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How to Choose an Out-of-State Market for Investment (in 3 Easy Steps!)

Aerial view of of a residential neighborhood in Hawthorne, in Los Angeles, CA
You’ve decided, for whatever reason, that you want to invest outside of your local area or state. Your next question is—where should I invest?

 

I’m going to offer you a list of things that you can consider when trying to figure out what market to invest in. These things are in no particular order, and some of them may not apply to you or your particular situation. My intention with each one is to give you something to think about and hopefully some ideas on where and how to start looking for a market that suits your investment needs.

Here we go!

Step #1: Narrow Down Your Market Options

First, if you are brand new to out-of-state investing and don’t have a clue where to start, your location choices are likely going to feel extremely overwhelming. I have two things for you to think about that will hopefully at least get you moving in some kind of direction.

Where do you have friends and family?

Are there any cities where you have friends or family who might be good assets to have on your “team” on the ground? I’m not necessarily saying go into business with your friends or family or make them an official part of the team. But if you already have ties to any particular cities, maybe take a little time to decide if any of those cities might be good ones to get started.

Even if your friends or family there aren’t part of your team, they may be able to occasionally drive by your property once you own it and tell you if anything crazy seems to be going on. It never hurts to have an extra set of trustworthy eyes on an investment property!

Where are other investors buying?

Thanks to technology and the internet (and websites like BiggerPockets!), you can easily and quickly network with other out-of-state investors. Ask people which markets they are buying in, and if they seem friendly and interested in chatting more, find out why they are buying in those markets.

Don’t struggle to reinvent the wheel when experienced investors are already out there succeeding with out-of-state properties. I did secretly throw a keyword in there—experienced. Don’t take just anyone’s word for what they claim to be a good city to invest in. But remember, you’re just trying to get a list started. You can dig into details later as you go along.

Start there. Make a list of the cities that come up when you consider those two things. Again, this isn’t your final list, but at least your list is much shorter now than it was when it had all 19,354 U.S. cities on it as investing options.

You may not have known you had a list of 19,354 cities on it, but if you were starting from scratch, the whole country was a possibility! That would have to be intimidating and overwhelming—and almost an impossible point to start from. Now you have a less intimidating starting point.

Related: What Moving Out of State is Teaching Me About Remotely Managing Rentals

Step #2: Analyze Those Markets

So, you are looking at your list of some number of cities or major markets, and now your question is—how do I know a good city to invest in from a bad city?

In my mind, there are only two major questions I ask to determine whether I want to invest in a particular city:

  • Do the numbers work?
  • How likely am I going to be able to sustain those numbers?

If you don’t know what numbers I’m talking about, I’m talking about your returns. Returns (aka profits) can be generated in two major ways: cash flow and appreciation. This is at least true for rental properties.

If you are flipping out of state, some of this will not apply to you, and there are some slightly different considerations that you’ll need to incorporate into your analyses. You’re on your own, though, for those—I’ve never flipped, so I definitely shouldn’t be the one to tell you how to rock that method out.

Most likely, if you are wanting to invest out of state, you’re probably doing so because you want cash flow. Most of the investors who invest out of state do so because the numbers locally don’t pencil out. This is often the case in a lot of the bigger markets—Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, etc.

businesswoman doing paperwork at office desk, working through finances, using calculator and making notes in her notebook with pen

And while those markets don’t usually pencil out for cash flow, they are the bigger players when it comes to appreciation. So, in thinking of anyone who lives there and wants to buy out of state, it’s probably because they want cash flow. See my logic?

Either way, let’s assume you are going after cash-flowing rental properties out of state because you can’t find cash flow locally. If that’s the case, the numbers need to work in the market you choose to invest in. Otherwise, what’s the point?

So, let’s think about the numbers. What kind of numbers do you need to understand when it comes to cash flow?

If you are in it for cash flow, you want to be able to determine the projected cash flow on a property. To help you do that, use the easy formulas in this article: “Rental Property Numbers so Easy You Can Calculate Them on a Napkin.”

In addition to the equations in that article, a term you will want to be familiar with is “price-to-rent ratio.” This term compares the price of a property to how much rent it can collect. The reason these two things matter is because they will determine whether you can cash flow on the property or not.

As you saw in those cash flow equations, you need the rental income you collect on a property to surpass the expenses of buying and owning that property in order to have positive cash flow. If the expenses of buying and owning that property are higher than the rent you can collect from the property, you’re in a negative cash flow situation and losing money (on the cash flow front at least).

Knowing this term now, if someone asks you if you’re interested in a particular market for investing, your first question might be—how are the price-to-rent ratios there? What you’re ultimately asking here is—is there an option for cash flow in that particular city?

For instance, I can tell you that hands-down the price-to-rent ratios in Los Angeles are not supportive of cash flow. I can tell you that the price-to-rent ratios in Indianapolis are generally favorable for cash flow. In no way does that mean every property or every location within Indianapolis will cash flow, but it does mean there is an option for it—whereas in Los Angeles, there’s really no option for cash flow.

Now, let’s say a particular market has generally favorable price-to-rent ratios for cash flow.

Oh wait, I just heard you ask—how do I know if a market has favorable price-to-rent ratios? Great question.

The fastest way to find that out is to network with other investors. You can either ask other people where they are investing, which I already mentioned, or let’s say you have a family member in a particular city and you’re curious about whether or not you can cash flow there. Post in a BiggerPockets Forum and ask people if they have any knowledge of cash flow potential in said market.

Look for people investing there, and find out the best places for cash flow there. If all of that fails, start looking up properties and running those equations I taught you, and see if you’re coming out ahead on cash flow.

Let’s say a particular market has generally favorable price-to-rent ratios for cash flow. This is where that second question I asked comes in—how likely am I going to be able to sustain those numbers?

The answer to this question is lengthy, so I’ll just give you one basic thought to consider for now. Is the market you are looking at a growth market or a declining market? The reason this matters is because you can project cash flow numbers until the cows come home, but if certain factors come into play with your property, you may never see a single bit of that projected cash flow materialize.

Bad tenants, for example, can cause you to not see a penny of your projected flow because they can cost so much in expenses—IF they are even paying the rent.

For details on growth versus declining markets, check out “How to Know If Any Given Real Estate Market is Wise to Invest in (With Real Life Examples!).”

To help you understand the potential consequences of investing in a declining market, check out “5 Risks of Buying Rental Properties in Declining Markets.”

Step #3: Decide on a Market

Your list of potential markets should be even shorter now than it was when you narrowed it down from 19,354 cities to either cities you know people in or have ties to or cities other investors recommend. It should only include markets/cities where the numbers not only work but also where the numbers have good potential of sustaining themselves. (That last part is purely my own personal investment strategy preference—it’s certainly not a requirement.)

You may have one market on your list at this point, or you may have a handful. Which one you ultimately decide on may just come down to personal preference at this point—or it may depend on your situation and your resources.

At this point, here are a few more things you can look at.

Budget/Capital

You just might not have enough capital to invest in all of the good options out there. For instance, I know of some amazing deals in Baltimore and Philadelphia, but those particular deals require a minimum of $90,000 up front.

You may not have $90,000. You might only have $20,000. Well, good news—$20,000 can get you a great cash-flowing property in other cities!

So, for your budget, you may stay focused on one area over another. I used to work with triplexes in both Chicago and Philadelphia. At that time, you could get a good cash-flowing triplex in Philadelphia for $130,000. The triplexes in Chicago at the time were bigger and nicer, and they were around $270,000.

The cash flow on the Chicago properties was higher, of course, but not everyone’s budget would support buying one of those triplexes. But many of those people could get one of the Philadelphia properties. So, more than anything, your available capital may further limit you on where you can invest. This isn’t always the case, but it is a consideration.

Property Type

This is simply a personal preference factor. For example, some markets like Philadelphia and Baltimore tend to have properties with more of an urban feel. They are often more of the row house-type of structure. Not everyone likes the urban feel, and not everyone likes adjoined buildings.

The other option would be properties with a suburban feel that are free-standing. You can find lots of these in the Midwest. Additionally, some markets offer a lot of multifamily (MFR) options, and some markets only have single-family (SFR) options that will cash flow. So, if you prefer urban or suburban over another, and if you prefer SFR or MFR over another, those personal preferences will steer you toward particular cities and away from others.

Related: Forget the Demographics and Focus on Researching THIS Before Investing Out-of-Area

Look! You’re continuing to narrow down your list! Here’s how to further narrow it.

Returns vs. Risk

At the end of the day, some cities and property types will be more risky than others. Even if you are looking within stable growth markets and none of the areas you are looking in are majorly dangerous, some may have significantly better schools than others, etc.

Maybe one market is slightly more in a “gentrifying” stage than another more matured market. It’s always fine to take on a little more risk, but make sure the proposed returns are high enough to justify it. Or if you are more risk-adverse, you may choose to accept slightly lower returns in exchange for staying with a less risky market and property. That’s totally fine as well.

So, you want to have a feel for the returns versus the risk available to you in each potential market and weigh that against where you are on your own personal scale of desire. What’s more important to you: returns or playing it safer? That should help you further whittle down your list.

Ease of Commute

This one may be less significant than others, but it could play a role. If you have narrowed your list down to say, two markets, and those two markets are weighted pretty evenly against each other—which one is easier to get to? If a nonstop, not-too-lengthy flight is available to one and to get to the other would require a couple stops and a longer travel time (which would also probably be more expensive), go with the one you can get to easier!

Ultimately, the most important thing about whichever market you decide on is whether or not you will lose sleep over investing there. Maybe it’s because you can’t stomach your investment property being so far out of reach, maybe it’s because the market is a little riskier, maybe you hate single family homes and really wanted a multifamily. Whatever the situation, go with what will put a smile on your face (and hopefully some cash flow in your pocket).

marketing-strategy

Summary

A quick summary on the steps you can take to help you decide on a market:

Step 1: Narrow down your market options.

  • Where do you know people?
  • Where are other people investing?

Step 2: Analyze those market options to further narrow down your list.

  • Is it a good market to invest in?
  • Do the numbers work?
  • Will you be able to sustain the numbers?

Step 3: Choose what you like!

  • Decide on your personal preferences and see which markets fit those.

Then, once you have your market decided on, go shopping! Even if you only narrowed your list down to a couple of cities, that’s fine. Two cities is easier to shop in than 19,354.

And here’s one last tidbit for you. At the very end of it, no matter how or why you chose the market(s) you did, you need to confirm one last thing. Are you ready?

The last thing that matters is that you can form a good team in the market you choose.

If you can’t find good team members to help you with your property, go to another market. If you don’t have a solid team as an out-of-state investor, you’ll be up that famous creek without a paddle.

If you’ve narrowed your list down to a couple of cities you’d be willing to invest in, choose the one that offers the best team. If you’ve narrowed your list down to one city you want to invest in but then you can’t form a solid team of good people there, start over and choose a new market. You must have the team!

There you have it! Now go market shopping.

 

 

Source: BiggerPockets.com – By Ali Boone November 5, 2019

 

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Cash In While You Can! NYC Neighborhoods Where Prices Are Rising—or Falling—Fastest

New York City’s reputation as one of Earth’s most expensive—and daunting—real estate markets is well-earned, thank you very much: $1.8 million studio apartments? Check. Full-cash offers everywhere you look? Check. Freakishly competitive open houses? You bet. Welcome to the big time—with the prices and killer views to match. It’s little wonder that housing is top of mind for just about all of the nearly 8.4 million folks who call the Center of the Universe home.

Everyone, it seems, is angling to hit the NYC trifecta: a decent space in a good neighborhood at an affordable price. That’s why it’s so important to get a handle of what’s going to be the next big neighborhood, before it explodes in popularity and prices get out of reach.

To find out which neighborhoods in this bellwether, nationally scrutinized market are seeing the biggest price climbs—and the biggest falls—we teamed up with real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller, co-founder of Miller Samuel. He compared the median home sale prices in all of New York City’s neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs in 2017 and 2018. We included only the neighborhoods with at least 25 sales in both years.

What we found is a city going through churn, much of it due to the flurry of luxury development in some areas that traditionally have had older—and more affordable—homes. Prices go up, an area gets saturated, the luxury stock sells out, then prices go back down. Rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, the megadevelopment causes people to search out nearby areas that might be cheaper.

It’s the NYC circle of life, and it’s accelerating.

“Developers have left no stone unturned and developed wherever they could,” says Miller. “They went everywhere there was an opportunity. And that caused a lot of price fluctuations, especially in more modestly priced neighborhoods that saw a lot of new, high-end development introduced.”

But New York City hasn’t been immune to national trends. The overall market is slowing throughout all of its five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and “can’t-get-no-respect” Staten Island. The city has been particularly affected by the national tax changes that make it more expensive to own a home in pricier parts of the country, says Miller.

More fun still: This month, New York state’s new mansion tax went into effect, upping the amount of taxes on properties $2 million and up. Sales had been down earlier in the year, but the prospect of giving more to Uncle Sam resulted in a rush of higher-priced home sales. Going forward, the number of sales is expected to fall back down again. Phew … Dramamine, please.

High price tags are pushing many New Yorkers farther out into cheaper communities such as the Bronx, which doesn’t have the hipster cred or water views of Brooklyn. But dollars can stretch way further there.

“A large shift or decline [in a New York neighborhood] is generally not a reflection of weakness,” says Miller. “It’s more of a reflection of … now it’s back to business.”

So which neighborhoods are seeing the largest real estate price spikes? And which expensive communities are getting (a bit) more affordable?

The New York City neighborhoods where home prices are rising the most
The New York City neighborhoods where home prices are rising the mostTony Frenzel

1. Fieldston, Bronx

Annual median price increase: 122.7%
Median 2018 home price: $612,500

Tudor home on Livingston Ave. in the Bronx
Tudor home on Livingston Ave. in the Bronxrealtorcom

When folks think of the Bronx, the mix of grand TudorsGeorgian Revival estates, and midcentury modern homes and lovely winding streets in suburban Fieldston are rarely what come to mind. Homeowners in this privately owned enclave of tony Riverdale pay property taxes and fees to their property owners association, which maintains the streets and sewers and pays for its own security patrol.

Prices are surging because word has gotten out: Buyers are increasingly drawn to its seductive combo of urban and suburban living. The historically designated community is near top private schools, which include the Horace Mann School and Riverdale Country School. It’s also only steps away from the Hudson River and the 28-acre green oasis of Wave Hill Public Gardens in the northwest swath of the Bronx.

“In Fieldston, you are part of the city but you have the real suburban feeling,” says Chintan Trivedi, a licensed real estate broker with Re/Max In the City. “Here you’re getting a real home, a backyard and a private community.

“For a good house with a larger backyard, a complete renovation, and maybe a pool, you can expect to pay $1.5 million to $2.5 million,” he says. But there are six-bedroom homes listed in the $1 million range. Just tryto get that in Manhattan. (Spoiler: You can’t!)

2. Kingsbridge/University Heights, Bronx

Annual median price increase: 41.2%
Median 2018 home price: $275,000

Single-family homes in Kingsbridge
Single-family homes in Kingsbridgerealtor.com

Just south of Fieldston are the middle-class communities of Kingsbridge and University Heights, where buyers can score deals for a fraction of the price. But the lack of homes for sale and little turnover are causing prices to heat up. And investors are buying up whatever lots and houses they can for new development or rehabbing.

“The Bronx is the new Queens in the sense that there’s been an expansion of demand moving out from Manhattan as consumers search for affordability,” says Miller.

The neighborhood’s become popular with 20- and 30-somethings looking for a reasonably priced community with an urban vibe. Hilly Kingsbridge is filled with century-old, single-family houses and midrise co-op and apartment buildings as well as plenty of shopping, parks, and public transit.

These buyers “are[part of] the new generation that’s learning that real estate should be part of their planning,” says Trivedi. “They want to feel like they’re in Manhattan—a place where they can still go right downstairs and get a smoothie.”

3. East Village, Manhattan

Annual median price increase: 38.7%
Median 2018 home price: $1,535,000

East Village of New York City
East Village of New York CityJJFarquitectos/iStock

Over the past couple of decades, lower Manhattan’s East Village has shed its image as a sketchy, open-air drug market to become a sought-after place known for lively bars, great restaurants, and a defiantly boho vibe—as well as a slew of new, high-priced developments, causing prices to jump. They’re going up everywhere you look.

The community is still mostly made up of low-rise, brick condo and apartment buildings with funky cafes and boutiques on the ground floor. There are also some townhouses, including this six-bedroom, nine-bathroom brick beauty for $28 million.

But as the newly constructed luxury buildings reshuffle the neighborhood, locales are hoping the essential vibe of the area doesn’t change.

“From Avenue A to Avenue D, you can walk past a gallery, a Puerto Rican garden, a pop-up party. There’s life and it’s vibrant here,” says Sydney Blumstein, a real estate agent with the Corcoran Group.

4. Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Annual median price increase: 36.1%
Median 2018 home price: $1,226,750

Grand Army Plaza, on the southwestern border of Prospect Heights
Grand Army Plaza, on the southwestern border of Prospect Heightsslobo/iStock

Like the East Village, Prospect Heights has been rapidly gentrifying. Professionals, families, and a few stray hipsters are drawn to its charming rows of stunningly restored early 19th-century, multistory brownstones on tree-lined streets. The neighborhood is near several main subway lines and in close proximity to the 526-acre Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It also borders Barclays Center, home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets (and soon the team’s new dynamic duo, superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving).

In recent years, Prospect Heights has become popular with folks priced out of neighboring Park Slope, a community long popular with upper-middle-class families. They gravitate to the brownstones as well as the new high-rises and the used bookstore, artisanal bakeries, and constant stream of new restaurants.

Not surprisingly, the Prospect Heights neighborhood has attracted a slew of developers putting up luxury condo and apartment buildings wherever they can. Those high-end housing developments are skewing the neighborhood’s median prices up to new heights.

For example, this two-bed, 2.5-bath condo with floor-to-ceiling windows and marble countertops is on the market for $1,750,000.

5. Kensington, Brooklyn

Annual median price increase: 34.6%
Median 2018 home price: $875,000

A row of apartment buildings in Kensington, Brooklyn.
A row of apartment buildings in Kensington, Brooklyn.cmart7327/iStock

As Prospect Heights has become more desirable (aka expensive), more Brooklynites have been turning to lower-priced Kensington. It’s a quieter community, far from aggressively groovy Brooklyn nabes such as Williamsburg. It’s known for its single-family homes, many of which come with cheerful porches and outdoor spaces out back. There are also plenty of condos, co-ops, and apartments in older brick complexes.

This isn’t the kind of place where you’ll find buzzed-about restaurants—you’re more likely to stumble upon a dollar store than a bougie boutique. It’s a more down-to-earth community, populated by old-school Brooklynites, hipsters, as well as Pakistani, Orthodox and Hasidic Jew, Mexican, Chinese, and Latin American immigrant groups.

The rest of the top 10 neighborhoods where prices are rising the most include Tompkinsville, Staten Island, where the median home price rose 33.6%, to $472,500. It was followed by Crotona Park, Bronx, at 31.3%, to $490,000; Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, at 29.7%, to $1,265,000; the Lower East Side, Manhattan, at 29.5%, to $1,075,000; and Melrose/Concourse, Bronx, at 26%, to $380,000.


The New York City neighborhoods where home prices are falling the most
The New York City neighborhoods where home prices are falling the mostTony Frenzel

1. Downtown-Fulton Mall, Brooklyn

Annual median price increase: -40.7%
Median 2018 home price: $915,500

Condo tower being constructed in Downtown Brooklyn
Condo tower being constructed in Downtown BrooklynEpics/Getty Images

Once grim downtown Brooklyn has been booming in recent years. It’s become home to a slew of glassy, luxury high-rises. So why are prices in such a vibrant area plummeting?

Well, now there’s a glut of new construction, giving buyers more negotiating power as buildings compete against one another to lure residents. Plus, builders are putting up towers with some smaller, less expensive units. But in NYC, less expensive is relative. Buyers might save themselves a couple hundred thousand on a million-plus-dollar condo.

But many of the condos here, some designed by famous architects, come with just about every amenity imaginable, including sun decks, hot tubs, dog runs, saltwater pools, and even music studios. This two-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom abode in a 57-floor building is going for $2,040,000.

Some believe developers overshot their market.

“Developers there created a mountain of homogenous product,” says agent Blumstein with the Corcoran Group. Buildings in the area “were built on the thought that people are demanding amenities. But the old-school, prewar neighborhood vibe is what’s in.”

2. Civic Center, Manhattan

Annual median price increase: -39.3%
Median 2018 home price: $3,200,000

Transit options in Civic Center, Manhattan
Transit options in Civic Center, Manhattancnicbc/iStock

Even many lifelong New Yorkers have never heard of the Civic Center neighborhood in lower Manhattan. The tiny community encompasses City Hall and courthouses as well as some high-rise co-op, condo, and apartment buildings. It’s just west of ultradesirable Tribeca, where prices are sky-high, and just below Chinatown, guaranteeing plenty of good Asian eats.

Prices are down because the wave of development has pretty much played itself out, says Miller. Many of the older brick and limestone, midrise office buildings had been gut-rehabbed and turned into pricey condos. That led to a spike in prices. Now that those units have been bought, the real estate for sale is a mix of lower- and higher-end properties.

It’s “run its course,” says Miller of the wave of development in Civic Center.

3. Javits Center, Manhattan

Annual median price increase: -30.2%
Median 2018 home price: $450,000

Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan
Javits Center on the west side of ManhattanMBPROJEKT_Maciej_Bledowski/iStock

Like Civic Center, Javits Center as a neighborhood isn’t very well-known—but that’s likely to change. Named for the sprawling convention center on the west side of Manhattan where the community is located, it’s wedged between trendy Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea and abuts Hudson Yards.

Even nonlocals have probably heard of Hudson Yards, Manhattan’s newest neighborhood, built on a formerly desolate stretch of disused train tracks. It’s a glam (and critics say overly generic) development of ultrahigh-priced condo and rental towers overlooking the Hudson River, complete with its own weird tourist attraction, the beehive-like Vessel. The Javits Center’s proximity to this buzzy development will likely have an impact on sales with prices shooting up.

But in the meantime, prices fell because there simply isn’t much of the first wave of luxury real estate left on the market. Now what’s selling is less expensive, older condos.

That’s likely to change as sales heat up in Hudson Yards.

“Sales [in Hudson Yards] will help to increase values in the surrounding area,” says New York real estate agent Matt Crouteau. The place “was designed so people don’t have to leave.” Ever.

4. Financial District, Manhattan

Annual median price increase: -30%
Median 2018 home price: $997,500

The canyons of FiDi, on Wall Street
The canyons of FiDi, on Wall StreetPgiam/iStock

Just south of the Civic Center is the Financial District, home to Wall Street and the World Trade Center on the tip of Manhattan. Like all of the other neighborhoods on this list, FiDi (as it’s called) experienced a spike in development, then a market saturation.

“It’s not that prices are collapsing,” says Miller. “The early wave of high-end new development drove prices higher. … After that activity cooled, the prices for the neighborhood are less than what they were.”

But there are still plenty of new units to choose from, including this three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo going for $5,300,000. The unit features granite countertops, a waterfall island, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. On the lower side of the spectrum, buyers can snag this studio with plenty of closet space for $480,000.

The neighborhood is home to a few cobblestone streets, giving it an old-world charm, as well as the South Street Seaport, a tourist fave.

5. Upper East Side, Manhattan

Annual median price increase: -29.6%
Median 2018 home price: $1,550,000

Park Avenue, Upper East Side
Park Avenue, Upper East SideOlegAlbinsky/iStock

Thank the long-awaited Second Avenue Subway line for prices falling in the upper portion of the Upper East Side, from about 96th to 110th streets. Developers flooded the neighborhood putting up buildings near the new train extension, which opened in 2017 after being discussed, planned, and replanned for nearly a century. They believed—rightly so—that this least fashionable part of the Upper East Side would become far more desirable thanks to its close proximity to the new train line.

“That’s essentially East Harlem, which has benefited from a significant amount of new development,” says Miller. Now development is mostly over and there’s fewer sales.

“You’re not seeing the same amount of high-end [sales], because there’s not as much new housing being introduced,” he explains.

The Upper East Side/East Harlem now has a mix of sleek towers, brownstones, low-rise brick buildings and townhomes, and apartment and public housing developments. This new one-bedroom, one-bath condo clocking in at just 609 square feet, which is near the new subway line, is on the market for $786,161.

The rest of the top 10 neighborhoods where prices fell the most include the Flatiron, Manhattan, where the median home price fell 28.5%, to $1,870,000; Douglaston, Queens, at -28.4%, to $466,250; South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at -20.4%, to $923,000; Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, at -19.9%, to $472,500; and Woodlawn, Bronx, at -18.8%, to $325,000.

Chelsia Rose Marcius is a reporter, author, and journalism professor based in New York City. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, and New York Daily News. She has also appeared on MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, Inside Edition, BBC Radio, and WNYC.
The realtor.com® editorial team highlights a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration; clicking a link to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission.
Source: Realtor.com –  | Jul 22, 2019
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How To Buy Foreclosures at Auction

 

Sales of distressed homes usually come in several forms. First, there are short sales or pre-foreclosures, deals where an owner who can no longer afford the property tries to work out a purchase with a buyer, subject to the approval of the lender. If that doesn’t work, the lender may start foreclosure proceedings, and the home may be put up for sale at a public auction. If the highest bid at the auction is insufficient, the lender then gets title to the property and holds it as a bank-owned (or REO) property.

The purpose of a foreclosure auction is to get the highest possible price for the property, in order to mitigate the losses a lender suffers when a borrower defaults on a loan. If the sale amount covers the outstanding mortgage debt and various foreclosure costs, then any surplus goes to the borrower. Bidders, on the other hand, are looking for investment bargains, so many homes sold at foreclosure auctions ultimately sell at something of a discount compared to traditional properties.

Preparing for a Foreclosure Auction

Foreclosure auctions differ substantially from a typical residential sale. There are no terms to discuss, no haggling over paint or appliances. The property is sold as is, where it is, and with any existing faults and limitations. The property may be sold on an absolute basis (the highest bid wins, even if it’s for a tiny amount) or with a reserve or minimum bid (the property has to sell for at least a given price, otherwise the lender gets title).

The condition of the property may range from wonderful to awful, and it may or may not be occupied. Some properties are “zombie foreclosures,” a situation where the borrower has abandoned the property before the foreclosure has been completed. In all cases, bidders should review disclosures with care and seek as much information as possible about the property.

It’s important to visit the property before the auction, if you can, especially if you live locally. Does it seem occupied or not? How does the exterior condition appear? Be aware that trespassing and Peeping Tom rules may limit access unless you’re invited onto the property. Some bidders drive by the property just before the auction to ensure that its condition hasn’t changed since the disclosure papers were written. In some cases, you may be able to see a virtual tour or even attend an open house.

Lastly, real estate values are related to local economies. How much would a given property be worth if it was in pristine condition? What rental could you expect? Is there a lot of local sale and rental demand—or a little? Speak with local real estate brokers to better gauge the market.

Your Foreclosure Auction Questions, Answered

As with any real estate purchase, there are a variety of expenses associated with a foreclosure auction. Charges, fees and costs vary widely, so it’s important to understand these expenses before you bid. Here are some questions people often ask about financing and buying a foreclosure at auction:

Before the Auction

Since it’s the lenders that are selling houses, why don’t they just finance the foreclosure sale? That usually doesn’t happen. The division of the lending institution that sells foreclosure properties and the division that does real estate financing are two separate organizations.

Are foreclosures riskier than existing home purchases? It depends on which foreclosure and which existing home. All real estate investing—like all stock market investing—implies some level of risk. But there are some inherent risks involved in buying a foreclosure home—like the inability to do a thorough internal inspection. People who buy these properties hope that the risk will be offset by the kind of discount prices often available on these homes.

Will I have to register to bid? You bet. As with a rental car reservation, you’ll typically have to provide a credit card number and expect the auction company to take a given amount to hold. Why? They want the money in case someone bids and wins, but doesn’t close the deal. How much will be taken out? It depends, so ask the auction company for details.

Will I have to qualify? Yes. The auction company wants to be sure that you have the funds to close the transaction. Most foreclosure auctions are all-cash transactions. The term “all-cash” generally means the ability to put down a deposit immediately after a successful bid and close within a short timeframe.

Do I always need the full amount in cash to buy a foreclosure? This depends to a great degree on the laws in your state. Most foreclosure auctions require payment in cash (or a cashier’s check) within a relatively short time after the auction. Technically, it doesn’t matter if the funds come from you or a lender. What does matter is that successful bidders have the financial ability to close the deal on time and in full. Ask auctioneers about financing and pre-approval requirements.

What’s the best way to learn about auctions before actually buying? Register for auctions and attend the bidding. Learn the mechanics of the auctioning process in your community. Get to know local auctioneers, brokers, attorneys, repair specialists and appraisers who specialize in foreclosures.

During the Auction

Is it better to go to absolute auctions or sales that require minimum bids? People debate this question, but it’s largely a matter of personal preference. With an absolute auction, one bidder will win, while with a reserve sale, it’s possible that no bid will be sufficient. However, if you attend a reserve sale and the lender takes title, then speak with the lender after the auction about an REO purchase. The overwhelming majority of foreclosure sales are conducted using a reserve, since lenders are trying to capture at least a minimum amount of money to offset their losses.

Can I bid $1 more than the next bidder and win the property? Probably not. There are typically minimum bid increments in place.

If I win, do I get title then and there? Not usually. The seller—usually a lender—must approve the bid. Typically, they have 15 days to do so. Once an answer comes through, there’s an additional period required to arrange closing, which may take several weeks.

After the Auction

After closing, do I own the property? In some jurisdictions, there may be an equity of redemption right that allows the borrower who defaulted to regain title to their property under certain conditions. Speak with a local attorney for details before bidding.

Will there be any liens that will become my responsibility after the sale? Most liens are sublimated (or wiped out) by a foreclosure sale. But there are exceptions. Real estate tends to attract liens, so it makes sense to get title insurance for the property with the insurer you prefer.

How much should I set aside for repairs? Each property is unique, so repair requirements can vary widely. Estimating repairs can be difficult because if the property is occupied, the residents may not want visitors. If it’s unoccupied, the utilities may be turned off. The best approach is to get as much information as possible before in the auction. In some cases, you may be able to find utility records that can help you better understand property issues.

What if I have owners or squatters on the property? If the residents won’t move, you may need to contact an attorney who can obtain an eviction notice and arrange for a sheriff to clear the property.

For more details and specifics, you and your broker should contact the auctioneer. Happy bidding!

Source: Auction.com // November 15, 2018 – By Peter Miller

 

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