## Understanding The Loss To Lease Calculation

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When reviewing a multifamily property’s income statement, one of the first things to look for is a line item called “loss to lease.” Although widely used, the loss to lease concept is often a source of confusion. It can be counterintuitive because the word “loss” is in the name, but the presence of this line item should be viewed as a positive.

What Is Loss To Lease?

Loss to lease is a term used to describe the difference between a unit’s market rental rate and the actual rent per the lease. The loss isn’t realized in the traditional sense. Rather, it is an on-paper loss that represents an amount of money that the property owner is losing by not charging market rents on the unit.

The loss to lease calculation is simply the market rent of a unit minus the actual rent. For example, if the market rent for a given unit is \$1,000 per month and the actual rent is \$900 per month, the loss to lease is \$100 per month. This calculation is performed at the individual unit level and summed up to the line item that appears on the income statements. For properties with a large number of units with below-market rents, the result can be a significant sum.

Why Is Loss To Lease Important?

Loss to lease is important from two different perspectives: the investor considering a potential purchase, and the owner currently managing the property.

From an investor standpoint, the presence of the loss to lease line item on the operating statement can be an immediate tip-off that there is an opportunity to raise rents, which is why it may be considered a positive thing. Usually, loss to lease is a result of market rents rising faster than actual rents, which is a sign of a strong market and/or inefficient management. Either way, it is an opportunity because commercial multifamily properties are valued on cash flow, and closing the loss to lease gap can add value quickly and result in a quick win for an investor.

From an owner standpoint, loss to lease can be a metric that is a leading indicator of a property manager who isn’t paying close enough attention to the surrounding market. By failing to raise rents to remain in sync with the broader market, the property manager is actually costing the owner money in rent that could have been obtained but is “lost” to a lower lease price.

Loss To Lease: An Example

To illustrate the importance of the loss to lease concept and its potential impact on price, consider the following example. Assume that a 150-unit apartment complex has average rents of \$900 per unit, per month. The annual rent for the entire property would be:

\$900 x 150 = \$135,00 x 12 = \$1,620,000 annual rent.

Now, assume that the property manager has performed a marketwide survey of comparable properties and concluded that the market rental rate is \$1,000 per unit, per month. In this case, the property’s annual income should be:

\$1,000 x 150 = \$150,000 x 12 = \$1,800,000 annual rent.

The difference between these two figures, \$180,000, is the loss to lease.

Continuing the example, assume that the property has annual expenses of \$1 million. This means that closing the loss to lease gap — raising rents on all units by \$100 per month — would result in an increase to the net operating income from \$620,000 to \$800,000.

Finally, and this is where the impact is significant, assume that the market cap rates for this property are 6%. The increase in NOI means that the property value rises from \$10.3 million to \$13.3 million, just from closing the loss to lease gap! This is a big win for the owner and their investors.

Risks To Raising Rent

I chose the example above to demonstrate the point that raising rents to market rates can have an outsize impact on property value. But in reality, it isn’t always this easy. There are two challenges:

1. It can’t be done all at once. It must be done on a unit-by-unit basis when each lease comes up for renewal, which means that it can take an entire year to complete the process. In a fast-growing market, market rents are constantly changing and can be a difficult target to hit.

2. Raising rents also increases the risk that the existing tenant will decide they don’t want to pay the higher rate and vacate the unit. Depending on how long it takes to release the unit, this could result in a short-term negative because the unit is not producing any income. However, once the unit is leased, it is a long-term positive.

Summary

Loss to lease is a commercial real estate concept that represents a difference between a given property’s actual lease rate and the current market rate for the same property. It shows up on a property’s income statement and may be an indication of a strong market and/or inefficient management.

Either way, you can view loss to lease as a positive because closing the gap can result in a relatively quick win from improved net operating income that results in an increase in a property’s value.Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry.

Source: Forbes Real Estate Council – Rod Khleif Real Estate Investor, Mentor, Coach, Host, Lifetime Cash Flow Podcast Through Real Estate Podcast.

## What Does a Property Manager Do? Here’s the Job Description

If you’ve recently started out in the real estate business and have glanced at the property manager job description, you might think you’re saving money by skipping this expense. You can handle all these tasks—right?

Think again. Half of the appeal of investing in rental property is the passive income it yields. Maximum financial reward for minimum effort. Everyone has the time to be a landlord for one property, even two. But once you have a handful under your belt, the workload can become a bit overwhelming.

Owning real estate shouldn’t be a job; it should allow you to live life on your terms, give you the freedom to enjoy life when and wherever you wish. But you can’t do that if you’re spending all your time managing your properties. Whether you have just four or five properties or an entire empire, it’s best left to the experts.

You’ve heard the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Don’t be Jack.

Purchasing your first rental property is just the beginning of your real estate journey, because being a good landlord is almost as important as making good deals. BiggerPockets’ free guide How to Become a Landlord: Managing Rental Properties for Real Estate Investors will teach you everything—from setting rent to handling evictions.

## Property Manager Job Description: The 10 Key Tasks

### 1. Setting the right rates

Pricing your property competitively is vital for every landlord. Too high and you won’t fill the space. Too low? Good luck making money. A property manager knows the micro market, local area, and current rental rates, enabling them to correctly value your buildings’ worth and price the units accordingly.

You lose money every day your property is empty. Exposure helps you find tenants, and a property manager can help you create a coherent marketing strategy that will develop your brand, establish your reputation, and boost interest from prospective tenants.

### 3. Complying with housing regulations

State and federal laws around housing and evictions can be rather confusing. A professional property manager can walk you through everything, from paying taxes, discrimination laws, and needed certificates. But be warned that you are still liable if your property manager gets into legal trouble, so make sure they know what they’re talking about.

### 4. Finding good tenants

Property management companies find higher-quality tenants for filling vacancies because of their rigorous screening processes. These people often sign longer term leases, inflict less wear and tear, and cause fewer problems. If you work alone, you might find yourself drowning in applications—but a professional property manager can assess applicants quickly and easily using a comprehensive screening process, including background and credit checks.

### 5. Collecting and depositing rent payments

Strict rent collection is crucial to financial success. A property manager acts as a buffer between you and your tenants so you don’t have to chase up late payments or listen to complaints.

RELATED:How Much Does Property Management Cost? Here’s What Fees to Expect

### 6. Providing customer service

If you’re not a people person, it may be best to have someone else deal directly with tenant complaints. Not everyone has A+ communication skills—and that’s okay. A positive, smiley, helpful property manager will build up a rapport with your tenants and placate any problems with practiced ease. A company also ensures there is someone tenants can contact, even when you’re on that two-month Caribbean cruise.

### 7. Handling maintenance and repair

Let’s be honest—no one wants to be woken at three in the morning because a pipe burst in a rental unit across town. When things inevitably go wrong, your property manager brings a set of management skills that help quickly and efficiently handle any problem. Remember, your tenants want problems solved immediately. Delays can lead to complaints. Thanks to their wealth of experience in real estate, property managers can also suggest preventative maintenance before a problem has even occurred.

### 8. Managing vendor relationships

When you do require maintenance or repairs, it can be a hassle to get the right tradesmen for the job. A good property manager will know reputable, reliable, licensed workers—and have good relationships with them. They should also have established policies to prevent any problems when the workers enter the property, which protects you from litigation.

### 9. Assisting long-distance investing

As your property empire grows, you may wish to begin looking for investments outside your immediate area. If you sign a contract with a state or nationwide property management company, you can rest easy. Your properties are all being looked after to the same high standard as you enjoy in your own town.

### 10. Maximizing profitability

If you intend to live off the revenue from your real estate business, you need to dedicate your time to searching for new investments. Once you’ve got a few rented properties under your belt, you’re probably ready to expand. But how can you do that if your time is spent dealing with tenants, addressing problems, and collecting rent? With daily operations handed over to your property manager, you’ll have more time to scour the market for that next investment.

## Financial Benefits of Hiring a Property Manager

Don’t forget that hiring a property manager is financially sound. You may feel somewhat reluctant to fork out for this service, but it will pay dividends in the long run. These experts can maximize your business profits by creating distance between the property owner and tenants.

Most charge between four and 12 percent of your monthly rental rate—but remember that higher percentages often lead to a higher quality of service. Less is not more in this case, and a good property management company can be worth its weight in gold. Don’t skimp on this aspect of your business; it’s not worth it.

Of course, it’s important to do some thorough research before you hire your property management company. Ask your property manager these 20 questions before signing on the line.

## Do Landlords Need a Property Manager?

Clearly, a property manager wears a lot of hats. But maybe you think you can spare the expense and do the work yourself. The property management job description encompasses more than just basic tasks. Before you dive into managing your own properties, think about if you can:

• Negotiate a decent rate on maintenance issues with a surly contractor
• Convince a mostly broke renter that paying rent is more important than buying steak
• Keep track of at least three and as many as a dozen separate streams of incoming and outgoing money. Don’t forget rent and security deposits, some commingled and some not, across anywhere from four to a dozen different accounts… while being able to provide proof at any given moment of what went where, when, and why
• Advertise property inexpensively and effectively without sacrificing your ability to get a tenant who will pay a reasonable rent and not destroy the place before move-out
• Avoid signing a mostly reasonable-looking new tenant (who ends up destroying the place)
• Handle all of the property maintenance—including those 3 a.m. floods
• Communicate with, placate, and motivate tenants who have conflicting goals and priorities.

That job description is just your run-of-the-mill, no-frills property management. If you want a top-of-the-line real estate empire, you need all those skills at their peak level—plus the ability to:

• Navigate a court case, remaining professional and calm while tenants make absurd claims about how you ate their dog and that’s why they’re late on rent for the third month running
• Comprehend the effects that the large-scale and local-scale market movements are having on each client’s properties. In addition, predict how that will affect your ability to charge, your future costs, and the client’s risk levels
• Work with finicky city inspectors to bring buildings that were—just last week!—70 percent hellhole into the realms of livability
• Comprehend the systems used by your writers, inspectors, agents, photographers, builders, vendors, and so on well enough to troubleshoot and help guide them toward effective solutions.

This might seem easy to you, or maybe even fun. If that’s the case, feel free to dive into the property management world solo. But if you find the above job duties frightening, hire an expert to deal with the nitty-gritty.

However, you must remember: It’s your business. You’re the CEO, the big cheese, the top dog. Therefore, don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day running of things. Leave that to someone else, someone qualified and experienced and capable of making you lots of money. As a real estate investor, it’s your job to sit back and watch the money roll in.

Source;Engelo Rumora – BiggerPockets

## How Much to Charge for Rent in 2020: A Landlord’s Guide

So now that you have an investment property or two under your belt, you are probably considering the possibility of renting them out. However, determining the right property rent rates can be difficult at times. Not sure how much to charge for rent? You’re not alone.

After all, if you charge too much, you’ll likely have higher vacancy rates—but if you undercharge, you’ll lose out on profit.

Here’s how to check if your rental unit is priced correctly.

Purchasing your first rental property is just the beginning of your real estate journey, because being a good landlord is almost as important as making good deals. BiggerPockets’ free guide How to Become a Landlord: Managing Rental Properties for Real Estate Investors will teach you everything—from setting rent to handling evictions.

## First: What Is Market Rent?

The term “market rent” refers to the current average rent price for nearby rental property. Remember, rent is determined by the real estate market value. So when determining how much to charge for rent, what other landlords are charging is valuable information.

However, keep in mind additional variables that can affect your rent, such as:

• The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
• Any special amenities
• Square footage
• Single-family homes vs. apartments or condos
• Garage or storage space available to tenants
• Pet policies

Prospective tenants may place more value on certain amenities, like pet-friendliness. That might mean higher rents. Just pay careful attention to your return on investment—and your boundaries.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Fair Market Rents

## Calculating Market Rent Prices

In addition to browsing local rental listings, we recommend signing up for Rentometer, which costs about \$100 per year. This website allows you to compare monthly rents for similar properties by city or zip code. It gives you the 75th and 90th percentile, so you can estimate the highest applicable rent and the lowest rent. Most likely, your property is going to fall somewhere in the 90th percentile.

This is a great place to start, so use it as a baseline. Don’t blindly rely on the data provided on Rentometer though, because you don’t know what those properties look like. Pairing this with your own research is the best strategy. For example, go on Apartments.com or Zillow and find nearby properties that resemble yours. Pay attention to the year built, the number of units, amenities, convenience, interior and exterior finishes, and inclusion or exclusion of a washer and dryer. It’s unlikely that you’ll find an exact match, but this is still enough to get a good estimate on the rent.

You can also go low-tech—simply drive around your neighborhood. If you pass any properties up for rent, call their owners and ask how much they are charging. This will give you a rough indication of how much you should be charging.

These methods will help you understand the viability of different rental rates.

## Know How Occupancy Rates Affect Rental Price

What’s the average occupancy rate in the area? Is it 95 percent or 85 percent? How’s your property’s occupancy rate compared to the region’s? You don’t want it to be higher or lower by too much.

If your occupancy rate is much higher than the regional average, then your rent is probably not aggressive enough. If it’s a lot lower, then your rent might be too high—or you might have a much bigger issue than just pricing.

## Check In With Your Property Manager

Property managers are great resources, but don’t rely on them completely. Ask them about the current market rents and for a market report to determine how much to charge for rent.

For the report, your property management company can give you a list of comparable properties with the current rents, which you can then verify yourself—either by researching online or visiting the properties in person. They can also advise you on what amenities might increase your rent. For example, if your property lacks a dishwasher, adding one might be an easy way to raise rents by \$50 per month. Of course, you should carefully calculate your potential return on investment before making any major changes.

If you don’t have a property manager, real estate agents can also help you assess the local rental market.

## Don’t Skip the Site Visit

Once you’ve found a couple similar nearby properties, call or visit the property as a potential renter. Ask questions regarding the current rent, unit size, amenities, utility bill, and any special features. Preferably, you should visit the site to get a good feeling of the property overall.

Go through these steps at least once or twice a year for each of your properties. Studying the current local market increases your rental income, helps you properly manage your current properties, and ensures you make better acquisitions in the future.

All that information is helpful, but serious investors need to dig deeper to know exactly how much to charge for rent. Follow these rules to arrive at the perfect price.

### 1. Minimum rent requirement

The rent has to be high enough for you to be able to afford expenses and provide cash flow.

Let’s assume your expense ratio is 50 percent, covering both the economic losses and the operating expense. Thus, in the case of a \$500 rental, a 50 percent expense ratio would leave us with \$250 to cover three very important things:

1. Debt service—such as your mortgage
2. Capital expenditure (CapEx) reserve
3. Cash flow

You’ll likely find that \$250 is simply not enough to cover all three of the above. And since debt service is mandatory, the choice we face is between our profit and CapEx reserve. What we often see is landlords pocketing the money left over after debt service, then getting excited about their great cash flow. But eventually, something will happen—maybe their house gets trashed and they need to replace the flooring, water heater, and stove.

What they suddenly experience is that tragic feeling in the pit of their stomachs which accompanies cash flow in reverse. All of the money they thought they’d made suddenly transfers from their account to their contractor‘s.

Related: How to Really Calculate Cash Flow on Your Next Rental Property

This is what happens when one has to make a choice between CapEx reserves and cash flow. That’s why you need a minimum rent. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but for apartment settings, this is often around \$650—and likely more like \$750. For single-family rentals, this minimum rent requirement is much higher.

### 2. Maximum rent requirement

We are always looking to fulfill two objectives: to both protect and grow our investment. Just like there is a minimum requirement for rent, there is also a maximum. We have to be able to appeal to the widest cross-section of the potential audience. If you buy rentals that are too high within the scope of your market, this becomes difficult.

Shoot for rentals between the 55th and 70th percentile of market rents. This appeals to stable, reliable tenants but isn’t so exclusive that only a tiny sliver of the marketplace can qualify.

### 3. Focus on price per square foot

In order to truly compare apples to apples, you have to price your rentals on a per-square-foot basis. Let’s say you purchase an apartment building currently renting one-bedrooms for \$525, and online research indicates the market could withstand a \$150 rent increase.

But how big are those comps? If they’re 850 square feet, and your rentals are 600 square feet, that market research is no longer relevant—even if they’re both one-bedrooms. Can you convince people, for example, to pay even \$625 if units that are 250 square feet larger are available for \$700? Unlikely.

With the above information, you should now be well equipped to set an appropriate rent price for your investment properties.

Source; By Jay ChangJay, a civil engineering graduate from UCLA, is an active investor, developer, and writer.

## Rates Are Historically Low, But It’s Extremely Hard to Get a Loan—Here’s Why (& What to Do About It)

Real estate, like all other asset classes, goes through market cycles. As the market goes up, property values increase, and the ability to get a loan generally becomes easier. As the market goes down, property values decrease, and the ability to get a loan generally becomes harder.

When the loans get harder to obtain, you may begin to ask yourself:

• Why has it become so much more difficult to get a loan today, when two months ago it seemed easy?
• And most importantly, how am I going to fund my next deal?

Do I have your attention yet? Good.

Read on, and be sure to watch the video below for further information.

Now, in order to answer the above questions, we need to take a step back and see how lending has evolved in real estate.

## Recent History of Lending

I started investing in real estate when I purchased my first duplex in 2004 outside Philadelphia. I used a \$30,000 private loan. Since that first deal, I have seen four different lending markets.

From 2005- 2008, real estate went through its infamous “no-doc” period, which basically meant giving out loans with no required documentation. As you can imagine, this did not end well—it caused a collapse in asset prices not seen since the Great Depression.

From 2007-2010, the pendulum swung the complete opposite way, and getting a loan became extremely cumbersome. This period was famous for the ample amount of deals to buy—but no capital to buy with.

For the last nine years, the process of getting money for a deal can be summarized in one word: easy. When I talk about getting money, I’m referring to the debt of the deal.

For example, say an apartment building costs \$1 million. For simplicity purposes, I have to raise 25% (or \$250K) for the deal from my investing partners, leaving the remaining 75% (or \$750K) to be funded by a debt provider, such as a bank, agency, or private lender.

Obtaining that 75% debt has been “easy” up until COVID-19 hit. Now we enter what I call the “corona crazy” environment.

To put it simply, the world has changed—in almost every way—in the last two months. These changes have drastically affected an investor’s ability to get loans on deals.

## Where Can You Get Money for Your Next Deal?

The first place to look to get money for your next deal is your own network. I talk about the different ways to cultivate your network in order to raise capital in my BiggerPockets book Raising Private Capital.

But even if you could raise all the funds needed for a deal, you probably wouldn’t. Why? Because real estate’s greatest asset is leverage.

The ability to put down a 20- 25% down payment in order to obtain a large leveraged asset is a great wealth creator. (A word of caution here: the opposite is also true—too much leverage is a great wealth destroyer.) So after you raised your initial funds—usually consisting of your down payment, closing costs, capital expenditures, and operating expenses—you turn your attention to the debt market.

While it may be difficult to get a loan, the investor’s reward is that debt is currently experiencing historically low interest rates. As I write this article, the rates are between 2.5- 4%. Those are impossible to beat!

### Certain Banks

Not all banks are lending these days. In fact, most aren’t. To understand which are, you need to know where the banks get their money.

Balance sheet lenders use the money that’s been deposited with them to fund loans. They lend it out and earn interest on the loan. Since the funds are staying on the balance sheets of the bank, the bank can hold onto the loan for as long as it chooses. These balance sheet lenders are typically smaller, regional banks.

The alternative to a balance sheet lender is a warehouse lender, where an enormous bank or a large institution like Fannie or Freddie provides, in essence, a line of credit for small intermediaries to originate loans. The main goal for a warehouse line is to originate loans and package them up to sell in order to pay back the warehouse line of credit and then repeat the process.

So, how do you know which banks to go to?

It’s simple, ask them if they’re a balance sheet lender. (You’re speaking their language now!) Again, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it just means that the bank is loaning their own money and does not plan on collateralizing or selling the loan.

If they are a balance sheet lender, you will have a better chance of them funding your deal. If they’re not, then there’s a very good chance they are not lending at this time.

And if they are lending, you may have another problem…

## Why Is It Much More Difficult to Get a Loan Right Now?

Two months ago, it seemed so easy to secure a loan. But because of COVID-19, these warehouse lines have dried up. Some of it is due to the fact that Wall Street funds were backing these lines of credit, but the main reason is the unpredictability of today’s environment. Large institutions are taking a pause and shutting off the spigot.

The second major reason is that when the debt providers underwrite your deal, they look at the income available to pay down the loan. This is commonly known as the debt service coverage ratio (DSCR).

Up until the corona craziness, residential real estate has been fairly stable from an income perspective. When people decide which bills to pay, rent is usually given the highest priority in the hierarchy of expenses. Because of this factor, banks were always able to make certain assumptions on income projections—which in turn made underwriting easier for the banks.

However, in the tumultuousness we’re currently living in, underwriters have no way of projecting what the future income for a property will be. Compounding this issue, the numbers are looking worse and not better in the near future, as unemployment approaches Great Depression levels.

With this bleak outlook, a lender’s best chance to underwrite your deal is if the current month’s rent collection is strong. This can be a saving grace for current loan applicants or a death blow if the collections weren’t so hot.

### The Gorilla in the Room

And now it’s time to talk about the big gorilla in the room: Fannie and Freddie, who collectively are commonly referred to as agency debt. Agency debt is insured by the federal government and provides lenders the funds needed to loan on everything from a single-family all the way up to hundreds of units.

Given the vacuum created by the warehouse lenders stopping their loans, Fannie and Freddie have changed their terms. Fannie and Freddie are now requiring anywhere from six to 18 months of operating expenses. While they do give back the funds if your deal performs, it requires the investor to raise an enormous amount of escrow just to close a deal.

## Conclusion

So, how are YOU going to fund your next deal?

In short, this article is a snapshot of today’s lending environment. You need to be aware of who you should go to for the best chance of securing a loan.

There are two main options in funding a deal right now: a balance sheet bank lender and agency debt. Without strong income in the current month, a balance sheet lender most likely won’t lend you the money, and without strong reserves, agency debt won’t lend you the money.

But then again, getting into a deal without strong income and reserves may not be the best thing for you anyway.

As mentioned, if you want to hear the full discussion on this, be sure to watch the video here.

Source: BiggerPockets.com – Matt Faircloth

## 5 Principles for Investing in Uncertain Times

For the last three years or so, many investors have been asking the question, “When is the next recession going to happen?”

My take on it was that it was going to be caused by something unknown or unpredictable.

More specifically, I was thinking a war somewhere could cause some global uncertainty and plunge us into recession. Recently, that tiff with Iran looked like it could do the trick. But it ended up being something even more unpredictable: a war on a virus that knows no borders.

While there were some other troubling aspects of the economy, such as student and consumer debt, the coronavirus is proving to be much more destructive so far. We went from an extremely low unemployment rate (under 4 percent) to a spike (and continued upward trajectory) in unemployment almost overnight.

If you are a landlord, you must be thinking of your tenants’ ability to pay rent right now. Just last week we were talking with our property manager and putting together a plan to raise rents to market rates. Now that has been put on hold. Many landlords are offering incentives, credits, or even waiving rent next month.

There are a lot of other questions out there, as well. While the real estate industry hasn’t been hit hard yet, we’re starting to see deals fall out of escrow, sellers wait even longer to put property on the market, and investors wondering if that deal they’ve got locked up would be better put on hold.

Some sellers may panic sell to liquidate assets, but I haven’t seen that quite yet. I’d love to hear in the comments what you’re seeing in your market though!

All this to say, these are uncertain times. So, how is a real estate investor to navigate the treacherous waters ahead? Here are several principles to help you shape your investing strategy in times of uncertainty.

## Investing in Uncertain Times: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

### Principle #1: Have Patience

Since we can’t predict the future, patience needs to be exercised. If things are worse than expected, then the market may not bottom out for some time. We’ll need to be patient as landlords, as well.

### Principle #2: Look for Opportunity

Times like these are when wealth is created. Many people, myself included, wish they would have bought up properties between 2009 to 2014 (give or take). Here’s an oft-cited quote from Warren Buffett:

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

### Principle #3: Be Prepared

If you have income-producing properties, hopefully you have reserves set aside for circumstances like this. If not, then hopefully you have some equity to fall back on.

For those who wish to acquire properties—and have the means to save or raise money in the meantime—now is the time to prepare for those opportunities that will most likely be coming down the road. (Of course, the optimal time to prepare is always two years ago.)

### Principle #4: Continue to Learn

You should constantly be learning. But in times like these, it’s important to learn from your mistakes or assumptions you’ve made in the past.

The last few years, I thought that affordable housing was bulletproof (or close to it). My rationale was that even if a recession were to hit, the more affordable a place is, the more likely there is to be sufficient demand to maintain solid occupancy rates.

Now I’m not so sure. Blue-collar and hourly workers are most likely to be affected by the latest circumstances, and they are the ones to most likely be renting “affordable” housing.

The average American is already in a tough spot when it comes to having an emergency fund. Those at lower income levels, even more so. If they are out of work for one, two, or more months, then the property owners who offer affordable housing may have a predicament on their hands.

Further, with schools now closed and children at home, the burden is on parents to care for their children first. Working from home and seeking out new employment will prove difficult.

Those with white-collar jobs or the ability to work remotely uninterrupted will be far less affected—unless the ripple effect in their particular industry hampers their ability to earn.

### Principle #5: Be Optimistic

It’s important during tough times to maintain a sense of optimism.

I’ll be honest. This has been hard for me—I don’t like the disruption of routine and being told what I can or can’t do.

But we can’t dwell on the negative. This too shall pass (hopefully quickly). We’re in this together, so let’s put on a brave face, help each other out, and come out on the other side stronger, more resilient, and more grateful.

Source: BiggerPockets.com – Nate Shields

## Buyers Beware: 3 Things to Look Out for When Purchasing Property During a Recession

As we enter into a COVID-19-induced recession, many real estate investors say that this is the time to have cash ready to buy properties. Good investors understand that there are opportunities during times of panic, but wise investors know the obstacles to navigate when finding some of these properties.
This article will focus on a few aspects of investing to watch out for when buying a property in the midst of an economic downturn.

## Deferred Maintenance

Let’s be honest, there is a pretty small chance that you are going to find a well-maintained property with great tenants during a recession, where the owners just couldn’t pay for it anymore. Most owners of investment real estate who take great care of their property and have reliable, well-behaved tenants in place are doing well across the board—they also understand the importance of asset reserves and protection in times like these.

Odds are if you find a great recession deal, you’re looking at a lemon when it comes to deferred maintenance. This isn’t necessarily bad, though. You can score some great deals on these types of properties and turn those lemons into lemonade! Just understand that you will likely have some big fixes to attend to, because the sellers probably used every last dollar they had to just keep the ship afloat in the first place.

Have an inspection done on the property and be prepared to front a little more for capital expenditures. When it comes to reserve dollars, it’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

## Non-Performers

Another type of property to be aware of is the classic “non-performer.”

These properties often show characteristics of poor management. Non-performing properties may consistently have problems obtaining rent, whether it’s from irresponsible tenants or pushover management. We have commonly seen this in properties that are fully paid off and have no debt service (often self-managed).

You can spot a non-performer by identifying lazy bookkeeping and shoddy maintenance practices. These properties are frequently sold by sellers who need help making ends meet. And if they’re in a pinch, you might be able to get a good deal.

There are a host of reasons why targeting these properties is a good idea in recessionary times, but just understand that you’ll have an uphill battle when you buy one. You need to have a plan in place to recover the asset.

## Evictions

Recessions can really hit hard for people who live paycheck to paycheck. This can turn into a problem for investors who are purchasing property during a recession.

Nobody really wants to evict tenants because of economic instability and job loss—but sometimes it happens. And in some places right now, you wouldn’t be able to evict a nonpaying tenant even if you wanted.

Now, that’s not to say that all properties are going to have tenants that are unable to pay during a recession, but there might be a few non-paying tenants that go “unreported” on sellers’ books to make the property appear more attractive.

You need to do your due diligence and dig deep to make sure that the sellers are not offloading a property to sidestep a hefty round of upcoming evictions that will fall into YOUR lap after closing. You can negotiate these things into a contract and help avoid some serious headache and financial strain post-closing.

Review the seller’s numbers and see if they match what the leases say. If they don’t, maybe ask to see proof that the payments were submitted, such as bank deposit statements. You need to feel confident that you are getting a property that has paying tenants.

It’s a tough pill to swallow if you purchase a property and then don’t have any rent coming in to pay the mortgage—on top of already mounting eviction fees—when you were planning to use the rent to cover expenses. So be sure to do your homework!

These are just a few things to look out for when buying properties in a recession.

I personally think an economic downturn is a great time to purchase assets at a discount. By applying a little wisdom, you can begin paving your path to financial freedom.

Source: BiggerPockets.com – Ryan Sajdera

## Is the U.S. Hurtling Toward Another Housing Crash?

All of us have a mind-boggling range of challenges to deal with in these stressful and uncharted times of COVID-19. But for many home owners, sellers, and buyers, one concern rises to the top: Are we heading straight into another housing crash?

Little is assured these days, and our current situation is without precedent. But most housing experts believe the wave of across-the-board home-price slashing and desperate sell-offs that characterized the aftermath of the Great Recession are far less likely to materialize this time around.

Why will things be different? Because bad mortgages, rampant home flipping and speculation, and overbuilding all contributed to the last financial meltdown. This time around, the much-stronger housing market isn’t the driver of the crisis—it’s one of COVID-19’s many victims.

That could provide something of a cushion for real estate to prevent another repeat of the late aughts.

“There’s no way we get through this unscathed. But I don’t think the world will fall apart in the housing market the way it did in the last recession,” says realtor.com®’s chief economist, Danielle Hale. “We won’t see prices driven down out of necessity because people were forced to sell like before.”

In fact, the fundamentals of the housing market couldn’t be more different from the economic meltdown of 2007–09. In the lead-up to the Great Recession, it seemed like just about anyone could get a mortgage—or two or three. Today, only buyers deemed less of a risk can score a loan. Credit scores need to be higher, debt-to-income ratios need to be lower, and lenders verify incomes much more carefully.

Additionally, in the mid- to late-aughts, there was a vast oversupply of homes. So when the market crashed, there simply weren’t enough qualified buyers to purchase them. And with all of the foreclosures going up for sale, a result of bad loans, home prices plummeted.

But today, there’s a severe housing shortage that’s keeping prices high.

The biggest wildcards in this current mess are just how long it takes to get the virus under control—and then how quickly the economy takes to bounce back. About 22 million people, or 13% of the U.S. workforce, filed for unemployment in a month’s time. Experts predict unemployment could rise to 15% or even 20% before the pain subsides.

Those financial struggles have made it increasingly difficult for folks to pay their rents and mortgages—let alone purchase starter homes or trade-up residences. Roughly 6% of mortgages were in forbearance as of April 12, according to the most recent data released from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

This has sparked fears of another foreclosure crisis—one of the hallmarks of the Great Recession and its aftermath.

“We’re [not going to] get through this recession without any challenges for the housing market,” says Hale.

## Will there be another housing fire sale? Probably not

Deep price cuts are the dream of many cash-strapped buyers—and dread of home sellers. They may not happen this time around, but a slowdown in the price hikes of the past decade are likely, most housing experts say. Home prices may dip—but just slightly, says Hale. (The median home price was \$320,000 in March, according to the most recent realtor.com data.)

Prices are driven by the rules of supply and demand. On the supply side there is a record-low inventory of homes on the market, as sellers have been steadily yanking them off. Many don’t want potentially infected strangers walking through their homes and want to wait for the economy to improve so they can fetch top dollar for their properties. Others don’t want their homes to linger on the market unsold during a time when fewer transactions are taking place.

Still, demand for new homes hasn’t evaporated. There are simply too many would-be buyers out there: millennials eager to put down roots and start families, folks who lost their homes during the last recession and want to buy another property, and boomers looking to downsize.

“People need a place to live, and at some point we’re going to get past the virus,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.

And while many potential buyers will grapple with job losses or the prospect of them, others will be lured in by the prospect of superlow mortgage interest rates. Rates were just 3.31% for 30-year fixed-rate loans as of the week ending April 16, according to Freddie Mac.

“I don’t think we’ll see significant price cuts,” says Dietz. “There’s a lot of young people who want to attain homeownership.”

There will likely be a “sharp decline” in home sales until the threat of the virus and its economic toll have waned, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®. But he anticipates sales will pick right back up as soon as things return to some semblance of normalcy. That will also keep prices high.

The luxury market could take the biggest blows, however.

Even in the best of times, these ultraexpensive homes can be harder to unload. But it will likely be harder to find buyers willing to pay top dollar with the economy and stock market in shambles. Wealthier buyers often have more invested in financial markets, which are being buffeted by wild fluctuations.

“The higher-priced homes are the ones that are being withdrawn [from the market] more often,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist of the real estate data firm CoreLogic. “The lower-priced homes continue to be in really strong demand.”

But not everyone has such confidence that home prices will remain strong.

Ken Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL, expects that prices will fall much more along the lines of what many bargain-hunting buyers have been hoping to see.

If the economy reopens quickly, prices may decrease only by 5% to 10% nationally, says Johnson. They could be more or less depending on the individual market. But if the crisis and stay-at-home orders go on for another 60 to 90 days, he anticipates prices will plummet up to 50% as there won’t be many folks shopping for homes.

“I expect sales to dry up. I expect listings to dry up. I expect showings to dry up,” says Johnson. “I hope for the best and fear the worst.”

## We’ve underbuilt rather than overbuilt in the run-up to this crisis

The glut of new construction was a calling card of the Great Recession. Newly built homes and communities sat vacant, or mostly empty, after the crash. Cities and suburbs were pocked with stalled construction sites. There were too many homes for too few buyers.

But things are quite different now.  Last year, builders put up just under 900,000 single-family homes, shy of the nearly 1.1 million homes considered necessary to alleviate the housing shortage and accommodate the growing population.

“We entered this [new] recession underbuilt rather than overbuilt,” says NAHB’s Dietz.

But a reduced demand from buyers will likely translate to fewer homes being erected in the near future. And the financial crisis is already making it more difficult for builders to secure the financing needed to put up new homes and developments.

Housing starts, construction that’s begun but not completed, were down 22.3% from February to March, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in the most recent U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report. Traditionally, this is a time when construction generally picks up alongside the warmer weather heading into the busy spring and summer season.

“Building has been far below average for 10 consecutive years, which is the reason why we’ve faced housing shortages,” says NAR’s Yun. “Today during the pandemic, there are even fewer listings.”

## Bad mortgages are largely a thing of the past

One of the biggest culprits of the last economic downturn were riskier subprime mortgages and “liar loans.” Since the housing bubble popped, these loans have largely ceased to exist.

Subprime loans were doled out to less qualified and often uninformed buyers, typically lower-income minorities with lower credit scores. After a set period of time, the interest rates on these loans ballooned higher—well out of reach of the borrowers. They defaulted on their mortgages, which set off the housing bust resulting in scores of foreclosures and short sales.

Liar loans were those given to folks whose lenders didn’t verify their income. That slipshod practice has largely vanished.

“The mortgages made today have much lower risk. Lenders have tightened up their standards for making loans,” says CoreLogic’s Nothaft. “They verify income, they verify employment. Subprime lending and liar loans are gone from the market.”

Of course, it’s still likely to be difficult for even the most qualified homeowners to make their mortgage payments if they’ve lost their jobs or a portion of income to the coronavirus. So the federal government is stepping in.

Mortgage forbearance, as well as loan modifications in many cases, are being offered on government-backed mortgages for up to 12 months for those affected by the coronavirus. Many lenders are offering similar assistance to those who don’t have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.

“The mortgage forbearance is going to prevent foreclosures,” says Yun.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some down the line.

“We will probably see some delinquencies rise,” says realtor.com’s Hale. “And once the moratoriums are lifted, some people are going to struggle to pay their mortgages.”

In addition, investors aren’t running rampant like they were in the aughts. Instead of buying properties to hold them and jack up the prices, they’ve been investing in and upgrading the properties they’re buying. And they’ve had a tougher time of it as the number of foreclosures, short sales, and other cheap and auctioned-off homes have become harder to find as the economy had rebounded.

## What does the future of the housing market look like?

How the housing market will fare over the coming months and years is still a mystery, since no one knows just how long this public health pandemic will last and how long the economy will take to rebound. Real estate is likely to suffer until the economy improves and folks feel more confident in buying and selling homes again.

The stimulus bill and extra \$600 a week in additional unemployment funding are likely to buoy the economy and “relieve some of the anxiety,” says Yun.

Even in a worst-case scenario, the majority of Americans are still employed. And mortgage interest rates are at record lows. They’re hovering around 3%, unlike the more than 6% they were at at the beginning of the Great Recession.

“This [crisis] is short-term,” says Yun. “We will come out of this.”

Even those with less rosy views believe that a strong rebound for housing may be in the cards.

“If we go for an extended period where we’re under stay-at-home orders, then we can expect a crash on par with the previous one,” says real estate economist Johnson. “But the comeback could be quicker.”

Source: Realtor.com – | Apr 22, 2020

## Should I Buy a House During the Coronavirus Crisis? An Essential Guide

Spring is upon us, which typically involves a big peak of home buyers checking out properties, negotiating, and closing on new places. But the coronavirus outbreak—with its quarantine measures and economic uncertainties—has many a real estate shopper wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait?

We’re here to help you navigate this confusing new normal with this series, “Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus.”

This first installment aims to help you figure out whether you can—and should—shop for a home right now, or hold off until this crisis blows over. Read on for some honest answers that will help you decide what to do.

## The impact of the coronavirus on the housing market

So what state is the housing market in right now, anyway? While that depends on how bad an outbreak an area is suffering, most markets are feeling some sort of hit.

“The coronavirus is leading to fewer home buyers searching in the marketplace, as well as some listings being delayed,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®.

The latest NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, conducted on March 16 and 17, found that 48% of real estate agents have noticed a decrease in buyer interest attributable to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, nearly an equal number of members (45%) said that they believe lower-than-average mortgage rates are tempting buyers to shop around anyway, without any significant overall change in buyer behavior.

For those who are determined to buy a home, there is opportunity out there.

“This is the best buyer’s market I have ever seen in my career,” says Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers and Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.”

“Sellers are nervous, there’s excess supply, and interest rates have been hovering at historic lows. You can own a home for less per month than you can rent an equivalent property in most areas,” he adds.

With fewer home buyers out there looking, you have less competition in your way.

“Unmotivated and uncommitted buyers have dropped off,” adds Maggie Wells, a real estate professional in Lexington, KY. “Less competition is a huge leg up in this market.”

The window of opportunity for buyers won’t stay open wide forever. NAR data shows that there was a housing shortage prior to the outbreak.

“The temporary softening of the real estate market will likely be followed by a strong rebound, once the quarantine is lifted,” says Yun.

This pent-up demand could eventually push home prices higher. That could mean that the time to strike for bargains is now.

Bottom line: If social distancing has made you realize you don’t love the place where you’re currently spending most of your time, it’s a good time to consider buying.

Although it’s a scary time to be out and about checking out real estate, it is still possible to do so and stay relatively safe. The industry has rapidly adapted, introducing approaches that minimize exposure to the virus.

For instance, many agents are now working remotely and conducting most of their business virtually.

“Buyer and seller consultations have transitioned to virtual meetings with success,” says Kate Ziegler, a real estate agent with Arborview Realty in Boston.

While open houses or showings may not be easy to arrange because of quarantine or other safety issues, real estate listings have stepped up to the plate by offering virtual tours.

“We can send clients videos of whatever properties they want to see, or we are happy to have our agents FaceTime from a property,” says Leslie Turner of Maison Real Estate in Charleston, SC.

While those who are immunocompromised may want to stay home, if you’re otherwise healthy, it is also still possible to see some homes in person in some parts of the country. You’ll want to take some precautions before you go.

“Hand sanitizer at the door has become the norm, as well as shoe covers, even on sunny days,” says Ziegler.

During the tour, it’s also now customary for the listing agent to open all doors, so that home buyers can explore closets and other enclosed spaces without touching anything as they look.

If you do make an offer that’s accepted and you head to the closing table, real estate agents and attorneys are also adapting to remote closings, to keep you out of a crowded conference room. (We’ll provide more information about virtual tours and remote closings in later installments.)

## How to weigh economic concerns

Coronavirus aside, anyone thinking about buying a home is also likely to be weighing whether it’s a smart idea when the economy is in a downward spiral. But in the same way you can’t easily time a stock purchase to make a profit, you can’t easily time a home purchase, either.

“Recession or not, it’s impossible to time the market, whether for buying stock or buying real estate,” says Roger Ma, a New York–based financial planner and owner of lifelaidout.

Just keep in mind that while current market conditions offer an incredible opportunity for home buyers to lock in historically low interest rates for a mortgage, rates are actually going up quickly, because so many people are refinancing.

If you wait too long to buy, you may miss the money-saving boat. So make sure to read up on the latest mortgage rates first.

Besides mortgage rates, home buyers are probably wondering about the stability of their income, as fear of layoffs loom.

“We are entering uncharted territory,” says Michael Zschunke, a real estate agent in Scottsdale, AZ.

On the flip side, putting a property under contract now and locking in a low interest rate gives a buyer some control at a time of relative uncertainty, adds Turner.

The takeaway from all this? It matters more than ever to get pre-approved for a mortgage, to calculate your home-buying budget accurately.

If you’re worried about layoffs, you should buy a home well under budget so you have enough money left over for closing costs, home maintenance, and a rainy day fund. Now is the time to crunch your numbers more carefully than ever before. Below is what you need to consider.

• Research ways to reduce your closing costs. For instance, many loans allow sellers to contribute up to 6% of the sale price to the buyer as a closing-cost credit.
• Figure out how much you need to set aside for yearly home maintenance and repairs. A smart budget is to have between 1% and 4% of the purchase price of your home.
• Be sure to put aside an emergency nest egg for unexpected repairs. On average, it’s a good idea to sock away 1% to 3% of a home’s value in cash reserves.

In our next installment, we’ll explore all the ways to conduct a house hunt safely. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s more on buying a home during a recession.

Source: Realtor.com –  | Apr 6, 2020
Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.

## The real estate game in Canada has new rules

COVID-19 has changed the way Canadians shop for homes and that may not change, says Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy has been swift and violent, with layoffs driving high levels of unemployment across the country. While is it sad that these people skewed strongly to young and to part-time workers, for the housing industry, the impact of these presumably temporary job losses will be limited as these groups are much less likely to buy and sell real estate,” says Soper. “From our experience with past recessions and real estate downturns, we are not expecting significant year-over-year price changes in 2020. Home price declines occur when the market experiences sustained low sales volume while inventory builds. Currently, the inventory of homes for sale in this country is very low, matching low sales volumes as people respect government mandates to stay at home.

“It is easy to mistakenly equate a handful of transactions at lower prices to a reset in the value of the nation’s housing stock. Distressed sales that occur during an economic crisis are a poor proxy for real estate values.”

The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released this week says the aggregate price of a home in Canada is expected to remain remarkably stable through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If the strict, stay-at-home restrictions characterizing the fight against COVID-19 are eased during the second quarter, prices are expected to end 2020 relatively flat, with the aggregate value of a Canadian home up a modest one percent year over year, to \$653,800,” says Soper. “If the current tight restrictions on personal movement are sustained through the summer, the negative economic impact is expected to drive home prices down by three percent to \$627,900.

“In December 2019, Royal LePage forecast the national aggregate price to increase 3.2 percent by the end of 2020. Due to COVID-19, expected price growth has been revised down almost 70 percent compared to Royal LePage’s base scenario.”

The market will return looking different, says Soper.

“As we ease out of strict stay-at-home regimens, sales volumes will return; traditional home sales practices will not,” he says. “The popular open house gathering of buyers on a spring afternoon is gone, and it won’t be coming back any time soon. The industry is leveraging technologies that allow a home to be shown remotely and social distancing protocols, where we restrict client interaction with our realtors to limited one-on-one or two meetings, will continue for months and months. This process is inherently safer than a trip to the grocery store.”

Soper presents two scenarios

• “If the fight against the coronavirus requires today’s tight stay-at-home mandates to remain in place for several months more, with no semblance of normal business activity allowed, temporary job losses will become permanent and consumer confidence will be harder to repair,” he says. “This would place downward pressure on both home sales volumes and prices.”

• “Equally, if the collective efforts of Canadians slow the spread of the disease to manageable levels, and if promising science and therapeutic drugs are announced, people will return to their jobs, market confidence will bounce back quickly, and we could see Canada’s real markets roar back to life, with 2020 transactions delayed but not eliminated.”

Source: thesudburystar April 18, 2020 12:12 PM

## 4 Tips for Flipping Houses Successfully

Here’s how to find the right house to flip — and know what sort of renovations will help you command top dollar.

One effective way to make money through real estate investing is to know how to buy and flip houses. Often, this involves buying homes that are priced under-market, such as foreclosures or short sales, renovating them, and then selling them shortly after the fact at a higher price.

But flipping houses isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could wind up losing money. With that in mind, here are a few tips for flipping houses that will increase your chances of coming out ahead financially.

## 1. Find a house to flip in the right location

The purpose of flipping a house is to find a buyer who’s willing to pay a handsome price for your hard work. As such, there’s no sense in buying a home in a stagnant market, because that property is likely to sit for a while once your renovations are done. A better bet? Do your research to find areas where housing is in high demand. Some generally good bets include suburbs of major cities with highly-rated school districts, areas in close proximity to major attractions, or metro areas where housing inventory is generally limited.

## 2. Make sure you’re buying well below market value

Flipping a home often means sinking thousands upon thousands of dollars into renovations. Even if you’re handy enough to do that work yourself, and have the time for it, supplies and materials cost money. Therefore, make certain the price you’re paying for a home to flip is reasonable, given the amount you’ll need to put into it. This means you may not want to buy a foreclosure at auction, when you’ll often be unable to perform an inspection. A better bet could be a short sale or REO property, where you have a chance to see what you’re getting into.

## 3. Focus on improvements with the best return on investment

If the home you buy to flip has damaged plumbing and out-of-code electrical work, you’ll clearly need to address those issues if you want to be able to sell it. But once you tackle your “must do” repairs, set priorities on cosmetic enhancements. Typically, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you sink money into kitchens and bathrooms — these are high-profile areas that tend to be important to buyers. At the same time, focus on low-cost improvements that offer a lot of value. For example, paint and carpet are fairly inexpensive but make a huge impact. Refreshing a home’s walls and floors could be a better bet to drive up its purchase price and attract potential buyers than putting in high-end lighting features.

## 4. Don’t over-improve that property

When you buy a home in disarray, it’s easy to go overboard on renovations to the point where it becomes the nicest property in town. That’s not necessarily what you want. If most homes in the area don’t have marble flooring or ultra-high-end kitchen appliances, follow that trend. You don’t want to improve a home to the point where you have to price it at the very top of its market. Often, buyers will balk at buying the most expensive home on the block because it’s a sign that they may not recoup their investment once the time comes to sell the house .

Flipping a home is a great way to be successful as a real estate investor. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into so you don’t lose money. If you’re not confident, talk to people who have been through the process before. Enlisting the help of a local real estate agent could also help you not only identify the right home to flip, but also invest just the right amount of money into making it marketable.

## Better Returns – half the volatility. Join Mogul Today

Whether over the 21st century, the past 50 years… Or all the way back to more than 100 years… Real estate returns exceed stocks with SIGNIFICANTLY less volatility! In fact, since the early 1970’s real estate has beat the stock market nearly 2:1.

Source: MillionAcres.com – By: , Contributor
Published on: Oct 27, 2019