab will start immediately and I expect it to take about ~6 weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be working with my lender to ensure a smooth underwriting process. Hopefully, this informal but thorough blog is useful to anyone who may be curious about the day-to-day of the closing process. It’s probably a boring one for most, but in my opinion, that’s a good thing. Closing on a house SHOULD be boring because nothing boring is scary and fear is what prevents people from moving forward on investments. So if this process seems mundane or easy then I consider that to be a success.

March 5th
Is it easy? Yes. Does it go smoothly? Never.

I was waiting patiently for our closing date. I had spoken to my partner about getting invoices for total rehab which we needed prior to closing to use delayed financing. I had my HVAC contractor get me an estimate on a replacement system since the house had been gutted of the nearly the entire system. Things were going smoothly and I was feeling confident that this deal would go smooth

Then life came around and smacked some sense into me

This happened in the form of an email from the law firm who is closing the deal telling me they found out that the local water utility company will be doing some sewer infrastructure work to the unit in the future and it would cost approximately $5,000. OUCH! Time to damage control!
I emailed my realtor and asked if we could either

A. Bail from the deal completely
B. Re-negotiate our purchase price

This house had been on and off the market a few times in the past, this certainly gives me leverage. If I bail on the property I’ll lose $1,000 which is painful but not the end of the world. Far better to lose $1,000 now than get a property that doesn’t make money each month for the foreseeable future. If I can get the seller to eat the $5,000 then life is great, a really good middle ground would be if the seller will meet me halfway and eat $2,500 and I’ll eat the rest. This keeps all parties in fair circumstances and we get to keep moving.

After I did some research this expense doesn’t seem to be so painful. First, it’s scheduled for the future but at an unknown time, and the longer the I can stretch the deferment the better for me, in fact, I wouldn’t pay for anything until long after I’m dead if I could!! Defer Defer Defer! I also found out it’s not a lump sum charge but instead can be made in installments, and I don’t really have to get this paid until I sell the property, not that I would take this long, but it does mitigate the risk quite a bit. As I learned more about the situation I became less worried. I told the realtor my thoughts and we are hoping to come to an agreement once we find the sellers’ position.

March 7th
Renegotiate to win

The seller was easy to work with and offered to split the $5,000 future expense with me by reducing the price of the home. So my new purchase price on the house is $38,500.
If I had bailed on this deal it wouldn’t the end of the world, this deal isn’t even that great. That said I didn’t want to bail on it I want to get it done, get it making money, then go find the next deal. Having worked this out with the seller allowed me to make a fair compromise and keep moving, happy to do it again.

Also on this day, my rehab guy sent me an invoice for the work to be done. This is a crucial step in delayed financing because I want the rehab costs on the HUD statement so I can pull the cash out of purchase price AND rehab costs later. I sent this invoice to the closing attorney so she could have it put on the HUD.
The last email of the day was a group message from the realtor and the lender advising me that we are set to close Wednesday, March 14th. Hopefully no more hiccups

March 13th
Last step

I made this post probably longer than it could have been, but I wanted to express how laborious the process can be. Every deal is always one unexpected phone call away from falling apart, and keeping it together requires TENACITY and perseverance. Everyone will move along just fine and forget about you if you give up on deals or can’t see through to close. You must be diligent in solving problems as they arise, and you must be willing to always be the sole advocate for your success.
Today was simple, I got an email with the HUD early morning and I sent it to the lender
THIS IS A CRITICAL AND UNDEREMPHASISED PART OF THE DELAYED FINANCING STRATEGY
My lender and I have an aligned goal: get Alex as much of his cash back from purchase as possible so he can buy more. As soon as I sent the HUD over he told me to include a cost of insurance, good call too!
For full transparency I have placed the ACTUAL HUD here, also called a Settlement Statement, this will come with all your real estate purchases.

I have to come up with $58,553.36 and remember, I want to get as much as the possible back of this cash as soon as a tenant is placed. So if I think the house will be worth $85,000 when I’m done, and I know I can only borrow 75% of that. With delayed financing, the rule is you can pull 75% LTV or 100% of HUD whichever is LOWER. So I want the LTV number to be higher than my cash input, but not much higher because that means I’m leaving money in the deal.

ARV: $85,000
75%: $63,750
HUD: $58,553.36

Difference: $5,196.64What this difference means is that if I waited for 6 months of financing I could pull out 75% of that additional $5,757 or $3,897. It would be a little less actually since this takes into account taxes and other costs. Point is, I sacrifice a little capital (~$4,000) to get my money back in 2 months rather than 6: WORTH IT!
So with the HUD updated, lender happy, insurance quote in place, and lawyer set to close in 2 days, I expect my next update to be as boring as possible.

 

March 14 & 15th
ALWAYS BE CLOSING

The closing attorney sent me the docs to sign for the house. I filled them out, ALL 4 OF THEM, sent them back and wired the money. It’s 10x as much paperwork to buy a cell phone than a house!
On March 15th I got an email saying they had recorded the deed, I’m an owner. EASY