If you’re new to real estate investing, there is a term called “contract assignment.” If you have not come across this term or you are unsure of the intricate parts of contract assignment, I am going to spell it out. If need be, re-read this article again and again. Also do not be afraid to ask questions in the comment section below.
We are in the prime selling season in most markets. During this time, investors are normally busy trying to lock down as many properties as possible. In our market, Phoenix, we are seeing an influx of buyers looking for deals. I recently had a conversation with a group of investors looking to get their hands on almost anything that will generate a profit. It would seem that we have not learned from the previous market crash how the real estate climate can change in an instance. My philosophy is ride the storm and assign as many real estate deals as possible.
If you have sat through any get-rich-quick guru pitches, the majority of them will introduce contract assignment wholesaling, but without giving you all the steps involved. Here is what they are referring to when they say “make $5,000 in the next 60-90 days.”
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What is a Contract Assignment?
Short and simple. This is when you first find a property a seller is willing to sell significantly below market value. You then resell that property to another buyer, normally a real estate investor, at a higher price.
Can This Be Done?
Absolutely, I’ve done numerous transactions in Phoenix, although it is not as easy as it’s normally taught, however it is a proven real estate investment strategy with a very low barrier to entry.
How Exactly Does Contract Assignment Work?
1. Find a motivated seller.
First let’s begin with what a motivated seller is. This is an individual who NEEDS to sell a property normally very quickly. There is usually some sort of distress going on in their lives. There is a huge disparity between want to sell and need to sell. Knowing which category your seller falls into is the first step in identifying how to handle the situation.
If I want to sell, there is no since of urgency. There’s normally no timeframe in which to finalize the sale. However, “need to sell” sounds like this :”I have to sell this house now because I’m moving to Maryland to take care of my ailing mother, and I have no other family members in the area.” This is a “need to sell” scenario.
Meanwhile, “want to sell” sounds a lot different: “I’m curious to see what my house is worth because I may be selling next year.” As you can see, there is a reason behind the need to sell versus the second scenario, where there is just curiosity.
There are numerous ways to find motivated sellers, such as driving for dollars, newspaper ads, internet marketing, direct mail marketing, etc. If you begin to research real estate marketing, you will find many forms, but make sure you use a combination of multiple strategies.
Related:Wholesalers Get a Bad Rap — But They’re Essential to Investors for These 3 Reasons
2. Get the contract.
There are many assignment contract templates on the web; however, I make sure an attorney at least has laid his/her eyes on it and approves the document. There are two reasons this is so critical. First, you will have comfort knowing your document is legally sound. Second, you will be able to utilize that attorney as counsel in the event you find yourself in litigation.
There is critical verbiage that need to be added to your assignment contract “and/or assigns.” Why is this so critical? This verbiage authorizes you to re-trade the property to another buyer who is interested in the property. When you receive the signed contract, you now have equitable interest in the property and have some legal standing in what happens to the property.
To provide clarity to the seller if asked about the “and/or assigns” clause, I inform them that we buy numerous houses, and we often have funding partners that we work with. These partners ensure we have more than one set of eyes to run the numbers.
3. Submit contract to title.
This process may differ in each state, but there is normally either a title company or a closing attorney that will conduct a title search. The title search will check the historical records of the property to make sure there are no liens on the property. It is important not to sell a property with a defective title. The title company or the closing attorney is a independent third party hired to make sure the deal is fair as agreed upon in the contract.
4. Find your buyer and assign the contract assignment.
Here is another leg of marketing. Working to find your end buyer can be daunting, but once you have a solid buyer, you can begin the process of closing the transaction. First, when you find your buyer (via Craigslist ads, Zillow, email marketing etc.), you should require a nonrefundable earnest money deposit.
Having the buyer furnish an nonrefundable earnest money deposit secures your position in making a profit. This money will become yours whether the transaction closes or not. The earnest money can be as much or as little your require within reason. I’ve seen deposits of hundreds of dollars up to $5,000. When the buyer deposits the earnest money, you then know that your buyer has a real interest in the property and is willing to move forward. This fee is normally held by the title company or the closing attorney.
5. Get Paid!
This is what most of us want to hear. We get paid when the end buyer wires in the funds for the deal. This money will cover what you stated you were willing to buy the property from the seller for, as well as your fee for facilitating the transaction. As an example, if you told the seller you would buy the house for $45,000 and you then sold your interest in the property to the buyer for $50,000, then your assignment fee is $5,000.
Related:The Harsh Truth About Wholesaling Newbies Need to Know
It is important that everything is disclosed because I’ve seen transactions stall at the closing table due to the seller or the buyer does not agreeing with you as the assignor making money. Again, this is why you inform you seller specifically that you are going to make a profit; however, ensure them that they will still receive the amount agreed upon for the price.
It is standard practice that assignments are done only on profits of $5,000 or below. But if you are comfortable with the seller and the buyer, it’s possible to assign a contract for a much higher fee.
In the event you are not comfortable with all parties in the transaction, a double close or simultaneous close will keep both legs of the transaction anonymous. Be aware not all title companies will agree to conduct a double close, so this needs to be discussed in advance.
Contract assignment cannot be done on all transactions. HUD homes, REOs, and listed properties present many barriers when trying to perform this type of transaction. With many REO properties, the lender will ensure there is a seasoning period — normally 90 days — before you can resell the property.
As you can see, there are some clear benefits to contract assignment for big paid days.
Investors: Have you ever assigned a contract? Any questions about this process?
Let me know your thoughts with a comment!
A Beginner’s Guide To The Wholesale Real Estate Contract
Wholesaling is an excellent entree into the profession of real estate investing. It offers powerful wealth-building benefits and doesn’t require a lot of capital to get started. The conundrum for many investors, however, are the intricacies of the wholesale real estate contract.
This is especially true if you’re new to the investing business, and not familiar with many of the contracts and legal forms required. Even real estate agents, dipping their toe into investing for the first time, find the wholesale contract a bit of challenge.
Because there are numerous misconceptions about selling contracts and wholesaling in general, the following breaks down the in’s and out’s out a wholesale real estate contract.
Wholesale Real Estate Contract: The Run Down
As a wholesaler, you’re essentially setting up the game for others to play. Your job as the middleman is to locate a potential deal, secure the rights (much how a real estate agent would), and then assign the contract to a real estate investor. The concept of a real estate wholesale contract is similar to a purchase agreement, but the mechanics are much different.
To better understand how a real estate wholesale contract works, wholesalers will need to first familiarize themselves with the basics of a purchase and sale agreement. The framework of this legal agreement, which provides control of a property and documents the agreed terms between you and the seller, will include, but isn’t limited to, the following:
Purchase and Sale Agreement
Parties involved: The names of both buyer(s) and seller(s), including signatures from all parties listed on the title.
Description of real estate: The property’s address, legal description and property type.
Personal property included in the sale price: Anything not attached to the building or the land. In most cases, this will include home fixtures.
Purchase price and financing: The purchase price, deposits and financing terms.
Where deposits are held: Outlines the manner in which deposits are held.
Financing contingency: Outlines the financial terms or if paying by cash.
Conditions of premises: Highlights the physical condition of the property that will be presented to the buyer.
Inspection contingencies: If the property does not meet the standards of a buyer, as listed from the conditions of premises, this will allow for an inspection period to occur (typically 14 days), in which point the buyer can back out.
Statement regarding lead-based paint: Disclosure related to lead-based paint.
Occupancy, possession and closing date: Establishes a deadline for the closing date.
Deed type: Confirms the type of deed to be conveyed.
Marketable title: If the seller is unable to pass title or the buyer is unable to obtain title insurance, this option will reject the purchase and return the deposit.
Adjustments: This will vary by state, but typically includes modifications for taxes, water, sewage and other charges.
Buyer’s default clause: This outlines the rights of the seller if the buyer defaults on the agreed upon terms of the contract.
Seller’s default clause: This outlines the rights of the buyer if the seller defaults on the agreed upon terms of the contract.
Risk of loss and damage: Protects the buyer in case of damage to the property while under contract.
Addenda: Common disclosures and addenda of the contract.
When you sign a contract to purchase a property from a seller, you now have an equitable interest in the property. Under what is known as the doctrine of equitable conversion, this enables a buyer to become the equitable owner of the property while the seller maintains bare legal title to the property under the terms of the agreement.
Although you won’t have the title to the property, you’ll be able to control it by means of a contract. On that note, it’s important to mention that every state and county will have their own laws pertaining to wholesaling and the formalities of the real estate wholesale contract.
The next step will then be to assign your contractual rights to an investor, which will require an Assignment of Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement. This contractual document will basically state the new buyer is assuming your responsibilities, including the purchase of the property to the agreed upon terms in the purchase and sale agreement.
It is vitally important the new buyer is informed of the stipulations and layout of the original contract, agreeing to all prices, terms, conditions and contingencies. That’s why wholesalers should attach a copy of the purchase and sale agreement to the Assignment of Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement. This will ensure the new buyer is not only aware of the original sales agreement, but has a copy that discloses all addenda that were made in the deal.
As part of this contract assignment (wholesaling), wholesalers will collect a profit for their work. The terms of how they get paid will be included in the Assignment of Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement. Generally speaking, wholesalers are typically paid a deposit when the Assignment of Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement is signed; the rest of the profit comes after the transaction closes. As a reminder, it’s best to have an attorney review the documents and contracts to ensure they’re correctly written for what you’re trying to accomplish.
The Importance Of A Wholesale Buyers List
The one thing every wholesaler will need to begin considering is a wholesale buyers list. Success in wholesale only works if you have investors in place to call upon, and a wholesale buyers list with ample prospects will serve as an invaluable tool.
Everyone you come across is a lead. Whether it’s through casual conversation at a coffee shop or dedicated real estate networking events, the people you interact with have potential to become a customer. In order to go from interacting with people to incorporating them into your business dealings, and eventually into a sale, it takes marketing. A wholesale buyers list acts as your audience; give them what they want. When adding to your bank of prospects, it’s important that you take down information on your lead, which will typically include:
- Buyer’s First & Last Name
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Buying Criteria
- Type Of Funding
- Personal Information
- Source Of Referral
Once you have the basic information on your contacts, it will then be time for the real estate lead generation campaign to begin. The three most common types of lead generation outlets are through networking, marketing campaigns, and social media/web presence. For those looking to get started, the following breaks down each individual marketing strategy for generating wholesale leads:
Networking: One of the cornerstones of real estate investing is networking. This process of meeting contacts with the thought of working together down the road is what has fuels the industry for years. Although it may appear like a slow process when first starting out, real estate networking can significantly improve an investor’s results.
Marketing Campaigns: A real estate marketing campaign aims to get both your message and word on your business out to the public. In most cases, a marketing campaign will consist of tools like email, direct mail, and even business cards to reach your target audience.
Social Media: Online marketing has the power to pull the shades back on you and your business and expose your brand to millions of people. With access to such a vast and diverse audiences, the one outlet almost everyone uses is social media. Whether for business or pleasure, site likes Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are home to billions of active users on a daily basis, which is a goldmine for wholesalers. Done right, social media has the ability to produce endless streams of leads to your wholesale buyers list.
What It’s All About
A wholesale real estate contract is the central component to an investor’s wholesaling strategy and the factor that plays the most significant role when looking to get paid.
So even if you’re not a complete wholesaling expert — and born with legal mind — make sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s to ensure this complicated, though powerful, form of investing doesn’t leave you in the dark.