Creative Real Estate Investing

Millionaires Invest in Real Estate

Do you want to invest in real estate but short on cash? Not having to deal with tenants?

Real estate investing does not require lots of your own money. Not only that. You can pay down your 30-year mortgage in less than 10 years, use OPM (other people's money) to invest in real estate AND generate a stream of "passive" income. Income that goes automatically to your bank account without you doing anything or lifting a finger.

Sounds pretty good. I can see you putting on your skeptical thinking hat.

Don't worry. I was in your same position when I first heard of this strategy and was skeptical too. But after I learned what it is, the light bulb in the head just light up.

This is exactly what I've been looking for. I was looking for a way to finance my current mortgage so I can have access to my equity because I realized early on that in a traditional mortgage (the one that you and I have) accumulates equity, which is a good thing. But you can't use that money until you sell your property. That's why some homeowners are "home poor" because most of our money are locked in our homes.

I have always wanted to make some real estate investment, but I don't have the cash available for the down payment. All my cash is tied up in my home equity. And I don't want to take a home equity loan, because that means another loan I have to pay every month.

I started looking into selling my property, which has accumulated quite a bit of value in just 5 years (of course, it is in the highly-sought after Waikiki neighborhood), and purchased another residence with extra units for rental income.

One day while talking to a friend who is in similar situation, she mentioned about "off-set mortgage". Apparently, it is something that has been around for years in Australia and United Kingdom. According to Investopedia, the reason why off-set mortgage is not available in the United States is because of our tax law, which translates to "banks does not reap much profit from off-set mortgage". That's why it be banded by our tax laws.

Investopedia explains the off-set mortgage in a very simple and easy to understand way. You should check it out here.

Then I started asking my real estate broker, who has been in real estate business for over twenty years if he had heard of off-set mortgage. Of course, the answer is no. I asked banks, loan officers, etc. They all gave me a negative answer.

Out of nowhere one day, another friend of mine called and want my opinion about a property she and her husband are contemplating whether to buy or not. And during the conversation, she mentioned some kind of financial education that helps people with their mortgage and it's called "Sweep Strategy". I have no idea whatsoever. But I looked it up anyway per her recommendation.

Voila...the information on the website caught my attention. I attended the introduction presentation, which is totally and purely informative. No pressure or obligation whatsoever to buy anything or sign-up.

After the presentation, I was like "God just answered my prayer". This is exactly what I was looking for.

How funny?

I always say be careful what you ask for, because you always get what you ask for.

Visit www.sweepstrategies.com to learn more. And if you're curious, schedule to attend an introductory class. They have offices in Ward area and Aiea.

Disclaimer: I have no financial ties with the Sweep Strategies other than being one their potential clients and partners. I'm just a purist who loves to spread the joy and any good information that I have to my friends and family. It surely would be nice if you mention my name as the one who refers you to them. They will treat you exceptionally well.

Here are few creative strategies to help kick start your real estate investing career:

Sell Your Home as Rent-to-Own

Rent-to-own homes

Rent-to-own, also known as lease option, is an investing strategy that can be benefit both home buyers and home sellers.
For home sellers, rent-to-own may be the perfect solution to ensure you get top dollar for your home in a buyer’s market. It may even generates some extra income for the seller before the actual sale of the home. The rent-to-own strategy also increases the number of potential buyers for your home to include those who do not qualify for the conventional mortgage from banks.
In a rent-to-own or lease option, the homeowner rents his/her property to a potential buyer (lessee) with the exclusive right to purchase the home within a certain time period, usually 3 years or longer. The homeowner cannot legally sell the property to anyone else during the period defined by the lease option. The homeowner and lessee would negotiate in the beginning of the lease the term of the lease to include the purchase price, option or earnest money, monthly payment in addition to the rent.

Decide if a rent-to-own is for you. Rent-to-own isn't for everybody. If you need all the money from the sale of your home right away, you're better off with a straight sale. In addition, the majority of rent-to-own aren't exercised, so you may have to begin the process of selling your home all over again after the lease terminates.

You might also have to consider if you want to, or aren't able to, keep up with the responsibilities of continuing to own the home. In the a rent-to-own scenario, the homeowner must continue to pay property taxes and insurance and is generally still responsible for major repairs during the lease period.

Do a background and credit check on the applicants. At this point, you have to look at potential buyers as potential tenants, and you don't want to do a rent-to-own with somebody who you wouldn't rent to. Look for someone with good references, a steady source of income, and the ability to pay the rent plus, if applicable, the additional monthly option money.

As far as the applicant's credit history, you probably don't want someone with serious credit trouble, but at the same time you may want to be somewhat lenient. Many buyers who choose rent-to-own do so because they have some blemishes on their credit and want to improve their profile before applying for a loan.

Pre-qualify your lessee. It's a good idea to contact a loan officer or mortgage broker to at least discuss the potential buyer's prospects for obtaining a mortgage at the end of the lease term. There is more uncertainty (and, hopefully, more chance of improvement) the longer the lease term, but both you and the potential buyer can get a realistic idea of whether they'll be able to buy the house.

This step is essential if it's important to you to sell the house at the end of the lease. But ethically, and perhaps legally, it's important regardless of your preference because if you take option money and above-market rent from a tenant who can't possibly buy the house at the end of the lease, you're just ripping the tenant off.

Provide the potential buyer with a seller's disclosure form. The disclosure form lists any known problems with the house. You attest, to the best of your knowledge, to the condition of the house. This form is standard for other purchase transactions but is sometimes left out in a rent-to-own. Make sure you give the buyer this form to help him or her make an informed decision and to protect the integrity of the contract and sale. The buyer should also have an independent home inspection done.

Prepare a lease agreement with option to buy and collect option money. You can get fill-in-the-blank rent-to-own forms online, but you're better off getting them from a local real estate agent or attorney. The contract is sometimes added as an addendum to a standard sales contract. Unless you really know what you're doing, get help with the details of the contract from a real estate attorney, not a or broker.

The most important thing to remember is that you've got to cover not just the money issues but also who is responsible for what types of repairs and other complications that are bound to come up.

◦ Agree on the purchase price of the home, which should be fixed on the lease contract. You'll be obligated to sell at this price, so you want to make sure it's something you can live with. Ideally, the agreed-upon price should be at least at fair market value and maybe slightly more (especially for lease terms of 1 year or more) to compensate for the convenience to the buyer and for the likely appreciation of the property over the term. You and/or the buyer may want to pay for an appraisal to validate the price. Banks and other lenders will only loan against the appraised value, regardless of the price that you agreed on with the buyer.

◦ Determine how much option money to collect. Some states and municipalities have laws specifying a maximum amount of option money that can be taken, but in general the initial option money or option fee can be almost any amount. A typical figure is 2-4% of the purchase price. You will keep this money no matter what. If the lessee decides to buy, the money will be credited toward the down payment or the purchase price, and if the lessee doesn't buy, he or she forfeits the option money to you. Keep in mind that many buyers choose lease options because they can't come up with a big down payment, so don't expect to be able to get a huge amount of initial option money.

◦ Decide how much of the lessee's monthly payment will be credited toward the option. Anywhere from 0-100% of the monthly payments can be credited toward the purchase price, although the amount is sometimes subject to state or local laws. In general, the monthly payment will be calculated at fair rental value plus a set amount that will go toward the purchase price. This, like the initial option money, will either be credited toward the down payment or the purchase price or, if the tenant doesn't buy, will be forfeited to you.

◦ Decide on the term of the lease. Lease options typically run anywhere from 6-24 months. Less than six months usually doesn't make sense for the buyer, and more than 2 years (sometimes more than 1 year) may cause tax or legal complications. Shorter lease terms generally result in sales more than longer terms, simply because there are so many variables over the long term, but the length of the lease should be adequate to ensure that the lessee has time to get his or her financial ducks in a row. Keep in mind that if housing prices appreciate quickly, you may be getting a bad deal on a long lease, since you're obligated to sell at the agreed-upon price. If housing prices decline, however, you may be getting a good deal, but if they've declined significantly, the lessee is unlikely to buy the house. You still get to keep the option money, however.

Get the right home insurance coverage. Since you will no longer be the owner-occupant of the house, you may need to update your homeowners insurance policy to a dwelling policy. Check with your insurance agent to determine what policy is necessary and what coverage you need. Your tenant should also be insured to cover his or her liability and, depending on your state, any gaps in your coverage that may result from the lease option.

Collect monthly payments. Now, all you need to do is collect the payments each month. Keep track of the payments received so you'll have a record when the time comes for the lessee to exercise the option (or, in the the worst-case scenario, when you have to go to court to settle a dispute).

Sell the home. At the end of the lease term, the lessee can exercise the option to purchase your home for the price specified on or before the date specified. The total option money paid (including the initial option money plus any credit from the monthly payments) will go toward the down payment. Thus, the buyer already has equity in the home and should find it easier to qualify for a mortgage.

Read Buy Your Perfect Home with Rent-to-Own.

Buy Rent-to-Own Homes: Win-win for Both Buyers and Sellers

rent-to-own home buyers

Rent-to-own, also known as lease option, is an investing strategy that can be used by both home buyers and home sellers.

For home sellers, lease option may be the perfect solution to ensure you get top dollar for your home in a buyer’s market. It may even generates some extra income for the seller before the actual sale of the home. The rent-to-own strategies also increases the number of potential buyers for your home to include those who do not qualify for the conventional mortgage from banks.

In a rent-to-own or lease option, the homeowner rents his/her property to a potential buyer (lessee) with the exclusive right to purchase the home within a certain time period, usually 3 years or longer. The homeowner cannot legally sell the property to anyone else during the period defined by the lease option. The homeowner and lessee would negotiate in the beginning of the lease the term of the lease to include the purchase price, option or earnest money, monthly payment in addition to the rent.

For home buyers, rent-to-own make sense if you don’t qualify for conventional mortgage because you don’t have a down payment, poor credit score, limited employment history, high debt-to-income ratio. This allows home buyers time to save up the required down payment, improve credit scores, establish a longer job history, or whatever they need to do to get a mortgage.

Rent-to-own homes also allow family to move into their dream home and give them time to save enough for a d down payment to buy the home, without worrying that home being sold to someone else.

The rent-to-own or lease option is one strategy with 2 real estate transactions - the leasing portion and the option portion.

The lease portion is very similar to any lease agreement between the landlord and tenant. And, then, the is the option portion, which should be a separate agreement in which owner agrees to give the lessee exclusive right to purchase the property within a specific period of time and for a predetermined price.

Remember, the option agreement only grants the lessee the “option” to buy the home. The lessee is not obligated to buy the home. On the other hand, the homeowner is legally obligated to sell the home to the lessee under terms set forth in the option agreement. Therefore, the option is only binding for the homeowner.

In the rent-to-own or lease option home, there is an option fee, which is an up-front charge, similar to a down payment. The option fee can be whatever amount the homeowner and lessee agreed on, usually dependent upon the value of the home.

If you’re the buyer, it is in your best interest to negotiate the lowest fee possible. The option fee is generally non-refundable, but will be applied toward the lessee’s down payment when the time comes to apply for a mortgage.

If the lessee later decides to not execute the purchase option, the seller can keep the fee.

And if the parties do not renew the rent-to-own lease the buyer continues to live in the property as a month-to-month renter. Or, the homeowner can sell the home to a retail buyer.

Search Zillow’s Homes for Rent.

Lease Option Rip-off

I recently came across a Craigslist ad for lease option in Oceanpointe in Ewa Beach. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, 1,500 sf. Nice pictures in the ad.

So I was curious as an investor. As this may be a good deal to get into.

Lease option is one way of investing in real estate with no money down, if you did not already know.

So I responded to the ad to find out more about the lease option.

This is the responds from the owner:

"...the price to purchase this option is a 3.5% of the sale price upfront (we can go over it in person, if you want to see the property) it's option sale price is $600K with an option to purchase in 12 months and the monthly lease payment is $3150 (which includes the $89 association/maintenance fee), you will pay for all other utilities. This will give you a opportunity to test out the property before you purchase it..."

I emailed for more information to find out how much of the lease option fee and rent will count toward the down payment at 1 year.

The person called me today.

3.5% of the purchase price of $600,000, which is $21,000, is the fee you pay for the "option" or privilege to buy this property in one year at $600,000. Actually, $600,000 is a pretty good price for this property. None of that $21,000 will count toward your down payment in a year.

Then, on top of the $21,000, you still have to pay a monthly rent of $3,150, which is $37,800 for 1 year. Again, none of that counts toward down payment to purchase.

That's a total of $58,800 wasted for just one year, if you can't get financing or you changed your mind.

If anyone has that kind of money to spend 1 year, why don't you just use it toward a down payment. Besides, you can get a 0% down USDA loan in Ewa Beach.

You'll pay a lot cheaper monthly in mortgage.

So dumb and so greedy.

See How Much Home You can Afford