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The 5 Best Ways to Deal with Rent Delinquencies Right Now

Landlords and tenants are facing rent delinquencies due to covid-19 so here are some thoughts to help from a veteran property manager.

By Justin Becker
Property Manager

There is no denying that right now, COVID-19 continues to affect the real-estate and rental market.

If you’re a property manager or landlord of a multifamily housing community or complex, navigating these waters for the last eight months has been somewhat challenging.

Nevertheless, with no real end in sight, mass unemployment, fluctuation in available job opportunities, and the ongoing pandemic, it is still very difficult for tenants to be able to pay their rent and still afford their other monthly expenses.

Working with tenants who are experiencing economic hardships due to COVID-19 has been par for the course for these last couple of months. Moreover, with most property managers’ and landlords’ hands being essentially tied in regard to legally dealing with late rent payments or lack of payments, it is not too surprising that people are starting to get creative by finding proactive ways to deal with rent delinquencies.

Other than being more flexible, many property managers are not sure what else they can do during these uncertain times. But the good news is that there is definitely more that can be done.

That said, here are the five best ways to deal with rent delinquencies right now.

No. 1: Build Proactive Partnerships

One of the best things you can do as a property manager right now is to collaborate with your tenants to ease the pressure and address financial hardships.

Obviously, open lines of communication are key here, and looking for a win-win solution to the problem makes everyone walk away from negotiations feeling a little better. A prime example of building proactive landlord-tenant partnerships is deferring a portion of rent and establishing a reasonable repayment plan.

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    All Hail Amazon: Why E-Commerce is All Powerful in CRE

    One hundred new warehouses. One thousand new delivery hubs. One hundred thousand jobs.

    Amazon likes its numbers round, and it likes them in headlines. The e-commerce behemoth has been on a tear over the last several months, leasing, outfitting, and opening hundreds of millions of square feet across the country, in stark contrast to the general economic gloom.

    Amazon opened 100 warehouses in September alone, in addition to the 100 distribution facilities and 1,000 neighborhood delivery hubs it leased, or plans to lease, in the near future.

    It has more than 100 million square feet of planned space underway, and has ramped up its activity across the United States. These include at least six new warehouses in Georgia, four in the Atlanta area; at least seven distribution centers in Texas, near Dallas, Houston, Austin and El Paso; five scheduled to open in Arizona by December, doubling the number of its facilities in that state; and 12 in California.

    Online sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that the
    e-commerce king is a pandemic winner. In the process, Amazon is taking a lot of industrial real estate with it.

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      Despite the Crisis, Some Apartments Traded During the Third Quarter

      Buyers have closed these deals to buy apartment properties with help from new capital from investors.

      Investors bought more apartment properties than anyone expected in the third quarter of 2020, despite the ongoing chaos stemming from the pandemic.

      First, apartment investors found ways to complete deals planned before the coronavirus spread. Additionally, investors began to make new deals to buy apartment properties, especially in strong suburban markets.

      These deals are moving forward despite new uncertainties, as doctors diagnose tens of thousands of new cases of the coronavirus. Dealmakers are also making decisions amid a backdrop of political uncertainty with the control of the White House and Congress at stake in next week’s election and with it the potential fate of any new COVID-19 relief that could extend a needed lifeline to millions of Americans that remain unemployed.

      “We are surprised by the amount of acquisition activity,” says Sam Isaacson, president of Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners.

      Investors spend billions

      Investors paid a total of $24.0 billion for apartment properties in the third quarter of 2020, according to Real Capital Analytics (RCA). That’s down 51 percent from nearly $50 billion in the third quarter of 2019. It sounds like a steep and sudden fall—but the volume of sales is a step up from a second quarter in which much of the U.S. economy shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus and deal volume ground to a near halt. The volume of sales was down 67 percent in the second quarter compared to the year before.

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        A $50 Billion Housing Bond Market Is Stuck in Regulatory Limbo

        Questions are arising about the long-term viability for agency-backed credit-risk-transfer securities.

        (Bloomberg) — A $50 billion bond market once heralded as the future of housing finance has been stuck in limbo since the start of the coronavirus crisis, and now proposed regulatory changes have left investors worrying that they might be left holding the bag.

        At issue are so-called credit-risk-transfer securities offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are tied to Fannie and Freddie’s mortgage-backed securities and pay investors principal and interest as long as the borrowers don’t default.

        Fannie hasn’t issued the bonds since the pandemic began, and the company’s executives are privately telling some investors that it has doubts about the market’s longterm viability. Freddie, meanwhile, has resumed issuing the bonds after a pause near the start of the pandemic. The lack of activity is starting to worry investors that they will be saddled with securities that are akin to museum pieces that no one is interested in buying.

        The uncertainty stems from a proposal by Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria that many say would make it uneconomic in some cases for Fannie and Freddie to keep issuing the securities. Calabria’s plan would reduce the capital relief the companies get by issuing CRT by about half in some circumstances, according to Chris Helwig, a managing director at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

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          How Tenant COVID-19 Behavior Is A Predictor of the Future

          How tenant covid-19 behavior can be a predictor of the future in today’s challenging rental housing environment is the advice from veteran landlord David Pickron.

          By David Pickron

          Knowing how your applicant did in the COVID-19 times will be important information to protect yourself in the future.

          As a newly married couple in our 20s, my wife and I went out and looked at new homes as we were trying to decide where to lay down our roots and start our little family. We walked through what seemed like a never-ending parade of homes to see what was on the market. When my wife walked in the last model home, which was decked out and highly upgraded, her jaw hit the floor and she looked at me, communicating non-verbally that this was the one; she had found her dream home.

          Being new to the house-buying game and admittedly a little naïve to the process, we started our journey to purchasing our first home. Finding the home was the fun part, but qualifying, along with the accompanying mountains of paperwork, was another. After my wife picked out her upgraded white cabinets our first home cost $114,000, and all I could think about was how am I ever going to qualify and afford the payment? But after looking at my wife and seeing that look in her eyes, I knew one thing for certain, I was buying that house.

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            6 Mistakes that New Investors Make on Fix and Flip Properties

            There are tons of TV shows, YouTube channels and articles that make it seem like the fix-and-flip model of real estate investing is really simple and straightforward. However, it’s not as easy as it looks and there is more than meets the eye. There are tons of mistakes that new investors make that could easily be avoided with a little bit of education and coaching on the front end.
            If you’re thinking about getting into fix and flip real estate investing, we encourage you to do some research and learn from people who have been doing it for a while. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel when there are tons of resources available to you to help and keep you on the right track from the very beginning. In this article, we are going to break down some of the key mistakes that new investors make and how to avoid them.

            What is Fix and Flip Investing?

            This type of investing involves an investing purchasing a property not to keep or use, but to turn around and sell for a profit as quickly as possible. Most fix and flip scenarios involve some level of cosmetic enhancements, renovations or improvements that are done to the home prior to putting it back on the market to sell. It’s a really great way to turn quick profits if you do it well.
            According to ATTOM Data solutions, 6.2% of all home sales in the United States in 2019 were house flips completed by fix and flip investors. That’s approximately 250,000 homes and an average of $62,000 gross profit on each. The key here is “gross” profit. Notice it didn’t say “net”.
            What’s important to understand about flipping houses is that once you close on the property, the quicker you can turn it around, the better. For this reason, flippers are often attracted to foreclosures, short sales and other such situations that allow for a quick turnaround. But you also have to be really careful to balance the attractiveness of a quick turnaround with the amount of money and work it could take to get it ready to put back on the market.
            Let’s dive into some of the mistakes that new investors make and how to avoid them. The more you know on the front end, the better off you’ll be!

            Mistake #1: Not Doing Your Research

            This is a lesson that is often learned the hard way amongst new investors. Just because you can get a house for a really cheap price doesn’t mean it’s worth it. There could be very good reasons why it’s priced so low and taking it on is not always a wise decision.
            Doing your homework on the neighborhood, the housing market and current conditions can save you thousands in the long run. It takes a little bit more effort in the beginning, but can be a total game changer. There are lots of resources, websites, mobile apps, etc. to help you make sound decisions during the buying process, so be sure to look into those, as well.
            There is a rule called the “70% Rule” that we highly recommend you consider when researching your properties. It simply states that you shouldn’t purchase the home for more than 70% of what it will be worth AFTER the renovations or the AVR (after repair value). In order to adhere to this rule, you have to know what the house will actually be worth and approximately how much it will cost you to do the renovations that need to be done.

            Mistake #2: Not Choosing the Correct Financing Option

            Ideally, you want to be able to purchase the homes in cash to avoid paying any financing fees, interest, etc. However, most investors who are just getting started don’t have access to that kind of cash right out of the gate. Making smart decisions in your financing will be a major game changer for you in the end.
            There are tons of vendors out there offering “no money down” and “low money down” options, but they are often touted by fly-by-night companies, rather than legitimate lenders. Don’t get caught in that trap because you are much more likely to lose money in the end, rather than making any. Additionally, if you are financing not only the property but also the acquisition of the property, you will be paying interest on that money, too. Remember that every dollar counts.
            Research all of your lending options and ask lots of questions in the process. You want to find a lender you can trust who can provide a mortgage product that works for you. Look for low interest rates, low closing costs and minimal fees.
            Then you need to consider how long it’s going to take you to turn the property around and get it back on the market and sold. Since you’ll be paying the mortgage while you’re renovating it, you need to consider those costs in your calculations. Again, every dollar counts.

            Mistake #3: Wasting or Underestimating Time

            If you finance your investment property, you’ll be paying a mortgage payment and interest for every month that you own the property. This means that time is money – literally. Making good use of the time and being efficient with renovation plans is critical.
            We recommend a few different techniques in this scenario.

            • Have a plan for the renovations or repairs before closing on the property.
            • If possible, have a few different contractors bid the work for you before closing, as well.
            • If you plan to do the work yourself, be sure to price out all of the materials and tools you will need and calculate how much time it’s going to take you to complete it.
            • Plan for how long it will take to get the necessary inspections on whatever work was performed, whether by you or by a contractor. This can take much longer than you anticipate.

            Many new investors are still working a full-time job because they have not yet built their investment portfolio to the point that they can quit their 9-to-5. If this is you, try to be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to the work that needs to be done. Do you have a spouse at home? Kids? School? All of these things can contribute to distractions that will keep you from being able to complete the work in a timely manner. It’s not a bad thing, but rather just something to think about.

            Mistake #4: Contracting Everything Out

            If you’re in a really great place financially, this might be a good option for you, but for most fix and flip investors, particularly new ones, the real profits come from doing the work yourself. We call this sweat equity. If you’re able to purchase the home, do the majority of the work yourself and in a timely manner, your profits will increase exponentially. The cost of contracting the work to someone else might be so high that it eats up any profit you would have made.
            There are many fix and flip investors who are contractors, builders, carpenters and other craftsmen for full-time work and do the investing as a part-time or seasonal gig on the side. These investors generally have the skills and knowledge to be able to complete the work quickly and efficiently, which allows them to turn better profits on their investments.
            If you’re not handy with a tool box, you might want to consider whether or not the investment in the property and the contractors will be more than the profits earned after the resale. If the profits will be marginal at best, it might not be a great option for you. Instead, you could consider partnering with someone who is able to do the work, or opt for a different type of real estate investing.

            Mistake #5: Doing Unnecessary Work

            If you ARE someone who is handy with a hammer and enjoys doing the construction yourself, it can be really easy to over-do it. When you’re passionate about home improvement and renovations, you can get carried away with all of the possibilities of the property. Try to restrict renovations to only the necessities.

            This goes back to doing your research and knowing your market. Although it would be awesome to renovate the kitchen, all the bathrooms, knock down some walls, etc., is it really a smart decision? In some cases, the answer might be yes. But more often than not, the answer is likely no. If you purchase a house for $80,000 in a neighborhood where houses sell for about $120-130K, it doesn’t make sense to dump $50,000 into it. You’re not going to sell it at a price that is high enough to overcome your renovation costs.

            Instead, think about what is absolutely necessary to make the home as attractive as possible to the current buyers who are purchasing homes in that area. Make those improvements as quickly and efficiently as possible and get the house back on the market. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a really good deep cleaning job, fresh paint and great landscaping. Curb appeal is more important than you think, so don’t forget about it.
            There are many resources available in the market to help you figure out what your return on investment (ROI) is going to be on any given property, based on sales price, finance fees, renovation costs and resale. A good rule of thumb is to shoot for an ROI of 20-30%. This gives you some wiggle room in case something goes wrong. If there is a major issue during the renovation, you have more financial cushion before you end up losing money. The best rule is: don’t lose money!

            Mistake #6: Being Impatient

            Buying an investment property and doing the work to get it ready for resale can be a really exciting time. But many novice investors are too eager to get started and just jump at the first house they see, without doing their research or considering any of the other things we’ve talked about thus far. Although your knee-jerk reaction might be to dive in head-first, try to rationalize your decisions and be patient.
            Do your research on the different areas of town in which you’re interested in purchasing an investment property. Then be patient and wait for the right deal. I’m not saying sit at home and wait for it to fall in your lap, but I AM saying that you need to weigh the pros and cons of each potential investment that you look at. If something seems off, or it’s not quite the right deal, let it go and wait for the right one.
            This goes for contractors, as well. Hopefully, you are able to do the majority of the work yourself. If you find yourself needing to sub-contract some of the work, again, patience is a virtue. A good rule of thumb is to get three quotes from three different vendors before making a decision. Many new investors jump at the first bid and hire that contractor, not knowing whether or not it’s a good deal and whether or not that contractor is any good.

            Conclusion

            Fix and flip real estate investing is a great way to turn a quick profit for a savvy investor. If you have the skills to do the renovations yourself and the time to get them done quickly, this might be a perfect investing option for you. Just make sure you don’t make the mistakes we’ve discussed in this article.
            The reason that most people invest in real estate is to make money. When you’re just getting started in the industry, you will make a lot more money if you pay attention to the deals, be patient and do your homework. If can be an incredibly lucrative side hustle or primary job if you do it well and avoid the major pitfalls that most new investors run into.

            Picture: Pixabay

            Growing Number of Landlords Are Offering Restaurants Percentage-Only Rent

            That might still not be enough to save many smaller operators.

            A recent survey by the NYC Hospitality Alliance helps illustrate the dire straits of America’s restaurants.

            The survey found that 87 percent of New York City’s restaurants, bars and nightlife venues couldn’t pay their full rent in August. The culprit, of course, is pandemic restrictions imposed on these businesses.

            Further complicating the situation, 60 percent of the businesses surveyed said their landlords hadn’t waived any of their rent in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in New York City and across the country, a number of landlords are offering concessions for restaurants and other hospitality businesses in the form of percentage-only rent.

            Some restaurant landlords are temporarily switching from fixed-rate rents to rents based only on a share of the tenant’s gross sales or revenue, in an effort to help these businesses survive, says Ken Lamy, founder, president and CEO of The Lamy Group, a Mandeville, La.-based financial management consulting firm. Landlords are then leaving the door open to revisiting the rent structure at a later date, perhaps 12 to 18 months down the road, he notes.

            “Rent is a function of revenue, and with restaurant revenue getting decimated in certain types of trade areas, one way to protect the financial stability of a restaurant—and provide a cushion before we recover from COVID-19—is to structure a percentage-only rent deal and fix the restaurant’s rental expense with an acceptable percentage of gross sales,” says Jason Kastner, managing director of the national advisory group at Washington, D.C.-based Dochter & Alexander Retail Advisors, which represents restaurant and retail tenants.

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              Turning a dead mall into a warehouse will slash its value as much as 90%, Barclays predicts

              Turning dead malls into fulfillment centers, apartment complexes, schools or medical offices could mean massive writeoffs in property values, according to a new Barclays report.

              In the coming years, hundreds of America’s roughly 1,100 malls are expected to shut, as retail, restaurant and movie theater closures pile up, and more people favor shopping on the internet over heading to the store.

              Property owners are going to be tasked with giving dead malls a new life. But the future prospects — fulfillment centers, apartment complexes, schools or medical offices — could mean massive writeoffs in property values, according to a new Barclays report.

              Turning a shuttered mall into an e-commerce warehouse or a residential complex could reduce the value of the property anywhere from 60% to 90%, Ryan Preclaw, a research analyst at Barclays, told CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” Thursday morning.

              While the land that malls sit on may offer better recovery values if it is used for a mixed-use development, he said, historically that has only happened for about 15% of former malls.

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                7 Insights for Landlords on the New Federal Eviction Moratorium

                Two attorneys recently joined the National Real Estate Investors Association for an online discussion to help landlords and property managers understand how best to deal with the new federal eviction moratorium.

                A new nationwide federal eviction moratorium has been ordered through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to halt residential evictions through the end of December for non-payment of rent due to Covid-19.

                Both lawyers discussed the issues, the affidavits that tenants must provide to show how they have been affected by COVID-19 in order to qualify under the federal eviction moratorium, and how attorneys could challenge the affidavits in court when necessary.

                You can hear the full discussion here on YouTube.

                Attorneys Jeff Watson, in Cleveland, and Jeffrey Greenberger, in Cincinnati, gave their thoughts – not legal advice – on how landlords could best react to the moratorium. They were introduced by Charles Tassell, chief operating officer of the National Real Estate Investors Association.

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                  Affordable Housing Developers Build War Chests to Buy Properties

                  Some buyers that want to keep properties affordable are hoping to snap up assets that otherwise might be converted to market rate units if they fall into other investors’ hands.

                  Affordable housing advocates are tired of losing bidding wars that result in losing some of the nation’s already stretched supply of workforce apartments.

                  During the recovery from the Global Recession, developers with a mission to create and preserve affordable housing struggled to buy older apartment buildings with an aim of keeping the rents reasonable enough for low-income families to afford. They are trying to prevent the same thing from happening in the current cycle, with the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus likely to trigger another wave of property sales.

                  “In the last recession, a lot of private equity buyers swept in and picked up affordable housing properties,” says Kimberly Latimer-Nelligan, president of Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), a national, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) with $900 million in assets under management. “We plan to make sure the mission-driven organizations have access to capital to compete with investors who are going to take those properties to market-rate rents and displace all those residents.”

                  To prepare this time, developers and investors dedicated to preserving affordable housing are now raising capital to make sure that they can successfully bid for properties, including affordable housing communities where existing restrictions on raising rents are nearing their ends. Affordale housing investors are also looking to buy older class-B and class-C apartment properties that have never been in official affordable housing programs as well as smaller properties with just a few apartments.

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