Companies helping Australians into the US market - any good?

12 Replies

Hello 

I’ve started to look into investing in US property, but am wary given how many other Australians have reported being burned.  Thanks to BP I think I understand the process well enough, but I'd rather not do it on my own.  I don't plan to do any kind of renovation - my strategy would be buy and hold only.

I’ve come across a few sites/services (most claiming to be Australian) who offer services for Australians getting into the US market.  I don't know if I'm allowed to name them here, but a Google Australia search of “invest in US property” brings up several such companies.

As far as I can tell, what they're offering is referrals to local accountants, lawyers, insurers, turnkey providers, estate agents, banks, financiers etc.  Or else they just tell you the process and "help" you with it. Some have some of their own properties for sale, others have "example" properties and say they can "source" others.  Most don't say what their fees are, but the couple that do are around US$1-2K.  Presumably they also get commissions from referrals.

I like the idea of a one-stop shop and/or advice, but given other people's bad experiences I'm not sure if these services are any good or not.

Has anyone had any experience of these kinds of companies? Are they any good?  Are there any to avoid? Are they worth the money?

Thanks!

Hi there,

It depends on what your strategy is. I am particularly focused on buy and hold real estate over the long term. 

There are a few options that come to mind. The options netted out in different ways for me but it all depends on how much effort each investor is willing to put into their new adventures!

You may have come across these in your search:

  • Home Union - This is a pretty slick option. They will just do everything from A to Z for you. Help with purchase, manage renovations, manage tenants etc. I vetted them and they seem legit. Unfortunately, the fees are a bit high including 3% of home sale price and 10.5% property management fees. I've noticed that all of the inventory on their site in my investment areas include properties that have been tough to sell on the primary market for one reason or another. Expect at least some light renovations on these properties.
  • Roofstock - This website advertises turnkey rentals that are cash flowing on day one! That was a pretty exciting option that I looked into as well. Unfortunately, once I began to learn more about the company I ran --- FAST! Review any contract from this company VERY CAREFULLY. They leave lots of loopholes that help them avoid liability and do not protect the buyer (this is how they are able to keep their fees so low). Second, their properties are not always in the most desirable areas. Third, crunch your own numbers. The numbers they provide on the marketplace are really feel-good numbers that don't include all the costs :) Real people use this platform and it might be fine. The lack of legal protection was too dodgy for me, however.
  • Thumbtack - I finally decided to have a go at it myself and get a real estate agent. This platform helped me connect with an agent whom I've formed a great relationship with. She's very attentive to my needs and she's an amazing market expert. To use this platform most effectively, I suggest putting together a one-pager with an intro to yourself in addition to your goals and strategy for investing. We collaborate with each other on properties through Google Docs and leverage Duo to video chat during property walkthroughs. 

With that said, I don't know the legal implications of an Aussie investing in North American property.  Definitely consult with a legal professional to understand the implications of investing abroad. Perhaps someone else can comment on that :)

Hi Lisa,

I live on the Sunshine Coast and invest in real estate in the States. I am an  American from Oregon but invest in Phoenix and Houston. Let me know if you want to chat.

Welcom to BP. 

Originally posted by @Brandon L. :

@Lisa P. @Engelo Rumora  would be a good person to speak with. He is also from your country and is most likely familiar with the struggles you are going through. Hope that helps :)

Thanks for the mention Brandon,

Lisa,

I'd be on super high alert when investing with any company selling turnkey properties that isn't actually established on the ground.

I lost hundreds of thousands when I first bought from Australia through one of these sharks.

There are still too many around selling S#&@ properties, in S#&@ areas for way more than than they are worth. Then they pass you on to a property manager that nickel and dimes you before you have enough of it and sell out at a huge loss 2 years later.

They fix, tenant and re-sell it again to another unsuspecting out of state or country investor.

It's called the revolving door scheme.

Please be VERY CAREFUL

I wish you much success

you have good reason to be cautious  many many Aussies got burned by full blown spruiekers  either aussie based or US based.

I wrote and an e book specifically for Aussies on what to look out for when you want to buy in the US... there is no recommendations on companies but I cover all the things you need to educated yourself on. plue Engelo is a friend of mine if you can put up with him he is a good source LOL

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

you have good reason to be cautious  many many Aussies got burned by full blown spruiekers  either aussie based or US based.

I wrote and an e book specifically for Aussies on what to look out for when you want to buy in the US... there is no recommendations on companies but I cover all the things you need to educated yourself on. plue Engelo is a friend of mine if you can put up with him he is a good source LOL

haha

Its actually vice versa mate,

I don't put up with many so we tell them to shove off :)

Lisa,

Definitely download Jay's E-Book as its a wealth of knowledge.

Thanks

Hey Lisa! A few years ago I worked specifically with the companies you are talking about (not the specific names, but the type of company) in various countries. They were basically liaisons between us (access to the US properties) and their buyers (you). There were definitely a lot of buyers that got burned, but it wasn't just because of the model of how everyone was working...it was all dependent on who they were working with. Turnkeys were a newer concept when all of this got started and a lot of people got burned because the people behind the turnkeys got cocky and couldn't run a business to save their lives and ended up screwing over people. Internationals were particularly victim to it because they rarely, if ever, had a chance to see their properties. But all of that was with specific companies and certainly not all of them. Of all the international investors I worked with, I only know of one that really got burned (happened to be an Aussie). Although he was working with a horrible turnkey seller, he also chose not to do due diligence very well on the property. We all encouraged him to leave the deal and he bought it anyways. 

All of the past drama aside, there are plenty of ways to do it with perfectly good companies. There is never a guarantee with anything of course, but plenty of them are better than others. I don't work specifically with international companies anymore (but I do still have all the resources) but I still work mostly with turnkeys. There are still lots of international buyers too, just not always through the one-stop shops.

Thanks all for your replies and advice - I found them really helpful.

@Jay Hinrichs , I downloaded your e-book and found it to be a great summary of what to look for and what to avoid, so thank you for providing such a useful resource.

Based on what everyone has said, I can see I need to do a lot of research before I dive in!

@Lisa P.   my pleasure... some of the profiteering I saw go on a few years back was nothing short of criminal in my mind..  I mean some of the US and Aussie Spruikers were selling burnt out houses and telling the buyers they were rehabbed... etc etc.

Hi Lisa 

I am a ‘Sandgroper’ – still living in West Aussie, and have been buying property in the US since 2014, sure there have been hurdles to cross and a lot of research/education on the topic, but my recommendation is go for it! We have never regretted it, a fantastic opportunity. We use to have investment properties in Australia which caused more headaches than any of the US ones now we only have US properties. Love it so much we are heading over there next year for 12 months, looking at purchasing a few more properties, looking forward to being able to hopefully rehab one or two.  Let me know if you want to connect.  

Good luck in your adventure.

Originally posted by @Gaynor Pendleton :

Hi Lisa 

I am a ‘Sandgroper’ – still living in West Aussie, and have been buying property in the US since 2014, sure there have been hurdles to cross and a lot of research/education on the topic, but my recommendation is go for it! We have never regretted it, a fantastic opportunity. We use to have investment properties in Australia which caused more headaches than any of the US ones now we only have US properties. Love it so much we are heading over there next year for 12 months, looking at purchasing a few more properties, looking forward to being able to hopefully rehab one or two.  Let me know if you want to connect.  

Good luck in your adventure.

Heya, 

I'm from Western Australia too, currently living in Adelaide. 

Have several properties around Australia and am a property manager too so know what you mean about having a few head aches occasionally. 

Do you use any finance for your American purchases? 

Which cities / states have you bought in? 

Have finance in the US, for our recent purchases, started with our own cash.  

Kansas and Florida.  

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