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Minimizing Real Estate Investing Risk

By Brian Kline | November 12, 2014

There are many real estate investing business models. Deciding on the one that is right for you determines the level risk you are willing to take with your investment money. Most investors decide between becoming a landlord or rehabbing and flipping middle-income houses. What few people consider is owner financing lower income houses. There's more money to be made and lower risk with this real estate investing model.

Valuing Owner Financed Houses

Here's where the big difference begins with owner-financed houses. The selling value of the house is NOT determined by comparables or assessed vale or an appraisal. The sales value of an owner financed home is closely associated with the dominate rents of the neighborhood. What's important is that you find the right neighborhood to invest in. These are working class neighborhoods where people mostly live paycheck to paycheck but some manage to save a little for emergencies or towards a down payment on a house. These people might have $4,000 in the bank.

For Rent home

Let's say it's a typical family with two parents and two children and the parents are in their early 30s. They are renting a two or three bedroom apartment that is costing them $1,050 each month. They have noisy neighbors above them and below them and they have to fight for a decent parking spot when they come home from work every evening. They have the good old American dream of buying a home with a yard, a garage, and a white picket fence. However, in today's real estate marketplace, these people can't qualify for a traditional mortgage. Maybe they have a few blemishes on their credit score or more likely they don't have the 20% to 25% down payment that the banks are requiring.

The fact is these people don't value the purchase cost of a home according to the appraised value nor comparable sales in the neighborhood. They value the purchase cost compared to what they are getting for their rent money. When you owner finance, you don't need an appraisal nor do you have to show comparables. All you need is to come to an agreement on the sales price. When you can put these people in their own home for the same cost or less than they are paying in rent, most will jump at the chance.

How a Decent Deal Plays Out Financially

In most cities (especially mid-west cities and towns), there is an abundance of low cost houses that are ideal for owner financing to lower middle class and lower working class homebuyers. How a deal might work is you find a distressed seller needing to close a sale very fast. These are typically all cash sales. You need to have your financing in place before making the offer so that you can close in three days. Your financing is often a private lending source that you have built a relationship with and doesn't require an appraisal. Today's market is full of these private lenders.

The reason you don't need an appraisal is because you're going to buy the house for less than $25,000 and sell it for $45,000. You need to borrow the $25,000 but it's secured by the $45,000 note and brings in an interest rate of between 8% and 10%. Why would a buyer pay $45,000 for a house you just bought for $25,000 and pay a high interest rate? It's all about the cost to rent. Rent is costing the buyer $1,050 each month but buying the house with a whit picket fence is going to cost him or her about $500 per month. That's based on a $4,000 (9%) down payment, a $41,000 mortgage at 10% and includes the cost of homeowners insurance and property taxes on a 20-year loan. Once you understand the numbers, it becomes clear this is a very lucrative way of investing in real estate. It's a win-win-win for you as an investor, for the buyer, and for the private lender.

As the investor, you place yourself between the buyer and the lender. You pocket the $4,000 down payment for an instant payday and take 2% of the interest to leave 8% for the lender. Put 10 or 15 of these deals together and you have a passive income stream for the next 20 years without the headaches that come with being a landlord. Once you build up your own capital, you can buy and sell houses without first finding a lender. After you sell the house, you collect the monthly mortgage payment. After the loan is seasoned six months or a year, you can sell these notes on the secondary market (without discounting it) for a payday in the $20,000 range. It takes a different investing mindset but this is a huge opportunity in today's market.

Brian KlineAuthor bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.

Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years with articles listed on Yahoo Finance, Benzinga, and uRBN. Brian is a regular contributor at Realty Biz News
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