Real Estate Investing
Buying Foreclosures Online
Personal Lessons on Buying Foreclosed Properties Sight Unseen.
As a real estate investor and attorney, I am a firm believer in leaving your comfort zone no matter how profitable it has been. I have been admiring the technology that is in place these days which affects the real estate world. Whereas the current chatter is now in blockchain technology, including but not limited to bitcoin and ethereum, the internet overall still is making considerable progress when it comes to purchasing and selling real estate online as painless as possible.
During late nights when I can’t sleep, I have developed an unhealthy habit of perusing foreclosure websites in search of investments. I am tired of seeing 2-5% cap rights which are the norm here in Brooklyn. Although property values have room to grow as well as the underlying rent roll due to suppression by the Rent Stabilization Law, the barrier of entry is significant if you want to experiment in non-traditional areas. Being successful in real estate means gaining economies of scale and when you want to establish a toehold in a new neighborhood, it is price prohibitive to get that economy of scale when you are not sure you want it right away.
That is why buying foreclosures in your non-core zone is a good way to experiment with a new market, feel out the rents and neighborhood, and begin to establish a network for scaling up.
One easy way to purchase properties is online through the website auction.com and its commercial counterpart ten-x.com. Using these new platforms give you the ability to pick up property in a distant area without spending the time traveling to view the properties, finding an attorney, and handling the closing in person. Everything is done online in an efficient matter using a credit card to place a bid and wires for the downpayment and closing. All documents are signed online via docusign.com so no in person closings or fedex expenses are necessary.
Due diligence is still necessary but mostly can be done online as well. Using zillow.com and redfin.com for estimated market value, comps, and neighborhood details is a good way to create a price point to which you can bid up to. Always leave a cushion for renovations and surprises. Using my personal experience on how much it costs to fully renovate bathrooms and kitchens, I can guestimate how much it may cost to make an apartment or house rentable.
Break Even in 2-3 Years.
By applying this method, I have purchased properties in Albany solely through auction.com in which I was able to renovate and rent out with a rent roll sufficient enough to break even in 2 to 3 years. That is something that is not possible in Brooklyn. I was able to pick up foreclosures at $ 25,000 a unit and rent them out for at least $ 1,000 a month with tenants paying all utilities. Including carrying costs such as taxes, insurances, renovations, and brokerage fees, I am on track of breaking even in less than 3 years with significant upside if I decide to sell.
Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone.
By breaking out of my comfort zone, I was able to establish a new presence in a distant market to exploit profitable opportunities. By using online platforms such as auction.com and ten-x.com, I was able to reduce my cost of acquisition and get a toe-hold in a market completely different than the one I am in. This is a great example of constantly looking for opportunities in new areas without committing significant resources on the outset. Once I am comfortable with the investments I have made in foreclosures, I will be ready to go all in the Albany multi-family market to gain that ever so important economy of scale.
Please Note: Although you will need an attorney to review the contract and close the transaction, the contracts are boilerplate and thus can be done at a lower legal fee than a traditional transaction. You can always contact me for assistance if you so choose this path at http://www.parlantilaw.com.