Oct 8, 2019
I am a "Transaction Engineer" - Which is my way of saying that I engineer (or create) transactions of Real Estate deals, using whatever means or tools are at my disposal. Lease-Options are one such tool in my belt that I've used to great success. So in this episode of the... and Landlord Podcast, I relate my story of having used Lease-Options to successfully acquire 3 Rental Properties - essentially for FREE!
Now yes, I did have to put some money into each property - at least initially. Each required an "Option Fee", which is a non-refundable pre-payment of some amount of the purchase price to create a binding contract. For these 3 deals, the Option Fees were $100; $1,000; and $3,000 - respectively. Also, each property needed approximately $9,000 of rehab (give or take a few thousand) - to make them rental ready.
But I use zero-interest credit card promotions for most of my rehab expenses - so that's FREE money not coming out of my pocket. And here, the properties themselves kicked off enough positive cash-flow (once rented), to both payoff the credit card balances prior to any interest hitting. They also paid me back for any actual cash out of pocket, such as for the Option Fees or any rehab expenses that I couldn't put on a zero-interest card.
In this episode of the... and Landlord Podcast, I even relate how the properties increased in value during the Option period, so when I actually did complete the purchase a year or two later, I was buying them well below their current value - allowing me to walk away from the purchase closing table with a check in hand. How often do you buy a house and get paid to do so!?
Lease-Options are a two part contract... The first part is the Lease, which is not much different than any Lease for any property, where you agree to pay a monthly rent to occupy the home for some period of time, along with other rules, requirements and restrictions. Some slight differences here are that you are not going to occupy the home yourself, but instead have the right to sub-lease the property to an end Tenant of your choosing, and collect all rents.
The second part of the contract is the Option, which gives you the right to purchase the property at any point prior to the end of the Lease / Option period, for an already agreed price - that does not change regardless of if the value of the property should go up or down during that period. The Option contract gets recorded against the property title / deed, so that it cannot be sold to anyone other than the Option holder during the Option period. You have the property on lock.
And it is typically the case that in exchange for being granted a binding Option to purchase the property and full control, the Option holder is also fully responsible for paying all expenses related to the property, which would most often include the mortgage; taxes; insurance; repairs / maintenance; rehab / upgrades, etc... Because after all, you are making money on the property - its essentially yours, as you have full control and all rights. And depending on the market and property conditions, you may also be paying a premium of some amount to the owner for this privilege.
So I'm a real fan of Lease-Options, because if you can find a home and potential seller with the right motivation(s), and you can craft a presentation that explains the value and benefits to the owner, while overcoming any obstacles and objections (there may be several) - you can truly create a win / win / win situation.
Of course the first two wins are you and the seller; but that third win is for the Tenant who now gets to live in a great home that would not have otherwise been available - if not for your being a "Transaction Engineer" who understand and can leverage the power of the Lease-Option.