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THE FIVE LEVELS OF INVESTING Real Estate acquisition and investing is the fastest and surest way we know to become a very wealthy person. It’s great that you have decided to invest in your future by exposing yourself to this material! Most of the great fortunes of our time and the past have their origins in real estate and we want to show you how to carve out your own piece of this very lucrative pie and the great part is that this pie is huge. There’s more than enough for anyone dedicated and self-motivated enough to give it a try! Why real estate? For starters, the real estate industry allows you to accumulate wealth quickly and to keep it through tax benefits and the ability to generate multiple streams of passive cash flow, or simply put the ability to sit back and watch the income flow in without effort on your part. Homeownership is a major part of the “American Dream” whether or not you are involved in it directly affects your family and your future. You can rent all your life and scrap by or you can own and be the one collecting rents and can rest easy in the assurance that you and yours will always be financially stable. It’s a no-brainer which category you want to be in.
Getting started in real estate investing is all about education through trial and error— to be honest, in this field what you don’t know CAN hurt you, but you will learn from your mistakes. It can be a little daunting initially but you will begin to understand and it will all make sense to you soon. Just pace yourself and once you have a basic understanding of the principals involved with making money in this business just hold your breathe and jump in. You will never get where you are going if you don’t take the first step. The rest of the journey will figure itself out.
Real estate investing has five separate categories, or money-making centers: property locators or “bird dogs”, two types of wholesaler, find and assign and cash or credit; rehabbers, and lastly, the buy and hold investor. Each of these is important and a natural progression of each other. The novice investor should begin as the first, a property locator and graduate through the levels until you are an experienced investor savvy enough to spot the best properties to build a portfolio. How fast the process goes depends upon your natural talents and ability to learn and implement the various techniques you are exposed to via learning products and seminars.
LEVEL 1 PROPERTY LOCATOR
Property locators in a nutshell, find and research properties for other investors. It’s the best way to get accustomed to finding good deals and by understand the techniques and exit strategies involved you will learn what is a good deal and what is not without having to actually be the one taking the risk of investing. The property locator gathers information such as property addresses, owner names, whether or not the home is currently occupied, take pictures of the properties and research the area home values and the general disposition of the neighborhood.
You may not have immediate access to obtain comparative home prices but you can ask a local realtor to assist you, or use some of the free online resources such as zillow.com and trulia.com. What houses in the area currently are selling for is called a comparative value or “comps”. Realtors use them to determine listing prices and are good resource for other information that they gain access through the Multiple listing service which keeps track of home prices and sales. It is not necessary to obtain a realtor’s license to invest successfully in real estate but it is a good idea to get one to help familiarize yourself with terms used in the industry and help you understand real estate contracts which is invaluable training. While doing property location, you will look at things about the neighborhood like how many houses are currently for sale.
That should give you an idea of the general stability of the area, people moving out in droves is not usually a good sign and it means that a house may take longer to sell since there are so many others up for sale and competing for buyers. Bird dogging for others will help you hone your skills and develop insights into how the industry works. Best of all, as a bird dog you are paid by the investor so you get the opportunity to make some money while learning the business at the same time.
THE FIND AND ASSIGN WHOLESALER
The next level of experience is the find and assigns wholesale real estate investor. A find and assign a wholesaler is similar to a property locator except you secure an interest in the property yourself and then assign the rights to that interest to another investor for a fee. It’s much more lucrative than bird dogging because the assignment fee can be as high as 10% of the sales price of the property which you will typically receive at or before the closing when the property is actually sold to the other investor. Being a find and assign wholesaler is great because it doesn’t require the cash or credit to close the deal but allows the investor to realize a substantial profit for a small amount of work. Once you become apt at bird dogging you will be able to approach other investors with good profitable deals. It is a combination of your education and experiences that will help you know that you have a good deal on your hands and you will feel more confident as you market your deals to others. The actual marketing is beyond the scope of this discussion but it must be mentioned as it is an intricate part of the process and merits its own separate manual. The most basic real estate assignment deals involve a series of contracts. One between the seller and yourself, another between you and the secondary investor you have marketed to and lastly between the seller and the secondary investor. These last two are the people who will actually be involved with the exchange of the title and closing of the property.
Your involvement with the actual closing depends upon your arrangement with your investor, but under no circumstances should you allow your investor to pay the fee AFTER the closing. The deal should be structured so that you are paid before or during the closing. Consult an attorney for the best way to structure the documents in either case, preferably one with experience dealing with assignment deals. Whether or not a realtor is involved is optional. The seller may have one, but you are not required as you have a principle interest in the transaction, meaning you are doing it for yourself and not on behalf of someone else. Your contract with the seller is usually a standard purchase and sale agreement with a clause which allows the contract to be assigned usually stated as “and or assigns”. You can also use an option agreement to take a principal interest in a property. An option agreement is a legal contract which gives you the right to purchase the property for a set price within a set time period. If you don’t exercise your option it expires and has no value. Your option agreement, like the standard sales and purchase agreement will contain a clause allowing you to assign it to a third party, i.e. your investor. Once you have secured an interest in the property via your option agreement or purchase and sales contract you can assign your rights to your investor. When you assign the contract you are selling someone the right to take over the contract from you. All the terms and agreements enforceable upon you and the seller in the agreement now will be enforceable upon the investor and the seller. For example, you locate a property that if property rehabbed will be worth $100,000. Due to its poor condition and the owner’s need to sell; he agrees to sell it to you for $40,000. You know the repairs will cost about $10,000. You would put the property “under contract”, which means that you secure an agreement with the owner to buy his property at a set price with a predetermined closing date. Once you have the property under contract you sell your investor your contract for $5000. You have profited $5000 but did not have the headache of the repairs or the expense of going through a closing. You have quickly and easily made $5000 for a couple hours work at best—not bad at all.
LEVEL 3 CASH OR CREDIT WHOLESALER
The third level of experience in real estate investing is the cash or credit wholesaler. This is a person who uses their own cash or credit to fund their real estate transactions. They function the same as a find and assign wholesaler, however the crucial difference is that they actually fully execute the sales contract and then wholesale it to another investor at a much larger profit margin than the find and assign wholesaler. This process allows the novice investor to use what he/she has learned to take calculated risk and realize much more substantial profits. It goes without saying that the first requirement for this type of investing is available cash and or credit. You must have one or the other to proceed and for that reason it is more difficult for some people to function as a cash or credit wholesaler. This is where the larger cash flows start, or in other words, when the big bucks roll in. One of the most important aspects of cash/credit wholesaling is the spread between what you pay for the property and the price at which you ultimately sell it. You have to procure the property at a low enough price point that you can profit yourself as well as leave room for the investor you sell it to make a profit once he has rehabbed it and it is ready to be retailed. Also there are seasoning issues to contend with at times. Seasoning is when the bank which is giving a loan on the property requires it to be owned by a one owner for a certain time period before being sold. A property that is repeatedly changing hands within a short period of time will raise a red caution flag with the banks. Sometimes you or the investor has to be prepared to hold on to the property for a certain time or either use legal means to circumvent these requirements and achieve this same goal without holding on the property for an extended time. Again the exact mechanisms for doing this are beyond the scope of this discussion and will be covered separately in another publication.
LEVEL 4 THE REHABBER
Rehabbing a property for resale is the fourth level of investing experience. Rehabbing is not really for the novice investor with no previous experience. Rehabbing jobs are best left to those who have a love of renovation, a list of dependable workmen and patience, patience, patience. A rehab job can sometimes seem overwhelming to contemplate but once it’s completed the sense of pride and satisfaction is indescribable. To take a run down wreck and transform it into a place people will take pride in living provides rewards not measured in dollars and cents. However, the dollar and cents part of it can be very nice and is like the icing on the cake. To begin with choosing to rehab and then retail a property requires a detailed inspection and evaluation of the property. Just what will it take to make it something someone would like to live in, how cheaply can it be done and preserve quality and how much will it be worth in that finished state? These are all questions that require expertise to answer. The successful rehabber is one who has mastered answering all of the above. Before we continue, a word of caution---the large-scale, full rehab or gut job should only be undertaken by an experienced person. This is not a project for the faint of heart or a newbie. It can get very expensive, prohibitively so and end up with the rehabber stuck with a house they owe money on but have run out of money to finish renovating. That is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved and should be avoided like the plague. The key to rehabbing is realizing what features and improvements will add value to the property and which while nice will only add expense and not additional resale value. In most cases, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. You will be surprised what cutting the grass and pressurewashing will do for a house. Both can be done for less than $250 and if it attracts the attention of a buyer who wants to look inside they are invaluable. As for the interior there are a couple of things you want to do on just about every job, just general rules of thumb. Unless it is new and unstained, you always want to replace or at least deep steam clean the carpet and paint the interior. Stick to neutral colors, shades of beige or gray for the carpet and of white or cream for the walls.
Replace outdated appliances like the stoves and refrigerator. If the refrigerator is not present you might want to consider purchasing one for the sake of the aesthetics if budget constraints allow it. This simple purchase can do wonders for helping people decide if this is the house for them. Other little things that make a big difference are a change in countertops, in the kitchen, of the sink tops in the bath and a change of tile in both these places as well. These things can be done relatively inexpensively and add much value to the resale price. Now larger repairs are a different matter. When deciding upon major items like the heating and air conditioning systems, electrical overhauls or new roofing keep in mind what the added value will be. If there are too many of this large items the repairs will eat into the profit in such as way as to make the deal unrealistic and foolhardy, unless you are intending upon living there yourself. Please note a good rule of thumb when making repairs to a property is that your total cost for the job, including purchase cost expenses and repairs should not exceed 70% of the ARV (After Repaired Value). If you exceed the 70% ARV rule you will begin to run into the principle of diminishing returns where the outcome does not justify the effort or expense.
LEVEL 5 THE BUY AND HOLD INVESTOR
Finally there is the holy grail of real estate investing—the fifth and last level is the buy and hold investor. This type of investor picks winners and holds them indefinitely to generate massive amounts of passive income, meaning you live your life and just wait for checks to come in the mail. A super lifestyle you can enjoy immensely once you learn the secrets of successful investing. The buy and hold investor has ready access to cash and or credit, usually both and by this time you have gained the experience to make wise choices in your use of cash and credit in real estate transactions. The buy and hold investor will typically purchase distressed or otherwise low priced properties, rehab them as necessary and then rent them out to generate cash flow or eventually a cash windfall if its sold. However selling for a cash windfall is only done with proper market timing to insure the buy and hold
investor maximize their ROI or Return On Investment. Once you are at this level you are looking for good properties in neighborhoods with high rental rates and nearby amenities such as a good school district. Such extrinsic or outside factors can greatly contribute to higher cash flow as people will pay a premium to live decently. The buy and hold investment strategy is one of the only ones to withstand the tests of market fluctuations, and the tightening or loosing of credit standards. It is the best way, hands down to make and sustain massive amounts of wealth in real estate. It requires a steady mind and a quick decisive attitude. It sometimes requires tough choices and again, is not for the meek, timid or faint at heart. Really, the whole industry operates that way. You need to be sensitive to the needs of people, and yet business-minded. Frankly the best thing to do is hire a property management company to mange your properties. That way you have none of the headaches but receive the financial rewards, a win-win situation. Conclusion Real Estate investing can be a rewarding and stimulating venture. You will find that you are always improving because the learning curve is infinite. There is always room for improvement. The five levels of investing we have just described form the basis of a sound-minded and realistic foray into this business. From the first steps as a property locator to the two types of wholesalers, the rehabber and finally the buy and hold investor each present a means to generate cash on several levels and by the time you are functioning as a buy and hold investor you will know several methods and become apt at creating wealth and passive income and cash flow.
I have included copies of the contracts mentioned above as well as an example of a rehab scenario.
Rehab Example: Differences Types of Rehab Work and Costs Basic Rehab: Cleaning or pressure washing of exterior: $150-250 General Landscaping: $500 Painting: $1000-$1600 Carpeting: $1000 General overall Rehab: Replace kitchen and bath fixtures: $500 Refinish and or replace cabinetry: $200-600 depending upon material and design Replace sheetrock in selected areas: $200-800 depending on location and size Major Rehab: Replace roof: $3000-8000 Replace heating and cooling systems: $2500-4000 Upgrade electrical: $2000 Replace plumbing; $2500 ****These are approximate figures and are guidelines only. True costs will depend upon project and contractor used.*****
Purchase and Sale Agreement
This agreement is made this _________day of _____________________, 20______ between Seller(s)_______________________________________ Social Security #______________________ and Buyer _________________________________________________________________________________ and or assignees. Seller agrees to sell and buyer agrees to buy the following described real property together with all improvements and fixtures and the personal property described below: Street Address______________________________________________________________________________ Legal description: ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ County ________________. Personal property included: ____________________________________________________________________
Earnest Money Deposit $______________________ Cash To Seller At Closing $______________________ Existing Loans & Liens $______________________ New Loan To Seller At Closing $______________________ Purchase Price $______________________
The purchase price to be paid as follows: 1. EARNEST MONEY to be deposited with licensed title company or attorney within 48 hours of acceptance by seller. The buyer will take title subject to the following loans on terms agreeable to the buyer: A. Loan to _______________________________________ Balance $____________________________ Interest rate: _________ %, Monthly Payment $___________________ Loan Number _____________ Date last payment made____________________________ Loan current through _________________ B. Loan to ________________________________________ Balance $___________________________ Interest rate: _________ %, Monthly Payment $___________________ Loan Number _____________ Date last payment made____________________________ Loan current through _________________ Other liens: ________________________________________________________________________________ Any overstatement in the above loan and lien amounts will be added to note to seller. Any understatement will be deducted from balance due at close. 2. THE BALANCE DUE SELLER in the amount of $ _______________ shall be paid as follows: ____________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ including interest at the rate of _______%. 3. PRORATIONS, IMPOUNDS & SECURITY DEPOSITS: Loan interest, property taxes, insurance, and rents shall be prorated as of the date of closing. All security deposits shall be transferred to buyer at closing. All impound accounts for taxes and insurance are included in the purchase price and shall be transferred to buyer at closing. Any shortage in these accounts shall be charged to seller at closing.
Page 2 of 2 Purchase and Sale Agreement 4. CONDITION OF HOUSE AND APPLIANCES: Seller warrants that the house and all mechanical systems and appliances will be in good working order at closing. Buyer will have access to property for inspection and the cost of any needed repairs will be paid by seller at closing. Appliances and other personal property will be transferred by bill of sale free of encumbrances at closing. 5. CLOSING DATE AND TRANSFER OF TITLE: This transaction shall close on or before _______________, 20___. Closing will be held at ____________________________ and Seller(s) agree to transfer marketable title free and clear of all encumbrances except those listed and pay any required state taxes or stamps required to record deed and mortgage. Seller agrees to furnish title insurance in the amount of the purchase price, showing no encumbrances or exceptions other than previously noted. 6. DAMAGE TO PROPERTY: Seller shall maintain property in its current condition and keep it insured against all loss until closing in the event of destruction covered by insurance, buyer may elect to close and collect the insurance proceeds. 7. DEFAULTS: If buyer defaults under this contract, any and all monies deposited by buyer(s) shall be retained by seller as full liquidated damages. If seller defaults, buyer may pursue all remedies allowed by law and seller agrees to be responsible for all costs incurred by buyer as a result of sellers default. 8. SUCCESSORS AND ASSIGNEES: The terms and conditions of this contract shall bind all successors, heirs, administrators, trustees, executors and assignees of the respective parties. 9. ACCESS ADVERTISING AND REPAIRS MADE BY BUYERS: Sellers agree that buyers may advertise property and have access during reasonable hours to show property to others. If the property is vacant and in need of repairs, buyers at their expense may make repairs and improvements, and any improvements made shall become the property of the seller should the buyer default, 10. ADDITIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS: ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ The undersigned have read the above information, understand it and verify that it is correct. SELLERS: _______________________________________________________________________
Assignment of Contract
The undersigned Assignor, having executed a contract dated _____________________ between _____________________________________________________________________________ Contractor and _____________________________________________________________________________ Contractee concerning the property described as: _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________, hereby assigns all rights to said contract to: _____________________________________________________________________________ ("Assignee") in exchange for compensation in the amount of _______________________________________. _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ Assignee agrees to fulfill all terms, conditions, and contingencies of said Contract and to perform as required in good faith and within any time periods established by said Contract this _____day of _____________, 20_____. ____________________________________ Assignor ____________________________________ Witness ____________________________________ Assignee ____________________________________ Witness
Option Agreement for Purchase of Real Property
THIS OPTION AGREEMENT ("Agreement") made and entered into this ________ day of ______________, 20_________, by and between _____________________, whose principal address is ___________________________, hereinafter referred to as "Seller" and ______________________, whose principal address is _______________________, hereinafter referred to as "Purchaser": W I T N E S S E T H: WHEREAS, Seller is the fee simple owner of certain real property being, lying and situated in the County of ________________, State of ________________________, such real property having the street address of ______________________________ ("Premises") and such property being more particularly described as follows:
(Insert Legal Description)
and, WHEREAS, Purchaser desires to procure an option to purchase the Premises upon the terms and provisions as hereinafter set forth;
NOW, THEREFORE, for good and valuable consideration the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged by the parties hereto and for the mutual covenants contained herein, Seller and Purchaser hereby agree as follows: 1. DEFINITIONS. For the purposes of this Agreement, the following terms shall have the following meanings: (a) "Execution Date" shall mean the day upon which the last party to this Agreement shall duly execute this Agreement; (b) "Option Fee" shall mean the total sum of a down payment of _______ percent (___%) of the total purchase price of the Premises plus all closing costs, payable as set forth below; (c) "Option Term" shall mean that period of time commencing on the Execution Date and ending on or before _________________, 20_______; (d) "Option Exercise Date" shall mean that date, within the Option Term, upon which the Purchaser shall send its written notice to Seller exercising its Option to Purchase; (e) "Closing Date" shall mean the last day of the closing term or such other date during the closing term selected by Purchaser. 2. GRANT OF OPTION. For and in consideration of the Option Fee payable to Seller as set forth herein, Seller does hereby grant to Purchaser the exclusive right and Option ("Option")
to purchase the premises upon the terms and conditions as set forth herein. 3. PAYMENT OF OPTION FEE. Purchaser agrees to pay the Seller a down payment of ______ percent (____%) of the total purchase price of the Premises plus all closing costs upon the Execution Date.
4. EXERCISE OF OPTION. Purchaser may exercise its exclusive right to purchase the Premises pursuant to the Option, at any time during the Option Term, by giving written notice thereof to Seller. As provided for above, the date of sending of said notice shall be the Option Exercise Date. In the event the Purchaser does not exercise its exclusive right to purchase the Premises granted by the Option during the Option Term, Seller shall be entitled to retain the Option Fee, and this agreement shall become absolutely null and void and neither party hereto shall have any other liability, obligation or duty hereinunder or pursuant to this Agreement. 5. CONTRACT FOR PURCHASE & SALE OF REAL PROPERTY. In the event that the Purchaser exercises its exclusive Option as provided for in the preceding paragraph, Seller agrees to sell and Purchaser agrees to buy the Premises and both parties agree to execute a contract for such purchase and sale of the Premises in accordance with the following terms and conditions: (a) Purchase Price. The purchase price for the Premises shall be the sum of _________________ ($__________); however, Purchaser shall receive a credit toward such purchase price in the amount of the Option Fee thus, Purchaser shall pay to Seller at closing the sum of ________________ ($________________); (b) Closing Date. The closing date shall be on _________________, 20_______ or at any other date during the Option Term as may be selected by Purchaser; (c) Closing Costs. Purchaser's and Seller's costs of closing the Contract shall be borne by Purchase and shall be prepaid as a portion of the Option Fee; (d) Default by Purchaser; Remedies of Seller. In the event Purchaser, after exercise of the Option, fails to proceed with the closing of the purchase of the Premises pursuant to the terms and provisions as contained herein and/or under the Contract, Seller shall be entitled to retain the Option Fee as liquidated damages and shall have no further recourse against Purchaser; (e) Default by Seller; Remedies of Purchaser. In the event Seller fails to close the sale of the Premises pursuant to the terms and provisions of this Agreement and/or under the Contract, Purchaser shall be entitled to either sue for specific performance of the real estate purchase and sale contract or terminate such Contract and sue for money damages. 6. MISCELLANEOUS. (a) Execution by Both Parties. This Agreement shall not become effective and binding until fully executed by both Purchaser and Seller. (b) Notice. All notices, demands and/or consents provided for in this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the parties hereto by hand or by United States Mail with postage pre-paid. Such notices shall be deemed to have been served on the date mailed, postage pre-paid. All such notices and communications shall be addressed to the Seller at ________________________________ and to Purchaser at _______________________________ or at such other address as either may specify to the other in writing. (c) Fee Governing Law. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of _________________. (d) Successors and Assigns. This Agreement shall apply to, inure to the benefit of and be binding upon and enforceable against the parties hereto and their respective heirs, successors, and or assigns, to the extent as if specified at length throughout this Agreement. (e) Time. Time is of the essence of this Agreement. (f) Headings. The headings inserted at the beginning of each paragraph and/or
subparagraph are for convenience of reference only and shall not limit or otherwise affect or be used in the construction of any terms or provisions hereof. (g) Cost of this Agreement. Any cost and/or fees incurred by the Purchaser or Seller in executing this Agreement shall be borne by the respective party incurring such cost and/or fee. (h) Entire Agreement. This Agreement contains all of the terms, promises, covenants, conditions and representations made or entered into by or between Seller and Purchaser and supersedes all prior discussions and agreements whether written or oral between Seller and Purchaser with respect to the Option and all other matters contained herein and constitutes the sole and entire agreement between Seller and Purchaser with respect thereto. This Agreement may not be modified or amended unless such amendment is set forth in writing and executed by both Seller and Purchaser with the formalities hereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be executed under proper authority: As to Purchaser this _______ day of _______________, 20______.
As to Seller this _______ day of __________________, 20_______.
Assignment of Option to Purchase Real Estate
For value received, ______________________________, of ______________________________, assignor, assigns to __________________________, of ____________________________, assignee, all rights and interest of assignor in an agreement, dated __________________, 20______, whereby assignor was given the option to purchase from _____________________________, of ____________________________________, the following described real estate at a price and under the terms and conditions therein contained:
Such option commenced on ___________________________, 20_________ and is valid until _________ o'clock, _______.m., _______________________, 20_______.
Assignor, by virtue of this assignment, grants to assignee the right to exercise or reject the option in good faith and the right to recover any moneys deposited by assignor to receive said option.
Dated ___________________________, 20_______.
STATE OF _______________________ COUNTY OF ______________________
BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, on this ______ day of ___________________, 20______, personally appeared ___________________________ to me well known to be the person described in and who signed the Foregoing, and acknowledged to me that he executed the same freely and voluntarily for the uses and purposes therein expressed. WITNESS my hand and official seal the date aforesaid.
_______________________________ NOTARY PUBLIC