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Investment Property: Need Advice
Old 08-10-2008, 05:50 PM   #1
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Investment Property: Need Advice

I have a chance to purchase an investment property and have a few questions for the more experienced folks on the board.

First the facts:
I have a chance to purchase a well kept 3 bedroom home constructed in 1939 for $185k. It is in an excellent area for rentals. It would need a pro inspection, but I don't see any major issues. In my market it would rent for $1050/month. I have known the owner for years, and he just inherited the property from his mother. I mention this because it means: A. He is reasonably motivated to sell (He doesn't need the money. But, conversely, he doesn't want to pay upkeep on an empty house.) B. He trusts me enough he is willing to explore holding the note on the property, and allowing me to pay him over approx. 20 years. I can get cashflow from day one if I put down 30%, and talk him into a 0% loan, at $600 per month.

Now the questions:
1. I am looking at two possible ways of financing the downpayment: a. HELOC. b. Pulling money out of my stock portfolio.

Which would you recommend?

2. I am not very familiar with HELOCs. Can someone describe the pros and cons, or point me to a good web info source?

3. I've read in a couple of books (Such as Weekend Millionaire Secrets to Investing in Real Estate) about getting a HELOC to make the initial down payment. Then immediately getting a mortgage on the new property to pay-off the HELOC. Perhaps I'm dense, but how does this work?

4. What are the odds of the current owner giving me a 0% loan?

5. Are there other ways of financing that I should consider?


Thank you for any and all advice!
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keim View Post
I have a chance to purchase an investment property and have a few questions for the more experienced folks on the board.

First the facts:
I have a chance to purchase a well kept 3 bedroom home constructed in 1939 for $185k. It is in an excellent area for rentals. It would need a pro inspection, but I don't see any major issues. In my market it would rent for $1050/month. I have known the owner for years, and he just inherited the property from his mother. I mention this because it means: A. He is reasonably motivated to sell (He doesn't need the money. But, conversely, he doesn't want to pay upkeep on an empty house.) B. He trusts me enough he is willing to explore holding the note on the property, and allowing me to pay him over approx. 20 years. I can get cashflow from day one if I put down 30%, and talk him into a 0% loan, at $600 per month.

Now the questions:
1. I am looking at two possible ways of financing the downpayment: a. HELOC. b. Pulling money out of my stock portfolio.

Which would you recommend?

2. I am not very familiar with HELOCs. Can someone describe the pros and cons, or point me to a good web info source?

3. I've read in a couple of books (Such as Weekend Millionaire Secrets to Investing in Real Estate) about getting a HELOC to make the initial down payment. Then immediately getting a mortgage on the new property to pay-off the HELOC. Perhaps I'm dense, but how does this work?

4. What are the odds of the current owner giving me a 0% loan?

5. Are there other ways of financing that I should consider?


Thank you for any and all advice!
If you can get a 0% loan you should always take it. FREE money. I'm skeptical he'll give you a 0% loan, but if he does, like I said, free money.

On the other hand, $1050 in rent to pay off a $185K mortgage sounds like a horrible deal (I'm from Indiana, $185K here buys a BIG house).

$185K loan @ 6.5% (more realistic rate) is $1169.33 per month, not counting taxes and insurance. Again, horrible deal.

Here in Indiana, I'm currently looking at a duplex that sells for ~$80K and each side rents for $600 per month. This should give me sufficient breathing room for maint., repairs, etc. Your deal is upside down from the start. No room for anything.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:55 AM   #3
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4. What are the odds of the current owner giving me a 0% loan?
I'd say the odds are 0 unless the owner really wants to help you out. Why would anyone give a 0% mortgage, unless they have way overpriced the house? In other words, if this is a personal decision, we have absolutely no insight into it so we can't tell you the odds. If it's a financial decision, there's no reason at all for him to do that.

And if you can get a 0% mortgage, why put 30% down? Why not ask for 100% financing, especially since it sounds like you may finance the 30% anyway?
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:59 AM   #4
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Given a house built in 1939 and renovated many times, make sure you inspect for lead pipes, lead paint, asbestos and all sorts of other goodies that you might have to remove or mitigate.

Someone willing to give you a zero loan for a long time seems too good to be true, so maybe he knows something about the property that you dont?
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CybrMike View Post
If you can get a 0% loan you should always take it. FREE money. I'm skeptical he'll give you a 0% loan, but if he does, like I said, free money.

On the other hand, $1050 in rent to pay off a $185K mortgage sounds like a horrible deal (I'm from Indiana, $185K here buys a BIG house).

$185K loan @ 6.5% (more realistic rate) is $1169.33 per month, not counting taxes and insurance. Again, horrible deal.

Here in Indiana, I'm currently looking at a duplex that sells for ~$80K and each side rents for $600 per month. This should give me sufficient breathing room for maint., repairs, etc. Your deal is upside down from the start. No room for anything.
CybrMike: I should clarify-the loan would be for about $145k by the time I make the first downpayment.

I wish we had your prices here. The price he wants is average for our market. Thats why the deal only works (cashflows) if he is willing to carry the loan at 0 or 1% interest. I agree the odds are low of him accepting such. But they are even lower if I don't ask!

I can think of a few favorable reasons for the owner financing at such a low rate:
1. Taxes on a 185k lump sum house sale will be high.
2. He might like getting a low risk $500+ check every month for the next 20 or so years.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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I'd say the odds are 0 unless the owner really wants to help you out. Why would anyone give a 0% mortgage, unless they have way overpriced the house? In other words, if this is a personal decision, we have absolutely no insight into it so we can't tell you the odds. If it's a financial decision, there's no reason at all for him to do that.
And you are correct: For the current owner it would come down to a personal decision. We have known each other a long time, and are friends. Financially he can take his money and make more elsewhere, though I believe he is already fiscally set. And, I would understand if he chose to take his money elsewhere! Conversely, he might like a dependable (dare I say: annuity-like) $500+ check every month for 20 years. And, he has said he wouldn't mind helping me out a bit if he can.

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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
And if you can get a 0% mortgage, why put 30% down? Why not ask for 100% financing, especially since it sounds like you may finance the 30% anyway?
Cash doesn't flow on a nothing down deal with this property if it is paid over 20ish years. And, I suspect the owner would like some cash in his pocket right away. I'm in a college town. So there is a large rental market, and competition keeps the rents from getting extremely high (though, of course, the renters might not agree with that).
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #7
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Given a house built in 1939 and renovated many times, make sure you inspect for lead pipes, lead paint, asbestos and all sorts of other goodies that you might have to remove or mitigate.

Someone willing to give you a zero loan for a long time seems too good to be true, so maybe he knows something about the property that you dont?
CFB: You are smart to suspect a problem. I have inspected the home, and not found major problems. But, any deal would be contingent on a professional home inspection.

I will say that the house has not been remodeled several times. The bulk of it seems original. Which, of course has its own host of concerns to be addressed...
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:16 PM   #8
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I agree the odds are low of him accepting such. But they are even lower if I don't ask!

I can think of a few favorable reasons for the owner financing at such a low rate:
1. Taxes on a 185k lump sum house sale will be high.
2. He might like getting a low risk $500+ check every month for the next 20 or so years.

1. What taxes are you talking about? If he just inherited from his mother he has a stepped up basis.

2. Why would he prefer a $500+ check every month for only 20 years when he has a $1,050 (increasing annualy at say 3%) for LIFE!!? OK, take out $200 for property mgt. and maintenance but he's still keeping appreciation.

Are you young or cute enough that when you mention zero interest financing he/she will laugh it off or will they be disgusted that you would attempt to take advantage?

If a major concern is to cash flow why are you considering a HELOC? It sounds like you stumbled upon a property for sale and have not really done any home work on investing in real property but think you can get a "deal". Good luck with that.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:39 PM   #9
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1. What taxes are you talking about? If he just inherited from his mother he has a stepped up basis.

2. Why would he prefer a $500+ check every month for only 20 years when he has a $1,050 (increasing annualy at say 3%) for LIFE!!? OK, take out $200 for property mgt. and maintenance but he's still keeping appreciation.

Are you young or cute enough that when you mention zero interest financing he/she will laugh it off or will they be disgusted that you would attempt to take advantage?

If a major concern is to cash flow why are you considering a HELOC? It sounds like you stumbled upon a property for sale and have not really done any home work on investing in real property but think you can get a "deal". Good luck with that.
Answer to #1: Good point!
Answer to #2: In this case he doesn't want to be a landlord. He prefers to sell.

Since writing my initial note I've taken HELOC off the table.

You are somewhat correct about the homework. I have done some (a good chunk, actually), and am in the process of doing the rest. I've read books, looked at other properties, but not made an offer before. My questions here are part of that learning process.

I'd be surprised if I can get a "deal." If I can, great. As an investor if I can't get the property to cashflow, I'll look elsewhere. The owner won't be offended by my offer. He just won't take it if it isn't of interest. Also great.

I doubt if my age or cuteness would be advantageous to me!
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:15 PM   #10
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OK, so if all the figures you've given are market then you are saying that the only way you are an investor in this market is if the owner subsidizes your financing to the tune of $105,000 over the next 20 years on a $185,000 market value property.

I'm asking if you are an investor, opportunist, or maybe just a young dreamer?

Do you think your expectations are realistic?
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Keim View Post
I can think of a few favorable reasons for the owner financing at such a low rate:
1. Taxes on a 185k lump sum house sale will be high.
2. He might like getting a low risk $500+ check every month for the next 20 or so years.
1. As honobob points out, what taxes? And even if there were taxes, he'd get hit with them now anyway for selling the house, no matter when he actually gets all of the money.

2. If he doesn't want to be a landlord, selling the house for $185k and getting a 4% return on it would get him a larger check every month, and he could do that quite safely. And have $185K principal to show for it in addition to the interest. So let's see, if I'm the owner, do I want $185K now and get a safe $600/month check, or do I want $40K now and a $500+/month check?

You said 100% financed at 0% doesn't work for cash flow, but how does it work if you finance 30% of it with a HELOC? You still have to pay interest on that HELOC loan.

What happens if you can't keep the house rented, or your renter starts skipping payments?

This just doesn't sound at all realistic.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:08 PM   #12
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I will say that the house has not been remodeled several times. The bulk of it seems original. Which, of course has its own host of concerns to be addressed...
Wow...70 year old kitchen and bathrooms?!? Holy frijoles!

If no remodels, then you've definitely got the trifecta. Probably lead pipe or iron thats had it, the drains are probably shot, lead paint, and most likely some asbestos insulation, shingles or flooring.

I'd also have a real close look for any pests like termites or powder beetles. Older homes like that which havent had their innards reworked a little might be loaded with them
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:30 PM   #13
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OK, so if all the figures you've given are market then you are saying that the only way you are an investor in this market is if the owner subsidizes your financing to the tune of $105,000 over the next 20 years on a $185,000 market value property.

I'm asking if you are an investor, opportunist, or maybe just a young dreamer?

Do you think your expectations are realistic?
I can legitimately call myself a young-ish dreamer. I've certainly been called worse.

Realistic expectations? I don't know-depends on what the seller wants. You make good logical arguments for why the seller would not do it. And you are probably correct. But, people don't always make logical decisions.

You'll notice in my initial note that I am open to other financing suggestions. But, I can't figure how to get the cashflow without putting over 40% down at anywhere near market rate. In which case, the house isn't workable as an investment property. I am completely open to suggestions.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:32 PM   #14
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1. As honobob points out, what taxes? And even if there were taxes, he'd get hit with them now anyway for selling the house, no matter when he actually gets all of the money.

2. If he doesn't want to be a landlord, selling the house for $185k and getting a 4% return on it would get him a larger check every month, and he could do that quite safely. And have $185K principal to show for it in addition to the interest. So let's see, if I'm the owner, do I want $185K now and get a safe $600/month check, or do I want $40K now and a $500+/month check?

You said 100% financed at 0% doesn't work for cash flow, but how does it work if you finance 30% of it with a HELOC? You still have to pay interest on that HELOC loan.

What happens if you can't keep the house rented, or your renter starts skipping payments?

This just doesn't sound at all realistic.
Runningbum: Thanks for the input. I can afford to do it without a HELOC, so have taken that out of my considerations. My personal cashflow is good enough that I could afford having late renters, etc. That would not be a major concern for me. Of course I'd rather avoid that!
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:37 PM   #15
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Wow...70 year old kitchen and bathrooms?!? Holy frijoles!

If no remodels, then you've definitely got the trifecta. Probably lead pipe or iron thats had it, the drains are probably shot, lead paint, and most likely some asbestos insulation, shingles or flooring.

I'd also have a real close look for any pests like termites or powder beetles. Older homes like that which havent had their innards reworked a little might be loaded with them
I said it hadn't been remodelled. Not that it hadn't been touched! The place has generally been kept in good repair, having formerly been owned by a house builder. Appliances, etc have been updated as they needed to be replaced. Thus, toilets, oven, etc are newer. But, no one has come in and done additions, moved walls, etc.

Roof is newer, siding is metal, floors are hardwood. Would need to check plumbing and electric.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:51 PM   #16
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Thats a relief! My definition of remodeling may vary from others. If I do enough work on a house that I want to bury my tools in the back yard and i'm irritated enough to want to jump out of a window, its a remodel. Anything less is a renovation.

Check out whats under the metal siding. Might be a big stack of asbestos shingles. Which wont cause you any problems unless you decide to remove the metal siding to do repairs to the frame or want something different for siding. Lift up any carpet at the corners to see what sort of flooring is in place under the carpet pad.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:16 PM   #17
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I said it hadn't been remodelled. Not that it hadn't been touched! The place has generally been kept in good repair, having formerly been owned by a house builder. Appliances, etc have been updated as they needed to be replaced. Thus, toilets, oven, etc are newer. But, no one has come in and done additions, moved walls, etc.
Roof is newer, siding is metal, floors are hardwood. Would need to check plumbing and electric.
Thanks for the input.
Keim, you want a really really old guy to inspect your home. Preferably a guy who was a contractor in the 1950s/60s, has been retired, and is willing to come out of retirement to tell all his geezer construction-horror stories. Or else you want the home inspector to be accompanied by his grandpa.

You're looking at the kind of place that makes the "This Old House" crew practically drool to renovate. You almost certainly have lead paint, lead seals around the cast-iron plumbing drains, and maybe even lead in the water-supply pipes. The wiring is almost certainly insufficient to handle modern appliances and the fuse box (I mean fuses, not circuit breakers) may not even pass inspection-- a number of older fuseboxes have not aged well and have been deemed fire hazards. You may not even have a utility feed rated at 100 amps, let alone two 100-amp lines like today's modern homes.

If you're really having a bad day, there may be asbestos in any linoleum floors (underneath newer kitchen/bathroom floors) or in the wall/attic insulation.

The house is probably a heating/cooling nightmare-- the windows are probably less than energy-efficient, the walls/attic/floors may leak air, the insulation is probably decades out of date, and I'm not even going to speculate about the utility bills.

Then there's the maintenance-- if anything leaks or cracks or wears out you won't be able to repair it. You'll probably have to replace it, and if you end up going into a wall then there'll be other code issues that you'll probably be required to update/fix.

If you were planning to live in the home (sort of a perpetual museum project) then it might be different. But what you're contemplating is the equivalent of buying a 1938 Hupmobile and renting it out to eager drivers. I'm not sure how many customers you'd get for that, and I'm not sure that they'd understand how to care for it.

Unless you have some skill & experience with old homes, I'd run away fast.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:33 PM   #18
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Ding ding ding!

I was trying really hard to not make him worry too much about the house. But you're right on.

This is why I'd never look at a house built before 1970. Many stick built homes were made to last around 50 years before they've pretty much been used up. Some older homes that have been kept up with the times may be better than one built 5 years ago.

But there are a lot of issues to contemplate and evaluate. A lot.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:17 PM   #19
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CFB and Nords:

Thanks for the comments. Exactly the constructive dialog I was hoping for.

I am reasonably familiar with the problems of older homes. My own home is of only slightly newer vintage than the property we're discussing. Lots of potential pitfalls to look for.

One nice thing around here. Tenants pay electric, gas, etc. Thus, modern insulation and energy efficiency is less of a concern.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:47 PM   #20
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One nice thing around here. Tenants pay electric, gas, etc. Thus, modern insulation and energy efficiency is less of a concern.
We rented a 1927-vintage house in San Diego (Kensington neighborhood) for three years. As a tenant, I was exceptionally creative at getting the landlord to be quite concerned about our utility costs...
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