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About the author: Shanah and her partner Bryan are buy and hold real estate investors in the NC market. They own BellBert Investments, LLC (contact: [email protected]) and are always looking for new ways to creatively fund properties. By trade, Shanah is a Holistic Health Advisor with a Master’s Degree of Nutrition and is the co-owner of Cash Wives ExWives, which is geared towards keeping divorce from killing your finances.
If you read my recent post about different funding options, then you will remember that we ran across an interesting alternative funding method. Let me preface this by saying that while the Fund&Grow program (to learn more about Fund&Grow, click here) ultimately didn’t work for us and our situation, as a way of funding, it’s pretty ingenious.
Upon my decision to cancel my Fund&Grow membership, a meeting was scheduled between Ari (CEO), Mike (COO), and me so I could communicate what went wrong and how to potentially avoid it in the future. I really respect companies that take clients’ feedback seriously and are willing to see where the gaps are in order to create the change necessary for a better client experience.
That being said, we ended up having two in-depth calls, one of which featured a screen share. These two meetings were very enlightening for me as well as for them. Both men are very well versed in their areas of expertise and were willing to hear what didn’t work for me with their current business model. This can be a hard pill to swallow for any business owner, but they handled it with grace and were appreciative of my feedback.
I had one major discrepancy with the program when I went through it: Things were not explained thoroughly enough to me prior to signing up. I am someone who needs all of the information up front so that I can make a fully educated decision.
When I had my conversations with Ari and Mike, they cleared a lot of things up for me that could have been presented differently by their sales team. They told me they are going to work on this. They say they want to ensure that everyone who contacts them is clear on how the program works and all of the pertinent information before they ever sign up. I respect that position fully.
Nuts & Bolts
So here are the nuts and bolts of how Fund&Grow is designed to work:
- They have two programs: membership and performance based; the program that most affiliates talk about is the membership program.
- The membership option is paid for up front.
- The performance-based option is $1 up front and 9 percent on the back end—after they get you the funding completely.
- You then begin uploading the required information into the client portal (which doesn’t take too long and isn’t too painful).
- Fund&Grow starts working on getting funding as soon as all of the documents have been uploaded and completed in full.
- It usually takes about 2–3 months to get the funding, after all negotiations.
- Once funding has been received, you then have to get it from the credit cards (I will explain those options in the next section).
- More funding will be negotiated throughout the year, if need be.
While the bullet points are helpful for me, here is a more in-depth webinar that was featured on BiggerPockets.
Getting Money Out
This is trickier than I thought it was going to be, which was the kicker for me. However, after speaking with Ari and Mike, I realized that a few options that might have made me reconsider weren’t presented to me at the time.
Here are the different ways that money can actually be pulled off the cards:
- Buying and Selling Gold: This was the method that I was presented with, and it was much too time-consuming for me. Not only that, but this method is based on whatever rate gold is at the day you buy and sell it. Therefore, you could lose money or gain it. Because of the acceptance of cryptocurrency in the gold trade now, it has made the process extremely slow. Due to this, Fund&Grow has been looking into more creative options.
- Balance Transfers: These can usually be done on the individual credit card company’s website, but sometimes over the phone. Not all credit cards allow this, and the fees vary.
- Plastiq: This is my favorite method and the one that I would have chosen had I known about it. It is really easy to do. Once you quickly set up an account and add your credit cards and/or bank accounts, you can start paying for things as soon as the next day. For example, if you want to pay off your HELOC, simply use one of the credit cards and submit the amount you want to pay to your HELOC account. A check will be sent to the HELOC to pay off your chosen amount, for a fee of 2.5 percent. Now you have the HELOC line freed up again to purchase another property.
- Credit Cash Today: This is a new weapon in their arsenal and may be another good, viable option. The premise is similar to Plastiq, but they aren’t sure if this platform is as effective yet.
Interesting Funding Facts
Ari is a wealth of information when it comes to real estate investment funding and how credit works altogether. I thought that I was pretty savvy before, but he imparted some knowledge upon me that I am extremely grateful for. The following information not only makes me a wiser investor, but helps me to understand more of the behind-the-scenes process.
Hard Money vs. Fund&Grow
While we have multiple avenues to use to get funding, they can be difficult to weed through. But when it comes to the hard money and the Fund&Grow options (to get started with Fund&Grow, click here), I want to show you how the costs break down:
- Hard money is 12% + 3 points on $100k = $15,000 for a year, whereas Fund&Grow is $3,500 and 2–3% = $6,500 yearly
- The credit accounts are revolving, can use as much as needed
Credit Behind the Scenes
Apparently there are some credit cards that have absolutely no limit. These are usually called open cards or no-limit cards. Cards of this nature are usually reserved by a bank for its members who have a high enough credit score and are considered wealthy enough to afford no limit.
While this sounds great and wonderful, there is a reason why banks do this. There’s a catch 22 for you, the consumer. Since there is no imposed limit, the credit bureaus automatically ding your credit as soon as you charge $1 to any of these cards. These normally wouldn’t count negatively against you, until you go over 35 percent of the credit limit. But since there is no limit to begin with, they just automatically apply the negative credit. This is great for the issuing bank because it means that you really can’t get credit anywhere else now.
Buyer beware! This can be a reason you get declined when you try to get investment funding—and you wouldn’t even know it.
The second way we can get blindsided is based on how the lending agencies report the “months reviewed” fields on our credit report. By this I mean that if you take a look at your credit report, for each line of credit, you’ll see a field that shows the months reviewed. The numbers usually go from 1–99 in months. This determines how long you’ve had each line of credit, and that affects your credit score and credit worthiness.
There just so happens to be a second field with the same information, but we as the consumers can’t see it. This field is only for lending agencies to see when they pull our credit. Well, some lending institutions will go in and reset your initial date every time they sell the loan. Sometimes (this happened during the Great Recession) they will go in every month and reset it. This shows up to lenders as if you were getting new credit lines every month, which lowers your credit score. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even know it was going on.
Both of these actions sound really sneaky to me. It is crazy how much just those two things can affect whether or not we can qualify for funding.
Fund&Grow keeps on top of idiosyncrasies like these and goes to bat for its clients each time they submit an account request or an appeal. Since I didn’t even know these were issues to look out for, I am glad to know that they are keeping up with these oddities in the market.
I am really happy that Ari and Mike took the time to go through all of the major points with me. They listened to what I had to say and are working on making changes within their company to make everything more transparent and efficient on the front end.
While the program didn’t work for me, I would be willing to give it another try in the future (when I actually have the time to devote to it).
I would love to hear your experience if you have tried Fund&Grow!
Please share below and let me know if you have any questions!