The Due Diligence Problem

A recent Housing Wire article headline reads:

Returns for REO-to-rental investors could reach $100 billion.

In the article CoreLogic is quoted with the following opinion:

 

“According to CoreLogic, West Palm Beach, Fla. (12.4%) offers the most attractive cap rate, followed by Cleveland (12.3%), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (12%), Chicago (11.6%) and Las Vegas (11.4%).

The markets with the lowest cap rates include Honolulu (5.4%), Raleigh, N.C., (7.3%) and Austin, Texas (7.7%).”

 

As Treasury yields head toward zero, even Honolulu at a 5.4% cap rate looks like a bargain. I should better go get myself some of these distressed properties. Coincidentally, Fannie Mae is having a big bulk sale of 2,500 properties in Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Florida. Since I am greedy, I am going to start with Florida (West Palm Beach) and check out some of these 12.4% cap rate investments.

From the Fannie Mae REO website, known as Homepath, there are 182 listings in West Palm Beach ranging from $10,000 to $444,900 in asking price. The $444,900 price may be misleading,  since only 14 of the 182 listings are above $200,000 and almost two thirds are below $100,000. I think I can safely assume that what Fannie offers in the bulk sale would be similar to what they have currently on the market, and likely tilted towards the lower end.

I am going to pick this property on Executive Center Drive to start my due diligence. The asking price of this 3 bedroom beauty is only $18,500. Again, from the article linked above:

 

“After making certain adjustments such as the normal REO 30% distressed-price discount, the cap rate for the nation's overall single-family rental market in January was 8.6%, down slightly from 8.8% a year earlier, but up about 3% from 2006 during the heath [sic] of the housing boom.

“If bulk sales do come to market, investors are likely to gain some concessions that are deeper than 30%,” CoreLogic said. “If the price discount rises to 40% to 50%, cap rates would increase to between 10% and 12%.”

 

It is such easy money, maybe I should be generous and pay $15,000 for this baby and start from there. A quick and dirty rent survey using miscellaneous rental websites suggests a rental value of $700 to $900 per month. Working backwards, to generate a 12.4% yield, all I need is $155 per month in net income from this $15,000 purchase price, so I should have plenty of room for profit.

Next, I need to inspect the property and budget how much is going to be needed to make the unit rent ready.

Since this is a condo, I would need to do the usual analysis.  How solid is the HOA [homeowner association, ed.]? Is there any deferred maintenance not covered by reserves? How many units are delinquent in their dues, and by how much?

Fannie is not offering financing for this unit. That is probably an indication that the owner occupancy ratio is not high enough, or there may be other reasons. It is also not likely going to be on the FHA approved list. In spite of its low price, a first time buyer may not be able to find financing for this unit.

By my buying this unit as an investor, I am exacerbating the problem by adding yet another non-owner occupant, reducing the likelihood of future agency financing for the project. Furthermore, as the price that I am paying is likely to be far less than what the other owners in the building paid for their units, would it trigger more strategic defaults? These are all sticky issues, but let me put that aside for now.

Then I noticed it was constructed in 1971, before asbestos was banned. That would be another check on top of the other usual stuff like mold or radon gas. While I am at it, I might as well check out lead based paint and ADA compliance issues.

Finally, there could be loose ends that may pop up as I inspect the property and read through the files. Since I am such an experienced professional, I estimate that I can complete all of the above in just one eight-hour day, a task that I am sure would take a rookie several days, if not weeks. Upon my findings, I make the necessary price adjustments and put that number down on my master bid list. I determine that not only should I have a 12.4% annualized yield, I may even have tremendous upside if the market recovers. Job well done.

Damn, wait a minute here. It takes me one day to do a thorough analysis on this one property. $15,000 invested at a 12.4% cap rate would yield me a whopping $1,860 per year, which seems hardly worth the effort. For this 2500 properties bulk sale from Fannie, it would take me seven years with no days off to complete my thorough due diligence.

How about if I find a few partners of equal competency and split up the work? Now the due diligence is down to a couple of years, still way too long. Maybe I should farm out the work to less qualified employees/contractors, but then my risk will increase commensurately. I need to reduce the risk. Maybe I should find some investors to bear some of the risk instead of using my own capital. With less of my own skin in the game, I could cut the analysis short, but it would still take way too long.

 

Making Money with Other People's Money

As I was sitting here procrastinating, a few big Wall Street firms called. They said they have tons of OPM (other people's money) burning a hole in their pocket. "What is expected of me?" I asked.

They said they needed some song and dance about how experienced I am regarding distressed properties. I should just make sure that I mention that I have some type of proprietary computer model. That one is easy.

Then they needed a bunch of fancy looking charts, preferably in color. The charts do not really need to say anything, they just have to look convincing. That one is also easy.

Finally, they needed some fancy looking spreadsheets. Once again, the content really doesn't matter. They only need the last spread sheet to clearly say that the proforma yield is over 15%.

How simple. My real estate investment model just turned into an OPM fee model where I will make money off all the fees, make more money if somehow the investments pay off and do not have to risk a dime of my own capital.

Come to think of it, I think these Wall Street firms are the very same Wall Street firms that told Countrywide to make as many subprime loans as possible because they could sell them to managers of OPM from all over the world.

How much OPM is out there chasing distressed assets? One recent Housing Wire article hinted that there may be 300-400 bidders submitting qualification packages for this 2500 properties sale by Fannie Mae. A recent "invitation" only auction of 500 properties by Bank of America supposedly attracted 175 qualified bidders. With so much interest from all these cash buyers, do I really stand a chance in picking up a bargain?

Not all properties are suitable for a rental pool. By the time you sort out the list, it is obvious that OPM and entry level buyers are in direct competition for the same properties. Is it the Bernank's intent to make money so inexpensive that Wall Street fat cats are throwing in cash to compete with the Joe Six Packs who cannot qualify even at these low prices and sub 4% mortgage rates?

Lenders are not complaining because it is a golden opportunity to dump the junk that has been sitting in their REO inventory for months, if not longer.

Builders are delirious. All the entry level buyers are forced into the new homes market via FHA financing! In addition, the Ma and Pa investors who cannot compete with the Wall Street fat cats are also forced into new homes, once again hoping to have an asset that may appreciate in value a little more than what Bernanke's zero interest rate policy offers for their savings.

Under these circumstances, prices at the low level should be experiencing a sharp ascent.  Yet, all we see so far is at best a degree of stabilization. I eagerly await the results of the bulk sales. They should be very revealing.

 


 

Case-Shiller 10 and 20 city composite home price indexes: still declining, but at a lower rate of change.

 


 
 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 
 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

2 Responses to “Who Wants To Buy Some REOs?”

  • Ramsey:

    zerobs, you are correct. The highest and best use, hence the highest value, may be something like a reverse condo conversion. The most likely buyer, hence the one who is willing to pay the highest price, should be a local operator who is familiar with the idiosyncrasies of West Palm Beach. As a bulk buyer, I would need to buy cheap enough so I can flip immediately to one of these operators and make my targeted return. With so many bidders, I doubted if I can buy it cheap enough.

  • zerobs:

    By my buying this unit as an investor, I am exacerbating the problem by adding yet another non-owner occupant, reducing the likelihood of future agency financing for the project.

    LOL! I sold my condo 12 years ago because I was worried about 1 deadbeat in 12. I can’t imagine how many deadbeat units are in that building now.

    These condos can’t be re-sold on a unit-by-unit basis. At best the entire building has to be sold to one bulk buyer – and that leaves the small minority of current remaining owner-occupants in a jam. The only way one can expect the deadbeat units to start paying again is if one buyer buys all the empty/deadbeat units. And that buyer will control the HOA. And they’ll vote in favor of an association fee increase that will make you so uncomfortable that you will want to sell to get away. And there will only be one buyer in the foreseeable future.

    These buildings need to become rentals and there is a whole issue of the current non-deadbeat occupants and what to do about them. Writ large, this is no different that Detroit or Youngstown de-incorporating residential blocks where only 1 or 2 houses are occupied. And there hasn’t been ANY interest in bulk-buying the vacant properties in those areas FOR DECADES.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Gold - Ready to Spring Another Surprise
      Sentiment Extremes Below is an update of a number of interesting data points related to the gold market. Whether “interesting” will become “meaningful” remains to be seen, as most of gold's fundamental drivers aren't yet bullishly aligned. One must keep in mind though that gold is very sensitive with respect to anticipating future developments in market liquidity and the reaction these will elicit from central banks. Often this involves very long lead times.   Blackbeard's...
  • Modi’s Great Leap Forward
      India’s Currency Ban – Part VIII India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced on 8th November 2016 that Rs 500 (~$7.50) and Rs 1,000 (~$15) banknotes would no longer be legal tender. Linked are Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, Part-IV, Part-V, Part-VI and Part-VII, which provide updates on the demonetization saga and how Modi is acting as a catalyst to hasten the rapid degradation of India and what remains of its institutions.   India’s Pride and Joy   Indians are...
  • Global Recession and Other Visions for 2017
      Conjuring Up Visions Today’s a day for considering new hopes, new dreams, and new hallucinations.  The New Year is here, after all.  Now is the time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh. Naturally, 2017 will be the year you get exactly what’s coming to you. Both good and bad.  But what else will happen?   Image of a recently discarded vision... Image by Michael Del Mundo   Here we begin by closing our eyes and slowing our breath.  We let our mind...
  • The Great El Monte Public Pension Swindle
      Nowhere City California There are places in Southern California where, although the sun always shines, they haven’t seen a ray of light for over 50-years.  There’s a no man’s land of urban blight along Interstate 10, from East Los Angeles through the San Gabriel Valley, where cities you’ve never heard of and would never go to, are jumbled together like shipping containers on Terminal Island.  El Monte, California, is one of those places.   Advice dispensed on Interstate...
  • A Trade Deal Trump Cannot Improve
      Worst in Class BALTIMORE – People can believe whatever they want. But sooner or later, real life intervenes. We just like to see the looks on their faces when it does. By that measure, 2017 may be our best year ever. Rarely have so many people believed so many impossible things.   Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for...
  • Pope Francis Now International Monetary Guru
      Neo-Marxist Pope Francis Argues for Global Central Bank As the new year dawns, it seems the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair will take on a new function which is outside the purview of the office that the Divine Founder of his institution had clearly mandated.   Neo-Papist transmogrification. We highly recommend the economic thought of one of Francis' storied predecessors, John Paul II, which we have written about on previous occasions. In “A Tale of Two Popes” and...
  • Trump’s Trade Catastrophe?
      “Trade Cheaters” It is worse than “voodoo economics,” says former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. It is the “economic equivalent of creationism.” Wait a minute -  Larry Summers is wrong about almost everything. Could he be right about this?   Larry Summers, the man who is usually wrong about almost everything. As we have always argued, the economy is much safer when he sleeps, so his tendency to fall asleep on all sorts of occasions should definitely be welcomed....
  • Where’s the Outrage?
      Blind to Crony Socialism Whenever a failed CEO is fired with a cushy payoff, the outrage is swift and voluminous.  The liberal press usually misrepresents this as a hypocritical “jobs for the boys” program within the capitalist class.  In reality, the payoffs are almost always contractual obligations, often for deferred compensation, that the companies vigorously try to avoid.  Believe me.  I’ve been on both sides of this kind of dispute (except, of course, for the “failed”...
  • Money Creation and the Boom-Bust Cycle
      A Difference of Opinions In his various writings, Murray Rothbard argued that in a free market economy that operates on a gold standard, the creation of credit that is not fully backed up by gold (fractional-reserve banking) sets in motion the menace of the boom-bust cycle. In his The Case for 100 Percent Gold Dollar Rothbard wrote:   I therefore advocate as the soundest monetary system and the only one fully compatible with the free market and with the absence of force or fraud...
  • Silver’s Got Fundamentals - Precious Metals Supply-Demand Report
      Supply-Demand Fundamentals Improve Noticeably Last week was another short week, due to the New Year holiday. We look forward to getting back to our regularly scheduled market action.   Photo via thedailycoin.org   The prices of both metals moved up again this week. Something very noticeable is occurring in the supply and demand fundamentals. We will give an update on that, but first, here’s the graph of the metals’ prices.   Prices of gold and silver...
  • Trump’s Plan to Close the Trade Deficit with China
      Rags to Riches Jack Ma is an amiable fellow.  Back in 1994, while visiting the United States he decided to give that newfangled internet thing a whirl.  At a moment of peak inspiration, he executed his first search engine request by typing in the word beer.   Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce firm. Once he was a school teacher, but it turned out that he had enormous entrepreneurial talent and that the world of wheelers, dealers, movers and...
  • Side Notes, January 14 - Red Flags Over Goldman Sachs
      Red Flags Over Goldman Sachs Just to prove that I am an even-handed insulter, here is a rant about my former employer, Goldman Sachs. The scandal at 1MDB, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund from which it appears that billions were stolen by politicians all the way up to the Prime Minister, continues to unfold.   The main players in the 1MDB scandal. Irony alert: apparently money siphoned off from 1MDB was used to inter alia finance Martin Scorcese's movie “The Wolf of...

Austrian Theory and Investment

Support Acting Man

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank

Archive

j9TJzzN

350x200

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com