It is not a secret to anyone that today’s real estate market has created amazing values for home buyers. This market, without a doubt offers a tremendous opportunity to a first time home buyer to create equity with none of your own money. Today’s home buyers don’t have to look too hard to find great deals. Anywhere you look you will find sellers of distressed properties .
With little creativity and 3 to 4 months time investment you can create $20,000, $50,000 even $100,000 or more in equity. How? ‘Fixer uppers’ aka ‘handyman specials’. No you don’t need to be a handyman you just need to hire one.
Find a fixer upper in the area you want to own a home. There are a number of ways you can do it. Ask your realtor to search on Multiple Listings System for ‘corporate owned’ and/or ‘bank owned’ properties. Do a Google search for ‘Real Estate Owned ’ or ‘REO’; this will give you a list of websites where you can find bank owned properties. These are the terms that lenders use to describe properties that they repossessed though foreclosure and they are more than egger to get rid of them. Also it’s a good idea to scan through your local classifieds for ads that contain one of the following: ‘motivated sellers’, ‘handyman special’, ‘needs TLC’.
Get a repair estimate and asses the after repair value of the property. All you have to do to get repair estimate is find a few contractors who will give their estimate of the work you want to get done. Get at least 3 solid estimates. In order to find out what the After Repair Value of the home will be, simply look at what price properties comparable to yours are sold in the half a mile radius in the last 3 to 6 months. If you really get you mind set on a particular home and seriously considering the purchase you can hire an appraiser. Make an offer on the property and in the contract include clause saying that if an appraisal contingent on the repairs you are planning to complete comes in at less than what you are estimated you can walk away from the deal without any penalties.
When looking at houses look for what it can be, not at what it is right now. You will see properties that look a lot scarier than what they really are. Don’t over spend; focus on the things that will add most value to your new home. Kitchen and bathroom updates should be the biggest part of your repair budget. If space permits you can add a bedroom or a bathroom. Remember, our goal is to create as much equity as possible so budget for renovations that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Make an offer and close the deal. One definite advantage you have working for you is the property itself. Use the short comings of the house as your negotiating ammo. At this point you have at least 3 estimates from licensed contractor and you should do home inspection. This will protect you from unpleasant surprises in the future.
Find and close on financing for your project. You have a few couple of chooses: First – hard money lenders. Once you start your research you will find out a few scary things, for example, high closing costs and high interest. However the advantages way outweigh the cons. Your closing costs and six months of payments can be rolled into the loan, which gives you enough time to complete the project and refinance with a convectional lender. You can finance up to 100% of the purchase price and repair costs. Hard money loans are short-term loans with balloon payment usually in 12 to 18 months. Don’t let it scare you, if you are diligent and stay on top of your project you will be enjoying your new home way before the balloon payment is due.
Second option is a private loan. You might know someone who will be willing to lend you money to complete your project in return for higher interest rate than what they are getting on CDs or stock market. You will offer then 1st lien on your property and refinance out of their loan in 6 to 8 months or earlier. This is a great alternative to hard money loans. You can negotiate low or none closing costs and lower interest rate.
Complete your rehab. At this stage you have to be focused. Monitor your contractors. Always check on the work that is claimed to be completed before you pay them. And one rule that can not be broken and I can not stress it enough; DO NOT prepay your contractors. If you want to complete your project on time and within your budget and don’t want to get screwed out of your hard earned $$, do not prepay for any work. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. This one mistake can break your whole venture and leave you with a huge debt and nothing to show for it.
Refinance with conventional lender. As soon as your repairs completed start applying for refinancing. At this stage you will have to do second appraisal of the property. This will be ‘as is appraisal’ to determine what the current value of the house is. If you did your homework at the beginning of your project and your initial estimates were correct, by now you have created enough equity to refinance out of your hard money loan. In some cases you might be even able to walk away with cash from the closing table to buy some nice furniture for your newly remodeled home.
Why go through all this trouble? You can have a newly remodeled home, completely customized to your own taste and needs for a total cost of 70 cents on dollar or less compared to the property values in your area.