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You Found A Great Rehab Deal. Now, How Do You Fund It?

Richard Warren
2 min read

You’ve been hunting for that perfect rehab deal like a Neanderthal stalking a mighty Mastodon. You’re sure you’ve found it. The after repair value and renovation costs will allow for a hefty profit. You should even be able to set a price that will result in a quick sale when the rehab is complete. There is only one teensy-weenie thing left to do – find the money to make the purchase of the property.

mastodoniz1Back in the ancient, olden times (early 2007) it was fairly easy. You would seek out a hard-money rehab lender. Sure, the terms were steep, but the financing cost was built into the equation. As long as the numbers penciled out you could get funded. It was even pretty common to include the cost of purchase and repairs and have the interest financed right into the deal. If you did it right you didn’t need much, if any, of your own money.

Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

Here we are a short time later and the easy money is gone. Rehab loans can still be had, but things sure are different. A novice rehabber has little hope of obtaining financing at all. The experienced rehabber is facing a lending environment that has changed dramatically. No money down? Forget it. All costs rolled in? Fat chance. All repair costs included? In your dreams. These days the lenders want you to have significant skin in the game.

It’s hard to blame the lenders. They have been burned so often in the recent past that they had to change the rules. While it is easy to say that they had no one to blame but themselves, you can’t fault them for adjusting to the realities of a changing market. The rehabber has to adjust as well, unless he is going to pack up his tent and go home until things change.

What’s a Rehabber To Do?

It’s more important than ever to seek creative ways to fund a deal. If you have equity in your own home, try using a Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC. Lately many banks have been reducing the credit limits on existing HELOCs, so be careful there. The advantage of HELOCs are that you are a cash buyer, you can use the money as needed for the deal and repairs, and when you pay it back it is there to use again.

Can’t use a HELOC? Look for owners who are willing to hold a short-term note while you complete the rehab. A friend of mine made an offer on a house with no money down, the owner holding a note for two years and payments deferred for six months while he completed the rehab. The seller accepted the terms without a fight. It can be done.

Learn about “subject to” deals where the existing financing remains in place. This allows you to buy a property without have to obtain financing. If the seller still has equity in the property, ask him to defer taking his share until you complete the rehab and sell the property. When people are in desperate need of selling a property, they will agree to all sorts of crazy terms. Try it, you’ll like it.

Creativity Is Key

The point is to look for alternative ways of making deals happen. Instead of thinking, “it can’t be done”, ask yourself, “how can I do it?” In a nutshell, think outside the box. These are challenging times. Those who rise to the challenge will succeed.

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have

thrown at him. – David Brinkley

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.