Friday, September 11, 2015

A Real Life Real Estate Investor Story

As you know we always preach the gospel of buying single family homes, renting them, financing them with 30-year fixed-rate loans and then just holding them long term. We have discussed the benefits of having a 30-year loan which never keeps up with the cost of living (while everything else does!) Thus your loan gets constantly eroded by inflation (and don’t let anyone tell you the United States will have no or negative inflation in the face of the massive fixed debt it is on the hook for), while the tenant makes the payments for you (of course the RENT does change with inflation which makes it all the sweeter).

In the past month I got a call from a financial planner handling the affairs of one of my investors. He had purchased nine single family homes in Phoenix in the mid 90’s. It turns out the he did not even live in the United States anymore, hence the financial planner handling his affairs in the U.S. They decided it was time to sell the homes in light of the 2012-2015 run-up in values that Phoenix has experienced in the aftermath of the recession.

Needless to say his mortgages, while still not completely paid off (they are 30-year loans after all), are essentially as good as paid off after over 20 years. They never kept up with the cost of living and the principal payments whittled them down pretty low – very funny numbers considering the 20+ year inflation which the loan never kept up with.

A few quick CMAs (Comparative Market Analysis) by one of our Phoenix brokers revealed that after selling the nine homes, the investor would NET (after sales expenses and closing), about $1.7M. Considering he bought the homes for an average of $80K each and using 10% down payments (those were the financing terms back in the mid 90’s), his overall return on investment is not only staggering, but the $1.7M is a real, tangible, powerful enhancement for the rest of his life (he is now in his mid 60’s).

As much as this is a satisfying long term result, I know the investor could have easily bought way more than nine homes. Loans were plentiful back then (no up-to-10 limits) and he had the capacity to easily buy three times as many homes. Nevertheless, even with this investment, he has created a powerful effect on his financial future. Alternatively he could have just kept the homes and have the net rent from all nine homes contribute to his retirement income.

During our next 1-Day Expo (tomorrow near SFO – see for details and if you mention this blog entry, you are invited at no cost – just email us at with the attendees’ names), we will discuss new loans available to investors who own over 10 homes as well. Loans are now also available to foreigners again, and of course, if you own less than 10 homes there are conventional investor loans available to you from most banks.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What The Volatile Market Means to Real Estate Single Family Home Investors

The Dow closed down 588 points last Wednesday as worries of a China Slowdown permeate the business community. Even though there was some recovery in the market on Wednesday the market is still volatile. In looking at this from the prism of a single family home investor; there are pros and cons to consider.

On the pro side, it’s already assumed that any interest rate hike by the fed will now be postponed until things feel stable. Since it takes time for a rate hike to translate to mortgage rates, we get more time with our delightfully low mortgages. Of course since most mortgages have yearly caps, it will take even longer (in some cases much longer) for rates to climb in a significant way.

Also on the pro side, people are confused as to where money should operate. The knee-jerk
Great advice.
reaction is to have money sit as cash (with close to zero yield). However when people are scared of stock markets, real estate and (especially) single family homes usually become more interesting as a safe hard asset which produces income, which we tell our clients at ICG as well.

People may also feel this is not a bad time to pull money out of stocks and finally buy a home for themselves, since they might have been planning to do it anyway - this would not be a bad time to deploy that cash, right into locking in a low rate 30-year fixed loan. This of course would boost real estate markets in the single family home sector.

On the con side, obviously what is happening is not engendering a lot of overall economic confidence and more doom-and-gloom messages are circulating. This can create an environment where people "hunker down" which will not help the housing market.

During our upcoming 1-Day Expo, we have invited Dr.Lawrence A. Souzato to discuss this and other important economic waves now manifesting. Don't miss it!

We will also have Ralph Bunje Jr. talking about reverse and regular 1031 exchanges and how to do them right, and Charles Byrd about using Evernote for business, and total life organization and efficiency. We will have market teams from the best United States markets and lots of Q & A, networking and learning. Anyone mentioning this blog can attend for free with two guests. Just email us at or call at 415-927-7504. Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Higher Rates Possible by The End of 2015

Janet Yellen, The Federal Reserve Chairwoman, said that if the economy is on track with job market improvement and inflation climbing closer to its target rate, the fed will start raising interest rates by the end of 2015. This is a move most have been expecting.

I presume rates will rise very gradually, and it will be a while before it translates to higher mortgage rates, but the process seems closer than its been in many years. Those of us who have been around real estate for a while know that the super-low rates we see today are not the norm. For most of real estate mortgages’ history, rates have been much higher than they are now.

Thus it seems quite likely that in the coming years we will see rates that could climb back into what we used to see in the past few couple of decades. Mortgages reaching 8%, anyone? It’s possible but will not happen quickly. Of course, some veterans remember mortgage rates being higher than that  - much higher. Assuming mortgage rates will indeed rise in the coming years, it only drives home the tried-and-true message even stronger: buy a good home in a decent area, finance it with a 30-year fixed-rate loan and you have put an excellent “stake in the ground” towards your financial future.

A 30-year fixed-rate loan has always been amazing. To foreigners they seem like an impossible miracle: how can the loan payments and remaining balance NOT be pegged to the cost of living? That seems like a fairy tale. How could everything else rise with inflation, on average, except for one and only one item: the mortgage rate on a fixed-rate loan?

Once people realize how absurd this is, it becomes crystal-clear:  it’s amazing for the BORROWER.

As a borrower – go ahead and get these incredible loans. You don’t have to wait 30 years for the loan to pay off. After some time – perhaps 10 years, perhaps 12, 15 or so – the loan, while still having time remaining on it, will likely look like a joke – VERY low payments and very low balance – as good as paid off in essence. (Down to almost a rounding error as the years advance.)

 Inflation AND your tenant pay the loan off. Inflation makes it lower in real dollar value and the tenant makes the payments for you (and leaves extra for you in the form of cash flow which increases as the years go by since the loan payments are fixed, but rents are not).  This message is always true – regardless of what interest rates might be.

 However when interest rates are so incredibly low as they are now – it behooves real estate investors to go out and buy homes, finance them with 30-year fixed-rate loans, rinse and repeat. This is a window in time which may not repeat itself for many decades. Take advantage of it.

In our ICG 1-Day Expo coming up NEXT SATURDAY 5/30/2015 near SFO, we will discuss this point and many others. There will be lender guests who will teach us about loans for people with over 10 loans in place, loans for foreigners, and other special loan types. There will be market teams for the best real estate markets in the nation. There will be special real estate deals and special houses that can start the process we discuss above for you.

As always, we will also have experts on insurance, credit, financial planning and other topics, plus a lot of networking. Anyone mentioning this blog can attend free with two guests – please email us at to register.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Prices Rising and How You Benefit

In a Wall Street Journal article (front-page) by Laura Kusisto, May 12, 2015 titled "Home Prices Start to Heat Up" we learn that home prices rose year-over-year in 148 out of 174 metro areas in the United States, as measured in the first quarter of 2015. Fifty-one of these metro areas increased by double digits.

There is no doubt that most U.S. markets, including essentially all the markets real estate investors are investing in, are on an upwards trajectory. (If you are not a real estate investor... you may want to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can to learn about this market and determine what might work for you as an investment in your future.) The reasons are many, including low interest rates and loans becoming even easier to obtain over the past year (and this trend continues). Buyers (no doubt) know that the low rates will not be there forever, and feel compelled to jump in. And they are doing just that. A better employment picture also helps.

Needless to say, the phenomenon of price appreciation by itself can create upwards price pressure, as buyers prefer jumping in sooner rather than later, to get a better price. As I have always discussed and predicted, retiring baby boomers are starting to be a major force in some of the sunbelt states as they seek homes for retirement in warmer climates and friendly tax situations.

For the investor, new and seasoned, what is happening now is not strong enough not to invest. Learning how to take advantage of all of this is optimal at this time. It is a reminder that buying with a fixed-rate 30-year loan that never changes with inflation - and I cannot emphasize that enough - is one of the best financial moves one can make for their financial future! The tenant and inflation will bring the loan balance down as the years go by. Home prices AND rent are NOT fixed, only the mortgage payments are (the loan balance is also fixed and in fact is paid a bit off each month, even nominally due to the amortization).

I will discuss this in greater detail as well as many other factors critical to our real estate investing strategies, during our ICG quarterly 1-Day Expo near SFO airport on Saturday May 30, 2015. We will have market teams from the best markets in the U.S. at the Expo with vendors present for one-on-one discussions. Lenders will tell us about the new loans we can get, including new loans for foreign investors and U.S. investors with over 10 homes. We will also have experts on insurance, credit optimization and repair, and overall financial planning. For more detail on these experts, visit us at ICG Real Estate Investments and click on the button about our upcoming event. To register you may email us at, and mention where you saw this blog, to attend for free with two guests. If you would rather register through Eventbrite, feel free (although ticket price applies).

See you soon; I look forward to learning from our experts right along with you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Financing Now Available for Foreigners And Americans with Over 10 Properties

There are lenders seizing an opportunity by operating outside of the restrictive FNMA guidelines. In the past year we have seen loans improving for foreigners. It started with 50% LTV (loan-to-value) loans and now loans are up to 65% LTV for foreigners. The minimum loan amount is $100,000. Interest rates are not far off from the excellent rates American investors can get – mostly in the five percentile. Sometimes with a long fixed rate period, perhaps just passing the six percentile.

Loans can be fixed for 5, 7 or 10 years (the latter ones touch a bit over 6% but the two former ones are well within 5%+). Americans can now also get 65% LTV loans with similar terms for properties between 10 and 20 (!). As we know, FNMA caps the number at 10, a restrictive barrier not enabling markets to fully engage investors. Will Bill Gates also be limited at 10 residential loans? Apparently yes, according to the FNMA guidelines.

In any case, having the ability to borrow at 65% LTV can enable a good contingent of veteran experienced investors, to continue investing and take advantage of the great rates prevailing in today’s markets. As someone who has seen rates be well in the teens, I can appreciate what it means to borrow on property number 16 at a rate that is a bit above 5%.

I am impressed with these advances. As a result I have invited the lender to speak at our quarterly ICG 1-Day Expo on Saturday May 30th. There will also be solid conventional lenders and loans featured prominently at the event.

In addition there will be experts to teach us critical issues for investors: Scott Gerlis Founder and CEO of SAG Credit Consultants will speak about  credit repair and enhancement and how to maximize everyone’s credit and avoid the pitfalls.  Lucian Ioja, Financial Designer with Integrity Wealth Management, a respected financial planner, will teach us the overall way to look at arranging and optimizing our finances, not just via real estate, to secure a powerful retirement and other goal accomplishment. Joyce Feldman, Founder and CEO of Joyce Feldman Insurance Company (Farmers Insurance) will teach us about how to use insurance correctly as the first and possibly the most important line in protecting our assets, common mistakes and how to avoid them, and a comprehensive look at our protection.

Needless to say, teams from the best markets in the United States will be there to update us on their marketplace, interact with us, and tell us about special deals in their markets. We have been holding these events for about 25 years now and I keep learning a lot during each and every event. Mention this blog post and you can attend free – just email us at or call 415-927-7504.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First Quarter Real Estate 1-Day Expo a Success

Between the experts we brought in to speak in December to those that joined us for the 1-day expo we had on Saturday March 7, 2015, attendees are feeling the momentum of this year being a record breaker for real estate investment. In March we had fantastic speakers. We heard from Tom Anderson, one of the best-known experts on the subject of real estate investing via your IRA account. He taught us about what works and what doesn’t. There are many types of real estate we can purchase via our IRA accounts and the advantages were something you will want to learn more about, if you were not there. We are considering asking Tom and our other speakers to guest blog for us, so look for that.

In concert with Tom, we had invited Roger St. Pierre to tell us about getting loans for buying real estate via our IRA accounts. Roger taught us about special NON-RECOURSE loans and how they can enable us to infuse “safe leverage” into our IRA investing. Wow. Tom, like all of our speakers are always great at really spending the time and energy in what they deliver to educate.

Attorney Brett Lytle gave a spectacular lecture that had everyone at the edge of their seats about asset protection. Brett covered fine points and state-specific details which were of crucial importance to the attendees. Since the first wall of asset protection is good insurance, we are inviting Joyce Feldman, who has great experience insuring real estate investors, to our NEXT 1-Day Expo on Saturday May 30th.  We have various experts under consideration who will be joining Joy.

Getting updates from the market teams was fantastic as always. Things change consistently, and to have them there every quarter to let people know what is going on is critical. I have been producing this event for over 20 years now and I still learn every time.

We had lenders discuss the ever-changing new loan programs for investors. Since loan conditions are rapidly changing these days (getting better), including loans to foreigners, we will have expert lenders at the May 30th expo as well. Just the Q&A sessions and the audience engagement were in themselves incredibly instructive. What a great day!

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday May 30th. To register please email us at or call at 415-927-7504. Mention this blog and you can attend for free AND have your guests attend free as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Homes Begin to Dominate Investor Purchases

Investors who have been buying older homes from bank foreclosures during the recession, are now realizing some of the benefits of buying new homes built this year, in 2015 direct from developers (or minimally a massive renovation - like new). The lower future incidence of repairs, the warranties, the potential developer giveaways--possible only in new home purchases (a builder can give the buyer a covered patio which may be a $6,000 option, but only costs the builder $2,000 to build) and the modern amenities and floor plans are starting to attract more investors.

Since buying homes is in its core a long term investment, starting with new homes is a great send-off with many extra years of performance available. Getting loans on new homes is usually one of the easiest procedures, and with today’s low rates, locking in a 30-year fixed rate loan on a brand-new home is an excellent “stake in the ground” for anyone’s future. Of course investors should not just blindly buy brand-new homes. The locations have to have the numbers – the right rents for the right prices.

There are some excellent markets providing very good numbers and cash flows in good areas.
For more information, you are invited to attend our quarterly ICG Real Estate 1-Day Expo this Saturday. You will not only meet teams frrm the most relevant markets and see the possibilities for yourself, but there will be expert speakers on important topics such as the new twists in Asset Protection (you must know about this), buying real estate from your Self-Directed IRA, and getting real estate financing for purchases from within your IRA.

There will be information for new investors and established investors on how to move forward powerfully. There will also be lenders to update us as to the ever-improving loan possibilities for investors (domestic and foreign), and lots of great Q&A and networking. The event is near the San Francisco Airport this Saturday, March 7th, from 10AM to 6:30PM. You may also register by emailing us at or call us at 415-927-7504.