Let’s not beat around the bush. The best source of real estate information is the Multiple Listing System (MLS). Fortunately for the licensed real estate agents and unfortunately for the real estate investors who are not licensed, only realtors have access to it. The good news is that today you have more information than ever floating around. It might be not as nuanced as MLS’s, however, if used correctly, it can help you determine your rehab’s after repair value without a realtor.
real estate agents
As a hard money lender, I want you to be aware of a disturbing trend that I’ve seen with many of our own properties. This trend is for buyers to pick your property apart and use the home inspection to renegotiate the price. You need to be aware – and be weary – of buyers who are fishing for a bargain and not emotionally vested in the transaction. They use the home inspection as a tool to renegotiate the price you’ve already agreed on. They demand more and more, and are ready to walk away from the contract if you don’t agree to meet their demands. As a hard money lender, I have several suggestions on how to handle such situations.
In our previous blogs we’ve talked about the art of pricing your newly renovated rehab property. To summarize it’s all about finding the balance between setting the highest price and not letting your property linger on the market. Let’s assume you’ve carefully done your homework and – voila! You now have an offer or two to ponder. It’s an exciting news, but as a grizzled hard money lender and a real estate investor, I have some words of caution. If you give in to wishful thinking and let your guard down at this stage, you can jeopardize the timely sale of your property. You might also lower its value in the eyes of potential buyers and kiss your best price good-bye. Do NOT get euphoric. Proceed with caution.
As a hard money lender, I have deep respect for the hard work and hundreds of hours our borrowers put into each of their rehabs. Some of that work is exhilarating – think about getting that contract signed, especially when the price is right! Some of it is tedious – pushing through the county bureaucracy and dealing with inspectors. Some of it is downright maddening like when your contractor is dragging his feet or slams you with a change order. When all this hard work is done and your property is about to go on a market, we know you feel like breathing a sigh of relief. But wait. You’re now facing your final challenge – pricing your property right.
In real estate your make money when you buy. What it means that you need to put a property under contract at a price that will allow you to make a reasonable profit after the costs of owning, renovating and selling that property. The process of estimating these moving parts might be better described by the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: “There are known knowns; things we know we know… There are known unknowns – things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” I’m sure he wasn’t referring to the real estate rehab business, but you get my drift.
A couple of days ago, I heard some people talking about a listing on the MLS. It seems one of them was looking to sell a nice single family home while the other was looking to buy a single family home. As I watched them do the negotiation dance, it occurred to me how much neither one of them understood the true opportunities that using the MLS brings. They really didn’t have a handle on dealing with DC real estate investments.