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Dealing With Negative Cash Flow

By Bruce Kellogg

 

The Problem For Investors

As property prices rise in many markets across the country, it is becoming increasingly difficult for investors to acquire properties with a positive cash flow. Nowadays, it is all the more important to know how to deal with negative cash flow (“NCF”). Here are a number of solutions.

Intelligent Property Selection

Although it should be obvious, the first step to avoiding NCF is to resolve to acquire only properties that don’t have it, or can be structured not to have it. Especially in strong markets, some investors adopt the position that NCF doesn’t matter because the market will bail them out through appreciation or rising rents. This doesn’t always happen! Buy intelligently in the first place!

Increase the Units

It’s pretty well known in real estate investing that the more units acquired the greater the cash flow for any given price range. For example, in Silicon Valley a 7-plex for $1.4 mil. will probably cash flow better than a $1.2 mil. 4-plex. Generally-speaking, for more cash flow, buy as many units as possible.

Buy Better Quality

It is also well known that “low-income” properties suffer from greater turnover, more vacancies, and higher maintenance expenses. They are also more management-intensive. Buy better quality whenever possible. Leave the “war zone” properties to the commando’s!

Transaction Structuring

After a qualifying property is identified, structure the transaction for success. This involves the right price, the right down payment, the right entity (e.g., partnership), the right loan terms, and so on. Over the long term, proper design of the transaction is probably the most important step.

Lower the Price

Although intuitive, the first step toward reducing NCF is to negotiate a lower price. Go back and forth several times if necessary. It will benefit throughout the entire ownership period.

Set Up A Cash Reserve

When structuring the purchase, if there will be an unavoidable NCF, set up a cash reserve for the period that cash flow is projected to be negative. It could be a cash account, or a tax refund, or a note payoff, pending inheritance, whatever. But get it done!

Offsets

Another approach is to designate a specific note or specific property in the portfolio that has a sufficient positive cash flow to serve as an “offset” to the NCF. But be sure to tie the two together. Don’t just say, “The portfolio can cover it.” Often, that kind of “loose thinking” can get an investor overextended as more properties are acquired.

Recruit Partners

Usually, an effective way to handle NCF is through the use of a partner. There are several kinds of these. An investor/partner could be brought in with a Limited Partnership (LP), or a Tenancy-in-Common (TIC). Or, in some instances, it is possible to partner with the seller using a Lease-Option or a Shared-Appreciation Mortgage (SAM). It is also possible to partner with a tenant using a Lease-Option (“Rent-to-Own”) or Equity-Sharing. These all work well under the right circumstances.

Creative “Carryback” Financing.

If there is seller financing in the transaction, there are several note terms that will reduce NCF. One is to delay the first payment as long as the seller will agree, perhaps a year. Another is to agree to interest-only or principal-only payments. How about accruing all payments until maturity? (That’s a risky one!) And on commercial property transactions, the Graduated-Payment Mortgage (GPM) is still possible under Dodd-Frank.

Improve Operations

Many times when an investor purchases a property, it is with the objective of enhancing its performance. This typically involves raising rents, reducing expenses, increasing occupancy, and improving management. All of these actions will reduce NCF.

AIRBNB

A new investment type, AIRBNB, has come on the scene, and generally offers impressively strong cash flows. This is outside the scope of this article, but the reader is advised to investigate it to see if it is for them. Start with an internet search.

Conclusion

Even in highly-appreciated markets, it is still possible to invest and deal with NCF. You just have to learn how, or work with an expert who knows. Because market conditions change, it is prudent to factor a possible 10-15% rent decrease or vacancy factor increase into the calculations. You don’t want to get caught short at an inopportune time. Having an unused credit line is also a good idea.

Good luck!


 

Bruce Kellogg

Bruce Kellogg has been a Realtor® and investor for 36 years. He has transacted about 800 properties in 12 California counties. These include 1-4 units, 5+ apartments, offices, mixed-use buildings, land, lots, mobile homes, cabins, and churches.

Mr. Kellogg is a contributor and copy editor for two national real estate wealth-building magazines: Realty411, and REI Wealth Mag.

He is available for listing, selling, consulting, mentoring, and partnering. Reach him at brucekellogg10@gmail.com, or (408) 489-0131.

Skrrt, Skrrt… Cars and Real Estate…

Exclusive Article by Fuquan Bilal, NNG Capital Fund


Before I discovered real estate I had a passion for cars. I even owned a body shop as one of my first businesses. I now keep my businesses and investments diversified within the real estate industry. Yet, I still love cars, and there are a lot of great lessons that correlate between the two.

When I was younger (and often lived above my means) I had Range Rovers and new BMWs. I would lease and trade in every year to get the latest model. I liked to live flashy, like many new real estate investors do.

I’ve learned and matured a lot since then.

I now drive this 1982 seven series BMW. I’ve had it since 2010. I restored it, and still love working on it.

It’s one of those great pet projects that is good for distraction and decompression from the business. It recharges me.

 



When I visit places like Miami, I’m still excited by new supercars and exotics. I can appreciate the appeal. But, I’m honestly much happier now with my classic.

It’s durable. It’s a vehicle that lasts. I purchased it as a long term investment. I’ll still have to keep up with maintenance and will make modifications. It’s worth it though. It’s rewarding to make a better product.

Classic cars like these go up in value over time, instead of down. This is another reason it really made sense to me.

I invest in real estate for the same reasons. It’s durable, can go up in value, lasts long term, and can be fun and rewarding to see the transformation when remodeling rental properties.

The cash flow from my apartment investments allowed me to recently purchase a car for my mom too, as she always wanted to drive mine!

I’m so grateful that my smart investments allowed me to go pay cash for a car for her. It was not a brand new car, but it was a strategic investment.

It won’t be long before my kids are ready to drive too. When it’s time, I’ll work with them to buy a mortgage note. Then they can use the income from that investment to buy a car or make payments on one if they really want to go that way.

What are you driving and why?


Investment Opportunities:

Find out more about investing in secured debt and real estate, go to NNG Capital Fund

mar4xx

Memphis Invest and Three Other Clothier Companies Honored On INC.’s 5000 List

By Tim Houghten

Steady, Sizzling, Superior Real Estate Strategy

What’s the secret to winning in the real estate race? The tale of the tortoise and the hare used to be a staple in everyone’s education. That appears to be a part of the lesson plan that’s been torn from the pages for many today. Do you remember who won the race? What we all need to remember is the horde of hares that rushed themselves right out of the running just a few years ago. So how can real estate investors achieve steady cash flow, sizzling returns, and superior long term results, without risk of burning out?

WINNING REQUIRES WISDOM

Soccer games don’t have all the breaks of American football. In order to win it not only takes great team work, but superior stamina. It also requires that players know when to sprint into action and push, and when to act tactically. True wisdom is the meeting point of knowledge and knowing the right time to act. In real estate it takes stamina to maintain gains for the long run. It requires intelligent execution of action, knowing when to hold, and what to focus on.

Yet, in the current environment where anything but rushing in like a bull seems strange, who on earth would have the courage to moderate their growth and pace on purpose?

An exclusive interview with Partner and VP of Sales & Marketing at Memphis Invest, Chris Clothier reveals a firm that has been willing to do just that. The net effect of the approach certainly seems to be wowing a sufficient number of savvy investors. And given the number one turnkey real estate company’s status as one of the best known, and most respected brands, a blossoming WOW Club, and being crowned with Inc. 500 recognition, it seems to be working.

The 3 S’s of Memphis, Tennessee’s Most Successful Turnkey Real Estate Company

1. SOCCER

Chris Clothier says “The high-level training and licensing I received as a professional soccer coach have paid off tremendously in business by helping me to stay focused on long-term development both of myself, our clients and our team.”

2. SHARING

While others are increasingly concerned about sharing their secrets and playbooks, Chris has become very active on the online real estate forum BiggerPockets. Asked about this participation in the new sharing economy he says: “When I was 18 years old I was lucky enough to attend a Zig Ziglar event. He said something on stage that really had a profound effect on many of us attending that night. He stated that you could have anything you wanted in life, if you help enough other people get what they want in life.” That’s a philosophy the Clothiers continue to practice on a daily basis.

3. SUSTAINABILITY

On ensuring sustainable growth when others find it impossible to throttle their ambition Chris said, “Going into 2016, as leaders of our company, we began planning for moderating our growth rate, and spending the next 15 months improving upon our processes, hiring additional team members, and implementing a new, interactive training program to create even greater congruency. It is easy to grow too quickly and in a haphazard way. We feel that this is a perfect time to re-calibrate everything we do, and how we deliver our services to our clients and tenants as we prepare to begin growing more rapidly again in 2017.”

THE SCOREBOARD

What are the results of this approach to building a real estate machine? As of today, Memphis Invest’s founder says, “We now have over 1,125 clients, offices in Memphis, Dallas and Houston, with a team that is 63 members strong, and are on-pace to close 600+ transactions for our clients this year alone.” There’s nothing sluggish about those digits.

UP YOUR GAME…

Whether just starting out in real estate, or seeking to expand an already formidable real estate empire there is no question that it’s worth checking out what’s going on in Memphis. Investors can scoop their Free Passive Income Jumpstart Package, and detailed analysis of three solid rental property markets, Houston, Memphis, and Dallas, at MemphisInvest.com.

riskmanagement

Attracting Private Money DISCLOSING RISK

An excerpt from “The Insider’s Guide to Attracting Private Money: Five Secrets to Fast, Unlimited Capital So You Can Save Money, Buy More Real Estate, & Build Wealth,” by Mark Hanf, President of Pacific Private Money.

When you seek to attract capital from private investors, you need to disclose the risk involved in your proposed project. The reasons you need to do so are several, but one of them is that you are asking people to lend you a portion of their life savings, and they are entitled to know what happens to that money in the event that you exit the picture.

The fifth question we answer in The Five Steps to Money Method™, “What happens if you disappear?” is asking much more than just “What happens if you get hit by a bus?” Disclosing risk is a very important yet often overlooked or ignored piece of the private lending equation.

That is, risk disclosure is often overlooked or ignored by borrowers. Your prospective private lender, on the other hand, is absolutely thinking about the risks of investing with you whether you bring them up or not. And what that prospective lender wants to hear from you is, “What are the risks, and what are your plans if things go wrong?”

You can answer this question by showing your lender how you are structuring your company and what measures you are taking to protect that individual’s investment. For example, who on your team is positioned to take over in the event that something happens to you? If you can address this question and others like it, you will show your potential lender that you have thought this through, and that you take the protection of his or her capital investment very seriously.

The level of detail that you go into when disclosing risk is up to you (with sound advice from your real estate attorney). But the most basic risk disclosure essentially boils down to this message:

YOUR INVESTOR COULD LOSE SOME OR ALL OF HIS OR HER MONEY.

That is why disclosing risk is such an important factor when you create your investment opportunity presentation. Addressing and disclosing risks in your presentation will make you look professional and thorough, just as the other important components that we have discussed so far in this book have done.

Many real estate investors don’t want to include risk-factor disclosures in their presentations because they are afraid that they will scare away their prospective private lenders. They worry that if their potential lender understood the risks, then that person would decide not to invest with them.

However, just sitting back and hoping that everything goes perfectly is not a strong strategy for success. The truth is that many real estate entrepreneurs have ended up in lawsuits because they failed to provide even the most basic disclosure of potential risks.

You should strongly consider engaging a real estate attorney to advise you if you plan to raise capital from private individuals. I am not an attorney, and this does not constitute legal advice. That being said, I have attended numerous real estate conferences and seminars on the topic of private capital, and I have seen many examples of risk disclosures ranging from simple ones to explanations that were long and complicated. As an example, for my mortgage pool fund, I provide prospective investors with a memorandum that includes over twenty pages of risk-factor disclosures.

The fact is that there are basic risks that you should be disclosing to your investors. Those disclosures should be included in any write-up you create for the purpose of raising capital from private individuals.

You don’t disclose these risks to your potential investor to scare them away. You disclose them so that the investor can make an informed decision. Risk factors you might discuss could include things such as:

  • changes in the real estate market
  • cash flow problems
  • conflicts of interest
  • an unproven real estate investing company (if you’ve never done a deal before)

CHANGES IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

Your opportunity presentation is based on a set of assumptions. Those assumptions include things like market demand, potential market appreciation, and an estimate of the increase in value as a result of your planned improvements.

However, the real estate market is subject to cycles that can affect the marketability, pricing, and days-onmarket estimate of your project. Real estate can and does decline in value as a result of certain market forces. Rising interest rates, job growth, joblessness, new inventory, and other factors can contribute to a drop in demand and prices for real estate in a given market. Your prediction of how well your proposed project will do should be based on a careful review of local market conditions, but you cannot guarantee that the results you predict will be realized.

CASH FLOW PROBLEMS

You have proposed a budget and a spreadsheet to your lender that shows your sources and uses of funds. But what if you come across significant and unexpected cost increases? Do you have the ability to cover them? Typically, your money partner will not be under any obligation to fund additional costs beyond the agreed-upon budget unless you bring this up in your written agreement beforehand. If the project stops as a result of running out of cash, you could be faced with mounting costs and declining profits as time goes on.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Are you planning to dedicate 100 percent of your time to this one project with your prospective money partner? Or do you have other projects or work obligations that might be construed as “conflicts of interest”? You can make a statement in your presentation that gives your lender notice that, while you are dedicated to the success of this endeavor, you are nonetheless free to pursue other business ventures or obligations, as well.

UNPROVEN REAL ESTATE INVESTING COMPANY

If you are new to real estate investing or if you have formed a new company to pursue real estate investments, you may not have a track record of success. In that case, your business model is unproven.

Changes in the market, cash flow problems, conflicts of interest, and an unproven real estate company are just a few examples of the risks that you may want to disclose to your lender. There are many others that you can identify and include in your proposal to give your investor a complete picture of what the project will entail. A qualified real estate attorney is an integral component to your team and should be consulted to assist you in drafting an appropriate disclosure statement.

I have been telling you to always put the best interests of your private lender first, but the fact of the matter is that a primary purpose of your disclosure statement is to protect you in case your lender chooses to sue you. If you can demonstrate that you disclosed material risks to your private lender before that individual invested with you, should things not work out as planned, you will be much better protected in a court of law.

Excerpted from the book “The Insider’s Guide to Attracting Private Money” by Mark Hanf, available at www.AttractingPrivateMoneyBook.com . Mark is president of Pacific Private Money Inc., a California-based hard money lender who has raised over $200 million in private capital since 2009.

REALESTATE

Changing Real Estate Investing HANDS FREE, ANYWHERE

By Stephanie B. Mojica

The CEO of Southern California-based HomeUnion hopes to turn the business into the Amazon.com of real estate investing.

Don Ganguly, an entrepreneur and chief executive with an impressive record of building successful businesses in the technology and financial services markets, stepped into his role as the chief executive behind HomeUnion this October. Ganguly, who earned an MBA at the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, serves as a mentor for current Wharton students. HomeUnion was developed alongside three other partners, Ravi, Cpand Nani, all of whom have worked together in two previous successful startups. All four entrepreneurs are engineers with graduate degrees. What also unites them is their belief that the current experience of investing in real estate can be dramatically improved.

Ganguly’s business eyes are tuned in to providing the real estate investor a hands-free experience where HomeUnion eases all the pain points of investing in real estate.

Homeunion will provide flexible investment options. Investors can buy the whole asset or a fractional interest via crowdfunding. “Crowdfunding allows accredited investors to invest in ready-made diversified portfolios,” ganguly explained.

HomeUnion will allow people to invest according to their preferences in a secure and trusted manner.. Investors will finally be able to buy the best investment property remotely regardless of location. Investors can use cash, qualify for an investment loan or use funds from their IRAs.

Ganguly and others running the company only work with properties that they ‘certify’, located in known “cash flow zones” nationwide. Cash flow zones have excellent rental income potential when compared to the price of a single-family home mortgage, a stable job market, and an excellent rental culture, according to Ganguly.

Some of the properties, which investors can add to their general investment or retirement portfolio, are located in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Austin and San Antonio.

“We are making single-family real estate investment an institutional play where investors can buy this as they would any other stock market instrument. Our platform brings fully vetted investments. This is different from companies that sell opportunistic deals of the month and merely connect people with sellers and collect their money. ” Ganguly said.

Though there are, of course, never any guarantees of absolute success, representatives with the Homeunion firm utilize proprietary methods of selecting the best investment locations. Additionally, company associates work closely with clients to ensure they understand the ins and outs of the current investment and rental markets. Full management service, including collection of rents and upkeep of homes and help with tax documents is offered to all clients. HomeUnion is the only company providing a fully managed investment experience in more than 10 investment locations in the U.S.

“I recently invested in real estate using a self-directed IRA,” said p.k. Neelu. “ I had no idea how to go about this, but thanks to HomeUnion, I was able to navigate the various steps with ease. They are building the real state investment platform of the future.”

To learn more about investing in single-family homes through crowdfunding or other types of means, call HomeUnion at 866-732-3220 or visit www.homeunionservices.com