How to Calculate Fixed Costs on a Rehab, Flip, or Wholesale

37 Replies

Part of analyzing a deal is having an understanding of the fixed costs that come with doing that deal. BiggerPockets Blog contributor, J. Scott wrote an incredible article to spell out the details for anyone interested in learning more about the topic . . .

Calculating Fixed Costs on a Rehab, Flip or Wholesale Real Estate Deal

We hope that you find it to be helpful!

Thanks Josh,

Nice article J Scott. Many people overlook these costs or don't really understand what they truly are.

I love it when I meet with sellers and realtors and they start using TV math on me..... "Well if you buy this $150,000 house for $100,000, and put $25,000 into the renovations you will make $25,000." Uhhh not really, I'd be lucky to make $2,000 with those numbers!! :D

Most don't realize the extra costs associated with the buy,sell and hold.

Hi, J. Scott has a great explanation of expenses in his deal.

I guess my comment addresses another approach.

Cost are broken down into twpo accounting categories, fixed costs and variable costs. Variable costs in RE are those costs that fluctuate or change from deal to deal. For example: Title work, there is likely a search fee which is the same on every deal, say $150.00. Title insurance however is a variable cost, it depends on the sale price. Assume a premium of $3.50 per thousand. So your variable cost is .003 of the sale or offer price.

Uitilities can be fixed and variable. The cost to turn on the power and have it hooked up is a fixed cost, it does not matter waht consumption is. Usuage is a variable cost as it changes depending on what you run in the house. Now, for simplicity, you can average your past deals say on a sq. ft basis and you could even cut it thinner by considering gut rehabs or just a clean and paint place.

What I have done is to identify variable costs to a factor or the sale price, like the title insurance example and add all by expected variable costs, like commissions, etc. Then have the fixed costs that are paid, like Scott mentioned like the MLS fee.

By doing this you can apply the costs to the sale price or offer price, like 2.75% variable costs and XXX dollars fied costs. So, if I make an offer on a $35,000 property I'm not over estimating my expenses from a 150,000 property I purchased last time. Just another way to do it. Bill

That was a great piece of reality to read. Thank you for sharing. However, I'm curious about wholesaling with these fixed costs. If I'm just doing traditional wholesaling to start, I won't have any mortgage payments, correct? I'm just starting out and seriously ramped up my marketing this past weekend.

Calculating Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

The formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a wholesale-able or retail house is:

ARV – Rehab – B/S/H – Your Profit – Investor Buyer Profit=Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

After Repaired ValueMinus

Rehab Costs Minus

Buy/Sell/Hold Costs Minus

Profit EqualsMaximum Allowable Offer

**Note: if this is a house you are going to renovate and retail yourself (as opposed to wholesaling it “as-is” to another investor), then you'd simply leave out the "Investor Buyer Profit" in the above formula, since the only Investor involved is you.

ARV is determined using comparable sales or what is commonly referred to as "comps."Be sure to "drive" your comps to make sure they truly are comparable to the house you're considering.You want to make sure that the other houses are roughly similar in size, age, and style to the one that you are considering.You should use sales data that is no older than one year (the more recent, the better), nor more than one mile from the subject property. For even more accuracy, we choose to only use comps that are 1/3 mile away or less, with sales dates within the last six months.Sometimes, even the street can make a difference in the value of a property.If the only comps you have are on very nice streets, but the house you're considering is on a very "distressed" street, then you have to reduce the ARV.How much is an appropriate reduction is a judgment call on your part.You'll want to base that call on how much of a discount will be necessary to entice the final owner/occupant to buy this property over one they can get on the "better" street.

If the comparable sale that you are using is too different from the subject property, then it is of little value.If you use it in your sales marketing, you’ll lose credibility with your Investor Buyers.An example of a poor comparable is when your subject property is an old cottage fixer-upper, and you compare it to the sale of a brand new in-fill (an in-fill is a new house built on a vacant lot in an otherwise established neighborhood).

Rehab dollars vary according to level and detail of the job – everyone has a different formula.As a wholesaler, we suggest a middle-of-the-road approach for estimating enough rehab dollars to get the subject property to look like the comps.You'll need to spend more on rehab as the ARV increases.Logically,buyers like more ‘pretty-ness', higher-end fixtures, cabinets, etc. when they're paying $200,000 vs. when they're only paying $100,000 for a house.

Buy/Sell/Hold costs are all of the costs associated with:

üThe purchase (loan origination fees, title insurance, attorney fees, survey, appraisals, etc);

üThe sale (real estate agent commissions, marketing and advertising, closing costs paid by the Seller); and

üHolding the property (mortgage interest, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.).

These costs vary greatly for each buyer, but our experience shows that a Buy/Sell/Hold cost of 15% of ARV (0.15 times the ARV) is a safe number to use.If you wholesale the property, you may never purchase the property.In this event, all of these costs are passed on to your Investor Buyer.Therefore, you can subtract your additional B/S/H costs from the MAO formula. Your Buy/Sell/Hold costs will not be 15% because you will not incur long holding times, nor pay real estate commissions, nor closing costs when you sell.You can probably use about $1,500 for your B/S/H for one of these deals, unless your cost of getting the financing was very high.

Profit is quite simply how much YOU want to make in the deal as well as how much you want to leave in the deal for an Investor Buyer.Your profit can range from $3,000 to $30,000 with a typical average in many areas of $5,000 - $15,000.You have to consider all of the costs you incur in marketing and processing all of the deals, along with the time you spend to get a deal, and determine what all that is worth to you.This will affect your MAO, so know your number before you negotiate.If you under-value your profit, it won't take long for you to realize the reward isn't worth the time and effort.If you over-value your profit, then you'll severely limit the number of deals you find.On the other hand, this profit determination is just for the MAO calculation.If you negotiate under your MAO, all that extra profit is yours to keep or to split with your Investor Buyer to make a wholesale deal more attractive.

Finally, remember to leave extra room in case you have to negotiate with your Investor Buyer and you do not get the price you anticipate.Also, sometimes title issues come up or other issues with the property that are easier for you to just pay for than to try to reconcile with all the parties.You want to have enough room to be able to handle those things.

The Investor Buyer’s Profit which we recommend that you build in (i.e. “leave on the table” for the investor) is generally $1.00 - $1.25 for every dollar of rehab, but not less than $10,000 nor much more than $30,000.For example, if your rehab estimate is $16,000, you’d leave $16,000 - $20,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.If the rehab estimate is $5,000, you’d leave the minimum $10,000 Investor Buyer’s profit.Finally, if your rehab estimate was $40,000, you’d leave the maximum of $30,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.

Once you have determined all of the numbers and do your calculation, you’ll have the Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO).This is the most you will pay for the house.It is the deal breaker.The stop point.The MAO is not where you start negotiating … it’s where you STOP negotiating.Every dollar you negotiate below the MAO is additional PROFIT in YOUR pocket.

We always say “go for the MIN-O: the Minimum Offer the Seller will accept."In other words, start negotiating well below your MAO, and work up if you have to.You can always add to the price you'll pay; but it's very hard to subtract once you've given the Seller a figure.

**Please Note:one thing that the MAO does not take into account is anything odd about the house that might make it harder to sell … things like a busy street, ugly surrounding homes, a nearby commercial property, etc.In these cases, you have to think about how much the final price will have to be reduced to get it to sell.Make sure you either reduce your ARV or increase your Investor Buyer's profit by that amount, thus appropriately reducing your offer to the Seller.

MAO Calculation Example:

Let's say that you did all of your homework, and decided that after evaluating all the comparable sales data, you've determined that the ARV for your subject property is $140,000.Based on your evaluation of the property, you determined it would take about $15,000 to get it to look like all of the comps.

To calculate the B/S/H, you take the $140,000 ARV, and multiplied it by 15% which equals $21,000 [$140,000 x .15 = $21,000].

You decided that your profit should be $10,000 as the Assignment Fee for a wholesale.The Investor Buyer’s profit is calculated by multiplying the Rehab costs by $1.25 to get $19,000 [$15,000 x $1.25 = $18,750].

Now, plug all these figures into the MAO formula and you calculate that the most you can offer on this property is $75,000.

ARV:$140,000

Rehab:$15,000

B/S/H:$21,000

Profit (you):$10,000Assignment Fee

Profit (buyer):$19,000

MAO$75,000

But you’re a great negotiator and the Seller agreed to a $71,000 purchase price. That means you just added $4,000 to YOUR profit – just by talking!

Please note:You may want to double-check your MAO formula with a much simpler, "big picture" formula:

Wholesale/Retail MAO should be:

60-70% of ARV minus Rehab Expenses

Finally, the formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a property you are going to hold as a rental property is (in monthly figures):

Rent you will receive – Taxes/Insurance/Utilities that you will pay for tenant – Maintenance savings (6 – 10% of rent) – Vacancy savings (8% of rent) – Desired Cash Flow =

Mortgage Payment (Principal and Interest ONLY)

from an accounting perspective, there are no fixed cost for a rehab/flip. All costs associated with the flip are variable - because none of the costs would happen if the project wasn't started. Fixed cost are actually associated with the actual business of being an investor. Such as:

Office rent and utilities

Insurance 

Office equipment

Theses are items that "technically" happen even if the flip does not happen. By definition, fixed for the business. A profitable business makes enough profit to first pay the variable expenses related to the actual work and then to have some left over to pay the fixed cost, and then some to the owners. 

I am not wanting to start a war, just give the basic description per accounting and management textbooks. His blog still works in getting folks to account for all costs.

Depending on your entity - Do not forget the federal, state, and local tax you would have to pay on profit of the property.

To know the bottom line of each property - if you are only flipping properties, you will have expenses not allocated to a specific property. Those expenses can be distributed according to your bids, acquisition, purchase, rehab,or sale. It gets more complicated and more involved. Nevertheless, it takes few minutes to track the details. Whichever software you use, it should give you the ability to track different aspects of your business and then you can always export the reports to customize it further.

Many will tell you how to make money fast or use a software, but getting meaningful reports is another game. You should speak to a real estate fractional CFO who can guide you in detail and speak to you about KPI's.

Gita Faust

Originally posted by @John Quebedeaux :

Calculating Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

The formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a wholesale-able or retail house is:

ARV – Rehab – B/S/H – Your Profit – Investor Buyer Profit=Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

After Repaired ValueMinus

Rehab Costs Minus

Buy/Sell/Hold Costs Minus

Profit EqualsMaximum Allowable Offer

**Note: if this is a house you are going to renovate and retail yourself (as opposed to wholesaling it “as-is” to another investor), then you'd simply leave out the "Investor Buyer Profit" in the above formula, since the only Investor involved is you.

ARV is determined using comparable sales or what is commonly referred to as "comps."Be sure to "drive" your comps to make sure they truly are comparable to the house you're considering.You want to make sure that the other houses are roughly similar in size, age, and style to the one that you are considering.You should use sales data that is no older than one year (the more recent, the better), nor more than one mile from the subject property. For even more accuracy, we choose to only use comps that are 1/3 mile away or less, with sales dates within the last six months.Sometimes, even the street can make a difference in the value of a property.If the only comps you have are on very nice streets, but the house you're considering is on a very "distressed" street, then you have to reduce the ARV.How much is an appropriate reduction is a judgment call on your part.You'll want to base that call on how much of a discount will be necessary to entice the final owner/occupant to buy this property over one they can get on the "better" street.

If the comparable sale that you are using is too different from the subject property, then it is of little value.If you use it in your sales marketing, you’ll lose credibility with your Investor Buyers.An example of a poor comparable is when your subject property is an old cottage fixer-upper, and you compare it to the sale of a brand new in-fill (an in-fill is a new house built on a vacant lot in an otherwise established neighborhood).

Rehab dollars vary according to level and detail of the job – everyone has a different formula.As a wholesaler, we suggest a middle-of-the-road approach for estimating enough rehab dollars to get the subject property to look like the comps.You'll need to spend more on rehab as the ARV increases.Logically,buyers like more ‘pretty-ness', higher-end fixtures, cabinets, etc. when they're paying $200,000 vs. when they're only paying $100,000 for a house.

Buy/Sell/Hold costs are all of the costs associated with:

üThe purchase (loan origination fees, title insurance, attorney fees, survey, appraisals, etc);

üThe sale (real estate agent commissions, marketing and advertising, closing costs paid by the Seller); and

üHolding the property (mortgage interest, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.).

These costs vary greatly for each buyer, but our experience shows that a Buy/Sell/Hold cost of 15% of ARV (0.15 times the ARV) is a safe number to use.If you wholesale the property, you may never purchase the property.In this event, all of these costs are passed on to your Investor Buyer.Therefore, you can subtract your additional B/S/H costs from the MAO formula. Your Buy/Sell/Hold costs will not be 15% because you will not incur long holding times, nor pay real estate commissions, nor closing costs when you sell.You can probably use about $1,500 for your B/S/H for one of these deals, unless your cost of getting the financing was very high.

Profit is quite simply how much YOU want to make in the deal as well as how much you want to leave in the deal for an Investor Buyer.Your profit can range from $3,000 to $30,000 with a typical average in many areas of $5,000 - $15,000.You have to consider all of the costs you incur in marketing and processing all of the deals, along with the time you spend to get a deal, and determine what all that is worth to you.This will affect your MAO, so know your number before you negotiate.If you under-value your profit, it won't take long for you to realize the reward isn't worth the time and effort.If you over-value your profit, then you'll severely limit the number of deals you find.On the other hand, this profit determination is just for the MAO calculation.If you negotiate under your MAO, all that extra profit is yours to keep or to split with your Investor Buyer to make a wholesale deal more attractive.

Finally, remember to leave extra room in case you have to negotiate with your Investor Buyer and you do not get the price you anticipate.Also, sometimes title issues come up or other issues with the property that are easier for you to just pay for than to try to reconcile with all the parties.You want to have enough room to be able to handle those things.

The Investor Buyer’s Profit which we recommend that you build in (i.e. “leave on the table” for the investor) is generally $1.00 - $1.25 for every dollar of rehab, but not less than $10,000 nor much more than $30,000.For example, if your rehab estimate is $16,000, you’d leave $16,000 - $20,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.If the rehab estimate is $5,000, you’d leave the minimum $10,000 Investor Buyer’s profit.Finally, if your rehab estimate was $40,000, you’d leave the maximum of $30,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.

Once you have determined all of the numbers and do your calculation, you’ll have the Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO).This is the most you will pay for the house.It is the deal breaker.The stop point.The MAO is not where you start negotiating … it’s where you STOP negotiating.Every dollar you negotiate below the MAO is additional PROFIT in YOUR pocket.

We always say “go for the MIN-O: the Minimum Offer the Seller will accept."In other words, start negotiating well below your MAO, and work up if you have to.You can always add to the price you'll pay; but it's very hard to subtract once you've given the Seller a figure.

**Please Note:one thing that the MAO does not take into account is anything odd about the house that might make it harder to sell … things like a busy street, ugly surrounding homes, a nearby commercial property, etc.In these cases, you have to think about how much the final price will have to be reduced to get it to sell.Make sure you either reduce your ARV or increase your Investor Buyer's profit by that amount, thus appropriately reducing your offer to the Seller.

MAO Calculation Example:

Let's say that you did all of your homework, and decided that after evaluating all the comparable sales data, you've determined that the ARV for your subject property is $140,000.Based on your evaluation of the property, you determined it would take about $15,000 to get it to look like all of the comps.

To calculate the B/S/H, you take the $140,000 ARV, and multiplied it by 15% which equals $21,000 [$140,000 x .15 = $21,000].

You decided that your profit should be $10,000 as the Assignment Fee for a wholesale.The Investor Buyer’s profit is calculated by multiplying the Rehab costs by $1.25 to get $19,000 [$15,000 x $1.25 = $18,750].

Now, plug all these figures into the MAO formula and you calculate that the most you can offer on this property is $75,000.

ARV:$140,000

Rehab:$15,000

B/S/H:$21,000

Profit (you):$10,000Assignment Fee

Profit (buyer):$19,000

MAO$75,000

But you’re a great negotiator and the Seller agreed to a $71,000 purchase price. That means you just added $4,000 to YOUR profit – just by talking!

Please note:You may want to double-check your MAO formula with a much simpler, "big picture" formula:

Wholesale/Retail MAO should be:

60-70% of ARV minus Rehab Expenses

Finally, the formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a property you are going to hold as a rental property is (in monthly figures):

Rent you will receive – Taxes/Insurance/Utilities that you will pay for tenant – Maintenance savings (6 – 10% of rent) – Vacancy savings (8% of rent) – Desired Cash Flow =

Mortgage Payment (Principal and Interest ONLY)

Originally posted by @John Quebedeaux :

Calculating Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

The formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a wholesale-able or retail house is:

ARV – Rehab – B/S/H – Your Profit – Investor Buyer Profit=Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

After Repaired ValueMinus

Rehab Costs Minus

Buy/Sell/Hold Costs Minus

Profit EqualsMaximum Allowable Offer

**Note: if this is a house you are going to renovate and retail yourself (as opposed to wholesaling it “as-is” to another investor), then you'd simply leave out the "Investor Buyer Profit" in the above formula, since the only Investor involved is you.

ARV is determined using comparable sales or what is commonly referred to as "comps."Be sure to "drive" your comps to make sure they truly are comparable to the house you're considering.You want to make sure that the other houses are roughly similar in size, age, and style to the one that you are considering.You should use sales data that is no older than one year (the more recent, the better), nor more than one mile from the subject property. For even more accuracy, we choose to only use comps that are 1/3 mile away or less, with sales dates within the last six months.Sometimes, even the street can make a difference in the value of a property.If the only comps you have are on very nice streets, but the house you're considering is on a very "distressed" street, then you have to reduce the ARV.How much is an appropriate reduction is a judgment call on your part.You'll want to base that call on how much of a discount will be necessary to entice the final owner/occupant to buy this property over one they can get on the "better" street.

If the comparable sale that you are using is too different from the subject property, then it is of little value.If you use it in your sales marketing, you’ll lose credibility with your Investor Buyers.An example of a poor comparable is when your subject property is an old cottage fixer-upper, and you compare it to the sale of a brand new in-fill (an in-fill is a new house built on a vacant lot in an otherwise established neighborhood).

Rehab dollars vary according to level and detail of the job – everyone has a different formula.As a wholesaler, we suggest a middle-of-the-road approach for estimating enough rehab dollars to get the subject property to look like the comps.You'll need to spend more on rehab as the ARV increases.Logically,buyers like more ‘pretty-ness', higher-end fixtures, cabinets, etc. when they're paying $200,000 vs. when they're only paying $100,000 for a house.

Buy/Sell/Hold costs are all of the costs associated with:

üThe purchase (loan origination fees, title insurance, attorney fees, survey, appraisals, etc);

üThe sale (real estate agent commissions, marketing and advertising, closing costs paid by the Seller); and

üHolding the property (mortgage interest, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.).

These costs vary greatly for each buyer, but our experience shows that a Buy/Sell/Hold cost of 15% of ARV (0.15 times the ARV) is a safe number to use.If you wholesale the property, you may never purchase the property.In this event, all of these costs are passed on to your Investor Buyer.Therefore, you can subtract your additional B/S/H costs from the MAO formula. Your Buy/Sell/Hold costs will not be 15% because you will not incur long holding times, nor pay real estate commissions, nor closing costs when you sell.You can probably use about $1,500 for your B/S/H for one of these deals, unless your cost of getting the financing was very high.

Profit is quite simply how much YOU want to make in the deal as well as how much you want to leave in the deal for an Investor Buyer.Your profit can range from $3,000 to $30,000 with a typical average in many areas of $5,000 - $15,000.You have to consider all of the costs you incur in marketing and processing all of the deals, along with the time you spend to get a deal, and determine what all that is worth to you.This will affect your MAO, so know your number before you negotiate.If you under-value your profit, it won't take long for you to realize the reward isn't worth the time and effort.If you over-value your profit, then you'll severely limit the number of deals you find.On the other hand, this profit determination is just for the MAO calculation.If you negotiate under your MAO, all that extra profit is yours to keep or to split with your Investor Buyer to make a wholesale deal more attractive.

Finally, remember to leave extra room in case you have to negotiate with your Investor Buyer and you do not get the price you anticipate.Also, sometimes title issues come up or other issues with the property that are easier for you to just pay for than to try to reconcile with all the parties.You want to have enough room to be able to handle those things.

The Investor Buyer’s Profit which we recommend that you build in (i.e. “leave on the table” for the investor) is generally $1.00 - $1.25 for every dollar of rehab, but not less than $10,000 nor much more than $30,000.For example, if your rehab estimate is $16,000, you’d leave $16,000 - $20,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.If the rehab estimate is $5,000, you’d leave the minimum $10,000 Investor Buyer’s profit.Finally, if your rehab estimate was $40,000, you’d leave the maximum of $30,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.

Once you have determined all of the numbers and do your calculation, you’ll have the Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO).This is the most you will pay for the house.It is the deal breaker.The stop point.The MAO is not where you start negotiating … it’s where you STOP negotiating.Every dollar you negotiate below the MAO is additional PROFIT in YOUR pocket.

We always say “go for the MIN-O: the Minimum Offer the Seller will accept."In other words, start negotiating well below your MAO, and work up if you have to.You can always add to the price you'll pay; but it's very hard to subtract once you've given the Seller a figure.

**Please Note:one thing that the MAO does not take into account is anything odd about the house that might make it harder to sell … things like a busy street, ugly surrounding homes, a nearby commercial property, etc.In these cases, you have to think about how much the final price will have to be reduced to get it to sell.Make sure you either reduce your ARV or increase your Investor Buyer's profit by that amount, thus appropriately reducing your offer to the Seller.

MAO Calculation Example:

Let's say that you did all of your homework, and decided that after evaluating all the comparable sales data, you've determined that the ARV for your subject property is $140,000.Based on your evaluation of the property, you determined it would take about $15,000 to get it to look like all of the comps.

To calculate the B/S/H, you take the $140,000 ARV, and multiplied it by 15% which equals $21,000 [$140,000 x .15 = $21,000].

You decided that your profit should be $10,000 as the Assignment Fee for a wholesale.The Investor Buyer’s profit is calculated by multiplying the Rehab costs by $1.25 to get $19,000 [$15,000 x $1.25 = $18,750].

Now, plug all these figures into the MAO formula and you calculate that the most you can offer on this property is $75,000.

ARV:$140,000

Rehab:$15,000

B/S/H:$21,000

Profit (you):$10,000Assignment Fee

Profit (buyer):$19,000

MAO$75,000

But you’re a great negotiator and the Seller agreed to a $71,000 purchase price. That means you just added $4,000 to YOUR profit – just by talking!

Please note:You may want to double-check your MAO formula with a much simpler, "big picture" formula:

Wholesale/Retail MAO should be:

60-70% of ARV minus Rehab Expenses

Finally, the formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a property you are going to hold as a rental property is (in monthly figures):

Rent you will receive – Taxes/Insurance/Utilities that you will pay for tenant – Maintenance savings (6 – 10% of rent) – Vacancy savings (8% of rent) – Desired Cash Flow =

Mortgage Payment (Principal and Interest ONLY)

 Well said @John Quebedeaux 

 Thanks!

Originally posted by @John Quebedeaux :

Calculating Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

The formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a wholesale-able or retail house is:

ARV – Rehab – B/S/H – Your Profit – Investor Buyer Profit=Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO)

After Repaired ValueMinus

Rehab Costs Minus

Buy/Sell/Hold Costs Minus

Profit EqualsMaximum Allowable Offer

**Note: if this is a house you are going to renovate and retail yourself (as opposed to wholesaling it “as-is” to another investor), then you'd simply leave out the "Investor Buyer Profit" in the above formula, since the only Investor involved is you.

ARV is determined using comparable sales or what is commonly referred to as "comps."Be sure to "drive" your comps to make sure they truly are comparable to the house you're considering.You want to make sure that the other houses are roughly similar in size, age, and style to the one that you are considering.You should use sales data that is no older than one year (the more recent, the better), nor more than one mile from the subject property. For even more accuracy, we choose to only use comps that are 1/3 mile away or less, with sales dates within the last six months.Sometimes, even the street can make a difference in the value of a property.If the only comps you have are on very nice streets, but the house you're considering is on a very "distressed" street, then you have to reduce the ARV.How much is an appropriate reduction is a judgment call on your part.You'll want to base that call on how much of a discount will be necessary to entice the final owner/occupant to buy this property over one they can get on the "better" street.

If the comparable sale that you are using is too different from the subject property, then it is of little value.If you use it in your sales marketing, you’ll lose credibility with your Investor Buyers.An example of a poor comparable is when your subject property is an old cottage fixer-upper, and you compare it to the sale of a brand new in-fill (an in-fill is a new house built on a vacant lot in an otherwise established neighborhood).

Rehab dollars vary according to level and detail of the job – everyone has a different formula.As a wholesaler, we suggest a middle-of-the-road approach for estimating enough rehab dollars to get the subject property to look like the comps.You'll need to spend more on rehab as the ARV increases.Logically,buyers like more ‘pretty-ness', higher-end fixtures, cabinets, etc. when they're paying $200,000 vs. when they're only paying $100,000 for a house.

Buy/Sell/Hold costs are all of the costs associated with:

üThe purchase (loan origination fees, title insurance, attorney fees, survey, appraisals, etc);

üThe sale (real estate agent commissions, marketing and advertising, closing costs paid by the Seller); and

üHolding the property (mortgage interest, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.).

These costs vary greatly for each buyer, but our experience shows that a Buy/Sell/Hold cost of 15% of ARV (0.15 times the ARV) is a safe number to use.If you wholesale the property, you may never purchase the property.In this event, all of these costs are passed on to your Investor Buyer.Therefore, you can subtract your additional B/S/H costs from the MAO formula. Your Buy/Sell/Hold costs will not be 15% because you will not incur long holding times, nor pay real estate commissions, nor closing costs when you sell.You can probably use about $1,500 for your B/S/H for one of these deals, unless your cost of getting the financing was very high.

Profit is quite simply how much YOU want to make in the deal as well as how much you want to leave in the deal for an Investor Buyer.Your profit can range from $3,000 to $30,000 with a typical average in many areas of $5,000 - $15,000.You have to consider all of the costs you incur in marketing and processing all of the deals, along with the time you spend to get a deal, and determine what all that is worth to you.This will affect your MAO, so know your number before you negotiate.If you under-value your profit, it won't take long for you to realize the reward isn't worth the time and effort.If you over-value your profit, then you'll severely limit the number of deals you find.On the other hand, this profit determination is just for the MAO calculation.If you negotiate under your MAO, all that extra profit is yours to keep or to split with your Investor Buyer to make a wholesale deal more attractive.

Finally, remember to leave extra room in case you have to negotiate with your Investor Buyer and you do not get the price you anticipate.Also, sometimes title issues come up or other issues with the property that are easier for you to just pay for than to try to reconcile with all the parties.You want to have enough room to be able to handle those things.

The Investor Buyer’s Profit which we recommend that you build in (i.e. “leave on the table” for the investor) is generally $1.00 - $1.25 for every dollar of rehab, but not less than $10,000 nor much more than $30,000.For example, if your rehab estimate is $16,000, you’d leave $16,000 - $20,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.If the rehab estimate is $5,000, you’d leave the minimum $10,000 Investor Buyer’s profit.Finally, if your rehab estimate was $40,000, you’d leave the maximum of $30,000 for the Investor Buyer’s profit.

Once you have determined all of the numbers and do your calculation, you’ll have the Maximum Allowable Offer (MAO).This is the most you will pay for the house.It is the deal breaker.The stop point.The MAO is not where you start negotiating … it’s where you STOP negotiating.Every dollar you negotiate below the MAO is additional PROFIT in YOUR pocket.

We always say “go for the MIN-O: the Minimum Offer the Seller will accept."In other words, start negotiating well below your MAO, and work up if you have to.You can always add to the price you'll pay; but it's very hard to subtract once you've given the Seller a figure.

**Please Note:one thing that the MAO does not take into account is anything odd about the house that might make it harder to sell … things like a busy street, ugly surrounding homes, a nearby commercial property, etc.In these cases, you have to think about how much the final price will have to be reduced to get it to sell.Make sure you either reduce your ARV or increase your Investor Buyer's profit by that amount, thus appropriately reducing your offer to the Seller.

MAO Calculation Example:

Let's say that you did all of your homework, and decided that after evaluating all the comparable sales data, you've determined that the ARV for your subject property is $140,000.Based on your evaluation of the property, you determined it would take about $15,000 to get it to look like all of the comps.

To calculate the B/S/H, you take the $140,000 ARV, and multiplied it by 15% which equals $21,000 [$140,000 x .15 = $21,000].

You decided that your profit should be $10,000 as the Assignment Fee for a wholesale.The Investor Buyer’s profit is calculated by multiplying the Rehab costs by $1.25 to get $19,000 [$15,000 x $1.25 = $18,750].

Now, plug all these figures into the MAO formula and you calculate that the most you can offer on this property is $75,000.

ARV:$140,000

Rehab:$15,000

B/S/H:$21,000

Profit (you):$10,000Assignment Fee

Profit (buyer):$19,000

MAO$75,000

But you’re a great negotiator and the Seller agreed to a $71,000 purchase price. That means you just added $4,000 to YOUR profit – just by talking!

Please note:You may want to double-check your MAO formula with a much simpler, "big picture" formula:

Wholesale/Retail MAO should be:

60-70% of ARV minus Rehab Expenses

Finally, the formula we use for determining the most that you can pay for a property you are going to hold as a rental property is (in monthly figures):

Rent you will receive – Taxes/Insurance/Utilities that you will pay for tenant – Maintenance savings (6 – 10% of rent) – Vacancy savings (8% of rent) – Desired Cash Flow =

Mortgage Payment (Principal and Interest ONLY)

Thank you for the break down! This is great!!

Where do you obtain the holding, purchase and selling closing costs? Does the title company provide all that for you when you request it or do you have to research those costs yourself? Like for example for holding costs such as mortgage, utility, etc (durable time for flipper's months). I'm aware that with these costs you have to actually do individual research, correct? 

The wholesaling calculator has space for you to fill out for the fixed costs. I see a lot of investors use the 70% ARV rule but I was told that it's better to use "Fixed cost method" as mentioned when I read Brandon Turner's book on investing with no money down.

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