5 Common Problems With Buying Rental Properties (Which Is Why I Don’t!)

Are you a wanna-be real estate investor? Many people do indeed dream of owning under market value rental properties and someday earning positive real estate cash flow from them.

However, before you consider buying under market value investment properties, you really should think about what you are getting into. Being a part time landlord is usually a lot more hassle than many realize.

I am a full time real estate investor in San Antonio investment properties. At one time, I owned more than 100 San Antonio rental properties. I have deal with rental property problems many times and I have since stopped renting out properties and now I make real estate cash flow in another way without maintenance…..

But I am getting ahead of myself! Here are the common issues I’ve seen with rental investment properties:

  • Repair costs: If you are going to rent out your California investment property or Texas investment property (or wherever it is), you will most likely need to spend a good deal of money to make it ready to rent. Any damage to the roof, plumbing, foundation or electrical systems could cost a lot to repair.

This can especially trip up the part time landlord who has a full time job and has bought rental properties for real estate cash flow. Odds are you are not an expert in rehabs and you could easily overspend on fixing up the house.

Depending on which state you are buying your investment properties, you could have landlord and tenant laws that mandate that you add safety features to the house, such as handrails, peephole in the front door, adding a firewall, and a lot more.

  • Getting repairs done: As a rental property investor, you are going to have repairs that have to be done fast. Back when I was a landlord 10 years ago, I had water heaters go bad. Sometimes the house got flooded and I had to spend a couple thousand dollars to clean it up. Of course, the after hours plumber can cost you $100 per hour or more.
  • Collecting your rent: If you are lucky, you will have good tenants who always pay on time. But oftentimes, you have tenants who are late. This is an especially big problem if you buy your rental properties with mortgages. I never buy my under market value properties with mortgages, only cash.
  • Dealing with pain in the neck tenants: Eventually you are going to have to deal with tenants who damage your house or cause problems with other tenants. I once had a tenant who almost burned the house down. Of course, you will also have to deal with evictions at times, which can be problematic depending upon your state. In some states, the tenant can stay in the house 60 days or more without paying rent!
  • Keeping the property safe: If you rent out properties, you could be at risk of being sued if someone is injured on your property. You must keep the home maintained so that there are not potential accidents.

The bottom line on rental properties for me is to not invest in rental properties. There is simply too much hassle involved in them to make it worth my time. Been there, done that!

How I Invest in Below Market Value Properties Without Repairs

The way that I invest in San Antonio investment properties today is to buy my under market value property in cash, do $10,000 or so in rehab, and then seller finance it. This type of investing has four big advantages:

  • I have no mortgage. Yay!
  • My occupant is buying the house on terms from me. That means they maintain the property and do all of the repairs. Double yay! If they choose to not repair it, that isn’t my problem. I merely hold the note on the house.
  • I enjoy pure real estate cash flow in my under market value San Antonio properties. No expenses! Is this cool or what?
  • Because I buy investment property in Texas, foreclosing is very easy. I get the house back in 60 days and resell it again. I have resold the same house three times before: $5000 down, $800 per month.

Of course, this type of real estate investing takes CASH. But if you have an IRA or a 401k, you can often invest in these under market value houses.

Below is a great example of the type of investing my out of state investment property investors and I do.

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The house above in on West Poplar Ave. in 78207 in San Antonio. It is a newly completed San Antonio investment property that was bought the the California investor for $44,000 in October 2015.

We conducted $10,000 of rehab on the property and put it on the market in December 2015. Total cost to investor was $54,000. It was resold in late January 2016 with the following terms:

  • $83,000 sales price
  • $5000 down
  • $627.61 per month ($800 per month PITI)
  • 9% interest
  • 30 year note

Total return for out of state property investor is 14% ROI. If you are interested in out of state investment property that earns 10-15% ROI with no maintenance, please contact us.

Below are more rehab pictures:

poplar 1

NEW 7 NEW 8NEW 9 NEW 10 NEW 11

NEW 1 NEW 2NEW 3 thumb_IMG_3598_1024 thumb_IMG_3600_1024

NEW 5 NEW 4

Based upon this 14% ROI return, I think you can understand why many of my investors from out of state USED to buy San Francisco investment property, San Diego investment property, Seattle investment property, and Los Angeles investment property. Now they mostly buy San Antonio investment property.

Turn 3 Properties Into 6 or More in 5 Years With Your IRA

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I am a strong believer of investing in under market value real estate property with all cash and owner financing them. When you buy distressed properties with all cash and finance them to qualified buyers, there is one overwhelming advantage with these below market value investments:

  • You have no mortgage on your property investment, so if the property is ever vacant for any reason, you do not have overwhelming financial pressure bearing on you. Over leveraged real estate investors were a major factor in the real estate meltdown five years ago.

Of course, on the other side of the ledger, you cannot purchase as many distressed sale properties as you could if you leveraged your capital and use 20% down conventional financing. This is always a valid concern for people with limited capital to invest in the best San Antonio investment property.

Still I would like to illustrate how the smart and patient investor can take three fixer upper homes and turn it into 6 and possibly more in 5 years, assuming you have no additional cash to invest after the initial investments. The illustration below assumes you owner finance the houses, so you do not have any maintenance costs. This is our tried and true positive cash flow model!

That $275,000 in Your IRA

I run across many aspiring investors that have savings and IRA assets of $275,000 or so. In current market conditions in San Antonio TX, that $275,000 can fund approximately three solid distressed sale properties in cash. Let’s illustrate with three houses we have right now:

  • Property 1 – 262 Bogle St., 78207: $50,000 + $30,000 rehab = $84,500 investment + $2500 closing costs, $2000 commissions = $89,000 total investment.

Total Owner Finance Cash Flow Per Year: $8940 ($745 per month after tax/ins.)

  • Property 2 – 109 Llano, 78223: $29,900 + $40,000 rehab = $69,900 investment + $2100 closing costs, $2000 commissions = $74,000 total investment.

Total Owner Finance Cash Flow Per Year: $9,000 ($750 per month after tax/ins.)

  • Property 3 – 1027 Sams Dr., 78221: $59,900 + $40,000 rehab = $109,000 investment + $3000 closing costs, $3000 commissions = $115,000 total investment.

Total Owner Finance Cash Flow Per Year: $12,000 ($1095 per month after tax/ins.)

Total Income from 3 Properties Per Year: $29,940

The next step would be to bank that positive cash flow from your three properties for up to five years. At the five year mark, you will have approximately $149,700 in your tax deferred IRA.

At this point, how many property investments you can buy depends upon the state of the San Antonio real estate market. Right now, the prices are higher because unemployment is lower, and more rehab is necessary to sell the houses. However, there is a high probability that in the next five years, there will be a substantial downturn in real estate prices.

In the last crash from 2008-11, the price of my distressed houses dropped from $50,000 median to $30,000 median. I was able to purchase many more homes during the downturn.

If the prices go down to approximately $35,000 per property plus $10,000 in rehab (possible in a slower economy given people simply want any house to live in), you could buy at least 3 more houses, and possibly 4. With three more houses, you would have approximately $45,000 in total cash flow from your grand total of six houses!

If the prices stay the same five years from now (which in my 15 year experience is very unlikely), you could purchase at worst two more properties, with a total cash flow from your five properties of $40,000 or so.

In either case, that cash can be banked in your IRA to buy more of the best San Antonio investment property whenever market conditions warrant buying more.

I am waiting until the next downturn to take my banked cash flow from my current portfolio to buy at least another 20 houses. You can and should do the same thing!

 

 

 

 

 

Converting My Rentals to Owner Finance Was the Best Decision Ever

Before the market crash, I owned more than 100 rental properties. Like many investors, I once thought that owning rental properties was the only way to make money in real estate investing.

What I found was, I always was dealing with some sort of problem with the distressed property. It didn’t matter that I had property managers. When you own 100 houses, you always have to deal with a repair, a late bill, a vacancy, paperwork and so on.

I also found it was hard to know what my cash flow on each house was each month. Writing checks for new water heaters and fridges gets old fast!

It was around 2009 that one of my mentors talked to me about how he had retired with millions in real estate: He only owner finances his fixer upper homes.

Rather than being a landlord responsible for property upkeep and repairs, there are more efficient ways to generate monthly cash flow.

Be the Bank!

Think about your own house. Each month you send an electronic payment (or check) to your mortgage company or bank. Your bank doesn’t have to maintain the property – you do. Since you are buying the property from the bank on terms, it is naturally to your benefit to maintain the property. The bank knows that statistically, homeowners are much more likely to keep their houses in good repair than renters. That’s what makes holding mortgage notes so attractive.

My mentor taught me that I could be the bank for people who do not have the credit history to qualify for a regular mortgage loan. I carry the loan on the distressed property for 30 years just like the bank, and the new owner of the house simply pays me a mortgage payment each month that includes taxes and insurance.

My mentor told me, why should you spend $10s of thousands on rehabbing a property when you can have the end buyer do most of it? Owner finance investment property is smart.

The end buyer usually has a vested interest in maintaining their property, as they own it.

How a Typical Owner Finance Property Deal Looks:

$62,000 cash purchase, $10,000 rehab, 50 DOM, sold for $89,900 owner finance, $937 per month, 12.3% ROI.

This 3 BR 1.5 bath property investment with positive cash flow north of downtown San Antonio TX is in a heavily revitalizing area. It was bought by the investor for $62,000.

The under market value property only needed approximately $10,000 of rehab, including new flooring, paint in and out, and minor foundation work.

The total project cost to the investor for this under market value property was $72,000.

Within 50 days of the completion of rehab, it was sold with owner financing with the following terms:

  • $5000 down
  • $89,900 final price
  • 10% interest
  • 30 year note
  • $937/month PITI positive cash flow
  • Cap rate 12.3%

After I converted most of my under market value properties to owner finance, most of my worries about my properties disappeared. The owner maintains it and I simply enjoy the monthly cash flow from each property into my bank account.

Most people don’t seem to ever consider owner financing their property investment, probably because they don’t know about it.

The keys to success in owner finance property are simple:

  • Carefully documenting the income of the potential buyer and verifying their work history
  • Follow the Dodd Frank law, which mandates that you must collect proof of their income and document their work history.
  • You can have a Texas licensed loan originator do this for you for a $750 or so fee (we have one on staff).

The bottom line on owner finance investment property  is you enjoy cash flow without maintenance and the buyer enjoys buying their own home at last – a true win-win for everyone.