Should I Buy These 80 Units? Would You?

Should I Buy These 80 Units? Would You?

4 min read
Ben Leybovich Read More

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Well – here I go again…Decisions, Decisions.  I need your help, BiggerPockets, to figure this one out.  What do you think?

Here’s the deal:

You know that inbound thing that I keep telling you about?  Well, the other day I picked up the phone and it’s a friend of mine.  She says to me: “I’m standing here with somebody that I want you to speak with – here he is”, and she passes the phone.  Before I knew what hit me, the gentleman proceeds to tell me that he wants to discuss some property that he has owned for a while and now wants to sell…a few units.

Wow – I wasn’t ready for this one.  I am in the middle of restructuring the 10-unit that I bought in February, and was definitely not out there looking for any more deals this year.  But, that’s the wonderful thing about inbound – once word gets out that you are a serious person, deals tend to come on their own…

I know what you are thinking: I’ve been trying to find a deal forever man – what do you mean they come on their own?

Trust me!

Well anyway – he gave me his number and we got off the phone agreeing that I would fallow-up in a few days, which I did – I called him on Saturday.  We talked shop for about 45 minutes.  We talked monetary policy, inflation, federal regulations, finance, management, and just in general why we do what we do.  I knew at this point that he is a player, and I believe he knew that I am one as well.

Just as he began telling me about the few units he is looking to liquidate (80 units to be exact – holy bananas), he suddenly he said he needed to hang-up and told me that he’d call back in a few minutes – which he did.  Before I go on with the narrative, let me segue for a sec.

Negotiation, as we all know, requires a heightened awareness of the circumstances and surroundings – you are picking up clues to the puzzle, so to speak.  Most of what is said in a negotiation does not come out of someone’s mouth.

Well, based on what I’d heard thus far I took a guess that he was at his office, and the reason he needed to call me back was because he was interrupted by someone/something there.  I also guessed that more than likely his office was on the premises of the 80-unit – it made sense that it would be.

Thus, when he called back I immediately asked if I could join him at his office – YES was the answer… My day changed then and there.  I got off the phone and within the hour I was sitting in his office.

We spent 6 hours together.  Lots was said and I am pretty sure that whichever way this thing goes, I had made a friend that day.  The only thing you need to know about this conversation is that he is indeed looking to sell his 80-unit…ON CONTRACT!!!

About the Units

Disclaimer – I will be specifically vague in the following description of the property.  I do not have this bird tied down as of yet (although by the time this article come out I may).

This complex was built in the sixties.  Apartment mix includes 2 and 3 bedroom units, I am not sure at this point how many of each.  The neighborhood is not so good at all; typically I would not consider anything in such a location.  It’s not that the bullets fly there, they do not.  However, property values in this location are very depressed making it impossible to prudently justify spending money on the upgrades – I’d never get it out.

As I drove around, I thought they looked just OK structurally.

Who Is Bob

Having driven around the entire community once, I let myself into the office where I saw Bob (his name isn’t really Bob, but let’s protect the innocent!).  As I mentioned earlier, I spent 6 hours with Bob that morning and Bob turned out to be a really cool guy.  Turns out that Bob is in his 70’s, second generation real estate investor, and is ready to retire.  But, even though Bob is ready to retire, he is not ready to completely let go off the very substantial revenue stream that these 80 units represent.

So – Bob’s idea of retiring is to sell the entire shebang on contract and hold paper for ever more.  He doesn’t want a large down-payment because of the taxation ramifications.  For the same reason he doesn’t want to sell for cash period –  not only would he loose the income, but his tax bill would be worse than drilling a root canal without Novocain (I experienced that in Russia growing up, by the way.  If you ever need to be jolted back to life, this would wake you up – I guarantee it…)

What’s the Deal

Now – I am not going to delve into the financing in earnest at this time, partially because I don’t know and partially because it really doesn’t matter.  For what it is, where it is, and what type of management it will require, I have very specific guidelines whereby I would even consider this transaction.  Anything less is not worth consideration and is not negotiable.

I can not disclose my actual terms yet since this deal may have legs and I am pretty sure that Bob can read!   Suffice it to say that I would be looking for $8,000/month of Cash Flow – comfortably.

But with this we’ve arrived at the crux of the matter, because here’s the thing – I am not sure that I should do this deal even if I get every term I need…

I Am Conflicted

I have always believed in buying desirable units in desirable locations.  I have never done the low-income game.  I know that there is a need for it, but I feel guilty asking someone to live in a place that I wouldn’t live in myself.  Well, let me tell you – I would definitely be asking people to live in a place that I would not want to live in.  I will be forced to do the absolute minimum in terms of repairs and upgrades that I could get away with because the market valuation will not support either the higher rents or higher values – whatever money I put-in, I will loose in terms of equity. And those rents are what they are, and will never be anything but. This is uncharted territory for me…

But – this could be an awful lot of Cash Flow at the terms that I have in mind.  And, there wouldn’t be any banks involved.  So, I am conflicted…

Would you do it?  Should I do it if I can get these terms?  Heeeelp BP…. Leave you comments below!
Photo: ores2k