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Locked and Loaded, My Real Estate Investment Strategy

Written by: Preston Sandlin
2007-03-21 00:00:00

There are multiple strategies for making money in real estate. You can do the no money down thing, flipping, buy and hold, and for a few lucky ones sell CD's and tapes on how to make money in Real Estate. I haven't made enough money in real estate to make an infomercial or interview people on the back of my yacht about how they used my strategy. I have accidentally found a strategy that has increased my net worth exponentially on every single property I have bought.

My name is Preston Sandlin. I am a Home Inspector here in Charlotte NC. I have had the opportunity to meet several real estate investors. Real estate investors are a funny breed. I know several who have a net worth in the millions, but valet parking folks would laugh at their older vehicles if they went some place fancy. They all have one thing in common, though. They are willing to take calculated risks and their checks always clear. I came of age during a recession and the bust. I saw a lot of people lose their shirts in the stock market. I decided I liked real estate better than stocks. If a stock goes South there is nothing you can do about it. You can always do something to improve a property. I decided I wanted to be a real estate investor. Besides, valets already laughed at my car. I figure I must have been halfway there already.

After picking the brains of several real estate investors that I did home inspections for, I took all that knowledge brought it together and proceeded to make every investing mistake one could make. I plan to write another article on real estate investment mistakes. In fact I probably could make tapes and CD's on what not to do. Despite my unique expertise I did accidentally come up with a working strategy. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I call it "Locked and loaded"

I wanted to purchase this property on 2810 Barringer Rd. in Charlotte, NC. It was distressed and undervalued. I did my home inspection on it and calculated what it would take to get the house up to par. I would still have a lot of equity. I planned to rent it although one could sell or "flip" and make a decent profit. The house was a foreclosure and was for sale at 41K. I offered 39.5 and got the contract accepted. I then proceeded to obtain a loan the traditional way. I got a mortgage broker working on my "traditional" loan. He sent the appraiser out there and then the bad news. The furnace was busted. I knew this already and planned to put a brand new gas pack on it. Here was the problem. I had to have the appraisal for the loan. They cannot appraise a house without a working furnace. One other thing that I need to mention is that in my contract if I didn't close by this certain date it would cost me a $100 a day. Now I find out I can't get the loan! Rock meet hard place and I'm in the middle. I contemplated putting the gas pack on the house (that I don't yet own) just so it would appraise. Suppose I do this and something falls through on the deal. The bank (the house was owned by a bank) gets a brand new gas pack and I am out four grand. I told you I could sell CD's on what not to do.

Well the contract deadline loomed and I was stuck. I had quite a bit of equity in my personal home and I decided to get an equity line on that. I took that equity line and wrote a check for the house. I was ticked. I planned to eventually get a "traditional loan" on the house. I would have to actually close on the same house twice incurring several of the same fees twice. You know it looked so easy when Carlton Sheets was interviewing those people under the palm trees.

Well I purchased the house with my equity line on time to avoid the $100 dollars a day penalty. I fixed it up. I put a new gas pack on it. I fixed the bathroom floor and the living room ceiling. I also repainted and put in new carpet. I reseeded the lawn and added some bushes. I put about 7k in it. I go to get the "traditional loan" on it now. They send the appraiser out there and he comes back with a value of 78k. Wow! I paid 39.5k, put in 7k, and I have essentially two closing costs but I now have an asset worth 78k. I can now get that "traditional loan" and then pay back my equity line. I am locked and loaded and ready to do it again. Here's the thing. Most commercial or investment loans will only loan you 75-80% of the value of the property. You can't keep buying more and more the traditional way because you have to use 20-25% of your own money every time you buy a house. Unless you have unlimited resources you will have to slow down at some point. I accidentally found a way around this. This is my formula. Buy a slightly distressed property with home equity. Fix it up and get it reappraised and get a loan on the new value. If you bought it right, even a 75-80% loan-to-value should be more than enough to pay back your home equity. You are locked and loaded and ready to go again.

I don't profess to know it all. I do own 11 rentals and plan to buy many more. There are several other real estate investment strategies out there that work. This one works for me and maybe it will work for you too. I have yet to make enough to sit on the back of my yacht but I probably could buy a used pontoon boat though. Maybe I should make some tapes and CD's on what not to do. To find out more or contact Preston Sandlin, go to

About the Author

Preston Sandlin has been a home inspector and real estate investor in Charlotte NC for over 11 years. He is a member of the North Carolina Home Inspectors Association, The Charlotte Regional Realtors Association, The Metrolina Real Estate Investors Association, and the BBB

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