To Gamble or not to Gamble?

10 Replies

I'm wanting to invest in real estate more, but I am short on cash/liquid assets. I currently have a rental property in the San Fernando Valley that's valued at approximately 310k (maybe a bit more) with about 210k loan against it. It's pulling about 2600/mo before expenses.

With this back story, I don't know if I should sell the property and invest elsewhere with the profits after repaying the loan. I could feasibly use this money for flipping or buying cheaper rentals in Stockton, Las Vegas, or Palmdale/Lancaster. Or should I just hold this property and hope to find other sources for a down payment (or pray for seller financing)?

Anything else I should consider when weighing my options?

How much are your expenses on average?

@Eric Siu

I'm actually doing the same thing. Ive had a 3-plex for the last 6 years and now that I'm starting to invest more I needed to free up some cash, so I can fund my own deals. I wanted to do a flip or two on my own, to learn and show to a potential lender in the future that I have the ability to make them money. The 600 dollars a month cash flow I had on my units was great but, it'll take me around 3 or more years to make the same amount of money ill make in one flip.

@Eric Siu

@Kevin Fletcher

I wouldn't recommend giving up any asset that is producing a strong profit. If the profit isn't high enough, and you want to get out from under it, by all means get rid of it.

Flipping is a great way to make money. Having a back up plan in the form of your current rental goes a long ways in hedging against a bad flip. It allows you some wiggle room if something goes south with the flip finances.

Keeping your rental also allows you to show a high income for purposes of conventional financing. Once you've owned it for 2 income tax filings, that income allows you to borrow more money. Conventional mortgages may be slower to close, but are significantly less expensive than hard money.

I recommend partnering up with some private money.

Offer:
5% down (at least some of your skin in the game)
6% preferred return
50/50 profit split at the end

I'll bet you can find a few investors immediately. Make sure the flip is actually going to make some money for everyone involved, run your comps and start asking for cash. If you've held these places for a while, your war chests should be fairly well stocked :)

Happy Flipping!

A couple of ideas:
1. Increase your income. Can you take a part time job, freelance or find a way in real estate to make money?

2. Explore buying property on terms or partnering with other investors.

3. Cash out refinance the property you currently have and invest that money in other makers. It increases the loan amount and is risky so only do it if you feel confident in the markets your going into.

4. Borrow money from family or friends of family who are interested in investing and making a better return on their money. Again, risky so that extra side hustle will keep you from going under water as you bring in more money.

5. Wait. Sometimes the hardest advice in real estate is to just be patient. Allow your money to stockpile and then take that cash and use it to invest, and just keep repeating as often as you can. It's not fun or exciting but its safe and will increase the chances that you'll be successful long term.

Originally posted by @Elizabeth S. :

4. Borrow money from family or friends of family who are interested in investing and making a better return on their money. Again, risky so that extra side hustle will keep you from going under water as you bring in more money.

This is one of the most interesting topics in all of investing. To borrow, or not to borrow, from family. The IRS is kind to money moving between family members, you can move 15k/year WITHOUT incurring capital gains on the money. (IRS - Family Gift)

My parents are a good source of low budget ( < 20k) loans. The interest rates aren't great, but it is my parents so I don't mind helping them out.

Put everything in writing.

Put everything in writing.

Put everything in writing. And then go back a week after you got everything in writing and make sure all parties are comfortable with the loan. If they aren't, rip up the documents and search elsewhere for money.

@Aaron Montague I agree its a good way to hedge the possibilities of a bad flip, but one of the reasons i am thinking about selling in the next year is to be on the right side of a bubble I see in the market. I am still not really sure how I want to navigate this. I just wanna avoid losing a ton of equity. So I was thinking, if I cut and run now, when there are more buyers for a multi-unit, then i wont be stuck with it in a falling economy. And I will have the ability to do more flip deals (short term investments) until I see what will happen with the market. Ideas?

@Kevin Fletcher

Do you see your rents dropping as well as values?

If you see yourself sitting on top of the value bubble, get out now... assuming you are running a value play. If your property has increased in value through appreciation, and you foresee the salable value dropping, get out.

On the flip side, you are getting paid to build equity in that property. ALL of your expenses are taken care of by your tenants. At some point you will own the property outright and get paid even more each money.

Striking the balance is a tough part of the investing game. You feel like a fool if you take 25k in profit and then the value of the property goes up another 50k. But I like the look at it like this:

"I made my numbers on this one, I'm happy. Time to move onto the next."

If I was sitting in your shoes, I'd make sure I had some of my next deals lined up before exiting your current investment.

  • If the sale of your house is going to put enough cash in your pocket to fund an entire flip you are in great shape.
  • If you are selling with the hope of making a down payment on a flip, I'd hold onto the current investment.
  • Learning to flip with someone else's money is awesome. If you can turn 5k into 15k AND learn your local flip scene, I'd call it a win. Lousy ROI, but a valuable lesson.
  • If you turn your investors 100k into 200k on a flip, they're going to love you. Prove that you can do that a few more times and people will be lining up to shower you with cash.

@Aaron Montague Thanks for your help, The sale of this property would give me enough to purchase a flip outright, but I do see the value in finding partners and private money. My line of thinking was do a few on my own with my own money then it'll be easier to find everything i need in the future. (private money, hard money, partners

Timothy Riley expenses come out to about $500 a month excluding mortgage. The remaining cash flow is sufficient to pay the mortgage on the rental and most of the mortgage on my residence.

Kevin Fletcher I want to be able to do the same thing as you. Flip some for the experience, both of flipping property and rehabbing and in the future take on bigger challenges.

Elizabeth S. I know I'm pushing away a lot of potential money but I would rather not do business with family or friends I have known for a long time. The possibility of sabotaging these relationships is a risk I am not willing to gamble. I will heed your advice and just wait and build up my coffers. Could prove beneficial if what Kevin said and what I've read is true about the bubble bursting.

Aaron Montague I see the logic in your posts. I may be better off just holding on to the property, increase (or at least maintain) it's equity, and position myself for the long game. Rent is not likely to go south in the San Fernando valley even if the value goes down right?

Thank you all for your input!

@Eric Siu

If I have an MFH asset that is making me money at the minimum rate I want it to ($100/door/month AND 15% cash on cash return) I'm not going to get rid of it in the course of normal business unless I can turn it into a bigger investment making better numbers.

I.e. am I going to turn $250/month cash flow and 16% ROI into 18% ROI, probably not. BUT if that 18% ROI also have $450/month cash flow I'm going to make the move.

From a pure "what you want to do with your RE career" point of view:
If what you truly want to do is flip, then sell the place and start flipping. Though I truly believe you should go through a flip yourself before selling a profitable asset.

@Kevin Fletcher
Look up "skin in the game" here on BP for the general consensus on putting your own money into a flip with partners. Find a way to make everyone money and you'll be able to find someone to fund your flip.