Podcast #26 – The Cons of Turnkey Rentals with Alex Franks

Turnkey seller and MFH investor discuss the cons of Turnkey rentals. Also discuss leverage and the current TK landscape in 2016.

Random thoughts:

The problem with the lower end assets, they are such a more hands on investments , just more of a headache. Which I’m about to tell you why. Yes, on paper the entry price point looks great. So folks are only seeing one side of things. Lower end properties tend to be higher maintenance, higher expenses, and much higher turn over rate. Another factor is the rental prices aren’t making sense, while still continuing to rise. We owned 37 of these exact type of homes (lower end in RH SC during the timeframe of 2004 -2009). So I’m speaking from experience, these type of assets tend to burn holes through investors pockets. Most folks start here, (1) Because they do not know any better and (2) The price point is much more attractive. These are what I like to call recycled product ( Quote by “Jay Hinrichs”) , which usually has a 5 – 8 year shelf life. Or in better terms ” the game of hot potatoes”- who or which investor is getting stuck holding the bag. Easy way to look at things are any institutional, or Hedge funds buying in this asset class. Now they are mostly buying A – B assets. Their is a reason Wall Street, and most private money are parking their funds into higher class assets. Most times this is why newer investors, jump in because its all that is left on the table for them ( lower end )or what the Gurus are selling.

I can dig a lot of great information up to prove what a great city Charlotte is. We are Atlanta’s little teenage brother growing up (fast) We are all lucky to be in a booming city basically still many years of growth left

I have to disagree on this being a good buy and hold market on most markets. From 2009-2013 this was one of the best buy ,and hold markets. Today we are facing an over priced market, rental returns are much less. I have some left over stock still holding from 2009. I was buying from $40k to $50k range. Same house now priced in $100k – $120k pre-rehab price range. I was also buying in 4 states; NC, SC, Georgia, & Florida. With that being said, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” So for out-of-state folks with (ex: California or NY) they tend to have much higher entry points. So buying a house here from $100k $150k with 1% rental rule. Still makes this a very attractive market for out-of-state or international folks. This does not mean we have a great buy and hold. For me personally, it says we are lucky that we still have a lower entry point then most folks markets.

If we jump in and really become bit more analytical. It is cheaper to build than buy today. We will be building new construction rentals for a few years. I am seeing this as similar to the 2000-2004 market. So the box Vinyl Village type homes is the current build (mixed in with townhomes, duplexes, quads). That mixed with real estate cycles , which very folks even discuss or understand.

Now back to the 10% Cap rate this is why most international folks are going to get burnt, and  USA  folks will as well. When investing in these lower end asset classes, Folks brought in cities like Detroit and Michigan. Promised a 20% return on the properties. I challenged folks to show me that over 5 years period (I am sure those returns are a lot less). Keep in mind this has nothing to do with the homes. It has everything to do with our economy, salaries for the lower income bracket, and a renters mentality. No security in those type of jobs with very little insurance benefits so job changing is common among lower end renters. It is very hard for someone paying 35 to 45% of their income to pay rent. I know here comes that chatter, well property management will handle that, right? We owned a management company from 2009 -2013. We lost our asses with that side of the company. I did it mostly for our turnkey clients. Good Rule of Thumb for any management folks who want to get in the business. Get 300 homes plus or get out of the business. Not profitable with out the inventory.

Now back to low end assets, very rare you are every going to sell, and get retail prices in these areas. How many USA folks move to rental areas? Once a area is over 50 % or more rentals, values will eventually drop as will the area. We have artificially inflated prices, in most of the areas with cash sales to out-of-state folks, or local cash buyers( who just don’t know any better). Basically most people are showing up to the table, and all we have are scraps left! This is not just here; Kansas City, Indianapolis as most markets to just a name a few are going through same thing. I still jump on 3 to 5 webinars month with out-of-state folks seeing what they are selling. So limited sales potential down the road for every one.

I was working with as well as being one of these turnkey groups for a few years. We all setup table and booths in LA, San Fran, and other markets. Selling our cities, and our turnkey deals. Me and a few of the guys we got smart, and jumped into the international markets. I still play there my self and see a strong demand for the turnkey product (just not worth it for me). Folks if someone was to start a local solid turnkey business here in Charlotte NC (5/month ) there is a good demand out there for this product.

Now for the lack of inventory. We had a few smaller hedge funds here in 2011-12 buying before most folks realized. They were already here buying smaller up to 100 homes.. Then the big boys like invitation homes (Blackstone which is a large wall street fund for folks who don’t know ) came in purchased 7000 plus homes in little under a year. Most of the vinyl villages, anything built 2000 above; 3bed 2 bath or larger was their focus. Banks are realizing they can go into the property now . Taking a lipstick approach to rehabbing. Sell it them selves as well. So that’s a few reason for the lack of inventory.


So I hope I don’t offend any one and please answer back separately but I like networking and so should others. Great way to get out there and meet more folks.

So here we go another few answers or thoughts of mine on turnkey investing and why I made the jump to apartments.

And my latest post for folks if you think it has some substance please feel free to share with friend. First one was about turn key investments how they did over 10 year period.

First one must keep in mind most turn key companies did not exist 10 years ago. This was a product the market created. These same properties the lower end were subprime homes. So folks sold them locally in their own market. We were approached by LA reseller in late 2008. Back then everything was sold retail, very few investors (very few smart) were building their own portfolio. Most of these guys have been involved in this business for a very long time

Next point- the mess started in 2007 – 2008 when most of the product was created. Now that being said, I see the same lower end crap returning and being sold as great turn key deals. These type of deals are going to cost folks a lot of money. Again, nothing to do with the asset, but more to do with the mindset of the renters.

Now on the flip side, if you purchased between 2009 – 2013 most of the numbers made sense in many markets. Right now the nice properties (A and B limited product) as most folks can sell these retail.

So why sell turnkey or through a reseller? Look at most resellers or turn key with the exception of one or two companies. They are selling lower over priced assets or a nice products that is super over priced. The problem is even over priced, the entry level makes sense compared to most folks (local entry point). Lack of good solid deals make folks have to stretch the numbers or present good deals to others. If all these deals were so great why would any one sell not keep?

At the same time, I used to buy 4 properties sell 3 to keep one free and clear. So every person’s motivation is a bit different. I would just be careful to anyone who has not seen or been through the 2007- 2008 crash selling deals. I don’t think they can or will truly understand things. Especially when selling for profit and their motivation is profit. Which is why I get it; because they are in the business to make money, by selling a product. I just think the shelf life of that product has passed. So one can look at wall street or other investments, or jump in the turnkey market.

I don’t want folks to think I am against turnkey. I just feel the window has passed on solid buys. The market tells us what to do, you just have to listen. Right now I’m building rental properties all in for $65/sqft. So cheaper to build than buy. There is no rush to investing. Sometimes it is better to sit back and watch. See what the market is saying and find the best place to park funds. Real estate is not always the best, but not the worst either.

Now what am I doing~ building new construction retail and rental. Taking the profit and buying apartment buildings. So I am hoping to have 200 units paid free and clear in the next 5 years along with being a private lender for local folks. Knowing I know the numbers better than most.

So I hope I answered your questions and have not made it more confusing.

Post number 3 was turnkey investing in general

I was a turn key guy who also provided for resellers. I think the window for solid deals has passed. Most of the folks selling or giving you advice here are selling an asset or being paid referral fees to sell that asset (nothing wrong- it is a business and they are providing a service or the asset itself). During 2009 – 2013 was the prime time to purchase the solid cash flow rentals. Right now folks are way over paying for higher class assets or buying the lower end scraps. Lower end is basically recycled product that did not work out for the investor the last time around. Lower end is usually not a winner, but more of cash drain for your pockets. I see Indy and Kansas city being spoke about as they are the first recycled cities that I can attest to.

What I mean by this, in 2009 when I was doing seminars around U.S. areas, so were the guys from both of those markets. Now I am seeing the same older junk make its way back around only as higher priced. Again, I am not against turn key. We were scheduled to build 150 units for one company (turn key rentals). That number is now up to 500 units in a few markets in the southeast. We are rebuilding the vinyl villages that were built in 2000 – 2004. Very similar product, actually identical product. Just cheaper to build than buy, which then tells me the cycle has changed or moved on.

Basically what I’m saying, it is cheaper today to build than buy in most markets. That is why I don’t think the turn key is a great buy today. I think folks are getting the bottom of the barrel or very over priced assets. Keep in mind, most the major hedge funds came in 2013 they took majority of any of the solid deals. The nicer homes A – B type assets most local folks can sell them retail. So why would they pay a reseller or flip to investor? Better money in retail sales in most markets, which is similar to 2005-2007. Folks sold these same assets to subprime buyers (lower end) or retail to home buyers (A-B) asset. So you can see, first and foremost, there is inventory shortage in most markets. Folks now have to push other cities (lower end product). As you folks in California have such a high entry points. Most markets still look attractive. Trust me when I say on paper numbers look great. In the long run I feel the return for folks from 2014 – present will be a lot less than the prior years. In 2009-2013 if you purchased during this time I think you made great buys. As well as hitting the timing of the market correctly.

Real estate is a lot about timing and cycles. At the same time the market tells folks what is working and what is not. You have to listen and not recreate the wheel. Still good deals just harder to find. I just prefer apartments over houses.

Podcast #24 – Tarl Yarber Master Flipper Gone Cashflow Interview

Tarl Yarber has been investing in real estate for the past 11 years and is the owner of Fixated Real Estate LLC and specializes in systemized high volume fix and flips in multiple states. Between 2014 and 2016, Tarl and his team flipped over $25 Million in single family homes with rehab budgets between $30k-$250k per house.

1) How much simple passive Cashflow are you making today and how are you doing it?
Rentals with net monthly at 1235/m and a third in rehab for another 415/m once done.  We also have tied up a 4plex that should net apprx $1625/m net cash flow after we remodel and get new tenants.Most of what we do is large volume rehabs for this area, our systems free up a ton of time and help bring in the cash.

2) What is your Han Solo moment – Han Solo and his buddy Chewbacca from Star Wars were cruising around the galaxy as lowlife smugglers but then cross paths with Luke and Leia and his life took a pivot point. Describe the resistance that was the catalyst for change. Did you “burn the boats” or did you let it happen naturally – was there an internal (you decided to make a change on own – what was thought process?) or external (you got fired) trigger?

11 years ago at a real estate wealth expo. Extreme changes needed in my life.  I did the opposite of everything I was on track for and went a completely different way in life.  Ill explain on show if needed
3) Worst life/business moment what did you do after? Lesson learned?

Business partnership failed, I felt utterly betrayed and destroyed.  I learned to always get things in writing, to always be the better person and do whats right in a deal at all times.  More lessons as well.
4) A mark of a high performer is to put your ego aside and accept the help of others and mastermind. 2 week experiment and 6 month project? (90-180 day goal) Perhaps people can help you out? Any secret habit to share?

5) What is your simple passive Cashflow number? Now imagine you had 2x that amount… Describe your ideal day, detailed routine, and what projects you are working on.

$1mil a month
6) Something that you have recently or thought about “burning your cash” on for time savings or an improvement in quantity of life.

Lots and lots of VA’s.  And a new house with a sauna, meditation room, gym, land, etc. Sanctuary. Plus a dive boat that is capable of long trips.
7) Tony Robbins identifies two large concepts that we are continually struggling to gain perfection at: #1-Art of Fulfillment and #2-Science of Achievement. If you died tomorrow and this was your final words of wisdom, what is your secret to the “Science of Achievement?” And “Art of Fulfillment?” How you do contribute back?

Secret to achievement: lots of objective self-analyzation and taking full responsibility for your life and how you build it and react to the challenges that arise during it

I love all emergency medicine, teaching real estate, ski patrol big time
8) Anything we missed and contact info if you would like anyone to get a hold of you. URL?

Bigger Pockets/users/tarl



Podcast #19 – 1031 Tips and Tricks (Guest Appearance Podcast)

11 Not So Obvious 1031 Exchange Strategies

My promise to my readers: No click bait here on SimplePassiveCashflow.com – all the tips will be provided on the SAME page, so relax! For real estate investors at some point, you are going to need to do a 1031 exchange.  Having just done two of them, I wanted to share my experience before I forget it (since its sort of a pain in the butt and people forget painful things). Hopefully, it will help you create a game plan going in.

So no investor is left behind, a 1031 exchange is a way to defer your capital gains from a sale of real property. This is one of the advantages of real estate as compared to stocks or other assets. I am no lawyer or CPA, but basically, you have 180 days from the sale of your first/subject property to exchange into “like kind” investments using the proceeds (sale price minus existing mortgage and sales costs). This transaction needs to be done via an intermediary/custodian who sets up an escrow to create the paper trail for your upcoming taxes. This process is something you don’t want to DIY because if you screw up, you are going have to pay taxes on the proceeds, plus all that depreciation (recapture) you benefited from. Oh and one more kicker… once you sell the subject property you have 45 days to create a list that identifies all potential replacement properties, but more on that in a bit.

So now that the newbies have caught up there are the tips:

1) Have properties ready to go:  This means having a purchase and sale agreement signed and having completed the negotiation before the subject property (the home you are exchanging/selling) closes. As the close date for the sale of your subject property gets closer (~2 weeks) and especially if it’s a slam-dunk transaction (i.e., the buyer is bringing cash to close/no financing), you might want to take the risk and execute those purchase and sale contracts sooner. Note that this is a bit shady to your agent because if complications do arise then you will have to cancel your contract and no one will like you L

2) Don’t screw around. Get your inspections done as a soon as possible. Knowing if you are going to move forward or abort the purchase of a property is super important. Remember other than the 180 day time limit the other properties on you 45-day list could be bought by other investors.

3) Work with a real estate attorney who has experience with a 1031 Exchange: Policies regarding 1031s will vary from year to year with changes in the Tax Code.  Once you sell your property, you will also need someone to hold your funds in escrow, because you are not able to take possession of the funds.  If you do take possession of the funds from the sale of your property, the 1031 exchange won’t work anymore. But good thing you found that lawyer that will do this all full service for you.

Rumor has it that the silly escrow rule was created when some guy took the proceeds from the sale of his property to Las Vegas and blew all his money on rocks and hookers.  After that, the Government was like, “These people are idiots, we can’t let this happen.” So that guy ruined it for everyone, and now we have to all follow this arduous process.

Pick that lawyer and have all of the contractual details worked out before the subject property goes under contract to sell. Expect to pay $500-$1200 plus additional fees for each property you acquire. Talk to your lawyer and get educated about all the rules, such as the 200% rule, 45-day list, 180-day rule, what is eligible to write off, and get them to sign off on your plan. Remember these guys know how to do 1031s, and it’s ultimately your job to get the big picture right.  That’s why you’re the boss.

4) The All-Important 45-Day Rule: As mentioned earlier you need to create a list of potential properties that you can acquire before the 45th day after the sale of your subject property. The rules change on these 1031s all the time (see disclaimer below) but I was only able to identify up to 200% of the subject property’s value which for me was eight properties for $800k, since the subject property sold for about $400k. (I don’t know where this rule came from, but it was probably conceived by Vegas, hookers, and rocks) What I would do about 10 days prior to the deadline of your 45-day list, send out an email blast to all your agents, turnkey providers, long lost wholesalers (you know the folks you exchange info and you never hear from again like an ex-college classmate) and basically do a roll call for all properties. This is a time to call (not email/text) to explain your situation. Set broad constraints, and specify that you need X properties from each provider that you will buy X of them. This will let the sellers know that you are serious, and they may move mountains for you and bump you up in the priority line. This may also eliminate the silly negotiation process and get you the best pricing. The beauty of doing this is that you are creating a competitive bid format and will ultimately fill up your 45-day-list with the best candidates.

5) Have a Backup Plan: When soliciting for your 45-day-list, you may also want to ask for properties that aren’t ready to be sold yet but “are in the pipeline.” For example, these are the properties that have just been picked up by the seller from an auction or those where a wholesaler is in discussion with the first seller, and the rehab has not begun. Fast forward a couple months, and suppose a few properties on your 45-day-list fall through due to a bad inspection, you are going to need to go back to your list and if you had properties that were ready to be sold at that time of the 45-day-list creation, a lot of them will be sold by then. In summary, this is where adding in the sleeper picks or prospects makes building your list complicated. You need to really meditate with a “Simple Passive Cashflow Latte” and think of every angle.

6) Your 1031 facilitator, gets paid when you do a 1031 exchange. Your lender gets paid when you refinance. Your Bank gets paid when you set up a HELOC. Each are a tool and every situation is unique. Is a 1031 really your best option? Sorry if this point is a bit late in the conversation, but I am assuming you are reading this article before showing up to the Toga Party with your loin cloth.

7) Do your own research on a “Reverse 1031 exchange”. It’s a bit more expensive but might be the right tool for the job, however, it is not for the situation where you are trading one property for many. Personally, I think it’s a tool for a really unique situation and it’s not worth discussing, but I’m sure a Lawyer will want to tell you all about it at their $300/per hour billable rate.

8) Get Everyone on the Same Page:  Have a good old-fashioned, conference call to get your lender and 1031 facilitator on the same page. Isn’t it great to be the leader of a conference call for something meaningful this time? Funny Video. But what is not funny is getting that call from the lender who uses the underwriter as an excuse for why you can’t get a loan a couple weeks before the close. That phone call is totally avoidable with proper communication upfront to ensure you can qualify for the loans with the proper debt to income (DTI) requirements and Cash Reserves. As of June 2016, you need six months of PITI for your first four loans, but loans #4-10 need six months for ALL properties. When I was trying to close loan #10, I needed about $33,000 dollars of cash reserves just sitting there ($550x6x10). This makes an optimizer like myself really irritated. Luckily you can use ~100% of 401k or Roth accounts.  Just a last month they allowed you to only count 70% so you can see how that rules change. Also in terms of cash reserves, make sure you have consulted with your lender about the required amount of time you need to season the funds in your bank account.

Also depending on your 1031 facilitator, you might be able to talk them into paying the appraisal fees out of the 1031 funds instead of out of pocket. I got my lender to reverse the charges and bill the appraisal fee at closing. Unfortunately, the home inspector will likely want to be paid via cold hard cash because he (Let’s be honest…it’s always a guy) is running a good old-fashioned cash business. Just kidding, he takes credit card too. Did I mention that you should relax through this 1031 ordeal? Now, is the time for yourself to enjoy an Old-Fashion or other alcoholic beverage, you are almost done.

9) Use It Or Lose It: As you are getting to the end of your 1031 timeline and utilizing most of the 1031 funds, you are going to have to decide to use it all or leave some money unutilized. Typically you will have to pay taxes on the remaining (this remaining is called “the boot”). You are going to be faced with decisions to pick up properties that are less than desirable or walk from the deal (and pay the taxes on the unutilized funds).  Case in point, say the last property needs $30K to close the deal but the seller is dragging their feet with final punch list repairs that came from the inspection. The seller is refusing to replace the roof because the roof is 15 years old and has a few good years left.  Therefore, the seller does not want to pay $10K to fix it per your request. Let’s do the math, if you walk from the deal you pay ~25% of the $30k due to tax implications of not utilizing the funds and pay the government almost $8k. Armed with this information, it would be logical to suggest that the seller pays half of the roof costs ($5k) as it is a good business decision for you to make this concession and not pay the taxes on the boot (5K<8K). This is a simple example, but this is how the decision needs to be analyzed. Also, keep in mind, information is power. If the seller knew that you were in the late stages of your 1031 and you did not have any other potential 1031 properties to go after on your 45-day-list or nearing the 180-day deadline you would be at their mercy. But that’s negotiation, which can be a fancy 52-card game of BS.

10) Just take it day by day: It is not easy, but it’s simple…LOL. This is where you are glad you picked an investor focused lender who has done these things before instead of the neighborhood big bank. Again make sure you keep the line of communication open with your lender (every few days) to avoid large surprises.

11) A 1031 Exchange is Not for Beginners: If you have not purchased a rental property before I would try to buy one outside of a 1031 to test the agent, lender, market, and especially yourself. The 1031 is going to require you to have many plates spinning at once. It is best to first figure out the nuances with a simple one-off transaction.


Which property class or property value range would be best to put on the buying list?

This is ultimately up to your investing strategy and criteria. For me to tell you what is the best is irresponsible and against what I believe, because you should understand the macro (not micro) concepts for yourself and make your own best individual strategy. With that disclaimer out of the way, I originally went (my personal strategy changes over time) after B/B+ properties that rented for at least $1000 per month and had at least 3 bed and 2 bath. This strategy evolves as my portfolio grows. #1stWorldInvestorProblems. Some things to think of when finding your strategy/criteria include:

  • Although I fully intend to hold on to these properties indefinitely for cashflow, I recognize that things change, and perhaps I might want to trade in one “goose that lays the golden egg” for two or three “geese that lay the golden egg” or one “big ass goose that yea you get the point.” To say, “My properties are generating cashflow” is a fallacy. Instead, you have to evaluate what the numbers say on the bottom of the spreadsheet and compare the two situations you are evaluating. You should always be making moves to optimize your return, assuming it warrants the transaction costs.
  • I was using Fannie Mae loans, which are those sweet government subsidized 30-year fixed loans. At the time of this writing (5/2016) the most one person can have is 10 to their name (If you are smart also 10 in your married partner’s name too). Your plan might be to only get one or two homes and sail off into the sunset, but your plan might change and you have to change your plan for the “if” in life. To acquire a conventional Fannie/Freddie non-owner occupied property requires 20-25% down payment. There are also lender costs, which I typically estimate at $5000 +/- $1000. Parts of the lender costs are variable, such as an origination loan (basically it’s their fee to have to deal with you and headaches you cause them). Origination fees are typically a certain percentage (~1%) of the final loan, but the rate varies from lender to lender, so this is something you are comparing. Other parts of the lender costs are fixed costs such as inspection costs, credit reports, and appraisal fees. It is these fixed costs that are the same whether you buy a $40K property or a $140K property. This is one reason I personally went after a more expensive property.
  • By buying 50K properties that rent for $800 you’re like “Hey that’s awesome that’s a 1.6+% Rent to Value Ratio”. But I suggest reading my article about the nuances of the RV Ratio and property classes. I promise you there is a graph and I’ll show you where I think where the cool kids are investing on the class spectrum. Remember the goal is to maximize the profit, which is the rent minus expenses (and the mortgage if you finance the property). Folks get wrapped around all these metrics, but do not forget the goal.
  • This is totally my strategy, but please think for yourself: When I was getting started I went for the higher priced properties (Not the A properties cause there is no cashflow in there). I went for properties that rent for 1100 that I could get for 100K. I would say these were B+ properties (Note: do not take the seller’s definition). My strategy was to find low hassle properties that had better tenants and properties that I could easily liquidate because they were close to the median home. There is a bit contradiction here because yes, they were safer in terms of tenant quality and exit strategy, but the cashflow buffer was less, so I had less ability to lower rents in a market downturn. Now that I have a stronger base in terms of teams, money, and knowledge I try to go for more C properties because I feel I have the experience and risk tolerance for it (although I stated that these could be safer in terms of the buffer in the cashflow).


Goal: I am selling my home for 600k, and I want to invest out of state for cash flow at $200/month per door.

I think that the per door $200 assumption is in line. There is a difference if you are buying $60K properties or $120K properties but either way, I think you will be beating the averages of the stock market, and that is why I do what I do. One day I will make a video showing the math on the hidden benefits of owning rental real estate.

This is how it is going to work if you choose to sell and do a 1031 exchange. First, you sell the home for $600k (~10% will go to commissions, etc.), so you are left with $540K. This is how much you have to acquire, or there are tax penalties.  Therefore, if you are looking at $90K properties, you are going to need to pick up 6 of them. Your cash in your 1031 will be $540k minus your remaining mortgage. You can bring cash out of pocket to make up any shortcomings. Check out this article for more info on some 1031 issues and strategies.

SPC Git Er’ Done Action Plan:

  • If you’re not doing a 1031… You will need to do one in the future or you are just being silly by hoarding that equity. Today think about the possibility of this exit strategy as you purchase properties. For example, a lot of people talk about buying duplexes, triplexes, and quads, but when it’s time to sell, there is a fraction of possible buyers. And those possible buyers are all investors who are looking to get a deal.