Our company gets many calls from reluctant condo investors and preconstruction contract owners that were looking to cash in on what appeared to be easy money. The client wants to know “What should I do?”
While each situation is unique, in general the decision can be crystallized down to the present value of future cash flows. In other words, translate each strategy into a series of inflows and outflows today and in the future and discount each cashflow to the present using an appropriate discount rate to come up with a net present value for each scenario. This combines time value of money and decision tree concepts and it helps convert an emotional decision into a rational financial decision.
Let’s look at the easiest strategy to analyze – Walk Away. You are essentially locking in a loss of your initial investment, not to mention the possibility exists that the mortgage company may come after you anyway if the sale of the property does not cover their mortgage balance. It is an undesirable strategy to put it mildly and the choice of absolute last resort.
Without knowing your personal situation, I can tell you that there are far more effective options that should be explored that will help alleviate your situation. Please contact us for a no obligation free consultation and we’d be glad to explore the best options with you.
2. Sell the Property – You may feel that you have to sell today. The negative media and the overhyped real estate bubble contribute mightily to investor psychology today. Not to mention the hassles of being a landlord. Or getting the unit rented while attending to your million other tasks and your job.
Maybe the property is significantly negative cash flow and the monthly loss is bleeding your finances and savings. You feel you are diving into a money pit and your net worth is plummeting. Here’s how your cashflows line up – if you’re in a hot market, expect to take a significant discount to fair market value in the price you get. In other words, lock in a 10-20% reduction in the price you may get if you decide to ride out this correction.
A word about cycles. At the top of a cycle, things are rosy and projections are that prices will continue to rise indefinitely. We saw that last year. Similarly, today it is difficult to imagine that prices are ever going to rise again and real estate may stay depressed for many years to come. The reality is somewhere in between. Prices will bounce back, it is a matter of when, not if. Given the negative sentiment, we’d venture to say that we’ve already seen the worst of the correction.
The Sell Your Property strategy also has an element of hope. There is no guarantee that you can sell even if you want to desperately. The reality of selling has to do with how low you are willing to bring your price. But also think about this, in the last correction Californians that sold their properties near the bottom lived to rue the day as property values exploded over the past 10 years, rising roughly 2-3 times in that time period.
3. Final Option – Hold & Maximize – When considering a hold strategy, the investor makes the assumption that the market will get better soon. Most experts predict that the current inventory glut will take until Q4 2007 to get to a normal market.
How long you have to hold will depend on how well you bought. The old adage in real estate is that the profit is made on the purchase, not on the sale.
Alongside the hold option, you need to get a financial professional to review your financing for the property. Can you cash out equity, lower your interest rate, defer interest on your mortgage? Each would help lower your monthly outlay. Our company has investor programs that very few other firms can provide. And if we can’t help you, we are tied in to a national network of investor loan consultants that we are certain can.
Secondly, your hold decision depends on demand for real estate in the location you purchased and the inventory situation. Are buyers moving to the area, are incomes rising, is the rental market strong, is there job growth and what is the rational expectation for the market?
If you want a thorough and honest review of your particular situation, contact us. We can help you make a rational decision and help improve your financial situation. If you are in financial dire straits, contact us immediately. We can help you devise a strategy that will not only protect your investment, but also position you for a brighter financial future.
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