Learn how/why I got out my high priced Seattle (Appreciation) market and into 9 Properties In 5 Months Via 1031 Exchange
Today ends a 9 property, 5 month, buying spree that started back in October 2015 with the sale of my subject Seattle portfolio. I did not know what to call these shenanigans and simply calling it a 1031 did not do it justice. Therefore I will name this feat a “1031-O-Rama” which is inspired by the good old 2008 days where one could apply for a bunch of credit cards with 0% interest. All of you are Real Estate investors and sticking money into a high-interest rewards checking account is kiddie stuff so if you’re ready to go gangbusters here we go…
From 2010-2015, my rentals in Seattle were cash flowing each with 400-600 a month (after vacancy/capex/repairs…), but it was because I bought these properties at the right time so when I tried to buy again in 2015 or early as 2012, prices would not cashflow with typical 20% down financing. My rentals were A+ class and were below the 0.5% Rent to Value Ratio… so amateur, I know. I think everyone would agree that like SF, Seattle has seen great appreciation over the past few years due to the influx of foreign money and tech companies. As a real estate investor you need to always be looking at the numbers and in this case the Return of Deployable Equity (ROE=your sales price minus commissions minus current mortgage balance). By sitting on so much “Lazy Money” in the form of equity I was making less than 5 percent in terms of ROE (The IRR metric is when you buy, the ROE is to evaluate the performance once you are in operation). If the ROE is less than 8 percent/year you are better off in the stock market even though I am not a fan of stocks/mutual funds. Let’s face it, rentals have some risks such as unexpected capital expenses, legal liability, and the low level of overall “PITA” (Pain in the butt). Since 5% < 8%, I needed to re-position my money. Now if this were a Las Vegas movie (funny how appreciation is like gambling) I would be grabbing my chips from the craps table, cashing out at the money cage, and retreating up to my room with my winnings and a beer/pizza.
In the end, I traded two properties via two 1031s that cash flowed a total of $1,000 a month for 10 properties that cash flowed over $3,000 a month (after expenses, vacancy, turn over, capital expenses, and property management). Now I beckon the recession to come because I have more than enough buffer in each individual rental to lower my rents by a couple hundred dollars and since pay the mortgage. A mentor of mine told me that the risk is not the interest rate or amount of debt but the lack of buffer in the spread between your rent, expenses, and mortgage.
Throughout the lending process, I know there must be clones of me with all the DNA samples the lenders/underwriters needed from me (well not really) but it’s a huge PITA to go through the Fannie Mae loan process and execute on multiple loans.You think Fannie loan #1-4 is tough, #5-10 is another level. At any one time I had parallel processes of purchases sale agreements pending, inspections, re-negotiation, inspection punch list, property management interviews and setup, contractor logistics, etc. What a mess. A lot of lenders will recommend that you cross-collateralize your investments so you can get more Fannie Mae loan (max as of now is 10) but I don’t think it should be used in all situations. Remember that loan guy gets paid whenever you originate a loan so of course they are going to recommend it. Also the Fannie Mae loans aren’t really that much better than a portfolio loan…just saying (I can expand on this later in a different article).
On a couple of the properties (#6 of 9 and #9 of 9) I actually didn’t really want them because of things I found in the due-diligence process but I had to close because they were on my “45-day Identified Property List”. I could walk from the deal, but I would have to pay taxes on my unused 1031 funds. The business decision was that it was better to overpay by $6,000 and get the property than have no property and pay the government 25% of $30,000. If you are considering this madness, try not to let your sellers know what you are doing because I got bamboozled by sellers since they knew I had nothing else on my 45-day list of potential properties and HAD to close.
People say that the 180-day deadline is difficult but I would argue that only being able to purchase properties off your 45 day list (period after your subject property closes) is the biggest hurdle and should be really pondered over. A good best practice is to line up your purchase and sale agreement for new acquisition(s) when you are 1-2 weeks before your scheduled closing date so when that date comes…boom you have 5 purchase and sale agreements executed and you are off and running on 45 day closes.
Who did I buy from? I can write about this later in more detail on my site but I had to work with 4 agents/turnkey providers. But here is where I bought one in 2014 and basically had my proof of concept before I went balls to the wall on this stuff.
Now I am so relieved to be out of the roller coaster high appreciation Seattle market and in boring appreciation markets. I know that a few years from now someone will read this note that Seattle properties have gone up 2x in value. However, I’m totally content with my passive cashflow portfolio AKA just chillin’ with my yes… that beer and pizza back in the hotel room watching the movie “The Big Short”.
PS: Now I know a lot of folks will say that I have bought lukewarm deals and yea I agree. But all I know is that it’s a lot better than the stock market and they were good deals for a passive investor/level of effort to obtain them not being an active investor. Other side notes.
Also a link to more 1031 exchange tips and tricks.