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Tough decisions to make.....

Discussion in 'Real Estate Investing' started by hakrjak, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hey Guys,



    I've been sitting on a house I bought back in May, which I had completely remodeled and listed by June. To make a long story short, we've had tons of viewings but no contracts -- and I think it's due to some foreclosures that happened in the neighborhood right after I got in, which really brought the area down.

    Anyway, because of the current lending crisis -- I was not able to get a traditional mortgage for this house when I bought it, so I paid some cash, and put the rest on my lines of credit.

    Flash forward to now -- I'm considering keeping the property as a rental, so I called my mortgage broker today to find out that he can't make a loan on the property now because I have had it listed in the MLS. Apparently I need to wait 6 more months before any banks will touch it. Has anybody ever heard of this? Must be one of many new rules to help keep us safer from those evil lenders!

    So I've got some decisions to make.... Here are my options as I see it:

    1). Keep the house listed, and hope for a sale (I've already dropped the price 3 times by the way, and I'm now $15k below my last sale in this neighborhood. At the current sale price I'm only going to make about $7-8k... A far cry from the $20k I originally planned to make on this deal!)

    2). Rent it out and keep making the high monthly payments on my lines of credit (I think the rent would be about $800, and my payments per month are around $1100) -- This is the "slow the bleeding" approach....

    3). Look for a private mortgage of some kind where the lender won't care how long I've had the house or that it's listed for sale? Maybe the bleeding would be even slower with this approach, since I think the payment would be less than $1100 per month....

    4). ????? (Rent to own? Lease option?)

    What do you guys think? I need $70k out of it to just pay off all my lines of credit and become debt free again. The house should be worth $110-120k, but is listed for $109.9k. Rent would be $800/mo...

    Would like to hear some creative solutions :)

    Cheers,

    - Hakrjak
  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Admin Staff Member FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Drop the price to break even. See what happens. Its not worth it. Dump it, learn from it, and move on because right now, its nothing but mental trash.
  3. NoMoneyDown
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    NoMoneyDown 40 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I can't say as I've heard this one, although, my broker told me that FHA is coming out with a new set of rules soon that will make it even tougher to get financing through them, so it wouldn't surprise me at all.

    If you can swing a L/O they can be good, but you may be looking at another couple weeks (at best) to the point of getting someone physically in and paying. Any thoughts on contracting it to another investor for a small (ie, $3-8k) fee?
  4. Russ H
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    Russ H 160 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Agreed.

    -Russ H.
  5. hatterasguy
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    hatterasguy 40 kph

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    Dump it, if its not selling its not priced right. Price is everything in this market.
  6. randallg99
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    randallg99 70 kph Speedway Pass

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    what would you do if you sell for a loss? how much of a loss are you willing to sustain?
    maybe you rent it out while keeping it listed on the MLS? at least you can take advantage of depreciation and other tax losses.... which is exactly what I am doing. I bought a property a couple of years ago hoping to make 35k on it but dumped more into it than I planned and also got slammed by lack of buying activity. So now I rent out the property (but this property cash flows positive)

    if you buy a property with intentions of flipping, maybe apply a rental formula to the property just in case you have difficulty selling might make sense....

    maybe the tax loss after rents will offset the negative cash flow?

    bottom line is that you have to figure out what the opportunity loss is at this time.
  7. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I'd like to dump it, and feel like I've already got it priced too low, where people aren't buying it because they are asking, "What the hell is wrong with this picture?"

    I'm worried that if I drop the price anymore it's still not going to sell.

    What pisses me off the most is that 5 months ago when I bought this thing, I had $30k in cash sitting in checking, and now I'm flat broke and in major debt. I never thought in a million years I'd have trouble selling this thing, as I've sold 3 others on the same street for a lot more $$$$.... If only I had the money to buy the vacant houses on the street I feel like I could fix the whole neighborhood vibe and be flipping these babies like pancakes again!

    Still thinking...... Can't wait too much longer though, the carrying costs are eating about $1k a month out of my bottom line, which is already stretched big time right now.

    Cheers,

    - Hakrjak
  8. LagunaLauren
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    LagunaLauren 25 kph

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    Hakrjak-I have some really nice homes around Dallas. I always did Lease Options. I always get higher-than-average rent ($1,650 - $3,400/mo.) compared to lower area rent comps because they're nice props and people really want the potential opportunity to own it (and are willing to pay a little more), but don't have good enough credit or a down. I put an ad in the paper saying "LEASE TO OWN YOUR DREAM HOME. Bad/No Credit OK." then brief description of prop/rent. Have gotten great tenants (families) who take care of the properties. Maybe you can fill it at $950/mo. w/ non-refundable deposit for option to buy. If you can't sell it, this may be a way to hold on to it without losing your financial shorts until the market comes back. Chances are they won't buy it, but will stay there for years like mine. Try the ad I made. Works for me everytime. Best O' Luck!
    andviv likes this.
  9. hatterasguy
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    hatterasguy 40 kph

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    Sadly it happens, you can win at this game and lose. Write if off as a learning experiance and dump it. Go buy another and make your money back.

    At least if you take a loss you can write it off against your taxes for this year.
  10. PurEnergy
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    PurEnergy 15 kph

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    I haven't been to this forum in months but I stopped by today and was reading your post. I've had a lot of tough decisions to make over the last year too. With a little luck, my head is still above water and I'm beginning to move forward again.

    You might want to run recent comps in the area. I was surprised to see that the freakin banks were selling houses in a neighborhood where I own a house for half of what my house was worth less than two years ago. That is a problem. Especially when I'm not in a position to buy them.

    I have done lease options for the last eight years and have no intention of ever doing them again. I've never had one sell because it was on a lease option. That has been straight landlording for me. You have entirely more control with a month to month rental agreement.

    I've never looked into it but you might look at doing an auction just to get some action and see what you come up with. As far as I know you can always accept or reject your best offer.

    I don't know where you are or how people treat houses in your area but houses in my area that fall below $150k tend to attract people who don't give a rip about taking care of your property. It is also very hard to sell a property when you have tenants living in the house.

    Good Luck
  11. dollarBlogger
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    dollarBlogger 5 kph

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    Never heard of that before! Did you try going to a few different mortgage brokers to see if they could do the deal instead?

    Also, what else are you doing to market the property besides the MLS? I recently filled a property with a Tenant/Buyer by using signs around the neighborhood (Rent-to-Own, Nice House, (xxx)xxx-xxxx). Although it may take you a month or two to fill the place you may be able to get a decent option fee up front ($5K?) that will slow the bleed even more. This would of course be if you couldn't sell it for what you owe....

    dB
  12. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    As of a few days ago, I dropped the price to $105k which is just about my break-even point -- just to be able to walk away and try somewhere else next time. Had some more showings since then, but still no contract. Funny thing is (I probably already mentioned) -- Previous sales we've done on this street in the last couple years were $126, $125 and $120k. Also this is bar far the nicest flip we've ever done in this neighborhood.

    The monthly payments on the lines of credit, etc are eating me up right now due to some unforseen financial difficulties that have come out of nowhere and slapped me, soooo I'm really hoping for a quick sale at the new price.

    Cheers,

    - Hakrjak
  13. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky 120 kph FASTLANE INSIDER Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hak--

    That really sucks man.

    I don't know if lenders are allowing this anymore, but when I lived in CA many moons ago and needed a quick sale for my house there, I offered to pay all the buyer's closing costs and give them $5k at closing (for a rent back to me for 3 months.) Perhaps instead of dropping the price you guys could offer incentives like a new flat screen or a mortgage interest rate at 4.5% and closing costs paid or something.

    Keep us posted. ...It's amazing for me to think about homes under $110k in Colorado Springs. What were these homes going for 4 years ago?
  14. Russ H
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    Russ H 160 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    We almost bought a "really cheap" house about 2 years ago (Dec 2007).

    It was in a neighborhood of $350K houses (all identical), and we were going to get it for $200K.

    It needed work (whole new kitchen and bath), and we had to pay cash.

    Our realtor screwed up, and we didn't get it (this was back when realtors were first learning how to bid on REOs/foreclosures).

    I was p*ssed.

    We had planned to fix it up fast, then re-fi it for $350K, and pull $130K cash out to use for other projects, while having tenants who paid the mortgage.

    Fast forward to today:

    On that same block, there are now 5 houses for sale.

    1 block over, another 10.

    ALL of them are trying to be sold for LESS than $200K.

    NONE of them are moving (remember, this is a tract subdivision, ALL the houses are exactly alike as far as square footage, # bedrooms, baths, etc).

    I have never been so happy that one of our real estate deals fell through.

    We would have taken a bath on it---AND-- we would have done it w/money we sorely needed for other projects (tying it up forever), thinking we could've re-fied and gotten cash out like we had a year before.

    Back then (Dec 2007), I didn't realize how much the market had changed.

    I guess I'm saying we almost did the same thing you did, Hak-- slightly different numbers and dates, but you get the idea.

    It was only an incompetent realtor that saved us! :smx4:

    -Russ H.
  15. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    About the same... 4-5 years ago I was buying them up for $80-90k, putting in $10k and flipping them for $120k-125k

    We just got stuck with this one because of a vacant house across the street, and a foreclosure down the block. It kind of dragged down the whole neighborhood. Everybody has been turned off by the vacant house, and the bank has owned it for probably a year now and has made no attempt to fix it up or sell it at all. Makes me want to sue them for lowering my property value!

    - Hakrjak
  16. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    In my case I am operating in a neighborhood that I have been operating in since 2001. I've rehabbed and sold 3 houses on the same street (On the same side of the street even) for $126k, $125k, and $120k... All sold within 30-120 days -- Last one sold about a year ago. So logic dictated that we would have no problems here. I really think this vacant house on the corner is screwing us -- there is no other explanation. I'm searching the MLS in the $105k price range and there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in this price range for sale in town right now... But there is definitely nothing for sale that is this nice for less than $150k, so I'm baffled.

    Giving it until the end of october at this new price point, and then will have to rent it out or start aggressively applying for loans. I've talked to a couple of local banks in recent days, and they've told me that even on their portfolio lending -- they are adhering to the same standards set forth by Fannie & Freddie... If not being MORE conservative than those types of programs....

    I think it's safe to say that the lending environment has never been worse right now (In my lifetime)... Doesn't seem like anybody is trying to loosen it up either.

    Cheers,

    - Hakrjak
  17. Dhappy
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    Dhappy 20 kph

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    Do you stage your houses. I stage them all and it makes a huge difference. I just sold one at full price with in 10 days on the MLS. There are many other houses on the market around here for the same price that have been not selling for months. They are not staged. We are in a real bad market here in fl and my houses sell like hotcakes. I was told by a few buyers that they would of never bought my house when they saw it without staging.


    Try a different lender,not all banks have the 6 month rule.
  18. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I do stage my houses... I go with a very minimalist staging... You an see pictures and a video tour on my sale site at Endeavor Custom Homes

    Cheers,

    - Hakrjak
  19. dbaker89
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    dbaker89 5 kph

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    I am sorry to hear about your financial situation -- financial loss always hurts.

    I am curious as to what you did for the financing for yourself? I am trying to get into my first property, hopefully similar to this situation, but cannot obtain financing. I have a business income but without 2 years of tax returns they wont accept it. And, my employment income has 3 industries in the last couple of years, so that's not working for me.

    I do have a good credit history with 4 trade lines (0 installment, all revolving at this point) which puts me at a 700ish score. Some of these homes (similar to the ones you mention that are depressing your price) are just at such a steal, I am wondering why I am even renting! I would actually have *less* liability per month owning something if I could get financed.
  20. Russ H
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    Russ H 160 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hakrjak-

    I looked at your site, and had a few questions/thoughts:

    1. Is this a SFR? Looks like an attached house/townhome by the video. Are there CC&Rs?

    2. Attached part (not the one you're selling) looks a bit overgrown/grass not as nice.

    3. Does the REO on the corner look really bad?

    4. You're right when you say "minimalist staging". No offense, but staging is designed to make people feel like they live there-- your place just looks empty, and cold-- to me. Some comfy chairs arranged in the living area (so people can sit and talk about things), a few well-placed pieces of artwork (nicely framed nature photos always work well), fluffy towels in the baths, and some fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen area would work wonders. A full sized bed (most folks think its' a queen) totally made up, with awesome comforters and loads of pillows-- so any girl just wants to fall back into it, and dream of what it's like to live there (they won't-- but it's a very powerful motivator-- believe me). Get your new wife to pick out the bedding at a discount store that has those "all in one" kits-- just make sure it's classy (should cost around $100). Add another $50 for a used mattress, a bed frame, and some pillows (get 'em all at a moving sale). That, a bedside table w/glasses and a book, and a few scented candles turns any master bedroom into something special-- for pennies.

    You could get all of the other stuff at a local home store for less than a grand (or from a place like overstock.com). Cost Plus is a great place for little stuff--- like wire bowls for fruit. Granny smith apples are my fruit of choice-- they look good, and last for weeks. :)

    5. If the landscaping on the foreclosures (or your attached neighbor's property) could use a little spiffing up, what prevents you from trimming the suckers off their trees? Or watering their lawns? We did this on our block, and everyone loved us. We called the owners first, and told them we were just cleaning up a bit, and if they did not want us to do it, to call us at ___-_______ (they never called).

    6. Assuming you list this on the MLS. What kind of numbers do you have right now? How many places are in escrow? How many listings? Comps?

    7. Purely an esthetic critique (from a guy who did video post production for part of his life): Your video is very jerky and not easy to watch. I'd take some snaps, make a slideshow, set it to music, and LABEL things (w/subtitles) instead of narrate. Makes a big difference, and really doesn't take very long (once you have the photos, one long evening's work does it). Only video I'd include is a couple of slow pans (wide angle) and a nice evening static shot of seating around the fireplace (with the fire going). I'd also sugggest you lost terms like "faux wood" and "simulated granite". Change to "brand new countertops" and "custom window treatments". But that's just me.

    Clearly, what you've done before is not working. It might be time to ask yourself "what changes can I make that might sell this place?"

    Sorry if any of this seems to harsh--no insults intended. I tried to look at it w/a hairy eyeball, so by necessity, my comments are going to be critical. :)

    -Russ H.
    Merkin Man and MJ DeMarco like this.
  21. Dhappy
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    Dhappy 20 kph

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    I agree with Russ. What you have is not staging. I went out 5 years ago and bought a wicker chair and big wicker mirror. I also bought large fake inside trees and nice throw rugs and many more things. I took my girlfriend with me because I'm not good at things like that. It cost me 1k and I use it for each house. I have been paid back many times over. Spend the money,you won't be sorry.
  22. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for the open & honest constructive criticism. Answers below:

    These were actually originally built as patio homes, however the HOA was never established, so they are technically deeded 1/2 duplexes with no HOA. My Realtor has always represented them on the MLS as SFR's because they don't fit the condo mold.

    You're right.... the neighbor is an owner, but is not taking very good care of his property. I just got done mowing his weeds again today for him, and I painted the front and side of his house free-of-charge just to clean it up a little bit. Talk about a royal Jackass... Didn't even give me a "Thank You". I'm really starting to wonder if it's not THIS guy next door that is causing people to not want to move in... His yard does look like ass, front and back...
    The fence is mostly knocked down, there is an old shed, and the weeds were once 4 feet high in back. I have since cut them down on my own, and today I ran the lawn mower over the entire yard front and back to cut them as short as posible before winter sets in. The paint looks pretty bad, and you can just tell that it's an empty vacant house from looking at it (i.e. no curtains, etc)
    Ok... I can do more staging... I'm probably falling victim to the "Wow, I've aleady put so much money into this house, and now I'm not going to be able to make a profit on it... I don't want to put another dime into it!" -- syndrome... Which I know isn't good. Sometimes it does just take a little extra money to turn a bad investment into a good one. Strange that I have been able to sell 3 other identical houses on the street with the exact same staging though....

    Yep I've had good luck at Tuesday Morning, Michael's, Ross & Marshall's for stuff like this...
    Well, I have been mowing their weeds and I painted the guy next door's house for free... The REO across the street doesn't have the utilities turned on, and it's almost winter time here anyway (Grass and weeds are going dormant) -- but it's something to think about in the future. If I could go back in time, I would have had my workers seed & water the grass over there while they were at the property working. I could be more aggressive about tree and bush trimming though. Maybe will get by there again this week.

    It's listed in the MLS, yes... It's a tough neighborhood to really do a lot of comps from, because we've got brand new construction homes on one side for $250k, and guetto houses on another side for $75k. Compared to the last 3 I've sold, $105k seems to be the right price point for us, and it's generated about 1 showing every other day right now.

    Ok, that's fair... Those are good observations...

    Yep, that seems to be exactly what I'm doing. Looking at doing something different to sell this place. Thinking that if it's not gone by the end of October I'm going to de-list it for a few weeks, make some big changes and then re-list it... I am considering some of the bonus features like a hot tub or a big flat screen TV, which might make a buyer swoon. Also considering repainting the entire house again to a Beige color... I never liked the baby blue which is what was already there when we repainted, more or less... And am wondering if that has something to do with the lack of a contract!?!

    Cheers,

    - Hakrjak
  23. rcardin
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    rcardin 20 kph

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    I love the landscaping. Looks nice and fresh.

    The staging is not bad, but you can go to u haul and get some moving boxes. Stack them together to make a bed. Same with a night stand. Throw in a comforter, think goodwill, and a couple of pillows. Get some fabric and throw it over the box as a night stand. Super cheap way to make it look like a bedroom.
    Love the bathrooms with the tile and the kitchen is nice and clean looking. These are the two most important things to a woman when buying or even renting. You might consider a decent 20.00 shower curtain rather than just the liner. Add a matching towel to the equation.
    I don't know about Colorado but here in Texas it is almost guaranteed to have a ceiling fan in every room. The bedroom light looks to be Home Depot contractor pack.
    I think with a minor upgrade on minimal parts you can sell it.

    As far as getting someone in it soon, I would make sure that everybody who looks at it is pre-qualified by the realtor. No sense in the agent showing it if the potential buyer can't qualify for a loan.

    Owner finance/ Agreement for Deed.........Make a deal with the real estate agent for a set commission if they find you a buyer through your company's owner financing program. You will be getting all of the people that the agent can't help. Bankruptcy, divorce, crappy life etc. Get 4k down (less than they would have to put up for a down payment on 100k). Finance 40 years, 9.5% interest for a 117k note, with a payment of 915.37 plus taxes and insurance. REfi in six months with a guaranteed renter in it already. Long term hold.

    Rick
  24. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Thanks bud -- I am considering maybe listing it for rent as a 6 month lease by the 1st of November if we don't have a contract... I figure for 6 moths maybe the renter won't damage it too bad, and then I can try listing it again in the Spring when things might be a little better. Interest rates were below 5% here a couple days ago, and that didn't seem to prompt any action... Although we've been getting showings every other day since I dropped the price to $105k, so we'll see. 3 weeks to go!

    - Hakrjak
  25. hakrjak
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    hakrjak 60 kph Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
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    Of course I bitch online about a house, and that does the trick... Got an offer coming in this afternoon!

    Keep your fingers crossed it's a good one :)

    - Hakrjak
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